[ by Charles Cameron — thinking inside and outside the pack, Robert Wright, John Robb, Iran, outliers ]
Robert Wright just closed his Atlantic piece on Why Bombing Iran Would Mean Invading Iran with an exchange from a couple of years back between Gen. James Cartwright, then Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Sen. Jack Reed:
Senator Reed: I presume that [a bombing campaign] would not be 100 percent effective in terms of knocking them out. It would probably delay them, but that if they’re persistent enough they could at some point succeed. Is that a fair judgment from your position?
General Cartwright: That’s a fair judgment.
Senator Reed: So that the only absolutely dispositive way to end any potential would be to physically occupy their country and to disestablish their nuclear facilities. Is that a fair, logical conclusion?
General Cartwright: Absent some other unknown calculus that would go on, it’s a fair conclusion.
Look, I’m way outside my zone of focus here, but that phrase “some unknown calculus” intrigues me.
Maybe Robert Wright should read John Robb. Maybe that “unknown calculus” is in Robb’s post, Israel, Iran and the Poor Man’s Cruise Missile:
One of the Stratfor research “findings” (culled from the Wikileaks stockpile) is that Israel claimed its upcoming strike on Iran would be “catastrophic enough” to cause a regime change. This claim was made both to dissuade Iran from going forward with its program, physically eliminating their ability to move forward with the program, and persuade the US to act instead of Israel.
Running through all of the potential scenarios, only one emerges that makes sense.
A strike on Iranian oil facilities. A strike so devastating that it disrupts all of its oil production, currently at 4 million barrels a day.
How to do that? Drones.
Look, Robb’s piece came out yesterday, Wright’s piece came out today — and who knows how long the editorial process might have taken. So I don’t blame Wright.
The point is, Robb doesn’t think with the pack. And that means he comes up with ideas the pack is blind to.