It's now safe to say that the administration's post-Labor Week scheduled Iran campaign is in full swing.
The kick-off happened last month after the U.S. announced its decision to label Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps as a "specially designated global terrorist (group)" -- the first military branch of a government to be named for such a list, making the decision highly unusual.
The designation becomes less unusual and more useful when you consider that such a move would grant the administration authorization to use military force without Congressional approval, which would mean that if Bush wanted to launch an attack on Iran, say, tomorrow, he's already pre-approved.
And so, with deed in hand, the administration marches on: today it was announced that the U.S. will build its first military base on the Iran-Iraq border and has plans to create fortified checkpoints on roads that lead to Baghdad from Iran. General Lynch, commander of the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division, also said that the base would serve as part of the administration's new "central component" to hinder the smuggling of advanced weapons from Iran into Iraq, which the U.S. has contended and the New York Times' Michael R. Gordon promoted as being responsible for "a third of the combat deaths suffered by the American-led forces."
To further spin statistics in favor of an Iran attack, General Lynch added that 48 of the advanced roadside bombs Gordon spoke of in his New York Times article had been used against his troops in central and southern Iraq, and were responsible for nine U.S. soldier fatalities. Another attack with 46 Iranian-made rockets was successfully foiled, he said.
Rounding out the PR blitz was the widely-anticipated Petraeus report, which included this quote on Iran from the Iraq military commander: "It is increasingly apparent to both coalition and Iraqi leaders that Iran, through the use of the Quds force, seeks to turn the Iraqi special groups into a Hezbollah-like force to serve its interests and fight a proxy war against the Iraqi state and coalition forces in Iraq."
This transparency on the part of the Bush administration to shift blame away from its own Iraq foreign policy disasters and onto Iran is insulting at best, and dangerously reckless at worst, at a time when we can seldom afford to be either.