Some of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.
Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.
“There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,” a source with close ties to British intelligence said. “There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible.”
A British defence source confirmed that there were deep misgivings inside the Pentagon about a military strike. “All the generals are perfectly clear that they don’t have the military capacity to take Iran on in any meaningful fashion. Nobody wants to do it and it would be a matter of conscience for them.
“There are enough people who feel this would be an error of judgment too far for there to be resignations.”
A few thoughts on this. First of all, if as President Bush and Secretary of Defense Gates are constantly telling us, that there are no plans to attack Iran, then why are senior military officials threatening to resign? Second, what does this say about the seriousness with which we are addressing this potential conflict when major Democratic presidential candidates refuse to rule out military strikes against Iran to stop their nuclear program? And lastly, if we do go to war with Iran, it is all well and good that these generals will resign (and act that requires moral courage and will be worthy of admiration if and when it occurs), but what will you or I do?
In my opinion, this is why it is absolutely crucial that we press Democrats as hard as possible to rescind and remove Bush's authority to conduct the war in Iraq (another point on which I agree with Big Tent Democrat.) If the Bush administration's hands can be tied on Iraq, and they are made well aware of the consequences of unauthorized military action against Iran, that will give them that much less leeway to launch such an action. Sitting around planning for how Democrats will "really" get us out of Iraq in 2009, does nothing to stop the senseless rush towards another war.
UPDATE: In a move that will not at all quiet tensions, Iran has launched their first rocket into space. If you know your history, you'll recall that the launch of the Sputnik satellite by the Soviets was greeted with great trepidation by Americans. That's because once you've learned how to put a rocket into space, then you're only a few steps away from being able to bring it back down where you want...on your enemy's soil.
UPDATE II: Does this sound familiar?
Although international concern is growing about Iran's nuclear program and its regional ambitions, diplomats here say most U.S. intelligence shared with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has proved inaccurate and none has led to significant discoveries inside Iran.
The officials said the CIA and other Western spy services had provided sensitive information to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency at least since 2002, when Iran's long-secret nuclear program was exposed. But none of the tips about supposed secret weapons sites provided clear evidence that the Islamic Republic was developing illicit weapons."
Since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that's come to us has proved to be wrong," a senior diplomat at the IAEA said. Another official here described the agency's intelligence stream as "very cold now" because "so little panned out."
If the Bush administration does decide to launch attacks against Iran, will they even know what to hit?