Sunday, April 09, 2006

Iran War Plan

So here we go, deja vu all over again. The New Yorker has an article by Seymour Hersh that describes the war plan being developed by the Bush Administration for Iran.

Mr. Hersh is a fine reporter who has good connections in the military and he verifies with numerous sources. It was Hersh that broke the Abu Graib torture story and going back to Viet Nam, the My Lai case involving the massacre of civilians by American forces. When Hersh reports, I listen.

Some excerpts that intrigue me.

One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.” He added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they smoking?’ ”

That's a good question! Those guys were probably the same ones who thought the Iraqis would great us with flowers and that the Iraq War would be easy. Second, Iran fought a long hard war with Iraq and never backed down. They had many of their major cities bombed during that war. And personally I'm wondering when the American people decide to rise up and overthrow our own government for taking us into endless wars.

A senior Pentagon adviser on the war on terror expressed a similar view. “This White House believes that the only way to solve the problem is to change the power structure in Iran, and that means war,” he said. The danger, he said, was that “it also reinforces the belief inside Iran that the only way to defend the country is to have a nuclear capability.” A military conflict that destabilized the region could also increase the risk of terror: “Hezbollah comes into play,” the adviser said, referring to the terror group that is considered one of the world’s most successful, and which is now a Lebanese political party with strong ties to Iran. “And here comes Al Qaeda.”

The Bush doctrine of preemption applied to Iran, no doubt. But let me get this preemption thing straight. We preempted Saddam who had no WMDs and in the process losing over 2,300 and counting soldiers. Now, Bush is going to preempt Iran who most experts believe is at best 10 years from getting a nuclear weapon if that is what they are even trying to do.

If we were to bomb Shiite Iran, you can bet the Iraq War will be a huge civil war and thus we'd have to pull out. You can bet that Hezbollah will be aiming at us all over the world, no hotel, vacation spot, embassy, you name it that Americans go overseas will be safe. If we go to war with Iran, you might as well plan to stay in America to "feel" safe. I'm beginning to facetiously think that this is how Bush plans to ween us off Middle East oil, to make the whole Middle East dangerous for all Americans to visit including the oil dealers.

A senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, said that no one in the meetings with select members of Congress “is really objecting” to the talk of war. “The people they’re briefing are the same ones who led the charge on Iraq. At most, questions are raised: How are you going to hit all the sites at once? How are you going to get deep enough?” (Iran is building facilities underground.) “There’s no pressure from Congress” not to take military action, the House member added. “The only political pressure is from the guys who want to do it.” Speaking of President Bush, the House member said, “The most worrisome thing is that this guy has a messianic vision.”

Where have I heard this before? The Bush Administration discusses pre-war ideas with only those who are true believers in Congress. They get their story straight before talking to the American people. This is the pre-war propaganda check and a round-up of support. It shouldn't be long before we hear about how Iran will have a nuke in about a year, whether true or not.

Some operations, apparently aimed in part at intimidating Iran, are already under way. American Naval tactical aircraft, operating from carriers in the Arabian Sea, have been flying simulated nuclear-weapons delivery missions—rapid ascending maneuvers known as “over the shoulder” bombing—since last summer, the former official said, within range of Iranian coastal radars.

This is right out of the Bush/Blair meeting and pre-Iraq War, try to get Iran to react militarily for a casus belli. This might be called pre-preemption. This is what bullies do, remember from elementary school? First the relentless teasing until the poor kid can't take it anymore and finally swings, then the bully has the casus belli and beats the kid into a pulp. In diplomacy, Bush has never grown up from his childhood.

One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites.

So history would sort of repeat itself. The United States has been the only country to use a nuclear weapon ever. And Bush wants to be the only president to authorize nukes in a world of numerous countries that have nukes. Unlike in WWII when America was the sole nuclear bomb holder, today the climate is different. I can't imagine much of the world wouldn't be outraged. Bush is ready to nuke to stop a supposed building of a nuke someday in the future? So, why didn't he nuke North Korea a few years ago?

The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added, and some officers have talked about resigning. Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran—without success, the former intelligence official said. “The White House said, ‘Why are you challenging this? The option came from you.’ ”

The Pentagon adviser on the war on terror confirmed that some in the Administration were looking seriously at this option, which he linked to a resurgence of interest in tactical nuclear weapons among Pentagon civilians and in policy circles. He called it “a juggernaut that has to be stopped.”

He also confirmed that some senior officers and officials were considering resigning over the issue. “There are very strong sentiments within the military against brandishing nuclear weapons against other countries,” the adviser told me. “This goes to high levels.” The matter may soon reach a decisive point, he said, because the Joint Chiefs had agreed to give President Bush a formal recommendation stating that they are strongly opposed to considering the nuclear option for Iran.

“The internal debate on this has hardened in recent weeks,” the adviser said. “And, if senior Pentagon officers express their opposition to the use of offensive nuclear weapons, then it will never happen.”

I'm thinking that the Joint Chiefs of Staff are more stable thinking than Bush, that's for sure. Maybe resigning is not what they should do. Maybe a military coup wouldn't be such a bad thing these days. Storm the White House, remove Bush and Cheney, and then place a top military general in charge. I'm betting they'd announce they were geting out of Iraq within a year. I guess that's how bad I see Bush, I'd welcome a military coup although I'd much rather have an impeachment.

The New Yorker article is long and I recommend reading it.


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