I’ve been expecting this. The Administration needs a Really Big distraction before the election from everything that’s boiling over on the back burner. Health care, education, house prices, gas prices, Iraq, and the list goes on. The early stages of a war, the stage when it’s all about bunting and heroic young folks trailing clouds of glory, would be just the thing. But, sadly for them, BushCo has used up its capital. I’m not sure that at this point they could get the military to go along with another shooting war. (Congress probably would, but that’s Congress. Don’t get me started on our People’s Chamber of Deputies.) I’m sure BushCo would be glad to waste other people’s lives and money if they thought they could still get away with it, but from a purely Machiavellian standpoint, it’s a very risky strategy that could backfire badly in Peoria.
Enter Israel. That’s the bit I’ve been expecting. If Israel does the shooting, it solves all the problems. There’s a war, with visuals, but /*cough, cough, cough*/ nobody dies /*cough, cough*/. There’ll be a flare of support, because the US needs to stand by a friend, and BushCo will be kept way in the background. And — icing on the cake! — the price of oil will shoot to $200 a barrel through /*cough*/ nobody’s fault /*cough*/ and Cheney’s investments will do even better.
Right on schedule (i. e. US elections schedule) comes this information from the NYTimes, the outfit that did such a good job feeding us sober news indicating we had to do something about Iraq. U.S. Says Exercise by Israel Seemed Directed at Iran 
Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. …
A second, the official said, was to send a clear message to the United States and other countries that Israel was prepared to act militarily if diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from producing bomb-grade uranium continued to falter.
“They wanted us to know, they wanted the Europeans to know, and they wanted the Iranians to know,” the Pentagon official said. “There’s a lot of signaling going on at different levels.”
Of course, there is the obligatory disclaimer that there’s nothing to see here, which has the added benefit of making it clear that Israel is an independent actor in all this.
Several American officials said they did not believe that the Israeli government had concluded that it must attack Iran and did not think that such a strike was imminent.
Then, just to make sure that the option of sensible shooting war stays open — nothing overhasty, you understand, more in sorrow than in anger, the Iranians made us do it —
Iran is also taking steps to better defend its nuclear facilities. Two sets of advance Russian-made radar systems were recently delivered to Iran. The radar will enhance Iran’s ability to detect planes flying at low altitude. … American military officials said that the deployment of such systems would hamper Israel’s attack planning, putting pressure on Israel to act before the missiles are fielded.
In completely unrelated news, Western oil majors returning to Iraq .
Technorati Tags: Iran, war, Israel, elections, 2008