As Americans anguish over how to extricate this country from Iraq without a disaster greater than what we now have, and without our friends suffering the fate of our friends in Cambodia and Vietnam, they had best brace themselves. This escalator is going up.
George Bush and his generals are laying out the case for a new war. And there has been no resistance offered either by a vacationing Congress or the major presidential candidates.
On CNN's "Late Edition" Sunday, Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, No. 2 commander in Iraq, said, "It is clear to me that (the Iranians) have been stepping up their support" for enemy fighters in Iraq.
"They do it from providing weapons, ammunition, specifically mortars and explosively formed projectiles. ... They are conducting training within Iran of Iraqi extremists to come back here and fight the United States."
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch said his troops were following 50 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, who have been crossing the border and training fighters in Iraq. The State Department is about to declare the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.
Earlier in August, President Bush directly charged Tehran with aiding Iraqi insurgents who are killing U.S. soldiers:
"I asked Ambassador Crocker to meet with Iranians inside Iraq ... to send the message that there will be consequences for ... people transporting, delivering EFPs, highly sophisticated IEDs, that kill American troops."
The EFPs are roadside bombs that penetrate Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Abrams tanks. They have taken the lives of scores of U.S. soldiers.
Whether Bush has made the decision to attack the al Quds training camps inside Iran, he has painted himself into a corner.
If he does not strike the camps, he will be mocked by the War Party as a weak commander in chief, too timid to use U.S. power to protect soldiers he sent into battle or to punish those killing them.
Thus, Bush must either announce that his diplomacy has worked, and attacks out of Iran have diminished or been halted, or he will have to explain why the Top Gun of the carrier Lincoln was too wimpish to do his duty by the soldiers he sent to fight.
Who is pushing for attacks on Iran? Israel and its lobby. Vice President Cheney. Sen. Joe Lieberman, who has been calling for air strikes on Al Quds camps for months. And a War Party facing lasting disgrace for having lied the country into an unnecessary war, and for having assured the American people it would be a "cakewalk."
The arguments for war on Iran are both strategic and political.