Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Once and Future Neocons Take Back Middle East Policy

Also at Kos.

It looks like the escalation is on. David E. Sanger reports in Sunday's New York Times that Mr. Bush's new strategy for Iraq will include a rapid influx of up to 20,000 additional U.S. troops. Sanger says U.S. officials report that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is on board with the plan.

It's quite clear that the key players in Mr. Bush's new/reorganized security team: Robert Gates, John Negroponte, Michael McConnell, Lieutenant General David Patraeus and Admiral William Fallon are on board with the escalation as well.

It's also clear who is influencing Mr. Bush's policy. From a Saturday opinion piece in The Nation:
Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol walked into the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) yesterday with a big grin on his face, as if to say "they're listening to me again!"

Wolfowitz, Feith, Rumsfeld, Bolton and other architects of the war in
Iraq may be gone, but the neoconservatives' stature inside the Bush Administration has hardly diminished. The same people that sold us the war, often under false pretenses, are now leading proponents of escalating the conflict by sending tens of thousands of additional troops.

An event at AEI yesterday brought together the intellectual progenitors of escalation: military historian Fred Kagan, retired General Jack Keane and Senators John McCain and
Joe Lieberman. The focus was not on how to clean up the neocons' mess, but on how to deepen it.

"The surge must be substantial and it must be sustained," McCain told a packed room.

Opening a Third Front

If Bush is following Kristol's lead on Iraq, it's a good bet he's listening to Kristol's desires for the U.S. to confront Iran as well. No doubt, Bush also appreciates Kristol's unique ability to use the media to "sell" war-centric policies to the public.

The Sunday Times recently reported that military sources say Israel will employ tactical nuclear weapons against Iran if it doesn't give up its uranium enrichment program.

Larisa Alexandrovna asks a number of pertinent questions regarding the Sunday Times article. Is the story true? Was it leaked by someone concerned about Israel's intentions? Or was it planted as part of a propaganda/psychological operation, and if so, who planted it and for what purpose?

Whatever the answers to those questions might be, given the Rovewellian pollution of our contemporary information environment, it is hardly paranoid to suspect that someone in Bill Kristol's circle is behind the story, especially when we consider that The Times is part of Rupert Murdoch's publishing empire, as is The Weekly Standard, which is edited by Kristol, and Fox News, where Kristol appears as a regular commentator.

The Right Tool for the Right Job

Many were surprised when Bush named Navy Admiral William "Fox" Fallon to replace General John Abizaid as head of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). At first blush, it seemed unusual to place a Navy man in charge of an area of responsibility (AOR) in which two ground wars are taking place. But the CENTCOM AOR also includes Iran, and any military confrontation with Iran will be a major maritime and air operation. A naval flight officer, Fallon's credentials as a maritime and air power expert, his combat experience, and his record as a force commander at the three and four-star level, are unmatched. What's more, from what I've observed and heard about him, he possesses a super-human intellectual capacity. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that he still remembers the serial number on his baby spoon.

So it I were Mr. Bush, and was determined to press forward with Bill Kristol's neoconservative agenda, Fallon is the exact guy I'd put in the CENTCOM billet.

The Ides of February or March or April

If Mr. Bush decides to escalate and expand his Middle East war, all the key senior players and all the forces necessary for him to do so should be in place by mid-winter or early spring.

The majority of Congress and the public seem to be against such a move, but Mr. Bush doesn't appear to be listening to the legislature or the people. He appears to be marching to the beat of a drummer named William Kristol.


Related articles:

Navy Admiral Goes to CENTCOM (by Jeff)

Smoke, Mirrors and War Powers (by Jeff)

Wars and Empires (by Jeff)

BYOT Leakage or Conscience Leakage? (by Larisa Alexandrovna)

Hersh: U.S. mulls nuclear option for Iran (CNN)


Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at Pen and Sword.


  1. Good story with some tantalizing possiblities, but there other ideas to consider:

    1. Israel has never and will never admit possession of nukes. It is a first tier political and military requirement. Are they willing to use them other than in a doomsday scenario? No. There isn't enough evidence that Natanz is fully operational to trigger the "Masada" options.

    2. That whole PNAC/neocon/AEI cabal has been itching to use them. They've known internally for two and one half years that the great experiment failed and is irretrievable. But in order to disguise their own failures of imagination and planning, they see doubling down requires an audacious, historic step worthy of such grand strategy. Yes, self-delusion has always been a requirement for True Believers(tm)

    3. Israel is not prepared to attack Natanz until the full American protective umbrella is in place. This includes available ground forces for contingency response. Both governments want Natanz inoperational, but for different reasons.

    So what/who sourced the leak? Not Israel, for the same reason the US does not give detailed information about Cheyenne Mountain or Looking Glass, or the other place. Since it appeared in a Murdoch paper, the odds are good it originated with Kristol,as you pointed out, but certainly with Bu$hCo approval.

    How does ADM Fallon feel about theater tacs? Is there a public record you are able to discuss?

  2. Lurch: Olmert just declared Israel a nuclear country. Dont have the link here, but he included Israel in the nuclear club during one of his speaches just recently. Xcept for that, valid points.

    Whats the geographical limits for the fleet to operate both Iraq and Israel? How close to Iran must they be? Im thinking missiles are bad. Wonder how they play if Iran goes pre-emptive. Will they punish the Iranian civilians with nukes? Dr. Strangelove here we go.

  3. bob g3:47 PM

    Is Admiral Fallon okay with the likely heavy loss of ships and men his force would take in the Gulf? That's a tight space and if the Iranian's have Russian weapons, directly or indirectly from China, then isn't the US at a disadvantage? Do we have any proven defenses against the Sunburn missile or the Shkval/Squall torpedo?

    The military guys have to believe it's all a bluff. I can't believe they are so loyal they would knowingly create a Dr. Strangelove scenario.

  4. Bog B:

    We'll meet again,
    Don't know where, don't know when...

  5. Martin: (assumption that "mk" is Martin K) Olmert's public comment is officially a "slip" and thus officially deniable. Given his spotty public speaking record in Israel, that's possible. Unlike some of his predecessors, he's purely an inner-turning politican with no experience for diplomacy; like Mr Bu$h he's vicious in domestic politics, but useless elsewhere.

    I can't discuss operational limits about US naval capabilities because I have no experience, but I do understand the dangers of operating capital ships in constricted waters.

    Question for Jeff: Isn't ADM Fallon considered quite competent at amphibious operation planning and execution?

  6. In regards to the impending new front in the neo-con's version of GWOT, I just have one word: Barbarossa.

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. Jeff - I really liked the "War and Empires" article. I agree with this one too.

    To all - On the question of the Israeli plans - I don't think it is a "true" leak. I think it is a leak designed to heighten tensions. The Iranians are not intimidated at all by anything the Israelis will do or say though. That's not to say that they will not attack or use mini nukes at some date. They don't need to flyover anybody to do it. There are 2 ways. 1st Have "Us" do it but with Israel taking credit. 2nd Have one of their Nuke capable (6 of them at last count I think) subs do the job.

    I also really don't think the Iranians are going to develop Nuclear weapons. And even if they do, they have every right to be able to defend themselves. After all the aggression we and other western Nations have shown them for decades, it is justified.I really think their program is for much needed (in their eyes) energy in the coming decades.

    If the Israelis or anybody else attacks Iran's nuclear facilities they will have to have some type of deep penetration weapon. Seems minis are the only way to go. That is if the destruction of such is a real objective.

    I believe the Bush Regime knows that Iran does not and will not constitute a Nuke threat. Therefore any attack will not have it's true objective, Nuclear facilities. Ergo, no nukes mini or otherwise need to be applied.

    The real prerequisite objective of an attack will be the neutralization of Iranian capabilities to impede ship movement in the Gulf. This will include taking certain portions of the Iranian coast.

    The main objective are the Oil Facilities, most notably Kharg Island.

    The Bush Regime will be faced with the same problem Saddam had when it came to exporting Oil from Iraq. We can't move it. Iraq does not have the facilities to handle the coming output. Saddam's objectives in his War with Iran were these very same facilities. He was quite pragmatic. The oil there just being cream on top. He failed in striking right. So he struck left. The Kuwaiti facilities are even better than the Iranians. Their Oil and the National pride in reclaiming one of their Provinces would be double cream on top. So once the Bush Regime will be able to have an outlet, they will be a major player as to output. This plan will include the partitioning of Iraq and the permanent occupation of So. Iraq. and So. Iran. "We are withdrawing in stages", "We must maintain a So. Presence to keep our Ally Kuwait secure" will be the type of chants we are told.

    The Bush Regime final plan is to leave the rest of Iraq in chaos, prop up a puppet government in So.Iraq and one in So. Iran and control a major supply, not only for profit but to have enough oil pressure so as to be a force to control events around the world. For example, if the price of a barrel was cut in half tomorrow (approx what it was before the Bush Regime took office), Venezuela would be hard pressed. Big Oil has already made Billions tax free since the crazies took office. Exxon Mobil could halve it's profit and still be making Billions. And of course the Mighty Mic would still too. With every drop of blood spilled.

    And if they fail? Why they will just fade into the shadows with their Billions and do it again when another generation of American Patsi err I mean "Citizens" come along.

    On the Iranian side - If what I claim is true and the Iranians come to the same conclusion, their best bet is to attack 1st. They too have the capability to stage False Flag attacks so as to appear the victim and the responder.
    After all the aggressive rhetoric and actions of the Bush Regime and the Israeli's, it could be sold quite easily to their own people and will have wide International appeal. After all, worldwide, Bush polls below Satan!

    Which gives every reason for a fundamental change here at home. We need a Purge not a Surge. They need to Pay for What the did. We need to reinstate a Government for and By the People.


  9. Bob G,

    I can't imagine that Fallon doesn't know the difficulties involved. Like I said, he's no dummy.

  10. Lurch,

    I know of nothing published that indicates Fallon's views on tac nukes. I think it's safe to say he's an "expert" at darn near everything, but I wouldn't say that amphib ops are his main area.


  11. MK (aka Martin K)5:35 PM

    Old joke: We Are Norwegians, And We Do Not Allow It To Fall Apart.

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