Monday, June 30, 2008

War with Iran?

There's a frightening article in the current New Yorker by Seymour Hersch, entitled "Preparing the Battlefield". It's getting a ton of attention in the national media. I heard an interview with Hersch today on NPR's Fresh Aire show, for example.

Hersch's thesis is that the Bush administration is running a clandestine military and CIA operation inside Iran right now, aimed at forcing the Iranians to stop their nuclear weapons program. If they don't get that, then they want regime change. Hersch contends that the Bush administration (primarily Cheney) is trying to run Special Operations missions from the White House while keeping the senior military commanders in the region out of the loop. This, he contends, is what forced Admiral Fallon out of his post as CENTCOM (the guy in overall charge of US military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, the Persian Gulf, and so forth). (See my posts of March 11 and March 17 talking about this issue.) The CIA operations are covered under a Presidential Finding, which is extremely classified. The military operations are covered under Bush's constitutional authority as commander in chief. Both have been conflated into one operation that's being run outside of all the normal chains of command with all their hard-learned checks and balances.

The theme that ran through the input from all of Hersch's sources was that the Administration wants to attack Iran before Bush leaves office. Hersch said as much in his NPR interview today, citing specifically a fear of an "October surprise", or possibly something soon after the election.

You might remember that back in December, there was a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that concluded that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapons capability, and hasn't been since 2003. This, of course, is not the answer that Bush wanted to hear. Since then he has been consistently talking up the Iranian threat.

I, personally, have been ignoring him, figuring it's the last gurgles from a turd getting flushed down the drain. Hersch's article says that the turd is still looking to fire some missiles before he goes. And unfortunately, as the Commander in Chief, he still has the constitutional authority to do it.

There are only a few safeguards remaining. One is that Congress can cut off the funds. Not likely, but write your Senators and Congressmen anyway. Another is that more articles like Hersch's will keep the spotlight on Bush/Cheney and prevent them from causing much more damage. A third is that some brave military members will stand up to the President and refuse to carry out an attack, even if that means the end of their careers. I'm not comfortable with this last one. Admiral Fallon is one who was in position to stop Bush, but he was forced out, and replaced by General Petraeus. Now Petraeus is a great soldier, but he's a can-do guy, and not one who bothers to ask the "why" question.

An attack on Iran is the most incredibly stupid action this country could do right now. It's even more stupid than the Iraq invasion. IT MUST BE STOPPED.

No comments: