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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Consequences if Pentagon/White House Attacks Iran

There is serious consideration in the Pentagon and White House to launch an attack on Iran before President Bush leaves office – only 9 months from now -- in an effort to take out Iran’s nuclear program before the next President assumes office. A Washington Post article today confirms the planning. What would be the result of a U.S. attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities?

It’s happened before. Recently, Israeli fighter aircraft bombed a facility in Syria last September that was thought to be a copy of a North Korean nuclear reactor. Syria raised no verbal objections. In 1981, Israeli aircraft bombed Saddam’s Osiraq reactor near Baghdad.

But hitting Iran would have vastly different and extremely negative consequences for both the United States and the Middle East, despite the statements by Mr. Bush and Ms. Clinton who think the problem will be solved with bombs instead of international pressure and diplomacy.

According to a study by the Oxford Research Group, which accurately predicted the consequences of invading Iraq: “A US military attack on Iranian nuclear infrastructure would be the start of a protracted military confrontation that would probably involve Iraq, Israel and Lebanon as well as the United States and Iran, with the possibility of west Gulf States being involved as well. An attack by Israel, although initially on a smaller scale, would almost certainly escalate to involve the United States, and would also mark the start of a protracted conflict.”

Oxford thinks that the attack, either by Israeli or U.S. fighters, would be primarily an air attack without ground troops (since we don’t have another 150,000 troops needed for a third front in Iran.) Targets would be Iran’s nuclear facilities and defense systems. Iran could immediately strike back with its Mach 2 anti-ship “Sunburn” missile that could destroy an American aircraft carrier with 5,000 people onboard or a tanker -- in seconds. In 1987, A French Exocet hit the USS Stark in the Gulf, killing 37. The Sunburn is twice as fast and can carry a nuclear warhead.

The Oxford Group says “all the available evidence suggests that any military action (against Iran) would have a very powerful unifying effect within Iran…increasing both its political power base and its stability. It would lead to Iran attacking tanker traffic and conducting sabotage in the Persian Gulf states of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (then watch oil prices make $100 barrel oil look like the “good old days.”) Moreover, Iran would be likely to encourage more militant action by Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon against Israel.

“Given the nature of the Iran/Iraq border, Iran would be in a very strong position to aid elements of the Iraqi insurgency in numerous ways, providing a wide range of armaments as well as personnel.” Iran could open a major new front in Iraq with millions of Shiite soldiers who could enter the contest. And, Oxford thinks the Iranians will quickly rebuild their nuclear program, so the strike would not stop the program, only delay it.

Iran has powerful allies that could make a strike on Iran into a global conflict. “Given recent major long-term economic agreements between Iran and China, and also between Iran and India, as well as close links with Russia, a US attack would attract major criticisms, including from two of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – China and Russia.” Both are major nuclear military powers. And don’t forget we’ll need the Russian Soyuz to get to the International Space Station since our three Shuttles become museum pieces in 2010.

“Although there is an uneasy relationship between Shiite Iran and the (Sunni) al-Qaida movement, and between Iran and the Arab world, any attack on such a significant Islamic republic would inevitably increase the anti-American mood in the region,” says Oxford. “Suicide bombings will spread…” and will potentially reach America as a result of the increased tension.

As Russia, India and China continue to build powerful economies based on trade surpluses and profitable business, the U.S will be drained even further by trillions in (borrowed) new military expenditures in blood and treasure if it embarks on a new war with Iran. Watch Iraq explode as a result.

The gross incompetence in handling Iraq, Katrina, etc. (and confirmed by Sen. McCain) should be enough evidence for Congress to prohibit this President from creating greater damage in his closing days in power by launching another fiscally draining, misguided, poorly-planned war that will only make a bad situation worse.

Congress should pass a law that there be no military action against Iran until a new President takes over in January 2009 since that President will have to live with the consequences (along with our pocketbooks). The next President needs to make that call on Iran.

Let Congress hear your voice – unless you’d like to pay for another war that will generate more global terrorism, with the only guarantee being economic bankruptcy as more trillions are borrowed to finance it. Diplomacy remains the untraveled road in the Middle East.

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