Tuesday, February 27, 2007

How close are we to War with Iran now?

The most recent hoax from Cheney and the Bush administration is the effort to blame the Iranians for the Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) weapons that are being used against the American troops in Iraq.

From the LA Times we get this report:
PRESIDENT BUSH HAS now definitively stated that bombs known as explosively formed penetrators — EFPs, which have proved especially deadly for U.S. troops in Iraq — are made in Iran and exported to Iraq.
Since these are such “high tech” weapons, the Bush/Cheney administration expects us to make the leap to the conclusion that this is planned and directed by the leaders in Iran.

And if we don't jump to that conclusion ourselves, Cheney is feeding that conclusion to the media. This is from the briefing that the Army anonymously gave the press early in February as reported by the NY Times:
In a news briefing held under strict security, the officials spread out on two small tables an E.F.P. and an array of mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades with visible serial numbers that the officials said link the weapons directly to Iranian arms factories. The officials also asserted, without providing direct evidence, that Iranian leaders had authorized smuggling those weapons into Iraq for use against the Americans. The officials said such an assertion was an inference based on general intelligence assessments.
But here is the problem. Anyone can build an EFP. Here is my description of how to build your own EFP at Politics Plus Stuff. It’s not difficult.

It uses PVC pipe with a cap on one end, plastic explosives (Semtex or C4) and a circular piece of brass, copper or aluminum formed into a bowl set into the "hot" end, the side that would be opposite the painted on note "Point other side towards enemy." [This is written on the backside of every Claymore anti-personnel weapon. Like the Claymore, you plant an EFP and try not to have it pointed back at you when you set it off.]

The only part of the EFP that would be hard to get would be the plastic explosives, and that's because we are not in a war zone here.

[Addendum: Kevin Drum has a post that similarly destroys the myth that the EFPs had to come from Iran, but he uses different sources.]

Then there are the two carrier groups that Cheney has sent into the Persian Gulf. (See also Map of Persian Gulf.) The U.S. Navy has never put a carrier group into the Persian Gulf before because it is too small to maneuver in, and because the Iranians are known to have hundreds of small, fast Patrol boats. Any attempt to take out ships from the carrier groups would find what we in the Artillery used to call "A target-rich Environment."

Those carrier groups are completely vulnerable. Then can send aircraft into Iran, but they will also take high casualties if the Iranians attack (or counter-attack.) Only an idiot would send those carrier groups into the Persian Gulf if the Iranians were considered aggressive. Unless, of course, those carrier groups are there to provide a casus Belli.

Think the Congress would pass a draft law if suddenly the Iranians (or someone) were to sink a carrier and twenty to thirty percent of the carrier groups overnight?

Did the U.S. attack Spain when the Battleship Maine blew up in Havana harbor and the Yellow Press screamed "War?" [Any doubt that FOX is that kind of Yellow Press?]

Do you think that Cheney might have carefully ignored the actions of al Qaeda before they attacked on 9/11? That he might have sort of sat back and let them hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in order to get his war against Iraq off the ground? No sane person would have done that, but we now know that Cheney (and Rumsfeld) have directed the Intelligence and Special Operations functions rather Bush from the beginning of this administration.

The next thing is to ask if anyone in America is crazy enough to start another war, this time with Iran? Well, Dick Cheney clearly has the power, and he did exactly that when he forced the war in Iraq. I have read that a number of Pentagon Generals consider Cheney completely crazy. From his recently reported interviews that is also my impression.

But now his domestic enemies are beginning to close in on him. Patrick Fitzgerald blamed him for the leak of Valerie Plame's name and occupation as a CIA agent. It has been established in the Libby trial that the reason for the leak was because Amb. Wilson's OpEd badly threatened exposure of Cheney's scheme to attack and occupy Iraq. In addition, the Democrats have taken control of Congress and have begun making (a few weak) noises about investigative hearings. The media is slipping up and beginning to pay attention to stories such as the recent one from Sy Hersh in the New Yorker.

So with his domestic enemies closing in, do you think that Cheney will just quietly fold up and take the advice of the Generals NOT to attack Iran? Andrew Sullivan. doesn’t think so, and neither do I. From Sullivan:
If Cheney decides to bomb Iran without Congressional approval, then we're not just headed for a massive increase in violence in the Middle East and the U.S., we're also facing a constitutional crisis and a military revolt. Sane hands would never begin to countenance such a gambit. But Cheney's going down. And people who know they're doomed can do crazy things.
So there it is. That's where we are today. Our only real protection from the Cheney idiocy is that the Pentagon Generals won't go along. Unfortunately, in spite of stories that a number of Generals will resign if directed to attack Iran, the Air Force Generals have been reported to be completely ready to start bombing.

This situation is beginning to feel to me a lot like the October Missile Crisis of the early 60’s, but at least then I felt like our President and Vice President were on our side.

Let me wish you good evening. I hope you sleep well.

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