"Wild Speculation"

…is the response from the president of the U.S. regarding a recently published report detailing alleged White House/Pentagon preparations to preemptively attack Iran.

In The Iran Plans, published in the latest New Yorker, Seymore M. Hersh outlines conversations with several leading Pentagon advisors and international diplomats privy to the escalation of a military plan to ‘address’ the problem with Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Some excerpts:

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?’ “

Good question. Although there are politically moderate movements in Iranian society – contrary to the country’s depiction in news snippets – bombing the country would probably do more to antagonize these potential allies.

In the words of a Petagon adviser:

He warned [the administration], as did many others, that bombing Iran could provoke “a chain reaction” of attacks on American facilities and citizens throughout the world: “What will 1.2 billion Muslims think the day we attack Iran?”

I would replace ‘1.2’ with ‘6’ and ‘Muslims’ with ‘people’, otherwise – in the grand scheme – we slide into an ethnocentric us vs. them dialogue.

The Pentagon adviser said that, in the event of an attack, the Air Force intended to strike many hundreds of targets in Iran but that “ninety-nine per cent of them have nothing to do with proliferation. There are people who believe it’s the way to operate”—that the Administration can achieve its policy goals in Iran with a bombing campaign, an idea that has been supported by neoconservatives.

(*cough* like Dresden?)

According to a “government consultant with close ties to civilians in the Pentagon”:

The broader aim […] is to “encourage ethnic tensions” and undermine the regime.

As if “ethnic tensions” can be turned on and off like a switch (furthermore – as if they couldn’t come back, a la bin Laden in Afghanistan, to bite the encourager).

I’ve been debating this report with some associates today. One of them thinks that the US will make a move prior to the elections later this year, in the hope that a refreshed ‘wartime administration’ can survive falling polls and drooping support at home. He argues that if the Republicans lose the power of Congress it will be harder for them to make the offensive possible. I personally think this is a very tall order and that, Congress or no Congress, the current US administration will use any means necessary to justify their interpretation of the foreign affairs.

One thing is for sure – the drip, drip, drip of a complacent American media will help to foment support via the usual techniques: a sense of inevitability, fear, and profound doubt in anyone (ie the IAEA, the UN) being able to offer a better solution.

In related news, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is insisting on visiting Germany to boost Iranian team support at this summer’s World Cup. A bit of trivia: the last time the U.S. met Iran at the World Cup, Iran beat them 2-1. Although both countries qualified for 2006, they are in separate groups and neither will find it particularly easy to progress for a possible re-match. Dare to dream.


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