Bush told that bombing Iran would be ineffective



SENIOR Pentagon officers have told the Bush administration that bombing Iranian nuclear facilities would probably fail to destroy that country's nuclear programme, the New Yorker magazine reported yesterday.

The senior commanders also warned that any attack launched if diplomacy fails to end the stand-off over Iran's nuclear ambitions could have "serious economic, political, and military consequences for the United States", the article said, citing unidentified US military officials.

"A crucial issue in the military's dissent, the officers said, is the fact that American and European intelligence agencies have not found specific evidence of clandestine activities or hidden facilities: the war planners are not sure what to hit," the report claimed.

The US military's experience in Iraq, where no weapons of mass destruction were found and the war continues, has affected its approach to Iran, the magazine quoted a high-ranking general as saying.

"The target array in Iran is huge, but it's amorphous," the unidentified general said. "We built this big monster with Iraq, and there was nothing there. This is son of Iraq."

Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld and his aides "really think they can do this [intervene in Iran] on the cheap, and they underestimate the capability of the adversary", the official told the magazine.

The US on Friday spurned Iranian calls for more time to study an offer of incentives to curb its nuclear fuel program, insisting Tehran must reply by the Group of Eight industrialised nations' deadline on 5 July.