The collective liberal consensus on George W Bush is that he was a warmongering liar who, as well as invading Afghanistan and Iraq (on the basis of lies), probably wanted to have a go at Iran. Back in 2007 Patrick Cockburn thought the drawing of attention by the Bush administration to the Iranian supply of sophisticated roadside bombs to Iraqi insurgents, was a. another set of weak insubstantial evidence comparable to the WMD “lie” b. an attempt to divert attention before the 2008 presidential election. That’s the election that led to the Obama Presidency, and his Nobel Peace Prize for not being George W Bush.
Despite that, as a man with a fit-all-facts theory, Cockburn has written the same article, replacing Bush with Obama, and roadside bombs with the Iranian plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador in the US (presumably along with any unfortunates who happened to book a table that night too).
The supposed conspiracy is bizarre even by the mendacious standards of stories pumped out by the Bush administration before 2003, purporting to show that Saddam Hussein was building weapons of mass destruction.
When it comes to motive, however, what could Iran conceivably gain by choosing this moment to provoke the US by providing it with a case for war, as Washington would certainly have if such a conspiracy existed?
The most likely motive for the Obama administration’s vigorously expressed belief in the plot is that it is preparing the ground for the 2012 presidential election. Mr Obama’s economic and social policies are failing and his only undiluted successes have been the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen. By dramatising how he frustrated the fiendish plots of the Iranians, Mr Obama can present himself as the president who kept America safe, or at least protect his national security political flank from criticism by the Republicans.
In fact, he’s right! It is surely inconceivable that the Iranian government would engage in terrorist bomb plots so far from home?