Let me make an argument about the possibility that a regime-change-style, shock-and-awe air assault might someday be launched on Iranian nuclear facilities and associated targets–based on no insider knowledge, just the logic of George and Dick’s Thelma and Louise-style imperialism.
Of course, we all know at least half the story by now. Is there anybody in official Washington–other than our President, Vice President, the Vice President’s secretive imperial staff, assorted neocon supporters, and associated right-wing think tanks–who isn’t sweating blood, popping pills, and wondering what in the world to do about our delusional leaders?
Senators, House members, former top officials and high military types are now crawling out of the Washington woodwork to offer the kinds of dire warnings that, not so long ago, would have been confined to the distant peripheries of political argument.
After all, to anyone not delusional–which leaves out you-know-who and his Vice President–a massive air assault on Iran, surely involving staggeringly powerful bunker-busting missiles, would seem to be an act of madness. It would be immensely destructive to Iran (and yet almost surely a rallying point for its fundamentalist regime); bloody in its repercussions for US soldiers in Iraq; imperiling to US allies in the region; and, for the global economy, a potential energy catastrophe. A series of explosive events could unravel the oil heartlands of the planet, making the Administration’s last several years in Iraq little more than an hors d’oeuvre before a banquet of catastrophe.
You don’t have to rely on me for this. In his confirmation hearings, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates offered his own bloodcurdling scenario for the aftermath of such an assault:
“…[While] Iran cannot attack us directly militarily, I think that their capacity to potentially close off the Persian Gulf to all exports of oil, their potential to unleash a significant wave of terror both in the — well, in the Middle East and in Europe and even here in this country is very real… Their ability to get Hezbollah to further destabilize Lebanon I think is very real. So I think that while their ability to retaliate against us in a conventional military way is quite limited, they have the capacity to do all of the things, and perhaps more, that I just described.”
The possibility of an attack on Iran has long been on the horizon. You’d have to start back before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, when, as Newsweek reminded us, one quip of the bolder neocons was: “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran.” You’d have to go back to January 2005, when reporter Seymour Hersh, in a New Yorker piece, “The Coming Wars,” wrote, “In my interviews, I was repeatedly told that the next strategic target was Iran.”