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View Diary: Cheney to Generals: Prepare to Attack Iran (398 comments)

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  •  There are no (none)
    "simple diplomatic facts of life" to those who scorn the notion of diplomacy.
    •  you underestimate the value of allies (none)
      I think you're underestimating the diplomatic difficulties that the Bush administration finds itself in with regards to this.

      Consider that during the first Gulf War there was a grand-scale military-political-diplomatic alliance in play - including Syria, Saudi Arabia and Turkey; the use of Turkish and Saudi facilities was the crucial enabler.

      Consider that during the invasion of Iraq, as part of the UK's insistence for participation, there was at least an attempt to get a legitimating second UN resolution. This failed and the invasion still went ahead, but Blair and his war cabinet will look over their shoulders for the rest of their lives over this. To accomplish the invasion they had the use of Kuwait as staging-post and presumably some quiet cooperation from Saudi Arabia and Jordan. They wanted a northern land corridor from Turkey - which was refused, and they had great difficulty in persuading Turkey to allow the use of airspace.

      As regards an attack on Iran - the Bush administration will simply have no support from anyone, bar Israel - who will have little practical to offer. The current Iraqi government will not permit the use of its territory for hostilities against their friends - likewise Afghanistan, where old Iranian allies, the Northern Alliance hold positions of power. Likewise Azerbaijan, likewise Pakistan and likewise Kuwait. Not one single Gulf state can see anything other than downside in this for them, so use of facilities and airspace will be denied. This leaves the US in the problematic position of having to accomplish this from US soil or aircraft carriers in international waters. Aircraft carriers are, in the end, limited and vulnerable against a determined enemy that has assets at its disposal.

      The use of Diego Garcia will be ruled out by the UK, who can see no possible reason for an attack on Iran, and should Blair try to authorise the use, then he will end up in the Hague awaiting trial for his role in the commission of war crimes.

      •  Nope, (none)
        you are overestimating the degree to which BushCo thinks it needs allies.  'Specially now that it's in "now-or-never" mode thanks to Rovegate and all.

        And your last paragraph is, well, worth a chuckle.  The Brits should've sent Blair off to the Hague long ago, and they all know it.  But they'll never do it.  Too much cowardice to cross him in an ultimative fashion--and too much national pride.

        •  you're not correct in this (none)
          I don't imagine that Pinochet ever believed that he would end up under house arrest in the UK either.

          Blair may have got away with it for now - but there is little chance of a repeat performance. And there is nothing to say that information or documents won't appear some time down the line that will conclusively consign Blair to the brig. The legal frameworks for this already exist here.

          The Bush administration may think that it can do without allies - but when it comes to actually operating in the real world, it turns out that they do need them. If the Bush administration thought that it could act without allies then why did they accommodate Blair to such an extent over the Iraq war? - because they knew that they needed at least one other credible international partner in the Iraq venture to satisfy domestic concerns, and they needed the use of Diego Garcia as a key airbase over the horizon from which to conduct operations. Why does the Bush administration keep trying to convince the US public that there is a coalition of the willing in Iraq? It's because they need to maintain a plausible fiction regarding international consensus for what they do - and that's after 9/11.

          With regards to Iran, no such partners exist. And if all your mates in the Gulf, whose facilities and airspace are prerequisites for this kind of actio, are telling you to get stuffed or pony up a few hundred billion in compensation ( payable in advance ), then this kind of thing becomes well-nigh impossible.

          •  Excuse me, but (none)
            comparing Pinochet's situation to Blair's is stretching things a bit.  (Except to the extent that you mean to say that Pinochet has yet to do time or suffer serious discomfort for his actions.)  And certainly the number of nations, let alone Great Powers (real or in their own imaginations) that have willingly surrendered their leaders for war crimes trials, was still pretty close to nil the last time I checked.

            And I'm sorry, but you overestimate the degree to which Bush needed any allies in the Iraq escapade.  Having them was a nice talking point, and it helped ease the USA into approval of such shenanigans by placing a patina of legitimacy over them.  But no such patina will be necessary for an Iran attack.  I'm sure they wouldn't mind having one, but they'll be happy to do without.  We'll just have to wait and see how UN Ambassador Bolton tries to pull a "I tried to form alliances, but the craven world community won't join us" on us.

            As others have posted, I'm sure the Iran adventure will be pursued primarily, if not exclusively, by means of ICBMs and from aircraft carriers in international waters.  If we lose a few of the latter, no big deal; we can always buy and build more with money we steal from our own poor and put in the pockets of defense contractors.

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