Tehran Hold ‘Em

12 April 2006

Bush’s Bluff Called on Nuking Iran

The media and anti-Bush pundits have managed to work themselves into a lather over recent revelations that the Pentagon is entertaining the idea of using nuclear weapons to halt Iran’s atomic research program. The irony is amusing if one’s sensibilities run that direction, but the president isn’t going to nuke Iran. Anybody who has ever played poker knows what a bluff is. Mr Bush has made one, and Iran has called it.

First off, one must acknowledge that there is a plan in the Pentagon for invading Iran and for using nuclear weapons against the mullahs. Contingency planning is what military officers do in the off-season. War games, simulations and drills are preparation for events that may transpire, but which equally may not. Somewhere in the Canadian Ministry of Defence [one of the things that separates Canada from the US is spelling] there is a plan for attacking America. It’s implausible and unlikely as all get out, but it’s there because it is part of what the military profession requires.

The question is whether the White House would actually take the plans off the shelf and use them. The commonly held view is clearly, “probably not, but let’s not get too comfortable about this.” That is precisely what Mr. Bush would like the whole world to believe. It is Richard Nixon’s “Madman in the White House” concept. If other world leaders are convinced the occupant of the White House is crazy, that he might do anything if provoked, then they jolly well won’t provoke him.

Yesterday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran will “soon join the club of countries with nuclear technology.” Almost at the same moment, former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani told the press that Iran has enriched uranium to 3.5%; 20% good enough to make fuel rods for a civilian power plant like Iran’s Bushehr plant. It isn’t good enough to make anything go “boom;” that would require 90%. The Iranians used 164 centrifuges to achieve their result. Estimates are that 1,500 centrifuges working for a year would produce enough enriched uranium for one nuclear weapon. They are some years from having that, and the purpose of yesterday's announcement was merely to let everyone know that the mullahs' scientists knew how to do it.

Nonetheless, this is a provocation, and clearly, the Iranians have called Mr. Bush’s bluff with it. They see his threats as “psychological war” designed to keep them from getting The Bomb. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says using nukes on Iran is “completely nuts.” Even President George “LBJ” Bush has said suggestions of an attack on Iran are “wild speculation.”

The bluff is called, the hand is over, the cards are thrown in. Time for the dealer to shuffle, cut the deck and deal a new hand. Mr. Bush will play out the clock on Iran. Just as withdrawal of US forces from Iraq will be decided by a future president, so too with the question of an Iranian Bomb. Mr. Bush says he wants to “sprint out of office,” and it will be hard enough to do that as the man who couldn’t conquer Mesopotamia. It becomes well nigh impossible is he is also the man who sucker punched Persia. Mr. Bush has been told Iran won’t have The Bomb before January 20, 2009, so it isn’t his problem. He will act accordingly; one can expect him to be clearing brush in Crawford soon.

© Copyright 2006 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Fedora Linux.


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