Bush’s ‘Legacy’

I suppose that, given the developments of the last four years, it shouldn’t come as a surprise at all that the Bush Administration is planning an attack on Iran. But Seymour Hersh’s article in the April 17 issue of the New Yorker is the most detailed overview to date of these plans.

A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”
One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.”

Rising up and overthrowing the government? God, these people don’t even bother coming up with new pitches; they just recycle old ones. The most troubling revelation, however, is that the nuclear option against Iran is supposedly a possibility: Hersh claims that one of the Pentagon’s “initial option plans” calls for “the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites.” The idea behind all this is supposedly that:

One military planner told me that White House criticisms of Iran and the high tempo of planning and clandestine activities amount to a campaign of “coercion” aimed at Iran. “You have to be ready to go, and we’ll see how they respond,” the officer said. “You have to really show a threat in order to get Ahmadinejad to back down.”

Isn’t this nuts? Meanwhile, the lead story in the Washington Post this Sunday is about Iran and this new strategy of ‘coercive diplomacy.’ “Many military officers and specialists,” the paper says, “view the saber rattling with alarm. A strike at Iran, they warn, would at best just delay its nuclear program by a few years but could inflame international opinion against the United States, particularly in the Muslim world and especially within Iran, while making U.S. troops in Iraq targets for retaliation.” More here.

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