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Thread: Joint Chiefs Chairman Says U.S. Preparing Military Options Against Iran

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Joint Chiefs Chairman Says U.S. Preparing Military Options Against Iran

    Joint Chiefs Chairman Says U.S. Preparing Military Options Against Iran

    By Ann Scott Tyson
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, April 25, 2008; 1:51 PM

    The nation's top military officer said today that the Pentagon is planning for "potential military courses of action" against Iran, criticizing what he called the Tehran government's "increasingly lethal and malign influence" in Iraq.

    Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said a conflict with Iran would be "extremely stressing" but not impossible for U.S. forces, pointing specifically to reserve capabilities in the Navy and Air Force.

    "It would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability," he said at a Pentagon news conference.

    Still, Mullen made clear that he prefers a diplomatic solution to the tensions with Iran and does not foresee any imminent military action. "I have no expectations that we're going to get into a conflict with Iran in the immediate future," he said.

    Mullen's statements and others by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recently signal a new rhetorical onslaught by the Bush administration against Iran, amid what officials say is increased Iranian provision of weapons, training and financing to Iraqi groups that are attacking and killing Americans.

    In a speech Monday at West Point, Gates said Iran "is hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons." He said a war with Iran would be "disastrous on a number of levels. But the military option must be kept on the table given the destabilizing policies of the regime and the risks inherent in a future Iranian nuclear threat."

    Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, who was nominated this week to head all U.S. forces in the Middle East, is preparing a briefing soon to lay out detailed evidence of increased Iranian involvement in Iraq, Mullen said. The briefing will detail, for example, the discovery in Iraq of weapons that were very recently manufactured in Iran, he said.

    "The Iranian government pledged to halt such activities some months ago. It's plainly obvious they have not. Indeed, they seem to have gone the other way," Mullen said.

    He said recent unrest in the southern Iraqi city of Basra had highlighted a "level of involvement" by Iran that had not been understood by the U.S. military previously. "It became very, very visible in ways that we hadn't seen before," he said.

    But while Mullen and Gates have recently stated that Tehran must know of Iranian actions in Iraq, which they say are led by Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Mullen said he has "no smoking gun which could prove that the highest leadership [of Iran] is involved in this."

    In an incident early local time yesterday, a cargo ship contracted by the U.S. military fired "several bursts" of warning shots at two fast boats that approached in international waters off the Iranian coast, defense officials said today.

    The unidentified small boats approached the Westward Venture, a ship carrying U.S. military hardware, as it headed north through the central Persian Gulf at about 8 a.m. local time, said Cmdr. Lydia Robertson, spokeswoman for the Navy's Fifth Fleet, which is based in Bahrain.

    The U.S. ship initiated bridge-to-bridge communications, and, after receiving no response, it fired a flare. The speed boats continued to approach, so the ship fired warning shots with a .50-caliber machine gun and M16 rifle. The boats then left the area, she said.

    "They fired several bursts, it went pretty quickly," Robertson said.

    Soon afterwards, an Iranian coast guard boat queried the Western Venture, Robertson said. It was unclear whether that was one of the small boats.

    "There have been some Iranian boats that have operated this way, and some unidentified boats," said Robertson, adding that the crew had no voice communication with the small boats.

    In January, five Iranian patrol boats sped toward a U.S. warship and dropped small, boxlike objects in the water, an incident that alarmed military officials and that President Bush called "a provocative act." The objects turned out to pose no threat to the USS Port Royal or two other U.S. vessels accompanying it.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Scary times.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #3
    simuvac Guest
    Scary, yes. But maybe the only thing that will end this nightmare is a complete collapse of the system that sustains it?

    Jeff Wells at Rigorous Intuition has an interesting column on the liberation of hopelessness:

    The entire column is worth reading, but here's a taste:

    "This, I think, is the deep context in which we should situate the perpetual travesty machine of American politics. Here too, restrained predation "doesn't quite kill or does kill only slowly." Here, rather, it "keeps hope alive."

    All through the Bush years, scores of non-Republicans have anticipated the brutal full-flowering of traditional dictatorship with all the trappings: martial law, mass internment and the cancellation of elections. Through much of the Clinton years, many non-Democrats looked for the same. It didn't come (though some are still waiting). It's as if they've not only expected the worst, but sought it, to put them out of their misery. But the worst exceeds their expectations, and their misery is to be protracted indefinitely.

    The Kennedys and King, the October Surprise and Mena, anthrax and Wellstone, Gore and Kerry, Florida and Ohio: you might think that would be enough to make most Democrats say You know what? This isn't working out. But elections are paced like the Olympics, and in another four years the Jamaican bobsledders may really have a shot. Hey, anything's possible. And so long as people believe that, and that anything means everything they want, the cycle repeats and self-perpetuates.

    The great assassinations of the Sixties were decapitation strikes, never intended to kill the host or to extinguish hope. It's only the hopeless who are dangerous. Hope must be encouraged, because you don't need to do anything to have it, and it keeps the prey from becoming wise to its own nature and seeking extraction from the cycle. Hope makes it possible to write and believe such things as "Al Gore will save the planet but Barack Obama will save this country." Hope that the system works, even if it is just a digestive system.

    Restrained predation upon the Democratic Party may be at an advanced stage of domestication, but it also mimics molecular endosymbiosis with the injection of alien organelles in the form of the Trojan horse DLC to which, of all the contenders, both Clinton and Obama are closest in tactics and ideology. Funny how that happened.

    And how did that happen? I think there's an institutional instinct at work, in the Deep Context, that maintains the insectival social engine of power. Does Obama know his role? That may be irrelevant, because the volition and cognition of the individuals who form the living manifestation of the system may be grossly overstated. They have given themselves to the system, the system has groomed them and raised them above all others, and they instinctively know what the system requires.

    Is it hopeless? Thank Christ, yes, so get used to it. There's a liberation to hopelessness, in knowing what can't be done (or more typically, politically, be done for you), which I personally find preferable to another four years of huffing one's own jenkem. There's no salvation within the political cycle of death and rebirth, consumption and excretion - jellies eat and shit through the same simple hole, which could also be a reasonably sophisticated media analysis - and to hope for such a savior is to be the doomed hero of Lovecraft's fiction.

    Perhaps it's not be so far from the Deep Ones to Deep Politics. You could say it all comes out right in the end, but you know what comes out in the end."

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