January 17, 2007 [LINK / comment]

U.S. steps up pressure on Iran

In his speech last week, President Bush mentioned that an extra U.S. aircraft carrier and several batteries of Patriot missiles are being deployed to the Persian Gulf. Also, last week U.S. forces raided Iran's consulate in Irbil, in the Kurdish part of Iraq, and five Iranian officials were arrested on charges of supplying the Shiite insurgents. The gravest scenario, however, is a possible nuclear strike by Israel against Iran's nuclear processing plants. It would be like their spectacular knock-out blow against Iraq's nuclear facilities in 1981, except that it would probably launch World War III if the United States is complicit in it. See BBC. Taken together, those are clear indications of preparation for imminent combat, so Bush is clearly rattling his saber. I doubt, however, that even one in three Americans is aware of that very serious possibility.

So does this mean that Bush has declared "secret war" on Syria and Iran? Steve Clemons at The Washington Note seems to think so. He believes that the U.S. raid in Irbil "may have been designed to try and prompt a military response from Iran -- to generate a casus belli for further American action." (via Instapundit)

I have often argued that Iran must be confronted at some point, if Iraq is to have any chance at stability, quite aside from the nuclear proliferation threat. Prior to overt military action, however, if would be better to lay the diplomatic groundwork, showing that all peaceful alternatives had been exhausted. That is what the Iraq Study Group proposed, and even though the chances for meaningful dialogue are nil, sometimes you still have to make an effort for appearance's sake. The bottom line is that Iran's President Ahmadinejad poses an unacceptable threat to world peace, and it may not be possible to stop him short of war.

Bogus anti-war activism

So much for my effort to look at both sides of key issues. It turns out that the "Appeal for Redress" anti-war movement (which I mentioned in passing last week; scroll down) is to a large extent a concoction of a public relations firm hired by the same old left-wing crowd that we've known all along. (S.A.N.E., etc.) Also, the guy who did their Web site has had a long record of involvement in anti-war demonstrations before he joined the U.S. Navy! He was even active in organizing Louis Farrakhan's "Million Man March." See Mudville Gazette, which refers to this effort to create "fake grassroots" support as "AstroTurfing."