Saturday, December 23, 2006

Gates & Cheney, sitting in a tree

* larisa at Raw:
"Newly confirmed Secretary of Defense Robert Gates may not be as independent from the Bush administration when it comes to matters of defense as some have suggested, considering that one well-placed source tells RAW STORY Gates was briefed for his Senate confirmation hearings by the Office of the Vice President (OVP).
But according to a former high ranking CIA official close to the key players, Gates was prepped for his Senate confirmation hearings by high level Cheney staffers, including David Addington, Chief of Staff to the Vice President, and David Wurmser, Cheney's Middle East advisor.
But the prepping of Gates by the OVP, combined with the swearing in of Gates by Cheney himself, shows a vastly different relationship with the administration than had been indicated by post-election reports focusing on a rift between the two.
While the (Iran) plans have been on the table for quite some time, administration attempts to find a "selling point" have reportedly failed on several occasions, most notably when it comes to presenting a convincing argument about an alleged WMD program in Iran. The Joint Chiefs of Staff warned early last year that nothing could be done on Iran until the Spring of 2007, but the Bush administration pushed for action sooner, culminating in a near strike in March of this year.
Since the summer, the Bush administration has been pressuring European nations to impose sanctions against Iran, bypassing the United Nations Security Council. But those EU nations appeared not to be in sync with the US on this approach. This has left the administration with few options for forcing a confrontation on Iran.

Former CIA officials have told RAW STORY that they see the plans to build up a US presence in the Gulf starting early next year as a possible last resort to induce Iran to make a first strike against the US.

But it may be an uphill battle for the executive branch. One expert close to Department of Defense for the last two decades said that Bush and Cheney may want to push for an attack on Iran, but the military will not be likely to sit idly by without protest."

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