Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Pentagon Revolt?

According to the Times of London, a number of American generals are prepared to resign in protest if their commander in chief, Dick Cheney (or his ventriloquist's dummy, George), moves to launch a war against Iran.

"'There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,' a source with close ties to British intelligence said. 'There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible.'

"A British defence source confirmed that there were deep misgivings inside the Pentagon about a military strike. 'All the generals are perfectly clear that they don’t have the military capacity to take Iran on in any meaningful fashion. Nobody wants to do it and it would be a matter of conscience for them.'

“'There are enough people who feel this would be an error of judgment too far for there to be resignations.'

"A generals’ revolt on such a scale would be unprecedented. 'American generals usually stay and fight until they get fired,' said a Pentagon source. Robert Gates, the defence secretary, has repeatedly warned against striking Iran and is believed to represent the view of his senior commanders.

This spreading discontent would go a long way to explaining the actions of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, last week when he directly contradicted White House claims that the top Iranian leadership was inolved in sending weapons to Iraq to be used against US forces. Pace may have been rushing to avert a showdown between his top generals and the White House.

"Hillary Mann, the National Security Council’s main Iran expert until 2004, said Pace’s repudiation of the administration’s claims was a sign of grave discontent at the top.

“'He is a very serious and a very loyal soldier,' she said. 'It is extraordinary for him to have made these comments publicly, and it suggests there are serious problems between the White House, the National Security Council and the Pentagon.'

"Mann fears the administration is seeking to provoke Iran into a reaction that could be used as an excuse for an attack. A British official said the US navy was well aware of the risks of confrontation and was being “seriously careful” in the Gulf.

"The US air force is regarded as being more willing to attack Iran. General Michael Moseley, the head of the air force, cited Iran as the main likely target for American aircraft at a military conference earlier this month.

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