From the Times of London,
...“There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,” a source with close ties to British intelligence said. “There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible.”Given that Gates is reported to be unalterably opposed to military action on Iran, would he also resign ala Cyrus Vance?
A British defence source confirmed that there were deep misgivings inside the Pentagon about a military strike. “All the generals are perfectly clear that they don’t have the military capacity to take Iran on in any meaningful fashion. Nobody wants to do it and it would be a matter of conscience for them.
I go back and forth in my own mind about such resignations. As a practical matter, it's very hard to walk away from a military career at such levels if there is still hope of promotions to the JCOS, etc.
As an historical matter, such resignations are unprecedented and it's hard to imagine how Bush could ever recover. I would expect serious talk of impeachment or even resignation (President Cheney?). So when one considers the consequences of such resignations, it's hard to imagine they would actually occur.
I posted earlier about Gen Pace's public statements. We know from press reports that the JCOS have privately resisted an attack on Iran. Gen Pace's public statements tell me that he is uncertain that his concerns are actually being heard.
Here is an excerpt from The Times piece on Gen Pace's public comments,
Hillary Mann, the National Security Council’s main Iran expert until 2004, said Pace’s repudiation of the administration’s claims was a sign of grave discontent at the top.It would appear both Bush and Cheney are disappointed that they're attempts to gain support, any support, for an attack on Iran have failed. I share Mann's fear that their only hope now is to provoke a confrontation.
“He is a very serious and a very loyal soldier,” she said. “It is extraordinary for him to have made these comments publicly, and it suggests there are serious problems between the White House, the National Security Council and the Pentagon.”
Mann fears the administration is seeking to provoke Iran into a reaction that could be used as an excuse for an attack. A British official said the US navy was well aware of the risks of confrontation and was being “seriously careful” in the Gulf.