A delegation of British MPs visited the Pentagon, and got to see for themselves the level of intellectual and emotional maturity that makes the current administration stand out.
The six MPs were taken aback by the hardline approach of the Pentagon and in particular Ms Cagan, one of Mr Bush’s foreign policy advisers.
She made it clear that although the US had no plans to attack Iran, it did not rule out doing so if the Iranians ignored warnings not to develop a nuclear bomb.
It was her tone when they met her on September 11 that shocked them most.
The MPs say that at one point she said: “In any case, I hate all Iranians.”
Although it was an aside, it was not out of keeping with her general demeanour.
“She seemed more keen on saying she didn’t like Iranians than that the US had no plans to attack Iran,” said one MP. “She did say there were no plans for an attack but the tone did not fit the words.”
Another MP said: “I formed the impression that some in America are looking for an excuse to attack Iran. It was very alarming.”
I find it interesting how many talk about the Iraq war as a mistake when it from the beginning was pretty clear why the Bush administration wanted to invade: to gain a solid military foothold in the Middle East outside of Israel. From that perspective, it has been a great success.
It was the perfect target: A dictatorship which gave them an excuse to go in (as long as they ignored the UN and Middle East experts all saying the situation was contained.) And a precarious internal situation – an ethnic and religious powder keg – giving them a reason to bring in more troops and stay for the long term, at least for several decades.
And they are now dying to expand into Iran, if they can. Debra Cagan’s comments may well just be an expression of the general atmosphere of the Bush administration, and at the very least not out of line with it.
In their mind, no cost is too great for a strong foothold in the middle east, and they are not the ones paying for it anyway. Their reputation may be a little tarnished, but they are still respected by their own.