Following up on that report from the Guardian that Cheney's won the internal battle for supremacy with Rice and convinced Bush to attack Iran before the close of his presidency, it seems conservative journalist Jule Cretinden is just fine with the idea itself.
Because we are civilized people, targets in any operations on Iran should be limited to military infrastructure and assets that support military and terrorist activities. Phased air and missile attacks on nuclear facilities and terrorist training camps. Oil production and port facilities that provide the income to support those activities. Key bridges and highways that provide access to those facilities. Make a list and start working on it. Couple it with strong action against any Shiite militia in Iraq that looks at us cross-eyed.I love that glib phrase "strong action against any Shiite militia in Iraq that looks at us cross-eyed". It writes off as inconsequential the biggest possible blowback from any attack on Iran. Yet the U.S. military has spent four years trying and failing to supress a Sunni insurgency in Iraq, mostly with the help of Shiites. The Shia militias outnumber the Sunni insurgents by about four to one and are better equpped to boot, thanks to their penetration of the Iraqi security forces. Oh - and they sit athwart the only viable supply route to baghdad and points North. I've no idea how the U.S. military would go about "strong action" against what would end up being the bulk of the Iraqi military and police force as well as militias. Neither does the U.S. military - and neither does Jules.
This will prevent us from having to threaten the destruction of Tehran and all the good people there if and when Iran develops nukes and a means of delivering them. It would also give the people of Iraq the breathing space they need, limiting support to Shiite militias and encouraging an accommodation with minority Sunnis, who are turning against their own co-sectarian extremists in Anbar, Diyala and Baghdad. It will allow us to put more pressure on Saudi Arabia to act against Saudi support for Sunni insurgents, as it tries to prevent Iran from establishing a presence on its border.
Talking of supply lines - every Gulf Arab state has said that if the U.S. uses it's territory for basing to attack Iran, against their express wishes, all bets are off. Jules doesn't mention where all the air-power needed is going to fly from. Only a fraction of it is carrier-capable. And the Shiite insurgency that will arise in Iraq might not have to cut supply lines if Kuwait and the other Arab states do it for them. In such a case, the Shia could concentrate on the 170,000 troops who would be forced to retreat through hostile territory, leaving more and more vehicles behind as fuel ran out, down to beaches in suddenly hostile nations. Maybe there would be enough sealift capacity to ship all the survivors home, but likely not.
And it all would be useless - because everyone except the neonuts says that air attacks might degrade Iran's nuclear program for a while but then it would quickly be ramped up again - with the added benefit of deciding the issue as to whether iran would choose to build nuclear weapons - something for which there is exactly zero evidence so far.
Nope, Jules doesn't think an attack on Iran is a bad idea because it would be a military disaster - he thinks it would be a bad idea because it would lose Republicans the '08 election!
If an aggressive program of suppressing Iran’s imperialist adventurism had been put into play a year ago, six months ago, three months ago, this morning, it might have had time to work, with results that 2008 candidates who recognize the legitimate U.S. interests in the region could point to. Waiting until 2008 will only provide more seemingly pointless Bush war that 2008’s more myopic, isolationist candidates can use as a springboard into office.Now don't get me wrong - I'm glad Jules thinks an attack on Iran is a non-starter, even if it's for the most venal of domestic political reasons. In fact, maybe he could explain what a vote-loser such an attack would be to the spineless Democratic Party buffoons in the Senate, who have helpfully given Bush so much political cover for it.
...A last-minute attack on Iran? They’re going to need to do a much better job of selling this than they have selling their foreign policy projects lately, and they had better think long and hard about what happens in November of 2008, January of 2009, and after.