Don Williams
Photo by Justin Williams

Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, fiction writer, sometime TV commentator, and is the founder and editor emeritus of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a Golden Presscard Award from Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, a best Commentary Award from SDC, Best Feature Writing from the Associated Press Tennessee Managing Editors, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize from the Associated Press, Best Non-Deadline Reporting from the United Press International, Best Novel Excerpt from the Knoxville Writers Guild, a Peacemaker Award from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, five Writer of the Month Awards from the Scripps Howard Newspaper chain, and many others. In 2011 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. His 2005 book of journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes is under revision for a second printing, and he is at work on a novel and a book of journalism. His columns appear at Opednews.com and have been featured at many other well-known websites. To run his column, gratis, at your website, post this link to a dedicated spot: http://www.mach2.com/williams/. Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email DonWilliams7@charter.net.


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Frabjous Day, Nuke Iran? World War III? Wups! Nevermind....
(Copyright by Don Williams, All rights reserved   12/03/2007)

Add another reason to be grateful in the post-911, post-Thanksgiving world. Turns out our intelligence regarding Iran was wrong and---guess what---Iran has no nuclear weapons program to speak of. Said program was suspended in 2003, according to the latest National Intelligence Estimate. That's the estimate provided by all the nation's intelligence agencies combined. (Read about it here in the New York Times.) Yes, it's scandalous, stupid, inexcusable and... heavenly to learn that the Bush administration would change course and ease up on the saber-rattling.

Who'd have thunk it, but our favorite whipping boy, Dubya, appears to be growing up, at least a little. After nearly seven calamitous years of on-the-job training, years that have proven disastrous to the global environment, a dozen international treaties, emergency aid programs, the cities of New Orleans and New York, the readiness of our military, the national budget, the economy and more, Bush appears poised for peaceful initiatives. Even as we speak, he's pressing for peace between Israel, Palestinians and much of the Arab world. There's talk within the administration regarding a draw-down of troops in Iraq. And now, it appears, the NIE has, just in time, yanked the burning fuse leading to WWIII, a subject regarding which Bush had THIS to say, not so long ago:

"We've got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel... so I've told people that, if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon." Read more here.

There are many ways of looking at this latest development.

Maybe those of us who sounded the alarm about the coming war on Iran were successful in convincing the intelligence community to take a hard look at the basis for such a proposed war.

Maybe Dick Cheney got too down in the dumps battling heart disease to manipulate intelligence from CIA, as he did during the run-up to war in Iraq.

Maybe the mountain of evidence that he'd mucked up the world finally came home to Bush in some midnight epiphany.

Could be the accumulation of scandals regarding Neo-conservatives such as Jack Abramoff, Scooter Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld and others eroded the ability of fellow travelers like Norman Podhoretz and Billy Crystal to convince Bush to bomb yet another country.

Maybe Bush had a little talk with Jesus. Or Bar, or G.W., or Karl, and realized the crushing political consequences of his many muck-ups.

Perhaps he finally took to heart those polls among historians predicting his presidency would be regarded as the worst in the history.

Maybe Bush finally realized what many of us opined as early as 2002, that the real threats to world stability and human rights emanate from so-called allies, such as Pakistan (busy spreading nuclear technology and protecting the Taliban and al-Qaeda) and Saudi Arabia, busy spreading Wahabbism across the Middle East and repressing women.

Or who knows? Maybe the NIE report is just new, improved intelligence analysis at work.

We'll likely never know. For whatever reason, the immediate Bush response has not been to downplay this report, as it has several other National Intelligence Estimates, including reports in recent years showing that the war in Iraq had increased global terrorism, strengthened al-Qaeda, and that the intelligence community was split on Iraq's push to obtain nukes prior to our invasion in 2003. Neither has Bush sought to demonize those who embraced this report as refutation of the Bush / Cheney efforts to ignite war with Iran. Rather, curiously, the administration appears to be seizing on this report like a drowning men grabbing a lifeline.

Yes, it's maddening that Bush-Cheney and others who attempted to frighten the world for years with unfounded scare talk regarding Iran, should get away with such duplicity and / or stupidity. It's maddening that congressmen are not already calling for impeachment or at least congressional investigations about how Bush could've been so wrong about the war in Iraq and the basis for his earlier belligerence regarding Iran.

Neither are Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and others who refused to take the "nuclear option" off the table absolved. How arrogant, how outrageous that they'd talk publicly of nuking Iran, with all that that implies. Ron Paul, Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich, among others, ARE absolved, for all the good it'll do their presidential aspirations.

Still, it would be miserly and mean-spirited not to recognize this NIE report for the godsend it is. With less than 14 months to go, assuming he leaves office gracefully, it appears Bush is ready for some peace.

O frabjous day. Callooh! Callay! Let us chortle in our glee. God knows we on the peace-loving so-called left could use some good news. So could the world. Is that the earth moving under our feet?