Ex-counterterror chief warns Bush

Expert: Highly unlikely that Iran strike would end favorably for the US.

Former White House counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke warned the Bush administration in an opinion piece Sunday against a military strike on Iran. The administration of Bill Clinton also considered a bombing campaign against Iran amid tensions in the 1990s, but "after long debate, the highest levels of the military could not forecast a way in which things would end favorably for the United States," Clarke said in the op-ed piece in The New York Times. The piece was co-authored with another former senior counterterrorism official, Steven Simon. Recent media reports have suggested that President George W. Bush's administration is considering a military attack of Iran over concerns that the country is developing a nuclear weapon. Bush has dismissed those reports as "wild speculation." The US is working with the UN Security Council to press Iran to stop its nuclear program. Clarke and Simon theorized that Iran would respond to US aggression in three possible ways: attack Persian Gulf oil facilities to drive up oil prices, use its alleged terror network to strike American targets around the world, or send Shiite militias to aid insurgents in Iraq. "We would like to believe that the administration is not intent on starting another war, because a conflict with Iran could be even more damaging to our interests than the current struggle in Iraq has been," Clarke and Simon said in the Times piece Sunday. Clarke has before called the invasion of Iraq an "enormous mistake" that is further increasing the United States' tensions with Mideast countries. A counterterrorism adviser to the past three presidents, Clarke wrote the book "Against All Enemies," which strongly criticizes the Bush administration for making Iraq a top priority and for underestimating warnings about al-Qaida before the September 11 attacks.