It's 'œthe debate Washington really doesn't want,' said David Lightman in The Hartford Courant. Although the U.S. and Iran recently held their first direct talks in more than 25 years, the Bush administration is deeply divided over a long-term strategy for this charter member of the Axis of Evil. For the moment, said Helene Cooper in The New York Times, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her deputies are successfully arguing for diplomacy, specifically to curb Iran's growing nuclear program. But against them are arrayed the administration's 'œfew remaining hawks,' led by Vice President Dick Cheney. They believe Iran is as little as three years away from being able to build a nuclear bomb, and see the fundamentalist regime as 'œan increasing source of trouble' in the Middle East, aiding and abetting terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Gaza. So they're urging Bush to consider either regime change or military strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities.
We have no other reasonable choice, said National Review Online in an editorial. In funding, training, and providing bombs to Iraqis who are killing American soldiers, Iran 'œhas committed an act of war.' The mullahs have ignored the U.S.'s multiple warnings to stop meddling in Iraq and the U.N.'s impotent pleas to halt illegal enrichment of uranium. Clearly, 'œIran won't stop so long as there is no price to its acts of war.' That's why Sen. Joe Lieberman recently suggested, 'œI think we've got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians.' Lieberman was widely mocked for that comment, said Seth Gitell in The New York Sun, with the anti-war left predictably calling him a 'œwarmonger.' But if taking a stand against the murder of our troops is 'œcause for mockery, so be it.'