Given that this item
comes from the very unreliable, Seymour Hersh, it should be greeted with some skepticism.
Ed Lasky 4 8 06
Reader Mike McGill comments:
With regard to the Seymore Hersh article and all skepticism aside, I'd be very disappointed in our military and intelligence services if we weren't in fact, to summarize from the first paragraph, 'increasing clandestine activities inside Iran and intensifying planning for a possible major air attack, drawing up lists of targets, collecting targeting data, and establishing contact with anti—government ethnic—minority groups.' It should come as no surprise to anyone that the United States conducts these kinds of activities all the time in many different regions of the world. Iran is hardly unique in that aspect. It's more a matter of scope with Iran than anything else.
As to the issue of regime change in Iran, again, there's little doubt that with the removal of Saddam, Iran has become the primary destabilizing force in the region and there is no doubt that Ahmadinejad is a dangerous lunatic. There is also no doubt that Iran, despite some of the assertions in the article, unless stopped, will join the nuclear club sooner rather than later. It's a matter of public record that official US policy is that Iran will not be allowed to gain nuclear weapons and that if diplomacy fails military options of some sort will be employed. The Navy and Air Force have been underutilized in our current operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The use of bombers and ship and sub—launched cruise missiles would have little effect on current operational capabilities.
Mr. Hersh spends a great deal of time and a huge number of column inches trying to make the point that the United States is over—reacting. Unfortunately, he makes such a strong case in the first couple of paragraphs, the converse arguments in the other bajillion column inches just don't stack up. He argues that the IAEA has got it handled. The IAEA has proven itself to be more than inept and more than willing to negotiate perennially while at the same time looking the other way while Iran continues with its nuclear weapons program. As Mr. Hersh admits in his article, 'ElBaradei has been pushing the idea of letting Iran have a small nuclear—enrichment program.' Does anyone other than the IAEA think this is a good idea? Show of hands? Anyone? The same goes with the European wringing of hands over the potential use of force. This is again not particularly earth—shattering news. Unnamed sources expressing alarm over American 'belligerence' to a reporter from the New Yorker? Shocking! 'Grave Reservations' from retired beltway boys? I know I'm aghast...
Mr. Hersh's quotes and sources should certainly be taken with huge dollops of salt, but I have no qualms with the premise of the article itself. Iran is dangerous, cannot be allowed to achieve membership in the nuclear club, and the US will use military force if necessary to assure that outcome. Yup, absolutely. Can't argue with that.