Attacking Iran: US options

By GWYNNE DYER | Arab News

When Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the highest-ranking American officer, was asked recently on NBC’s Meet The Press show whether the United States has a military plan for an attack on Iran, he replied simply: “We do.”

General staffs are supposed to plan for even the most unlikely future contingencies. Right down to the 1930s, for example, the United States maintained and annually updated plans for the invasion of Canada — and the Canadian military made plans to pre-empt the invasion. But what the planning process will have revealed, in this case, is that there is no way for the United States to win a nonnuclear war with Iran.

The US could “win” by dropping hundreds of nuclear weapons on Iran’s military bases, nuclear facilities and industrial centers (i.e. cities) and killing five to 10 million people, but short of that, nothing works. On this we have the word of Richard Clarke, counterterrorism adviser in the White House under three administrations

In the early 1990s, Clarke revealed in an interview with the New York Times four years ago, the Clinton administration had seriously considered a bombing campaign against Iran, but the military professionals told them not to do it.

“After a long debate, the highest levels of the military could not forecast a way in which things would end favorably for the United States,” he said. The Pentagon’s planners have war-gamed an attack on Iran several times in the past 15 years, and they just can’t make it come out as a US victory.

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