During their appearance before the Senate on Tuesday, Gen. David Petraeus and Amb. Ryan Crocker accused Iran of “funding, training, arming and directing extremist ‘special groups’ in Iraq.” “I think one might look for a reconsideration in Tehran as to just where they want to go in Iraq,” said Crocker. “This would be an excellent time for them to reassess.”
Liveblogging the hearings for the Washington Post, Fiasco author Thomas Ricks pondered what Crocker could have intended with his “reassess” comment, considering that “there will be a new American president in place in less than a year“:
But he also said, “This would be an excellent time for them to reassess.” What does he mean by that? Why would Iran want to adjust their relationship now, when there will be a new American president in place in less than a year? Or is there some sort of implied threat there: You guys better get smart, or this president still has time to pound you?
It is unclear whether such a veiled threat was Crocker’s intention, but some on the right are certainly seeing his and Petraeus’s testimony as cause to begin talking about striking Iran again.
On his radio show this morning, Bill Bennett told the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol — who had a personal meeting with President Bush yesterday — that a “conclusion” he drew was that the hearing was “less an argument for getting out of Iraq than going into Iran.” After suggesting that Iran may “have to pay some price at some point on their own soil,” Kristol said that President Bush authorizing an attack of some kind before he leaves office is not “out of the question”:
BENNETT: Do you think there’s any chance that, and we won’t ask you to reveal anything confidential, do you think there’s any chance that we might take some action against some aspect of the Ira…against Iran, let’s put it that way, before the president leaves office?
KRISTOL: We didn’t really talk about that, in all honesty, directly. I don’t think it’s out of the question. I think people are overdoing how much of a lame duck the president is.
Appearing on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show last night, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) said that he wished the Bush administration would tell the Iranians that “unless they stop it, we’re going to take action.” “I’m not talking about all out war,” added Lieberman before saying, “they ought to believe that we’re going to hit those training camps.”
Listen to Bennett, Kristol, and Lieberman here:
Lieberman has previously said that “we have to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians” while Kristol once believed that President Bush “could easily build political support” for strikes against Iran.
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