Andrew joins the unhinged left:
If the Times interview is what Petraeus is telling Bush and Cheney, then they have only begun to ramp up this war in Iraq. My bet is they will try to extend the war into Iran if they can, and are obviously looking for a trigger to do so. But until then, they have no intention of changing a thing, except perhaps putting even more troops on the line. From everything we know about Bush, he will continue on, even if a majority of both Houses oppose war-funding. He doesn’t need his party any more. Only a veto-proof margin will suffice, and if that happens, expect a massive Rudy-driven, Romney-approved “stab-in-the-back” campaign, accusing all critics of being supporters of Iran or al Qaeda. Or Bush will force the Congress to cut off all funds, and then declare the troops abandoned and betrayed by the “enemy within”.
Woo! Okay, for my part, I’d actually reel that back somewhat. This pretty clearly reflects the thinking of some people inside the administration (“Cheney” is a good shorthand, though I obviously have no idea what’s going on inside various people’s heads); for some, a wider war’s been in the cards from the get-go, and the Podhoretz’s of the world wouldn’t be warmongering unless they were getting some kind of signal that such mongering might succeed.
That said, if Bush himself were determined to expand the war to Iran, you have to imagine it would have happened already. The administration’s actions vis-a-vis Iran over the past 18 months have been rather contradictory. Had this president a long record of foreign policy success and diplomatic masterstrokes, one might assume he was cooking up something inspired and brilliant. Given the actual record, one has no such confidence.