Thursday, October 11, 2007

Seymour Hersh on US plans for Iran

Seymour Hersh has a new article in the New Yorker this week, saying that the US is getting closer to bombing targets in Iran. Here's an excerpt:

The President’s position, and its corollary—that, if many of America’s problems in Iraq are the responsibility of Tehran, then the solution to them is to confront the Iranians—have taken firm hold in the Administration. This summer, the White House, pushed by the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney, requested that the Joint Chiefs of Staff redraw long-standing plans for a possible attack on Iran, according to former officials and government consultants. The focus of the plans had been a broad bombing attack, with targets including Iran’s known and suspected nuclear facilities and other military and infrastructure sites. Now the emphasis is on “surgical” strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere, which, the Administration claims, have been the source of attacks on Americans in Iraq. What had been presented primarily as a counter-proliferation mission has been reconceived as counterterrorism.

The shift in targeting reflects three developments. First, the President and his senior advisers have concluded that their campaign to convince the American public that Iran poses an imminent nuclear threat has failed (unlike a similar campaign before the Iraq war), and that as a result there is not enough popular support for a major bombing campaign. The second development is that the White House has come to terms, in private, with the general consensus of the American intelligence community that Iran is at least five years away from obtaining a bomb. And, finally, there has been a growing recognition in Washington and throughout the Middle East that Iran is emerging as the geopolitical winner of the war in Iraq.
Read the whole article here.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Hope for non-violence in Burma

I have been impressed with the global outpouring of support for the monks in Burma, including advocacy from Jim Carrey, and a Facebook group that has seen its membership rise over last last couple of weeks to almost 350,000.

Marcus Gee in today's Globe and Mail gives us hope for a Saffron Revolution in Burma, pointing out that while non-violent resistance does not always work, it often does. Unfortunately it's behind a subscription wall, but I have today's paper. I think the central point is that we can see that throughout history, nonviolence has resulted in the development of a democracy, whether its in Poland, South Africa, Ukraine, and India.

Gee gives us reason for hope. He points to a Freedom House study showing that 50 of 67 countries in the study developed through largely non-violent means. I can see that in the events that are unfolding there. I think the junta is nervous, and looking more desperate all the time. Why else would they be calling for a meeting with Aung Saun Suu Kyi and asking for her to stop backing sanctions?