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War With Iran Would Be ‘Much More Complicated And Costly’ Than ‘Anyone Envisions’

By Amanda Terkel

"War With Iran Would Be ‘Much More Complicated And Costly’ Than ‘Anyone Envisions’"

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Yesterday on Meet the Press, Nightline anchor Ted Koppel (who just returned from Iran) and Washington Post reporter Robin Wright both rejected the military option with Iran as unrealistic.

Koppel said, “I don’t think that’s an option,” and Wright stated that it “would be far more — to be effective, would be far more extensive than anyone envisions at this stage, at least in terms of the public debate about a military option. Much more complicated and costly.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2006/11/iranmtp.320.240.flv]

On CNN yesterday, New Yorker journalist Seymour Hersh reported that a new CIA assessment concludes that “there’s no evidence Iran is doing anything that puts them close to a bomb.” Despite the intelligence agency’s conclusion, Hersh reports that the White House is still aggressively moving ahead with preparations for a military conflict with Iran.

Full transcript:

MR. RUSSERT: Is there any realistic way we can stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb?

MR. KOPPEL: Boy, I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I mean, if they want it, the only thing we have to hope is that their, their, their technology is not all that advanced. And unless they buy the technology somewhere else, I’m not at all sure they would get it for at least a few more years.

But having said that, can we stop it? We had no–I had a senior U.S. State Department official tell me we’ve had more diplomatic contact with North Korea than we have had with Iran. No diplomatic contact. The economic and trade sanctions have been in place for over a quarter of a century, really aren’t working. And the military option? Boy, I don’t think that’s–I don’t think that’s an option.

MS. WRIGHT: Well, I will add one thing to that. There is this illusion that we can go in and strike a few targets and eliminate their program. But the reality is with all the troops we have on the ground, any military operation against Iran would end up having to strike at their defensive positions. Whether it’s along borders, their tank corps, their artillery corps. It would be far more–to be effective, would be far more extensive than anyone envisions at this stage, at least in terms of the public debate about a military option. Much more complicated and costly.

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