December 7, 2007 - 4:24pm ET
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Let me pull a few threads together.
As everyone knows, last week a new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran came out establishing that the consensus of the intelligence community was that the regime there had suspended its nuclear program in 2003.
And, as everyone also knows, this rather puts a damper on previous White House rhetoric in October warning of "World War III" unless this (nonexistence) program is put to a stop. (Interestingly enough, if you enter any random phrase from that October 17 press conference—say, "Congressional Award Ceremony for the Dalai Lama"—into the search box at whitehouse.gov, you arrive right where you're supposed to, but if you type "World War III" in the same box you get what amounts to an error messge.) It puts a damper, too, on the brushfire of hysteria the administration's Iran rhetoric has set off on the grassroots and Evangelical right, which Jon Stokes wrote about on The Big Con .
So that's strand number one. Here's strand number two: the revealingly embarrassing admission by former White House communications director Dan Bartlett that right-wing web sites are "a direct IV into the vein of your support. It’s a very efficient way to communicate. They regurgitate exactly and put up on their blogs what you said to them."
That helps throw strand number three, an email I received from the right-wing
IV tube web site NewsMax, breaking this news:
Expert: U.S. Attack on Iran Would Have Terrible Consequences
Here's the NewsMax article. It's dated November 28, and says what sane people have been saying about the "threat" for months: "Iran has an underfunded defense budget, ill-equipped ground and air forces, and a limited number of unreliable Shihab III missiles that, while technically able to reach Israel, do not pose much of a threat," and that "[a] U.S. air attack using cruise missiles and manned aircraft aimed at knocking out Iran's large, entrenched nuclear program would succeed only in exacerbating conflict in the Middle East and put U.S. troops in Iraq at risk."
Why this sudden outbreak of sanity at this key bastion of the online right? Would I be dismissed as kooky if I suggested this bit of strategic sour grapes ("well, we never really thought attacking Iran was such a good idea in the first place") might have something to do with the White House's political ass-covering for the upcoming NIE?
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