mr. zilla goes to town

Sunday, April 09, 2006

US considering providing nukes to Iran

The other day I said:
I'm afraid that no matter which way we cut it, short of full scale invasion and permanent occupation of Iran, there is no way to physically prevent the eeevil Mullahs from developing their own nuclear weapons arsenal within the next 5-7 years.

Now you all just pay no attention to me - I failed to think as boldly and laterally as the White House is at the moment. Seymour Hersh has the details:

One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites.

[...] The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added, and some officers have talked about resigning. Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran—without success, the former intelligence official said. “The White House said, ‘Why are you challenging this? The option came from you.’ ”

Go read the whole article. While it's possible to construe this news as a deliberate leak, as brinksmanship and sabre-rattling to indicate to the Iranians just how serious the Bush administration is about making them back down, on past form I think it's better to assume that Bush is quite prepared to do exactly what he is preparing to do - attack Iran with nuclear weapons in an attempt to destroy their nuclear weapons programme.

Some operations, apparently aimed in part at intimidating Iran, are already under way. American Naval tactical aircraft, operating from carriers in the Arabian Sea, have been flying simulated nuclear-weapons delivery missions—rapid ascending maneuvers known as “over the shoulder” bombing—since last summer, the former official said, within range of Iranian coastal radars.

And then, we are in the abyss.

Update: Watch Hersh on CNN discussing the article. The nuance comes across a little more -- that the standard procedure in military planning is to put every option, absolutely everything including nukes on the table up front, and then walk backwards from that, documenting the decision to do so. Except the White House wouldn't:

Hersh: ...And then, of course, nobody in their right mind would want to use a nuclear weapon in the Middle East, because it would be, my God, totally chaotic. When the JCS, the joint chiefs, and the planners wanted to walk back that option, what happened is about three or four weeks ago, the White House, people in the White House, in the Oval Office, the vice president's office, said, no, let's keep it in the plan. They refuse to take it out. And what I'm writing here is that if this isn't removed -- and I say this very seriously. I've been around this town for 40 years -- some senior officers are prepared to resign. They're that upset about the fact that this plan is kept in. Again, let me make the point, you're giving a range of options early in the planning. To be sure of getting rid of it, you give that option.


Update II: Tim Dunlop has the scoop on US planning to invade Australia.

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