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Saturday, October 27, 2007

"History, Stephen said.....

by Russ Weiss
...is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake." James Joyce in Ulysses.

In his infamous column of July 14th, 2003, Robert Novak outed CIA agent, Valerie Plame. This was an attempt by the administration to discredit Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, for writing an op-ed in the NY Times. Wilson's piece contended that the prewar intelligence regarding Iraq's nuclear aspirations were false. In the ensuing four years, Wilson and Plame have been eviscerated by the right-wing media, though Wilson's claims have proven to be accurate. Of course, all of this occurred after President Bush invaded Iraq.
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Now, history is on course to repeat itself.

V.P. Cheney, Bill Kristol and others are beating the war drums for a possible bombing of Iran. Diplomacy is mentioned but not a priority.

In Act II of this play, we have a new cast. Playing the part of Wilson and Plame is another married couple: Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann. Each held high positions in Bush's government as policy experts; Mann conducted secret negotiations with Iran and Leverett, a former CIA analyst specializing in Mid-East affairs, worked with Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice.

Since leaving the administration, both have grown alarmed at the run-up for a war with Iran. The latest issue of Esquire magazine tells their story. It is a tale of how Iran was ready to cooperate with the U.S. regarding terrorism. It is a story how Iran was willing to help in the war against the Taliban and showing where to bomb in Afghanistan. It is told how Syria, Sudan and Libya were also willing to cooperate.

The story turns to how the White House wanted to offer nothing in return for their assistance. Then Bush gave his State of the Union address in 2002 with the "axis of evil" phrase. With the main opposition coming from the V.P.'s office, attempts to work with Mid-East nations for a peace agreement were thwarted.

The other shoe finally dropped in 2003 when Leverett told the Washington Post that "he thought the White House was making a dangerous mistake. What it means is we will end up with an Iran that has nuclear weapons and no dialogue with the United States."

Leverett submitted an op-ed piece to the NY Times in 2006. The CIA, NSC and State Department reviewed the article but redacted 168 words which "rendered pretty much incomprehensible" the entire piece. It has reached the point of a 1st Amendment showdown with the government.

"We're tired," Mann says. "Nobody listens."

And history begins repeating itself.

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