What are the chances that the British vessel from which 15 sailors were captured by the Iranian military was actually in Iranian waters? If you ask Rosie O'Donnell, that is a fact beyond dispute. I'm not so sure. But what is the chance that the Bush Administration will use the international incident to further fan the flames of American hatred toward Iran and use it as further provocation that we attack Iran? Fairly high, as they have already used a great many incidents as provocation to widen the Iraq war, and they have already made detailed plans for attack.
I hope that Republicans and Democrats alike in Congress do not abdicate their duty this time, but rather tell Bush that he does not have carte blanche authority to attack Iran.
Interestingly, President Jimmy Carter, in his attempt to be humanitarian, helped the current regime to gain power. The Ayatollah Khomeini's government killed more people in its first year than the Shah killed in its quarter century of rule.
But that is as beside the point as is the point that Bush lied to the American people to get us into Iraq. In both cases, the facts of the present require us to deal with them rather than worry and whine about what could have been. However, we still can stop what might be. And it is incumbent upon Congress to act with a firm resolve this time around.
The New American Magazine (linked above) makes the following interesting observations:
Denials notwithstanding, the evidence suggests that the Bush administration is fully committed to a “pre-emptive” war against Iran, possibly as early as April. Though the administration claims that it is pursuing all diplomatic means available to avert a war with Iran, President Bush has been concentrating naval, air, and missile forces on Tehran’s doorstep. Almost any provocation or pretext could now trip the hair trigger that has been put in place and unleash a full-scale war that would quickly dwarf the war in Iraq...
The build-up has been ominous. In early January President Bush deployed a Patriot Missile battalion from Fort Bliss, Texas, to the Middle East. Why? The Patriots are for shooting down missiles. But the Sunni insurgents don’t have missiles....
Which brings us to the gathering American armada in the Persian Gulf region. On February 20, the USS John C. Stennis, a Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier, and its accompanying strike group joined the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier group in the Sea of Oman. The Stennis strike group also includes the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam and guided-missile destroyers USS O’Kane and USS Preble. The USS Nimitz carrier group is headed to the area, ostensibly to replace the USS Eisenhower. But there is good reason to suspect that rather than replace the Eisenhower, the plan may actually be for it to join the gathering naval firepower, which also includes British and Australian vessels.
In addition, U.S. Air Force units in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere in the region reportedly have been gearing up for major action. Special operations teams have also reportedly stepped up activities inside Iran over the past several months, including ops teams that provide laser guidance to direct precision bombs to their targets.
For now, I think Bush has made terrible mistakes in Iraq from which we can recover. But if he decides to attack Iran, I will conclude that he wants to create problems from which America likely can't recover.