Quite the bombshell they’ve got this afternoon. Not only is it uselessly vague, but this is at least the sixth time the plans have been “revealed”: the Daily Telegraph promised last-resort missile strikes last February, then Sy Hersh tossed tactical nukes into the mix for the New Yorker, then Raw Story promised a punishing carrier/B-2 campaign, then last month Reuters warned of a comprehensive attack against the Iranian air force, subs, missile batteries, etc., and then last week the Guardian fretted that targets had been selected and military assets put in place. I probably missed another half-dozen major media “revelations” between summer and winter of ’06, but why bother digging them up? They all say the same thing: a sustained attack targeting not just the Iranian nuclear plants but the country’s major military targets and infrastructure. Which, logically, is the only kind of attack you could and should wage if you’re going to strike.
So here’s the Beeb blowing the lid off a story whose lid has been blown off again and again and again:
US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country’s military infrastructure, the BBC has learned.
It is understood that any such attack – if ordered – would target Iranian air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centres.
The US insists it is not planning to attack, and is trying to persuade Tehran to stop uranium enrichment…
But diplomatic sources have told the BBC that as a fallback plan, senior officials at Central Command in Florida have already selected their target sets inside Iran.
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says the trigger for such an attack reportedly includes any confirmation that Iran was developing a nuclear weapon – which it denies.
Alternatively, our correspondent adds, a high-casualty attack on US forces in neighbouring Iraq could also trigger a bombing campaign if it were traced directly back to Tehran.
Exit question: When the nutroots seize on that last sentence, as they inevitably will and must, will they opt for the Gulf of Tonkin as their historical analogy of choice or the Reichstag fire?