Saturday, April 8, 2006

Iran War: How will our "press corps" respond to the Hersh article?

German news sites are starting to pick up the Hersh report that the Bush administration is planning to use nuclear weapons against Iran in a preventive-war attack:

Bush will angeblich Atomwaffen einsetzen S├╝ddeutsche Zeitung  08.04.06

US-Regierung soll Atomangriff gegen Iran erw├Ągen Der Spiegel Online 08.04.06

Both those articles simply summarize the Hersh report, concentrating on the news about nuclear "bunker-buster" bombs.

At this writing, the Washington Post Web site doesn't seem to have picked it up.  And I don't see one at the New York Times site, either.  Yahoo! News has an AFP (French news service) report up on it.  And also a Reuters piece.

Steve Gilliard is commening on it:

OK, this is really, really simple. If ONE US bomb falls on Iraq, thousands of American soldiers would die in Iraq.

In fact, as talk of this planning grows, Iranian basiji will reenforce the Sadrist and Badr Organization will get better arms.

I would bet the US Special Ops teams [in Iraq] are allowed to walk around at the Iranian Army's pleasure. Any indication of an attack would mean a lot of people rolled up and killed.

If Bush is thinking about Hitler and a world war and bunker busters, I have to question his sanity. Forget regime change. Iranians have seen Iraq and want no part of it. Again, this is the voice of American-friendly exiles whispering into Beltway ears without any consideration of reality. If the US uses conventional bombs in Iran, the Shia in Iraq will start a national rebellion. Sadr will be sitting in the Green Zone within two days. If they go nuclear, we will lose Afghanistan as well. ...

The whole thing seems to be Bush, having failed before, seeking some place to seek his glory and being unware of the constraints on his and the US's power. Iran can blunt any plan to be attacked by ratcheting up the pressure in Iraq to unbearable levels.

Steve Soto has been thinking and hoping that the war talk about Iran was a ham-handed bluff to put on pressure for diplomatic solutions.  He's ready to discard that idea for now:

There’s been a rash of stories lately about Bush Administration war gaming for an Iranian preemptive bombing campaign. Knowing the usefulness of strategic disinformation as this administration does, I have chalked up some of these stories to a futile effort to scare the Iranian leadership into a stronger commitment to negotiations. As I have said numerous times before, Bush had a chance in the months after 9/11 to make a strategic opening to Iran when they had a moderate elected leadership, and he blew it when he stupidly uttered the “Axis of Evil” schoolboy taunt in the face of repeated offers by the Iranians to help us.

But we now need to take seriously these rumblings, and wonder if our long-held suspicions about the groupthink and macho mentality in this White House will merge with their desire for a way to avoid a thrashing in the midterm elections. Seymour Hersh is reporting in the New Yorker that the Bush Administration is planning to launch a massive bombing campaign against the suspected Iranian nuclear facilities, using bunker-busting nuclear warheads, as early as this spring. Think about that for a moment, and the fact that they have already briefed several senators on their plans, including the only Democrat who would not think this was borderline insane with 130,000 American targets inside an already-splintering Iraq.

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