"Bush: ‘I Know I Would Respond’ If Iran Were To Attack Israel"
Before his press conference today, President Bush met exclusively with a group of GOP congressional leaders. According to Fox News, which spoke with some of the members at that discussion, Bush unequivocally promised that he would attack Iran if Iran “were ever to attack Israel.” Bush told the lawmakers, “I know I would respond. … In order for diplomacy to be effective, all options have to be on the table.” Watch it:
The Bush administration continues to publicly insist that it is pursuing a “path of cooperation” with Iran. But behind closed doors, in meetings such as the one today, the White House seems to be charting a different course. David Wurmser, who until recently served as Vice President Cheney’s Middle East adviser, told a “small group of people” that Cheney is pushing for an Israeli attack on Iran:
[T]he magazine quoted David Wurmser, until last month Cheney’s Middle East advisor, as having told a small group of people that “Cheney had been mulling the idea of pushing for limited Israeli missile strikes against the Iranian nuclear site at Natanz — and perhaps other sites — in order to provoke Tehran into lashing out.”
According to the report, “The Iranian reaction would then give Washington a pretext to launch strikes against military and nuclear targets in Iran.“
Bush and Karl Rove also recently met privately with Norman Podhoretz for 45 minutes, listening to his case for war with Iran. Earlier this month, Podhoretz told CSPAN, “I believe President Bush is going to order airstrikes [on Iran] before he leaves office.”
Americans increasingly view a strike on Iran during Bush’s term as inevitable. A new Zogby poll finds that 53 percent of the public believe it is “likely that the U.S. will be involved in a military strike against Iran before the next presidential election.”
HOST: A still picture here from the White House about 90 minutes ago. Before this happened at the podium at the North Portico of the White House, the President was meeting with Republican leaders of the House, and he was asked about Iran and rumors of war. He says, if Iran were to ever attack Israel, “I know I would respond,” making the point that President Bush believes any president would do the same. “In order for diplomacy to be effective, all options have to be on the table.”
With regard to Russia, he said he firmly believes that Vladimir Putin does understand the repercussions of Iran having nuclear weapons, because those weapons, he says, “can fly west and they can fly north.”
At the outset, he told House leaders that my spirit is high, my head is up, and I’m absolutely going to sprint to the finish, and I absolutely want to work with you all the way through. So, that was what was said behind closed doors, leaked to our producers on Capitol Hill through some Republican members of Congress who were in the East Room of the White House.