Reaction to the report on Iran: It's a hoot
It may take an odd sense of humor to consider the fallout from the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran funny, but this is an odd, not to say warped, country, and you have to take your laughs where you can find them.
In case you've been buried under one of the avalanches from melting glaciers somewhere in the Alps for the past week, the entire U.S. intelligence apparatus, 16 agencies, reported Dec. 3 that Iran stopped its efforts to create nuclear weapons in 2003. At the same time, we learned that the Bush administration has known this since at least August.
Some of my friends and I have been going around chuckling since the report came out, and every day the badly upset and confused right wing propaganda mill gives us some new reason to break into open laughter. Undoubtedly they'll soon find a lie that works for all of the right-wing dink tanks and their mouthpieces, and then the confusion will cease to be so entertaining, but for now, enjoy.
First make yourself a mental picture what's going on in the bowels of the White House and in Cheney's secret lairs and the cushy precincts of the Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, American Conservative Union, Cato Institute and all the rest of the dozens of right-wing fronts. Think of the arguments and glass throwing and table pounding and cursing and the desperate attempts to find a common story that can be sold at least to Republican loyalists.
Here's one of my favorite laugh lines:
“The Bush White House was behind this NIE,” said Robert Baer, a former CIA field officer in the Middle East, on Time.com. Further, he said, “...you can bet that an explosive 180-degree turn on Iran like this one was greenlighted by the president.”
And what does Baer think would make the White House do a complete reversal on it's plans to attack Iran? A president who has never before in his recorded history admitted even the smallest error? Well, “the Bush administration has finally concluded Iran is a bridge too far...”
Bushcheney worried that they might be going too far in pounding Iran? In what fantasy world does this administration suddenly decide to restrain itself from doing exactly what it and its sponsors want?
During the first couple of days after the report, there were little chuckles to be had from some of the less restrained (that is to say, no restraint, no boundaries, no sense) neocon natterers who claimed that the entire intelligence apparatus of the United States must have been conned by an Iranian disinformation campaign.
That died with breathtaking suddenness, however, when it was shown that 14 of the 16 agencies rejected that as extremely implausible and the other two said it is unlikely, and thatthey all had taken the possibility into account from the beginning of their intelligence search.
Here's another goody, from that reliable nutcase and favorite of the far right, Norman Podhoretz: “...I entertain an even darker suspicion. It is the intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush, is doing it again. This time the purpose is to head off the possibility that the President may order air strikes on the Iranian nuclear installations.”
Podhoretz, in case you've missed him, has been begging Bushcheney for at least a year to bomb Iran, immediately if not sooner.
Our intelligence agencies have “for years” been trying to undermine our brilliant and bold president?
Hmmmm. That must be how we got all of those customized reports –- since proven to have been ordered by Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld -– saying that Iraq was loaded with weapons it intended to use in attacks on us and others, and how it was not far from having nuclear weapons and...and...
One question Podhoretz's continued prominence in right wing circles and the propaganda outlets does legitimately raise is this: How dangerously crazy does one have to be before he no longer is taken seriously by the true believers and corporate media?
Here's another funny bit: Watching Republicans in the U.S. Senate do a complete reversal of their usual headlong pursuit of “intelligence” that, doctored by the administration, fits their political and social goals.
Suddenly those who serve the will of the corporations in the Senate, endangering their own necks with the speed of their turnaround, are condemning our intelligence agencies as incompetents, liars and worse. In doing so, they're following the guidance, if not orders, from the right wing don't-think tanks.
As reported on Swampland, a blog that covers politics from Washington, one of the right's favorite creators of justifications for greed and imperialism, Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute, is showing the senators the way.
Of the NIE, she said, “The problem is not the nature of the intelligence, it's the nature of the presentation.” (Got that? The intelligence was good, but somehow the agencies presented it wrong.)
“The NIE was presented with a clear intention to deceive and to redirect foreign policy,” Pletka claimed. “I have no doubt that these people believe they are protecting the nation from the President, but our constitution doesn't contemplate the non-proliferation center at the ODNI (Office of the Director of National Intelligence) governing U.S. national policy.” Like the right is suddenly concerned about the Constitution it has been using to wipe it's feet?
Translation: How dare those intelligence types report facts that don't support the administration's goals? Their job is not to tell the truth but to provide data, true or false, that supports the political goals of the President.
Do you notice, by the way, how the right wing propagandists and fact spinners always capitalize the P in President? I think it's a genuine clue to their mindset – so long as the president (very small case) is one of their own.
The administration secretly promoted the creation and dissemination of intelligence report on Iran to give itself an excuse not to bomb Iran after all, because to do so might, after all, be “going too far.” And a president who has never admitted the tiniest mistake about anything suddenly has deliberately engineered a report showing him to have been consistently in error on a major foreign policy issue.
Iran snookered all 16 intelligence agencies into believing it is not rushing to make nuclear weapons. Or maybe not; we'll get back to you.
The entire intelligence community –- long noted for lack of cooperation among themselves, by the way – suddenly came together to produce a report deliberately designed to undermine Bushcheney. The creators of this theory don't seem to be claiming that the facts are wrong, but maybe they just haven't made up that part yet.
The agencies that swallowed hard and allowed themselves be used in a campaign to falsify information so that Bushcheney could take us into a totally unjustified war in Iraq suddenly are seen as having undermined the president and his goals “for years.”
Oh...This hasn't got any attention from the right yet that I've seen, but it will: The Pentagon had to have been active in providing much of the data used in the report on Iran. Presumably, the Pentagon soon will be accused of being a nest of leftists whose main purpose in life is to do harm to Bushcheney and keep the administration from protecting our nation. Count on it.
If you can't see the humor in this, however bitter the laughs, your irony sensor needs new batteries.
Best guess: Bushcheney still will bomb Iran if it thinks it can get away with it, which means retaining the support of somewhere around 30 to 35 percent of the American public. (Those are numbers thrown out before by Cheney and members of his extreme right support crew.)