Harper’s has a three-part segment on the possibility of war with Iran on its Washington Bablyon. Ken Silverman creates an online forum of different characters: Part 1 features independent analysts; Part 2, CIA officials; and Part 3, members of think tanks.
The verdict does not look good. There are a lot of quotable tidbits in the different segments, so I’m not going to bother, except to focus on one argument I found interesting from Milt Bearden, the former CIA station chief in Pakistan from 1986 until the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989:
I am seeing constant trumpeting by the administration of “evidence” of Iranian weapons, equipment, or technology, linked with American casualties in Iraq. I don’t know why anyone would be surprised by Iranian gambling in our Iraqi casino — especially as there are time-honored rules, at least a half-century old, for proxy wars. The Soviets and Chinese armed our adversaries in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, where we suffered about 100,000 killed in action. Nevertheless, successive American administrations never gave serious thought to attacking either China or the U.S.S.R. in response to their arming of our enemies. And I personally funneled much of the ordnance to the Afghan resistance fighters that killed 15,000 Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Here again, the U.S.S.R. never seriously considered striking at the source of their torment in Afghanistan.