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Key Neo-Cons Giving Up on Attacking Iran?

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Jim Lobe reports on a split in the issue of the NIE and prospects of attacking Iran before the end of President Bush’s term among the neoconservatives.  Robert Kagan is now in favor of negotiating with Iran, and Bill Kristol has also given up on the prospect of attacking Iran.

Not only does he [Kagan] state flatly, “[t]he Bush administration cannot take military action against Iran during its remaining time in office, or credibly threaten to do so, unless it is in response to an extremely provocative Iranian action,’’ but he goes on to argue that there is now ‘’a good case for negotiations” on a range of issues, including those which Iran offered to talk about in April-May, 2003 (to which, however, he does not allude). In other words, Robert Kagan, co-founder of the Project for the New American Century, believes it’s worth testing the notion that a “grand bargain” is possible. He’s not happy about it, but that’s his conclusion.

While his PNAC co-founder, Bill Kristol, doesn’t go nearly as far in embracing the notion of negotiations with Tehran, his lead editorial in the latest edition of the Weekly Standard, “What Happened in 2003?”, offers a mixture both of indignation against the NIE and resignation that it marks the end of the chances for a U.S. attack on Iran before Bush’s term expires. Bush’s task over the next year, he argues, is to try to restore U.S. credibility — including military credibility — by achieving “victory” in Iraq.

Lobe notes that others like Norman Podhoretz and Danielle Pletka continue to pursue attacks and have accused the authors of the NIE of deliberate deception.

Unlike neo-con hardliners like Norman Podhoretz or Richard Perle and his numerous proteges — some of whom, like Danielle Pletka and Frank Gaffney and Podhoretz himself, have all but accused the NIE’s authors of deliberate deception — scattered around Washington, the two have generally been less wedded to the views of former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. For example, while the hardliners opposed former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s disengagement from Gaza, Kristol and Kagan lined up behind Sharon, even when he deserted Likud to form Kadima.

Irancove @ December 13, 2007

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