UPDATED: Bush planning Iran attack

Cross-posted in PEEK and the Mix.

Seymour Hersh drops another bomb -- pun very much intended -- in the latest New Yorker alleging that the Bush administration has "operational plans" for regime change in Iran. That's "n" not "q." Iran.

Not only have they "increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack," according to Hersh, but the plans may well, in the name of destroying Iran's nuclear capability, involve the utilization of ours: "The lack of reliable intelligence leaves military planners, given the goal of totally destroying the [potential nuclear weapon development] sites, little choice but to consider the use of tactical nuclear weapons."

This, despite the fact that, according to Scott Ritter [VIDEO], there's no reason to believe that Iran has the capability, nor that they're actually do anything to violate the nonproliferation treaty at this point.

Not only that, but former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said last week that "Iran is a least five years away from developing a nuclear bomb, leaving time to peacefully negotiate a settlement... 'We have time on our side in this case. Iran can't have a bomb ready in the next five years.'"

Hersh contends that Bush's reasoning for these radical plans is largely "messianic."
A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was "absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb" if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do "what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do," and "that saving Iran is going to be his legacy."
Hersh quotes a former defense official with close ties to the administration as responding to Bush's plans with this technical jargon: "What are they smoking?"

UPDATE: Exasperated commenters have inspired me to include this bright spot from the Hersh piece. According to a Penatagon adviser, not only are "some senior officers and officials... considering resigning over the issue [the use of nuclear weapons, not necessarily a pre-emptive war]," but the Joint Chiefs have "agreed to give President Bush a formal recommendation stating that they are strongly opposed to considering the nuclear option for Iran."

One final note of potential irony. Larisa Alexandrovna writes:
According to current and former intelligence officials, Plame Wilson, who worked on the clandestine side of the CIA in the Directorate of Operations as a non-official cover (NOC) officer, was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran.
In other words, Bush's outing of Valerie Plame for political gain may well have played a role in bringing about these apocalyptic and heartbreakingly stupid plans. (C&L, DailyKos, RawStory)

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