Ed Kilgore’s note so concerned “that the administration is about to deliberately widen the Iraq war by provoking Tehran and Damascus into armed conflict.” After all, “where the hell is the Pentagon going to get the resources for a regional war?” Well, I’d say they’d get them from the Air Force and the Navy, hence the significance of appointing a naval officer to run CENTCOM. Certainly the argument that provoking a military confrontation with Iran isn’t going to happen because such a provocation would be a very bad idea in light of the objective constraints on the American military strikes me as unconvincing. Sometimes leaders initiate extremely poor policies. George W. Bush happens to have a history of initiating such policies.
David Sanger at The New York Times, meanwhile, is not in the conspiracy theory business. He notes that while “administration officials say the goal is limited to preventing Iranians from aiding in attacks on American and Iraqi forces inside Iraq.” Nevertheless, “in recent interviews and public statements, senior members of the Bush administration have made it clear that their agenda goes significantly further, toward foiling Iran’s dream of emerging as the greatest power in the Middle East.” Clearly, I think, for now the hope is that foiling Iran’s dreams of regional power can somehow be accomplished by raiding consulates and hoping there are ponies inside. Nevertheless, if the goal is to check Iranian regional power, that means wider war sooner or later.