War with Iran?

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Iraq becomes Iran

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Seymour Hersh got most of this war’s scoops, and now he says there’s talk of — active planning and possibly messianic lust for — another war. With Iran. With Iran? With Iran. The idea seems so far beyond the pale that it can’t possibly be right, but as Paul Krugman argued this morning, it’s precisely that kind of logic that brought us the war in Iraq.

Hersh’s sources tell him that preparation for Iran runs far beyond the standard contingency planning, and that US combat troops are already operating in Iran, defining targets and building ties to minority groups. He quotes a government consultant who says that George Bush believes that “saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”

Oh, and we’re also considering using tactical nuclear weapons to get into the bunkers where Iran keeps its centrifuges.

Could it possibly be true? Are we threatening Iran as part of a diplomatic effort to strip its nukes, or are we just going to invade Iran? Is this a good idea? Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says the administration’s storyline sounds familiar, and Scott McClellan did repeat in this morning’s press gaggle that our focus is on diplomacy but it’d be stupid to take any options off the table. But can the administration sell this war, too?

Joseph Cirincione

Senior Associate and Director for Non-Proliferation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Author, Fool Me Twice, Foreign Policy, March 27, 2006

Thanks to Geoffrey Kirkman of the Watson Institute for sending Joseph our way.

Thomas Donnelly

Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Mansour Farhang

Professor, Diplomatic History/International Relations, Bennington College

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