In the Arena


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The absolute worst moment of President Bush’s dreadful speech last night was when he threatened to take action against Syria and Iran:

Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We’ll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.

Now he appears to have done so, attacking the Iranian consulate in Irbil. This is an outrageous escalation–very similar to Richard Nixon’s attack on Cambodia, late in the Vietnam war. Bush has been trying to provoke the Iranians into a shooting war for the past month–detaining Iranian diplomats in Baghdad, sending an additional carrier battle group to the Gulf. The Iranians have ignored the provocations, but one wonders how long they will and how they might respond. More support for the rogue wing of Muqtada Sadr’s Mahdi Army? A Hezbollah terrorist attack against us?
For those who didn’t think things could get much worse, well, good morning.