President George W. Bush continues to be concerned over the stability in Iran and its potential to acquire nuclear weapons, and will work to oppose that result even if it means not adopting a recommendation of the new Iraq Study Group report to try diplomacy, according to spokesman Tony Snow.
Sen. Jon Kyl
Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House, asked Snow yesterday whether the president agrees with the sentiments of a letter from Sen. John Kyl, R-Az., and former Central Intelligence Agency chief James Woolsey.
“Republican Sen. Jon Kyl and former CIA Director James Woolsey have written the president: ‘The Iranian regime is working to acquire nuclear arms and long-range missiles. When combined with Ahmadinejad’s repeated threats to wipe Israel off the map and bring about a world without America, we face the prospect that Iran will have the means to carry out their apocalyptic intentions.’ … Has the president responded to these two? And does he disagree with their statement?”
“He agrees,” said Snow.
“If you’ve noted in recent months we’ve made it very clear that we do not believe that Iran should have any nuclear capability,” Snow continued. “It does, in fact, have long-range missile capability … and it has tested long-range missiles recently.”
“I don’t handle his correspondence, so I will not respond to a particular letter,” he said. “But I think you understand the clear contours of the policy, which is why even now we’re working within the U.N. Security Council on a resolution noting that Iran should suspend its nuclear enrichment and reprocessing activities, period.”
The new letter from Kyl and Woolsey cited the bipartisan Iraq Study Group report and its 79 recommendations for policy changes, force redeployments and other changes in Iraq.
“Members of our Council (the bipartisan National Security Advisory Council of the Center for Security Policy) on both sides of the aisle strongly disagree with what is, arguably, the Baker-Hamilton commission’s most strategically portentous recommendation,” the letter said.
That recommendation, the letter said, is that “the United States should immediately launch a New Diplomatic Offensive to build an international consensus for stability in Iraq and the region.”
The letter from Kyl noted that the recommendation includes reaching out to Iraq’s neighbors, Iran and Syria. But he said that would be unwise.
“As the ISG’s own report documents, far from being proponents of stability, the Islamic Republic of Iran and its de facto colony, Syria, have gone to great lengths to destabilize the Middle East and, in particular, to prevent Iraq from becoming a free, democratic and peaceful nation,” the letter said.
“Islamofascists” from those nations are the ones now killing Americans in Iraq, the letter said.
“At the same time, the Iranian regime is working to acquire nuclear arms and long-range ballistic missiles with which to deliver them. When combined with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s repeat threats to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ and bring about ‘a world without America,’ we face the prospect that, in due course, the mullahs running Iran will have the means to carry out their apocalyptic intentions.”
That, the letter suggested, is not good.
The two authors said discussions also would legitimatize an “increasingly dangerous regime” which should be discredited and undermined instead. It also would embolden enemies who believe now “they are sapping our will to resist them.”
Such a move also would give Iranian mullahs more time to prepare their weapons of mass destruction, and finally, it would “create the illusion that we are taking useful steps to contend with the threat from Iran – when, in fact, we would not be,” the letter said.
Such concern is being raised even as Ahmadinejad is holding a conference in Tehran advertised as a worldwide “free speech” conference but in actuality focusing on those who agree with his goal of destroying Israel.
“Mr. President, we encourage you to follow your better instincts. By all means, review, assess and, as appropriate, adopt the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group and those of the executive branch agencies you have commissioned. We urge you, however, to continue to reject any course of action that would signal that America has become a country that, to quote the scholar Bernard Lewis, is ‘harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend,’” the letter said.
One of the speakers at Ahmadenijad’s conference was former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who told audience members that the U.S. is controlled by “Zionists” who are responsible for the killing of Americans in Iraq.
Kinsolving also asked whether the president had any reaction to outgoing United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan’s newest criticisms of America.
“No,” was Snow’s response.
According to The Times Online, Annan addressed an audience in Independence, Mo., birthplace of Harry Truman, who oversaw the creation of the U.N. in 1945.
There, he took exception to the United States’ focus on its security and said those nationalistic urges must be repressed for the betterment of the world.
“Americans, like the rest of humanity, need a functioning global system through which the world’s peoples can face global challenges together. And in order to function, the system still cries out for far-sighted American leadership, in the Truman tradition,” he said.
Annan and the Bush Administration have been at odds over a number of issues, ranging from Annan’s description of the war in Iraq as “illegal” to American criticism of the role Annan played in the Oil-for-Food scandal with Iraq, in which his son had lobbied to win a lucrative U.N. contract.
“The (U.N.) Security Council is not just another stage on which to act out national interests,” Annan said. “It is the management committee, if you will, of our fledgling collective security system.”
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