Michael Ledeen and other neo-cons who helped beat the drums for the Iraq war have a favorite Iran war website: regimechangeiniran.com. If you want to know what they're thinking, check out the website for a mix of right-wing punditry and legitimate news stories on rising tensions over Iran. Yet the site seems to play down the backpedaling going on now in the administration over charges that advanced weaponry was shipped into Iraq with the approval of the "highest levels" of the Iranian government -- or anything else that conflicts with their world-view.
Even in their news blogs, neo-cons want to remain in their bubble. Perhaps they're hoping that the Iranian people will greet us as "liberators" with "sweets and flowers" after we attack their country, just like the Iraqis were supposed to do after we overthrew Saddam.
Hoping to salvage -- and distract -- from their fiasco in Iraq, blaming and attacking Iran seems to them their best option. Unfortunately, too many top officials in the administration seem to be pushing us closer to the brink of a disastrous war. This week's Newsweek looks at the incidents and disturbing rhetoric that could push either Iran or the U.S. over the edge. The article warns:
The Iranians have reason to feel paranoid. In recent weeks senior American officers have condemned Tehran for providing training and deadly explosives to insurgents. In a predawn raid on Dec. 21, U.S. troops barged into the compound of the most powerful political party in the country, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and grabbed two men they claimed were officers in Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Three weeks later U.S. troops stormed an Iranian diplomatic office in Irbil, arresting five more Iranians. The Americans have hinted that as part of an escalating tit-for-tat, Iranians may have had a hand in a spectacular raid in Karbala on Jan. 20, in which four American soldiers were kidnapped and later found shot, execution style, in the head. U.S. forces promised to defend themselves.
Some view the spiraling attacks as a strand in a worrisome pattern. At least one former White House official contends that some Bush advisers secretly want an excuse to attack Iran. "They intend to be as provocative as possible and make the Iranians do something [America] would be forced to retaliate for," says Hillary Mann, the administration's former National Security Council director for Iran and Persian Gulf Affairs. U.S. officials insist they have no intention of provoking or otherwise starting a war with Iran, and they were also quick to deny any link to Sharafi's kidnapping. But the fact remains that the longstanding war of words between Washington and Tehran is edging toward something more dangerous. A second Navy carrier is steaming toward the Persian Gulf. Iran shot off a few missiles in those same tense waters last week, in a highly publicized test. With Americans and Iranians jousting on the chaotic battleground of Iraq, the chances of a small incident's spiraling into a crisis are higher than they've been in years.
While fighting the escalation in Iraq, what will progressives and Democratic leaders do to stop a potential war with Iran? In the meanwhile, to keep up with the pro-war factions in the media, administration and conservative think-tanks, check out the regimechangeiniran.com website.