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Report: Cheney aide clearing path to bomb Iran
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Published: Thursday May 24, 2007
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A report published today reveals a growing game of tug-of-war between President Bush and his No. 2 regarding the US approach towards Iran.
Vice President Dick Cheney believes the US should not be pursuing a diplomatic path with Iran, and a senior aide to the vice president has been meeting with national security think tanks and consultants in Washington to "help establish the policy and political pathway to bombing Iran," Steve Clemons reported Thursday on his blog, The Washington Note.
Cheney is the person in the Bush administration who most desires a "hot conflict" with Iran and believes the administrations pursuit of diplomacy, led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, is a mistake, Clemons reports.
The Cheney aide, who has met with policy hands of the American Enterprise Institute along with other groups, "has stated to several Washington insiders that Cheney is planning to deploy an 'end run strategy' around the President if he and his team lose the policy argument," according to Clemons.
Cheney's team wants to work with Israel, nudging the country at some key moment to mount a small-scale attack on the suspected site of Iran's nuclear infrastructure, which could lead to an Iranian counter attack on US forces stationed in the Persian Gulf, Clemons reports.
The vice president has in recent weeks been ramping up his rhetoric against Iran. Earlier this month, he spoke aboard a US aircraft carrier just 150 miles of Iran's coast to warn the country against continuing to pursue a nuclear weapons program.
EXCERPTS FROM THE WASHINGTON NOTE
This strategy would sidestep controversies over bomber aircraft and overflight rights over other Middle East nations and could be expected to trigger a sufficient Iranian counter-strike against US forces in the Gulf -- which just became significantly larger -- as to compel Bush to forgo the diplomatic track that the administration realists are advocating and engage in another war.
There are many other components of the complex game plan that this Cheney official has been kicking around Washington. The official has offered this commentary to senior staff at AEI and in lunch and dinner gatherings which were to be considered strictly off-the-record, but there can be little doubt that the official actually hopes that hawkish conservatives and neoconservatives share this information and then rally to this point of view. This official is beating the brush and doing what Joshua Muravchik has previously suggested -- which is to help establish the policy and political pathway to bombing Iran.
The zinger of this information is the admission by this Cheney aide that Cheney himself is frustrated with President Bush and believes, much like Richard Perle, that Bush is making a disastrous mistake by aligning himself with the policy course that Condoleezza Rice, Bob Gates, Michael Hayden and McConnell have sculpted.
According to this official, Cheney believes that Bush can not be counted on to make the "right decision" when it comes to dealing with Iran and thus Cheney believes that he must tie the President's hands.