Scary Movie Too: The Gambler

From Kevin Drum:
Here's Seymour Hersh on what George Bush thinks:

A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”

....One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites.

As usual, Hersh's piece is based almost entirely on anonymous sources, so take it for what it's worth. But it warrants reading regardless. It may or may not be a bluff, but the PR campaign for an air strike against Iran is clearly moving into high gear.

It sounds a little like a plot for a bad movie. The scary thing for me though is the fit with the MO of the CEO. The guy is a gambler. His career is a history of bold bets, usually ending in catastropic losses. At this point his presidential legacy is mostly in shambles. He really might see Iran as a chance to get some respect from history.

A couple of more excerpts from Hersh's New Yorker piece:
The House member said that no one in the meetings “is really objecting” to the talk of war. “The people they’re briefing are the same ones who led the charge on Iraq. At most, questions are raised: How are you going to hit all the sites at once? How are you going to get deep enough?” (Iran is building facilities underground.) “There’s no pressure from Congress” not to take military action, the House member added. “The only political pressure is from the guys who want to do it.” Speaking of President Bush, the House member said, “The most worrisome thing is that this guy has a messianic vision.”

And then there's this:
He went on, “Nuclear planners go through extensive training and learn the technical details of damage and fallout—we’re talking about mushroom clouds, radiation, mass casualties, and contamination over years. This is not an underground nuclear test, where all you see is the earth raised a little bit. These politicians don’t have a clue, and whenever anybody tries to get it out”—remove the nuclear option—“they’re shouted down.”

The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added, and some officers have talked about resigning. Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran—without success, the former intelligence official said.
On the plus side, maybe Bush will save Ebola the trouble of decimating the human race [that's irony, and gallows humor, in case anyone is too clueless to so deduce].


  1. The fact is that either we choose to allow the Islamic Republic of Iran to develop the nuclear system that would allow for nuclear weapons or we don't. Bring on the apocalyptic rhetoric.:)

  2. Ah yes, the tyranny of the false dichotomy. It's quite unlikey that it's really that simple.

  3. Seymour Hersh is an American hero, in my humble opinion .. this country is much the worse off for the slow death of the muckrakers


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