Iran may be a once and future threat, but al-Qaeda is a clear and present danger

men_of_letters_061130_4755.gifSpeaking before an American Legion group yesterday, President Bush described Iran as the “world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.” Its pursuit of technology which could lead to nuclear weapons, he added, threatens to put the region “under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.”

To most Americans this is just bluster. They can’t imagine that the administration, bogged down in one war gone bad, would be crazy enough to start another one. Apparently Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad concurs. As also reported on Tuesday, he asserted that Bush & Co. wouldn’t dare attack Iran.

“They have to solve the question of Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “Politicians do not deal with imaginary things.”

You walked right into that one, Mahmoud. As we all know by now, Bush and Cheney are tilting at windmills in their own minds.

Even more ominous, in yet another Tuesday story, Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane reported in Raw Story on a paper written by two prominent British security analysts. Dr. Dan Plesch and Martin Butcher describe the Pentagon’s plans to attack Iran as having come full term.

Furthermore, they “dispute conventional wisdom that any US attack on Iran would be confined to its nuclear sites. Instead, they foresee a ‘full-spectrum approach,’ designed to either instigate an overthrow of the government or reduce Iran to the status of ‘a weak or failed state.'”

This has been reported before, but by none as authoritative Plesch and Butcher. The US, they conclude, “has made military preparations to destroy Iran’s WMD, nuclear energy, regime, armed forces, state apparatus and economic infrastructure within days if not hours of President George W. Bush giving the order.”

Then, to top it all off, a landmark report by Evan Thomas entitled “Into Thin Air” appeared in Newsweek today. It chronicled all the lowlights of our failed hunt for bin Laden. The obstacles run the gamut from bad luck to the bureaucratic to timidity (on the part of former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, of all people). On a more immediate note, Thomas reiterates news of “chatter” that intelligence agencies have been monitoring.

“‘We have very strong indicators that Al Qaeda is planning to attack the West. . .’ says retired Vice Adm. John Redd, chief of the National Counterterrorism Center [while] Hank Crumpton, who ran the CIA’s early hunt for bin Laden in 2001-02. . . says, “It’s bad; it’s going to come.”

What kind of an attack? In his 2006 book “The One Percent Doctrine,” an informal history of GWOT (remember that abbreviation of the global war on terrorism?), Ron Suskind described a proposed Al Qaeda terror mission, in which hydrogen cyanide would be released into multiple New York subway cars with an ingenious device called “the mubtakkar.”

Why did Zawahiri calls off plans to use the gas, which was similar to that used in the Holocaust? Simply because he didn’t think the amount of people killed would be a significant enough improvement over the almost 3,000 killed in the World Trade Centers to make it worth his while.

Note to President Bush, et al: The co-dependence of Al Qaeda/the Taliban with Pakistan is not only dysfunctional, but it’s what is known as a clear and present danger. Meanwhile, you can file Iran, which once held our embassy employees hostage and may have a nuclear bomb in five years, as a once-and-future threat. While you’re at it, get out of Iraq and F-O-C-U-S on bin Laden, Zawahiri and their merry friends.

11 replies »

  1. I agree that Al Qaeda is are present threat and that Iran is a future one, but we need to stay focused on the future and the present. If we only focus on Al Qaeda then we will be giving Iran an oppurtunity to become a more serious threat so therefore we need not only focus on Al Qaeda, but keep our attention on Al Qaeda and Iran.

  2. The other concern of an attack on Iran is that they are a sponsor of terrorism. A weakened Iran – still with oil reserves to bolster it – could choose to export Hezbollah and Hamas from fooling about in Lebanon and Israel to join general terrorist attacks on the US.

    Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas have ideological reasons not to like each other but, under the doctrine of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, you could get some terrible alliances building.

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  4. The only way I can see that attacking Iran is even feasible is if we use nuclear weapons. Iran isn’t exactly a third-rate power militarily, after all – they were as tough or tougher than Iraq in 1991 and have had 16 years since in which to boost their military. Air attacks might work over the course of several months, but air power alone is never enough to guarantee that you’ve destroyed everything you want to destroy. Verification requires soldiers inspecting damage, busting into buried installations that conventional bombs can’t reach, etc. Since we’re overstretched already on the soldier/marine readiness issue, we simply don’t have enough soldiers to pull off an attack on Iran.

    And the only way to shut down Iran without using infantry and marines is by using such overwhelming force that even if you miss, you still destroy your target, and that means nukes.

  5. I guess we can be grateful that George & Co wasn’t in charge of WWII.

    Until something is done about Israel and it’s warlike ways, there won’t be any peace in the Middle East. Between them and the US-presence in the Middle East, that’s the reason Osama & Al Qaeda exist.

    In other words, whoever thought back in 1948 it was a good idea for the US to have a Middle East outpost in form of Israel, was about 99% dumb.

    George had a plan to get out of Viet Nam by enlisting in the TX Air National Guard. Unfortunately, he doesn’t any such plans for Afghanistan, Iraq, and it looks like Iran.

  6. If Bush does attack Iran, Iran could move troops into Iraq and plan full out assault on US troops along with all the resistance fighters.

    It wouldn’t be good news for the US. Not good news at all considering how things are going for them today.

  7. Ok, Iran is a pain in the ass and I would have no problem with GW
    ordering a air strike on those Revolutianary Guards Quds Force camps that are suppying the Iraqi insurgency with the highly sophisticated IEDs that are killing and maiming our troops. But, my
    fear is that Bush would not stop with that and go after the Iranian
    nuclear reactors too. GW is determined to not leave office with a
    Iran posing a nuclear threat to Israel.
    Well, the fact is – just like that North Koreans, the Iranians have never
    tested a nuclear weapon. Israel has. Iran and the NKs don’t have any
    nuclear weapons. Israel has an estimated three hundred nuclear weapons.
    Have you ever heard of Modicai Vanutu or a place named Dimora?
    Google the Israeli nuclear weapons program.

    The bottom line – is we are getting into another war over WMDs that
    don’t exist.


  8. What about the Israeli nuclear program. Why does everyone ignore
    the fact that Israel has the bomb? Have you ever heard of a man
    named Mordicai Vanatu or a place called “Dimora”?

    How in the world can we attack a country to prevent it from getting
    nuclear weapons in order to protect another country who we know
    for certain has nukes – because we gave them the technology….

  9. On Tuesday, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) released this statement:

    “The agency has been able to verify the non-diversion of the declared nuclear materials at the enrichment facilities in Iran and has therefore concluded that it remains in peaceful use.”