Jeffrey LewisHadley's Rules: An insight into our cocked-up Iran policy

If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”—Winston Churchill

He had a point. Keep it in mind and bear with me for a moment.

I’ve recently noted that our Iran policy appears so cocked up that Dick won’t let Bush sign a PDD on the subject or even tell Boucher whether or not the Euro-compromise is a good idea.

Well, the farce is suddenly less funny. Jeremy Bratt notes this passage in an article by the Washington Post . Iran was apparently willing to step up cooperation against Al-Qaeda, before Dick and Don, with their tiny viagra fueled woodies for the mullahs, stepped in to quash to cooperation:

Diplomats from Tehran and Washington had been meeting quietly all winter in New York and Bonn. They found common interests against the Taliban, Iran’s bitter enemy. Iranian envoys notified their U.S. counterparts about the 290 arrests and proposed to cooperate against al Qaeda as well. The U.S. delegation sought instructions from Washington.

The delegation’s room to maneuver, however, was limited by a policy guideline set shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks.

In late November 2001, the State Department’s policy planning staff wrote a paper arguing that “we have a real opportunity here” to work more closely with Iran in fighting al Qaeda, according to Flynt Leverett, a career CIA analyst then assigned to State, who is now at the Brookings Institution and has provided advice to Kerry’s campaign. Participants in the ensuing interagency debate said the CIA joined the proposal to exchange information and coordinate border sweeps against al Qaeda. Some of the most elusive high-value targets were living in or transiting Iran, including bin Laden’s son Saad, al-Adel and Abu Hafs the Mauritanian.

Representatives of Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld fought back. Any engagement, they argued, would legitimate Iran and other historic state sponsors of terrorism such as Syria. In the last weeks of 2001, the Deputies Committee adopted what came to be called “Hadley Rules,” after deputy national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, who chaired the meeting. The document said the United States would accept tactical information about terrorists from countries on the “state sponsors” list but offer nothing in return. Bush’s State of the Union speech the next month linked Iran to Iraq and North Korea as “terrorist allies.”

We always knew Steve Hadley was no Winston Churchill.