What More Could We Ask Of Our President At This Time of Peace and Good Will Toward Men Than A Lovely New War, This Time Against Iran
While coverage here in the U.S. of our moves to take on Iran has been rather spotty, and often hard to find at all on the networks or CNN and Fox, anyone who reads or listens to international news produced outside of U.S. borders may think (and perhaps not inaccurately) that we'll be at war with Iran very, very soon, almost a certainty with the Bush Administration's provocations toward the land of Ahmadinejad.
Also from Glenn Greenwald, but read it all, as opposed to this semi-nibble:
Over the past several days, there have been reports of increasing U.S. military activity in the Persian Gulf aimed at Iran, and today The New York Times confirms that "the United States and Britain will begin moving additional warships and strike aircraft into the Persian Gulf region in a display of military resolve toward Iran." The buildup includes "a second aircraft carrier and its supporting ships to be stationed within quick sailing distance of Iran by early next year."Amen to that.
There is no doubt that these moves are intended to signal to the Iranians (as well as to what the Times describes as "Washington’s allies in the region who are concerned about Iran’s intentions") that we are capable of an offensive military strike against Iran:
Senior American officers said the increase in naval power should not be viewed as preparations for any offensive strike against Iran. But they acknowledged that the ability to hit Iran would be increased and that Iranian leaders might well call the growing presence provocative.The President was not even asked about his intentions with regard to Iran at yesterday's Press Conference.
One purpose of the deployment, they said, is to make clear that the focus on ground troops in Iraq has not made it impossible for the United States and its allies to maintain a military watch on Iran. Bush officials cite two "justifications" for these maneuvers: (1) to enforce any sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council as a result of Iran's refusal to comply with its resolutions (sanctions which have not yet been imposed), and (2) to deter Iran from a military blockade of oil shipments in retaliation for not-yet-imposed sanctions.
He was asked whether he would follow the ISG's recommendation to negotiate with Iran concerning Iraq, and the President gave his standard bizarre answer that he would negotiate with the Iranians once they agreed to suspend their nuclear research program -- i.e., once they agreed in advance to do everything we would demand that they do in negotiations. The Iranians have responded in-kind by saying that they would negotiate with the U.S. only once we left Iraq.
According to the Times, Bush officials "view recent bold moves by Iran — and by North Korea as well — as at least partly explained by assessments in Tehran and North Korea that the American military is bogged down in Iraq and incapable of fully projecting power elsewhere." There is undoubtedly truth in that. For an administration which has operated on the bellicose premise that "weakness is provocative," it has hard to overstate the extent to which the Iraq disaster has -- quite rationally -- emboldened countries around the world against the U.S. and diluted the deterrent threat of our military force.
Any action which brings us even a small step closer to military confrontation with Iran should be, by definition, the most attention-generating news story. Any military conflict with Iran would be so disastrous for the U.S. that it cannot be adequately described. In contrast to the weakened, isolated, universally reviled Saddam regime, the Iranians are smart, strong, shrewd and supported by scores of vitally important allies around the world. And that's to say nothing of the resources that are being drained away, and the ever increasing U.S. isolation, that occurs every day that we continue to occupy Iraq.