Bush at his press conference yesterday:
Q Sir, when you talk about Iran, and you talk about how you have diplomatic efforts, you also say all options are on the table. Does that include the possibility of a nuclear strike? Is that something that your administration will plan for?
THE PRESIDENT: All options are on the table.
As Belle Waring observes, the déja vu surrounding this latest pounding of the war drums is utterly surreal; we already have the Weekly Standard ready to lock and load all the way to Tehran, the New Republic doing the spadework to support a potential attack, a requisite Mark Steyn column, and “moderate liberals” on TV saying that no options should be off the table. (And of course, there’s Joe Lieberman.) It’s absurd, it’s ludicrous, and it’s almost tempting to laugh—surely no one would take these people seriously again, would they?—but Bush sounds quite serious. In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq he stressed that he “had no war plans on [his] desk,” despite the fact that this was a lie, and, as we now know, he had war on his mind all along. It would be a grave mistake not to think the worst this time around. Nothing is too ridiculous anymore.
Fred Kaplan has a good column today asking “Why not negotiate with Iran?,” something we’ve been saying over and over. Not clear that there are clearer heads listening to this sort of thing, though (when Bush says “all options are on the table,” that may include a potential nuclear strike, but it almost certainly doesn’t include face-to-face negotiations with Iran); read Billmon on this.