Everyone's still talking about the Hersh article that alleges Bush plans to use nukes on Iran. Much of the talk centers around whether Hersh is full of it or not. The Moderate Voice is noting that major U.S. newspapers have stories today quoting more of the usual "anonymous official sources" saying that Hersh is too keen to go negative on Bush, that plans may be just contingency plans and that - get this - you can't trust Hersh because he's only backed by "anonymous official sources"!
Meanwhile, in the UK, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw responded to reports of the Hersh tale by telling BBC television that the international community was right to view the Islamic republic's nuclear programme with "high suspicion" but:
"there is no smoking gun, there is no 'casus belli'...We can't be certain about Iran's intentions and that is therefore not a basis for which anybody would gain authority to go to military action."Straw also questioned the reliability of Hersh's report, saying the story about using nukes was "completely nuts" and said he believed Washington was still committed to using negotiation and diplomatic pressure to resolve the matter.
However, I have to say that if Bush is planning an attack then Straw will definitely be outside the loop this time. Why? Because the UK has consistently made clear it won't take part. Straw did it again in the BBC interview, telling the Beeb that "The reason why we're opposed to military action is because it's an infinitely worse option and there's no justification for it." For Straw or Blair to believe that they are priveliged insiders to Bush's plans this time around is likewise completely nuts.
As the Moderate Voice so succinctly puts it:
The question then is whether the planning Hersh wrote about is standard contingency planning or if there is indeed a an unchangeable mindset in the administration. If you judge by what has come out on pre-war Iraq decision making.....(you fill in the rest..)Hersh has a mixed track record, it's true. He did break the whole Abu Graib story but he's also made some pronouncements based on "anonymous sources" in the past that have fallen flat on their faces. My good friend Fester over at Comments From Left Field thinks Hersh is way out on the alleged timing of any attack. Fes thinks it will be September or thereabouts if it happens at all - because that's when the next big troop rotation is scheduled which could be used to surge troops into the area and because the "flag effect" the Republicans get in the polls is getting smaller and shorter-lived every time they use it. An attack in Spring won't help the GOP in November nearly as much as one two months before and we all know the GOP are exactly that cynical.
Interestingly, the rightwing pundits seem mostly to be saying you can't trust anything Hersh and "anonymous sources" say and his report is crap - while also saying what a pity that is the case because we really should "glassify" (a term I saw from one blog) the entire islamic middle east.
The Jawa Report:
If it takes tactical nuclear weapons to accomplish the destruction of the Iranian nuclear threat, so be it.
That's what we have them for...It would be preferable to do North Korea first as a warnming [sic] to Iran, so that it's clear this is about rotten regimes getting nukes, not about Islam in general, or Shi'ism in particular.
Ace of Spades:
I'm glad that someone in the DoD is getting serious...When an unthinkable horror threatens, an unthinkable response suddenly becomes a lot more thinkable.
I think they are suffering from nuke anxiety....the fear that Muslims might have bigger ones....