Finally, Seymour Hersh takes New Yorker readers through “the military’s problem with the President’s Iran policy,” with some help from (largely unnamed) “active duty and retired officers and officials” as well a few (named) consultants and think tank types. The gist of Hersh’s piece? “The U.S. Strategic Command, supported by the Air Force, has been drawing up plans, at the president’s direction, for a major bombing campaign in Iran. Inside the Pentagon, senior commanders have increasingly challenged the president’s plans … The generals and admirals have told the administration that the bombing campaign will probably not succeed in destroying Iran’s nuclear program. They have also warned that an attack could lead to serious economic, political, and military consequences for the United States. A crucial issue in the military’s dissent, the officers said, is the fact that American and European intelligence agencies have not found specific evidence of clandestine activities or hidden facilities; the war planners are not sure what to hit.”


One “Pentagon consultant” told Hersh, “There is a war about the war going on inside the building. If we go [into Iran], we have to find something.” And, in case you’re not worried yet, a “senior military official” told Hersh that “Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his senior aides ‘really think they can do this on the cheap, and they underestimate the capability of the adversary.’”


Time to revisit U.S. News“Secrets to a Stress-free Summer”?

If you'd like to help CJR and win a chance at one of 10 free print subscriptions, take a brief survey for us here.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.