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Escalating the Groundwork

This past Sunday was the fifth anniversary of a very significant speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars made by Vice President Dick Cheney. For the speech could be seen as setting the tone for the rhetoric that would eventually lead the US to war with Iraq.

Up until that point, much of the rhetoric centered on Saddam's support of terrorism. But even with 9/11 in our not too distant memory, this rationale wasn't enough to scare the public into supporting a military confrontation. So the Bush administration tried a new tact and decided to play on the fears of many of nuclear annihilation. After Cheney's address, other members of the Bush administration from the President on down coached their statements in those terms whenever discussing the need to confront the threat that Iraq posed. President Bush and and then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice famously invoked the subtle imagery of "mushroom clouds" to make their case for war.

Five years and a debacle of a war later, the Bushies have dropped the subtlety.
In his speech about Iraq to the American Legion today, President Bush warned that allowing Iran to pursue “technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.

Now one might be willing to pass this off as the rantings of a lame duck president looking for an excuse to make bold but ultimately toothless threats. But we ignore this at our peril. For when viewed in the context of recent reports, one wonders if this speech will come to be seen as the 2007 equivalent of Cheney's VFW speech that set the stage for war.

And the drums get ever louder...

More from Larisa, Michael, and Larry Johnson.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

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