[Marxism] re: military coup or anti-coup?

Greg McDonald sabocat59 at mac.com
Mon Feb 26 05:20:22 MST 2007

OK, so maybe there will not be a military coup here in the face of an  
attack on Iran, but this article, published yesterday in the London  
Times, posits a rather different scenario which is alot more  
plausible. I'm curious what people think the ripple effect might be  
within the military, if indeed, the generals resign. Greg

Published on Sunday, February 25, 2007 by the Sunday Times/UK
US Generals ‘Will Quit’ If Bush Orders Iran Attack
by Michael Smith and Sarah Baxter in Washington

SOME of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to  
resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran,  
according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.

Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is  
becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves  
office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and  
admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider  
would be a reckless attack.

“There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would  
resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,” a source with close ties  
to British intelligence said. “There is simply no stomach for it in  
the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack  
would be effective or even possible.”

A British defence source confirmed that there were deep misgivings  
inside the Pentagon about a military strike. “All the generals are  
perfectly clear that they don’t have the military capacity to take  
Iran on in any meaningful fashion. Nobody wants to do it and it would  
be a matter of conscience for them.

“There are enough people who feel this would be an error of judgment  
too far for there to be resignations.”

A generals’ revolt on such a scale would be unprecedented. “American  
generals usually stay and fight until they get fired,” said a  
Pentagon source. Robert Gates, the defence secretary, has repeatedly  
warned against striking Iran and is believed to represent the view of  
his senior commanders.

The threat of a wave of resignations coincided with a warning by Vice- 
President Dick Cheney that all options, including military action,  
remained on the table. He was responding to a comment by Tony Blair  
that it would not “be right to take military action against Iran”.

Iran ignored a United Nations deadline to suspend its uranium  
enrichment programme last week. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad  
insisted that his country “will not withdraw from its nuclear stances  
even one single step”.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran could soon  
produce enough enriched uranium for two nuclear bombs a year,  
although Tehran claims its programme is purely for civilian energy  

Nicholas Burns, the top US negotiator, is to meet British, French,  
German, Chinese and Russian officials in London tomorrow to discuss  
additional penalties against Iran. But UN diplomats cautioned that  
further measures would take weeks to agree and would be mild at best.

A second US navy aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS John C  
Stennis arrived in the Gulf last week, doubling the US presence  
there. Vice Admiral Patrick Walsh, the commander of the US Fifth  
Fleet, warned: “The US will take military action if ships are  
attacked or if countries in the region are targeted or US troops come  
under direct attack.”

But General Peter Pace, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said  
recently there was “zero chance” of a war with Iran. He played down  
claims by US intelligence that the Iranian government was responsible  
for supplying insurgents in Iraq, forcing Bush on the defensive.

Pace’s view was backed up by British intelligence officials who said  
the extent of the Iranian government’s involvement in activities  
inside Iraq by a small number of Revolutionary Guards was “far from  

Hillary Mann, the National Security Council’s main Iran expert until  
2004, said Pace’s repudiation of the administration’s claims was a  
sign of grave discontent at the top.

“He is a very serious and a very loyal soldier,” she said. “It is  
extraordinary for him to have made these comments publicly, and it  
suggests there are serious problems between the White House, the  
National Security Council and the Pentagon.”

Mann fears the administration is seeking to provoke Iran into a  
reaction that could be used as an excuse for an attack. A British  
official said the US navy was well aware of the risks of  
confrontation and was being “seriously careful” in the Gulf.

The US air force is regarded as being more willing to attack Iran.  
General Michael Moseley, the head of the air force, cited Iran as the  
main likely target for American aircraft at a military conference  
earlier this month.

According to a report in The New Yorker magazine, the Pentagon has  
already set up a working group to plan airstrikes on Iran. The panel  
initially focused on destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities and on  
regime change but has more recently been instructed to identify  
targets in Iran that may be involved in supplying or aiding militants  
in Iraq.

However, army chiefs fear an attack on Iran would backfire on  
American troops in Iraq and lead to more terrorist attacks, a rise in  
oil prices and the threat of a regional war.

Britain is concerned that its own troops in Iraq might be drawn into  
any American conflict with Iran, regardless of whether the government  
takes part in the attack.

One retired general who participated in the “generals’ revolt”  
against Donald Rumsfeld’s handling of the Iraq war said he hoped his  
former colleagues would resign in the event of an order to attack.  
“We don’t want to take another initiative unless we’ve really thought  
through the consequences of our strategy,” he warned.

© Copyright 2007 Times Newspapers Ltd

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