Addict (drugaddict) wrote,
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Why war with Iran is coming soon

From:   Ray Close
Dear Friends:

Why Bush will choose war against Iran

Like many people, I find it extremely difficult to believe that
President Bush could actually do anything so crazy as to launch a
military attack against Iran, and that even if he wanted to, the
Congress, the Pentagon, and the American public would ever countenance
such action.  But I remember in the spring of 2002 writing a "Dear
Friends" memo just like this one predicting that the apparent intentions
of the Bush Administration to invade Iraq would certainly turn out to be
nothing but a bluff, and supporting that assertion by listing all the
reasons why actually doing so would lead to utter disaster.  Many of my
friends told me at the time that I was missing the point --- regime
change was DEFINITELY going to happen, and I was exaggerating the
downside consequences.  The problem is that today the downside risks of
attacking Iran seem even more horrendous ---- and yet?  (As George Will
said last Sunday to George Stephanopoulos -- "When was the last time
this president ever worried about getting approval in advance from the
Congress or the public?")
It makes me nervous when my president_ truly_ believes he is carrying
out the will of God.

So this is why I reluctantly believe today that Bush will indeed launch
an attack on Iran before the expiration of his term of office::

1.  As expected, Iran has offered to enter negotiations, but has
rejected the precondition that they discontinue uranium enrichment.
Iran will continue to stall indefinitely in the expectation that the
U.S. cannot summon the international political and economic clout to
damage Iran to any critical degree in the near future.  Meanwhile, Iran
remains totally and sincerely convinced (with ample justification) that
the U.S. is committed to overthrowing the Teheran regime on the tactical
level, and waging a broader war against Islam on the strategic level.
Rightly or wrongly, Iranian leaders interpret Israeli-US joint
collaboration in Lebanon as the final proof of both suspicions.  Nothing
will shake that conviction.  We can huff and puff, but the reality is
that we will not succeed in either persuading or intimidating the
Iranian leadership into doing what we want them to do.  This is the nub
of the problem in Washington: _ none of the principal decision-makers_
---  Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld or Rice --- (even Rice!) --- understands and
accepts this simple reality, and so all the expectations and
calculations that go into the formation of U.S. policy start from a
faulty premise.

2.  The U.S. will fail to get the UNSC to establish (and then enforce) a
regimen of sanctions that Washington considers tough enough ---  despite
the unanimous concern of the larger powers, including China and Russia,
that a nuclear Iran would be undesirable.    The Bush Administration
will fulminate about weakness of resolve and false friendship of its
“allies”, but this will only exacerbate the divisions and further expose
the enfeebled state of American political and moral leadership and the
deterioration of its international credibility.  Iran will watch this
soap opera, smiling like a Cheshire cat.

3.  Whatever sanctions are eventually applied will have zero chance of
persuading Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions;  most certain is the
fact that Iran will continue its development program without any
slowdown until it has passed the US-Israel "red line" of possessing the
necessary raw material to produce a nuclear bomb whenever it chooses to
do so.  (As we all know, possession of an operational bomb may be as
much as a decade or more in the future, but the "red line" of achieving
all the necessary technology, equipment and ingredients could be crossed
MUCH sooner than that --- _ and almost certainly before Bush leaves
office in January 2009.)_

4.  So this is the calculus facing Bush:

    a.  He has vowed that he will not leave office without first
ensuring that Iran cannot become a nuclear power.  He has probably given
the leaders of Israel a similar promise --- privately and perhaps
explicitly.  That means that he is effectively committed to attack Iran
militarily before January 2009 if all other means of accomplishing the
objective fail ---  which they will.  He believes deeply that Iran poses
an existential threat to our ally Israel and an extremely dangerous
threat to the American people, as well.  Bush also believes that  Iran
is determined to sabotage American hopes of establishing a "new Middle
East" ---- by covert support of anti-American terrorist elements such as
Hizballah and Hamas --- backed up by the added power implicit in its
eventual possession of nuclear weapons.  Given Bush’s overarching
dedication to “winning the Global War on Terrorism”, the neutralization
of Iran has become a/ sine qua non/, equal if not higher on his list of
priorities than “victory” in Iraq ---  another impossibility that he is
stubbornly unwilling to recognize, even privately ---  much less
acknowledge publicly.

    b.  Bush presently intends (with little faith or sincerity) to
exhaust all opportunities to achieve his objectives by diplomatic means
or through economic sanctions.  Failing those, he will attempt to
achieve his purposes by intimidation ---  by raising the threat of
military attack.  This will only stimulate more internal support for the
regime inside Iran and more international opposition to U.S. policies,
especially in the Muslim world.  Without question, moreover, an
escalating danger of US-Iranian military confrontation will greatly
intensify internal and regional opposition to US objectives in Iraq.
(Note:  A mystifying disconnect in logic persists on this point in
Bush’s mind.)

    c.  The best hope for avoidance of war with Iran (the catastrophic
consequences of which are too numerous and wide-ranging even to catalog)
will be opposition to the idea from the U.S. military and from American
politicians of both parties who have an appreciation of the weakened
state of U.S.  defense forces.  I am told, on the other hand, that Bush
has been persuaded by some military advisers that STRATCOM (Strategic
Air Command) has a workable plan for a comprehensive attack to be
launched almost simultaneously against 1500 targets in Iran that will
effectively prevent any Iranian retaliation, and will obviate the need
for a major ground operation or post-conflict occupation.  (The logic of
this strategy apparently depends on the hope that destruction of Iran’s
nuclear potential and its conventional military capabilities in a
spectacular display of shock and awe will trigger an internal revolt
against the present government, with moderate pro-western elements
standing ready to seize power in the name of freedom and democracy.
This must be another fantasy dreamed up in the twisted minds of people
like Michael Ledeen and other neocon illusionists.)

5.  I believe that Iran wants very much to be accepted as a respected
member of the community of prosperous and influential modern states.
And an Iran that was indeed a trustworthy member of that community would
be an enormous benefit to America and to the world.  That should be the
objective of American policy, therefore --- accommodating and eventually
modifying the legitimate national aspirations of a self-interested and
pragmatic Iran --- not launching a potentially catastrophic preemptive
war against a potentially powerful and influential Muslim nation of
seventy million people.  Coaxing Iran down a path leading toward
successful achievement of international respectability and acceptance is
the single most important “carrot” that we have to offer the  Iranian
leadership today.  The potential value of that positive incentive has
been completely squandered, however, by the pointless hostility and
belligerence of American “diplomatic” language --- starting with the
“axis of evil” and proceeding downhill from there to the most recent
offer of patently unacceptable ultimatums.   This has greatly diminished
our own bargaining power while making the job of arriving at a
reasonable accommodation with Iran infinitely more difficult in every way.

6.  In order of importance, however, the attraction from Iran’s
perspective of moving toward desired international acceptance and
respectability is completely overshadowed by two other dominant factors
at this time:  the need to reinforce and preserve Iran’s national pride
(recently enhanced by the apparent success of its Hizballah surrogate in
Lebanon) , and its conviction that the United States is an implacable
enemy whose aggressive bullying must be resisted at all costs.

7.  Adding up all those factors, it seems clear to me that Bush has laid
out the following course for American policy, adding up to a Catch-22
from which I see no escape:

    a.  Continuing futile efforts to achieve Iranian capitulation
through weak and ineffective economic sanctions, to the accompaniment of
counterproductive vituperation and bombast;

    b.  Quickly followed by a period of rapidly escalating threats of
military action, during which international and domestic opposition to
American policy will increase dramatically, making Bush’s choices
increasingly more painful and difficult in every respect;

    c.  A judgment by Bush that the immediate risks and costs of
preemptive military action against Iran are, in the final analysis, less
formidable than the risks and costs of tolerating Iranian nuclear
possession --- and the personal and national humiliation that would
result from passive acceptance of that outcome.

    d.  Sometime before the end of his term, a massive air military
attack on a wide range of carefully selected targets in Iran, in
partnership with Israel, and against the advice of many of his advisers
--- justified by the conviction that a nuclear Iran would pose an
intolerable threat to American national security, firm in his faith that
God agrees with him on that point, and certain that history will
eventually recognize and properly appreciate his courageous and
visionary leadership.

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