Charles Krauthammer has joined David Frum and Bill Kristol in concluding (bitterly) that the Iran NIE has made it impossible for George W. Bush to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities before the end of his term. Writing in his Washington Post column Friday, Krauthammer asserts:
“The administration understands that the NIE’s distorted message that Iran has given up pursuing nukes has not only taken any military option off the table but also jeopardized any further sanctions against Iran. Making the best of a lost cause, Bush will now go through the motions until the end of his term, leaving the Iranian bomb to his successor.”
Krauthammer, who is also predictably angry about the how the administration has handled North Korea, levels the now-standard neo-conservative charge that the “intelligence bureaucracy” has staged a putsch against Bush and Cheney, calling the NIE “a spectacularly successful coup” that “very misleadingly trumpeted the claim that Iran had halted its nuclear program.” He goes on to cite “recent dissidents’ reports” that the weaponization program, suspended in 2003, in fact, resumed the following year — contrary to the current NIE finding.” In citing “dissidents,” he is apparently referring to the Mujahadin-e-Khalq (MeK), the cultish group that remains on the State Department’s terrorist list and whose local spokesman here, Fox News “terrorism” analyst Alireza Jafarzadeh, gave a power-point briefing on the subject at the National Press Club the week after the NIE was released. (Most MeK sympathizers refer to it as “the opposition,” as if the MeK, which fought on the Iraqi side during the Iran-Iraq war and subsequently enjoyed Saddam Hussein’s protection — as it now enjoys the protection of the U.S. military in Iraq — represented the aspirations of all inside Iran who favor the end of theocratic rule.)
Still, Krauthammer consoles himself by lavishing praise on Gen. Petraeus and the Surge which have “turn[ed] a losing war into a winnable one.”
“Baghdad and Washington are currently discussing a long-term basing agreement that could give the United States a permanent military presence in the region and a close cooperative relationship with the most important country in the Middle East heartland — a major strategic achievement,” he writes.
So much for the “democratic” part of the “democratic realism” Krauthammer touted so enthusiastically as an “American Foreign Policy for a Unipolar World” at the 2004 Irving Kristol Lecture at the American Enterprise Institute delivered 11 months after the invasion.