By Editor-in-chief
updated 1/30/2007 11:05:09 AM ET 2007-01-30T16:05:09

Is war with Iran next? That’s the question Americans are asking themselves this week — and the most skeptical among them fear the answer is preordained.

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“What amazes me is how suddenly ‘thinkable’ the whole war-with-Iran scenario has become. Only a little while ago it was just a prediction by some of us wild-eyed paranoids,” writes a community member in one of many online discussions about Iran.

“I submit that the entire ‘surge’ and much of this war was designed for precisely this reason: To widen this war and create the false impression that we have no choice,” continued “Omniadeo.” “We do have a choice.”

The online buzz about Iran stems from President Bush declaring Monday that the United States “will respond firmly” if Iran escalates military action in Iraq and endangers American forces.

Insisting that he has no intention of invading Iran, the president also acknowledged skepticism concerning U.S. intelligence about Iran, because Washington was wrong in accusing Iraq of harboring weapons of mass destruction before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. “I’m like a lot of Americans that say, ‘Well, if it wasn’t right in Iraq, how do you know it’s right in Iran,’” the president said.

One of those skeptical Americans goes by the username “wamoshiii,” who says: “I’ll settle for talking with Iran and the other relevant players while standing at the ready to wallop them if and only if absolutely necessary – and we are not close to that point.”

“That is why I keep saying that we need to talk,” replied “1averagejoe usa.” “This military idea is not going to solve anything.”

This is a tough subject,” wrote “ezwriter.” “On the one hand, we have the Iranians who are probably misbehaving in their own self-interest and need someone to discourage their behavior. On the other hand, we have (Bush) whose credibility is in the toilet and whose motives are suspect. We don’t want him running off on his own agenda and starting something our children have to pay for.”

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