For several months now, the President and his administration have been building a drumbeat toward war with Iran. The reasons were many and varied — such as their funding and support for the Iraqi insurgents — but the major reason was the threat of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon.
Which, thanks to the release of the National Intelligence Assessment on Monday, we now know that Iran is not, in fact, on the verge of building a nuclear weapon.
More specifically, the assessment of the intelligence community is that Iran backed away from the nuclear table in 2003.
Four years ago.
Could it be that Iran saw what happened to Iraq in early 2003? And their leadership decided, “We don’t want that to happen to us?”
That’s the behavior of a rational person.
Contrast that behavior with our President’s behavior this week.
The intelligence about Iran has been known since summer — the Washington Post reported that the Administration was briefed, and refused to believe it — yet the President has gone out for months giving speeches about the imminence of World War III. Indeed, when questioned about what he knew and when he knew it at a press conference on Tuesday, he said that he had learned of the intelligence just last week. Three possibilities exist: first, the President is incompetant for not asking the hard questions; second, the President’s staff is imcompetant for not making clear to him what the intelligence says; or third, the President is a liar.
Frankly, all three possibilities are likely as not true.
The President seems to function in a world where admitting mistakes gives the impression of irresoluteness and indecision. His speeches this week have been littered with references to Iran as being more dangerous now than ever before. From the President’s perspective, the NIE doesn’t change anything.
And that’s a very dangerous thought.
Because it means that, in the President’s mind, facts are an inconvenience. His policy is what it is, whether it matches up to anything in reality.
And if the President wants to bomb Iran — and he clearly has the hard-on to do it — he will find a reason.
We live in dangerous times.