The International Atomic Energy Agency concluded that Iran had expanded its nuclear programme, defying UN demands for it to be suspended. Hundreds of uranium-spinning centrifuges in an underground hall are expected to be increased to thousands by May when Iran moves to “industrial-scale production”. Senior British government sources have told The Times that they fear President Bush will seek to “settle the Iranian question through military means” next year, before the end of his second term if he concludes that diplomacy has failed. “He will not want to leave it unresolved for his successor,” said one.
But there are deep fissures within the US Administration. Robert Gates, the Defence Secretary, who has previously called for direct talks with Tehran, is said to be totally opposed to military action.
Although he has dispatched a second US aircraft carrier to the Gulf, he is understood to believe that airstrikes would inflame Iranian public opinion and hamper American efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. One senior adviser to Mr Gates has even stated privately that military action could lead to Congress impeaching Mr Bush.
Condoleeza Rice, the Secretary of State, is also opposed to using force, while Steve Hadley, the President’s National Security Adviser, is said to be deeply sceptical.The hawks are led by Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, who is urging Mr Bush to keep the military option “on the table”. He is also pressing the Pentagon to examine specific war plans — including, it is rumoured, covert action.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Does Cheney have access to the red button?
Since he is really the co-president and has amassed enormous powers for himself, can he declare war all by himself and tell the military to attack Iran? Is Bush that hypnotized that he would do what Cheney tells him to do? How close are we to pre-emptively nuking a sovereign nation?