US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

From The Sunday Times
February 25, 2007

US generals Œwill quit¹ if Bush orders Iran attack
From The Sunday Times
February 25, 2007

US generals Œwill quit¹ if Bush orders Iran attack

Michael Smith and Sarah Baxter, Washington

SOME of America¹s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the 
White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed 
defence and intelligence sources.

Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming 
increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times
has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather 
than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.

³There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if 
Bush ordered an attack on Iran,² a source with close ties to British 
intelligence said. ³There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot
of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible.²

A British defence source confirmed that there were deep misgivings inside the 
Pentagon about a military strike. ³All the generals are perfectly clear that 
they don¹t have the military capacity to take Iran on in any meaningful fashion.
Nobody wants to do it and it would be a matter of conscience for them.

³There are enough people who feel this would be an error of judgment too far for
there to be resignations.²

A generals¹ revolt on such a scale would be unprecedented. ³American generals 
usually stay and fight until they get fired,² said a Pentagon source. Robert 
Gates, the defence secretary, has repeatedly warned against striking Iran and is
believed to represent the view of his senior commanders.

The threat of a wave of resignations coincided with a warning by Vice-President 
Dick Cheney that all options, including military action, remained on the table. 
He was responding to a comment by Tony Blair that it would not ³be right to take
military action against Iran².

Iran ignored a United Nations deadline to suspend its uranium enrichment 
programme last week. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted that his country 
³will not withdraw from its nuclear stances even one single step².

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran could soon produce 
enough enriched uranium for two nuclear bombs a year, although Tehran claims its
programme is purely for civilian energy purposes.

Nicholas Burns, the top US negotiator, is to meet British, French, German, 
Chinese and Russian officials in London tomorrow to discuss additional penalties
against Iran. But UN diplomats cautioned that further measures would take weeks 
to agree and would be mild at best.

A second US navy aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS John C Stennis 
arrived in the Gulf last week, doubling the US presence there. Vice Admiral 
Patrick Walsh, the commander of the US Fifth Fleet, warned: ³The US will take 
military action if ships are attacked or if countries in the region are targeted
or US troops come under direct attack.²

But General Peter Pace, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said recently 
there was ³zero chance² of a war with Iran. He played down claims by US 
intelligence that the Iranian government was responsible for supplying 
insurgents in Iraq, forcing Bush on the defensive.

Pace¹s view was backed up by British intelligence officials who said the extent 
of the Iranian government¹s involvement in activities inside Iraq by a small 
number of Revolutionary Guards was ³far from clear².

Hillary Mann, the National Security Council¹s main Iran expert until 2004, said 
Pace¹s repudiation of the administration¹s claims was a sign of grave discontent
at the top.

³He is a very serious and a very loyal soldier,² she said. ³It is extraordinary 
for him to have made these comments publicly, and it suggests there are serious 
problems between the White House, the National Security Council and the 

Mann fears the administration is seeking to provoke Iran into a reaction that 
could be used as an excuse for an attack. A British official said the US navy 
was well aware of the risks of confrontation and was being ³seriously careful² 
in the Gulf.

The US air force is regarded as being more willing to attack Iran. General 
Michael Moseley, the head of the air force, cited Iran as the main likely target
for American aircraft at a military conference earlier this month.

According to a report in The New Yorker magazine, the Pentagon has already set 
up a working group to plan airstrikes on Iran. The panel initially focused on 
destroying Iran¹s nuclear facilities and on regime change but has more recently 
been instructed to identify targets in Iran that may be involved in supplying or
aiding militants in Iraq.

However, army chiefs fear an attack on Iran would backfire on American troops in
Iraq and lead to more terrorist attacks, a rise in oil prices and the threat of 
a regional war.

Britain is concerned that its own troops in Iraq might be drawn into any 
American conflict with Iran, regardless of whether the government takes part in 
the attack.

One retired general who participated in the ³generals¹ revolt² against Donald 
Rumsfeld¹s handling of the Iraq war said he hoped his former colleagues would 
resign in the event of an order to attack. ³We don¹t want to take another 
initiative unless we¹ve really thought through the consequences of our 
strategy,² he warned.

Escaping the Matrix website
cyberjournal website     
Community Democracy Framework:
subscribe cyberjournal list        mailto:•••@••.•••
Posting archives