The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have not reached any logical conclusion as of today but the drumbeat for another conflict, this time with Iran, is already growing. President Bush stated that "The American people should be concerned about Iran. They should be concerned about Iran's activity in Iraq, and they ought to be concerned about Iran's activity around the world."
Perhaps this concern, by the president, is behind the recent move by Congress to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.
This is the first time the United States, or any other country for that matter, has designated a national military force as a terrorist organization. The move may be redundant since the State Department had already designated the entire country as a sponsor of terrorism.
However, it is worrisome because it amounts to an escalation. There are other signs that the current administration is preparing the rest of the population and the world for another military conflict. Last weekend, Gen. David Petraeus called the force "malign" and "lethal" and then accused the Iranian ambassador to Iraq of belonging to the guard.
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Does this mean that the Iranian ambassador is a terrorist? Does this give American forces in Iraq sufficient legal cover to apprehend the ambassador?
Contrary to the recommendation of the Baker Group, it would appear that the Bush administration has rejected the idea of using Iran a stabilizing force in the region. The current U.S. stand is also contrary to the good relations the current governments of Iraq and Afghanistan maintain with their Iranian neighbors.
The administration also maintains that the Iranians are developing an illegal nuclear weapons program, the same pretext used to invade Iraq. Whether the American people and the world will buy this argument a second time remains to be seen.
Iran does have a civilian nuclear program. That program is currently under the watch of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA inspectors will report to that agency Nov. 22 on whether or not Iran may have a parallel nuclear-weapon program. If this is a legitimate concern, would it not make sense to wait for that report?
Many, including Iran, believe that current American forces are stretched too thin for another war or an invasion. This may be true. However, the United States still has the capability of a bombing campaign to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities and/or to destroy the command centers of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.
A bombing campaign would destabilize Iraq further. Iran, largely a Shia country, maintains good relations with the current Iraqi government, not to mention the rest of the Shia population in Iraq. That population, to date, has largely remained outside the insurgency in Iraq. A bombing campaign of Iran would unite the entire population, with the exception of the Kurds, in a single purpose - fighting a war of insurgency against the United States.
Khalid Abdalla, a professor at South Puget Sound Community College, is a member of the Olympian's Board of Contributors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.