Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tom Maguire's Optimism is Quickly Discredited

by Ken Houghton

Chris Suellentrop—not Tobin Harshaw—tried pushing the Tom Maguire line yesterday:
Tom Maguire, who blogs at Just One Minute, has perhaps the most novel theory: it helps John McCain, Rudy Giuliani — and Hillary Clinton. Maguire writes:

Dare we state the obvious — this news takes the wind away from the Dems who have been asserting that Republicans will lead us inexorably to war with Iran....Meanwhile, insinuations that McCain or Giuliani (or Huckabee!?!) will take us to war with Iran have been dramatically undercut. [emphasis mine]

Unfortunately for the NYT and especially Maguire, the Rudy and his Advisors Are Not Insane Defense has already been undermined (h/t Sadly, No, of course)
But I entertain an even darker suspicion. It is that the intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush,* is doing it again. This time the purpose is to head off the possibility that the President may order air strikes on the Iranian nuclear installations. As the intelligence community must know, if he were to do so, it would be as a last resort, only after it had become undeniable that neither negotiations nor sanctions could prevent Iran from getting the bomb, and only after being convinced that it was very close to succeeding.** How better, then, to stop Bush in his tracks than by telling him and the world that such pressures have already been effective and that keeping them up could well bring about "a halt to Iran’s entire nuclear weapons program"—especially if the negotiations and sanctions were combined with a goodly dose of appeasement or, in the NIE’s own euphemistic formulation, "with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security, prestige, and goals for regional influence in other ways."

Someone is still saber-rattling, and Tom Maguire should already be regretting his optimism.

*Either "Facts are stupid things" or W has been saying things that he should have known were not true, since "leaked" information has been distributed throughout the Administration already. Which is more likely is left as an exercise to the reader.
**Just as he was with that other I-r-a country.

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