Retired Air Force Colonel (and former teacher at the U.S. Army National War College) Sam Gardiner told Wolf Blitzer tonight on CNN: “We are conducting military operations inside Iran right now.”
At various times over the past 18 months he has said that he believed covert surveillance and HUMINT operations were being conducted, focused on Iran’s nuclear disposition and its political dissidents.
Frankly I would expect the US to conduct such operations anywhere at any time in any country.
But now, says Gardiner. “The evidence is overwhelming.” To support this more elevated claim he cites the following:
a) When the House Committee on Emerging Threats recently called on State and Defense officials to testify if U.S. forces were in Iran or not, none showed up.
b) Some U.S. naval forces had been alerted for deployment (according to Time magazine), which Gardiner calls “a major step”
c) Gardiner states that “The plan has gone to the White House. That’s not normal planning. When the plan goes to the White House; that means we’ve gone to a different state.”
ThinkProgress has the full transcript here
Plenty of pundits, politicians and commentators have weighed in on this subject over most of the year—those on the political Right beating the war drums yet again and those on the Left remarking on the similarity to the lead-up of the Iraq invasion.
Now given the orchestration of lies and the colossal cock-up that the Bush administration has wrought and still refuses to acknowledge in Iraq, it is entirely possible that the White House is not only contemplating attacking Iran but is actively involved in the early stages of actually doing so.
Just because Gardiner has respectable military qualifications, it doesn’t mean his expertise extends as far as his words and conclusions imply. Gardiner lays out his analysis presumably more thoroughly in a .PDF titled The End of the “Summer of Diplomacy”: Assessing U.S. Military Options on Iran.
I haven’t read it yet, but I intend to.
The highlighted points above he makes to support his assertion are weak in themselves and not very strong even together ( except perhaps for the first, which is very curious) .
Remember, it was the pursuit of “facts” to fit suspicions that got us into Iraq in the first place.
That’s not to say Gardiner is wrong, it’s just that his apparent conviction needs to be supported by more than a limited collation of fact and supposition as presented in this CNN appearance.
Nor is he wrong to be alarmed by the possibility that he may be correct; there were some indicators of the Iraq invasion that hardly anyone noticed (such as the huge increase in sorties over the no-fly zones for several months prior to the Iraq invasion).
I can think of all sorts of reasons why BushCo would want, and need, to attack Iran in the very near future. So I’m going to read Gardiner’s analysis with a skeptical eye and try and corroborate or refute his arguments with some research.
In Bush’s age of fear, I’d like to keep some semblance of reason. I don’t plan to succumb to panic just yet. Give me a week before I freak.