President Bush re-affirms America's right to act pre-emptively, without permission from France, or the United Nations:
In the earlier report a year after the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush underscored his administration's adoption of a pre-emptive policy, marking the end of a deterrent military strategy that dominated the Cold War.
The latest report makes it clear Bush hasn't changed his mind, even though no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.
"When the consequences of an attack with weapons of mass destruction are potentially so devastating, we cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialize. ... The place of pre-emption in our national security strategy remains the same," Bush wrote.
The report had harsh words for Iran. It accused the regime of supporting terrorists, threatening
Israel and disrupting democratic reform in Iraq. Bush said diplomacy to halt Tehran's suspected nuclear weapons work must prevail to avert a conflict.
"This diplomatic effort must succeed if confrontation is to be avoided," Bush said.
He did not say what would happen if international negotiations with Iran failed...
Nothing makes one's words carry weight more than backing them up with action:
U.S. forces and Iraqi troops launched what the military described as the largest air assault since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion Thursday, targeting insurgent strongholds north of the capital.
The U.S. military said the raid, dubbed Operation Swarmer, was aimed at clearing "a suspected insurgent operating area" northeast of Samarra and was expected to last several days
"More than 1,500 Iraqi and coalition troops, over 200 tactical vehicles, and more than 50 aircraft participated in the operation," the military statement said.
The U.S. command in Baghdad said it was the largest number of aircraft used to insert troops and the largest number of troops inserted by air, although larger numbers of troops overall have been involved in previous operations.
Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi interim foreign minister, said the attack had been necessary to prevent insurgents from forming a new stronghold such as they had established in Fallujah, west of Baghdad.
Seems as if Iran gets these two combined messages loud and clear:
A top Iranian official said Thursday that Tehran was ready to open direct talks with the United States over Iraq, marking a major shift in Iranian foreign policy. Washington also said it was prepared to open discussions, although U.S. officials appeared to play down the offer.
"To resolve Iraqi issues and help the establishment of an independent and free government in Iraq, we agree to (talks with the United States)," Larijani told reporters after a closed meeting of the parliament Thursday.
Larijani's statement marked the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that Iran had officially called for dialogue with the United States, which it has repeatedly condemned as "the Great Satan"...
Speak softly, and carry a big stick, folks...still an effective strategy today...
George Bush gets it, Iran gets it, the Iraqi insurgents are getting it (and how!); do the Democrats grasp the concept yet? Or do they still believe that apologizing and groveling are the way to proceed?