Seymour Hersh, who's seldom right on anything
, is probably right
that Iran is moving to the front burner.The officials say that President Bush is determined to deny the Iranian regime the opportunity to begin a pilot program, planned for this spring, to enrich uranium.
American and European intelligence agencies, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.), agree that Iran is intent on developing the capability to produce nuclear weapons. But there are widely differing estimates of how long that will take, and whether diplomacy, sanctions, or military action is the best way to prevent it. Iran insists that its research is for peaceful use only, in keeping with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and that it will not be delayed or deterred.
Predictably, the wailing has started on the Left side of the blogosphere:Mahablog
:Our President, George W. Bush, has a messiah complex and is convinced that “saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”Our Leaker in Chief may have no credibility left, but his chutzpah remains intact, armed and loaded for bear. Now can we censure him? Because nothing short of bringing him to account, making him realize he's not king, will stop this megalomaniac from moving from Iraq to Iran.
Honestly, the liberals are like little children on a long trip in the car. "Can we censure him now, Dad? Can we?"
The part that seems to be drawing the most attention is the possible use of nukes against Iran.One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites. One target is Iran’s main centrifuge plant, at Natanz, nearly two hundred miles south of Tehran. Natanz, which is no longer under I.A.E.A. safeguards, reportedly has underground floor space to hold fifty thousand centrifuges, and laboratories and workspaces buried approximately seventy-five feet beneath the surface. That number of centrifuges could provide enough enriched uranium for about twenty nuclear warheads a year. (Iran has acknowledged that it initially kept the existence of its enrichment program hidden from I.A.E.A. inspectors, but claims that none of its current activity is barred by the Non-Proliferation Treaty.) The elimination of Natanz would be a major setback for Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but the conventional weapons in the American arsenal could not insure the destruction of facilities under seventy-five feet of earth and rock, especially if they are reinforced with concrete.
Dan Riehl points out
that some of the folks writing on this topic have sort of skipped over the bunker-buster tactical part and started writing "Bush is going to nuke Iran!"
Some smaller blogs:Blogbrief
:The myopic irony of even considering the fantastic phantasm that some kind of "good outcome" could somehow issue from attacks on Iran--given the delusional rhetoric that led to our current posture in Iraq and our dismal stature in the world community--is staggering. It is truly disturbing that the horrid inhumanity of initiating such a crime as preemptive thermonuclear warfare is even being considered. Then again, the Bush Administration believes that it creates its own reality.
Not finding a good, small conservative blog with a take on this story. Anybody? Bueller?