...from a chicken, bugwit
- Nov 8, 2003
- Reaction score
Analysis: Cakewalks and walks in the park?
By Arnaud de Borchgrave
UPI Editor at Large
Nov. 3, 2006 at 3:07PM
Ripley's Believe It Or Not! began in 1918 as a comic strip featuring unusual, hard-to-believe facts from around the world. Today it is a website for a global community that combs cyberspace for events so strange and unusual that it is often hard to believe they are taking place. These days, you don't have to go further afield than Washington, D.C.
The neo-conservatives -- or neocons -- who gave us the "cakewalk" prediction for Iraq before the war are now plugging "a walk in the park" in Iran -- i.e., a U.S. bombing campaign to consign the mullahs' nuclear ambitions to oblivion, or at least to retard the advent of an Iranian bomb for a few years, hoping that in the interim good democrats would rise up and send the clerics and their Revolutionary Guards packing.
Two Washington-based representatives of a global Fortune 100 company told their visiting senior executive this week a bombing campaign of Iran's nuclear facilities "is inevitable before President Bush leaves the White House." The incredulous executive thought his Washington eyes and ears were overstating the case. They assured him they were deadly serious.
Leading neocon Richard Perle, who led the intellectual charge for the ill-fated invasion of Iraq, believes 2 B-2 bombers, each with 16 independently targeted weapons systems, could punch out Iran's nuclear lights. No Air Force expert we could find agreed. But the Pentagon's Air Force generals believe it can be done -- and successfully -- with a much larger operation, including five nights of bombing, some 400 aim points, 75 of them requiring deep penetration ordnance. Time magazine estimates 1,500 such aim points, or "viable targets," related to Iran's widely scattered nuclear development complex. The Navy, with its carrier task forces and ship-launched cruise missiles, does not share the same degree of certainty.
No one has worked more assiduously for military action against Iran than Michael Ledeen, another leading neocon and the White House's Karl Rove's favorite, who writes frequently about the "horrors" of Iran's mullahocracy. His National Review Online commentary Nov. 1 was headlined "Delay." Ledeen has grown impatient over Bush's dangerous postponement of what he considers inevitable. "If the President knows Iran is waging war on us," wrote Ledeen, "he is obliged to respond; the only appropriate question is about the method, not the substance. If he does not know, then he should remove those officials who were obliged to tell him, and get some people who will tell the truth."
The truth has become an increasingly rare commodity in Washington. Ledeen concludes the president knows the truth, but thinks he may lack the political capital to directly challenge the mullahs. More likely, Bush's thinking has changed when confronted by the intelligence community's assessment of Iran's retaliatory capabilities. They are described as "formidable." These include mining the Strait of Hormuz, the channel for two fifths of the world's oil traffic, which would send oil prices skyrocketing to $200 almost overnight.