Bush And Iran: It’s Deja Vu All Over Again
Today, while touring Europe, George W. Bush rattled his withered little saber in Iran’s direction again, warning that "all options are on the table", even while paying lip service to seeking a diplomatic solution.
And then there was the language coming out of his meeting last week with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hinted after his meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush Wednesday that U.S. action against Iran is imminent. While he avoided saying anything clear and specific on the matter, Olmert did mention a "timetable" and said action would take place before Bush leaves the White House.
"We reached agreement on the need to take care of the Iranian threat," Olmert said after the meeting. "I left with a lot less question marks [than I had entered with] regarding the means, the timetable restrictions and America’s resoluteness to deal with the problem."
We seem, indeed, to be replicating the runup of 2002-3 to the invasion of Iraq. Recall that Bush performed a similar tour of Europe in the spring of 2002:
President Bush arrived in Berlin this evening faced with the task of convincing skeptical Europeans that he is willing to listen to — if not wholly accept — the advice of allies as he decides how to deal with Iraq, Iran and the Middle East.
… The Europeans clearly do not believe that they are at war. They are worried that Mr. Bush may drag them into a new war in Iraq, destabilize the Middle East and put enormous strain on NATO.
Mebbe those Europeans were onto something. Ya think?
And as we now know, all the Team Bush talk of "diplomacy" was just a cover, because they were planning to invade all along.
It will be much harder, of course, for Bush to convince Congress to authorize the use of military force this time around, though with Holy Joe in the choir I fully expect them to try. Still, it will be hard to imagine the U.S. taking military action quite so readily in Iran as it did in Iraq.
But considering the "unitary executive" precedents that have been set over the past seven years, it seems possible if not likely Bush will decide he doesn’t need to consult Congress after all (despite the clear language of the Constitution) and simply "take action." Maybe an internal DOJ memo can cover it for them. They probably have some new John Yoo working on it right now.