SSBNs To Attack Iran?
OK, that's kind of an alarmist headline... something you might expect from a blogger, who has no editors to check them, and no pretense of impartiality. The mainstream media would clearly do better...
So let's check out this article in The London Telegraph, which has been picked up by many other news organizations, about Pentagon contingency planning for possible attacks on Iran. Here's the first paragraph:
"Strategists at the Pentagon are drawing up plans for devastating bombing raids backed by submarine-launched ballistic missile attacks against Iran's nuclear sites as a "last resort" to block Teheran's efforts to develop an atomic bomb."
Whoa... "submarine-launched ballistic missile attacks"! Sounds like we're serious. The article goes on to discuss how "urgent" the new planning is. Many people will think this means that we're planning a pre-emptive nuclear attack on a non-nuclear rival; however, the article does explain that the planned SLBM attack would involve the forthcoming generation of conventionally-armed SLBM warheads (that I discussed last month) thusly:
"The Bush administration has recently announced plans to add conventional ballistic missiles to the armoury of its nuclear Trident submarines within the next two years. If ready in time, they would also form part of the plan of attack."
Plans to add these new missiles to the "armoury" within the next two years... sounds alarming. See, that's the important part -- the article has to make it appear that we'll attack Iran during the remaining years of the Bush presidency; after all, he's the source of all evil in the world. (Interestingly, I've noticed that the Telegraph is probably the most conservative of the mainstream Brit papers -- I'd normally expect stuff like this from The Guardian or LA Times.)
The only problem with this is that the proposal to develop these warheads is being included in the new budget that's was just submitted, and the contractor says that if they get the money this year, they'll be able to start producing the new weapons by 2010. So maybe, just maybe, this contingency planning we're doing is more of the "long range" variety? Naw, that doesn't sell newspapers.
On the other hand, it might be good to occasionally remind the angry Islamists in Tehran that, because of the non-conventionally armed portion of our boomer fleet, that they really can't ever win a war against the U.S.