Friday, October 06, 2006

War or Rumors of War?

What's going on with the current bustle around U.S. naval stations? According to Time, the Navy has issued “Prepare to Deploy Orders” (PTDOs) to a strike group including minesweepers, a submarine, an Aegis class cruiser, and a mine hunter.

Taken alongside disclosures that the chief of naval operations asked his planners for a rundown of how a blockade of Iranian oil ports would work, these military preparations led Time to conclude cautiously that the United States “may be preparing for war with Iran.”

Military officials downplay these recent moves as routine. But given the administration's recent history of manufacturing threat, misreading intelligence, and misrepresenting war plans, it is tempting to read between the lines—especially when increasingly hot rhetoric is coming from Washington.

Asked whether the United States will do anything to stop the Iranians from having a nuclear bomb, Vice President Dick Cheney paid lip service to diplomacy before emphasizing that “we think they should not have a nuclear bomb … the President has always emphasized no options have been taken off the table.” President Bush leveled some barbed criticism at Iran during his recent UN General Assembly address. Tehran continues to “fund terrorism, and fuel extremism, and pursue nuclear weapons,” he said. “Iran must abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions.”

What might push this combative rhetoric over the edge toward war? Iran's purported interest in nuclear weapons and its insistence on the right to enrich uranium have been portrayed as one and the same.

Continue reading at the source


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