"Hersh: Joint Chiefs Opposed to Iran Nuke Attack, Members of Congress Gung-Ho"
A new report by Seymour Hersh finds that senior Bush administration officials are developing plans for a massive attack on Iran which could include nuclear weapons. Hersh points out that the Joint Chiefs of Staff — a panel of the highest-ranking military officials from each branch of the U.S. armed services — are strenuously opposed to the plan, so much so that some have threatened to resign if it goes forward:
[A] Pentagon adviser on the war on terror…confirmed that some senior officers and officials were considering resigning over the issue. “There are very strong sentiments within the military against brandishing nuclear weapons against other countries,” the adviser told me. “This goes to high levels.” 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.”
But such advice hasn’t fazed the ultra-hawkish members of Congress, who now refuse to accept any plan that doesn’t include the use of nuclear weapons:
A senior member of the House Appropriations Committee…said that no one in the meetings “is really objecting” to the talk of war. “The people they’re briefing are the same ones who led the charge on Iraq. At most, questions are raised: How are you going to hit all the sites at once? How are you going to get deep enough?” (Iran is building facilities underground.) “There’s no pressure from Congress” not to take military action, the House member added. “The only political pressure is from the guys who want to do it.” … “These politicians don’t have a clue, and whenever anybody tries to get it out”””remove the nuclear option”””they’re shouted down.”
While senior military officials oppose the use of nuclear weapons, Hersh’s sources add that the idea “has gained support from the Defense Science Board, an advisory panel whose members are selected by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.”