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February 20, 2007

US has "shock and awe" plan for Iran

We were warned, originally uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.

The United States has a contingency plan to attack Iran that goes beyond attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities and includes most of Iran's military infrastructure, the BBC has learned:

US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country's military infrastructure, the BBC has learned.

It is understood that any such attack - if ordered - would target Iranian air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centres.

The US insists it is not planning to attack, and is trying to persuade Tehran to stop uranium enrichment.

The UN has urged Iran to stop the programme or face economic sanctions.

But diplomatic sources have told the BBC that as a fallback plan, senior officials at Central Command in Florida have already selected their target sets inside Iran.

That list includes Iran's uranium enrichment plant at Natanz. Facilities at Isfahan, Arak and Bushehr are also on the target list, the sources say. [BBC]

It's not surprising that a contingency plan exists for such as strike. In fact, it would be surprising if the Bush administration hadn't formulated a plan, given how determined it is to leave the military option on the table. (Well, with this crew, you never know. They like spontaneity in their military conquests.)

What's alarming is how big an attack the US is planning. They're not envisioning an Osirak-style surgical strike against Iran's nuclear program. The plan is to go after most of Iran's military infrastructure. Shock and awe all over again.

Also disconcerting are the circumstances under which the plan would be "triggered:"

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says the trigger for such an attack reportedly includes any confirmation that Iran was developing a nuclear weapon - which it denies.

Alternatively, our correspondent adds, a high-casualty attack on US forces in neighbouring Iraq could also trigger a bombing campaign if it were traced directly back to Tehran. [BBC]

On the bright side, the fact that we haven't attacked Iran yet is a tacit admission that the US has no proof that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon.

It's probably only a matter of time before America suffers a huge number of casualties in a single attack. We're putting more troops in harm's way, and the insurgents are becoming more sophisticated.

Over at Global Guerillas, folks are speculating that the US could be one mass casualty away from defunding the war all together. The Bush administration is acutely aware of that possibility.

The public is sick of empty platitudes about staying the course. If the unthinkable happens, I predict that the Bush administration will use American losses as an excuse to scale up the war and go after the "real culprits" in Iran who are allegedly ruining America's occupation.

The administration has been trying to gin up a case against Iran for weeks, but so far reasonable people have the upper hand. The administration lacks proof and credibility. My fear is that the debate will become clouded by emotion and jingoism. If that happens, people may lose sight of niceties of evidence and lash out at the target the administration is setting up for them: Iran.

Residual anger over 9/11 propelled the US to invade Iraq with on the basis of shoddily fraudulent evidence. If the unthinkable happens in Iraq, I hope the American public won't allow their grief to be exploited again.

[The photo is a picture of journalist Sy Hersh, who has been warning about the Neocons' designs on Iran for years.]


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like the filter :)


It's even more aggressive than merely a military strike. IF it is initiated, the use of airpower will quickly move onto a full societal EBO with the objective of collapsing the entire country to force a regime change:

Residual anger over 9/11 propelled the US to invade Iraq

my god. I actually know who says things like that. But it means pure anger and completely absent reason mark our most import decision in the last 20 years. We Are So Screwed.

They do know that Iran has a modern and advanced anti-aircraft defense system right? This isn't Bosnia or sanction-crippled Iraq. This is a real country, with real weapons and real soldiers with real allies. We won't be facing Iranians with gear from 1979. We'll be facing Iranians with Russian and Chinese gear made in 2006. Planes will be shot down. Regime change will not be forced, because as much as we hate to admit it Iran's government is fairly popular outside of the student set.

This won't force regime change. That's moronic and someone in this administration has been listening to the Airforce's bullshit a little too intently. Airpower can't do what they think it can do. All we're going to end up with here is an entrenched Iranian government and a regional war with few, if any, allies.

Well, hey, you can't argue with success. We did accomplish regime change in Iraq after all.

Lindsay is absolutely correct that we have already been warned. As I wrote in the Huffington Post: William Arkin reported on this at least a year ago, as well. The real news is the 'second trigger' which the BBC reveals that might lead to war.

This speculation is about a CONTINGENCY Plan, one which NO ONE in the Pentagon wants to see implemented. There is no conceivable military scenario which will result in the US being better off after an attack on Iran. The Neo-cons will have to fly the planes themselves.

And yes, the Iranians can respond to any attacks by shutting off all oil shipments through the Persian Gulf. If the US tries to protect the shipping, they risk the loss of valuable aircraft carriers and thousands of lives from the Iranian's sophisticated anti-ship missiles.

I used to work with Iranian Naval Officers. Most of them fled Iran after the Shah fell, but there still appears to be a strong professional military capacity; enough to ensure that any attacks on Iran by the US or Israel would exact a very high price on those countries.

So why are we seeing continued reports of war planning? Well, for one thing it sells news copy. For another, sabre-rattling continues to be a favorite way of governments diverting attention away from other problems, especially domestic problems. Both the US and Iran potentially benefit from the distraction that this hyped-up news brings.

The US supplied weapons to people fighting the Soviets during their war in Afghanistan.

That didn't give the Soviet Union the right to drop bombs on America.

If Iran is supplying weapons to Iraqis, that doesn't give the US the right to bomb Iran.

Oh man go easy on the ISO 3200.

PG, tell me about it. I'm a serial ISO abuser. One of these days, I'm going to get a proper f2.8 lens and be through with the endlessly frustrating tradeoff between digital noise and motion blur.

I use a tripod for some stuff, but it wasn't an option for this event because I was sitting in the audience.

I'd add that the sabre-rattling drives up oil prices on both sides and war profiteering is a hallmark of ALL Bush policies.

Also, Anonymous Liberal provides some great historical context of Iran post-9/11 that I highly recommend.

Do it.>You know you want to.

You only live once.

photo geek writes;
Oh man go easy on the ISO 3200.

I think it is a good picture. Why complain about noise? I don't get the aesthetic behind complaints about noise. Ansel Adams used to complain bitterly to the Sierra Club about Elliot Porter using color in their publications because of the superior character of black and white creativity. Bah what humbug.

Lindsay I see you feel all perturbed about high ISO, ignore the comments. The technology will move forward but history looks back on the thinking behind pictures not technical blather. By the end of this century a great deal more ability to capture pixel resolution, and contrast will happen. So what? So what if a view camera can tilt and twist?

You made essentially a beautiful picture of Hersh and oughta be proud. Photo Geek is not a art Geek. Even having tools that can make a bigger f-stop hole in the lens it still comes down to your personal vision. Be true to yourself.

Regime change will not be forced, because as much as we hate to admit it Iran's government is fairly popular outside of the student set.

Uh, crap. Ahmadinejad's approval rate is down to Bush levels, and polls show that Iranians would welcome regime change, as long as it came from within rather than from an American or Israeli strike.

Alon, two things - first, Ahmadinejad is one guy in the Iranian government. 'Regime change' means taking out the whole government, not just a change of administrations. Second, 's long as it came from within rather than from an American or Israeli strike' is a really, really important caveat.

Anything significant that Bush does to Iran will be 'attacking Iran', not 'attacking the regime'. And a widespread attack will affect a big chunk of the population; this should solidify support quite nicely.

Bombs away! This time I’m cashing in on the action. When they fly the pallets of C-note bricks to Tehran, I’ll be there, socking that shit away. Retirement, here I come!

As sean-paul said, it's no surprise there's a contigincy plan to attack Iran, I think I remember reading a while back about a plan existing for invading Canada. It's the triggers that are scary, And given how hard people have been pushing for connections between the Iranian government and the Iraqi insurgency it really feels like the Bush administration is trying to setup an excuse to attack.

Also agree with Barry that any military action against Iran would be viewed as attacking the country itself not the government. There was a Iranian student living in the same building as me a few years back. One time when we got talking politics he made a comment about Iraq that would be even more relevant here. He said there is still a lot of resentment towards the US about the support given to Iraq during the war between those countries. The feelings would be immensely stronger if we were directly involved in military action. No matter how much you dislike your government, if somebody comes and starts destroying parts of your country (even if it's just military targets and "collateral damage"), then the people are going to be pissed off at the aggressor. Just think about how a lot of people were feeling on September 12 2001.

Anything significant that Bush does to Iran will be 'attacking Iran', not 'attacking the regime'. And a widespread attack will affect a big chunk of the population; this should solidify support quite nicely.

Exactly. That's what I keep saying; attacking Iran will do to Ahmadinejad's approval rate what 9/11 did to Bush's.

Also, the whole "That regime is popular" thing isn't true even if Ahmadinejad is just one person. In the elections, the reformists win whenever they're allowed to run; Ahmadinejad only won because the reformists boycotted the election due to dissatisfaction with the slow pace of reform under Khatami. That isn't going to happen again; when the next reformist fails to deliver, they'll know boycotting the election will only make things worse. That's why polls about individual issues reveal Iranians to be more pro-American than most nations. In 2002, almost half of them agreed with Bush's "Axis of Evil" branding; that figure dipped in 2003 and 2004 because Bush got stupid, but Ahmadinejad's weakness has brought it back up.

In a Grauniad-reading way, it makes sense to dismiss claims like that. The Grauniad aired pro-Russian editorials in 2004 calling the Orange Revolution a CIA plot. The basic idea is that if a government is hostile to the US, it must be good and popular, and facts be damned. It doesn't matter that the said government is now forced to ration gas, which will have the same effects on regime support that such a move would in the US. It doesn't matter that Ahmadinejad has just been dealt a blow in the election. Ahmadinejad is anti-American; therefore, he must be popular and successful.

Ask your Senators to cosponsor a resolution against war with Iran:

Title: A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that the President should not initiate military action against Iran without first obtaining authorization from Congress.
Sponsor: Sen Sanders, Bernard [VT] (introduced 2/15/2007) Cosponsors (None)

You can find your Senators' official websites which probably include a Contact Form by typing in their names at Google.

You can bet there isn't a single country in the world that the U.S. doesn't have a contingency plan for. Mcmillan: The home of the 10th Mountain Division, specializing in rapid deployment and trained for winter warfare, is Fort Drum in upstate New York -- 30 miles from the border, halfway between Montreal and Toronto and a short hop from Ottawa. Guess who their prime contingency target is.

Iran was always a target in the neocons insane Wilsonian ambitions for a "global democratic revolution". Everything that we're seeing right now is an ad hoc justification for a war they've wanted to engage in at least since 9/11.

The context in which you have to view this is that the neocons are approaching their own version of Napoleon's advance on Waterloo. The problem the neocons have is this: the gigantic influx of political capital they got from 9/11 is pretty much gone. There is a huge degree of public discontent with the war in Iraq (which if anything is at least as great a demonstration of ideological failure as the various implementations of communism) and most Americans now want out. That exasperation, combined with the administrations utter lack of credibility, mean that their opportunity to pursue war on Iran is fast fading, if not already lost.

Remember: cornered rats are the most dangerous.

Like I said in my original post, a contingency plan doesn't necessarily mean any particular action is imminent.

The fact that the US has a plan to invade Canada, if "necessary" doesn't worry me. On the other hand, if the US started moving air craft carrier groups up the coast and braying about how "all options are on the table" for solving the softwood lumber dispute, then I'd start to get nervous.

Anonymous leaks to a foreign press outlet? This is part of the saber-rattling dance: a message aimed probably at both the Iranians and the Israelis. Who knows what the real state of play is, or what could tip us over into irreversible action.

Canada is also not an Official Member of the Axis of Evil.

Eric Jaffa, thanks for the link. I just returned from a town hall meeting with Charles Grassley (R-IA). I asked whether he'd support S.CON.RES.13. He essentially said that he wouldn't because it's already in place. I should have pressed him on the scope of the 2002 authorization but time was running out. Furthermore, some heated exchanges with people who asked about Iraq seemed to agitate him on the issue of the "global war on terror" in general.

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