The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing--that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack--but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.

Umm, could the Emm Ess Emm pick this up? Especially considering that several of the hardened suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites are in the middle of Tehran? So does this mean we are going to nuke the capital of Iran? And in this case would we parachute in exiles to run the place afterward, or attempt a colonial administration? What effect would the radioactive fallout have on our decision?

I mean, surely the NYT and WaPo can find a lede here: "US has plan to nuke Tehran if another 9/11." Can we get at least a bloody story out of this? Sorry to sound breathless, but the prospect of nuking Tehran is over my breathlessness threshold. As if we needed another reason to hope there's not a terrorist attack on the U.S...

The current issue of TAC also includes a sharp article by Christopher Layne, arguing that, while failure is pretty much a fait accompli in Iraq, there's failure and then there's failure. Getting out sooner, as Layne argues, would make failure less detrimental to America.

Say what you will about Pat Buchanan, TAC's a pretty interesting mag, particularly when compared to its intra-right-wing competition. I mean, honestly, how much do we really need another Sufi partisan article by Stephen Schwartz or another "Aha! NOW I've found The Connection!" article by Stephen Hayes?