The New York Times reports that the United States and the United Kingdom are increasing their naval presence in the Persian Gulf in a bid to pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions. The addition of two carrier task forces is meant to demonstrate that the U.S. military is not so stretched that it can't threaten Iran (or North Korea, for that matter).
At the same time, President Bush confirmed yesterday his intentions to increase the size of the standing army and marine corps, recognizing that the military isn't capable of meeting the multiple demands currently being placed upon it.
My concern, as Iraq continues to spiral downward, is that the administration will expand the War on Terror to Iran, seeking to shut down its support for sectarian violence in Iraq and elsewhere. Is this naval deployment, and the call for an expanded military, the first steps in that direction? Or is that too much to expect a lameduck president facing a Congress controlled by the opposition to be able to pull off? I'm not ready to underestimate the imperial ambitions of this administration.
Now, more than ever, it is time for the peace movement in the United States and abroad to accelerate the pressure for an end to the War on Terror, which is a self-perpetuating dynamic of violence feeding violence. With public support for the war at an all time low, a new Congress coming into office, and increasing casualties, we have an opportunity through nonviolent witness to make a difference in the world. End the occupation. End torture. Restore a sense of honor and decency to our nation for the sake of the world.
May our prayer be that of the angels, "Peace on earth and goodwill to all people."