Countdown to $200/bbl. oil

The fearless reporters of the McClatchy Newspapers' (formerly Knight-Ridder) Washington bureau, who stepped up where other mainstream reporters stumbled in the run-up to the Iraq war, are stepping up again :

In an echo of the intelligence wars that preceded the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a high-stakes struggle is brewing within the Bush administration and in Congress over Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program and involvement in terrorism.

U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials say Bush political appointees and hard-liners on Capitol Hill have tried recently to portray Iran's nuclear program as more advanced than it is and to exaggerate Tehran's role in Hezbollah's attack on Israel in mid-July.

Should it come to war, it appears public support would be widespread, if the results of this poll are to be believed.  77% of Americans believe Iran is on the verge of a working nuke, even if the Bush administration's own intelligence chief says Tehran is still five years away .