Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Bush is at it again, pushing the idea that the proposal to Iran (in which they'd have to suspend uranium enrichment if they agree to certain conditions) is "reasonable.":

VIENNA (Reuters) - President Bush said on Wednesday Iran's plan to reply by late August to a big power offer of incentives to halt nuclear work was "an awful
long time for a reasonable answer".

"It should not take the Iranians that long to analyze what is a reasonable deal," Bush told a news conference after talks with European Union leaders in Vienna.

"It shouldn't take the Iranians that long to analyze what is a reasonable deal. I said weeks, not months. I believe that's what the other partners (say too)," he added, referring to Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

So the trap has been set and is in the process of being sprung. Here's how it's working--1) make offer that we know will be refused, 2) while other party is considering offer, repeatedly refer to offer as "reasonable", and 3) when offer is ultimately refused altogether (or with caveats), use refusal of offer you knew to be unreasonable to begin with as a way to show how supposedly "unreasonable" the other party is/was all along.

The Offer

But what do we even know about this "reasonable" offer? Not much, and of course, that's intentional--if the parts of the offer that we know Iran will refuse were public, the trap would never work. We only know the parts that seem "reasonable," as this Reuters article points out:

The proposal, which has not been made public, would provide Iran with a new facility to stockpile nuclear fuel, deletes a reference in an earlier draft to guaranteeing Iran's "territorial integrity" and proposes an unofficial regional security forum, diplomats said.

It also offers Iran a light-water nuclear power reactor for which Europeans or Russians are expected to be the main technology suppliers, while the United States provides legal clearances for American-made components and agrees not to invoke U.S. laws sanctioning foreign firms for doing business in Iran.

Other provisions includes permission for Iran to purchase U.S. and European civilian airplanes and spare parts and to buy U.S. agricultural technology.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana delivered the offer to Tehran Tuesday.

McCormack refused to say specifically if Solana laid out penalties as
well as the benefits of the deal in his meetings.

Note that the proposal "has not been made public" and that the guy who told this reporter about the guy who delivered the offer to Iran "refused to say specifically" what the exact details of the offer are.

That's so that when Iran ultimately refuses the offer in whole or in part, the neocons/theocons can hit the airwaves, talking incessantly about how the refusal proves how "unreasonable" Iran is and how we have to stop them from getting a nuclear weapon, even though our own National Intelligence Estimate from last year says that Iran is at least 10 years away from one.

Why I'm Trying To Follow This Closely

And that's why I'm trying to document this--so that when all the aforementioned things happen, you and I will not be caught unawares. The war pundits will say "Iran refused our very reasonable offer" as proof that we have to invade to stop their "mad" schemes. And you and I will be able to call bullshit on that and say "how do you know the offer was reasonable--it was never made public in full, only a few details were carefully and selectively leaked to cast the offer in the best light in the minds of the American public."

And not only that, we now know that Bush refused to enter into talks with Iran in 2003 when the Iranians were making overtures to have that happen. In fact, at that time, Iran was willing to negotiate everything--nuclear power, the works:

Just after the lightning takeover of Baghdad by U.S. forces three years ago, an
unusual two-page document spewed out of a fax machine at the Near East bureau of
the State Department. It was a proposal from Iran for a broad dialogue with the United States, and the fax suggested everything was on the table -- including full cooperation on nuclear programs, acceptance of Israel and the termination of Iranian support for Palestinian militant groups.

But top Bush administration officials, convinced the Iranian government was on the verge of collapse, belittled the initiative. Instead, they formally complained to the
Swiss ambassador who had sent the fax with a cover letter certifying it as a
genuine proposal supported by key power centers in Iran, former administration
officials said.

Note that now that Iran has announced that they've finally enriched uranium, that's when Bush wants to enter talks and make a bad faith offer. And that's why Iran will refuse the current offer--they've already been able to enrich uranium on their own and don't want to sacrifice their sovereignty in order to have another country do it for them, whereas they might have been willing to agree to that before this year.

Sounds Familiar

This all sounds frighteningly familar--remember when Bush had three separate opportunities to get Zarqawi, but refused them all--they knew they'd need a way to suggest a nonexistent connection between al Qaida and Saddam, and they knew they'd need some bad guys to demonize once the war got going. In the same way, all of this that is now happening with Iran could have been avoided if only Bush had gone to the table with Iraq 3 years ago.

But Bush doesn't want negotiations--that doesn't make you a "war president." Bush wants war, war, and more war, because it gives him a chance to drain the U.S. treasury, cut domestic spending, make him and his party look tough, and given he and his party an excuse to crack down on democracy at home.

And one last thing, as far as "reasonable" being used before, check out this golden oldie of Bush's, when he claimed that Saddam wouldn't let inspectors in:

The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region. I firmly believe the decisions we made will make America more secure and the world more peaceful.

That's the whole trap and Republican "war president" strategy in a nutshell: make a "reasonable" request we know will be refused, then use that refusal (or in Saddam's case, just pretend he refused) as an excuse to start a war. Which is an excuse to roll back the New Deal and everything we hold dear in this country.

Good night.

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