The charges against two people in an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. has given neoconservative think tanks — such as the America Enterprise Institute, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and the Heritage Foundation — yet another reason to promote military action against Iran. Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol even went so far as to gloat that “we have an engraved invitation” for war against Iran.
But not everyone is buying into the neoconservative push for yet another U.S. military operation in the Middle East. Rep. Presidential contender Ron Paul (R-TX) pushed back against the calls for war in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer yesterday:
BLITZER: But why do you think — because various Republicans and Democrats, Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee — you know him — he believes that the evidence is strong [against the Iranians].
PAUL: I think it’s mostly war propaganda. They’ve been itching to go to war against Iran for a long, long time. This is exactly what they did leading up to the war in Iraq, and the danger was not there.
I don’t think the Iranians are that stupid. And yet, the people here right now are getting pretty excited about it.
People are suggesting we go to war over this. That is such a careless attitude.
Indeed, the drive for war has come from some of the same voices who had pushed for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein since the 1990s. And, much as in Iraq, inconvenient intelligence reports are overlooked by these hawks.
Today, the Washington Post’s Joby Warrick revealed that while Iran continues to stockpile enriched uranium, the nuclear program is “riddled with problems” as a combination of old equipment and inferior replacement machinery have resulted in a steady decline in enriched uranium output.
Warrick also reports that U.S. intelligence officials believe Iran is seeking the technical capability to produce a nuclear weapon but that there is little indication that the clerical leadership has firmly committed to making a bomb.
While much remains to be explained about both Iranian nuclear intentions and the alleged assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador, neoconservatives and their allies are using the latest diplomatic crisis with Tehran as yet another justification for preemptive military action.