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Not So Quiet on the Third Front

At this rate, the October Surprise won't be very surprising.

The threats, counterthreats, and counter-counterthreats between Israel, Iran and the United States have reached new levels of hysteria in recent days. Israel openly threatens to attack Iran's nuclear program, Iran threatens to shut down oil-shipping lanes, and the commander of the U.S. fleet in the Persian Gulf, Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff, says this would be an "act of war" requiring an American military response.

That was the backdrop yesterday as Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, faced the cameras in the Pentagon briefing room. Mullen, just back from a trip to Israel that further raised speculation about an Israeli attack, was asked whether Cosgriff's saber rattling would raise tensions with Iran.

"Actually," the chairman replied, "I think Admiral Cosgriff, who made that statement, is making an accurate statement."

Or, as John McCain might sing, "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."

Read the whole Sketch.

By Dana Milbank  | July 3, 2008; 12:00 AM ET
 
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