Thursday, August 30, 2007

Attacking Iran - The Ultimate Folly

There is ample evidence that George W. Bush intends to attack Iran. The New Yorker article from April 2006 by Seymour Hirsch, The Iran Plans, was a wake up call for many of us. (We should have taken Mr. Hirsch very seriously since he has frequently been right about these things. He was particularly prescient about the current disaster in Irak.) More recent studies and articles have suggested that the Iran attack will come before the end of the Bush presidency, maybe even as soon as this fall.

Considering a war with Iran:
A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East
by Dr Dan Plesch and Martin Butcher
September 2007
(Dr Plesch is Director of the School of Oriental and African Studies’ Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (London). Martin Butcher is an international consultant on security politics.)

There seems to be little concern in our Main Stream Media (MSM) about this horror. While historical precedent is overwhelming in its judgement that superpowers court disaster in their hubris (e.g. Barbara Tuchman: The Guns of August, and The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam), almost every politician of note, including the current frontrunner Democratic presidential candidates, has been rattling their swords along with the most obnoxious neocons. Who can forget McCain's refrain: "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb; Bomb Bomb Iran" to the tune of the Beach Boys "Barbara Ann." (I don't know about you, but in my pantheon, this is a sacrilige.)

Very simply, an attack on Iran would result in the deaths of thousands, if not millions, of innocent men, women and children.

Be very sure about it, such an attack on Iran would alter the life of everyone on this planet.

The worst scenario of all is that the Air Force, given the mission to destroy Iran's hardened nuclear facilities, would have to resort to tactical nuclear weapons. And, if our Air Force didn't do so, Israel would do so. In the Mid East chaos that would follow the first attack, there is no doubt in my mind that Israel, with its two hundred nuclear weapons, would feel "threatened." There is also no doubt in my mind what would then happen to israel's neighbors, nuclear or not.

Is Iran a credible nuclear threat? Let me just suggest that you review the history of the runup to the invasion of Iraq if you doubt that what is going on now is not exactly the same thing.

And then there's:
IAEA: Iranian cooperation significant
By GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press Writer
VIENNA, Austria - The U.N. nuclear agency said Thursday that Iran was producing less nuclear fuel than expected and praised Tehran for "a significant step forward" in explaining past atomic actions that have raised suspicions.

The assessment is expected to make it more difficult for the United States to rally support for a new round of sanctions against Tehran.


Felix Grant said...

On the Isra'eli nuclear option ... I'm not sure that they would be so ready to go there.

Isra'el has, despite being always willing to play the insane berserker card in every other way, always been very canny about its nuclear weapons. It is always very willing to encourage the widespread awareness that they exist, while being careful not to officially confirm that existence.

A look at Isra'el's geography shows why. Their cities could be very easily wiped out using conventional weapons as long as the attacker had nothing to lose by doing it. As long as those weapons remain a shadowy but potent threat, they are an effective deterrent ... but once they were unleashed, there would be nothing to deter devastating response. It's a regionally asymmetric version of the old cold war superpower MAD strategy: nuclear threat from a small territory balancing conventional threat from a large and dispersed one.

I'm not saying that limited Isra'eli nuclear action against specific Iranian nuclear industrial targets is impossible - but it would be a huge change from Israe'li politicomilitary thinking over several decades, and is by no means a foregone conclusion.

Felix Grant said...

PS: I do agree absolutely and completely with you on the larger issue: the folly of attacking Iran.

Dr. C said...

There is a lot of wisdom in what you say. I am still uncomfortable with the proximity of the Israeli nukes to what may turn into a conflagaration.
Dr. C.

Felix Grant said...

I share your discomfort...