Senior American intelligence and defence officials believe that President George W Bush and his inner circle are taking steps to place America on the path to war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.
Pentagon planners have developed a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in Iran, amid growing fears among serving officers that diplomatic efforts to slow Iran’s nuclear weapons programme are doomed to fail.
Pentagon and CIA officers say they believe that the White House has begun a carefully calibrated programme of escalation that could lead to a military showdown with Iran.
Now it has emerged that Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, who has been pushing for a diplomatic solution, is prepared to settle her differences with Vice-President Dick Cheney and sanction military action….
A State Department source familiar with White House discussions said that Miss Rice, under pressure from senior counter-proliferation officials to acknowledge that military action may be necessary, is now working with Mr Cheney to find a way to reconcile their positions and present a united front to the President.
The source said: “When you go down there and see the body language, you can see that Cheney is still The Man. Condi pushed for diplomacy but she is no dove. If it becomes necessary she will be on board….
Miss Rice’s bottom line is that if the administration is to go to war again it must build the case over a period of months and win sufficient support on Capitol Hill.
The Sunday Telegraph has been told that Mr Bush has privately promised her that he would consult “meaningfully” with Congressional leaders of both parties before any military action against Iran on the understanding that Miss Rice would resign if this did not happen.
Well, golly, I feel sooooooo much safer knowing that Condi has put her foot down and required consultation “meaningfully” with Congress. I’d feel more at ease, though, if I knew the size of the heel on her Ferragamos when she did so, wouldn’t you? (Hope they were worth the cost…)
Steve Clemons has an interesting dinner party story in Salon today about what some foreign policy experts think is the likelihood of Bush Administration action toward Iran (hint: likely), although Steve takes the opposite view. All I know is that with Democratic “leadership” listening to Joe Lieberman rather than to their own common sense, I just need to say this out loud this morning: N-O. NO.
A reminder: Former Sen. Gary Hart will be here for a live chat at noon eastern/9 am PT today. Hope you can join us!
(White sling-back from Salvatore Ferragamo photographed by bbanauch.)