Iran May Be a Once and Future Threat, But Al Qaeda Is a Clear and Present Danger
08.29.2007 04:43 | DISPATCHES
Speaking before an American Legion group yesterday, President Bush described Iran as the "world's leading state sponsor of terrorism." Its pursuit of technology which could lead to nuclear weapons, he added, threatens to put the region "under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust."
To most Americans this is just bluster. They can't imagine that the administration, bogged down in one war gone bad, would be crazy enough to start another one. Apparently Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad concurs. As also reported on Tuesday, he asserted that Bush & Co. wouldn't dare attack Iran.
"They have to solve the question of Iraq and Afghanistan," he said. "Politicians do not deal with imaginary things."
You walked right into that one, Mahmoud. As we all know by now, Bush and Cheney are tilting at windmills in their own minds.
Even more ominous, in yet another Tuesday story, Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane reported in Raw Story on a paper by written by two prominent British security analysts. Dr. Dan Plesch and Martin Butcher describe the Pentagon's plans to attack Iran as having come full term. Furthermore, they "dispute conventional wisdom that any US attack on Iran would be confined to its nuclear sites.
Instead, they foresee a 'full-spectrum approach,' designed to either instigate an overthrow of the government or reduce Iran to the status of 'a weak or failed state.'" This has been reported before, but by none as authoritative Plesch and Butcher. The US, they conclude, "has made military preparations to destroy Iran's WMD, nuclear energy, regime, armed forces, state apparatus and economic infrastructure within days if not hours of President George W. Bush giving the order."
Then, to top it all off, a landmark report by Evan Thomas entitled "Into Thin Air" appeared in Newsweek website today. It chronicled all the lowlights of our failed hunt for bin Laden. The obstacles run the gamut from bad luck to the bureaucratic to timidity (on the part of former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, of all people).
On a more immediate note, Thomas reiterates news of "chatter" that intelligence agencies have been monitoring. "'We have very strong indicators that Al Qaeda is planning to attack the West. . .' says retired Vice Adm. John Redd, chief of the National Counterterrorism Center [while] Hank Crumpton, who ran the CIA's early hunt for bin Laden in 2001-02. . . says, "It's bad; it's going to come."
What kind of an attack? In his 2006 book "The One Percent Doctrine," an informal history of GWOT (remember that abbreviation of the global war on terrorism?), Ron Suskind described a proposed Al Qaeda terror mission, in which hydrogen cyanide would be released into multiple New York subway cars with an ingenious device called "the mubtakkar."
Why did Zawahiri calls off plans to use the gas, which was similar to that used in the Holocaust? Simply because he didn't think the amount of people killed would be a significant enough improvement over the almost 3,000 killed in the World Trade Centers to make it worth his while.
Note to President Bush, et al: The co-dependence of Al Qaeda/the Taliban with Pakistan is not only dysfunctional, but it's what is known as a clear and present danger. Meanwhile, you can file Iran, which once held our embassy employees hostage and may have a nuclear bomb in five years, as a once-and-future threat. While you're at it, get out of Iraq and F-O-C-U-S on bin Laden, Zawahiri and their merry friends.