News from Israel: Bush wants to attack Iran soon

A senior U.S. official reportedly told Israeli officials that an attack is being held up by hesitation from Robert Gates and Condoleezza Rice.


Alex Koppelman
May 20, 2008 5:46PM (UTC)

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that while in Israel for President Bush's recent visit there, "a senior member of the president's entourage" said Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney want to attack Iran before they leave office. This person also allegedly said that the attack is being held up by reservations on the part of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

This story has gotten some buzz already, and it'll likely get more, since it's currently the Drudge Report's top story. But I think it's worth approaching it with a good deal of skepticism. First, stories like this have been floating around for a long time, and there's obviously been no attack yet. Second, this is essentially hearsay -- the Post bases its story on an unnamed "senior official in Jerusalem" who may or may not have been in the room for this revelation by the member of Bush's entourage, and who then told the story to Israeli radio. That's not the best sourcing.

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Finally, if what this senior official said is true, you have to think about the motivations for the disclosure, on both the U.S. official's part and the Israelis'. Are they hawks trying to put on additional pressure for an attack? People opposed to a move against Iran trying to expose the plans? Or maybe just people trying to sound like they're connected? We really don't know.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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