In his speech on Thursday, Bush wasted little time before getting to the ominous subject of Iran.
Time and time again, he lumped the alleged threat from Iran in the same breadth as the one from Al Qaeda, once again fusing enemies in the minds of the American people.
"Serious and complex challenges remain in Iraq, from the presence of Al Qaeda to the destructive influence of Iran," he said, even before declaring that the surge has "renewed and revived the prospect of success."
A little later, he said, "Iraq is the convergence point for two of the greatest threats to America in this new century: Al Qaeda and Iran." (Bush has now elevated Iran over China as the looming threat of the century!)
And in the next paragraph, he said, "If we succeed in Iraq after all that Al Qaeda and Iran have invested there, it would be a historic blow to the global terrorist movement and a severe setback for Iran."
Al Qaeda-Iran, Al Qaeda-Iran, Al Qaeda-Iran. That is the chant emanating from the White House.
But Bush was not content to be subtle about his belligerence toward Iran.
Listen to the saber rattle:
"The regime in Tehran also has a choice to make," Bush said. "It can live in peace with its neighbor, enjoy strong economic and cultural and religious ties. Or it can continue to arm and train and fund illegal militant groups, which are terrorizing the Iraqi people and turning them against Iran. If Iran makes the right choice, America will encourage a peaceful relationship between Iran and Iraq. Iran makes the wrong choice, America will act to protect our interests, and our troops, and our Iraqi partners."
By "America will act," Bush is making damn clear that he intends to go ahead and bomb Iran.
We can keep telling ourselves that Bush wouldn't be so foolish as to widen the war to Iran when the one in Iraq is going so badly. But foolishness has never stopped him before.
Regard his words.
They put not only Tehran on notice.
They put Congress and the American people on notice.
This man is planning on waging another illegal war, and we need to do all that we can, nonviolently, to stop him.
Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.
© 2008 The Progressive