I'm going to start calling Seymour Hersh 'Mr. Fun' - he never has any good news. Hersh has some especially bad news this go-round - not only does the Pentagon think bombing Iran is a bad idea, but the administration's still unconvinced. According to Hersh:
Inside the Pentagon, senior commanders have increasingly challenged the President’s plans, according to active-duty and retired officers and officials. 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. “The target array in Iran is huge, but it’s amorphous,” a high-ranking general told me. “The question we face is, When does innocent infrastructure evolve into something nefarious?” The high-ranking general added that the military’s experience in Iraq, where intelligence on weapons of mass destruction was deeply flawed, has affected its approach to Iran. “We built this big monster with Iraq, and there was nothing there. This is son of Iraq,” he said.
“There is a war about the war going on inside the building,” a Pentagon consultant said. “If we go, we have to find something.”
At issue is the suspected uranium enrichment facility at Natanz, about 200 miles south of Tehran. Hersh tells us:
In late April, the military leadership, headed by General Pace, achieved a major victory when the White House dropped its insistence that the plan for a bombing campaign include the possible use of a nuclear device to destroy Iran’s uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz, nearly two hundred miles south of Tehran. The huge complex includes large underground facilities built into seventy-five-foot-deep holes in the ground and designed to hold as many as fifty thousand centrifuges. “Bush and Cheney were dead serious about the nuclear planning,” the former senior intelligence official told me. “And Pace stood up to them. Then the world came back: ‘O.K., the nuclear option is politically unacceptable.’ ” At the time, a number of retired officers, including two Army major generals who served in Iraq, Paul Eaton and Charles Swannack, Jr., had begun speaking out against the Administration’s handling of the Iraq war. This period is known to many in the Pentagon as “the April Revolution.”
“An event like this doesn’t get papered over very quickly,” the former official added. “The bad feelings over the nuclear option are still felt. The civilian hierarchy feels extraordinarily betrayed by the brass, and the brass feel they were tricked into it”—the nuclear planning—“by being asked to provide all options in the planning papers.”
There's no political support for bombing, outside of the administration and a few in the Air Force. Nukes have apparently been ruled out, but other options would be as ineffective. "One complicating aspect of the multiple-hit tactic [e.i., multiple bombs to 'drill down' into the underground complex], the Pentagon consultant told me, is 'the liquefaction problem'—the fact that the soil would lose its consistency owing to the enormous heat generated by the impact of the first bomb," Hersh tells us, "'It will be like bombing water, with its currents and eddies. The bombs would likely be diverted.' Intelligence has also shown that for the past two years the Iranians have been shifting their most sensitive nuclear-related materials and production facilities, moving some into urban areas, in anticipation of a bombing raid." One possible nuclear facility is in Tehran, for example. Not only would a bombing campaign be ineffective, it would almost certainly result in a tremendous civilian death toll.
But Hersh's portrayal of Bush and his administration shows a group of crazy people completely removed from reality and in deep denial. "Several current and former officials I spoke to expressed doubt that President Bush would settle for a negotiated resolution of the nuclear crisis. A former high-level Pentagon civilian official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the government, said that Bush remains confident in his military decisions," he writes, "The President and others in the Administration often invoke Winston Churchill, both privately and in public, as an example of a politician who, in his own time, was punished in the polls but was rewarded by history for rejecting appeasement. In one speech, Bush said, Churchill 'seemed like a Texan to me. He wasn’t afraid of public-opinion polls. . . . He charged ahead, and the world is better for it.'"
Apparently, they believe that invading a broken down, second rate dictatorship is equal to defeating the superpower that was the nazi war machine. If you want a more apt comparison from the early twentieth century, try Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia. They actually think they're accomplishing something in Iraq.
Given the level of delusion that conclusion would require, don't expect cooler heads to prevail in the situation with Iran - there are no cool heads in this administration.