Tuesday, May 20, 2008

War Drums Beating Again For Iran Attack?

Did Israel let the Cat out of the bag about the Bush Administrations plans for Iran?

I hope this is just more fluff, designed to get Irans attention. I believe that the window of opportunity for an attack against Iran has passed. The latest optimal time would have been late last year or earlier this year. It just doesn't make sense to launch an attack at this point. We are well into an election year. Such a move would have unclear, but serious consequences, both domestically and internationally. Domestically, it could either harm the Republican candidate, or increase Republican support (which tends to happen for the office holders Party in wartime). But an increase in support for Bush or McCain is very unlikely in this case.

In addition, the U.S., being tied up in Iraq, does not have enough troops on standby to blunt an aggressive Iranian counter-attack, once airstrikes commence. So an attack under these conditions would be a case of outright recklessness and stupidity. But that's nothing new for Bush and the Republicans. The U.S. can't hold ground in Iraq with 150,000 troops, and the neocons want to attack a Country that is three times the size and population of Iraq? The U.S. would need 200,000 to perhaps 250,000 troops just to contain a counter-attack and push the Iranians back (That's on a good day).

Internationally, the consequences could be grave. Iran would almost certainly use Iraq and Lebanon as fronts in any confrontation. It would put U.S. troops and allies at serious risk. Any conflict could also draw in regional powers like Russia, Israel, etc. Such a conflict could spread quickly like a wildfire....with no one being able to control it. This is a very bad environment to fight a war in because there are so many flashpoints.... no clear red lines anywhere....all the red lines are blurred.

This would also be a stupid time for an attack considering that the Iranian government is domestically unpopular right now. Attacking Iran would be a gift for the Iranian leadership because it would rally their people to support them (and they will do so by the millions). It would be a lot better to talk to Iran, re-establish UN monitoring of nuclear facilities, provide a boost to nuclear negotiations (with UN leadership) and quietly work with the people of Iran. The same revolution that brought the Mullahs to power is the same revolution that could remove them. Why anger the Iranian people (many of whom are pro-Western....not so much in terms of politics, but in terms of culture). Ordinary Iranians are this Country's greatest asset.

Lastly, I see no signs of any immediate confrontation. There are no Aircraft Carriers steaming towards the Persian Gulf in unusually large numbers. A serious attack would require at least 3-4 Carrier battle groups, considering that Iran has a considerable military capability (as compared to other countries in the region). Keep in mind that the U.S. used 6 Carrier battle groups against Iraq in 1991...and Iran is a nation 3 times the size of Iraq, in land and in population size...and has a military capability that is larger than what Saddam Hussein had at that time.
It should also be noted that few Countries, if any, will be willing to help the U.S. in any kind of Bush neocon military adventure in Iran.

The problem with the above is that it is a common sense assessment. The Bush administration doesn't operate under any common sense assumptions. Bush & Co. has always done things that simply don't make sense in the real world. We are not dealing with normal people. That's what is scary.

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