Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Speech

Thanks to a prior commitment I couldn't listen to/watch the President's speech tonight. But speeches bore me anyway, and there are probably thousands of bloggers who've hit their computers to type up their impressions of the event (and that sort of thing I do pay attention to.) Here's a couple of responses. First, Jim Henley at Unqualified Offerings:
Others will tease out the contradictions, lies, pious hopes and regurgitations of the President’s speech. All I’ll say for now is that one of its purposes appears to be to continue laying the rhetorical groundwork for an attack on Iran.

Hmmm...interesting. What did the President say exactly?
Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity — and stabilizing the region in the face of the 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.

That is somewhat...inflammatory. Jim isn't the only one who responded the same way to that language. Here's William Arkin at the Washington Post:
If there's anything in the President Bush's remarks tonight that we didn't already know or didn't anticipate him saying militarily about Iraq, it is his evident willingness to go to war with Syria and Iran to seek peace.

Speaking about the two countries tonight, the president said that the United States wiill "seek out and destroy" those who are providing material support to our enemies.

It is only a threat. But it is a far cry from the diplomatic proposals floated just last month for making Syria and Iran part of the solution. Can the president really be saying that we are willing to risk war with the two countries, and even attack elements inside them, to achieve peace in Iraq?

Arkin began his column with these comments, indicating the importance of this language to him at least.

So how serious is this threat to "disrupt the attacks"? That could mean quite a few things. It could mean hunting for Iranian and Syrian agents in Iraq. Or it could mean interdicting their supply lines at the border (to which I say, good luck.) Or it could mean interdicting their supply lines inside those countries. Or attacks on facilities unrelated to the effort in Iraq (though perhaps related to Iran's nuclear effort) with related threats to stop intervening in Iraq. Who knows? But I'll admit the inflammatory language is a little surprising to me. I haven't blogged about the possibility of attacking Iran much because I thought the Bush administration simply wasn't in the position to get away with it. I thought also that perhaps they knew that, despite the repeated threats and sending of more naval vessels to the Gulf. But then again, perhaps I've been completely wrong about that, and my predictions of American casualties in the post below is far more conservative than I'd hoped.

No comments: