IF YOU Google "war Iran," you will come up with more than 90 million results. The blogosphere is full of alarms about US intentions toward Iran. Newsweek said last week that Vice President Cheney has been looking to provoke an Israeli assault against Iranian nuclear facilities that would draw Iranian reactions, sparking a "justifiable" American attack. At the United Nations, meanwhile, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France seemed to second his foreign minister’s recent warning that an unchecked Iranian nuclear program will lead to war.
But this "constant drumbeat of conflict" concerning Iran, said Admiral William Fallon, head of the US Central Command, is "not helpful and not useful." Fallon wants to head off such talk. "There will be no war," he told Al-Jazeera, a denial that keeps the specter looming.
It is hard to imagine that President Bush would actually order an attack against Iran, despite the drumbeat, since the assault would instantly turn 160,000 US troops in Iraq into Shi’ite hostages. But it also seems clear that Bush, even content to leave Iraq a shambles, does not want to depart Washington with Tehran’s nuclear provocations unresolved…
Pentagon "global dominance" doctrine now prohibits the emergence of any military rival to the United States, which means preemptive attack must replace stabilizing deterrence as the ready exercise of American power.
Fortunately, though, the Bush administration’s generic embrace of "preventive war" is discredited by Iraq, which is the main reason to hope no preemptive attack on Iran is coming. But that hope must be reinforced by a sense of history. America has already answered this question, and the answer remains no.