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BorderWatch:Iran
UNDER FIRE
Viewpoint: All Paths Lead to Bombing of Iran
Former NCS Officials Warn White House Has Long Appeared Determined to Strike
11/05/2007 1:54 PM ET
In a file picture dated 20 October 2006, Iranian Revolutionary Guards, one of them covering his chest with a portrait of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, take part in a demonstration held in Tehran to mark Jerusalem (Al-Quds) Day.
Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty
In a file picture dated 20 October 2006, Iranian Revolutionary Guards, one of them covering his chest with a portrait of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, take part in a demonstration held in Tehran to mark Jerusalem (Al-Quds) Day.

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann seem to believe that the Bush Administration has had its sights set on attacking Iran, no matter what Tehran, the international community, or the Democratic Congress do to try to prevent a conflict.

Both served on the National Security Council during the lead-up to the Iraq war and both saw an eagerness to expand the fight to include the Iranians after "Mission Accomplished" was quickly achieved in Iraq.

The number of times the White House has outright ignored peace overtures by Iran lends support to Leverett and Mann's impression that the Administration, despite public assurances otherwise, has no interest in engaging in negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

The prospect that the United States could embark on another military adventure in the Middle East has the husband and wife pair risking legal ramifications by speaking out regarding US policy towards Iran.

The new 6,000 word feature on the couple in the new Esquire doesn't add much to what emerged during the controversy over an op-ed they wrote for the New York Times last December, but it does flesh out the backdrop to the Iran policy debate.

It's impossible to roll back the clock and seriously entertain Iran's peace initiative offered weeks after the beginning of the war, which Mann received from the Swiss ambassador to Washington, who often acts as a diplomatic go between since the US has no formal relations with Iran.

The Iranian plan offered "decisive action" against all terrorists in Iran, an end of support for Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, a promise to cease its nuclear program, and also an agreement to recognize Israel.

Rather than receiving the offer as the opening for a groundbreaking diplomatic initiative, the White House's only response was to issue a formal rebuke to the Swiss government for its ambassador's meddling.

Shortly thereafter, with triumphant hubris over the swift defeat of Saddam's regime at its peak, word started leaking out of the White House about plans for an aggressive new policy approach towards Tehren, which was rumored to include plans to destabilize the regime and promote popular uprising.

In the intervening years, the threatening rhetoric towards Tehran has only increased, though Iran remains as publicly defiant as ever. Leverett and Mann point out that the Bush's policy of all sticks and no carrots has failed, though the implications of their experience indicate that the White House may be setting up the rules of the game in such a way that all paths end in the bombing of Iran.

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