On not kicking the can down the road

If diplomatic efforts continue on their present trajectory, does President Bush intend to order military action in an effort to set back Iran’s nuclear program? He has previously made clear his position that Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons would be “unacceptable.” Is this statement empty verbiage? Is Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons to be accepted? Or is this a problem that President Bush will kick down the road to his successor? Because I think he means what he says on the critical issues related to the war on terror, I have thought that if the United States is capable of undertaking military action that would retard Iran’s nuclear problem, President Bush would order it to do so before the end of his term.

President Bush’s overview of the global war on terror earlier this week (click here for the speech) adds further evidence of President Bush’s thinking on the subject. The speech was full of comments pertinent to Iran, but here is one especially salient paragraph:

The Iranian regime and its terrorist proxies have demonstrated their willingness to kill Americans — and now the Iranian regime is pursuing nuclear weapons. The world is working together to prevent Iran’s regime from acquiring the tools of mass murder. The international community has made a reasonable proposal to Iran’s leaders, and given them the opportunity to set their nation on a better course. So far, Iran’s leaders have rejected this offer. Their choice is increasingly isolating the great Iranian nation from the international community, and denying the Iranian people an opportunity for greater economic prosperity. It’s time for Iran’s leader to make a different choice. And we’ve made our choice. We’ll continue to work closely with our allies to find a diplomatic solution. The world’s free nations will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.

On Wednesday John Podhoretz devoted his New York Post column to this speech and concluded that it baldly took the “gloves off on Iran.” In his intensely interesting article in today’s New York Sun, Daniel Freedman gives the view of Benjamin Netanyahu as set forth at a Hudson Institute lunch that “President Bush is preparing to ditch the United Nations to take on Iran alone.” Freedman’s article is full of pungent quotes from Netanyahu, including this one that brings the work of Melanie Phillips to mind:

Responding to a question asking whether the Israeli occupation of Lebanon in the 1980s created Hezbollah, Mr. Netanyahu said that “the Israeli occupation of London doesn’t exist and yet you have militant Islam there,” as well as in Rotterdam and in other places across the globe where Israeli troops have never visited. Hezbollah is not a creation of Israel, he said. Israel’s occupation may have been used as a pretext by Hezbollah, but would have happened anyway – it’s part of the rise of radical Islam.

Coincidentally, Normblog brings us its profile of Melanie Phillips. Among several other items of interest, Ms. Phillips names Little Green Footballs, Power Line and the Daily Ablution as her three favorite blogs, and acknowledges a prejudice against “men who wear white socks (apart from sporting attire).”


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