US Generals "will
quit" if Bush orders an attack on Iran
26 Feb 2007 04:23:58
of America's 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 Persian Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is
becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office, Sunday
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.
A British defence source confirmed that there were
deep misgivings inside the Pentagon about a military strike. “All the generals
are perfectly clear that they don't have the military capacity to take Iran on in any
A generals' revolt on such a scale would be unprecedented. “American generals
usually stay and fight until they get fired,” 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.
Nicholas Burns, the top U.S.
negotiator, is to meet British, French, German, Chinese and Russian officials
in London today to discuss additional penalties
But UN diplomats cautioned that further measures would take weeks to agree and
would be mild at best.
Recent Statement made by General Peter Pace, chairman of the joint chief of
staff, that there was “zero chance” of a war with Iran,
as well as playing down claims by U.S.
intelligence that the Iranian government was responsible for supplying
insurgents in Iraq,
forcing Bush on the defensive.
Hillary Mann, the National Security Council's main Iran expert until 2004, said Pace's
repudiation of the administration's claims was a sign of grave discontent at
the top. “He is a very serious and a very loyal soldier,” she said .“It 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 Pentagon ".
Mann fears the administration is seeking to provoke Iran into a reaction that could be
used as an excuse for an attack.
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 air-strikes on Iran. The panel
initially focused on destroying Iran's
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.