At Via Meadia we’ve been saying for some time that the world underestimates the chances that the Obama administration will go to war with Iran over its nuclear program.After Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s interview with CBS, it’s time for the world to reassess. The administration, Secretary Panetta makes clear will not allow Iran to get a nuclear bomb. Period. If Washington must bomb Iranian facilities in order to stop them, Obama will bomb.In a recent interview with CBS news anchor Scott Pelley, Panetta said “the United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us”. He continued: “We will take whatever steps are necessary to stop them”. A nuclear Iran is “unacceptable”. When US secretaries talk about “whatever steps are necessary” they are not usually talking about holding one more meeting of the sanctions committee. They are thinking shock and awe rather than cookies and tea.Panetta said the Iranians could have a bomb in a year or less; we’ve heard this before. The point is, Washington doesn’t believe the mullahs have stopped building. Unless that changes, the Obama administration is headed toward war with Iran, quite possibly before November of 2012.Ron Paul may join the Truther movement and the moonbat brigade in screaming “Wag the dog!” but the administration has been carefully preparing the groundwork for a confrontation for some time — while holding open the possibility that the US will change its approach if Iran will drop the bomb program. That doesn’t seem to be working, and we now seem to be in something of a pre-war atmosphere with Iran. The best remaining hope is that the mullahs will take note of the mounting international pressure, the rare show of unity binding the Saudis, the French, the Germans, and the Americans together, and draw the conclusion that the nuke drive isn’t paying off.The United States and the Obama administration should be doing everything possible to resolve this problem using peaceful means — but in situations like this, preparing for war and threatening to use force may be the only tools left to preserve the peace. Our best remaining hope for peace is that the Iranians think the Americans have been bluffing and that as they realize the administration is serious they will rethink the nuclear program. This, one presumes, is why we are hearing such strong rhetoric now. The Obama administration is hoping that advertising its increasing readiness to use force, and putting itself in a position where it will have no choice but to follow through with its threats, will give the Iranians pause.But the cost is clear: the tougher the rhetoric, the more the administration commits itself to follow through. After Panetta’s interview the administration seems to be painted into a corner. Iran will either stop its nuclear program (offering convincing proof of its actions) or the bombs are going to fall. What happens after that, nobody knows.