Sunday, September 23, 2007

Will the US bomb Iran? Europe thinks so

From The Times Online:

THE United States Air Force has set up a highly confidential strategic planning group tasked with “fighting the next war” as tensions rise with Iran.

Project Checkmate, a successor to the group that planned the 1991 Gulf War’s air campaign, was quietly reestablished at the Pentagon in June.

It reports directly to General Michael Moseley, the US Air Force chief, and consists of 20-30 top air force officers and defence and cyberspace experts with ready access to the White House, the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

Detailed contingency planning for a possible attack on Iran has been carried out for more than two years by Centcom (US central command), according to defence sources.

Checkmate’s job is to add a dash of brilliance to Air Force thinking by countering the military’s tendency to “fight the last war” and by providing innovative strategies for warfighting and assessing future needs for air, space and cyberwarfare.

It is led by Brigadier-General Lawrence “Stutz” Stutzriem, who is considered one of the brightest air force generals. He is assisted by Dr Lani Kass, a former Israeli military officer and expert on cyberwarfare.

I used to think that this kind of article in a British newspaper was intended to reduce the likelihood of an actual US attack on Iran by embarrassing the Bush administration or removing the element of surprise or something like that.

Now I begin to think that it is wishful thinking. There must be enough sanity left in at least some European minds to know what a disaster a nuclear Iran would be. All this "US will bomb Iran" stuff may well be the Europeans trying (in vain, I think) to convince themselves that Uncle Sam will once again ride to their rescue.