< meta name="DC.Date.Valid.End" content="20050825"> Amendment Nine: Looks Like Bush Threw in the Towel on Iran

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Looks Like Bush Threw in the Towel on Iran

Today, President Bush announced: (1) "There must be consequences" for Iran's continuing uranium enrichment and (2) "Iran must not be allowed" to develop nuclear weapons.

Compared to the recent incandescent fulminations from members and colleagues of his administration, this was pretty tame--nothing about a pre-emptive strike, or a destruction of Iranian infrastructure, or an invasion. He's almost saying that as long as we can say that there have been some kinds of sanctions, however tame, and as long as Iran doesn't actually go through with the development of nuclear weapons, then he will declare victory and walk away. Enrichment of uranium is no longer a provocation to war, only an occasion for a good faith symbolic sanction effort (not enough even to provoke Iran to stop shipping oil, which would cripple the world economy). And as long as they don't actually develop a weapon, we won't have to "stop" (read "bomb") anything.

If this is the administration's actual position, then it suggests the adults in the administration have gained the upper hand, perhaps more for economic reasons than for reasons of sound foreign policy or international law. The hard choices on Iran are, like the Iraq question, being bequeathed to the next administration.

If this is not what the administration is doing, i.e. if they are using today's speech to mask their war preparations, and they actually intend to strike Iran soon, then the disaster we all will inherit will make Iraq look like a Sunday school picnic, and make today's speech the final show piece for how truly evil an American government can be.