When I saw this story in the Washington Post I had to laugh, because there is no crying in Blogging. But seriously, wtf? Why is the Washington Post still running stories that only Neocons like Dick Cheney and John Bolton and Tea Party Nut Jobs could love?

If Iran came close to getting a nuclear weapon, would Obama use force?

As you can imagine it goes downhill from there:

Imagine that diplomacy has run its course, after prolonged and inconclusive negotiations; that surging international oil prices have undercut the power of economic sanctions against Tehran; and that reliable intelligence says the Islamic republic’s weapons program is very close to reaching its goal.

Facing such conditions, would Obama use force against Iran?

Former CIA chief Michael Hayden believes such a move would be necessary, recently telling CNN that a U.S. military strike against Iranian facilities “seems inexorable” because diplomacy is failing.

Yes, that Michael Hayden, the head of the NSA when Bush implemented his policy of electronic surveillance that made it possible for of every email and cell phone call in America to be tapped by your friendly US Intelligence community, warrants or probable cause be damned.

So now that Hayden is no longer in charge of deciding what the 4th amendment means when it comes to the government sneaking peaks at your private information, we should pay attention to him about whether Iran should be unilaterally bombed and a third US war started in the Middle East? The same government whose Intelligence community may have been played by an Iranian defector /double agent?

The strange case of Shahram Amiri has puzzled US intelligence chiefs who approved a $5 million payment to him for information about Iran’s illicit nuclear programme.

Former US intelligence agents have predicted that Mr Amiri will disappear into prison or even face death, despite the hero’s welcome he was accorded as he was met by his wife and hugged his seven-year-old son.

But his decision to fly back voluntarily, claiming outlandishly that he was kidnapped by CIA and Saudi agents during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia last June and then tortured in the US, has prompted suspicions that he was a double agent working for Iran all along, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.

There are also questions about why the Iranian authorities allowed him to travel alone to Saudi Arabia, despite his sensitive work, and why he left his family behind if he was intending to leave Iran permanently.

Well, it doesn’t really matter if Iran is close to getting a bomb or merely messing with the heads of top CIA officials, because the only thing that counts is if Obama has the intestinal fortitude to blow shit up over there regardless of the consequences to US forces in the region, America’s national security, the world’s economy and thousands of innocent people who would be killed:

Whatever progress Iran may make toward weapons of mass destruction, European diplomats and statesmen are likely to parade to Washington, concede America’s concerns, affirm its intelligence findings — and reject its policy recommendations. The United States would be advised to be patient and restock its economic sanctions kit for one more run at Tehran. In private, many strategists would summon their inner George Kennan and advise Washington that containment has worked with more powerful and unpredictable tyrants and can surely handle cautious mullahs and their rudimentary weapon. Washington would have to choose between an international coalition pledging rigorous containment of Iran, and the lonely, unpopular path of taking military action lacking allied consensus.

Yes, that would be difficult. More importantly a unilateral attack on Iran would be STUPID regardless of how close they are to having a “rudimentary” nuclear device. For the record, North Korea has a rudimentary device but no one is suggesting we deliver cruise missiles to Pyong Yang (well, nobody sane anyway).

So why should we blow up large portions of Iran in pursuit of the elusive goal of maybe setting back Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program by a few years?

An Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would start a long war and probably not prevent Iran from eventually acquiring nuclear weapons, a think-tank said on Thursday.

The Oxford Research Group, which promotes non-violent solutions to conflict, said military action should be ruled out as a response to Iran’s possible nuclear weapons ambitions.

Especially when the consequences of such an attack would be quite possibly extremely detrimental to the state of the world at large (though I’m sure Goldman Sachs would do all right by themselves manipulating the oil market after such an attack):

In terms of Iranian responses, there are two areas in which these can be confidently expected, together with a number of options that may be utilised over a range of timescales. The first immediate response would be a withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a process requiring ninety days notice.This would be a clear signal that Iran no longer felt bound by the Treaty, especially having been attacked by a country that has never signed the Treaty. Iran could claim justification for the decision since Article X of the Treaty requires that a state intending to withdraw gives reasons for that decision, such as if “extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this treaty have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country.”

The second, and closely related, response would be an immediate decision to prioritise the development
of nuclear weapons to deter further attacks. Such development might use deeply-buried facilities that
are reported to be under construction. Indeed, it is probable that the Iranian nuclear planners have long
assumed that a military assault was likely and that plans have been made to ensure survival and
reinvigoration of a core part of any potential weapons capability.[…]

Iran would also have the potential to act in a number of areas, not all of them directly related to Israel,
but many of them targeting the United States and its western partners considered to be so markedly pro-
Israeli. Given that the strike aircraft used in the attack would be of US origin, and the closeness of the
US/Israel military relationship cited earlier, one should expect that a narrative of US involvement (e.g.
“US warplanes in Israeli markings” and an assumption of active US permission and support, whether true or not) would be common and widely accepted.

Spheres of action could include any or all of the following.

• Missile attacks on Israel using conventionally-armed systems might be carried out primarily to demonstrate the survival of a capability after an initial Israeli attack. These would be intended principally to undermine Israeli morale rather than have any serious military effect.

• Closure of the Straits of Hormuz, however brief, would cause a sharp rise in oil prices and be a
reminder of Iran’s leverage over Gulf shipping routes. Any sustained price rise would have a potentially catastrophic impact on the global economy.

• Paramilitary and/or missile attacks on western Gulf oil production, processing and transportation facilities would be of very deep concern to the producer states, especially Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. While such facilities have much more intense security than a decade ago, they remain essentially soft targets.

• Action in Iraq and Afghanistan in support of those groups opposing western involvement could be tailored to discourage further attacks on Iran. […]

The analysis undertaken here is based on the assumption of unwise behaviour by Israel, which from itsown perspective is rational, followed by responses by Iran. It does not take into account unexpected events leading to crises, either before or after an Israeli attack. For example, a new conflict with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon might start through an untoward incident and leading to rapid crisis escalation, including Israeli attacks on supply lines then inciting Syrian and even Iranian responses. The latter could lead, in turn, to a wider war between Israel and Iran beginning with Israeli air assaults against Iranian missile deployments and then to attacks on nuclear facilities. After an attack, while Iranian response might be limited, as indicated above, there would be very high states of tension in the Persian Gulf. In such circumstances, irregular Iranian forces, perhaps acting outside the national command structure, might take action against US forces or against international shipping, leading to responses from western Gulf States or the United States itself, with this quite possibly escalating into a regional conflict.

Naturally none of these potential disatrous consequences are described in the Washington Post story. It merely details the difficulty Obama would have in “going it alone” against Iran wothout support from other nations. But the worst thing about this story is what it buries toward the end of the report:

There are plausible developments that could render this scenario moot. Iran has notified the International Atomic Energy Agency that it is prepared to resume negotiations after Ramadan on the transfer of nuclear fuel to third countries for enrichment. And in the face of strong sanctions, the mullahs may well blink.

Question for all you Beltway journalists? Why do you jump at every bit of chum thrown into the waters of the Potomac by former Bush officials of questionable credibility? And why are you so interested in promoting the possibility of an attack on Iran which would involve the US military in another “long war” against another Middle Eastern country based on little solid evidence of any imminent threat to American interests, an attack that would likely throw the US and world economy into a tailspin?

Just asking.