What if Iran were next?

Les AuCoin

Could we all be watching the wrong ball? Assured that the veto of Congress’ Iraq withdrawal plan (request?) will be sustained, is it possible that Bush, Cheney and the neo-cons have moved on to new business—an attack on Iran? But only a madman would try such a thing, you say. (Well, who is Bush?) I know; it still strains credulity. I’m not predicting. But as Daily Kos notes, some interesting people are, and there is a confluence of circumstances that make the possibility seem, well, chillingly plausible. Plausible enough to risk ridicule by running it here and on my blog.

Start with the possiblity that the captured British sailors and marines are a trip cord. If diplomacy doesn't secure the Brits' release from Tehran, would the UK (backed by the US) not make an armed move against Iran? TomPaine.com points out that the Congress dropped an amendment to the pending spending bill, requiring congressional approval before any US attack against Iran. (The London Independent, by the way, is now reporting that the capture of the British crew was Tehran's reprisal for a botched US attempt to abduct two senior Iranian intelligence officials.)

Add the authoritative of Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh who wrote in the The New Yorker  last year that Bush has ordered Air Force and intelligence teams to draw up Iranian target lists and has sent U.S. combat troops into Iran, under cover, to establish contact with anti-government ethnic minority groups. It’s reportedly part of Bush’s determination for “regime change” and an effort to deny Tehran the bomb.

The Brits have denied Iran's charge that their sailors and marines "entered Iranian waters" but, given the presence of U.S. combat troops inside Iran, one has to consider the possibility that the British force was assisting them.

A BBC report in February substantiated Hersh’s reporting, stating that “US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country’s military infrastructure.” Then, two weeks ago, the Pentagon ordered three Navy carrier battle groups into the Mediterranean, osbensibly as a show of force to Iran while the UN debated its nuclear program. But to prove we’re strong, do we need to deploy three carrier groups with eighty-five aircraft each with precision-guided munitions, or do we have something else in mind? Are the accompanying anti-submarine aircraft, airbone-early-warning and rotary wing aircraft simply a diplomatic nuance?

And why is the Administration trying to sell Patriot anti-missile missiles to Sunni Gulf states? Defense against an unprovoked attack, or a shield against an Iranian counterattack after a US strike?  

Finally, in the last two days, two Russian military experts—journalist Andrei Uglanov and retired General Lionid Ivashov, vice president of the Russian Academy of on Geopolitical Affairs—predicted a U.S. attack before the end of April. Uglanov says the assault has been named, “Operation Bite.” Google it and see what you find.

Various Russians have erroneously predicted a US invasion of Iran, dating back to at least 2005, so one could take the latest reports with a grain of salt. Also, our forces are stretched so thin in Iraq that an adventure against Iran, aside from the immorality ot it, seems problematic. Unless the chickenhawks in the White House think aerial strikes alone would humble Iran (which is crazy).

But right now there are a lot of dotted lines out there. I don’t like the pattern.

Nor do I like the fact that, as Daily Kos notes, large sections of the world are talking about this and debating it, except here in America.

Comments

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    In case readers are wondering, this post is mine.

  • ellie (unverified)
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    It certainly seems like a real possibility.

    I don't think that the general public wants to think about that though.

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    I pray to God that we don't attack Iran. I also pray that the British saliors are released. We have enough problems right now without getting into another war. Attacking Iran is a lose-lose situation for us. More US casualties, higher gas prices.

  • Joe12Pack (unverified)
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    What if? I'd say it's more a matter of when. A wider war in the Middle East is inevitable. If you thought Iraq was a mess, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

  • MemoriesAreShort (unverified)
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    "TomPaine.com points out that the Congress dropped an amendment to the pending spending bill, requiring congressional approval before any US attack against Iran."

    Les, just a few weeks ago a couple of folks pointed out in different threads on this blog that NW Democratic Senators (including Wyden) failed to stand up to AIPAC pressure and acquiesced in this cowardly retreat. They were castigated by some of the supposedly progressive Oregon Democrats who really are more syncophants than anything else.

    I'm genuinely curious why you are just finding your voice now to point this out? Is there a split between you and Wyden over this?

  • Steiny (unverified)
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    Hmmmm..."Sen. Les AuCoin (D-OR)" sounds REALLY good right about now...

  • Brad Arnold (unverified)
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    My suggestion is to read the article "Bush's future Iran war speech." It builds a strong case using Bush's public statements that not only has he decided to order a preventative aerial and naval bombardment of Iran, he has visualized it.

    A former National Security Advisor to the President of the United States has said if Bush enlarges the war into Iran, we will see 20 years of war, and lose our superpower status.

    Iran has a stated policy of escalation, and Bush is dreaming if he thinks the US can control the duration or intensity of the conflict.

  • Phil Jones (unverified)
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    I wonder how many Iranian hostages we are currently holding prisoner in Iraq? Last I heard, it was more than 300, but considering all the lies we have been told about Iraq in the past, who knows?

    It's only obvious Bush has been demonizing Iran's leaders for several years now and it's just a matter of time before he orders an attack on their infrastructure. Heaven help the next U.S. President and Congress. They will have a huge foreign policy mess to deal with.

  • BlueNote (unverified)
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    Due to the administration's lies about Iraq and just about everything else under the sun, how can any sane person believe what is now being said by the Republicans about Iran? Maybe the government of Iran is truly a threat to the US and its allies (particularly Israel). I don't know one way or the other, but I am certainly not going to believe anything coming out of Washington DC.

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    None of the Democratic candidates for president has ruled out any options against Iran. The Iranians have all but announced their intentions to acquire nuclear weapons. The EMT evidence (unlike the bogus intelligence reports on WMDs) are credible. (Read the most recent, extensive NYT investigatory report.)

    Iran has been sending Republican Guards to Lebanon, the Palestinian territories. Iran has rejected international inspections of their nuclear facilities. Iran has violated international law in the capture of British sailors.

    Democrats and Progressives need to figure out their party's position on this, and it cannot be simply a knee-jerk anti-war position. The world is too dangerous a place for that, and we'll lose whatever advantage we have on national security.

    What makes this whole situation so threatening and destabilizing is that our counterweight against Iran in the region had always been a stable and strong Iraq, albeit with a dictator. We could have focused our energies on creating a semi-democratic counterweight in Afghanistan, but we bumbled that one as well.

    Now the reality of a serious Iranian threat is emerging, and the US is completely hobbled by a historically disastrous Iraq War.

    I'm not saying I know the answers, but I'm not sure what Les's post is all about. It identifies a number of trip wires, but what are we to do?

  • Hmmmm (unverified)
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    "Aside from the immorality ot it, seems problematic. Unless the chickenhawks in the White House think aerial strikes alone would humble Iran (which is crazy)."

    Of course, we have already been told why the nutcases in this admin, explicitly joined by a number of elected Democrats and implicitly by many more in their silence (see my above comment), would launch airstrikes:

    The first is the cover story of the neocon formulation of pre-emptive war against potential threats. The admin articulated this as policy when they seized power, used it in what is quite accurately characterized as the criminal conspiracy to get us into the present war in Iraq, and remains the official defensive policy to this day with the retreat of the Democrats to which you yourself alluded. The publicly articulated reason by Democrats for remaining silent now has been that they want to convey at least the appearance of support for this policy to Iran.

    The second, more monstrously criminal reason, precisely because it has been so unashamedly stated publicly and repeated, is to further inflame a state of violence in the mideast. The "thinking" of these nuts, they have repeatedly told us themselves, it that this will cause a historic re-shaping of the mideast in an image that suits their power goals.

    "Nor do I like the fact that, as Daily Kos notes, large sections of the world are talking about this and debating it, except here in America."

    Contrary to what you apparently seem to believe, Les, informed Americans have been talking about this for at least 2 years. An informed reader can only wonder where you have been for all that time? It is puzzling why you come forth here to offer such little more than a rehash of today's headlines without any new perceptive analysis, or a principled statement responsive to the actual facts, that we actually need right now.

    "Hmmmm..."Sen. Les AuCoin (D-OR)" sounds REALLY good right about now..."

    At least on the basis of this quite superficial post, not to me right now. I submit we need see a few more substantive statements, demonstrating genuine leadership against the destructive course of this admin that some Democrats are passively faciilitating, before Les shows he has the strength of character and perceptiveness we need in that role now. He could start, for instance, by speaking to the actual realities I have noted here that we have all known for sometime. To that, he could add a insistent and persistent call for the Congress to immediately introduce, debate, and pass legislation "requiring congressional approval before any US attack against Iran."

    (By the way, the Daily Kos link in the post

    Daily Kos

    doesn't actually take one to the Daily Kos.)

  • Hmmmm (unverified)
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    This garbled bit:

    "It is puzzling why you come forth here to offer such little more than a rehash of today's headlines without any new perceptive analysis, or a principled statement responsive to the actual facts, that we actually need right now."

    Should have read:

    "It is puzzling why you come forth here with little more than a rehash of today's headlines, without offering a new perceptive analysis or a principled position responsive to the actual facts that we actually need right now."

  • lin qiao (unverified)
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    NW Democratic Senators (including Wyden) failed to stand up to AIPAC pressure and acquiesced in this cowardly retreat. They were castigated by some of the supposedly progressive Oregon Democrats who really are more syncophants than anything else.

    That's right, here in a part of the country with about a 1% Jewish population, our elected representatives are abjectly beholden to AIPAC.

    Geez Louise.

  • Hmmmm (unverified)
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    "That's right, here in a part of the country with about a 1% Jewish population, our elected representatives are abjectly beholden to AIPAC."

    You're a formulaic, if rather dishonest, stupid, and unskilled propagandist lin qiao.

    Dems Abandon War Authority Provision http://apnews.myway.com//article/20070312/D8NQU1SG0.html

    The point, as clearly and precisely stated, was that there was not a peep from virtually all of the Oregon Democratic delegation, or Les, at the time expressing any desire to keep that measure in the bill after pressure from an extreme right-wing, neocon, non-representative interest group:

    While AIPAC Brays for Blood, American Jews Oppose Iran Attack http://www.tpmcafe.com/blog/richards1052/2007/mar/23/while_aipac_brays_for_blood_american_jews_oppose_iran_attack

    Right to this moment, we have yet to get that statement of disagreement with the decision to pull this provision OR action on new legislation requiring Congressional approval before any attack on Iran.

    Don't pull the dirtbag right-wing tactic of misrepresenting what someone has said in a low-life attempt to slime them.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Now the reality of a serious Iranian threat is emerging, and the US is completely hobbled by a historically disastrous Iraq War.

    What, exactly, is that "reality of a serious Iranian threat"? Is it similar to the "reality" of Saddam Hussein's threat that was so powerful it took our military almost three weeks to defeat? Has Colin Powell been telling you about some Iranian trailers in the desert they are using to make chemical weapons and the drones with a 150-mile range they will use to deliver those poisons that will be blown all over the place by the wind with very limited effect?

    If a majority of the American public is as gullible as in 2002-2003 then more Bush- and Rove-fearmongering will get us into a war with Iran. We may not have the troops to put on the ground, but we have the air armada to do it - and a sufficiently mad and morally bankrupt citizenry and Congress to go along with it.

    Then in the early fall of 2008 with the Middle East in chaos, Bush will tell the American sheep it is too dangerous to divert our attention with elections and "postpone" them until stability returns and the sheep will go along with it.

    On the other hand, perhaps Pakistan will evolve as the prime international crisis and who knows where that will lead?

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    Posted by: paul | Apr 3, 2007 8:29:49 AM

    Your crap about Iran defiantly seeking the bomb is pure crap. There is nothing to substantiate it at all.

  • Thomas Ware (unverified)
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    As it has yet to be demonstrated to my satisfaction that Iraq ever posed a threat to Oregon, and The Paific Northwest, I find it extremely doubtful that Iran... poses a threat to Oregon.

    Israel, on the other hand, is an utterly foreign regional occupier perpetrating an American taxpayer politically and financially funded genocide on an indigenous people, and is as likely to be responsible for 9/11/01, either directly or as retaliation for the aforementioned American support of Israeli genocide, as is insurance fraud or some bizzare Aquitaine Reichtag.

    The National Priorities Project reports the cost to Oregon of the war in Iraq at 3.02 billion dollars. That's a lot of schools, healthcare and infastructure.

    Israel, is the enemy.

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    do we have any proof that Iranian leaders are any smarter than the leaders of any other country? it was a while ago, but these are people who decided that they'd rather do business with Reagan than Carter; that worked out so well for everyone, too. my fear is that Iranian leaders are as dumb as Saddam Hussein was. i don't think they're dumb enough to get in a real war with us, but they could decide they can cause problems -- and then discover, whoops we can't control things now!

    with my son now in the Oregon National Guard, my bigger fear is Iran. if the chest-thumping can get dragged out long enough, maybe we'll be ok. at some point, Bush has to stop making decisions that the next president has to live with (ok, he doesn't, but it's likely he'll be forced to act to help the GOP, which i'm assuming would not include starting another damn war).

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    There are two factors, among others, common to all wars: Human folly and lies. With the Bush/Cheney/neocon cabal having a goal to make the United States the dominant and dominating world power and President Ahmadinejad in Iran given to outrageous statements, the situation is fertile for giving birth to folly. With the Bush/Cheney/neocon cabal obviously interested in being the alpha dogs in the American pack there is probably no limit to what they might have in mind - and as we have learned they will have no problem feeding the gullible members of the American public all the lies they feel necessary.

  • Truth (unverified)
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    Do you guys realize how many wargames and strategy 'what-if' scenarios the military plays around with?

    Throughout the Cold War, the US wargamed various nuclear and conventional wars with the Soviet Union, North Korea, and China; we still plan today on who to point our nuclear weapons at if the geopolitical balance of power changes.

    Ever heard about the Project for the New American Century? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century

    What about the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Committee_for_the_Liberation_of_Iraq

    China has a published document describing how they could win a conventional or nuclear war with the US. As does Israel, France, Russia, and Canada.

    The US has been figuring out global-scale chess-board strategy for years. This is nothing new - move along, move along.

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    lestadelc: crap that includes statements from the UN, the IAEA, the EU, NATO, and even the recent Arab Summit.

    <h2>Somebody sure believes that crap.</h2>

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