Next Stop: Iran

The Telegraph reports:


Strategists at the Pentagon are drawing up plans for devastating bombing raids backed by submarine-launched ballistic missile attacks against Iran's nuclear sites as a "last resort" to block Teheran's efforts to develop an atomic bomb.
Central Command and Strategic Command planners are identifying targets, assessing weapon-loads and working on logistics for an operation, the Sunday Telegraph has learnt.
They are reporting to the office of Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, as America updates plans for action if the diplomatic offensive fails to thwart the Islamic republic's nuclear bomb ambitions. Teheran claims that it is developing only a civilian energy programme.
"This is more than just the standard military contingency assessment," said a senior Pentagon adviser. "This has taken on much greater urgency in recent months."
Lots of stuff being written on this in the blogosphere already...here's a mini-round-up, starting with Barbara at The Mahablog:
You all remember the “axis of evil” line from the 2002 SOTU speech, I’m sure. The “axis” of dangerous nations was North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. Of the three, Iraq was the weakest and least dangerous; naturally, we squandered our military and spoiled diplomatic resources by invading Iraq, leaving the problems in Iran and North Korea to fester…
There is a possibility that the Pentagon is just saber-rattling to encourage Iran to be more compliant with IAEA weapons inspectors and with the UN Security Council…
On the other hand, Karl may figure he could use Iran to do to the 2006 elections what he accomplished with Iraq in the 2002 elections. The Republican Noise machine will spew out visions of mushroom clouds hovering over American cities, and the Dems will fail to put up a cohesive challenge. Hmmm. Sounds like a plan.
World War III, anyone?
Backing up Barbara's thoughts is Kathy at Liberty Street. Cernig at NewsHog, meanwhile, sees a story plant care of the Pentagon...

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