[Bush, Foreign Policy]
What if the Generals Said No?
It's interesting that, during the same week that a number of former generals are urging for the ouster of Don Rumsfeld, Sy Hersh would write this:
[The Pentagon advisor on the war on terror] also confirmed that some senior officers and officials were considering resigning over the issue. “There are very strong sentiments within the military against brandishing nuclear weapons against other countries,” the adviser told me. “This goes to high levels.” The matter may soon reach a decisive point, he said, because the Joint Chiefs had agreed to give President Bush a formal recommendation stating that they are strongly opposed to considering the nuclear option for Iran.It is almost inconceivable, but what if Bush and his radical coterie of hawk advisors decided to go to war with Iran and employ nuclear strikes and the military didn't support him? This kind of thing happens in other countries, where civilian power is predicated on military support. But the US? Could it happen?
We have arrived at a moment when support of senior military leadership for Bush's foreign policy is apparently near a breach. They urge caution, while meanwhile the White House
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....”It is certainly reasonable to imaging Bush ordering "tactical strikes" without an order of war from Congress. Is it beyond imagining to think that the military might appeal to Congress to intercede? This is wild, weird stuff, but I don't think the chance of it playing out is zero.
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.”