"..Vice President Cheney's office had directed contingency planning for 'a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons' and that 'several senior Air Force officers' involved in the planning were 'appalled at the implications of what they are doing -- that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack -- but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objection."
Ken Silverstein wrote in his blog on Harper's web site, "Speaking From Experience," this past Tuesday (4 September) that an anonymous CIA official who earlier this year pooh-poohed the idea of a U.S.-launched preemptive war against Iran now thinks that it is highly likely.
I guess we should be grateful that he doesn't think that a first use of nukes by the U.S. is likely; but then again, I can't say that, since the subject wasn't raised.
From Silverstein's post, the off-set words of the anonymous CIA official:
"It looks like a military strike is in the works and I base that on two things: observable fact and the rhetoric emanating from the White House. There’s a lot of movement of troops and materiel into the region–it’s stuff the United States can’t hide. It’s a huge expense to put Navy battle groups in the Gulf and we’ve got three of them there. We’ve also moved new fighter planes to Guam amidst much public fanfare. You can plainly see the upturn in US Naval activity in and around the Norfolk Naval installations. The movement of ships, re-supply, ammunition loading and general level of activity is high.
"The Naval facilities and the ammunition loading areas are well known, and the activity is readily visible, especially at night. There’s a stream of ships coming in to load up and when they take off new ones come in. There’s only one part of the world where all that stuff is heading. Also, everyone I know who would be involved in an attack on Iran –- pilots and other air assets –- is gone. Normally some of them are around but now all of them are away at the same time. [emphasis added]
"The other evidence of a likely strike is all the harsh talk from the White House. President Bush has been talking about Iran a lot more recently, and he put the Revolutionary Guard on the list of terrorist groups. Whatever you think of the president, he has said he won’t let Iran move forward with its nuclear program. I’d take him at his word.
"And it’s doable. The only part of the military that’s not stretched to the limits in Iraq is the Air Force. It will be a multi-day, multi-target air campaign–not ‘Shock and Awe,’ which wasn’t shocking and didn’t awe anyone, but a savage blow struck against President Ahmadinejad. We shouldn’t hit Iran’s Navy or Air Force but target the nuclear sites and the Revolutionary Guard. A measured response helps Ahmadinejad because he’s saying the Americans won’t attack, or can’t hurt, Iran. A disproportionate response will be hard for him to explain to the Iranian public."
What the hell is with these Curtis LeMay "air power eliminates the need for conventional forces" assholes any way? Unless you're talking about a nuclear strike -- or re-creating the bombings of Dresden and Tokyo of World War II (which actually killed more people, at least initially, than the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) -- aerial bombardments tend to strengthen a country's resolve, not weaken it. Look at the ill-advised Nazi air-war against Britain. Look at Pearl Harbor. Hell, look at 9/11.
Why do these nutters persist in thinking that the other guys will fall apart like a cheap suit at the first whiff of cluster bombs, bunker busters and incendiaries, to update a Napoleonic cliché? Do they really think that "God is on our side"? Whoops, my bad: of course they do, given the mandatory proselytizing shenanigans and intolerance of any religion that isn't a hard right Baptist version of Christianity at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Too bad the current presidential administration and the vast majority of our media aren't as concerned about religious extremists among the Christians as they are among the Muslims.