January 13, 2007

Tony Snow Assures U.S. Bush Is Not Planning to Start a War With Iran

Tony Snow took time out during his press briefing Friday to assure Americans that Bush was not planning to start a war with Iran by pursuing "terrorist networks" across the border. (emphasis mine)

Also, I want to address kind of a rumor, an urban legend that's going around -- and it comes from language in the President's Wednesday night address to the nation, that in talking about Iran and Syria, that he was trying to prepare the way for war with either country and that there are war preparations underway: There are not. What the President was talking about is defending American forces within Iraq and also doing what we can to disrupt networks that might be trying to convey weapons or fighters into battle theaters within Iraq to kill Americans and Iraqis.

As regards Iran, the United States is using diplomatic measures right now to address concerns -- including Iran's nuclear program. We've been working with the United Nations Security Council, recently got a chapter seven resolution. So this is something that is very important to push back, because I know there's been a lot of speculation about it. Let me just try to put that to rest once and for all.

Okay. So this is how Condi executes diplomacy?

QUESTION: Can I put it to you that the concern is this is an escalation not because just you're sending more troops to Iraq, but because essentially, you decided to confront both Syria and Iran and ignore the advice of James Baker, who said you got to talk to them?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, we decided that we're not going to let them continue to engage in activities that are endangering our soldiers and --

QUESTION: That's an escalation, isn't it?

SECRETARY RICE: No, no, that's called good policy. I don't think there's a government in the world that would sit by and let the Iranians, in particular, run networks inside Iraq that are building explosive devices of a very high quality that are being used to kill their soldiers. That's not an escalation; that's just good policy. And the President's made very clear that that's unacceptable. Now as to talking to them --

QUESTION: Sorry, can I say --


QUESTION: It is an escalation, isn't it? Because you're sending a battle group, you've just raided an office -- an Iranian office in Northern Iraq, the President has said he's going to go after networks, search and destroy. That sounds like an escalation.

SECRETARY RICE: Let's call it a reaction to Iranian policies that escalated some time ago the attacks on our forces, the nature of those attacks, and the lethality of those attacks. So let's just call it a reaction to Iranian activities that are simply unacceptable.

QUESTION: Why did you raid that office in Northern Iraq, the Iranian office?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, as I've said, we -- also, you may remember just around Christmastime, a little before Christmastime, there was another raid. Because we are picking up intelligence that activities are being carried on there that are harming our soldiers. And we're going to continue to pursue those networks.

And I'm certain that Bush has made no decisions about whether to go to war against Iran, just like the last time he sought to get a diplomatic solution to a problem in the Middle East.

Posted by Mary at January 13, 2007 12:20 AM | War on Terrorism | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

When you look at the opportunity cost of the money spent on the Iraq war, the idiocy of it comes into sharp focus. The average yearly cost of fighting the war is $125 billion, whereas the cost of the US effectively fighting climate change is only $89 billion. :::[Regime change in the US and Australia...]

Posted by: Wadard at January 13, 2007 06:04 AM

Yes, Wadard. It certainly shows that our priorities are sadly askew.

Posted by: Mary at January 13, 2007 11:37 PM