Widening the War?
There is growing buzz and increasing concern that the President’s Iraq speech Wednesday night may have signaled an important and – in my view – incredibly troubling stage in the Iraq War (even beyond the “surge”). Steve Clemons reports significant speculation in the capital that Bush recently “sent a secret Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director of the CIA to launch military operations against Syria and Iran.”
There was some discussion of this question (i.e. whether American troops would begin engaging in cross-border activities in Syria and/or Iran) in hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday (of which Clemons has excerpts), and American actions against the Iranian consulate in Irbil will almost certainly serve to add fuel to the fire. If true, and further actions against Iran and Syria have begun/are about to begin, it can be counted as a near certainty that the 21,500-troop increase that Bush announced Wednesday is but the tip of a very large iceberg.
Of course actions must be taken to protect our forces and ensure that they’re able to do their jobs as effectively as possible. But if this conflict is to widen, such a drastic escalation must have the support of the American people and their representatives in Congress. The debate must happen, and should not be hidden behind secret orders.