Reading Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker is like reading a spy novel crossed with the blind items on Gawker; lots of dangerous intrigue by politicians, soldiers, and spies, some anonymous gossip, and more than a hint of something still unknown. He’s really in a class by himself with this kind of reporting.
In his latest piece, Hersh travels in the murky areas of the intelligence community to reveal America’s covert operations in Iran and the push, largely by Cheney, to enhance those operations and, it seems, provoke a war. It’s a fascinating article, as all of his writing for the New Yorker has been, and worth reading.
The situation in Iran is a difficult one. For all the obvious reasons, America does not need a war with Iran. With that said, Iran is clearly dangerous and they cannot be allowed to make a nuclear weapon. The Bush/Cheney approach of using Special Ops and indigenous surrogates to carry out attacks and assassinations, according to the article, has met with some resistance from the military and intelligence communities. What has worked in other parts of the Middle East and Pakistan, may not work so well in Iran. So what to do?
Elect Obama President. The reason? He will try to negotiate a legitimate settlement of this issue. If someone actually goes to the Iranians without a belligerent stance (Bush demands that they halt enrichment work before negotiations can start), it might – might – settle the issue. And if it doesn’t? Well, then we know for sure, and the military option becomes legitimate.
After all, just consider all the time Bush has wasted in these years while Iran has continued to enrich uranium. Economists talks about opportunity costs. The entire Bush administration has been an astronomical opportunity cost, not least in our dealings with Iran.
Here’s Michael Schwirtz and Alan Cowell in the New York Times on the recent saber rattling.