The Sunday Times reports that up to five Pentagon generals and admirals “are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack [on Iran]. ‘There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,’ a source with close ties to British intelligence said.”
“Dozens of high-level officials joined in a White House drill [today] to see how the government would respond if several cities were attacked simultaneously with bombs similar to those used against U.S. troops in Iraq. … President Bush went on a bike ride [this] morning and did not take part in the test.” (HT: Huffington Post)
In the latest issue of The New Yorker, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh reports that a special Pentagon unit has been charged in recent months with developing plans for U.S. air attacks on Iran. From Reuters:
Despite the Bush administration’s insistence it has no plans to go to war with Iran, a Pentagon panel has been created to plan a bombing attack that could be implemented within 24 hours of getting the go-ahead from President George W. Bush, The New Yorker magazine reported in its latest issue.
The special planning group was established within the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in recent months, according to an unidentified former U.S. intelligence official cited in the article by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in the March 4 issue.
According to the article, the Pentagon unit was initially charged with destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities but has recently changed its mission “to identify targets in Iran that may be involved in supplying or aiding militants in Iraq.”
Earlier this week, the BBC also reported the existence of U.S. contingency plans for war with Iran that extend beyond Iran’s nuclear facilities. This weekend, Vice President Cheney said war with Iran remains an option.
While contingency war plans exist for many potential conflicts around the world, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) warned this week that the administration’s rhetoric and flawed intelligence on Iran give rise to a special concern that a strategic mistake could lead to war:
In a hazy, hair-triggered environment, careless rhetoric and military movements that one side may believe are required to demonstrate resolve and strength…can be misinterpreted as preparations for military options. The risk of inadvertent conflict because of miscalculation is great.
UPDATE: Hersh’s article is now posted.
It turns out that the campaign to combat Iranian influence in the Persian Gulf by deploying a large and growing number of American troops to fight on behalf of Iranian-backed political parties in Iraq can produce some paradoxical results.
I haven’t seen the show so I won’t join in the mockery, but I’m wondering if fans of the 1/2 Hour News Hour recognize that the title joke is stolen from the Canadian news satire show This Hour Has 22 Minutes?
I woke up earliesh this morning to buy tickets to the upcoming Arcade Fire show as soon as they went on sale, as did most of my friends. As it turns out, I succeeded in this endeavor. Most people I know who tried this, however, actually failed as demand was just that high.
Which once again raises the question nobody wants to ask: Why aren’t tickets for popular rock shows more expensive? Not that these were cheap. They listed at $30 but once all the fees were included, it came out to $43.60 for mine. Still, even at that price, the whole show sold out literally within minutes. And that was totally predictable — there’s a reason we were all ready to click at exactly 10:01 AM on Saturday morning. Why not charge $75 a ticket? It’s hard for me to think of any other area of the economy where businesses seem to leave this much money on the table. I guess I’m glad they do it this way (though I imagine some of the people who couldn’t get tickets at $43.60 would’ve been glad to pay $50 to go to the show) but it seems odd.
The Academy Awards are tomorrow night. As most everyone knows, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth is nominated for Best Documentary. But Melissa Etheridge’s song from the film, “I Need To Wake Up,” is also nominated for Best Original Song. Via Digby, here’s the video:
Saber-rattling is not a good way to get the Iranians to cooperate. But it is a good way to start a new war — a war that would be a disaster for the Middle East, for the United States and for the world. A war that, furthermore, would destroy what little remains of U.S. credibility in the community of nations.
A better approach would be for the United States to engage directly with the Iranians and to lead a global diplomatic offensive to prevent them from building nuclear weapons. We need tough, direct negotiations, not just with Iran but also with our allies, especially Russia, to get them to support us in presenting Iran with credible carrots and sticks.
I don’t know what kind of campaign strategy this is, but maybe he can be Secretary of State or some kind of special envoy.
The New Republic is shifting to a biweekly format, though they say they’ll be publishing a longer book. What’s more, Canadian media conglomerate Canwest is going to own 75 percent of the magazine. Editor in Chief Martin Peretz will continue to own a 25 percent stake and will continue to serve as editor in chief. The Asper family, which controls CanWest, has basically Peretz-esque ideological views so I wouldn’t expect any dramatic changes.