Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Opinion (Michael Hirsh): A blown chance at peace?

Feb. 8, 2007 - Did the Bush administration pass up a chance for meaningful diplomacy with Iran before its radical president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, took over? The question has taken on particular urgency in recent days, as the Bush administration has appeared to lay the legal groundwork for war, even while denying it has any intention of attacking Iran. On Jan. 10, in his speech to the nation announcing his “surge” plan for Iraq, Bush declared that “Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops.” Such a statement is considered a traditional justification for war under international law. And The Washington Post recently reported that the president has given orders allowing U.S. troops in Iraq to capture or kill suspect Iranian operatives. Then, last week, Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, speaking on National Public Radio, invoked Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, which has been used by member states in the past to justify unilateral military action. At the same time the president is moving more U.S. naval forces to the Persian Gulf.

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