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What next with Iran?
November 19, 2006 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Dealing with Iran after Rumsfeld. Seymour Hersh details the ongoing debate over how to deal with Iran's nuclear program. There's something here for everyone to worry about.
posted by Dasein (22 comments total)

 
Whether you're concerned with the effects of American bombing - inflamed anti-Americanism, destabilization of Iraq, proxy terrorist attacks against the West, a spike in oil prices, a clash of civilizations - or the effects of inaction - a nuclear bomb for a religious fanatic who has sworn to destroy Israel, potential nuclear proliferation to terrorists, a nuclear arms race in Arab states - this article should give fodder for your anxieties.
posted by Dasein at 12:42 PM on November 19, 2006


An op-ed in today's LATimes: Bomb Iran!
posted by homunculus at 1:15 PM on November 19, 2006


For me the most significant "take-away" in Hersh's article is just what AFP is reporting:
"A classified draft CIA assessment has found no firm evidence of a secret drive by Iran to develop nuclear weapons, as alleged by the White House, a top US investigative reporter [Seymour Hersh] has said....

But the administration's planning of a military option was made 'far more complicated' in recent months by a highly classified draft assessment by the Central Intelligence Agency 'challenging the White House's assumptions about how close Iran might be to building a nuclear bomb,' he wrote.

'The CIA found no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear-weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency,' Hersh wrote, adding the CIA had declined to comment on that story.

A current senior intelligence official confirmed the existence of the CIA analysis and said the White House had been hostile to it, he wrote."
Iraq Redux?
posted by ericb at 1:18 PM on November 19, 2006


Fool me once... ... ... can't get fooled again.
posted by anthill at 1:21 PM on November 19, 2006


homunculus, Joshua Muravchik makes the same argument, in a much more truncated form, in this article in Foreign Policy, which Hersh makes reference to in his article. Thanks for the link.
posted by Dasein at 1:22 PM on November 19, 2006


Anybody know what Mr. Muravhick was doing during other past US military engagements?
posted by ao4047 at 1:29 PM on November 19, 2006


Fool me once...

George W. Bush in 2002:
"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." [.mov]
posted by ericb at 1:32 PM on November 19, 2006


Kissinger Says Victory in Iraq Is No Longer Possible
posted by four panels at 1:40 PM on November 19, 2006


Anybody know what Mr. Muravhick was doing during other past US military engagements?

Yes and yes.

Sort of fascinating: "Although now considered a neoconservative, Muravchik was National Chairman of the Young People's Socialist League from 1968 to 1973." (2nd link)

"Executive director, Coalition for a Democratic Majority, 1977-1979" (1st link)

I guess he got mugged and badly beaten by reality.
posted by Dasein at 1:41 PM on November 19, 2006


The C.I.A. assessment warned the White House that it would be a mistake to conclude that the failure to find a secret nuclear-weapons program in Iran merely meant that the Iranians had done a good job of hiding it. The former senior intelligence official noted that at the height of the Cold War the Soviets were equally skilled at deception and misdirection, yet the American intelligence community was readily able to unravel the details of their long-range-missile and nuclear-weapons programs. But some in the White House, including in Cheney’s office, had made just such an assumption—that “the lack of evidence means they must have it,” the former official said.

We're doomed.
posted by phrontist at 1:46 PM on November 19, 2006


An op-ed in today's LATimes: Bomb Iran!

ah, the neocon's Strangelovian arm, always betraying their true nature
posted by matteo at 2:16 PM on November 19, 2006


the lack of evidence means they must have it

I can't be sure from the context if this refers to their moronic fantasies about the mighty Soviet war machine, the WMD in Iraq, or the nukes they believe Iranians are just scant years away from. They were wildly wrong about the first two, and yet these fools are still in positions of influence, shouting their blind idiot predictions for all to hear.

Hell, if I were the Iranians I'd want nukes too, knowing that these bloodthirsty bastards were cheerleading for my overthrow. And that's the problem -- these neocon fantasies are self-fufilling, bringing about war and destruction by running up the volume on the rhetoric.
posted by moonbiter at 2:43 PM on November 19, 2006


This is going to be a LONG two years.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:42 PM on November 19, 2006


Here is how Hank the K. spins it for the Arab world
posted by hortense at 3:51 PM on November 19, 2006


Dasein: Ah, an old school neocon. In those days you had to go through Trotsky in order to get to Strauss. Don't forget Jeane Kirkpatrick.
posted by dhartung at 4:54 PM on November 19, 2006


It doesn't matter to Cheney and the boys whether Iran has a nuclear bomb program or not just as it didn't matter to them whether Saddam had WMD or not. These are simply excuses. What the neocons do care about is that Iran has (a) told the US to fuck off, that they're going ahead with their (thus far non military) nuclear power program, (b) not stopped anyone in Iran from supporting the Iraqi resistance and (c) not turned over control of its oil to US corporations as they did under the Shah.

"Regime change" in Iraq is not a project that can be planned for, let alone carried out, covertly. We're talking large scale troop movements and all kinds of other big, difficult-to-hide things. If preperations begin for this assault, the resistance within the US will be beyond belief. The democrats in office may be candy assed about it, but the general public will not be. They'll be beyond pissed. Maybe I'm overly optimistic, but I just don't think the neocons can get away with anything quite this insane.
posted by Clay201 at 5:34 PM on November 19, 2006


So why do I predict an American attack on Iran?

The answer is composed of the same elements I have described: Mr. Bush’s belief that he has a God-given task which he must accomplish before he leaves office--and perhaps even before the forthcoming Congressional elections might cripple his means of action. His belief that what his own intelligence experts tell him is wrong, that Iran actually is about to acquire the bomb, is stirring the pot of Middle Eastern terrorism and is a threat to the existence of Israel. Finally, he believes he has the authority, given by the American people in his two elections and through Congressional approval of his war with Afghanistan, to act. In the next article, I will discuss what he is doing to effect his policy...
Moves Toward War with Iran: Part 1

See also
What would aerial bombardment entail? What it involved in Iraq gives at least a starting point: in some 37,000 sorties the US Air Force dropped 13,000 'cluster munitions' that exploded into 2 million bombs, wiping out whole areas, and fired 23,000 missiles. Naval ships launched 750 Cruise missiles with another 1.5 million pounds of explosives. More powerful weapons are now available. Air Force General Thomas McInerney gave the Neoconservative Weekly Standard in April an inventory of 'improved' weapons. They include vastly larger 'bunker buster' bombs and greater targeting ability. McInerney pointed out that a B-2 bomber can drop 80 500 pound bombs independently targeted on 80 different aim points. In effect, this aerial bombardment would eclipse the 'shock and awe' of 2003 and be far more destructive than the 1991 campaign or the devastating air war on Vietnam. But would it work?

The Israeli bombardment of Lebanon has been regarded as a test...
Moves toward War with Iran: Part 2

See also
Once begun, the guerrilla war would spread beyond Iran. From scores of bases along the shore of the Persian Gulf and elsewhere, the Iranians would certainly fire their large arsenal of Russian, Chinese and Iranian-made missiles on American bases in Qatar and Iraq and probably Afghanistan. They would also launch attacks by speedboats on the American navy

At the same time, with or without Iranian help or guidance, it is almost certain that fellow members of their religious sect, the Shiis, would undertake violent actions in their support. Iraq is now ruled by an American-sponsored Shia government and its 15 million Shiis have a special relationship Iran. Attacks on American troops and installations could be expected to multiply. Lebanon’s one million Shiis, led by the Hizbullah, would attack the only nearby target, Israel. And, in Saudi Arabia, the 2 million Shiis who man the oil installations would, at least, disrupt the flow of oil.

Iranian oil production would stop. That would take about 5% of the world’s oil off the market. Disruption of Saudi production would have a far more drastic impact. And interdiction of tanker passage down the Gulf would affect something like 40% of the world’s oil flow...
Moves toward War with Iran: In the Event of War ... Part 3
posted by y2karl at 6:33 PM on November 19, 2006


Hersh on CNN: Bush, Cheney Stovepiping Intelligence On Iran, Hiding Information From CIA
posted by homunculus at 7:12 PM on November 19, 2006


"As the C.I.A.’s assessment was making its way through the government, late this summer, current an former military officers and consultants told me, a new element suddenly emerged: intelligence fro Israeli spies operating inside Iran claimed that Iran has developed and tested a trigger device for a nuclear bomb"

I wonder where could they have gotten that from...
posted by homunculus at 9:38 PM on November 19, 2006


"... give their girl, Condoleezza Rice”—the Secretary of State—“a chance to perform.”


*smirk*
posted by NewBornHippy at 9:41 PM on November 19, 2006


But some in the White House, including in Cheney’s office, had made just such an assumption—that “the lack of evidence means they must have it,” the former official said.

They may be doing without Rumsfeld, but it’s nice of them to honour his methods like this.

Although Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld's assertions of this powerful new Soviet WMD was unproven - they said the lack of proof proved the "undetectable" sub existed - they nonetheless used their charges to push for dramatic escalations in military spending to selected defense contractors, a process that continued through the Reagan administration.

Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz helped re-organized a group - The Committee on the Present Danger - to promote their worldview. The Committee produced documentaries, publications, and provided guests for national talk shows and news reports. They worked hard to whip up fear and encourage increases in defense spending, particularly for sophisticated weapons systems offered by the defense contractors for whom many of these same men would later become lobbyists.

posted by dreamsign at 11:13 PM on November 19, 2006


Does anyone think they could pull it off for a half-billion? I recall they've got that money from the Canadian lumber settlement, unencumbered by Congressional oversight somewhere...
posted by rzklkng at 5:28 AM on November 20, 2006


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