I am smitten with U.S. Department of State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack.
This was from the briefing on Monday.
MR. MCCORMACK: Go ahead.
QUESTION: I mean, Sean, sort of a follow-up on all these questions. In a general sense, the big (inaudible) at the moment we've seen, you know, cover of Newsweek, cover of Economist saying Iran could be next, a lot of speculation about military action. Can you give me any reaction to that?
MR. MCCORMACK: It seems to be the news media that is whipping up that storyline, not us. We're dead serious about confronting threats to our troops in Iraq. We're also very serious, working through diplomatic channels, to address threats to the rest of the world about Iran trying to develop a nuclear weapon. We have expended quite a bit of diplomatic energy and capital, and I expect we will probably expend a lot more absent an Iranian turnaround in trying to convince them, using diplomatic means, to change their behavior.
We're also going to work with interested states around the world and nongovernmental organizations in trying to bring to light the abuses of human rights that take place on a daily basis inside of Iran. That is -- we believe as a country that stands up for freedom, democracy and human rights around the world that it's our obligation to do that.
But you notice that we're working through diplomatic means to accomplish all of those ends. President Bush has made it very clear that we, as has Secretary Gates -- Secretary of Defense Gates has made it very clear that while we don't take option -- no President takes options off the table, our force protection actions are focused on activities inside of Iraq. We have no plans to attack Iran.
So I'll put it to you that it might be -- you might look amongst yourselves and your colleagues within the journalistic community in terms of people who are whipping this up. It's certainly not the U.S. Government.
QUESTION: A lot of Bush critics are saying that the language that's being used in Iran kind of echoes the same kind of language that was being used in 2003.
MR. MCCORMACK: And what kind of language is that?
QUESTION: Well, even I can even quote Senator Rockefeller saying, "To be quite honest, I'm a little concerned that it's Iraq all over again."
MR. MCCORMACK: Look, you're asking me to make a political statement about what is clearly another political statement. I'm not going to do that. I'll let people that are involved in politics play those games.
QUESTION: Iran signaled this weekend that they were ready to go back to negotiations on their nuclear program. Do you think it's a new language or did you see anything new on that?
MR. MCCORMACK: You know, this seems to be a replay of something we saw back in April of 2006, very similar language about how they were ready to work through the modalities to enter back into negotiations, and thus far we've seen nothing from them. So this seems to be an old trick. It didn't work the first time because they didn't follow through on any of those words with any actions. It's very clear what they need to do: 1737 outlines it very clearly. So words are great, but they don't mean anything unless they're backed up by actions.
I am praying for peace - But I think Mr. McCormack nails it, the media needs to start holding other media accountable. Serious situations should not turn political.