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David Gergen says Bush advisors may push for Iran strike because next administration might not

Reported by Chrish - April 19, 2006

David Gergen, editor-at-large at US News and World Report and advisor to four Presidents, was a guest on The Big Story today 4/18/06 in between segments on the Duke lacrosse players and the Natalee Holloway investigation. While he didn't understate his concerns about Iran, he did keep it in perspective saying Iran is not a threat to us right now.

Gergen thinks Bush is right to keep "all options on the table", as Iran poses a growing threat to the Middle East. Their threats to Israel are a destabilizing force in the area but we are not "eyeball to eyeball" yet, not on the brink of a confrontation, and what we're seeing is an escalation of rhetoric, not action.

Gibson asked if Americans should perceive Ahmadnejad in the same way as Hitler, with video of goose-stepping Iranian soldiers playing for visual reinforcement. Gergen carefully answered that we have paid a price in the past for not paying attention to what radicals were saying so yes, we should pay attention. He can't be trusted and does pose a danger in the region and we need to be moving forward aggressively, hopefully short of war.

Gergen says so far diplomacy has not been effective, and Bush will pretty soon face a tough call. On the one hand he is being urged to have sit-down talks and agree to leave Iran alone if they foreswear pursuing nuclear weapons, while others are calling for pre-emptive military strikes. Geregn puts forth the idea that as Bush nears the end of his term, he may feel he has to make a military strike because he fears his successor may not take action; people in his administration will be talking about that. Gibson wonders if Bush will have his "hand forced" before he leaves office, and Gergen says that experts say it will be longer but h he thinks there are people around Bush who will tell him he's the only one with the guts to do it. Let's get it done on your watch. It's not going to be popular and will stun the world but it will save our country and be in the interest of our long-term security. Bush may not do that, but Gergen bets that that argument will be made to him.

Asked if he thinks that's good advice, Gergen says it's important to keep all options on the table, and for the Iranians to know that all options are on the table.

Comment: They speak so calmly of such totally insane ideas. How did crazy immoral people the world over get to be in such powerful positions?

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