TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: US Air Chief Says Iran Nuke Option Not Under Debate

US Air Chief Says Iran Nuke Option Not Under Debate

Agence France Presse NewsWire (
Tue, 11 Apr 2006 12:44:30 -0500

The chief of the US Air Force said he has not taken part in any
internal debate over whether nuclear weapons should be considered as a
military option against Iran.

The New Yorker magazine, in an article published over the weekend,
said the attention being given the nuclear option within the US
administration had aroused serious misgivings within the offices of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and some officers had talked about

"I've not been in any meeting that is portrayed in the way the
articles are written over the weekend," said General T. Michael
Moseley, who as the air force chief of staff is a member of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, the president's top military advisors.

He added that he was not considering resigning.

President George W. Bush on Monday dismissed as "wild speculation"
that the Pentagon has stepped up planning for possible military
strikes, insisting that the United States remains committed to
diplomacy in dealing with Iran's nuclear program.

Iran also has rejected the reports as being part of a psychological
warfare campaign.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that the government was studying
options for military strikes as part of a broader campaign to coerce
Tehran into giving up its alleged quest for nuclear weapons.

The New Yorker story by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh said the
one of the military options presented last winter called for the use
of bunker-busting tactical nuclear weapons such as the B61-11 against
alleged Iran underground nuclear sites.

"There are always operational planning endeavours ongoing whether it's
in Korea, whether it's in Southcom, whether its in Eucom, or Centcom,"
said Moseley, referring to the US military's combat commands around
the world.

He added: "It's not appropriate to comment on particular military

Among the many challenges US military planners face in Iran is that
its nuclear facilities are scattered and some are buried in undergound
bunkers, raising the question whether they could be destroyed with
conventional weapons.

Stipulating that he was talking about general capabilities and not an
Iran scenario, Moseley said the air force's ability to destroy buried,
hardened targets using conventional weapons depends on how deep they

"There are a variety of weapons that can penetrate concrete and steel
structures, and there are variety of weapons that can penetrate a mix
of concrete and steel and sand and rubble structures," Moseley said.

"It depends on how deep and it depends on how the structure is put
together," he said. "There are potentials I would suppose of things so
deep and so hardened that it would be hard to get through with

Copyright 2006 Agence France Presse.

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[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Hmmm, 'only wide speculation'; ' just
an option'; where have we heard _that_ kind of talk before? Iran
says they will retaliate in kind, if it gets to that point, 'but we
may not be as careful in how we aim back ...' PAT]

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