Reading the Washington Post's Blogger: William M. Arkin's post on the news of a possible contingency plan of the Pentagon to attack Iran. President Bush called it "wild speculation" and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called it "Fantasy Land" while saying "it just isn't useful" to talk about contingency planning. While that's an outright lie, there response to these very real speculations are always that is either not real, or the classic 'not good for the country'. Well Mr. President, it is good for the country, and more important to you - its also good for Iran to know our plans. Iran needs to understand the administrations strong intent on ridding the world of countries with WMD's (but only if the have some affect on our oil of course). Part of the contingency plan includes protecting the Strait of Hormuz (one of the main oil exporting pathways in the middle east). Gotta protect our oil! Of course, we never put large sums of money into a REAL switch from petrol to hydrogen. Anyways... Back to this war plan. Arkin says that there are two main triggers for war with Iran.
On the surface, Iran controls the two basic triggers that could set off U.S. military action. The first would be its acquisition of nuclear capability in defiance of the international community. Despite last week's bluster from Tehran, the country is still years away from a nuclear weapon, let alone a workable one. We may have a global strike war plan oriented toward attacking countries with weapons of mass destruction, but that plan is also focused on North Korea, China and presumably Russia. The Bush administration is not going to wait for a nuclear attack. The United States is now a first-strike nation.
The second trigger would be Iran's lashing out militarily (or through proxy terrorism) at the United States or its allies, or closing the Strait of Hormuz to international oil traffic. Sources say that CENTCOM and the Joint Chiefs of Staff have developed "flexible deterrent options" in case Iran were to take such actions.
These triggers along with the possible an accidental war beginning.
In a world of ready war plans and post-9/11 jitters, there is an ever greater demand for intelligence on the enemy. That means ever greater risks taken in collecting that intelligence. Meanwhile, war plans demand that forces be ready in certain places and on alert, while the potential for WMD necessitates shorter and shorter lead times for strikes against an enemy. So the greater danger now is of an inadvertent conflict, caused by something like the shooting down of a U.S. spy plane, by the capturing of a Special Operations or CIA team, or by nervous U.S. and Iranian forces coming into contact and starting to shoot at one another.
So with this, we ask: What is our power over Iran; how long will it take for us to attack?
The day-to-day planning for dealing with Iran's missile force falls to the U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha. In June 2004, Rumsfeld alerted the command to be prepared to implement CONPLAN 8022, a global strike plan that includes Iran. CONPLAN 8022 calls for bombers and missiles to be able to act within 12 hours of a presidential order. The new task force, sources have told me, mostly worries that if it were called upon to deliver "prompt" global strikes against certain targets in Iran under some emergency circumstances, the president might have to be told that the only option is a nuclear one.
Arkin leaves you with this
The war planning process is hardly neutral. It has subtle effects. As militaries stage mock attacks, potential adversaries become presumed enemies. Over time, contingency planning transforms yesterday's question marks into today's seeming certainty.
This seems very scary to me, for War with Iran is basicly the brink of World War III. How many countries have to be at war to be considered a World War? Just something to think about before forgetting about diplomatic strategies to stop this.
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