Sunday, April 18, 2010

Gates’s memo Indicates White House Does Not Have a Plan For Iran if Diplomacy Fails

The memo is as obvious as it is ridiculous; not that you would know it from the response the administration has put out. Obama has shown a clear unwillingness to do anything but attempt a diplomatic solution and apply a few sanctions. The alternative is a military strike, and even if he does not think he will exercise it there is no reason not to have the plan in place.

"Pressed on the administration’s ambiguous phrases until now about how close the United States was willing to allow Iran’s program to proceed, a senior administration official described last week in somewhat clearer terms that there was a line Iran would not be permitted to cross.

The official said that the United States would ensure that Iran would not “acquire a nuclear capability,” a step Tehran could get to well before it developed a sophisticated weapon. “That includes the ability to have a breakout,” he said, using the term nuclear specialists apply to a country that suddenly renounces the nonproliferation treaty and uses its technology to build a small arsenal…

Mr. Gates’s memo appears to reflect concerns in the upper echelons of the Pentagon and the military that the White House did not have a well-prepared series of alternatives in place in case all the diplomatic steps finally failed.


  1. He won't attack Iran, it would make no sense. It wouldn't stop them from developing a weapon, it couldn't destroy there ability to do so for a couple of years maybe but why just delay that and start a war in the meantime? Besides were supposed to believe that a government that can barely keep control of its own country is trying to have a military confrontation with the U.S.? nonsense

    Having the plan may signal an ambiguous threat to Iran, but they know time is on their side- and only bolsters there reasoning for building the weapons in the first place- the survival of their regime.

    Further an attack may destroy the green movment, all the leading activists in the green movement have warned that an attack on Iran could be the end for them- as you may or may not know the US has a history of causing chaos in Iran that Iranians of all political identification havn't forgotten about and an attack is something that the Iranian government can easily use to rally people against "subversives".

    Your gonna have to learn to stop worrying and love the bomb

  2. Here's an article that i just read this morning (, and I find it really sad that while we are sending so many troops to the Middle East, our politicians don't even have a solid strategy.

    Just a thought.


  3. @Ian Spencer Dubrowsky - we could delay thier ability to produce a weapon for at least a couple of years (I think that is what you meant, but that is not how it reads). Not having a plan is borderline dereliction of duty. We have plans for everything, even if we are reasonably sure we will have no need for them. England attacks us; pull the plan off the shelf and use it as a template. Having a plan means you do not have to start from scratch should something happen.

    The plan also helps you know the specifics. Can we do it, how long will it take, what is the risk to our men and equipment... . Without the plan the decision makers are forced to make potentially seriously erroneous assumptions.

    The Green Movement; we stood on the sidelines and watched as they were slaughtered into submission with barley a word of condemnation.

    If you are comfortable with Iran having the bomb you have to be comfortable with mushroom clouds (or at the very least the repeated threat of such). I do not want to see Israel, or any other of our allies or ourselves, lose a city.

  4. The Issue of the "plan" is a non-point unless you wanna look at it through the scope of an overall strategy. Because the fact is if the United States did want to attack Iran it could do so very easily, whether the "plans" are drawn up or not is irrelevent unless you are determined to actually attack Iran, which the United States may be.

    I don't think they should make the plan, because I don't think the United States should attack Iran- like you say having the plan makes that easier to do. It would be very costly to our priorities, and tremendously expensive- of course you will then turn around and tell us that we should not give our people healthcare.

    I don't quite understand your righteous anger at the United States over the Green movement. Besides U.S. servers staying open to help keep twitter up, which were the actions of private individuals, the United States did largely stay on the sidelines it seems- though its a lie there were no words of condemnation- yet who cares?

    The reason I don't understand your take is because if you are actually listening to what Iranian dissidents are saying, instead of projecting your own manichean view of the United States on to them, they warned harshly, then and still that any appearence of the United State's intervening would be one of the worst setbacks to the movement. Any signal that they are a party to U.S. interests will destroy any popular support for reform of the Iranian system. The Reasons are historical, look for yourself about how the U.S. installed the Shah- by creating death squads that murdered a lot of people. Private individuals supporting dissenters is one thing, a military strike in which we inevitably kill a lot of innocent people is another and will in the end help the Mullahs stay in power. The principle is that its not up to you what happens in Iran, it is up to the Iranians.

    haha i mean the more I think about your position the more I think its supposed to be funny, like you are going to take this self-serving Churchillian view of the Iranian government while a government that is much more repressive and authoritarian- Saudi Arabia, is a total product of U.S. support? please, you are fooling yourself.

    I'm not comfortable with Iran having the bomb, but the alternatives are worse. Threats are Threats who cares they are mostly issued for domestic political propaganda purposes. but if you are really worried about mushroom clouds then its Israel that is the only country in the middle east that might actually use a bomb- they unlike Iran actually have them and have the capabilities to use them. The Idea that Iran, again a pretty weak government, is going to spend years putting resources into developing a bomb, (developing the ability to actually use it is pretty much just as complicated and expensive and there is no signal they are any where near that either) so that they could then use it on Israel is a totally thoughtless assumption. It just makes no sense, if you think that the Iranian regime is concerned about it's survival- I think the writing is on the wall there- then you have to figure that they would have figured out that engageing in a military confrontation with Israel and by proxy the United States will destroy them, externally or internally. Just as ludicrous and ignorant is the notion that they will develop a bomb so they can give it to terrorist groups, most of these groups hate eachother and again the notion that they will spend all this effort and costs in order to just give a bomb a away that will inevitably start a war is dumb.

    People were making similiar arguements as you about China or the Soviet Union having the bomb, at the end of the day containment works because goverments in the end are all about their survival. This is why Iran is trying to build the bomb in the first place, not to use it, but to deter an attack.


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