David Ignatius tried to calm us all down yesterday. After Petraeus' formal naming of the Iranian ambassador to Iraq as a terrorist, a rising number of incidents in which US forces have engaged Quds elements in Iraq, and the Clinton-backed resolution declaring Quds as a terrorist force, we are told that the US has no intention of actually going to war - it just sounds like that as a way to increase pressure on Iran for a peaceful solution. Money quote from David:
One knowledgeable official argues that any "surgical strikes" against the al-Quds Force, as discussed by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker, would come only in response to a high-casualty attack - say, on U.S. forces in Iraq - that could be traced to Iran.
Sounds like some wishful thinking from State to me. The problem with these reassurances is the trust factor - or lack of it. After Iraq, this administration cannot say that it wants a diplomatic solution, while rhetorically prepping for war, and be believed. And no one in the administration, apart from Bush and Cheney, can really be trusted as a reliable source on a matter such as this. There's only one Decider. The danger is that the weakness of the US, demonstrated by the fact that we have run out of troops in a war we have already lost in Iraq, prompts the Bushies to up the rhetorical ante to counteract the reality on the ground. When both sides are upping the ante, mistakes can happen. David notes:
What's worrying is that this is still a game of chicken -- two cars coming at each other on a narrow, poorly lit road.
Worrying? Given this administration's record for delicate positioning and strategy, a more fitting word would be terrifying.