Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Iran: Challenges for the US mounting

Against this backdrop, the US is debating military strikes in Iran

  • Iraq quagmire

    - National Intelligence Estimate says the US "at best" can hope for things staying as bad as they are and not improving: Three options are [1] tenuous stability; [2] political fragmentation; or [3] civil war Ref

    - Rising resistance drains US military efforts
    - Organized opposition improving command, control, number of attacks
    - US demonstrated it is less effective in engaging Iraqi insurgents
    - Well known risks ignored

  • US military

    - Inadequate combat forces to credibly threaten Iran
    - Insufficient reserve forces
    - Untenable draft required sustain operations
    - Poor position within White House to translate lessons learned into leadership's adopted plans; lessons learned in post-occupation Panama Ignored

  • Iran exception

    - Demonstrated confidence in toying with the US; overtures bring costs to US
    - Articulated US position to treat differently
    - Iran knows the above, and has the cards stacked in its favor during any "negotiation"

    Questions in re the US plans behind an attack on Iran

  • The President prior to invading Iraq, stated that all diplomatic efforts had failed; yet the inspectors were still able to accomplish their work, and to this date there has been no WMD found in Iraq. Despite the length, diplomatic pressure cannot achieve results when there are not results to be obtained. Clearly, the US removed the diplomatic option in re Iraq, yet the diplomatic option remains viable, according to the President, in Iran. Why is the President stating that diplomacy should run its course in Iran when diplomacy cannot stop what has already happened; yet in Iraq, diplomacy was not allowed to run its course despite no evidence of a threat?

  • Where's the "imminent threat" that the US is physically at risk now?

  • What is the basis for estimate that the "window of opportunity" for action is 2005, and has not already passed?

  • Some estimates suggest the window of opportunity in Iran has already passed in that Iran already has the capability the US says it wants to prevent, stop, or eliminate. How can the US credibly say before the international community that it "will not tolerate" something that already is a foregone conclusion, and the US is in no position to prevent?

  • Before a Security Council resolution has even passed, some are speculating that Iran may do X, Y, Z; therefore the US is justified in pre-emptively attacking Iran. What evidence is there that Iran is actually about to use nuclear weapons to attack the United States?

  • Why is the US so quickly resorting to military options?

  • Using a nuclear pre-emptive strike on Iran seems to simply do what the US supposedly says it is fighting against: Using the threat of violence to intimidate a civilian population. Why should Iran believe the US is serious about using military force given there is no credible back-up to that threat of force?

  • One problem we see in both Iraq and Afghanistan is that the scope of the efforts were far less than what is required, and the initial risks have were ignored in deference to policy. Where's the success criteria in the plan; and what method is used to ensure that the risks identified in the lower levels of both the CIA and the Pentagon are adequately provided to the leadership prior to a decision?

  • Planners prior to the invasion of Iraq indicated there were risks, and that an occupation plan needed to be in place. Today, PNAC is saying the same thing. Why should we expect that the calls for an Iran-occupation-plan will get the needed attention this time and not be similarly rebuffed as was the case in the Iraq-occupation planning?

  • The White House ignored risks in re an occupied Iraq; and put pressure on war planners to do nothing about preparing for US responsibilities in occupied-Iraq; prudence would dictate "whatever didn't work in re Iraq-planning" is fixed. Yet, the prospects of solving this problem are bleak--those within the White House who dare raise concerns about challenges and problems are threatened with "simply not understanding" the inevitable flow of democracy and freedom. Strikingly, these ridiculous statements do nothing to respond to concerns that there remains no viable occupation-planning in Iraq, and the White House staffers simply hope to intimidate anyone into raising questions or concerns about real requirements and risks. Indeed, if there is an inadequate risk assessment, we face little prospect the necessary forces will be aligned; yet the reality is that there are inadequate combat and reserve forces to mount such an operation in Iraq and sustain the current efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. What has specifically changed in the decision-making process that will ensure the pre-Iraq-invasion pressure on the CIA and decision to ignore "the requirement to plan for occupied-Iraq" will be resolved in re Iran, and that there will be adequate planning and sufficient forces available to adequately ensure the stability of an occupied Iraq?

  • When will a military-draft of civilans start, commence, and actively intake civilians into the active duty military forces to support, sustain, and make ready the manning levels required to sustain combat-operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and also maintain sufficient reserve capability to deal with likely imminent requirements?

  • What assumed comparison is there between Israel's attack on Baghdad's nuclear sites, and a potential US attack on Iran's sites?

  • Why we talking about invading a third country, when the first two [Afghanistan, Iraq] are falling apart?

  • We can't deal with the hornet's nest in either Afghanistan or Iraq; why do we want to create a third one at this time?

  • As with Iraq, what's the urgency for action in Iran at this time?

  • Why the concern with Iran, yet no similar contemplation of attacks on either India or Pakistan?