Sunday, September 2, 2007

Next stop: Iran?

From Tim Shipman's Telegraph article entitled, Will President Bush bomb Iran?:
On Tuesday, President Bush dramatically stepped up his war of words with the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whom the US government accuses of overseeing a covert programme to develop nuclear weapons. In a speech to war veterans, Mr Bush said: "Iran's active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust." (para 6)

This was widely taken to mean that he is set on a confrontation with Iran that will culminate in a bombing campaign to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities, just as Israel bombed Saddam Hussein's Osirak reactor in 1981. (para 8)

So the question is: did Mr Bush last week set America inexorably on a path to the next war? (para 10)
For many Americans, such a question seems absurd. Anyone who studies the state of our military -- troops, equipment, morale -- would conclude that the United States has shot its wad in Afghanistan and Iraq, that we'll need a decade to rebuild after our adventures in that part of the world. And yet few doubt our president's stubborn confidence in the rightness of his actions. Mr. Bush, the candidate who once spoke of a humble U.S. foreign policy, may have set us upon a path that has no detours.

Now, let's be clear. The actions and rhetoric of the Iranian government are indisputably threatening. Indeed, I take seriously the claims that U.S. soldiers have been killed due to the proxy efforts of Iraq's eastern neighbor. And I respect Israel's genuine alarm about the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. These are dangerous times, and they call for a brave response. But still, I remember those assurances of Iraqi WMD waiting to be uncovered from the desert sands. And I cannot help but be skeptical that, yet again, we are gearing up for another strike in that blood-soaked region.

Did history just catch up with us? Or are we inventing as we go along?

Learn More

Sarah Baxter, The (UK) Sunday Times: Pentagon 'three-day blitz' plan for Iran: "Whether you go for pinprick strikes or all-out military action, the reaction from the Iranians will be the same." (para 3)

Howard A. Rodman, The Huffington Post: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Bombing Iran: "I've been dismissive of these rumors, as have you. Why? Because one would have to be a madman (or Dick Cheney) to start a second war when the first one is going so [kissably] well . . . I was inclined (you were inclined) to dismiss all this bluster as sabre-rattling. Alas, in the past week it has become apparent . . . that those sabres are Tomahawk missiles -- and that they're locked, aimed, loaded. (paras 2 and 6)

(Image from CarryaBigSticker)

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