OPINION: Who will start the war on Iran?

Why Bush won’t attack Iran

During a recent high-powered Washington dinner party attended by 18 people, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft squared off across the table over whether President Bush will bomb Iran.

Brzezinski, former national security advisor to President Carter, said he believed Bush’s team had laid a track leading to a single course of action: a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Scowcroft, who was NSA to Presidents Ford and the first Bush, held out hope that the current President Bush would hold fire and not make an already disastrous situation for the U.S. in the Middle East even worse.

The 18 people at the party, including former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, then voted with a show of hands for either Brzezinski’s or Scowcroft’s position. Scowcroft got only two votes, including his own. Everyone else at the table shared Brzezinski’s fear that a U.S. strike against Iran is around the corner. [complete article]

See also, Adm. Fallon Presses Case Against Iran (AP) and Rice swipes at IAEA, urges bold action on Iran (Reuters).

Editor’s Comment — Here’s the inside story from someone who knows more than the insiders. Steve Clemons always comes up with interesting stuff. He is of course far too modest to divulge whether he was one of the high-powered people at the dinner party he describes, but he was obviously there in spirit if not body, casting his vote with Scowcroft. By the end of the piece though, the insider’s insight — that Bush won’t initiate an attack on Iran — becomes what Clemons should concede: a moot point.

Clemons says that “a classic buildup to war with Iran, one in which the decision to bomb has already been made, is not something we should be worried about today.” He nevertheless concedes that we should be worried about an “accidental war” — one not preceded by a classic buildup. This sounds like a distinction that probably concerns high-powered dinner-party pundits more than anyone else.

What should concern us all is whether those who are trying to build up the momentum for war can effectively be disempowered. In that regard, the role of the press is crucial and just as happened in the buildup to the war in Iraq, with all too much frequency the press is letting us down by parroting unsubstantiated accusations and failing to challenge their precious political sources.

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