[Marxism] Son of Iraq
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jul 3 07:38:21 MDT 2006
The military's problem with the President's Iran policy.
by SEYMOUR M. HERSH
Issue of 2006-07-10
On May 31st, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced what appeared to
be a major change in U.S. foreign policy. The Bush Administration, she
said, would be willing to join Russia, China, and its European allies in
direct talks with Iran about its nuclear program. There was a condition,
however: the negotiations would not begin until, as the President put it in
a June 19th speech at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, "the Iranian regime
fully and verifiably suspends its uranium enrichment and reprocessing
activities." Iran, which has insisted on its right to enrich uranium, was
being asked to concede the main point of the negotiations before they
started. The question was whether the Administration expected the Iranians
to agree, or was laying the diplomatic groundwork for future military
action. In his speech, Bush also talked about "freedom for the Iranian
people," and he added, "Iran's leaders have a clear choice." There was an
unspoken threat: the U.S. Strategic Command, supported by the Air Force,
has been drawing up plans, at the President's direction, for a major
bombing campaign in Iran.
Inside the Pentagon, senior commanders have increasingly challenged the
President's plans, according to active-duty and retired officers and
officials. The generals and admirals have told the Administration that the
bombing campaign will probably not succeed in destroying Iran's nuclear
program. They have also warned that an attack could lead to serious
economic, political, and military consequences for the United States.
A crucial issue in the military's dissent, the officers said, is the fact
that American and European intelligence agencies have not found specific
evidence of clandestine activities or hidden facilities; the war planners
are not sure what to hit. "The target array in Iran is huge, but it's
amorphous," a high-ranking general told me. "The question we face is, When
does innocent infrastructure evolve into something nefarious?" The
high-ranking general added that the military's experience in Iraq, where
intelligence on weapons of mass destruction was deeply flawed, has affected
its approach to Iran. "We built this big monster with Iraq, and there was
nothing there. This is son of Iraq," he said.
"There is a war about the war going on inside the building," a Pentagon
consultant said. "If we go, we have to find something."
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