The Coming War with Iran
It looks like President Bush has had a hard-on for an invasion of Iran for awhile now. Way back on April 17, 2006, Seymour Hersh writes for the New Yorker:
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.”
He added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they smoking?’ ”
Indeed. But it may have something to do with the practice of “stovepiping,” described by Seymour Hersh on February 11, 2008:
It is possible that Israel conveyed intelligence directly to senior members of the Bush Administration, without it being vetted by intelligence agencies. (This process, known as “stovepiping,” overwhelmed U.S. intelligence before the war in Iraq.)
That’s right. The Bush Administration is so competent in the arts of war and intelligence gathering, they apparently often bypass the regular sources and methods to collect the information they then use to implement their policy goals.
This all sounds so damn familiar…
And now there is this report by Seymour Hersh on July 7, 2008, recently posted online by the New Yorker, about the surge in covert operations in Iran:
Operations outside the knowledge and control of commanders have eroded “the coherence of military strategy,” one general says.
What to watch for next on our way to setting the entire Middle East on fire? Maybe certain people getting fired… Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, perhaps?
Gates warned of the consequences if the Bush Administration staged a preëmptive strike on Iran, saying, as the senator recalled, “We’ll create generations of jihadists, and our grandchildren will be battling our enemies here in America.”
Gates’s comments stunned the Democrats at the lunch, and another senator asked whether Gates was speaking for Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. Gates’s answer, the senator told me, was “Let’s just say that I’m here speaking for myself.”
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen?
The Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose chairman is Admiral Mike Mullen, were “pushing back very hard” against White House pressure to undertake a military strike against Iran, the person familiar with the Finding told me.
Maybe a whole bunch of military leaders, actually:
Similarly, a Pentagon consultant who is involved in the war on terror said that “at least ten senior flag and general officers, including combatant commanders”—the four-star officers who direct military operations around the world—“have weighed in on that issue.”
Since they’ve already started with the “most outspoken” military official that opposed an invasion of Iran:
The most outspoken of those officers is Admiral William Fallon, who until recently was the head of U.S. Central Command, and thus in charge of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In March, Fallon resigned under pressure, after giving a series of interviews stating his reservations about an armed attack on Iran.
… When it came to the Iraq war, Fallon said, “Did I bitch about some of the things that were being proposed? You bet. Some of them were very stupid.”
… Admiral Fallon, who is known as Fox, was aware that he would face special difficulties as the first Navy officer to lead CENTCOM, which had always been headed by a ground commander, one of his military colleagues told me. He was also aware that the Special Operations community would be a concern.
“Fox said that there’s a lot of strange stuff going on in Special Ops, and I told him he had to figure out what they were really doing,” Fallon’s colleague said. “The Special Ops guys eventually figured out they needed Fox, and so they began to talk to him. Fox would have won his fight with Special Ops but for Cheney.”
The line against an invasion may only be held by a diminishing few military commanders refusing to support their Commander-in-Chief’s idea of securing his legacy, since Afghanistan and Iraq are going so well, of course.
I realize how fun it is to point to Cheney lurking in the wings and dismissively note how our President seems so easily dazzled by bright and shiny things like what American schoolchildren will learn about him in future history classes.
But it’s actually not that silly a thing to be concerned with. Bush is ultimately responsible for what goes on in his Administration, and I imagine that future generations are going to be interested in whether or not the Congress and the outspoken American people fail to begin impeachment proceedings against both Bush and Cheney.
At this point, it seems that the question of whether or not to bring impeachment proceedings is much more a matter of why are we not impeaching them already?
Oh wait, we are…
update: Now on video, via Wonkette, Seymour Hersh breaks it down: