Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Good Guys

Seymour Hersh is reporting that there's a growing conviction within the Bush administration that military action against Iran is necessary. Hersh, for those who don't know, is a highly respected and very well connected investigative reporter so it's not easy to dismiss these claims out of hand. It's worth reading the article in full.

Perhaps moost worryingly, the notion of pre-emptive "low yield" tactical nuclear first strikes against underground Iranian facilities raises its ugly head once again.
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.
The adviser added, however, that the idea of using tactical nuclear weapons in such situations has gained support from the Defense Science Board, an advisory panel whose members are selected by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. “They’re telling the Pentagon that we can build the B61 with more blast and less radiation,” he said.
So that's a first strike with nuclear weapons in order to prevent another country aquiring the technology to build nuclear weapons. How can you even try to reason with people who think that this is an acceptable option?

On a related note, there's some controversy at the moment as to whether an upcoming military test in the Nevada desert is a "low-yield nuclear weapons shock simulation designed to allow the warfighters to fine-tune the yield of nuclear weapons in strikes on underground facilities". The budget documents say it is. The Pentagon says it is not. Hmm.

Hersh also claims that the President's primary goal is regime change in Iran.
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?’ ”
What indeed? How often does this have to be tried before these morons realise that it doesn't work? I feel like an idiot for even wanting to explain why it's so totally ridiculous. Bombing another country does not make the population of that country more sympathetic to your cause. Instead, it rallies the people to give increased support to their own leaders. How hard is that to understand? Too hard for some apparently.

For once, I find myself in agreement with Jack Straw. He said:
The idea of a nuclear strike on Iran is completely nuts.
That's something Jack is well placed to recognise, of course. Unfortunately, it does nothing to exclude the possibility that the Whitehouse is seriously considering it.

Straw also said that he was "certain as he could be" that the US are not doing to launch a pre-emptive military strike on Iran. This, based on past experience, presumably means that the attacks have already been pencilled in to the Presidential diary.

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