The military’s problem with the President’s Iran policy

Worth reading… interesting perspective on Iraq… here are the first few paragraphs…

[quote]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.”

In President Bush’s June speech, he accused Iran of pursuing a secret weapons program along with its civilian nuclear-research program (which it is allowed, with limits, under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty). The senior officers in the Pentagon do not dispute the President’s contention that Iran intends to eventually build a bomb, but they are frustrated by the intelligence gaps. A former senior intelligence official told me that people in the Pentagon were asking, “What’s the evidence? We’ve got a million tentacles out there, overt and covert, and these guys”—the Iranians—“have been working on this for eighteen years, and we have nothing? We’re coming up with jack shit.”

A senior military official told me, “Even if we knew where the Iranian enriched uranium was—and we don’t—we don’t know where world opinion would stand. The issue is whether it’s a clear and present danger. If you’re a military planner, you try to weigh options. What is the capability of the Iranian response, and the likelihood of a punitive response—like cutting off oil shipments? What would that cost us?” Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his senior aides “really think they can do this on the cheap, and they underestimate the capability of the adversary,” he said.

In 1986, Congress authorized the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to act as the “principal military adviser” to the President. In this case, I was told, the current chairman, Marine General Peter Pace, has gone further in his advice to the White House by addressing the consequences of an attack on Iran. “Here’s the military telling the President what he can’t do politically”—raising concerns about rising oil prices, for example—the former senior intelligence official said. “The J.C.S. chairman going to the President with an economic argument—what’s going on here?” (General Pace and the White House declined to comment. The Defense Department responded to a detailed request for comment by saying that the Administration was “working diligently” on a diplomatic solution and that it could not comment on classified matters.)

A retired four-star general, who ran a major command, said, “The system is starting to sense the end of the road, and they don’t want to be condemned by history. They want to be able to say, ‘We stood up.’ ”


Yes, yes, yes Toetag. We have all seen Seymour Hersh’s accounts of the people (none named though) he spoke with who agree (naturally) with his views on how stupid the administration is and how it should be “reigned in.” In the meantime, I want a few bombs sent Teheran way if that is what it takes to send the message. Iran is the No. 1 supporter and funder of terrorism and IT is responsible for many of the attacks and much of the violence in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world. I believe that anywhere up to 400 or 500 of the top al Qaeda who fled Afghanistan are housed in Iran. I believe that Zarkawi received active support from Iran including from Iranian agents in Iraq. Removing the mullahs should be a key goal with or without progress on the nuclear front. The nuclear weapons question is just one of the many planks in constructing the building to serve the purpose of regime change. It is time for the mullahs to go or this conflict in the Middle East is never going to end.

The problem is the USA spent all its political currency on Iraq’s WMD program. They will find fewer friends to support them taking any action against Iran. Once bitten, twice shy.

Sorry to jump a surprisingly lucid post by Dr Z, but I have to agree with Freddles when he says:

Fucking A, man! I’ve seen what a few Korean missiles can do to my personal wealth and hell, hitting Iran would make me a permanent believer while also writing off my HK tax debt.

Let’s roll!


Well gee Fred, why do you think few of the sources are named? Could it be that Bush has a record of “outing” intelligence workers and putting their lives at risk, as he did with Plame? Could it be that they might lose their job? Could it be that Bush is tapping Hersh’s phone? Or will call his article treasonous for revealing secrets? I guess he does all this to make it easy for you and the right wing bloggers to go through the motions of your predicable (yawn) discrediting of sources and ad hominem attacks, and to whinge about how they don’t name sources. The New Yorker has a hell of a lot more credibility (and subscribers) than your Reverend Moon owned Washington Times.

Yeah, let’s bomb 'em, rah rah rah! It solved all our problems in Iraq… Mission Accomplished!

The problem is that everyone agreed that Saddam was a threat. As usual, take Rwanda, Darfur, Bosnia, Kosovo, etc., no one wants to do anything about it except the US.

Really? Who is leading the negotiations and the action against Iran? GERMANY AND FRANCE along with the UK. Interesting eh?

Regardless of the “support,” we don’t need everyone to be on board to do something about Iran. Now, our dialogue-loving, negotiations-happy Europeans have a chance to prove that “soft power” can deter a nation like Iran. We are at over three years now and … er how’s the plan going? Now, I am assuming that this debate will work only with those who actually believe that Iran should not have nuclear weapons. For those who believe that every nation deserves them or has a right to have them because of what Israel has, then hey, I have nothing to say except everyone is entitled to their opinions but having such a view simply removes you from the rational discourse on the subject.

I don’t know Toe Tag. I gues you will have to ask Seymour why he can never get a direct quote from anyone…

Seems that the defense department had issues with the number of errors in his last article. I believe that exchange was already posted. Remember his “experts” and their views on all the “secret additions” to the military council? haha

So you now have proof that Bush outed Plame? Great. When will we see that in the frontpage news? Or will Seymour be printing it in one of his articles of unnamed sources?

Last time I checked, any official who works in a public or private capacity can be sacked for making public statements that are directly at odds with official government, administration or corporate policy and that has been the case for oh quite a number of years right now.

Oh dear…

Yeah. We can all see how ridiculous it is for Bush to be upset about the NY Times article. It’s not like we are at war or anything. Terrorists need to be protected like the spotted owl. It is about maintaining discourse so that everyone with a narrative can share in the public space… yawn…

sort of like the kind of journalism that Hersh specializes in? haha I love your double standards…

Great. I am going to start posting information on this form with no links and no sources and you will all accept that? I will let Seymour’s article stand if you agree to allow the entire truckload of stuff that I am going to post and you will just have to “accept” my views? haha

Oh? What’s wrong with the Washington Times. Got ANY evidence at all that it has ever printed a story that was not true? not covered a story that was important? has done anything unethical in terms of journalistic principles? I think you must have it confused with the Washington Post and doubly so with the NY Times. Jason Blair? Worked for whom? er? um?

The sad thing you simpletons do not understand is that there were negotiations with Iraq for 12 years. That is a long time to get led around by the nose. You would suggest that we should have waited 12 more years and that Saddam was not a threat. BUT while we have found no new wmd stocks we have found more than 500 tons of old ones that were supposed to have been destroyed but clearly were not. We are finding more all the time. Iraq would be much more stable today if we had treated this as the regional problem that it is rather than pretending Saddam was an isolated example of what is wrong in the region. There will be no stability in Iraq until the mullahs are out of Iran. You do understand that they are responsible for funding, arming and supporting a huge amount of the terrorism in the region. To a lesser extent, Syria must be dealt with as well and we do have to eventually deal with the Wahabit nonsense (hate speech) that is funded and supported by Riyadh. But you and your ilk will never see or understand why military power is sometimes needed. This despite Kosovo, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, etc. etc. etc. and hey, knock yourself out with your precious esoteric sensibilities. In the mean time, the world will move on and I will tell you right now. IF or rather WHEN the European “negotiations” fail, we will have two years to deal with Iran’s nukes and with Bush in office, we will. One hopes the mullahs will be overthrown but… if they are not… I give you 90 percent odds on some kind of military action.

Or, in simpler terms…