Monday, September 18, 2006



Perhaps the key to this story is the headline on the front cover of Time. The words 'War With Iran' are much bigger than the rest. They dominate the cover, along with curious, Warhol-like image of the president of Iran.

Most Americans won't buy this issue of Time, but tens of millions will see the words 'War With Iran' shouting out at them from newstands, online ads and subway posters and billboards. There is no question mark. 'War With Iran' is presented on the cover as an inevitability for those who don't read the words closely, or something that is already underway.

'War With Iran' is a long brewing NeoCon fantasy, and the key to the marketing of this war is the ingraining that it would be a war 'With' Iran, instead on 'On' Iran.

It makes it sound as though a massive air attack across thousands of targets inside Iran would be something like a fair fight, or something Iran had brought on themselves.

The lengthy Time story is not good news for those who believe that attacks on Iran will be a more spectacular repeat of the 'Shock & Awe' bomb storm that opened the 'War On Iraq'...but without the messy aftermath.

Time looks at what might happen following a massive bombing campaign across, wondering whether air assaults, which would include multiple bunker-buster strikes on civilian-rich areas, might turn Iranians against their leaders, or whether it might unite them all in their hatred of America.

As important, but unasked in the magazine, is whether a full-blown US bombing campaign would unite most of the world's population behind Iran, and against the US.

Iran is now a strong ally of Russia, China, Indonesia and now Venezeula, and all three regional powers have cut deals climbing towards $US1 trillion worth of new energy and investment deals with Iran.

America's favourite new Bad Guy in the Middle East now has a military brimming with Made-In-The-US- Russia-China-Israel weapons and weapons systems.

With that in mind, Time bizarrely wonders about the capabilities of Iran's air defence systems, and then paints Iran as an about-to-be-born nuclear superpower stradding the entire Middle East.

First some of the military firepower soft porn :

If the U.S. goal is simply to stunt Iran's nuclear program, it can be done better and more safely by air. An attack limited to Iran's nuclear facilities would nonetheless require a massive campaign.

Experts say that Iran has between 18 and 30 nuclear-related facilities. The sites are dispersed around the country—some in the open, some cloaked in the guise of conventional factories, some buried deep underground.

A Pentagon official says that among the known sites there are 1,500 different "aim points," which means the campaign could well require the involvement of almost every type of aircraft in the U.S. arsenal: Stealth bombers and fighters, B-1s and B-2s, as well as F-15s and F-16s operating from land and F-18s from aircraft carriers.

GPS-guided munitions and laser-targeted bombs—sighted by satellite, spotter aircraft and unmanned vehicles—would do most of the bunker busting. But because many of the targets are hardened under several feet of reinforced concrete, most would have to be hit over and over to ensure that they were destroyed or sufficiently damaged.
The US military have been running war games on their computers, and it doesn't look good :

Virtually every time he runs the game...a similar nightmare scenario unfolds: the U.S. attack, no matter how successful, spawns a variety of asymmetrical retaliations by Tehran.

First comes terrorism: Iran's initial reaction to air strikes might be to authorize a Hizballah attack on Israel, in order to draw Israel into the war and rally public support at home.

Next, Iran might try to foment as much mayhem as possible inside the two nations on its flanks, Afghanistan and Iraq, where more than 160,000 U.S. troops hold a tenuous grip on local populations.
Then there's the oil :
It is unlikely that Iran would turn off its own oil spigot or halt its exports through pipelines overland, but it could direct its proxies in Iraq and Saudi Arabia to attack pipelines, wells and shipment points inside those countries, further choking supply and driving up prices.

Okay, let's take that as a given. If the US and/or Israel attacks Iran, pipelines, wells and shipments across the Middle East will explode into very expensive fires.

That kind of retaliation could quickly transform a relatively limited U.S. mission in Iran into a much more complicated one involving regime change. An Iran determined to use all its available weapons to counterattack the U.S. and its allies would present a challenge to American prestige that no Commander in Chief would be likely to tolerate for long.

Unless you were the kind of president who has launched, or backed, a series of wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, with little information pumped into your circle of influence that tells you what the aftermath will be, and has proven to be three out of three times.

A man with actual military experience, unlike Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, hits the War-Can-Work optimists with a dose of reality :

"You've got to be careful with your assumptions. In Iraq, the assumption was that it would be a liberation, not an occupation. You've got to be prepared for the worst case, and the worst case involving Iran takes you down to boots on the ground."

All that, he says, makes an attack on Iran a "dumb idea."

The current boss of CentCom said this in May, 2005 :

"Look, any war with a country that is as big as Iran, that has a terrorist capability along its borders, that has a missile capability that is external to its own borders and that has the ability to affect the world's oil markets is something that everyone needs to contemplate with a great degree of clarity."

Now the harsh reality of what is going to be the most likely outcome of the Iran Hyper-Crisis, given the combined-superpower backing of Russia-China-Venezeula-Indonesia :
One approach would be for the U.S. to accept Iran as a nuclear power and learn to live with an Iranian bomb, focusing its efforts on deterrence rather than pre-emption.
But even that humiliating result for the US comes with a possible new nightmare scenario : could provoke Sunni countries in the region, like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to start nuclear programs of their own to contain rising Shi'ite power (in Iran and Iraq).
Those equally unappetizing prospects—war or a new arms race in the Middle East—explain why the White House is kicking up its efforts to resolve the Iran problem before it gets that far.

Diplomacy is the order of the day, and the taste is growing more bitter by the day.

But if diplomacy is the key, as Bush has said himself, that doesn't explain why the president has refused a live TV debate with the Iranian president, or why his schedule at the UN World Leaders gathering this week is reportedly being arranged so he doesn't even cross paths with
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

War On Iran has been caned by the US Military, and is unlikely to ever gain majority support in Washington, particularly with Iraq and Afghanistan chewing up US soldiers, vehicles, ammunition, energy and goodwill.

It remains to be seen whether Bush, Cheney and Rusmfeld will launch on Iran regardless of the opposition.

Or whether in fact, and more likely, Israel will move on its own to take out what they've already targeted as Iran's most important nuclear sites.

Go Here To Read The Full Time Cover Story

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