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Gates' (not so) Secret Memo to the President

By       Message Dave Lefcourt     Permalink
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Here we go again. A secret memo from Defense Secretary Robert Gates to President Obama became known over the weekend revealing Gates' concerns that "the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran's steady progress toward nuclear capability."[1]

The memo, written last January, was described "as a wake up call"[2]that among Gates' worries were "Iran could assemble all the major parts it needs for a nuclear weapon fuel, designs and detonators- but stop just short of assembling a fully operational weapon.[3]

An administration official confided anonymously, "There was a line Iran would not be permitted to cross" that the United States would ensure that Iran would not acquire a nuclear capability."[4]

Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff wrote in December "that a military attack (on Iran) would have limited results."[5]

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The administration has placed "patriot missiles"[6] in several allied Persian gulf states of late to counter (one supposes) Iran's ballistic missiles that are capable of reaching Israel but significantly, carry only conventional warheads.

So what is one to make of Gates' memo? It could have been leaked intentionally (by the administration) to the press as a new warning to Iran that the U.S. is determined to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon and despite Obama's diplomatic overtures to Iran, the military option is still very much on the table.

But really, is there anything new here; or just some renewed bombast by us?

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Admiral Mullen's take of "limited results" occurring if we attacked Iran comes closest to reality but even his conclusion runs well short of the mark.

Attacking Iran (by us or the Israeli's) would be catastrophic. And it would not completely destroy Iran's nuclear capability (which is located in various locations throughout the country and placed deeply underground impervious to conventional weapons' strikes) but would in all likelihood, ramp up its efforts to actually develop a nuclear weapon.

Israel would surely be retaliated against with Iranian conventional missile strikes.

Iraq would likely explode into renewed attacks against the American presence there.

The Strait of Hormuz would likely be bombed and blocked by Iran, crippling oil supplies from reaching the open sea and creating (unnecessarily) a world oil shortage crisis and quite probably a new world financial crisis.

The "green" freedom movement that erupted from Iran's fraudulent reelection of President Ahmadinejad last summer would likely collapse and a renewed nationalism by most Iranians would coalesce around the defense of the Iranian nation and further solidify the power of Iatollah Khamenei.

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Lastly, terrorism would likely explode in the West Bank, southern Lebanon (Hezbollah), in Israel proper and probably Europe and the U.S.

And all for what purpose and to what end; to prevent a "potential" Iranian nuclear weapon? Sanctions, demonization, seizing of Iranian assets haven't worked. Preemptive wars in Afghanistan and particularly Iraq; just what has that accomplished besides instituting a Shiite regime in that country now closely allied and strongly influenced by Iran. A nuclear North Korea that didn't have a bomb (but when it was absurdly linked to Iraq and Iran by Bush in his "Axis of evil" speech in January 2002) rapidly developed its own nuclear capability).

What seems all too apparent is we have embarked on a strategy of endless war and hegemony throughout the world. We are the lone super power and we reign supreme, an empire in reality and a Republic in name only.

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