by Jim Lobe
The Bipartisan Policy Center, which last year published a detailed report on Iran policy that I called a “roadmap to war”, is coming out with an updated version next week, according to an op-ed co-authored by task force members Dan Coats, Chuck Robb, and Air Force Gen. Chuck Wald (ret.) and published this evening by the Wall Street Journal.
The op-ed, presumably like the new report, is calling for Obama to begin military preparations for an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites at the same time that he pushes for international economic sanctions against Tehran.
“We believe only a credible U.S. military threat can make possible a peaceful solution.
“By showing that he has not taken the military option off the table, Mr. Obama may also be able to convince Israel to forgo a unilateral military strike while forcing Tehran to recognize the costs of its nuclear defiance. Furthermore, making preparations now will enable the president, should all other measures fail to bring Tehran to the negotiating table, to use military force to retard Iran’s nuclear program. We do not downplay the risks of this option and recognize its complications, but we do believe it to be a feasible option of last resort.”
Wald, a four-star Air Force General, published another op-ed in the Journal entitled “There Is A Military Option on Iran” just a month ago. As noted by my colleague, Eli Clifton, he was one of the invitees to a secret strategy meeting on Iran in the Bahamas convened by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy (FDD) two years ago.
The principal author of last year’s BPC report was Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) with help from the BPC’s National Security Initiative director and Office of Special Plans (OSP) alumnus Michael Makovsky (brother of David). As the report has not yet been officially released, it remains to be seen who gets the credit for the latest incarnation. How sympathetic Dennis Ross, who signed on to last year’s report, may be to this “new strategy,” as the op-ed’s co-authors refer to it, is unknown.
The BPC’s founders, incidentally, include former Sens. Howard Baker and Robert Dole on the Republican side and Tom Daschle and (remarkably) George Mitchell on the Democratic side. The former three remain on the Center’s Board of Advisers. How any of them feel about the thrust of this report — and its implicit advocacy of unilateral U.S. military action against Iran — is also unknown. Robb and Wald are on the Center’s board of directors, along with about a dozen other worthies, including former Sen. John Danforth and former Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine.