The War in Iraq Iran

It seems despairingly appropriate to note on this third anniversary of the DSM, three years after Bush and Blair decided to go to war with Iraq, that Iran seems to be our next stop. Matt Yglesias reports at the TPMCafe:

Justin Logan excerpts an article that's apparently in the print issue of The American Conservative:

“The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing--that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack--but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.”

Now, unfortunately, I have no idea whether or not that's true or even what context the assertion appears in. I should probably try and get a comp subscription, this kind of seems like a big deal.
Ditto Matt’s caveat, but if there’s any truth to this at all, it seems like patent lunacy to me. Then again, so did the war in Iraq.

If I’m honest, one of the things that most bothers me about that excerpt is the last sentence, noting that none of the senior Air Force officers who are appalled by this plan are willing to damage his career by posing an objection. I know that military men and women are trained to follow orders; that is, in fact, their job, and the efficacy of our military depends on their willingness and ability to do so, resolutely and unquestioningly. But at the same time, it seems contradictory to their pledge to die for their country, if necessary. What if going along with the machinations of the government fundamentally alters the country for which they’re willing to die? What if in their absolute dedication to America, the America they know is lost? Surely there’s a difference between what’s best for America, and what America’s government wants them to do. I acknowledge that’s an abstract concept, which is not the military’s stock in trade; absolutes dictate their days. But in the end, there’s something that seems rather cowardly about men who are willing to consider their careers, but not consider the fate of the country to which they have pledged their service. I’m just not sure we can be the land of the free if we’re not the home of the brave, too.

What if Colin Powell had not gone before the UN make the case for war, even though in his own opinion, it was bullshit? What if John McCain had not stood beside and embraced Bush during the 2004 campaign, instead speaking the truth about how dirty this administration really is, as he knows better than just about anyone?

How much is one’s career worth?

If I were in such a position, I would like to think I’d be more concerned about my country—and my conscience—than my career, once nuclear weapons are on the table. Three years from now, I would prefer not to be wishing an unhappy birthday to memos being written now, outlining plans for an unprovoked nuclear war with Iran.

(Hat tip to Shaker oddjob.)

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