According to a story in the Washington Post today (Sunday, April 9), the administration is considering its options for military strikes against Iran. This is all part of "coercive diplomacy", pressure on Iran to abandon any nuclear development programs they may have.
According to the Post, no attacks appear likely in the short term. There are also doubts about whether military methods would be effective against Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program. But, according to the Washington Post, "administration officials are preparing for it as a possible option and using the threat 'to convince them this is more and more serious,' as a senior official put it."
The possibility that Iran may develop nuclear weapons, particularly small weapons that could be sold to terrorist organizations and smuggled into the US is serious. Deterring Iran by being prepared for military action may be a useful strategy. However, with our military stretched to the limit by the war in Iraq, and with the growing opposition to Bush’s war, it is not likely that the president could obtain permission of Congress or support of the American people to strike Iran.
One of the consequences of the Iraq war is that our ability to pressure other countries with the threat of military action is greatly diminished, or eliminated.