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September 30, 2007

New Seymour Hersh Article On Iran

Here are the most important parts:

This summer, the White House, pushed by the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney, requested that the Joint Chiefs of Staff redraw long-standing plans for a possible attack on Iran, according to former officials and government consultants. The focus of the plans had been a broad bombing attack, with targets including Iran’s known and suspected nuclear facilities and other military and infrastructure sites. Now the emphasis is on “surgical” strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere, which, the Administration claims, have been the source of attacks on Americans in Iraq. What had been presented primarily as a counter-proliferation mission has been reconceived as counterterrorism...

At a White House meeting with Cheney this summer, according to a former senior intelligence official, it was agreed that, if limited strikes on Iran were carried out, the Administration could fend off criticism by arguing that they were a defensive action to save soldiers in Iraq. If Democrats objected, the Administration could say, "Bill Clinton did the same thing; he conducted limited strikes in Afghanistan, the Sudan, and in Baghdad to protect American lives." The former intelligence official added, "There is a desperate effort by Cheney et al. to bring military action to Iran as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the politicians are saying, ‘You can’t do it, because every Republican is going to be defeated, and we’re only one fact from going over the cliff in Iraq.’ But Cheney doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the Republican worries, and neither does the President"...

The revised bombing plan for a possible attack, with its tightened focus on counterterrorism, is gathering support among generals and admirals in the Pentagon. The strategy calls for the use of sea-launched cruise missiles and more precisely targeted ground attacks and bombing strikes, including plans to destroy the most important Revolutionary Guard training camps, supply depots, and command and control facilities.

I bolded the sentence about Pentagon support for this plan because that's critical. I'm working on a piece about congressional opposition to an attack on Iran, and let me tell you, there is essentially none. The only thing that might stop Bush and Cheney is the military. It's extremely significant if their resistance is weakening.

AND: Hersh will be on CNN's Late Edition today (meaning at some point between 11 am-1 pm ET) talking about the article.

Posted at September 30, 2007 10:50 AM | TrackBack

I wonder if they estimated how many MARTYRS that this will create?

There are plenty of Shia in the south who feel more allegiance to their religious affiliation than to the concept of the nation of Iraq as it is currently deconstructed. Any attack on Iran will worsen conditions around Basra, and that's before the million or so irregulars flood across the border. What happens when supply ships cannot unload at Basra? What happens to all the troops (and Blackwater guys) when they suddenly have no oil, no water, no ammunition and lots and lots of angry Iraqis start picking off GIs on the long, slow retreat?

It's my understanding that the Iranians have the latest generation of Russian cruise missiles. It's a bit overconfident to expect that a war you've been announcing for a couple of years now is going to take the Iranians so off guard that they don't get a few of the cruise missiles off. Then what do you do if an aircraft carrier gets a thirty-foot hole at the waterline? What action do you take against Iran if they take out something so big?

Do you think that Iran will allow others to ship oil through the Hormuz Straits if their pipelines are in flames?

Then what happens to the world economy when there is no oil? And if the dollar was falling before, what happens next? When oil hits $250, $350 a barrel, what happens to the U.S. economy?

If China's and Japan's economies grind to a halt because of the stoppage of oil, what do they do about all those American IOUs they're holding when their worth is sinking like the dollar? At the very least, they won't be investing in dollars anymore. When America's credit runs out and its army is trapped a half a globe away what do you do?

On the bright side the Oil Cartel will be making lots of money and things will be so bad here in our homeland that martial law will seem logical.

Go Niners!

Posted by: Bob In Pacifica at September 30, 2007 11:55 AM

Come on, bring on the SEVEN DAYS IN MAY scenario already...

Posted by: En Ming Hee at September 30, 2007 11:59 AM

"...Iran is emerging as the geopolitical winner of the war in Iraq..."
We cannot allow this to happen. We will face a geopolitical gap.
America must remain #1 in geopolitics, as in basketball, football (American), and baseball.
We have just lost the #1 spot in women's soccer. No president can allow continuing humiliation of the greatest nation on earth.
Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what your country can do to Iran.

Posted by: donescobar at September 30, 2007 12:24 PM

Isn't this guy, Seymour Hersh, amazing. Everyone from Deplomats, Activists,Scholars wait for his article. And Everyone eagerly reads him. A Hersh article is a major news event itself.The news spreads like a wild fire all over the Internet. I don't know any other journalist who is so highly regarded. And he is 70. Just think about it. His tenaciousness should be admired.
Just imagine the vitriol, the hate the Bush gang may feel about him. That, I submit, is the greatest award for a journalist. No other prize can match it.

Posted by: Ajit at September 30, 2007 01:16 PM

SteveB. Never been in the Military, I see.
IMPEACHMENT WILL stop this foolish move on Iran, and ANY other plan this Administration has in mind. Congress will need to be FORCED to move for IMPEACHMENT by the TAXPAYERS. (that means that YOU MUST ACT. 1-202-225-0100, just say IMPEACH.)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 30, 2007 01:31 PM

Never been in the Military, I see.

Got me there - I'm as civilian as they come. But, just to be clear, I'm not claiming the military is in general a democratic institution, just that in some circumstances - like when we're losing a war and it becomes clear to the rank and file that their officers are leading them to disaster - the military becomes somewhat more democratic. Your experience tells you otherwise?

And how's the impeachment thing going, by the way? Do you think there will ever come a point where you'll conclude that Nancy Pelosi is never going to do anything about impeachment, no matter how many calls from non-constituents she receives?

Posted by: SteveB at September 30, 2007 01:57 PM

Ralph Peters called Hersh "The New York Times Magazine's greatest living writer of fiction."

When Peters was in the army, he never saw live combat.

I just love pointing that out as much as possible.

Posted by: Dan Coyle at September 30, 2007 02:01 PM

mike meyer-- your tenacity is admirable- but they don't care if we want them impeached. I'm not even convinced that the GOP will take a political hit if these airstrikes take place.

I imagine the political blowback of Iran won't be felt for a couple of years, in the same way that in 2004 GWB didn't really suffer adverse consequences at the polls related to Iraq, and Iraq didn't start to be a political liability until at least 18-24 mos. after the '04 elections.

Posted by: jonathan versen at September 30, 2007 02:33 PM

the military becomes somewhat more democratic. Your experience tells you otherwise?

i think it may just come to seem more democratic by comparison with the decayed state of democratic institutions. in some important way the army IS the last bulwark against the usurpation of the People's power by private interest. That's probably why the Busheviks have worked so assiduously to destroy it in Iraq. I used to think they were using Iraq to battle-harden the Guard. But with the promulgation of the private armies such as Blackwater, etc., whose loyalties are to their paymasters and not the Constitution, a weakened army actually abets fascist ambitions.

i have yet to see any soldiers refuse to go on patrols.
but even if they did, there's plenty of mercenaries getting paid plenty to go.

Posted by: konopelli/wgg at September 30, 2007 02:41 PM

konopelll writes (above): "i have yet to see any soldiers refuse to go on patrols."
desertion rates are quite high in the military these days. the numbers are kept very quiet, but many soldiers, for one reason or another, are bowing out.

also, i was never even remotely convinced that the US military would stand in the way of a war on iran. after sixty years of treating the world as our chessboard, the brass were suddenly going to develop a distaste for aggressive war because it would weigh too heavily on the grunts? i don't buy it.

Posted by: at September 30, 2007 03:31 PM

konopelll writes (above): "i have yet to see any soldiers refuse to go on patrols."
desertion rates are quite high in the military these days. the numbers are kept very quiet, but many soldiers, for one reason or another, are bowing out.

also, i was never even remotely convinced that the US military would stand in the way of a war on iran. after sixty years of treating the world as our chessboard, the brass were suddenly going to develop a distaste for aggressive war because it would weigh too heavily on the grunts? i don't buy it.

Posted by: uticas at September 30, 2007 03:32 PM

One more thing, regarding the posibility of substituting paid mercenaries for US military: the contractual obligations on a mercenary aren't as strict as for those in the army. A soldier who goes AWOL or refuses to fight can be put in jail (although this doesn't happen often, for various reasons) but a mercenary who cashes his last paycheck and heads home because Iraq is just getting too dangerous faces no consequences, except maybe a negative letter of reference from his former employer.

Posted by: SteveB at September 30, 2007 03:47 PM

There may be limited martyrs from this bombing. I imagine that the Rev Guards are moving their supplies and their C&C assets to downtown buildings.

The Iranian military isn't the pushover that Afghanistan and Iraq were. The Iranian air force includes about 285 fighter and attack aircraft. The Iranian naval warfare doctrine includes swarm tactics, using a small number of highly agile missile or torpedo attack craft that set off on their own, from geographically dispersed and concealed locations, and then converge to attack a single target or set of targets. Iran also has three submarines, three classes of mini-submarines, three kinds of anti-ship cruise missiles and arrays of torpedoes and smart mines. Also the Shahab-3 rockets and other formidable weapons, plus their allies in Iraq and Syria.

The US military chain of command is supposed to go from Bush to Fallon (Centcom) to the subordinate navy and air force commanders, but we have seen how Bush can bypass Admiral Fallon and go directly to General Petraeus. Bush might go to Gates to Mullen (JCS) to subordinate Centcom commanders or somesuch. In any case the military can be expected to follow orders, and there is public support for war. We can't expect Admiral Fallon to disobey an order from the CinC, although he does have a reputation for integrity which is sort of unique in this administration.

Current US Navy deployments in the Fifth Fleet are The Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group and the Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group, the latter two heavy on Marines, plus other task forces for a total of 37 warships plus expeditionary landing craft and aircraft.

The US air force has access to many bases in Iraq (even though Maliki has said "no"), Qatar and the big bomber base on Diego Garcia.

Any conflict at all in the Gulf would drive oil prices sky-high just through insurance costs alone. Incidentally, Russian President Putin is due to attend a Caspian Basin conference in Teheran on October 16th.

Posted by: Don Bacon at September 30, 2007 05:34 PM

...there is public support for war.

Polling data, please.

Posted by: SteveB at September 30, 2007 07:36 PM

Bush and Cheney can feel fairly comfortable knowing that if they haven't been impeached for everything they've done up to now, starting a war with Iran won't stir the Democrats into doing anything.
The bit about pentagon brass coming around to the administration's way of thinking is what happens when generals and admirals see their friends who ask questions lose commands, get retired early, etc.
Might as well stock up on booze. Get right with God. Whatever. Bush gave us a peek into Pandora's box with Iraq. He's about to bust off the hinges.

Posted by: dirk at September 30, 2007 10:11 PM

YOU are quite correct, Congress does NOT care about US, OUR opinions, or OUR desires for IMPEACHMENT, unless FORCED, will never IMPEACH.
So, what do YOU think about YOUR OWN opinion? How valuable are YOUR OWN RIGHTS to you? It's YOUR OWN country, what effort is THAT worth to YOU? You got YOUR homes here, families, friends, lives, jobs, culture, history, ALL YOURS, what's all THAT worth to YOU?

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 1, 2007 03:11 AM

SteveB: I was just pointing out the obvious, it's not my interest or business if you serve or not. I'm just pointing out that the Cavalry is NOT COMING. The ONLY ONES who will save our bacon, is us.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 1, 2007 03:21 AM

I am an admirer of this great journalist, Seymour Hersch! He provides spectacular insights and unique analyses into the doings of President Bush and his neoconservative war-mongers.

I fear the ruination of America with the waste of blood and treasure by Presidtent Bush's administration. How many wars does he want to wage at once? At what costs and for what?

Hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money has been expended for nought already!

Iran Gone Nuclear? Who Decides? Who is Afraid, Why? (I)

Iran Gone Nuclear? Who Decides? Who is Afraid, Why? (II

Posted by: Paul I. Adujie at October 1, 2007 03:04 PM

Why are we still in Iraq....nobody can give us any information on when and how the Sunnie and Shia will ever truly make party will be incontrol and the other will be fighting for control...isn't this their nature(history)...when the US leaves Iraq, the nation will be run over by Iraqis!!!!There is no reason not to leave Iraq and,on the way out, bomb the hell out of Iran.
Isn't that why we are there, afraid that the Iranians will step in when we leave?
There will be lots of innocent lives lost in Iran if we bomb them. But, fellas, to me,if there is a choice between a child or a senior in Iran and the death of our kids over there................sorry but bombs away!!!

Posted by: Lowell Browning at October 2, 2007 09:01 AM

One thing that I haven't seen mentioned, which I feel needs to be brought to the forefront--Iran is NOT a tribal country like Iraq and Afganistan. They are as much nationalistic as the United States. I can only hope that the US goverment knows this. In the US government's intense desire for "new" colonialism, they need to know that it will fail in Iran. I can only hope the American people will not be duped as in the past.

Posted by: Pat at October 2, 2007 11:00 AM