(I was planning to write next about an issue that is causing me to sharply criticize my Democratic senators, whom I have been supporting for years. That will have to wait.)
A couple of days ago, a friend asked me if I had heard anything in the news about President Bush planning to attack Iran. I said I hadn’t, and that I didn’t think even Bush was crazy enough to launch a new preemptive war while we were still trying to get out of the quagmire of Iraq. In the back of my mind, though, I remembered that Bush is controlled by aliens. (Scroll down for the entry on that, if you haven’t been following.) I meant that as a joke, at the time. Now, I’m not so sure. I was alerted to the following by an email from moveon.org.
Writing in this week’s New Yorker, Seymour Hersh asserts that the Bush administration is seriously planning for a massive bombing attack on Iran, allegedly to prevent Iran from enriching uranium, but as much as anything, to instigate regime change. Hersh writes:
One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.” He added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they smoking?'”
Among the options the civilian planners are seriously considering is the use of tactical nuclear weapons. Bunker busters. Nuke ’em before they can get nukes. Rummy and friends are no doubt planning to “minimize civilian casualties”—maybe by handing out umbrellas to keep the radioactive fallout off people’s heads?
Israel took out Iraq’s nuclear reactor, years ago, before it could be started up. They did it in a single air strike, and no nuclear materials were involved. Iran, on the other hand, has many of their facilities underground, and widely dispersed. If they’re already processing uranium, then attacking those facilities with nukes would probably result in significant fallout—both radioactive and political.
Again, here’s Hersh:
The Pentagon adviser questioned the value of air strikes. “The Iranians have distributed their nuclear activity very well, and we have no clue where some of the key stuff is. It could even be out of the country,” he said. He warned, as did many others, that bombing Iran could provoke “a chain reaction” of attacks on American facilities and citizens throughout the world: “What will 1.2 billion Muslims think the day we attack Iran?”
According to Hersh, it is the civilian planners, not the career military leaders, who are providing the impetus to this.
The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added, and some officers have talked about resigning. Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran—without success, the former intelligence official said….
The Pentagon adviser on the war on terror confirmed that some in the Administration were looking seriously at this option, which he linked to a resurgence of interest in tactical nuclear weapons among Pentagon civilians and in policy circles. He called it “a juggernaut that has to be stopped.” He also confirmed that some senior officers and officials were considering resigning over the issue. “There are very strong sentiments within the military against brandishing nuclear weapons against other countries,” the adviser told me. “This goes to high levels.”
The really scary thing is, I’m afraid Bush really believes he has been anointed by God to take charge in the Middle East. And if he continues to carry out a messianic crusade, Armageddon might not be so far behind. Or at least, a much more dangerous world.