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Lets's talk about democracy
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Thursday, 2 September 2004
Real men want to go to Tehran.

The Plot Thickens.

This administrations policy on Iran is nonexistent. No wonder the Israelis are thinking of taking matters into their own hands. I don't think we have ever had such a bunch of nincompoops in control of our foreign and defense policies in our entire history.

From the NY Times::

The Pentagon's policy office, where a lower-level analyst is under suspicion of passing secrets to Israel, was deeply involved in deliberations over how the United States should deal with Iran, its conservative Islamic government and its nuclear weapons ambitions - all issues of intense concern to Israel as well.

The analyst, Lawrence A. Franklin, a Farsi-speaking specialist on Iran in the office, participated in a secret outreach meeting with an Iranian opposition figure, had access to classified intelligence about Iran's nuclear program and was one of many officials involved in drafting a top-secret presidential order on Iran

Israeli officials were intently interested in both Washington's policy debates and in the intelligence about the progress Iran is making in its nuclear program, a former Bush administration official said.

Israeli officials have made it clear, a former senior American diplomat said recently, that if Iran passes some undefined "red lines" in its nuclear program, Israel will consider attacking the sites, much as it attacked Iraq's main nuclear plant 23 years ago.

"What the Israelis really want," the former diplomat said, "is as much detail as they can get about how close the Iranians are getting."

[I bet they do. But we don't know our asses from our elbows, why are they spying on us?]

For more than a year, a major debate over Iran policy has divided the administration. Hard-liners at the Pentagon, including some in the policy office, and, to some extent, in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, have advocated a policy of threatening confrontation with the government in Tehran, and supporting opposition groups and student demonstrations, government officials said.

[Because that policy worked so well in the long run after the coup we engineered in the 50's.]

In a debate last year involving the fate of an Iranian opposition group that is based in Iraq, Mr. Feith's office has been described by some Bush administration officials as playing an instrumental role in calling for reconsideration of American policy toward the organization.

The group, the Mujahedeen Khalq, maintained heavily armed camps in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, but has been listed by the State Department as a terrorist organization since the late 1990's. In the Iraq war last year, American aircraft bombed the group's camps.

Ultimately, the group signed a cease-fire agreement with American military forces in which its members were disarmed. State Department officials said in May 2003 that the question of whether to disarm the Mujahedeen Khalq had been the subject of sharp debate among Pentagon officials.

Some administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have gone further, saying that civilians at the Pentagon within Mr. Feith's office had suggested dropping the terrorist designation from the group, and using its members as a lever to maintain pressure on Iraq. But Mr. Feith has called that characterization incorrect.

[I'm so sure. Do these guys ever learn their lessons? Can you say Afghanistan and Osama?]

The meetings were brokered by Michael Ledeen, a conservative scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who had played a role in the Iran-contra affair in the Reagan administration. Along with Mr. Ledeen, Mr. Franklin and Mr. Rhode met with Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian who was an arms deal middleman in the Iran-contra affair.

Beginning in 2001, the meetings were intended to put the administration in closer contact with Iranian dissidents who claimed to have valuable information about Iran, Iraq and terrorist activity in Afghanistan. The dissidents also said they could help track down Mr. Hussein's fortune hidden in international banks.

Although top Pentagon officials approved the first meeting, Mr. Ghorbanifar's involvement subsequently raised concern within the administration because it evoked memories of Iran-contra and questions about whether the Pentagon was engaging in rogue covert operations. In the 1980's, Mr. Ghorbanifar was labeled a "fabricator" by the C.I.A.

[Again, ever hear of a guy named Ahmad Chalabi?]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:27 AM EDT
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