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Expanding the War to Iran: Another “Urban Legend?”
Leon Hadar | January 26, 2007
IRC Right Web
Rejecting the notion that the United States was planning to attack Iran and Syria, White House Spokesman Tony Snow called it a myth or an “urban legend.” “I want to address [a] kind of a rumor, an urban legend that's going around,” Snow told reporters at a White House briefing two days after President George W. Bush vowed to go after Iranian terrorist networks involved in Iraq violence. “What the president talked about in his speech on Iraq strategy is defending American forces within Iraq,” Snow insisted.
In his January 11 televised speech on U.S. policy in Iraq, Bush had accused Tehran and Damascus of fueling the insurgency in Iraq and expressed disagreement with proposals, including from the Iraq Study Group (ISG), to negotiate with both countries as part of an effort to reach peace and stability in Iraq. He said: “We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We'll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.” Bush also announced that he would dispatch another aircraft carrier battle group and deploy Patriot antimissile batteries in the Persian Gulf.
Generally speaking, an urban legend is a widely circulated, folklorish story—often based on exaggerated or distorted fact—that is believed to be true by many who repeat it.
So, let's see. Many reports circulated in Washington and elsewhere in 2002 and early 2003 that, notwithstanding Bush's stated commitment to deal with Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD) through diplomatic means, the White House was already considering plans to militarily oust Saddam Hussein. It seems that Bush et al. would characterize such “pre-invasion preparation” speculation as urban legend. After all, Bush and his advisers denied the reports—much in the same way they are challenging the current reports on the possibility of U.S. preparations to attack Iran.
I suppose that when it comes to Washington, DC, something that is urban legend-esque ceases to be a legend only after we read one of Bob Woodward's post-mortems in which we end up discovering that those who had been accused of “spreading rumors” were actually telling the truth. We might then learn that the press secretary who had dismissed these facts as nothing more than “rumors” was probably just out of the loop. (“Out of the loop” is what “insiders” call a government official who doesn't have access to information about what the Decider and his Vice are really planning.)