A number of MSNBC commentators tonight, including Pat Buchanan who supports the president's surge in Iraq (although he thought the initial war was a mistake), believe that President Bush is preparing to engage Iran.
The argument is this:
1. Bush indicated that he has moved a carrier into the Persian Gulf to help stop those who are aiding Iraq. This can only refer to Iran.
2. Bush indicated that he was sending Patriot missles to the region. There's no need for such missles in Iraq--there's nothing by air the insurgents or factions have to use against us. On the other hand, Iran has such things.
3. The clincher is the fact that American troops stormed an Iranian embassy in the northern part of Iraq. This is technically an act of war, although Iran has not yet taken the bait.
The idea is that Bush is trying to provoke Iran into attacking us there so that we can bomb their nuclear facilities.
If this is true, what are we to make of it? It goes diametrically against the recommendations of the Baker commission, who advised the President to talk to Syria and Iran.
On the one hand, we might make this argument: the President knows more than we do; we should trust him. Perhaps this will pressure Iran into negotiation. Maybe finding a way to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities is better than them having them, which currently seems inevitable.
On the other side, we trusted Bush once already--they have WMD's, they have mobile labs, they're getting uranium from Niger, they're helping Al Qaeda, they'll welcome us with flowers, it's in its last throes, mission accomplished...
This was all wrong. Colin Powell resigned, Generals have resigned, half the Republicans on Capitol Hill have left Bush's side. Gerald Ford disagreed, Bush junior refused to ask for his father's advice.
Somehow the Baker commission seems a whole lot more credible to me about now. God help us all.