Cheney’s Plan to Bomb Iran

Oh for crap’s sakes. I assume since it’s a day old, most everyone has seen this article in the New Yorker by Seymour Hersh but I’m just seeing it today.

Note: All emphasis below mine. All curse words (mine also) removed before publishing

It begins:

In a series of public statements in recent months, President Bush and members of his Administration have redefined the war in Iraq, to an increasing degree, as a strategic battle between the United States and Iran. “Shia extremists, backed by Iran, are training Iraqis to carry out attacks on our forces and the Iraqi people,” Bush told the national convention of the American Legion in August. “The attacks on our bases and our troops by Iranian-supplied munitions have increased. . . . The Iranian regime must halt these actions. And, until it does, I will take actions necessary to protect our troops.” He then concluded, to applause, “I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities.”

I am too discouraged for words.

Here’s some more:

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.

The shift in targeting reflects three developments. First, the President and his senior advisers have concluded that their campaign to convince the American public that Iran poses an imminent nuclear threat has failed (unlike a similar campaign before the Iraq war), and that as a result there is not enough popular support for a major bombing campaign. The second development is that the White House has come to terms, in private, with the general consensus of the American intelligence community that Iran is at least five years away from obtaining a bomb. And, finally, there has been a growing recognition in Washington and throughout the Middle East that Iran is emerging as the geopolitical winner of the war in Iraq.

This is precisely why Lieberman-Kyl was such a stupid move. I want to scream…

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.”…

I was repeatedly cautioned, in interviews, that the President has yet to issue the “execute order” that would be required for a military operation inside Iran, and such an order may never be issued. But there has been a significant increase in the tempo of attack planning. In mid-August, senior officials told reporters that the Administration intended to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization. And two former senior officials of the C.I.A. told me that, by late summer, the agency had increased the size and the authority of the Iranian Operations Group.

Our congress did that last bit of dirty work for Cheney last week. That was the whole point of Lieberman-Kyl. It always was.

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.

“Cheney’s option is now for a fast in and out-for surgical strikes,” the former senior American intelligence official told me. The Joint Chiefs have turned to the Navy, he said, which had been chafing over its role in the Air Force-dominated air war in Iraq. “The Navy’s planes, ships, and cruise missiles are in place in the Gulf and operating daily. They’ve got everything they need-even AWACS are in place and the targets in Iran have been programmed. The Navy is flying FA-18 missions every day in the Gulf.” There are also plans to hit Iran’s anti-aircraft surface-to-air missile sites. “We’ve got to get a path in and a path out,” the former official said.
A Pentagon consultant on counterterrorism told me that, if the bombing campaign took place, it would be accompanied by a series of what he called “short, sharp incursions” by American Special Forces units into suspected Iranian training sites. He said, “Cheney is devoted to this, no question.”

Read the whole piece if you haven’t yet. Prepare to be appaled at the craven callousness of Cheney’s approach..

I’m honestly too disgusted for words at the moment, but I will offer the only possible good news here. The decision does not yet appear to be final.

To close, one more bit of proof as to the victory obtained by Cheney last week:

The surgical-strike plan has been shared with some of America’s allies, who have had mixed reactions to it. Israel’s military and political leaders were alarmed, believing, the consultant said, that it didn’t sufficiently target Iran’s nuclear facilities. The White House has been reassuring the Israeli government, the former senior official told me, that the more limited target list would still serve the goal of counter-proliferation by decapitating the leadership of the Revolutionary Guards, who are believed to have direct control over the nuclear-research program. “Our theory is that if we do the attacks as planned it will accomplish two things,” the former senior official said.

Crap.

21 comments

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  1. Look – I don’t want to argue the whole authorization bit again. I know – there was no formal authorization in the bill. The whole point all along was to give Cheney cover. That’s why it was so incredibly stupid to vote in favor of the bill. If a dummy like me could see it made no sense to give him cover, why the hell couldn’t our elected representatives?

    I’m going to go take a nap. Wake me if circumstances work in our favor and Cheney doesn’t get his way to attack. If they don’t work in our favor, wake me when it’s all over. I could use the sleep.

  2. and raise you an oh, hell no.

    no way, no how–by any measure–can we afford that shit. and i don’t just mean monetarily; our reserves of political capital have similarly been exhausted.

    it seems the singular aim of these unstable men is to render every corner of the globe that they touch wholly unstable.

  3. steve adubato does a ‘one on one’ show that runs on our local cable channel, cn8/philadelphia.  im sure its probably syndicated to other comcast affiliates…

    anywho, he had jon soltz on yesterday, and tho the transcript isnt online yet and the link to jon soltz’s account of the interview  hasnt been activated yet…

    but Vote*Vets and WesPAC are joining forces

    if you go to that website, there’s a petition you can sign…

    • pfiore8 on October 2, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    reason to say this today:

    this SUCKS

    • ANKOSS on October 3, 2007 at 12:37 am

    It is the plan of the 25% of Americans who believe that we can take anything we want in the world and kill anyone who gets in our way. It is the plan of another 70% who are willing to silently watch the exciting madness of others unfold if there is little perceived risk to themselves. Only a small fraction of Americans really disapprove of the murder and theft “plan” for control of Mideast oil. So don’t blame Cheney entirely; he is simply the agent of the dark motivations of a decadent American people.

  4. rumors of war–I know that is about the apocolypse, but cheney on Iran definitely falls into the rumors of war category.  I don’t know what exactly my point is here, but well, I think the military has all kinds of contingency plans, no? 

    • Temmoku on October 3, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    The question is when. I personally believe it will be sometime between the primaries and election time…to sway people to vote for a “strong” leader who will “protect” us. I have seen other views that feel it will happen by Christmas.

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