To bomb or not to bomb Iran, that’s the question the Bush Administration appears to be debating these days, once again revealing the extraordinary disconnect between the White House and the American people. With a catastrophic occupation of Iraq and polls showing the American public so skeptical about the use of military force that only eight percent support military action against Iran, there is nevertheless a clear and present danger that Cheney and the neocons will again prevail and lead this Administration into another disastrous military misadventure.
The parallels between now and the run-up to the Iraq War are troubling. Nobel Peace Prize-winner Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who warned the Bush administration in 2003 about the lack of a nuclear program in Iraq and was subsequently attacked for his position by the Bush machine, the neocons and by many in the mainstream media, has now struck a deal with Iran to answer questions about its nuclear program within a defined timeline and improve access for inspectors. ElBaradei has called for a “double time-out” of all enrichment activities and new sanctions.
The result of ElBaradei’s attempt to shed light on Iran’s nuclear program? More attacks by the Bush administration. More outright hit jobs like this one from the Washington Post, or even the more subtle shading by the New York Times that ultimately portrays ElBaradei as a dictatorial loon. The result is, once again, an amplifying of the Administration’s drumbeat calling for war.
What is really needed right now – as was the case in 2003 – is for ElBaradei and the IAEA to be given a fair hearing and support. As Joseph Cirincione, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and author of Bomb Scare, says, “ElBaradei is doing what any diplomatic leader should do: talking directly to a nation to find a way to resolve difficult issues short of the use of force… He’s painfully aware of the lessons of the pre-Iraq War period. Then, he was convinced that there was no evidence of a nuclear program in Iraq. He told the UN Security Council that in his reports of January and March 2003. But could he have done more to prevent a disastrous and unnecessary war? Weren’t others too quiet, too complacent to stay in their assigned roles? He does not want to see this happen again, with even more catastrophic consequences.”