Tags: Exclusive Interviews | Iran | MidPoint | War on Terrorism | Harlan Ullman | John Bolton | Iran

'Shock and Awe' Inventor: Bolton's Bomb-Iran Idea 'Stupid'

By    |   Friday, 27 March 2015 03:18 PM

A John Bolton proposal to bomb Iran's nuclear capabilities out of existence is "close to criminal stupidity" and a "dereliction of duty" by the hawkish former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, says a military theorist behind the "shock and awe" combat doctrine associated with the 2003 Iraq invasion.

Harlan Ullman, who first articulated "shock and awe" in 1996 at the National Defense University, sharply criticized Bolton to "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV on Friday for an op-ed this week in The New York Times advising military strikes, not talks, to deal with Iran.

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"Mr. Bolton is entitled to his own opinion, but what he's proposing is close to criminal stupidity," said Ullman, senior adviser at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

"Not because we don't have to consider the possibility of a military strike," said Ullman, agreeing that military action cannot be ruled out even as nonproliferation negotiations continue. "But you cannot think about a military strike without asking what are the likely consequences."

Ullman called Bolton, who served under President George W. Bush, "one of the advocates and architects" of "the biggest foreign policy disaster in our history": the 2003 Iraq invasion.

"They never asked the next question," Ullman said of Bolton and other Iraq war proponents, suggesting that history could repeat.

"Before we start considering using force, what are the consequences?" he said. "Because in essence we will be declaring war on Iran."

Bombing Iranian nuclear facilities also means "we will have to take out a good portion of their air defenses and other conventional forces, and that is going to get a retaliatory series of strikes by Iran," said Ullman. "We need to know what that's likely to be, and how we're able to deal with it, before we make a decision to go to war — if indeed we do."

"If we attack Iran," he added, "we probably would turn the bulk of the 8 million Persians against us."

Iran's retaliatory options include blockading the straits of Hormuz, a critical oil shipping route; unleashing Hezbollah and Shia militants in Iraq; and possibly attacking both Saudi Arabia and Israel.

"We could get to a stage where we may see there's no other option," he said of bombing Iran, "but to recommend that without examining the consequences and preparing for those consequences, to me, is dereliction of duty."

Ullman also said the Middle East is a mess today because President Barack Obama and his predecessor both "made similar mistakes" and "lacked the experience" needed for U.S. foreign policy in a complex world.

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A John Bolton proposal to bomb Iran's nuclear capabilities out of existence is "close to criminal stupidity," says a military theorist behind the "shock and awe" combat doctrine associated with the 2003 Iraq invasion.
Harlan Ullman, John Bolton, Iran, bomb
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2015-18-27
Friday, 27 March 2015 03:18 PM
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