Articles this morning both the Washington Post and the New York Times reprised their roles in the run-up to the Iraq war by beating the drums for war against Iran. Al Qaeda is no longer their favorite bogeyman as their focus has shifted to the regime in Iraq's neighbor to the east.
Clearly, both the New York Times and the Washington Post understand full well that their unquestioning regurgitation of administration talking points in late 2002 and early 2003 were low points in their journalistic enterprises. As such, it is difficult to understand how both news organizations could be retracing the same journalistic mistakes they made before the Iraq war with highly unreliable reporting from the likes of Judy Miller.
Let's be clear, we are not fighting Iranians or Al Qaeda in Iraq. We are fighting the Iraqis who are trying to gain control and drive out the US military occupation force. Any marginal influence by Al Qaeda or Iran is irrelevant compared to dealing with homegrown, Iraqi militias.
This is always the case with protracted military occupations of foreign countries. We tried to blame Cambodia for the problems in Vietnam, and began secretly bombing that country during the Vietnam War. As long as the US military occupies Iraq, and sows the seeds of civil war in that nation by our very presence, we will be fighting Iraqi militias on both sides of that civil war. A civil war made possible by US military intervention.
Bombing Iran under the pretense that they are engaging in a proxy war in Iraq will not solve any problems, but will exacerbate all problems faced by the US military there. It is possible that the administration is bluffing in order to prod Iran to back down on a number of issues. But that does not seem to be the Bush administration’s style, which prefers riding in on horseback and shooting wildly in all directions. Don't even bother asking questions later.
Considering the now constant din of administration warnings concerning Iran it seems likely that they are intent on widening the war in the Middle East before the fall elections here in the US. With the help of news organizations such as the Washington Post and New York Times they hope to drum up enough support for such actions. But if the American people have any say in the matter, the US will pull its troops out of the Middle East, rather than widening and deepening the conflict.