Leader Blues

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

FROM THE PUBLISHER >>Attack Iran by air, says general

Thousands of Arkansans in the military who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan may see action in two other trouble spots in the not too distant future. Threats of UN sanctions wonít stop North Korea and Iraq from pursuing their nuclear ambitions. North Korea continues to test its nuclear weapons and Iran forges ahead with its own nuclear program.

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice says the U.S. has no plans to attack North Korea (for now), but at least one former Air Force general believes war against Iran is inevitable. Ret. Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, a former pilot and a strategic commander for 35 years, said in an interview recently that Iran should be attacked next fall if it doesnít abandon its nuclear program.

He favors a combined air, land and sea attack against some 1,500 targets within 24 to 36 hours, which would knock out Iranís nuclear program for at least five years and depose the ayatollahs, leading the way to democracy.†A rosy scenario? Perhaps, but with better planning, a war against a country with real weapons of mass destruction would make more sense than attacking Iraq, which, we now know, was only bluffing about its nuclear capabilities. McInerney would send in waves of spy planes, bombers, cruise missiles, refueling aircraft and probably cargo planes to land troops on the ground.

Itís a tall order, which would still leave North Koreaís nuclear ambitions unchallenged. Assuming UN sanctions will lead nowhere, would the U.S. take on a third rogue nation and bring on regime change? Although the Iraq will remain a huge burden to the U.S. military, it would not surprise if President Bushís inner circle, seeking vindication against the axis of evil, will go for a knockout punch before the presidential elections.

Bush wants to improve his standing before the American public and in the history books, and he might go after Iranís rulers next and then perhaps North Korea. When a retired Air Force general thinks thatís the direction to go, policy makers must be listening. After all, the Air Force did its job well in Iraq, knocking out Saddam in a matter of days.
Itís the ground forces that need better leadership to finish the task at hand.