Personally I’ve been generally skeptical of the idea of any sort of American attack on Iran. It seemed, even for this bunch currently in charge, to be a step too far. Still, I was thinking tonight in light of Seymour Hersh’s latest that there might be something to it in a sense of the Administration finally cashing in on what little they have left to play with. It occurred to me that having named that ‘axis of terror’ all that time back, Bush and company had conquered one country (kinda), found themselves in the endless series of negotiations with another, and that left Iran.
What happens next I don’t know, though I’m not sanguine. One quote in the article brought me up a bit short:
“They’re moving everybody to the Iran desk,” one recently retired C.I.A. official said. “They’re dragging in a lot of analysts and ramping up everything. It’s just like the fall of 2002”—the months before the invasion of Iraq, when the Iraqi Operations Group became the most important in the agency. He added, “The guys now running the Iranian program have limited direct experience with Iran. In the event of an attack, how will the Iranians react? They will react, and the Administration has not thought it all the way through.”
That theme was echoed by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national-security adviser, who said that he had heard discussions of the White House’s more limited bombing plans for Iran. Brzezinski said that Iran would likely react to an American attack “by intensifying the conflict in Iraq and also in Afghanistan, their neighbors, and that could draw in Pakistan. We will be stuck in a regional war for twenty years.”
At a certain point the problem becomes who is willing to fight such a potential war for twenty years, assuming this is the worst case scenario and it holds. Near the start of the month I considered what this would involve in terms of asking people to join the armed forces, and for what. Again, I’m not thinking it all necessarily would happen this way, but now I’m starting to believe that it could, and the prospect of the shadow it would cast here is so long that it hasn’t even begun to be measured.
It is not a pleasant thought, but it must be expressed. The dying days of this adminstration will be longer than ever — and quite probably have a larger impact than I had once feared.