Recent reports suggest that the Bush strategy is going forward despite warnings from high-ranking officials at the Pentagon and respected members of the foreign policy establishment. A recent article in Time magazine by Michael Duffy outlines a realistic scenario for the initial phase of the conflict:
"It will take a few days with thousands of sorties, satellite and laser-guided bombs will be aimed at targets-1,500 already planned by the Pentagon-and will try to infiltrate armed concrete, under which some of the nuclear sites are hidden... The sites are spread across the country, some of them exposed, some operating under the guise of regular plants, and others buried deep under the ground....The military offensive requires activating nearly all types of planes in the army's possession: Warplanes and stealth vehicles, F-15 and F-16 aircrafts taking off from the land and an F-18 which takes off from an aircraft carrier.
Such an attack requires satellite guided weapons and laser-guided ammunition, as well as spy-planes and unmanned aerial vehicles. Since, many targets are hidden underground and are reinforced with armed concrete, they will have to be hit once and again in order to guarantee that they are destroyed, or at least seriously damaged."
"The order has been given (to strike Iran) In fact, we've probably been executing operations for at least 18 months...I've talked to Iranians (and they tell me) we've captured some people who worked with them (American Special-Ops) We've confirmed they're there." Gardiner added that "US naval forces have been alerted for deployment. That's a major step. ..And the (battle) plan has been sent to the White House."
The first phase of the war has already begun. The second phase, the bombing campaign, will undoubtedly follow a feeble pretext for initiating hostilities. Iran may be cited for its alleged nuclear weapons programs or Bush may simply claim the right to unilaterally enforce UN treaty violations, but these are just a formality. The decision to attack Iran was made long ago and features prominently in many of the neoconservative policy-documents including The Project for the New American Century and A Clean Break; a New Strategy for Securing the Realm. Iran cannot be allowed to develop nuclear technology for fear that it may provide them with the means to defend their oil. That would be catastrophic for western elites who plan to oversee the distribution of the world's dwindling resources.
It is worth noting, that Iran has committed no violations and that Bush's war plans are just another example of unprovoked aggression on a peaceful nation. Iran poses no national security threat to America, it has not attacked its neighbors, and, despite claims by the Bush administration, has not been involved in any (provable) acts of international terrorism. They are the simply the victims of a strident militarist doctrine that conceals flagrant acts of aggression behind the feeble ideology of "preemption"; a policy which allows the United States to attack whoever it chooses on the mere presumption that they may pose a potential threat to their continued global supremacy.
Iran has no nuclear weapons, no nuclear weapons programs, and has complied with every requirement of its treaty obligations under the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for the last 3 years. At the same time it has undergone the most extensive inspection-regime in the history of the IAEA, the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency. The agency has been given a free-hand to "go anywhere and see anything" in Iran's nuclear facilities and has consistently stated that it has found Iran "in compliance" with its requirements.
Never the less, the wrangling of the Bush administration, aided by a well-crafted propaganda campaign in the media, has created a furor at the UN and a split in public opinion. The public is unaware that Germany just sold Israel two nuclear submarines which will carry nuclear-tipped weapons, or that Brazil is at the same stage of the enrichment-process as Iran, or that Russia just signed a deal with South Africa that will provide them with nuclear fuel, or that the US just brushed aside its treaty obligations under the NPT to provide sensitive nuclear technology to India. Notwithstanding the double-standards, the charade continues, the war plans move forward, and the threat of a region-wide conflagration increases.
Bush has unilaterally repealed Iran's clearly articulated treaty rights under the NPT, and yet, the European allies have fallen in line behind Washington. No one apparently can resist the administration's incredible powers of coercion.
Ironically, Iran has signaled that the standoff could be resolved peacefully if Washington would agree to a non aggression pact that would guarantee that the US will not attack Iran without provocation. This tidbit of information is scrupulously omitted from reports in the media as it does not coincide with the image of Iran as the "terrorist bully" they are made out to be.
"What the Iranians wanted in return," Porter says, "was an end to US hostility and recognition of Iran as a legitimate power in the region. They want to see a "halt in hostile US behavior" as well as "recognition of Iran's legitimate security interests in the region with according defense capacity." (ISP) Respect and security in exchange for a comprehensive regional peace agreement; these are the same demands that one expects from any reasonable sovereign nation.
According to Porter, "Bush refused to allow any response to the Iranian offer to negotiate an agreement that would have accepted the existence of Israel." (IPS)