The intelligence-cookers are at it again, trying to link the government of Iran to attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Many reporters are deeply skeptical, like Helene Cooper and Mark Mazzetti at the New York Times and Dafna Linzer at the Washington Post. (Michael Gordon, the go-to guy at the New York Times for the war faction in the Administration, hasn't had a byline since he took dictation for a "People Without Names" Pentagon press release on Saturday.) Even Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is skeptical, saying that he has no information indicating Iran's government is directing the supply of lethal weapons to Shiite insurgent groups in Iraq.
But although careful readers of the print media will know that the Bush Administration has presented no evidence linking the government of Iran to attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq, the war faction in the Administration got the headlines it wanted. Many of the folks that Joe Lieberman's Senate campaign referred to approvingly as "low information voters" have been seeded with the idea that the government of Iran has something to do with attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq. And that's a recipe for war.
Who can stop this madness?
There are two groups of folks who could put a stop to this if they wanted to.
One is the Democratic Presidential candidates, particularly the "frontrunners": John Edwards, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton. If they would speak out forcefully against a U.S. attack on Iran, it would establish "no attack on Iran" as the Democratic position, weakening the war faction in the Administration and strengthening those in Congress opposed to war. And these three politicians are very vulnerable to public pressure right now, as their schedules are filled with public appearances where people want to know who is the candidate who will lead on ending the war in Iraq and bringing the troops home.
The other group is Members of Congress. Congress has the power to prohibit a U.S. attack on Iran, as Speaker Pelosi has threatened to do. Even short of an outright prohibition, the more Members of Congress speak up, the weaker the position of the Administration.
It's striking how many Members of Congress have still not spoken out. There are four resolutions before the House expressing opposition to an attack on Iran and/or supporting diplomacy with Iran. And yet, 42 Members of the House "Out of Iraq" Caucus have not yet signed on to any of these resolutions.
If Members of Congress are serious about stopping war with Iran, it's time for them to go on the record.
-- Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy, Feburary 13, 2007