"On the “Iran question”, we note an increase in what might be called “informed community internal debate”...a real discussion debate, not a “leak” of what’s being actively planned. The topic...“if” the US launched a pre-emptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, what would be the result?
As we go through the list-serve postings from diplomats, career military folks, strategic planners, and even a few journalists, we are struck by a sense of what might be termed reluctant inevitability. You don’t have to have to have read Sy Hersh’s latest, fascinating and depressing report in The New Yorker, to know that there has been a great deal of back-channel discussion between the US, Israel and other potential players, on the policy and practicalities of a possible effort to knock out Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
But Hersh’s piece is particularly valuable in that it adds meat to the bones of suspicion that the top levels of the professional US military are very, very concerned that the political decision-makers are not adequately assessing the likely Iranian reaction to a pre-emptive attack.
It is not a cheap-shot to constantly remind ourselves of the level of delusion which characterized the Bush Administration’s pre-Iraq war “intelligence”, a failure only exceeded by the post-war planning and execution. The lesson, is that it is both fair, and potentially life critical, to ask whether this Administration can be trusted to rationally assess what to do about Iran. ...
In the past few days, a professional military list serve we monitor has been full of a long list of questions, with some speculative answers. What strikes us as both daunting, and critically important, is a rising sense that hitting Iran would not be like going after the Taliban in Afghanistan. Rather, it would...absolutely would...produce attacks on not just US interests in the region, but the US itself.
The most commonly held view is that whether Iran struck back openly or indirectly, the results would certainly include an even worse security situation in Iraq, and blows directed at Saudi Arabia’s oil shipping capacity...with all that would imply to the US and world economy.
Given this assumption, the key question thus becomes whether the various attack risks can be balanced against the risk of trying to negotiate an acceptable Iranian membership in the international nuclear weapons club...”another Pakistan” is the most frequent analogy.
Where the internal discussion gets really depressing is a sense, among many careful, educated experts, that even if the odious Amadinejad was not President of Iran (with due allowance for the checks on his power), the example of the precarious situation in Pakistan gives us the real answer to “allowing” a mullah-controlled Iran to achieve nuclear weapons capability, at some point in the future. ..."
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
reluctant inevitability re iran
chris nelson via laura:
Posted by lukery at 8/29/2006 10:00:00 AM