fallibilist

"I may be wrong and you may be right, and by an effort, we may get nearer to the truth." (Karl Popper)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Iran and the military option

"We can dig those things out. We can destroy them"

Gary Berntsen, a former senior CIA operative, is reported as suggesting US air strikes - using "bunker-buster bombs and other weapons" - could destroy Iran's nuclear facilities in two days. Richard Perle, according to the same report, believes the operation could be carried out in a day. Moshe Ya'alon, Israel's former chief of General Staff, has also recently said that the Israeli Defence Forces have the capbility to carry out such an operation also. Also, yesterday, president Bush stated:
"The threat from Iran is of course their stated objective to destroy our strong ally Israel. That's a threat, a serious threat. A threat to world peace, a threat in essence to a strong alliance. I made it clear, and I will make it lear again: we will use military might to protect our ally Israel."
That is as strong a statement as has publicly been made to date.

As to what should be done next, Bernsten says the political options should be exhausted:
"We should do what we're doing right now. That means taking them to the United Nations and make this 'the world against Iran,' because the Iranians appear determined to create a weapon. If by chance they disarm, then we can avoid this, but if they don't disarm we will need to take care of this ourselves. The Iranians have to know that we mean business. They will either disarm or we will destroy their facilities. No ifs, ands, or buts. They present a threat to peace in the Middle East. They present a threat to Israel. We cannot accept that."
The great problem is that, seemingly, since a major intelligence disaster in 2005, which resulted in the CIA's entire network of spies in Iran being "rolled up", that the outside world has little or no actual hard intelligence as to what stage Iran's nuclear programme has reached. The outside world should have no doubts, however, as to the programme's purpose. The options seem quickly to be diminishing to two: a nuclear-armed Iran, or some form of military action. The time for preferrable choices seems to be running out. Indeed, it may already have gone.

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