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April 16, 2006


That Hersh piece was not merely "back in January", it was back in Januray 2005. That is how long these neocons have been planning the Iranian phase of their GWOT.

While it was not the Defense Department and was the CIA -- I really recommend Gary Brendtsen's book, Jawbreaker, which describes the CIA para-military attack on Afghanistan for an understanding of the tactics. Brendtsen was the lead ofrficer in this -- and was removed right in the midst of his efforts to capture bin Laden at Tora Bora in exchange for someone under DOD command. (Little turf battle there).

I have grave doubts whether anything in Iran is capable of being taken down by the kind of tactics used in Afghanistan -- actually the love affair that Rumsfeld adores that is covert ops on the cheap. But what we need to understand is what those tactics look like -- and Jawbreaker does describe them. And more than that we need a press that looks for the evidence of this sort of thing, be it American or otherwise, that reports the evidence.

Right now we have Hersh as one good reporter telling us what he has heard, not what he has observed. We need more to validate.

But we also need plans to make life very cramped and unpleasant for members of congress if any of this is true. I suspect what is called now the "Revolt of the Generals" is part of this -- but we shall see.

Thanks for the correction, Arthur KC--I knew it was 2005, it was right in front of me, but I've been finishing my taxes and the forms all say 2005, and somehow I thought it was still 2005.

I definitely think that the Generals' revolt is at least in part about their fears of what is coming next. Reid should call Lieberman in and ask him what he's been told, as Bush's "House Democrat" about this war.

I hope for more pointed questions when the Congress returns, and more declarations that any escalation requires Congress' approval. And then I hope that approval is withheld on the grounds that
(1) we haven't finished the last 2 wars;
(2) they were both very poorly prosecuted so why should we think this one would be different and
(3) the stakes are so much higher morally, economically and security-wise that diplomacy had better be tried very, very seriously and military action is not needed under the present circumstances (8-10 years from the bomb).

Thanks Mimi for an important and in my opinion necessary post. Posts like your's put pressure on the corporate media to start asking the identical question. With that said, I doubt any fighting actually has occurred. The current Iranian government has every incentive to broadcast any such attack. It reinforces their notion that they are the victim of U.S. aggression. This applies to shooting down U.S. reconaissance flites too, which I think are taking place. If fighting occurs, the most likely scenario that I have heard is exclusively air combat. Even if Iran had anything remotely approaching a nuclear capability, it's underground, which means bda (bomb damage assessment) can't be done from the air. The Leaker-in-Chief, however, doesn't care, he just want something to distract Americans from his failures. From Juan Cole's (University of MIhttp://www.juancole.com/) web site: "MOSCOW (AP): Russia's nuclear chief on Thursday said Iran is far from being capable of industrial-scale uranium enrichment, the Interfax news agency reported. Russian Federal Nuclear Energy Agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko said the enrichment facility in the Iranian city of Natanz, equipped with 164 gas centrifuges, could not produce any significant amount of enriched uranium, which can be used to fuel power plants or produce atomic weapons. "These centrifuges allow Iran to conduct laboratory uranium enrichment to a low level in insignificant amounts," Kiriyenko was quoted as saying. "The acquisition of highly enriched uranium is unfeasible today using this method."
If Russia isn't panicked, why should we?

I'd like to understand the political ramifications of either a covert or air attack on Iran. How would the American public react? Would they rally to support Bush and the Republicans or would they reject the Republican party this Nov? How would the Democrats behave? Would they calculate wrongly like many did when the Iraq authorization came up or stand up now in opposition and camapign on that opposition this Nov?

I can believe Rove wanting to go to his tried and true strategy. The question is will the Dems follow script or do something different this time. Biden recently has said the Dems are split. Will "triangulating" Dems give Rove and Cheney the opening they need so badly?

ON NPR I've heard one or two second hand quotes from Senator Lugar -- our very laid back Republican Chair of Foreign Relations, indicating he has doubts too about the emergency nature of the Iran Nuclear Project, and plans hearings. Biden is his opposite number on the Dem side.

Lugar is the Lugar of Nunn Lugar fame, and that was a good collaboration as I see it vis a vis the Soviet Nuclear stockpile. Perhaps the thing to do is press Lugar for a second act with his good friend former Senator Nunn. In fact, if Bush is looking for a substitute and bi-partisian Sec of Defense, Sam Nunn might be available. Lugar is calling for Bush to initiate broad talks on Regional Power issues -- and to get his mind off a few experiments with Uranium. Apparently Lugar wants to mesh the talks with India about Nuclear power production with Iran and China -- and he is pointing away from shooting war.

Lugar could supprise -- remember he was the one who went to Manila and talked the Morcos family into giving up power, and going into exile, avoiding civil war. With the Generals revolting on Bush he might just be ripe for proposals from the Nunn Lugar bi-partisian center of things.

The difference is that Reagan was joking.

One of the overlooked political problems of an attack on Iran is that the facilities that are on the hit list, such as Natanz, are all "safeguarded" and subject to inspection, monitoring and verification by the IAEA.

I appreciate that the neocon faction in Washington may not care, but this would constitute a serious breach of US obligations under the NNPT, and would, to all intents and purposes, destroy the treaty. I'm not sure that the plurality of the US political-military-diplomatic elite is really prepared to do this.

I'm not sure that the plurality of the US political-military-diplomatic elite is really prepared to do this.
I'm sure they are not, in fact that much might be true of more than a mere plurality. Thank your for pointing it out, it's a good argument to include in our letters to editors. But in these exhausting times, let's not forget Who Gets to Decide. I fear the only solution will be for suitable majorities to take that option away from him.

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