From anti-WMD to anti-anti-American

Porter, B. (2007). Bush steps up anti-Iran rhetoric. Australian Broadcasting Corporation News. Available online:

With an Iran War ever more possible, Bush shifts from attacking Iran’s nuclear capacity to attackign Iran’s killing of Americans.

Mr Hersh says he believes there is now a consensus within the American public that if the Iranians are actively pursuing plans to develop a nuclear weapon, they are at least five years away from their goal.

He says that has tipped the shift in the administration’s approach.

“Instead of trying to sell it, not only to the American people but to its allies, the notion of a massive bombing against the infrastructure, what they call counter-proliferation against the infrastructure of the Iraqi bomb, hitting the various facilities that we know exist – instead, they’ve now decided that they’re going to hit the Iranians, payback for hitting us,” he said.

“They’re going to hit the Revolutionary Guard headquarters and facilities, they’re going to tone down the bombing, they’re going to shift it. It’s going to be more surgical.”

Mr Hersh says the new strategy involves a subtle change of targets.

“We’re threatening Iran, we’ve been doing it constantly, but instead of saying to the American people and instead of saying internally, ‘It’s going to be about nuclear weapons’, it’s now going about getting the guys that are killing our boys,” he said.

“We’re going to hit the border facilities, the facilities inside Iraq that we think are training terrorists, we’re going to hit the facilities we think are supplying some of the explosive devices into Iraq.

If Seymour Hersh is correct, this means that the administration is more in touch with the American people — and reality — than I thought. We survived enough dangerous countries with nuclear weapons (Russia, China, Pakistan, etc) that the thought of one more is not particularly scary.

Iran’s armed forces regularly killing Americans is.

11 thoughts on “From anti-WMD to anti-anti-American”

  1. Hersh needs a big cup of stfu. THis guy's been pushing the 'US is going to attack Iran, tomorrow even!' line since '04. Remember when he said we had Rangers on the ground in W. Iran and were flying F-16s and drones over same? Like the little bulldog that won't let go of a bone.

  2. Actually Hersh has consistently said that he thinks Bush/Cheney want to attack Iran before the end of their term in office – not “tomorrow”. Thus, we can see whether he was right or not in January 2009. There is also the possibility that media coverage of the administration's plans for Iran helped forestall attacks.

    And if our goal is fewer dead American soldiers, I can't see how attacking Iran would help, regardless of our justification.

  3. “And if our goal is fewer dead American soldiers, I can't see how attacking Iran would help, regardless of our justification.”

    Not to mention the catastrophic /increase/ in US sailor deaths after the declaration of war against Japan!

  4. Japan was a Great Power that physically attacked us. Iran is a middle power that helps our enemies. I think a more relevant analogy would be our aid to Afghan mujahideen or the Soviets aid to North Vietnam. The Soviets did not attack us for giving aid to mujahideen and we did not attack the Soviets for aiding NVA.

  5. Japan was a regional hegemon in East Asia, who we had placed under a sanctions regime. Japanese-American hostility shot up after Japan interfered in a country that we decided was rightfully outside of Japan's sphere of influence (China).

    Iran is a regional hegemon in South-West Asia, who we have placed under a sanctions regime. Iranian-American hostility shot up after Iran interfered in a country that we had decided was rightfully outside of Iran's sphere of influence (Iran).

    Ultimately, Japan openly attacked a military outpost of the United States (Pearl Harbor, T.H.). Iran has not yet openly attacked a military output of the U.S..

    The question of whether the IGRC has covertly attacked the U.S. is an important one.

  6. I put probabilities like “…if Seymour Hersh is correct…” to be low. The guy is rarely correct. The lefty press and MSM love him and keep going back to him though.

  7. Really, Adrian? So if you go back to his '04 article you won't come away with the impression(and I don't think anyone who read that could come away with anything but) that we were mere days away from Bush attacking Iran? Really? Do tell.

    I'm with Purpleslog. THe guy's hardly ever right and is much like Derek Jeter(overhyped). Even the mythology of My Lai reportage is wrong. The helo pilot who reported Wily and the massacre was talking to anyone who would listen, he's the freakin' hero who wouldn't let it go or disappear. Hirsh just showed up. But Hersh is the guy with the fat paycheck and the helo pilot isn't even a footnote in (most)history books.

    Sometimes things are coutner-intuitive. You wouldn't think that speeding up is sometimes the best way of slowing down, but it is in certain situations. I can see situations where something like interdiction strikes in Iranian territory, active and heavy patrolling the mountains on the Iraq/Iran border would cut down casualties. It pays to study the Korean War sometimes. We just don't have the capacity to do that patrolling job right now, and won't without something like 15 divisions instead of the current 10,imo.

  8. I think what Hersh, or rather his sources have been saying is that some parts of the white house want to attack Iran while others think it's a bad idea. GwB meanwhile is determined not to allow Iranian proliferation. Planning for the attack picked up pace in 2004 and has increasingly become something they are seriously considering. It's possible that an attack was about to be launched if public support had been higher.

    If there is an attack Iran will likely be forced to respond strongly which will escalate the conflict, possibly leading to war, something which would seem to be a strategic nightmare for everyone. Although it looks like technically you are already at war since both sides have declared parts of the other country's army to be a terrorist organisation.

    The attack on Pearl Harbor was what gave political support for US involvement in ww2 but the mission wasn't to avenge the attack it was to remove Japan as a military power posing a threat to US national security, a threat that was evident well before Pearl Harbor.

  9. For years the pilot was badly treated by many in the military. Some believe he was given highly risky assignments in an effort to get him killed in action. He was shot down several times.

    He eventually gave lectures at West Point.

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