Jeffrey LewisAnybody got an Iran policy?

I realize that I haven’t mentioned the sordid story how the US came to not have a policy on Iran. I mean that literally—no policy. None, zero, zip.

Steven Aftergood at the Federation of American Sceintists has compiled a list of all the PDD’s issued by the Bush Administration.

Note, this list has been updated several times after this post. Go read the original!

Number NSPD Title Date
NSPD 1 Organization of the National Security Council System 13 FEB 2001
NSPD 4 [Review of U.S. nuclear offensive and defensive postures]
NSPD 5 [Review of U.S. intelligence] 9 MAY 2001
NSPD 8 National Director … for Combating Terrorism
NSPD 9 Combating Terrorism 25 OCT 2001
NSPD 15 National Space Policy Review 28 JUN 2002
NSPD 16 [To Develop Guidelines for Offensive Cyber-Warfare] XX JUL 2002
NSPD 17 [National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction] 11 DEC 2002
NSPD XX [Authorizing Training for Iraqi Opposition Forces] 03 OCT 2002
NSPD 18 [Military Assistance to Colombia] XX NOV 2002
NSPD 19 [Review of Defense Trade Export Policy]
NSPD XX Trafficking in Persons 25 FEB 2003
NSPD 23 National Policy on Ballistic Missile Defense 16 DEC 2002
NSPD 24 [Post-War Iraq Reconstruction] 20 JAN 2003
NSPD 26 Intelligence Priorities
NSPD 32 [Latin America Policy]
NSPD 33 Biodefense for the 21st Century 28 APR 2004
NSPD XX United States Government Operations in Iraq 11 MAY 2004

Notice that there is no NSPD for Iran. The Washington Post reported in June 2003 that the Administration officials had not been able to agree on a policy even though drafting began shortly after Bush took office in January 2001. Apparently, it was a draft of this document that OSD wonk Larry Franklin was accused of attempting to pass. Reporting on the Franklin story in September 2004, the New York Times revealed that the draft remained unfinished. “We don’t have a presidential directive on Iran,” an official told the Times. “We have an ad hoc policy that we’re making up as we go along. ”

The above links to the Post and Times stories are on other websites; the originals are archived and require a fee to view:

Michael Dobbs, “Pressure Builds for President to Declare Strategy on Iran,” The Washington Post (June 15, 2003): A20.

Eric Schmitt, “Pentagon Office in Spying Case Was Focus of Iran Debate,” The New York Times (September 2, 2004) A17.