[Marxism] London Times: "There is simply no stomach for [attacking Iran} in Pentagon

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Wed Feb 28 19:41:32 MST 2007

This story appearing in the London Times, which has pro-Bush and pro-war up
till now, indicates that the unrest in the top US military is real and
likely gaining strength. Take that along with the indications that Petraeus,
the would-be organizer of victory, is now griping about not getting enough

Note also should be taken that the US strategy for attacking Iran seems to
be a variation of the Israeli strategy for attacking Lebanon which assumed
that Hezbollah could be destroyed politically and physically by air attacks,
without a major ground invasion. Now it is being suggested that Iran's
political-military structure can be crushed from the air, and that no US
troops need get into the act.  If the last eighty years of warfare indicate
anything, it is that this is so improbable as to be de facto impossible. 
Fred Feldman

By Michael Smith and Sarah Baxter 

Sunday Times (London) February 25, 2007 

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 defense 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 learned 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

A British defense 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

"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 defense secretary, has repeatedly warned against
striking Iran and is believed to represent the view of his senior

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
program 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 program is purely for civilian energy purposes. 

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

A second U.S. navy aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS John C
Stennis arrived in the Gulf last week, doubling the U.S. presence there.
Vice Admiral Patrick Walsh, the commander of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, warned:
"The U.S. will take military action if ships are attacked or if countries in
the region are targeted or U.S. 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 U.S.
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 clear." 

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
U.S. Navy was well aware of the risks of confrontation and was being
"seriously careful" in the Gulf. 

The U.S. 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 (http://www.ufppc.org/content/view/5834/) 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.

This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for free from

More information about the Marxism mailing list