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StateSide:Policy
Insight
Vanity Fair's Iraq Redux
Tracking the Push Towards Confrontation With Iran
02/06/2007 4:11 PM ET
Vanity Fair's Craig Unger has written a piece examining the development of the growing chorus of those who would like to see the demise of Iran's current regime.

Though it has little in the way of original reporting or groundbreaking new information, Unger does a good job of tracking the "noise machine" making the case for war against Iran, and comparing it to the lead up to the invasion of Iraq.

The way he lays it out makes it seems as if some kind of military action against Iraq is all but inevitable, and cites secondhand information from former CIA officer Philip Giraldi: "I've heard from sources at the Pentagon that their impression is that the White House has made a decision that war is going to happen."

Unger fingers the intellectual progenitor of recent U.S. policy in the Middle East as a 1996 policy paper authored by Neocon hawk and former Pentagon official Richard Perle. Published by the Israeli-American think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic Political Studies, "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," advocated war as a means for eventually establishing stability in the region.

The most intriguing part of the article comes from an admission by Uzi Arad, former Mossad director of intelligence.

Long before the Iraq invasion, Israeli officials had told the Bush administration that Iran was a far greater threat than Iraq. "If you look at President Bush's 'axis of evil' list, all of us said North Korea and Iran are more urgent," says former Mossad director of intelligence Uzi Arad, who served as Netanyahu's foreign-policy adviser. "Iraq was already semi-controlled because there were sanctions. It was outlawed. Sometimes the answer was 'Let's do first things first. Once we do Iraq, we'll have a military presence in Iraq, which would enable us to handle the Iranians from closer quarters, would give us more leverage.'"

Arad doesn't specifically articulate that the intent would have been to "handle the Iranians" with force, but since Administration officials constantly echo the sentiment that the military option is on the table, that would have to be the potential endgame implication of such an apporach.

It's also problematically unclear who exactly "the neocons" were that led Arad to believe that the U.S. would confront Iran once it had established a bulkhead in Iraq.

If it was only Reuel Marc Gerecht venting about his dreams for the downfall of Iranian mullahs, that can be considered more hot air from a notorious blowhard.

But if it was Paul Wolfowitz giving a preview of the long-range strategic plan for U.S. forces in the Middle East, that's significantly more serious.

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