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President Bush tried to talk down the possibility of an Iran strike today. However, according to administration officials, the planning for a military operation in Iran is already underway:

The Bush administration is studying options for military strikes against Iran as part of a broader strategy of coercive diplomacy to pressure Tehran to abandon its alleged nuclear development program, according to U.S. officials and independent analysts.

According to current and former officials, Pentagon and CIA planners have been exploring possible targets, such as the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and the uranium conversion facility at Isfahan. Although a land invasion is not contemplated, military officers are weighing alternatives ranging from a limited airstrike aimed at key nuclear sites, to a more extensive bombing campaign designed to destroy an array of military and political targets.
We've got 130,000 troops in Iraq, our military is severely overextended, we're running up enormous deficits to pay for this war, and victory in the war on terror is slipping away quickly. Not only is it realistically impossible to attack Iran, it is ridiculously stupid. Military officers are even discussing the stupidity of such a move:

Many military officers and specialists, however, view the saber rattling with alarm. A strike at Iran, they warn, would at best just delay its nuclear program by a few years but could inflame international opinion against the United States, particularly in the Muslim world and especially within Iran, while making U.S. troops in Iraq targets for retaliation.
The revved up talk is almost identical to what we heard before the war in Iraq:

Bush and his team have calibrated their rhetoric to give the impression that the United States may yet resort to force. In January, the president termed a nuclear-armed Iran "a grave threat to the security of the world," words that echoed language he used before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Vice President Cheney vowed "meaningful consequences" if Iran does not give up any nuclear aspirations, and U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton refined the formula to "tangible and painful consequences."
Paul Krugman of the New York Times writes an excellent editorial about the similarity of language between now and the run up to the war in Iraq:

As Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace recently pointed out, the administration seems to be following exactly the same script on Iran that it used on Iraq: "The vice president of the United States gives a major speech focused on the threat from an oil-rich nation in the Middle East. The U.S. secretary of state tells Congress that the same nation is our most serious global challenge. The secretary of defense calls that nation the leading supporter of global terrorism. The president blames it for attacks on U.S. troops."
The strategic mistake in Iraq cannot be repeated in Iran. Let's not let the President mislead Americans into another war based on the media's lack of ability to ask questions and challenge the conventional wisdom. There is very little proof that Iran has any nuclear weapons program at all and the Iranians could be telling the truth about uranium enrichment solely for the purpose of nuclear energy. It also doesn't help that we just gave India a sweatheart nuclear deal that completely undermines the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Tell me what you guys think our policy towards Iran should be and how we can prevent the Bush administration from convincing the American people of another strategic blunder.


Jenna L said...

Today's Shot and Chaser from Hotline's Last Call deserve to be addended to your post Adam. They're just that good:

SHOT . . .

"I formally declare that Iran has joined the club of nuclear countries!" -- Iran Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (4/11).

. . . CHASER

"The first rule of Fight Club is -- you do not talk about Fight Club" -- Tyler Durden (1999).

OrSkolnik said...

Does this mean that Iran is just the unexpressed, slightly psychotic, gloriously ballsy secret fantasy identity of another country without the guts to go nuclear?

Pam said...

But is it the media not asking questions, or the administration refusing to answer? NPR reporters seem to indicate the latter, I think.