Sometimes I wonder, can the Washington Post's editorials get any worse? The answer -- always -- turns out to be "yes." Today we learn not only that the Bush administration's drive toward war with Iran is in fact an effort to avoid war, but also that up is down, ignorance is strength (and Fred Hiatt is a very strong man) and that when the war does come we'll all need to blame war opponents:

If this diplomatic offensive fails, President Bush or his successor is likely to face a choice between accepting Iran's acquisition of the means to build nuclear weapons and ordering military strikes to destroy its facilities. That's why it is senseless and irresponsible for those who say they oppose military action -- including a couple of the second-tier Democratic presidential candidates -- to portray the sanctions initiative as a buildup to war by Mr. Bush. We've seen no evidence that the president has decided on war, and it's clear that many senior administration officials understand the package as the best way to avoid military action. It is not they but those who oppose tougher sanctions who make war with Iran more likely.



Have I mentioned that war is peace?

Completely missing from the Post's analysis of the issue is the idea that the US has any non-coercive tools in our toolkit. Maybe part of our diplomacy with Iran should be a willingness to put them returning to the NPT fold in the context of a broader warming in US-Iranian relations? Maybe part of our diplomacy with Iran should be a willingness to put them returning to the NPT fold in the context of our own willingness to return to the NPT fold? Maybe there's something we could do in terms of our relations with Moscow and Beijing that would make them more amenable to playing a helpful role on the Iran issue? Like maybe pushing a missile shield policy that Russia views as unacceptably threatening isn't a good way to get them to help us on the Iran front?

Meanwhile, the child-like confidence in the good sense, good faith, and competence of the Bush administration is just staggering.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.