15 February 2007

Iran

Is the Bush administration contemplating an attack on Iran much larger in scope than just an airstrike to eliminate its nuclear-weapons program? That's the claim of this New Statesman article, which I found via EU Referendum. I have no way of judging how well-sourced or accurate it is, but EU Referendum's Richard North, who knows a great deal about military matters, appears to find it very plausible.

According to the article, US military technology is now advanced enough, and the concentration of forces that can rapidly be brought to bear on Iran is massive enough, that "at least 10,000 targets can be hit in a single raid," allowing us to inflict extremely large-scale but precisely-targeted destruction in a very short space of time, without using nuclear weapons. There is a lot of detail in the above links, but the gist of it is this:

American military operations for a major conventional war with Iran could be implemented any day. They extend far beyond targeting suspect WMD facilities and will enable President Bush to destroy Iran's military, political and economic infrastructure overnight using conventional weapons.

While I consider the destruction of Iran's nuclear program to be imperative, and the overthrow of its regime would certainly be a laudable objective if it could be carried out with minimal harm to the civilian population which that regime itself oppresses, brutalizes, and murders, I cannot imagine any legitimate reason for targeting the economic infrastructure. Iran, like Russia, is a largely-friendly country with a hostile regime; our quarrel is with the mullahs, not the people, who will remain dependent on their economic infrastructure even if a better government arises after the downfall of the present one. So if there is any truth to the article, I sincerely hope that that particular point is wrong.

(If anyone has "loose lips sink ships" concerns about the fact that I am writing about this, I think they are unjustified. New Statesman and EU Referendum both have bigger readerships than I do, and as the latter points out, many other commentators are offering similar speculations. In any case, the Iranian regime is not so stupid as to be unaware of the possibility of a US attack, and is most likely monitoring developments with at least as much success as American or British bloggers can.)

The Iran situation may be coming to a head very soon. May our military be safe and successful on their missions, and may our country do the right thing -- no less, and no more.

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