Seymour Hersh, the same reporter who broke the Abu Graib story, has now come out with insider reports that the Pentagon is scouting military targets in Iran.
In his report he quotes his informant:
“This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone,” the former high-level intelligence official told [Hersh]. “Next, we’re going to have the Iranian campaign. We’ve declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah—we’ve got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism.”
And when confronted with the question that the operation of Iraq is not a model of success…
“Everyone is saying, ‘You can’t be serious about targeting Iran. Look at Iraq,’” the former intelligence official told me. “But they say, ‘We’ve got some lessons learned—not militarily, but how we did it politically. We’re not going to rely on agency pissants.’ No loose ends, and that’s why the C.I.A. is out of there.”
And on the targets being reconned themselves… this is the quote that worries me the most and that makes this story seem most unbelievable:
“They believe that about three-quarters of the potential targets can be destroyed from the air, and a quarter are too close to population centers, or buried too deep, to be targeted,” the consultant said. Inevitably, he added, some suspicious sites need to be checked out by American or Israeli commando teams—in on-the-ground surveillance—before being targeted.
Now.. planning for an attack on Iran is not that far fetched. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if their were multiple “attack plans” floating around the White House and Pentagon. That said, an actual military strike on Iran would be, absolute folly, and pretext for a wider Middle East war between Israel and pretty much all their neighbours.
If an Israeli commando team were sent to Iran… and discovered… well, what would stop Iran from launching a strike on Israel?
We’re not talking about some washed up dictator who has a couple old MIGs and a few dozen Scuds. Iran is one of the most powerful and militarily advanced countries in the Middle East. They have modern Soviet hardware. They have cruise missiles that can easily penetrate current US naval defenses (ie. Persian Gulf==blood bath). They have *accurate* missile technology that can hit targets in Israel and Iraq.
My take is that at the first sign of attack the Iranians would retaliate with everything they had, not because they think they can win, but because they *know* they could inflict serious harm… and if they do, they would rally an otherwise very reluctant and pro-reform Iranian public.
So what has the reaction to this been? Well, predictable to say the least.
The US Administration says it’s all rubbish.
The Iranians have already said they will protect their nuclear installations.
Ironically, Iran says the report is simply propaganda to get them to cooperate and that any such attack would be met with a “fearsome reign of fire and death.”
I have a friend in Iran, and I’d like to get her point of view. I’ll be trying to contact her over the next few days.
In the meantime, what do you think?
Would attacking Iran “make sense” in the war on Terror?
Is it a fools errand?