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Pentagon 'Leaks' Iran War Plans

London’s Telegraph reports that the Pentagon is drawing up plans to coordinate for the contingency of a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities should diplomatic efforts fail as expected. The portions of the plan revealed call for B-2 Stealth bombers armed with bunker-busters and sea-launched cruise missile barrages, potentially including redesigned ballistic missiles with conventional explosives, hitting unspecified Iranian nuclear facilities.

Any such plan is not news. That the Pentagon has decided to put someone forward ‘leaking’ it, however, is news.

In a bit of classic information warfare, the administration is sending a message to Iran. Not that such plans are ‘in the works’. Iran is headed by fanatics, not dolts. But likely, in the event Iran may draw a measure of comfort that the President may be gun-shy after nearly three years of conflict in Iraq, to let the Iranians know that the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces does not shirk from informing the public of such plans. There are any number of potential intended recipients and/or intended messages, including the American public itself. This is but one that seems plausible.

The legs of the attack plans story is an information warfare countermove of rhetoric to the latest from Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who threatened that Iran would ‘revise its [nuclear] policies’.

Ahmadinejad offered a thinly veiled threat in his speech at Tehran’s Azadi Square celebrating the 27th anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. He said, “The nuclear policy of the Islamic Republic so far has been peaceful.”

While considering that this is a translation from Farsi, the words ‘so far’ were surely not misunderstood in the process. Their implications and the suggestion implied by them should not be lost in their clear meaning, regardless of original language.

The threat is clear: Iran’s nuclear program may not stay peaceful.

Of course, it is almost universally acknowledged that it never has been ‘peaceful’.

Some may argue that Ahmadinejad is only threatening to cancel their Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty agreement and not necessarily that he would turn to developing weapons, as Ahmadinejad continued by saying, “Until now, we have worked inside the agency (IAEA) and the NPT regulations. If we see you want to violate the right of the Iranian people by using those regulations (against us), you should know that the Iranian people will revise its policies.”

But what substantive purpose does the NPT paper serve? Iran has been a signatory to the NPT since 1968 without interruption. Yet, they have admitted in the face of evidence that they have done extensive business with the world’s most pervasive nuclear proliferators, the AQ Khan network. What value is there in any Nonproliferation Treaty if a signatory is engaged in clandestine proliferation without consequence? The NPT means nothing to the current Iranian regime.

It does serve them, however. They have learned well from Saddam Hussein that it is far less painful to play shell games of inconvenience with international inspectors than to deal with the consequences of their absence. Should Iran ever cancel the NPT it would be a sign that they no longer fear the potential consequences of international isolation and force, or that they are inviting such actions.

The latter is the more likely of the two. And infinitely more worrisome.

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