Monday, October 22, 2007

Dejas Vu

Here we go again.

The White House is offering statements that sound remarkably like those that issued from late 2002 into early 2003. Back then the statements were about Iraq. These days it's Iran. An article in the NY Times describes the current salvos fired by the cowboys in charge.

Vice President Dick Cheney, ratcheting up the administration’s warnings to Iran, today branded that country’s government “a growing obstacle to peace in the Middle East” and declared that United States and its allies “will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.”

...his most serious comments were aimed squarely at Iran, which he accused of being “the world’s most active sponsor of state terrorism.” Experts at the conference said the vice president’s language, while stopping short of threatening military action, seemed designed to prepare Americans for what the administration might do if Iran did not cooperate. “The language on Iran is quite significant,” said Dennis Ross, who served as a Middle East envoy for both the first President Bush and in the Clinton administration, and is now a scholar at The Washington Institute. Referring to Mr. Cheney’s remark about “serious consequences,” Mr. Ross said, adding that it was a strong statement and that “does have implications.”

Is the White House preparing us for a war with Iran? Probably not, at least not a full-scale war. We don't have the army for it. It, like Iraq, has been broken by the current debacle and I suspect it will take years to recover. What I suspect the White House has in mind are a few "surgical strikes" on targets such as the suspected nuclear development sites and perhaps a few military installations close to the Iraq border.

The result, of course, will be more shock than awe, especially in the world at large. Russia and Iran, along with the other Caspian Sea nations, have already issued a declaration that any military activity against Iran will not be tolerated. Europe, while it may agree to ratchet up the sanctions on Iran because of the nuclear issue, will certainly not support another war in that volatile region. And Middle East countries will be hard pressed to convince their people that this isn't just another attack on Islam by the Great Satan.

It's hard to see an up side for another such adventure, but that apparently never enters into this administration's calculus. And, given the recent spinelessness in the 110th Congress, the White House just might get away with another war.

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