"It would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capacity," Mullen declared. A second U.S. carrier just entered the Persian Gulf.
CBS reports that a target list of U.S. military planners includes the headquarters of the Quds Force and plants where Iran produces enhanced IEDs and the rockets used against the Green Zone. The network also reports that the State Department has begun drafting an ultimatum.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmal Khalilzad has chimed in: "Iran and Syria must stop the flow of weapons and foreign fighters into Iraq, and their malign interference in Iraq."
Iraqi Maj. Gen. Qasim Atta says 700 rockets and mortars have been fired at Coalition forces and the Green Zone, and most of the "Katyusha and Grad rockets and smart roadside bombs" were Iranian-made. The U.S. military is preparing a dossier on Iran's role in the Iraq war.
In the Landon Lecture at Kansas State, CIA Director Michael Hayden declared, "It ... is the policy of the Iranian government, approved to the highest level ... to facilitate the killing of Americans in Iraq." That day, State designated Iran the "most significant" and "most active" state sponsor of terror on earth.
From the White House to State to the Pentagon to CIA, the Bush administration is now singing from the same song sheet: Iran's Quds Force, with the knowledge of President Ahmadinejad, is arming and directing "special groups" to kill U.S. soldiers and prevent a U.S. victory.
Is the White House rattling sabers to prod Iran into talks?
Perhaps. But the administration has also painted itself, and us, into a corner with the war talk. And there are only three ways out.
The first is that Iran halts the attacks, ends its intervention and negotiates on the six-nation offer. The second is that Iran rejects the deal, refuses to stop the attacks and U.S. air strikes begin.
The third is that Bush is bluffing and goes home railing against an axis-of-evil nation killing American soldiers, having done nothing.
With Israel, the Israeli lobby, the neocons and Dick Cheney insisting on air strikes, and even Hillary Clinton talking about Iran being "obliterated," the last course would seem the least probable.
We are likely headed either for negotiations with Iran or war, after Bush returns from the 60th anniversary celebration of Israel's birth.
"To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war," said Winston Churchill in 1954, whose career often contradicted his wise counsel.