Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Bush's table

Oof. Is this pathological?

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the table."—Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 22, 2005

"Again, all options are on the table. But one thing I will not allow is a nation such as Iraq to threaten our very future by developing weapons of mass destruction."-Washington, USA, March 13, 2002

The rhetoric, ostensibly, has been softened -- check out the Washington Post's headline on coverage of the latter press conference -- but the words haven't changed. Does anybody doubt the US will bomb Iran by 2008?


Blogger RavenT said...

Do you really think so, Tim? Iran has a better equipped armed forces than Iraq with much rougher terrain, and a domestic population tantalizingly close to realizing regime change on their own. Of course, we do have them surrounded.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Tim R. A. Cooper said...

Well, I see the impetus for it, for two reasons: One being the neocons, who are still in control and still largely blind to the real dangers of a pre-emptive strike (even as they tilt against windmills.) Two being the corollary to One, which is the point that you raise - the Iranians could need a push to get them to revolt, and that might require showing them that the shahs aren't so powerful after all. (Not my logic, Wolfowitz's and Krystol's.) Here's Krystol's take on Iran, post-Iraq invasion: "And we must also take the fight to Iran, with measures ranging from public diplomacy to covert operations. Iran is the tipping point in the war on proliferation, the war on terror, and the effort to reshape the Middle East. If Iran goes pro-Western and anti-terror, positive changes in Syria and Saudi Arabia will follow much more easily. And the chances for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement will greatly improve."
He hopes it does not come to a military battle, but I've no doubt he will be steeled by the recent elections success in Iraq to keep the program going. After all, Iran is the endgame, not Iraq.

And the ability to do it? Well, if nothing else has been made clear about this administration, it is that ability and reality take a back seat to ideology.

11:36 AM  
Blogger RavenT said...

I certainly wouldn't put it past the Bush administration to take the war to Iran, despite the near impossibility, logistically, of action there. Would bombing suffice to bring out the revolutionaries? I wouldn't trust any intelligence we produce that indicates it would. Can we count on international support to assist our depleted military? I doubt it, though maybe this European trip is about sowing the seeds of such an arrangement. Maybe the most serious question is a political one. How much debt can fiscal conservatives stand, and will battles over domestic issues weaken Bush to the point that another war simply will not stand? And also, what if we're already fighting in Syria? If Bush is going to Iran, though, I'd expect the public push to begin in a matter of months (maybe, a la Krugman's last column, in the wake of social security failure).

12:23 PM  

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