Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Getting serious about Iran

The Left is continually bringing up the "fact" that "Chimpy McBush-Hit-Burton" is planning on invading Iran. Now, far be it from me to correct the barking moonbats (they are so clever in their nicknames, aren't they?) but invasion is not on our list of things to do before the president leaves office when it comes to Iran. As I figured, and as Marcie and I have wargamed ourselves, this will involve bombing campaigns and a possible blockade:

A recent decision by German officials to withhold support for any new sanctions against Iran has pushed a broad spectrum of officials in Washington to develop potential scenarios for a military attack on the Islamic regime, FOX News confirmed Tuesday.

Germany — a pivotal player among three European nations to rein in Iran's nuclear program over the last two-and-a-half years through a mixture of diplomacy and sanctions supported by the United States — notified its allies last week that the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel refuses to support the imposition of any further sanctions against Iran that could be imposed by the U.N. Security Council.

The announcement was made at a meeting in Berlin that brought German officials together with Iran desk officers from the five member states of the Security Council. It stunned the room, according to one of several Bush administration and foreign government sources who spoke to FOX News, and left most Bush administration principals concluding that sanctions are dead.

The Germans voiced concern about the damaging effects any further sanctions on Iran would have on the German economy — and also, according to diplomats from other countries, gave the distinct impression that they would privately welcome, while publicly protesting, an American bombing campaign against Iran's nuclear facilities.

Germany's withdrawal from the allied diplomatic offensive is the latest consensus across relevant U.S. agencies and offices, including the State Department, the National Security Council and the offices of the president and vice president. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, the most ardent proponent of a diplomatic resolution to the problem of Iran's nuclear ambitions, has had his chance on the Iranian account and come up empty.

Political and military officers, as well as weapons of mass destruction specialists at the State Department, are now advising
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the diplomatic approach favored by Burns has failed and the administration must actively prepare for military intervention of some kind. Among those advising Rice along these lines are John Rood, the assistant secretary for the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation; and a number of Mideast experts, including Ambassador James Jeffrey, deputy White House national security adviser under Stephen Hadley and formerly the principal deputy assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs.

Consequently, according to a well-placed Bush administration source, "everyone in town" is now participating in a broad discussion about the costs and benefits of military action against Iran, with the likely timeframe for any such course of action being over the next eight to 10 months, after the presidential primaries have probably been decided, but well before the November 2008 elections.

The discussions are now focused on two basic options: less invasive scenarios under which the U.S. might blockade Iranian imports of gasoline or exports of oil, actions generally thought to exact too high a cost on the Iranian people but not enough on the regime in Tehran; and full-scale aerial bombardment.

On the latter course, active consideration is being given as to how long it would take to degrade Iranian air defenses before American air superiority could be established and U.S. fighter jets could then begin a systematic attack on Iran's known nuclear targets.

Most relevant parties have concluded such a comprehensive attack plan would require at least a week of sustained bombing runs, and would at best set the Iranian nuclear program back a number of years — but not destroy it forever.

Other considerations include the likelihood of Iranian reprisals against Tel Aviv and other Israeli population centers; and the effects on American troops in Iraq. There, officials have concluded that the Iranians are unlikely to do much more damage than they already have been able to inflict through their supply of explosives and training of insurgents in Iraq.

The Bush administration "has just about had it with Iran," said one foreign diplomat. "They tried the diplomatic process. China is now obstructing them at the U.N. Security Council and the Russians are tucking themselves behind them.

"The Germans are wobbling …There are a number of people in the administration who do not want their legacy to be leaving behind an Iran that is nuclear armed, so they are looking at what are the alternatives? They are looking at other options," the diplomat said.

Vice President Cheney and his aides are said to be enjoying a bit of "schadenfreude" at the expense of Burns. A source described Cheney's office as effectively gloating to Burns and Rice, "We told you so. (The Iranians) are not containable diplomatically."

The next shoe to drop will be when Rice and President Bush make a final decision about whether to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and/or its lethal subset, the Quds Force, as a terrorist entity or entities. FOX News reported in June that such a move is under consideration.

Sources say news leaks about the prospective designation greatly worried European governments and private sector firms, which could theoretically face prosecution in American courts if such measures became law and these entities continued to do business with IRGC and its multiple financial subsidiaries.

If the Bush administration moves forward with such a designation, sources said, it would be an indication that Rice agrees that Burns' approach has failed. Designation of such a large Iranian military institution as a terrorist entity would also be seen, sources said, as laying the groundwork for a public justification of American military action.

A-ha, the Left will say, more warmongering! Hardly. Iran has already fired the first shots in this war, and we're just now beginning to contemplate retaliation. As See-Dub notes at Hot Air the Brits are also considering retaliatory actions against Iran:

British forces have been sent from Basra to the volatile border with Iran amid warnings from the senior US commander in Iraq that Tehran is fomenting a "proxy war".

In signs of a fast-developing confrontation, the Iranians have threatened military action in response to attacks launched from Iraqi territory while the Pentagon has announced the building of a US base and fortified checkpoints at the frontier.
The UK operation, in which up to 350 troops are involved, has come at the request of the Americans, who say that elements close to the Iranian regime have stepped up supplies of weapons to Shia militias in recent weeks in preparation for attacks inside Iraq.

The deployment came within a week of British forces leaving Basra Palace, their last remaining base inside Basra city, and withdrawing to the airport for a widely expected final departure from Iraq. Brigadier James Bashall, commander of 1 Mechanised Brigade, based at Basra said: "We have been asked to help at the Iranian border to stop the flow of weapons and I am willing to do so. We know the points of entry and I am sure we can do what needs to be done. The US forces are, as we know, engaged in the 'surge' and the border is of particular concern to them."

The mission will include the King's Royal Hussars battle group, 250 of whom were told at the weekend that they would be returning to the UK as part of a drawdown of forces in Iraq.

The operation is regarded as a high-risk strategy which could lead to clashes with Iranian-backed Shia militias or even Iranian forces and also leaves open the possibility of Iranian retaliation in the form of attacks against British forces at the Basra air base or inciting violence to draw them back into Basra city. Relations between the two countries are already fraught after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards seized a British naval party in the Gulf earlier this year.

Things are certainly heating up for Iran, and this makes the second news story in two weeks discussing possible military action against Iran. Things with this situation are starting to come to a head, and as the former article notes, patience is wearing thin in the Bush administration. Intel agencies are cautioning the administration that they have no solid proof that Iran is working on a nuclear weapon. Call it a gut instinct, but I have no clue how Ahmadinejad is going to "wipe Israel off the map" without a few nukes. Furthermore, given the strained relations between European nations and Iran, and the fact that Iran has the ability to strike Western Europe with missiles obtained from North Korea, it's no wonder why the Brits are helping us, and that Germany has said they would welcome such strikes.

There is no way we can allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon. All the people shrieking that they have a right to such weapons are fools. "With great power comes an even greater responsibility in the possession of that power." The possibility that Iran will construct a nuke within the next year or two is one that has the West rightly worried. They can't be trusted with the most destructive force ever unleashed on the planet. We have nuclear weapons right now that make the A-Bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima look like firecrackers. Do we really want such a weapon in the hands of an Islamic theocracy that has maintained it's hatred for the West? As the Bush administration is showing, no we don't, and if needs be, we will take action to end their ability to create such a weapon, and to end their interference and aggressive posture to our troops in Iraq.

Publius II


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