Is the Bush administration ramping up for an attack on Iran? The signs seem to point in that direction. On March 11, Navy Adm. William Fallon, commander of the U.S. forces in the Middle East, retired early because of differences with Washington on Iran policy. And now, Dick Cheney's current Middle East tour may be designed to prepare our Arab
allies for an imminent "preemptive" war against Iran.
Bush and Cheney have long been rattling the sabers in Iran's direction. The disaster they created in Iraq isn't going well, no matter how they spin it. They may feel that engaging the United States militarily in Iran would make it harder to elect anyone other than the seasoned military man, John McCain. The Republican presidential candidate just happens to be touring Iraq with Sen. Joe Lieberman, one of the strongest advocates of a U.S. military strike on Iran. Lieberman is likely on McCain's short list for a vice-presidential running mate.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Miller, however, has downplayed the significance of Admiral Fallon's abrupt retirement. Admiral Miller proclaimed recently, "In my view, this should not be seen as a sign – at all – towards any kind of conflict with Iran." Perhaps the chairman doth protest too much.
The White House has been spewing pugilistic rhetoric toward Iran. In spite of the unanimous conclusion of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies that Iran is not developing nukes, Bush immediately declared, "I have said Iran is dangerous, and the NIE estimate doesn't do anything to change my opinion about the danger Iran poses to the world - quite the contrary.” (See http://marjoriecohn.com/2007/12/bush-still-spinning-nukes-in-iran.html).
News reports on Monday announced that Dick Cheney is on a surprise weeklong visit to Iraq, Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Turkey. High on Cheney's agenda is the topic of U.S. policy toward Iran.