Going Nuclear – So Much For Progress
Think Progress headlines:
And the AP follows suit:
Neither of those pieces manufactured from the original Hersh story objectively depict the story. The story indicates there is a potential for a limited use of tactical nuclear weapons for their bunker busting capability and that there’s potential opposition from the Pentagon to which the White House would likely bow.
To not plan for a possible military option as regards Iran’s nuclear program would be foolish. Emphasis my own, of course one plans for many contingencies. Said planning is as much a part of the diplomatic dialog as anything else and Think Progress and the AP are basically carrying the White House’s water by spreading the report. Too bad they can’t do it less sensationally.
From the Hersh piece:
There is a Cold War precedent for targeting deep underground bunkers with nuclear weapons. In the early nineteen-eighties, the American intelligence community watched as the Soviet government began digging a huge underground complex outside Moscow.
At the time, he said, it was determined that “only nukes” could destroy the bunker. He added that some American intelligence analysts believe that the Russians helped the Iranians design their underground facility. “We see a similarity of design,” specifically in the ventilator shafts, he said….
A former high-level Defense Department official told me that, in his view, even limited bombing would allow the U.S. to “go in there and do enough damage to slow down the nuclear infrastructure—it’s feasible.” The former defense official said, “The Iranians don’t have friends, and we can tell them that, if necessary, we’ll keep knocking back their infrastructure. The United States should act like we’re ready to go.”
… The matter may soon reach a decisive point, he said, because the Joint Chiefs had agreed to give President Bush a formal recommendation stating that they are strongly opposed to considering the nuclear option for Iran. “The internal debate on this has hardened in recent weeks,” the adviser said. “And, if senior Pentagon officers express their opposition to the use of offensive nuclear weapons, then it will never happen.”
There’s far too much in the Hersh piece to simply jump to the headline or conclusion – Bush Is Going Nuclear On Iran. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop Think Progress, or the AP. But then both outlets appear to have a tendency to go nuclear on Bush.
We don’t need mushroom clouded brains thinking about and discussing options for Iran just now. We need reasoned debate on a topic which poses a serious risk to world peace. An oil-rich country with no current need for nuclear energy appears determined to develop a nuclear capability, after having declared their desire to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth.
No reasonable nation has gone on record as suggesting stopping them is a bad thing, most find it necessary. Planning for that is the prudent step. Characterizing it as demon, warmongering Bush taking up nuclear arms to confront Iran is not only silly, it’s harmful and misleading for the necessary discussion at hand.