With Iran looking — in some American neocon pundit's and policymakers' eyes — like the next Iraq, how does it play out in British politics.
Military action against Iran is not being discussed, but there is 'increasing alarm' about that state's actions among the international community, Prime Minister Tony Blair said.
'Nobody is talking about military intervention in respect of Iran,' Blair told MPs on a key parliamentary committee today.
However, he warned that 'you can't take any option off the table'.
I guess it is hard to take an option off the table when everyone around you is screaming for you to take it off the table, isn't it? Politicians both in the United States and the UK are being pressured and pressuring their peers to not even think about a preemptive attack on Iran. (However, how can Blair be talking about military intervention in Iran if 'nobody is talking about' it?)
Nothing too new here either.
American troops could start leaving Iraq by the end of this year if the plan to suppress sectarian violence with reinforcements in Baghdad is successful, Robert Gates, the secretary of defense, said today.
Testifying before the Senate Armed Forces Committee, Mr. Gates came under intense questioning by Senator Robert Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia.
“How much longer do you think we are going to be in Iraq before we start to bring our people home?” Senator Byrd asked over and over again.
Mr. Gates was reluctant at first to make a prediction, but under pressure said that if the Baghdad operation is successful and the Iraqis “establish leadership” the United States could “begin to draw down troops later this year.”
However, even if the bulk of American forces begin to head home, Mr. Gates said the United States would have to maintain a military presence in Iraq “for years.” He declined to specify how large a force would be required, but said it would be “a fraction of what we have there now.”
The 'we will stand down when the Iraqis stand up' is old rhetoric, but this latest testimony is a more promising spin on that existing policy.
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