This is scary stuff. This administration has been wrong on everything and now they are playing with new matches hoping for a spark. Bush is moving us towards war with Iran and Congress had better assert itself and its war making authority before Bush sets the whole Middle East aflame.
The Bush administration has authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq
as part of an aggressive new strategy to weaken Tehran’s influence
across the Middle East and compel it to give up its nuclear program,
according to government and counterterrorism officials with direct
knowledge of the effort.
In Iraq, U.S. troops now have the authority to target any member of
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, as well as officers of its intelligence
services believed to be working with Iraqi militias. The policy does
not extend to Iranian civilians or diplomats. Though U.S. forces are
not known to have used lethal force against any Iranian to date, Bush
administration officials have been urging top military commanders to
exercise the authority.
The wide-ranging plan has several
influential skeptics in the intelligence community, at the State
Department and at the Defense Department who said that they worry it
could push the growing conflict between Tehran and Washington into the
center of a chaotic Iraq war.
Rice is on it. Don’t worry…Right
In meetings with Bush’s other senior advisers, officials said, Rice
insisted that the defense secretary appoint a senior official to
personally oversee the program to prevent it from expanding into a
full-scale conflict. Rice got the oversight guarantees she sought,
though it remains unclear whether senior Pentagon officials must
approve targets on a case-by-case basis or whether the oversight is
Permitting offensive action…
Officials said U.S. and British special forces in Iraq, which will work
together in some operations, are developing the program’s rules of
engagement to define the exact circumstances for using force. In his
last few weeks as the top commander in Iraq, Army Gen. George W. Casey
Jr. sought to help coordinate the program on the ground. One official
said Casey had planned to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a
“hostile entity,” a distinction within the military that would permit
Moves beyond Iraq…
With aspects of the plan also targeting Iran’s influence in Lebanon,
Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories, the policy goes beyond the
threats Bush issued earlier this month to “interrupt the flow of
support from Iran and Syria” into Iraq. It also marks a departure from
years past when diplomacy appeared to be the sole method of pressuring
Iran to reverse course on its nuclear program.
R. Nicholas Burns, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, said in an interview in late October that the United States knows that Iran “is providing support to Hezbollah and Hamas and supporting insurgent groups in Iraq that have posed a problem for our military forces.” He added: “In addition to the nuclear issue, Iran’s support for terrorism is high up on our agenda.”
Wary of the strategy…
A senior intelligence officer was more wary of the ambitions of the strategy.
“This has little to do with Iraq. It’s all about pushing Iran’s buttons. It is purely political,” the official said. The official expressed similar views about other new efforts aimed at Iran, suggesting that the United States is escalating toward an unnecessary conflict to shift attention away from Iraq and to blame Iran for the United States’ increasing inability to stanch the violence there.
Truly talking Axis this time…they’re Nazis!
In interviews, two senior administration officials separately compared the Tehran government to the Nazis and the Guard to the “SS.” They also referred to Guard members as “terrorists.” Such a formal designation could turn Iran’s military into a target of what Bush calls a “war on terror,” with its members potentially held as enemy combatants or in secret CIA detention.
Asked whether such a designation is imminent, Johndroe of the NSC said in a written response that the administration has “long been concerned about the activities of the IRGC and its components throughout the Middle East and beyond.” He added: “The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force is a part of the Iranian state apparatus that supports and carries out these activities.”
WaPo also reported they’d been given access to 5 political appointees to speak with on the record months ago. They also spoke with other officials who did not have permission to speak
Over several months, the administration made available five political appointees for interviews, to discuss limited aspects of the policy, on the condition that they not be identified.
Officials who spoke in more detail and without permission — including senior officials, career analysts and policymakers — said their standing with the White House would be at risk if they were quoted by name.