I know, we've been distracted of late by talk of massive NSA surveillance of Americans, slipping poll numbers, and the War on Immigration, but let's not lose track of the real kicker: will Bush defy common sense, global opinion, his own advisors, any shred of decency or intelligence, and the interests of the American people by bombing Iran?
Here's the official calculation of the odds as of the beginning of the year—things can only have gotten worse since then.
John Robb, former DoD counter-terrorism operative, intelligence analyst, and author of the blog Global Guerillas , points out the tactical problems of an air strike in his article "Collapsing Iran:"
The first is that Iran has both dispersed and hardened its nuclear related facilities . . . it is highly probable that some of Iran's facilities will survive conventional air attack.
The second problem is equally as difficult. Most of the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear program isn’t contained in the facilities but in the knowledge of its engineers. This means that any destruction of facilities would only result in a short-term delay in development and a redoubled commitment by Iran to accomplish the task.
These problems indicate that the only way to truly realize a reversal in the Iranian program is regime change.
Now you, as many other reasonable people would, might say: "Pfaw! The U.S. does not have the ground forces available to implement regime change! Nobody knows that better than the military establishment!"
No worries, says Robb.
To accomplish this regime change under the given restraints, the US will utilize a rapidly evolving method of air warfare called the “effects-based operation” (EBO). The EBO is a process that incapacitates a nation-state’s systems (typically critical infrastructure) and organizations to achieve desired strategic outcomes. In the past this has meant a combination of precision-guided munitions, special operations, and stealth technology to precisely target critical nodes in national infrastructures and systems. The destruction of these nodes, due to the power of network dependencies, will typically cause sustained system collapse (in much the same way a downed power line can cause a regional blackout, but in this case intentionally). A good real world example was seen in the first Gulf War. ...
In regards to its suitability as a target for an EBO, Iran is perfect—it is both urbanized and its population relies on national networks vulnerable to disruption and manipulation. This means U.S. forces (no other nation can do this) would have the ability to use precise applications of force to break down Iran’s critical systems, eliminating critical nodes within its electricity, communications, transportation, military, and industrial systems. A nation-state that is subjected to this type of attack ceases all governmental and economic function. ...
Iran will be torn apart from within. To accomplish this, the US will conduct the EBO under the pretense of forcing Iran to dismantle its entire nuclear program—a condition that the Iranian regime will find impossible to accept. Simultaneous with the air campaign’s suppression of Iran’s minority Persian government, the US will arm and actively support ethnic guerrillas (Kurds, Balochs, Azeris, etc.) to turn sections of the country into autonomous zones.
Okay, that's alarming. But as long as the U.S. isn't, y'know, moving its aircraft carriers into position and arming ethnic minority insurgency groups, we've still got some time to stop the insanity, right?
From Raw Story last week:
Two air-craft carriers are already en route to the region, Raw Story has found. The USS Abraham Lincoln, which recently made a port call in Singapore, and the USS Enterprise which left Norfolk, Virginia earlier this month, are headed for the Western Pacific and Middle East. The USS Ronald Reagan is already operating in the Gulf. ...
As previously reported by Raw Story, a terrorist organization known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) is being used on the ground in Iran by the Pentegon, bypassing US intelligence channels. The report was subsequently covered by the Asia Times (Article) ...
In addition, sources say that a March attack that killed 22 Iranian officials in the province of Sistan va Baluchistan was carried out by the MEK.
Right. And once more, for the record: violent, forcible attempts at regime change are the worst thing the U.S. could do in terms of supporting Iran's reformers, like Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi:
I think that if there is an attack against Iran, people will forget about their criticism, and they will rally with the government. Any attack on Iran will be good for the government and will actually damage the democratic movement in Iran. ... The problems between Iran and America have only one solution—direct negotiations between the two countries. ... Mr. Bush sometimes wants to bring democracy through the use of force, like the government of Iran wants to push people by force into paradise.
Go read Salon 's interview with this remarkable woman here.
| Monday, May 15, 2006 10:49 AM