Part of the President's speech last night has added to my growing worry that he is planning a regional escalation of the Iraq War into Iran:
Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenge. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.
A number of people questioned the appointment of Admiral William J. Fallonto as commander of CENTCOM (the military authority responsible for that part of the world) a couple of weeks ago -- why put a Navy guy in charge of a theater where two separate land wars are already going on? -- but it's starting to make more sense. If we're going to "interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria", it's difficult to see how we're going to do that without going into Iran and Syria. With limited ground forces, a naval and air bombardment of select targets makes the most sense, and for that, you need a Navy guy. Of course, it may simply be that he was the highest ranking officer with relevant experience who was not on record as being against Bush's escalation policy, and there are no Iranian implications.
Another possibility is that Israel is planning direct military action against Iran, and we're positioning our troops to block the Strait of Hormuz in support. That too would make sense of the Admiral's appointment, and has the added "benefit" of keeping our hands clean.
As I've said before, I really, really hope I'm just being paranoid, but it's starting to look increasingly likely that some sort of military action against Iran is inevitable in this President's mind.
Edited to Add: As usual, Glenn Greenwald is way ahead of me on this one. If you don't read Glenn's column, you should -- he's as ferocious a defender of the Constitution as I've ever seen, plus he's lucid and insightful, if sometimes (don't get mad!) a little long winded, something I surely could never be accused of ... dang, how long is this postscript anyway?
Edited again to add: Apparently, I was too late -- we've already (arguably) commited an act of war against Iran, by assaulting the Iranian consulate in the Kurd-controlled area of Iraq.