Analysis by Gareth Porter
"WASHINGTON, Jun 6 (IPS) - Pentagon officials firmly opposed a proposal by Vice President Dick Cheney last summer for airstrikes against Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) bases by insisting that the administration would have to make clear decisions about how far the United States would go in escalating the conflict with Iran, according to a former George W. Bush administration official.
J. Scott Carpenter, who was then deputy assistant secretary of state in the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, recalled in an interview that senior Defence Department (DoD) officials and the Joint Chiefs used the escalation issue as the main argument against the Cheney proposal.......
Although the Pentagon bottled up the Cheney proposal in inter-agency discussions, Cheney had a strategic asset which he could use to try to overcome that obstacle: his alliance with Gen. David Petraeus.
As IPS reported earlier this week, Cheney had already used Gen. David Petraeus' takeover as the top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq in early February 2007 to do an end run about the Washington national security bureaucracy to establish the propaganda line that Iran was manufacturing EFPs and shipping them to the Mahdi Army militiamen.
Petraeus was also a supporter of Cheney's proposal for striking IRGC targets in Iran, going so far as to hint in an interview with Fox News last September that he had passed on to the White House his desire to do something about alleged Iranian assistance to Shiites that would require U.S. forces beyond his control.
At that point, Adm. Fallon was in a position to deter any effort to go around DoD and military opposition to such a strike because he controlled all military access to the region as a whole. But Fallon's forced resignation in March and the subsequent promotion of Petraeus to become CENTCOM chief later this year gives Cheney a possible option to ignore the position of his opponents in Washington once more in the final months of the administration. "