Who's egging on the War Party?

While the establishment media is fixated on O.J. Simpson and whatever the Fed does today, the push for an attack on Iran gathers speed.  And if it comes about, history may well note that the people who did the most to make it possible are not the neoconservatives.  Indeed, they're not even Americans.

First though, we should note that the French foreign minister, who did much to stir the pot over the weekend, has now dialed back his remarks a bit:

Attacked verbally by Iran and quietly criticized within his own government, Mr. Kouchner shifted the focus away from the threat of war and back to a call for hard negotiations as the way to force Iran to abandon key nuclear activities.

“The worst situation would be war,” Mr. Kouchner told journalists en route to Moscow. “And to avoid the worst, the French position is very clear: negotiate, negotiate, negotiate, and work with our European friends on credible sanctions.”

On Sunday, Mr. Kouchner, a Socialist known for his blunt talk, said in an interview broadcast on RTL radio and LCI television: “We will negotiate until the end. And at the same time we must prepare ourselves.”

Asked what he meant in referring to preparation, he replied, “It is necessary to prepare for the worst,” adding, “The worst, it’s war, sir.”

And so Paris will line up with Washington this week, along with London, when the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany, meet to discuss tightening the sanctions on Iran.

But really, that's all noise compared to a single sentence buried within a story at a site called The Swoop, updated each Monday with short, anonymously-written "insider" briefings on geopolitical affairs.  One of its stories this week indicates that Team Bush is pretty well giving up on demonizing Iran over its nuclear program — still many years from achieving a weapon — and focusing its sales job on whatever trouble it might be stirring up for Iraq.  This makes sense; it might be hard to get Americans riled up about Iranian WMDs when the Iraqi WMD threat didn't exactly pan out.  But make it look as if Tehran is "interfering" in Iraq (what has the U.S. been doing the last four and a half years? But I digress), and that just might fly:

Pentagon officials have told us that the stress on the Iranian threat to Iraqi stability in the Petraeus and Crocker testimony is entirely deliberate. Sunni elements with whom the US military has been cutting deals in Anbar province are violently “anti-Persian” and have convinced US commanders to see Iranian meddling as the source of destabilization. With Anbar representing the one clear success of the “surge”, the US military is highly motivated to protect it against the perceived Iranian threat.

It's the second of those three sentences that caught my eye.  The Sunnis in Anbar are looking to use the U.S. military to settle scores with their Shiite enemies, and telling tall tales the military laps up like a kitten with a bowl of cream.  No wonder we've had all these military briefings this year accusing the Iranians of dastardly deeds; not only is there pressure from the civilians in Washington from above, there's enthusiastic support from the cuttroats who for the moment have cast their lot with the Americans.

Expect to hear a lot more of this in the weeks, maybe months, to come.  The Iran propaganda blitz is unrolling more slowly than perhaps anticipated, but it's unrolling regardless.