Lots of smart people are blogging about Seymour Hersh's latest piece in the New Yorker about Lebanon as a Bush adminstration dress rehersal for an attack on Iran. Juan Cole, Joshua Landis, and Billmon all weigh in but for my money this morning the best analysis comes from Helena Cobban at Just World News. She writes:
Hersh's piece reveals a number of significant things about strategic decision-making inside both Israel and the Bush administration.She notes that most Iranian exiles, commentators, and ordinary citizens say that the quickest way to derail the Iranian opposition and unite all elements of Iranian society would be for the US to attack it. As she puts it so clearly:
First, and most evident, is that the Israeli "plan" for taking down Hizbullah was one that relied almost totally on the use of airpower and other forms of stand-off weaponry (ship-launched missiles, drones, etc). This would clearly be the most plannable way in which the Bushites might be planning to attack Ira, since the US, like Israel, harbors an intense wariness to getting bogged down in a ground war.
But of course the "airpower plan" developed and used by IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz failed miserably at taking down Hizbullah's military capacity-- even while it had the entirely predictable political effect of uniting the Lebanese population more firmly around Hizbullah than it had been for the past three or four years.
Interesting results for the "field-test" of tactics that might be used against Iran, huh?
Honestly, though, I don't think anyone needed a "field test" of the use of widespread anti-infrastructure bombing tactics to be able to reach the conclusion that they would be (a) politically extremely counter-productive, as well as (b) of limited operational value against a well-prepared opponent. My parents stayed in London for much of the Blitz: Bush and Cheney had only to talk to members of the older generation of Londoners (or indeed, of Dresdeners) to find out that air bombardment by foreigners causes a population to rally ever closer round the national flag, not to seek that particular moment in history to rally for deepseated political change.Why do politicos not get this? Why would massive bombings and the complete disruption of society make people suddenly more willing to engage in political experiments? Intuitively, I would think that most people would fall back on what they know and greatly distrust anything coming from the folks who are bombing you!
Bitch Ph.D must also be busy or sleepy today, no update. If you need a kick from a smart sassy women, then check out the piece on living with terror in today's Daily Kos from SusanG. Very funny.