Headlining the New York Times today was a little ditty they like to call "Sharon Asks U.S. to Pressure Iran to Give Up Its Nuclear Program", and it goes something like this:
Spreading photographs of Iranian nuclear sites over a lunch table at the Bush ranch in Texas on Monday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel urged President Bush to step up pressure on Iran to give up all elements of its nuclear program, according to senior American and Israeli officials.
Mr. Sharon said Israeli intelligence showed Iran was near "a point of no return" in learning how to develop a weapon, the officials said. However, Mr. Sharon gave no indication that Israel was preparing to act alone to attack Iranian nuclear facilities, a prospect that Vice President Dick Cheney, who was at the lunch, raised publicly three months ago.
In a conversation lasting more than an hour, Mr. Sharon argued that European nations negotiating with Iran were softening their position and may be willing to allow it to hold on to technology to enrich uranium.
American officials said the evidence Mr. Sharon presented, including aerial photographs of sites in Iran, was neither startling nor new to Mr. Bush. But they said the prime minister was clearly pressuring Mr. Bush not to allow the European negotiations with Iran to drag on.
Look, I'm no expert on the region and I'm only occasionally included on the president's daily intelligence briefings, but could we at least try not to make our actions toward Iran look like a Zionist plot? Sharon's data is likely correct and his concerns clearly warranted, but couldn't this be hashed out privately over e-mail, rather than explained in great detail to America's most prominent newspaper? It just seems that if we want to put pressure on the Iranian government, the easiest way to help them resist is to make it seem that our actions are the result of pillow talk with Israel. Optics matter, dammit.
It's time like this that I want to join with Heather Hurlbert and draft Karl Rove to State. Between him and Karen Hughes maybe someone could figure out how things'll play in the media. Maybe.