There are many reasons why it is ridiculous for America to be so focused on the 2008 presidential election seventeen months before it takes place. Perhaps most of all, there is going to be another war between now and then.
The Bush Administration is going to attack Iran. Dick Cheney did not come all this way to pass a U.N. resolution, do some saber rattling and go home. The neo-cons are not going to get the full-scale ground invasion they once dreamed of; their disaster in Iraq has made that impossible. But anyone who thinks there isn't going to be an air assault on Iran must not be reading the newspapers - and they certainly aren't reading their intelligence briefings.
Prominent neo-con Norman Podhoretz recently laid out "The case for bombing Iran." Joe Lieberman has been forthright that he wants it to happen. John McCain even sang a song about it. We have aircraft carriers sitting in the Persian Gulf. Bush and Cheney have repeatedly threatened military action, and while I've learned better than to take these men at their word, war seems to be one thing they don't bluff about.
Podhoretz lays out a case explaining why attacking Iran is unavoidable. This is exactly what the White House believes, and indeed, they won't take any steps to avoid it. In fact, I wish they would just tell us we're going to attack Iran, instead of going through this whole charade again, presenting a myriad of reasons to justify the war.
If you believe the current storyline, the Secretary of State is working valiantly to follow the diplomatic course though to its fullest extent. While some members of the administration would like to jump right into war, the White House is going to give this whole diplomacy thing a chance and will not attack Iran unless their hostile leader makes it absolutely necessary. Sound familiar?
Hillary Clinton has claimed her Iraq War vote was a chance to give Colin Powell time to follow the diplomatic course. Instead, he presented the U.N. with a case full of holes while the gears of war were already in place. Now we're supposed to believe Rice will stave off the hawks. Let's not forget Rice is a hawk who was sent to the State Department not to be a diplomat, but to get the diplomats in line with the rest of the administration.
If anyone believes the Secretary of State will be allowed to fully pursue the diplomacy option with Iran, or that she's even going to try, that person should recall our fearless leader's wise words, "Fool me once...shame on...shame on you...you fool me, you can't get fooled again."
While we're trying not to swallow this ridiculous Condeleeza-the-noble-diplomat story, the misinformation campaign has already begun. Iran is arming militias in Iraq. Iran is sending weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Iran is cooperating with Al-Qaeda. Any of these claims could be true, but make no mistake about it: when the Bush Administration attacks Iran, it won't be for any of these reasons. It will be for the exact same reason they attacked Iraq: because they wanted to from Day One. And America can't afford another war, even a small one, based on lies, half-truths and maybes.
That's why if I were Wolf Blitzer, instead of asking the Democratic presidential candidates what they would do about Iran if they were president in 2009, I'd ask them what they intend to do about stopping the Iran War right now.
They might not be able to do anything - I can't imagine Bush will bother to seek congressional approval for an air war. But some politicians are at least addressing the actual issue at hand. Sen. Jim Webb has introduced a bill that would require the administration seek congressional approval before attacking Iran. Gen. Wesley Clark has proposed steps we can take to stop the Iran War. Conversely, none of the Senators running for president have done anything to address the looming attack on Iran.
Five years ago, the Senators now running for president had the chance to stop the Iraq War before it started, but they were all intimidated by the Bush-Cheney post-9/11 rhetoric. Barack Obama, who wasn't yet in the Senate, opposed the war from the outside and says he would have voted against the war if he'd had the chance.
Now Obama has a chance to back up that claim, and the other senators have an opportunity to redeem themselves: take a stand to stop the Iran War now. Don't get fooled again.