A recent report from The Intercept claims that neoconservative David Wurmser, a longtime Iraq War advocate who served in President George W. Bush’s administration, now has the ear of Donald Trump and his sights set on Iran. The news stems from Bloomberg’s report that reveals Wurmser helped make a case for the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, which the president ultimately authorized.
Wurmser reportedly argued that aggressive action by the United States would deliver a blow to the “delicate internal balance of forces and the control over them” that are necessary for the survival of the Iranian regime.
Per The Intercept, the report carries two significant revelations.
“First, while it was already clear that the neoconservative movement has powerfully influenced the Trump administration, Wurmser’s role on Iran is further evidence of the sway that neoconservatism still holds on the U.S. right — despite the catastrophic invasion of Iraq and Trump’s disavowal of the war. Second, it demonstrates that neoconservatives such as Wurmser still cherish a peculiar theory about Iranian society.”
The theory, which reportedly came from the hard-right faction following Bush’s re-election, postulates that a ground war is not necessary to bring about regime change in Iran. Instead, officials that held to the theory pushed for a bombing campaign on Iran’s nuclear facilities, which was believed would pave the way for revolution from “secular nationalists and reformers,” a 2005 government consultant said at the time.
According to the consultant, the officials who pushed the theory believed the Iranian regime would “collapse” once its “aura of invincibility” was “shattered.”
Sen. @RandPaul on Iran briefing: "They have justified the killing of an Iranian general as being something that Congress gave them permission to do in 2002. That is absurd, that's an insult." pic.twitter.com/ReCWW2Nbm3— The Hill (@thehill) January 9, 2020
The integrity of the intelligence Trump used to authorize Soleimani’s killing has led to skepticism from both Democrats and Republicans and increased fears of war with Iran. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul blasted Trump’s decision to circumvent Congress and suggested the controversial move was the result of pressure from neoconservative Washington war hawks who have the president’s ear.
Paul said that — like Wurmser — many of his GOP colleagues are neoconservatives that do not abide by the Constitution. He noted that many of the Republicans who are currently influencing Trump have convinced him that withdrawing U.S. troops from the Middle East does not reflect well on the strength of America.
Paul argued for a debate in Congress on the best approach to Iran, noting that many Americans are unsure of why U.S. troops are in the Middle East. Nevertheless, he highlighted that the pattern of engaging in military conflict without Congressional authorization is one that began long before Trump.