America is about to invade Iran. Any day now divisions of American tanks will be rolling toward Tehran as President Bush and the neoconservatives plunge the world into yet another disastrous war.
I don't actually know this. But a professor at New York University, Barnett Rubin, apparently does. One of his correspondents in Washington, you see, alerted him to the scheme last month.
It turns out that the vice president's office has instructed the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Fox News, and Commentary to begin a "heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don't think they'll ever get majority support for this — they want something like 35-40% support, which in their book is ‘plenty,'" according to Mr. Rubin's Washington insider.
If that's not enough, a contractor Mr. Rubin knows told him recent specifications for reconstruction plans for Asia pointed to a coming Iranian war. Mr. Rubin's interlocutor has this on pretty good authority, he had "spoken to someone in one of the leading neo-conservative institutions."
Plus it seems plausible to the New Yorker's George Packer. The item, first posted on Juan Cole's spinoff group blog, has rocketed throughout the netleft, who are all taking the appropriate precautions in light of Professor Rubin's timely Citizen's Alert.
A few things need to be said about all of this. First, the charge from Mr. Rubin amounts to an accusation of bad faith. In Mr. Rubin's world, you see, Michael Ledeen, Newt Gingrich, or William Kristol do not write about Iran's support for confessional murderers in Iraq because they have weighed the evidence, considered the regime's history, or analyzed the testimony of experts.
No, anything these people say about Iran in September will be because Dick Cheney gave instructions, as if anyone who speaks plainly about Iranian supported terrorism or the regime's nuclear-bomb making reflects a hidden agenda — for the Left it's either oil or Israel, so take your pick.
Just as a thought exercise, imagine if conservatives in the 1990s accused, say, the New York Times of defending President Clinton's sexual dalliances because the editorial board was taking instructions from Sydney Blumenthal. I can just imagine the howls of protest.
Also, while some neoconservatives have called for bombing Iran's nuclear facilities, none of them — inside or outside the administration — is proposing an invasion of Iran. Mr. Rubin might want to ask how an American army already strained from the deployment in Iraq would invade its neighbor.
On top of it all, this whole pending-war-with-Iran meme is getting a little stale. Remember, these stories about bombing Iran first surfaced in 2005. According to journalist Seymour Hersh, we should have already bombed the Iranians with nuclear tipped bunker busters in the run up to the 2006 mid-term elections.
According to the Sunday Times of London, Israel or America should have bombed Iran's centrifuges three times by now. After a while one would think the alleged reality-based community could detect a bit of wolf-crying on the part of all of these academics and journalists predicting the pending Iran war.
Just as Mr. Rubin's item says too much, it also says too little. In Iraq, America and Iran are currently at war. My source on this is President Bush's speech to the nation on January 10, 2007. He said: "We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We'll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq."
That is exactly what General David Petraeus has been doing in Iraq, whether its capturing senior Quds Force officers, as the military did on Wednesday or seizing the assets of Iranian sponsored networks that provide bounties for acts of terrorism.
Furthermore, the Iranians also are at war with us in Iraq, whether that means training operatives for elaborate operations to kidnap and murder our soldiers or providing Sunni and Shiia terrorists with roadside copper disc bombs capable of penetrating the armor of our humvees.
It's possible that Mr. Rubin and others could just be learning of the shadow war in Iraq. But the more likely explanation for this sort of thing is that it's an intellectual evasion. It is far easier to blame Iranian aggression on neoconservative war schemes than it is to come to terms with the fact that the current crop of Iranian leaders have escalated their war on us and we have only responded through financial measures, diplomatically and in Iraq.
For proof of how radical the regime is, consider this: Hashemi Rafsanjani, just elected to head the powerful assembly of experts, said in December 2001: "If one day, the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists' strategy will reach a standstill because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything. However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality."
Believe it or not, Mr. Rafsanjani is considered a moderate when compared with President Ahmadinejad, who once told a German interviewer that his country has been occupied since 1945, when the Nazis were defeated by the allies.
There still are quite a few pundits and politicians who believe William Kristol and Dick Cheney are more dangerous than these Iranian rogues. How lucky for the Mullahs to have such willing writers ever ready to change the topic from their latest aggressions. None of this however is to suggest Mr. Rubin is taking his instructions from Tehran. I'm content just pointing out that he is wrong.