Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 4, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM....The Guardian reports on a leaked European document about Iran's nuclear ambitions:

The Iranian government has been successfully scouring Europe for the sophisticated equipment needed to develop a nuclear bomb, according to the latest western intelligence assessment of the country's weapons programmes.

....The 55-page intelligence assessment, dated July 1 2005, draws upon material gathered by British, French, German and Belgian agencies....

The assessment declares that Iran has developed an extensive web of front companies, official bodies, academic institutes and middlemen dedicated to obtaining in western Europe and in the former Soviet Union the expertise, training, and equipment for nuclear programmes, missile development, and biological and chemical weapons arsenals.

I'm not sure what to make of this. I don't have any trouble believing that this is true, but on the other hand the "leak" is pretty obviously deliberate and the article gives no indication of what the assessment is based on. What's more, given the track record of western intelligence over the past few years, I'm reluctant to take their conclusions at face value just because they happen to seem believable to me.

So: maybe this is for real. Or maybe it's just an effort to prepare public opinion for a military strike against Iran. Stay tuned.

Kevin Drum 1:28 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (242)

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The Guardian reports on a leaked European document about Iran's nuclear ambitions:

So: maybe this is for real. Or maybe it's just an effort to prepare public opinion for a military strike against Iran. Stay tuned.

No need to worry. George W Bush is already planning to take out Iran.

Link

"The Bush administration is preparing its NATO allies for a possible military strike against suspected nuclear sites in Iran in the New Year, according to German media reports, reinforcing similar earlier suggestions in the Turkish media.

The Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel this week quoted "NATO intelligence sources" who claimed that the NATO allies had been informed that the United States is currently investigating all possibilities of bringing the mullah-led regime into line, including military options. This "all options are open" line has been President George W Bush's publicly stated policy throughout the past 18 months. "

Posted by: Al on January 4, 2006 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think there is really any doubt that Iran is pursuing offensive nuclear capabilities. It is my belief that this activity is illegal and dangerous to world peace, although this could be debated. It should be very clear from the actions of the current Iranian administartion that the regime is extremist.

You can still oppose Bush and face reality regarding Iran. So many people automatically take positions just because Bush says the opposite. How about some nuance?

Posted by: Observer on January 4, 2006 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

Nuance is long dead.

Bush has lost the trust of 50% of Americans and perhaps even more.

Given the recent history, any reasonable person will not to give the benefit of the doubt to this administration on questions of war.

Posted by: lib on January 4, 2006 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

*hand waving*

Intelligence has learned of a dangerous nuclear weapons program in Iran. Imminent! You don't want the proof to be a mushroom cloud over an American city. Iranian expatriates promise the American troops will be welcomed with flowers. The leading expatriate Persian, Ahmed al Chabagonnifar, will be an ideal pro-American leader of the new Iranian state. Satellite photos! I hold in my hand a vial of dangerous biological agent... Defying UN inspections...

*hand waving*

Posted by: Phobos Deimos on January 4, 2006 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

Why am I supposed to believe that this isn't some crap ginned up by Doug Feith's boys or some more paid Pentagon propaganda? After all of their lies and crying wolf, I don't believe a thing they say.

Posted by: Rad Racer on January 4, 2006 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

lib and Rad Racer,

This has nothing to do with giving benefit of the doubt to Bush or believing anything "they" say. The report is by the Europeans

Reality exists independent of Bush. Bush may say grass is green. He is still a liar, but the grass is also still green. It may make you feel better to now claim you don't trust him and then purport that the grass must be red. However, it is not true and doesn't advance your cause one bit.

Posted by: Observer on January 4, 2006 at 2:01 AM | PERMALINK

Bush is the boy who cried WMDs. The consequences of his deceit go well beyond the Iraq war - he now has a credibility problem that makes it much harder for American citizens and other nations to believe him, even in those instances where he may be telling the truth and the danger is real.

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice - we won't get fooled again."

Posted by: Augustus on January 4, 2006 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

*Observer waving hands wildly*

Posted by: Phobos Deimos on January 4, 2006 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

Even if Iran is developing nukes - and there's little evidence that they are - there's no way in hell the US would be justified in attacking them on that basis.

In what way is it illegal for Iran to develop nukes? It would be a violation of the anti-prolif. treaty, but guess what - the US is in violation of the treaty itself. Oh, and Israel isn't even a party to it, so they get to have all the nukes they want.

Posted by: Dadahead on January 4, 2006 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

Phobos Diemos - Good example of meaningless oppositionalism. I rest my case.

Posted by: Observer on January 4, 2006 at 2:08 AM | PERMALINK

Also, if I were Iran, I'd sure as hell be looking into the possibility of nuking up, considering that I've got one country publicly threatening me (Israel), and another doing it quietly (US). If the US truly wants to stop other nations from developing nukes, they might want to stop with all the saber-rattling, which only encourages it.

Posted by: Dadahead on January 4, 2006 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Observer, since you're such a reliable subscriber to hysteria, Tbrosz has a Brooklyn Bridge blowtorch plot to sell you.

Posted by: Phobos Deimos on January 4, 2006 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

Iran certainly has the motivation to develop nukes. Hell, I'm Canadian and I'm starting to want them for ourselves.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 4, 2006 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

Two choices:

1. The intelligence assessment was released because the public has a right to know.

--or--

2. Releasing the assessment serves an agenda.


Now choose wisely.

Posted by: The Dad on January 4, 2006 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter left-wing: we refuse to act with respect to Iran's nuclear program until we are 150% sure that Iran is developing a nuclear bomb. And even a nuclear test explosion would only make us 75% sure.

Posted by: Al on January 4, 2006 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

If the US truly wants to stop other nations from developing nukes, they might want to stop with all the saber-rattling, which only encourages it.

Shorter dadahead: if the woman doesn't want to be raped, she might want to stop wearing short skirts, which only encourages it.

Posted by: Al on January 4, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter Al:
What the hell, it's only blood and money.
In for a penny (Iraq),
in for a pound (Iran).

Posted by: The Dad on January 4, 2006 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

Phobos Diemos - Given your pen name, it is a bit rich to accuse me of hysteria. But it is certainly consistent with your record of spewing nonsense. So far you have two posts wthout a fact or assertion that is not just an attack on me. You are proving my case better than I am.

By the way, I have said nothing good about the Bush administration, I haven't supported any wars or said anything that the Guardian article and European report didn't say. You must think they are both absolutely nuts.

Posted by: Observer on January 4, 2006 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

So what do you recommend, Observer?

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on January 4, 2006 at 2:52 AM | PERMALINK

if the woman doesn't want to be raped, she might want to stop wearing short skirts, which only encourages it.

Yeah, that's an apt analogy.

Posted by: Dadahead on January 4, 2006 at 2:52 AM | PERMALINK

If British authorities start making noises about prosecuting the leakers under the Official Secrets Act, I might believe there's something to this.

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on January 4, 2006 at 3:10 AM | PERMALINK

Dustbin,

Actually, I think this is a very, very difficult and complex situation. I am not sure there is an easy way to deal with it. That is why I think the rush one or the other ideological extreme is silly, as is hurling insults at those who disagree with you.

At the end of the day, I would suggest a better coordinated good cop/bad cop and carrot and stick approach. To get Iran to give up pursuit of weapons must be done with diplomacy, but it is naive to think that good cop can accomplish anything without something harder behind it. The solution would have to be win-win, meaning that the concessions to Iran would have to be substantive.

I am not even sure this could work. Maybe the situation is without solution. The current Iranian admin is extreme and holds a lot of cards because of their energy resources.

However, I do think it is foolish to regard the entire issue with Iran as a Bush/Israeli plot. I never claimed that I had a solution. I just said it seems obvious that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and that it is foolish to deny this just because it happen to confirm something Bush said.

Posted by: Observer on January 4, 2006 at 3:11 AM | PERMALINK

A few thoughts:

1. If the Bush government claimed the Ayatollah himself told them nuclear bombs were headed our way, most of us would assume it was nothing more than another cheap trick to influence the 06 elections.

2. A nuclear Iran wouldn't be so terrible. Hasn't it always been a bedrock article of faith that nuclear arms prevented Russia and America from going to war? Nukes may be what has kept Pakistan and India from going at it, also. If Iran gets nukes they will have a mollifying effect.

3. To all the idiots who fear suitcase nukes smuggled in by Arab terrorists, here we have a national government, with an elaborate organization, trained scientists and worldwide contacts who still haven't been able to make a bomb. What chance does Al Quaida have? Stop worrying.

Posted by: James of DC on January 4, 2006 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

The threat is laid out in specific language, with the supposed sources being British, French, German and Belgian intelligence, not the CIA.

The responses here are quite telling.

You can still oppose Bush and face reality regarding Iran.

Not when you're deep in the blood fever of Bush Derangement Syndrome. If Bush told them there was no bridge across a canyon, they'd walk right over the cliff.

Iran is a laboratory case of the U.N. and Europe doing all the right diplomatic things, sitting down around the right tables, and having all the right meetings with all the right discussions.

We'll see if this enlightened approach actually manages to disarm a rogue state.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 4, 2006 at 3:28 AM | PERMALINK

James of DC:

You don't need a suitcase to smuggle a nuke into the U.S. You just need a cargo carrier, which could hold a dumb gun bomb you could practically make with hand tools. If there's one thing I agree with a lot of liberals on, it's that we need more screening of our ports. Some are, and some aren't. For security reasons, nobody really knows how many.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 4, 2006 at 3:30 AM | PERMALINK

go to sleep tbrosz -- you can wow the stupid liberal lemmings with your deep understanding of port security, nuclear bombs, and false analogies in the morning.

Posted by: B on January 4, 2006 at 4:56 AM | PERMALINK

With one substitution this neatly describes the invasion of Iraq:

If Bush told them there was a bridge across a canyon, they'd walk right over the cliff.

As for the container full of machine parts concealing a dumb nuke -- Tbrosz left out the GPS trigger. I'm not sure how much better port security would help, but I sure as hell don't want another nickel spent for ballistic missile defense when it would be so easy for the bad guys just to ship us a bomb.

Posted by: bad Jim on January 4, 2006 at 4:57 AM | PERMALINK

What a lot of conservatives don't seem to get- even after all this time- is that Bush a really dumb, incompetent guy, a really bad guy to have as President. The same for Rumsfeld, et al. I mean, these people have either screwed up or lied about everything, over and over again, since day one.

Look at Ashcroft and the big wiretapping story. When Ashcroft resigned, I thought it looked a little funny; I think I remember writing or saying "hmm, maybe they asked him to be involved in something that was even beyond his limits." And now it comes out that he was opposed to this NSA thing. This admin is constantly having its own people contradict it, rebuke it, or quit, and the fact that this extends to security matters is just plain troubling. That the informed Republican voter doesn't develop some qualms about this goes to show how crass and ideological people can be.

So many recommendations have been made about security by so many knowledgeable people over the past few years, but we know that a hell of a lot of them haven't been implemented. You'd think they'd be the first priorities! First priorities before these wars, at least. It would be pretty remarkably dumb if we went to war to prevent terrorism, but then had a terrorist attack succeed the same day only because we neglected to do a little more screening at a port.

But do the Republican hawks insist on getting all those fixes done? No. Are they telling the adminstration to get the 9/11 Commission's recommendations complied with, pronto? No. It just rolls right past them, and they're ready to have another war in the middle east instead. They just think that's exciting. Pretty clear who the lemmings are, eh?

Posted by: Swan on January 4, 2006 at 5:54 AM | PERMALINK

Just try to recall all the appointees of this administration who have been fired or who have resigned because of disagreements with the White House on policy (like Christine Todd Whitman). Then recall all the ex-admin appointees who have criticized White House policy to the press after leaving office (like Colin Powell's assistant). Then recall everyone who wasn't appointed by the admin but who lost a project, was rebuked or was demoted because they didn't see things the admin's way (like Shinseki, Rickard Clarke, and government scientists). Then think of everyone who's still in the admin's good grace's, but still has to insist on contradicting cabinet officials' buffoonery (Pace). Bet you can't honestly count up any less than ten. And those are just the ones we know about.

Most scandalous White House ever.

Posted by: Swan on January 4, 2006 at 6:05 AM | PERMALINK

Swan - I don't disagree with this. That is why I find it so frustrating that liberals continue to commit political suicide by refusing to focus on anything other than Bush. Yes, sometimes it is logical, like your points. But mostly it is an unending tirade of of obsession.


The way I see it, the Democrats have two options:

1) Entertain themsleves and their friends for enternity by focussing all of the efforts on sloganeering (ie. Impeach Bush, Bush Chimp, etc, etc, etc....)
2) Actually take power by focussing on presenting a case to American voters for why they would be better.

No matter how much America distrusts Bush or wants change, they need to have a tangible option. People are rarely going to vote for "What's behind door number two".

When someone says things like this, they are either insulted or lumped together with Bush and insulted. I am fairly moderate and can live with Republicans or Democrats. With the current choice between bad Republicans and Door Number Two Democrats, I can wait this out. If you can't, think about the second option above. Skip the protests, forget the costumes, declare a moratorium on silly names, slogans and rumor mongering. Get a program together and get back into power, or at least provide an opposition that can check the administration's power.

I personally am tired of the left claiming the moral high ground and doing nothing with it at all.

Posted by: Observer on January 4, 2006 at 6:30 AM | PERMALINK

What's interesting is that story claims the report is "a detailed asssessment of Iran's nuclear purchasing programme," but where are the details? After the 1st breathless paragraph we get nothing. (The only specifics are on Iran's attempt to acquire rocket technology.)

What nuclear technology has Iran tried to acquire and where? It's unlikely it would give anything away to list a few of these cases, since if the Europeans blocked the sale, the Iranians would probably guess why. Even if the writer couldn't mention specifics, he could at least explain that he was asked not to do it.

Something's not right about this.

Posted by: Cal on January 4, 2006 at 6:52 AM | PERMALINK

Warning - Long Post Ahead...

Nukes are the only thing that really matter, from an anti-terrorism policy perspective. A WTC-type event once every three years for the next several decades would damage the U.S. economy, but wouldn't cripple it. One serious nuclear event in a major U.S. city would likely have that crippling effect. I think that many voters and pols on both sides of the aisle would agree that the spread of nuclear weapons is the single most dangerous phenomenon in the world today.

Unfortunately, this is the single issue on which I find the Bush administration most negligent, for the following reasons.

First, the Bush admin has unnecessarily weakened the NPT. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is one of the most successful diplomatic efforts of any stripe in the modern era. As Steve Radamaker (Asst Sec of State for Arms Control) said a few months ago: "That we can meet today, 35 years after the [NPT] entered into force, and not count 20 or more nuclear weapon states -- as some predicted in the 1960s -- is a sign of the Treatys success. NPT parties can be justly proud of the NPTs contribution to global security." While it's true that the treaty has holes - an inadequate enforcement mechanism and an inability to deal effectively with "loose nuke" situations - it remains incomprehensible to me that the Bush admin would so cavalierly establish, through its words and deeds, this treaty's irrelevance.

Second, the Bush admin hasn't increased funding for the Nunn-Lugar Act of 1991, a broadly supported initiative designed to help former Soviet republics dispose of nuclear/bio/chem weapons. Over a hundred metric tons of highly enriched plutonium and uranium in Russia alone remain unsecured.

Third -A.Q. Khan. How incredible is it that Khan - the guy who executed more illegal nuclear proliferation than any other person in the past twenty years... the guy who, inter alia, ALLEGEDLY OFFERED TO BUILD SADDAM HUSSEIN A NUKE in 1990 - was pardoned by the Pakistani government and never was punished for any of his crimes! I submit that pushing for Khan's severe punishment would have been a far better use of Bush's vaunted "political capital" than oh, tax cuts for the wealthy or Iraq or pretty much anything else you want to throw out there.

Fourth, North Korea. It is North Korea that is most likely to provide loose nukes to networks like Khan's. And the Bush admin has performed, at best, at a C- level in this admittedly difficult situation.

Sorry for the long post, but the Bush admin's failure to deal with these issues since 9/11 deeply, deeply saddens me. It's irresponsible at best. I'm not one to throw around the "unpatriotic" tag absent intentionally treasonous acts, but if that word is ever appropriate in the context of gross negligence, surely this is that context.

Posted by: TomGilpin on January 4, 2006 at 6:56 AM | PERMALINK

> It is my belief that this activity is
> illegal and dangerous to world peace,

Remind me again why any midsized regional power would NOT at least be doing preliminary work on nuclear weapons after the US invasion of Iraq? And particularly with Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the PNAC people in control of said US?

W

Posted by: George W. Bush on January 4, 2006 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

Iran is a laboratory case of the U.N. and Europe doing all the right diplomatic things, sitting down around the right tables, and having all the right meetings with all the right discussions.

Except that the Republican Party has done nothing but undermine the traditional relationship that we had with the UN and with Europe and has adopted a 'pre-emptive strike' doctrine.

When do we attack Iran? Oh, that's right--the Republicans have left America virtually undefended by ruining our military and depleting our stocks of war materiel throughout the world.

When do we form a broad coalition to counter the threat from Iran? Oh, that's right--we don't engage 'old Europe' anymore.

Besides, rdw will stumble in drunk and tell us Europe doesn't matter anymore.

The only correct discussion we need to have is, how do we impeach the current President and vice-President and put a responsible adult--be he or she Republican or Democrat--in the White House sooner rather than later.

How about we start a movement to have Senator McCain elected President pro tempore of the Senate so that, when Bush, Cheney, and Hastert are all removed from power, Presidential authority can be handed to him? And Chuck Hagel can be vice-President.

How about we start there?

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 4, 2006 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

People are rarely going to vote for "What's behind door number two".

They did in 1968. They did it again in 2000 (by a margin of 5 to 4). It never ceases to astound me when we have a situation of nations and\or peoples waking up to the fact of their growing geopolitical power (i.e., sitting on top of immense oil reserves) who harbor smoldering resentment against past imperialist practices by the West, throw in a bit of religious fanatacism for good measure, and our "realistic" assessment is to try and hold them back by some magically costless force or the threat of its use. Such tired, useless, and as history has repeatedly shown, irredeemably futile reasoning, is a diplomatic dead end.

If Iran is dead set on obtaining the bomb, we should spare them the trouble and give them a couple. We have plenty. Possession of these devices is fairly safe insurance that they will never be used.

Posted by: bobbyp on January 4, 2006 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

I personally am tired of the left claiming the moral high ground and doing nothing with it at all.

And I am personally tired of this sanctimonious line of crap and the shameless projection contained therein. Not once in our history has the "left" ever held power in this country. There is not much we can do with our moral high ground but continue to ask others to join. If and when the "left" ever does get a realistic chance of assuming political power, we'll be sure to call you up and ask for your thoughtful advice.

Posted by: bobbyp on January 4, 2006 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

We'll see if this enlightened approach actually manages to disarm a rogue state.

Why not? It's already clear that the Bush Administration has so far failed to do so, no matter how hard tbrosz tries to obscure the fact with his sneering.

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

The way I see it, the Democrats have two options...

And, strangely enough, criticism of the Bush Administration's mendacity and incompetence doesn't seem to be one of them. How.....convenient.

With the current choice between bad Republicans and Door Number Two Democrats, I can wait this out.

In other words, the mendacity and incompetence of the Republican Party isn't enough for Observer.

It's far from surprising that some here consider Observer's professed neutrality suspect, especially given the transparent efforts to change the subject from the failures of the Bush Administration, under whose watch the members of the so-called "Axis of Evil" with actual nuclear programs have gone on their merry way unchecked, to the Democrats.

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

"What's more, given the track record of western intelligence over the past few years, I'm reluctant to take their conclusions at face value just because they happen to seem believable to me."

But I thought Bush lied? Will the Left continue to use the "Bush lied" meme, while at the same time argue western intelligence isn't solid?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 4, 2006 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

Obscure,

Just because Twigless said the "grass was green", I would not automically disagree. However, I would want a great deal of Spectra Testing of Colors conducted by Independent Testing Labs. I would also want color blindness testing done on the independent testers. I would want all coatings, pigments, dyes analyzed as well.

Once a person or government has lost it's credibility for the truth, all is suspect from that time forward.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 4, 2006 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

continuous American political fable of innocence at risk. This sturdy tale typically pitches a political naif's fateful interest in the machinery of reform against the backdrop of irredeemably fallen, endlessly seductive relations of power in the nation's capital.

Posted by: Out of Iraq on January 4, 2006 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
nice to see you have wised up, i wish you had been as smart before iraq and wmd
one of the major tools of propaganda is telling people "what makes sense" ,and is unprovable

rick

Posted by: Rick on January 4, 2006 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

Now, if Twigless says the Longhorns will prevail this evening, then hmmmm...........

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 4, 2006 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

The Iranian government has been successfully scouring Europe for the sophisticated equipment needed to develop a nuclear bomb

I do not believe this. European governments have been highly sensitized to WMD proliferation issues, and I do not think would allow anything like it to go on. Bush is preparing for the strike on Iran he hopes will save him, the strike which will bring $100 oil and a global recession in a flash.

Posted by: bob h on January 4, 2006 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

If some mushroom cloud rose over an American city, I wouldn't think it was done by Iranians; instead, the first thing that would come to mind is that it is another dirty trick by Rove et al.

The only reason for the sudden interest in killing more darkies sitting on our oil, is that the Iranians are about to open their oil exchange, where folks can buy and sell oil in euros. They've delayed opening it twice, and the new open date is supposed to be March 2006. Our troops still occupy the last country who sold oil in euros.

Posted by: Peter on January 4, 2006 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

"If some mushroom cloud rose over an American city, I wouldn't think it was done by Iranians; instead, the first thing that would come to mind is that it is another dirty trick by Rove et al."

Absolutely! And I'll bet you gays and minorities will be disproportionally affected.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 4, 2006 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin

The most detailed part of this report seems to rely on American intelligence that was discredited when it was first reported in 2004. For that reason alone, I think we can assume this is BS.

Posted by: emptywheel on January 4, 2006 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

If the report is a full assessment of our intel (and not a minority opinion, agenda-serving white paper, Plan B assessment, or other document designed to be a "worst case" evaluation), then we can at least conclude that the Bushies THINK Iran has an active nuclear program.

Coupled with the recent Israeli leaks/statements that Iran will have a bomb within 6-18 months, there is clearly a feeling in some intelligence circles that Iran is VERY close.

Do we have sufficient evidence to say that the report is true? No.
Do we have sufficient evidence to say that the report is the complete and considered opinion of the entire US intel establishment (a la an NIE)? No.
Do we have sufficient evidence to say that European agencies agree with the conclusions? No.

Posted by: Silent E on January 4, 2006 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Observer: The report is by the Europeans.

The report is purportedly by the Europeans.

Blair and England are part of Europe.

Blair and Bush are simpatico on such issues.

Saying the report is "by the Europeans" adds nothing to your argument.

Freedom F*cker: Will the Left continue to use the "Bush lied" meme, while at the same time argue western intelligence isn't solid?

Yes, because those are not mutually exclusive or inconsistent opinions.

That you are too stupid to see that says a lot about the Right in this country.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 4, 2006 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

North Korea and Iran have been exchanging weapons technology for oil/hard currency for years. They have quite a market going on. There has been virtually no engagement or containment of the expansion of weapons technology in Iran and North Korea, two of the most dangerous nations on the planet.

But let's keep up with that talking point--Ted Kennedy is to blame for all this.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 4, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

To paraphrase Flanders:

I suspect that once the "British, French, German and Belgian intelligence agencies" we keep hearing about have actual names attached to them, we'll find out two things:

First, much of these leaks are coming from the same small group of individuals.

Second, that their motivation may be more about raw politics than an abstract concern about nuclear weapons. The timing alone stinks.

Posted by: Stefan on January 4, 2006 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Bush is the boy who cried WMDs. The consequences of his deceit go well beyond the Iraq war - he now has a credibility problem that makes it much harder for American citizens and other nations to believe him, even in those instances where he may be telling the truth and the danger is real.

Folks, as much as you love to bash Bush, this is about European intel agencies and what they are leaking.

YOUR-ROW-PEE-ANNS

So if you have concerns with the validity or truthfulness or boy-who-cried-wolfishness of it, address those concerns at our bubbas on the other side of the pond.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 4, 2006 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

What to do when you trust the word of the Iranians as much as you trust the word of the Americans?

Trust. Maybe that word needs to be outlawed in America after the events of the past five years -- let alone the events of the past few hours in West Virginia.

Posted by: Dicksknee on January 4, 2006 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Folks, as much as you love to bash Bush, this is about European intel agencies and what they are leaking.

Purpotedly Europeans. The infamous Niger yellowcake info. was also based on "European" intelligence, in the form of a forged Italian intelligence document, and look how reliable that was.

The fact is, US government intelligence has so little credibiliity at the moment that the only way they can get someone to believe them is to pretend it came from a European source.

Posted by: Stefan on January 4, 2006 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

When the President of Iran says he has the right to enrich uranium on his own soil, i wonder what gives us the right to say he can't?

I don't want any country to have nuclear weapons, and certainly not a country run by religious fanatics, (like America these days)but it is hard to explain why WE make these rules.

Posted by: lilybart on January 4, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: So if you have concerns with the validity or truthfulness or boy-who-cried-wolfishness of it, address those concerns at our bubbas on the other side of the pond.

Purportedly including the British who have carried Bush's water.

To repeat: the purported involvement of the Brits alone is sufficient to render the allegations and conclusions dubious and being suspected of originating from American-controlled intelligence sources, rather than independent Eurporean analysis.

And why is it that RSM all of a sudden trusts anonymous sources as a fount of accurate factual information?

Because it serves his partisan purposes to have this be true.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 4, 2006 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

An old military adage cautions a commander not to pay attention to what a potential enemy seems to be saying (or what third parties are saying about him and the situation) but only to attend to what the potential enemy is CAPABLE of doing, allowing him a generous benefit of the doubt in that regard, a la Pearl Harbor, which the American high command pre-12/7/41 didn't think the Japanese could manage.

The problem with this type of thinking is that the only way we can really know what Iran is up to is to violate Iran's sovereignty and have a close look.

Another problem is that the govenment of Iran is behaving pretty much like Saddam Hussein did. Both these parties could have chosen to let observers in and give them free rein, but have chosen not to. This apparently is because it is more important to some leaders THAT THEY BE THOUGHT to have weapons of mass destruction, whether or not they actually have them.

There is another disturbing thing about these characters. Normally, when a state acquires nuclear capability, it comes to be constrained in its policies by a tacit acknowledgment that mutual assured destruction will entail if it attacks another nuclear power.

An unfortunate reality about the jokers in Iran is the probability that they really do not care if Tehran and other major Iranian cities are reduced to glowing embers. Firstly, the idea of a historic glorious mass sacrifice probably appeals to them, and secondly, their own internal liberal opposition mostly resides in the cities.

Now we come, logically, to George W.Bush. He has demonstrated in Iraq that he is prepared to act on instinct more than on some meticulously prepared intelligence analysis. I also think that Dubya does not give a limp damn about what liberals think in the USA. He scarcely cares about what his own party thinks.

So, in my humble estimation, we should all follow the wise advice of Mae West. Hang on for the ride, it's going to be a bumpy night.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 4, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

I love it. The Guardian article says that the document "draws upon material gathered by British, French, German and Belgian agencies, and has been used to brief European government ministers"

That does not mean it was written by a European. That does not mean it wasn't cherry-picked from shared intel. That doesn't mean it isn't full of unconfirmed suspicions being reported as plain fact. After living with weasel wording for five years, its easy to spot.

I'll bet right now that two weeks before the election, Congress will be asked to vote to authorize force against Iran. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on January 4, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

That is why I find it so frustrating that liberals continue to commit political suicide by refusing to focus on anything other than Bush.
I, on the other hand, find it funny as hell. It always improves my day to read the comments here.

You guys are great, keep it up.

And for my fellow wingnuts: mark my prediction. Before the week is out the moonbats here will be claiming that they are not knee-jerk anti-Bush reactionaries.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 4, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

I'd think any secondary nation with a lick of sense will be developing WMD's as fast as they can to protect themselves from the Americans.

The Bush regime has pretty much stated it's intent to destroy anyone they don't like... which translates to anyone that Emperor Bush doesn't like... which means we are all in deep shit.

Posted by: Buford on January 4, 2006 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

AFG
And why is it that RSM all of a sudden trusts anonymous sources as a fount of accurate factual information?

I don't trust it. I'm just saying you're stupid, that's all.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 4, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

An unfortunate reality about the jokers in Iran is the probability that they really do not care if Tehran and other major Iranian cities are reduced to glowing embers. Firstly, the idea of a historic glorious mass sacrifice probably appeals to them, and secondly, their own internal liberal opposition mostly resides in the cities.

Complete and utter nonsense. The mullahs have no desire for some sort of grand sacrifice -- they care most about staying in power and maintaining their privileges.

Posted by: Stefan on January 4, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: I don't trust it. I'm just saying you're stupid, that's all.

Well, YOUR-AHN-ASS-WHOLE.

Nanny, nanny, boo-boo.

And you must trust the anonymous source, or your wouldn't be insisting that it is the "YOUR-ROW-PEE-ANNS" proving once again you are a LYING-ASS-WHOLE.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 4, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

One interesting aspect to this report, is that the Guardian has been blasted by O'Reilly as much or more than he blasts the NYT for inaccuracies and bias against Bush.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 4, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

It's unlikely it would give anything away to list a few of these cases, since if the Europeans blocked the sale.
It would be a violation of the anti-prolif. treaty, but guess what - the US is in violation of the treaty itself. Oh, and Israel isn't even a party to it, so they get to have all the nukes they want.

Posted by: goerge on January 4, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

> An unfortunate reality about the jokers in Iran is
> the probability that they really do not care if
> Tehran and other major Iranian cities are reduced
> to glowing embers.

Do you know any Iranians? Any real live human beings who have ever lived, worked, and/or grown up in Iran? I would have to guess the answer is no, or at least, "none who are not dues-paying neocons/Wolfowitzians".

Statements like yours are not only utterly wrong, they are utterly sick as well. You do realize that the Iranian government could read the "Left Behind" series, see the influence of millenium Christians on the Bush Administration, and reach _exactly the same conclusion about the United States_, right? But-but-but you splutter, that isn't true - those are just a few fanatic cranks. Do you see the symmetry there? Or do your neocon glasses blind you?

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on January 4, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Allowing the CIA to overthrow the Iranian government of Mossadegh in 1953 was really a brilliant move, wasn't it?

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on January 4, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Advocate for God, why do you hate our country?

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 4, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

The article aside, it only makes sense for Iran to be seeking its own nuclear deterrent, considering it has US forces on two of its borders and shares a region with nuclear-armed Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Israel. It would almost be negligent for them not to be acquiring a nuclear shield.

Posted by: Stefan on January 4, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

If you are willing to have sex with Frenchmen, anything is possible in Europe.

Posted by: Matt on January 4, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

What a surprise. Nut writes "wingnut" and "moonbat" in the same post. The surprise is he only wrote them once.

Posted by: ckelly on January 4, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Or do your neocon glasses blind you?

Well, Cranky, that's the first time I've seen anyone call Stefan a neocon.

The fact that a large portion of the US population may be opposed to the Bush regime's ridiculously nationalistic and provocative policies doesn't seem to have much effect on those policies. Ditto with Iran. As for the glowing-embers argument...I'm not sure I buy it, but this is a theocratic regime currently on a nationalistic upswing. If you read what they were capable of during the Iran-Iraq war, it's not reassuring. According to Anthony Shadid, they sent kids walking out into minefields to "clear" them via suicide. They would tie a key around their necks and tell them it was the key to paradise, which they would enter after martyrdom. This kind of thing is not unheard of with fascist/communist/theocratic regimes.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 4, 2006 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

...I'm not sure I buy it, but this is a theocratic regime currently on a nationalistic upswing.

Iran or the US?

Posted by: ckelly on January 4, 2006 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Or maybe it's just an effort to prepare public opinion for a military strike against Iran.

With what army?

Posted by: Stefan on January 4, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Iran or the US?

I think it'd be better to describe the US as a nationalistic regime currently on a theocratic upswing.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 4, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

A Marine was being held at Camp Lejeune on a charge of desertion for not going to war in Vietnam 40 years ago, a military spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Predictably, the Bush adminsitration prosecutes a soldier who failed to go to Vietnam 40 years ago, but let's Bush himself off the hook for his desertion 40 years ago, not to mention his subsequent lies about it.

The rampant thread of hypocrisy runs through all that this administration does.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 4, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Cranky, that's the first time I've seen anyone call Stefan a neocon.

I fear I've created a little confusion. Cranky was referring to Michael L. Cook's statement, which I also excerpted in my response to Cook. I screwed up the HTML tags, though, so Cook's portion was italicized in my post. The nonsense about Iranian citities "reduced to glowing embers" was Cook's, not mine.

Proof, once again, that one too many Cooks has spoiled the broth.

Posted by: Stefan on January 4, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

With what army?

Where are the Hessians when you need them?

Not that we have any money to pay them.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 4, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

This kind of thing is not unheard of with fascist/communist/theocratic regimes.

It's not unheard of with any regime trying to convince people to die for its goals.

Try hanging out in the military from time to time. Before a deployment, there are constant "talks" with the chaplains about how God is on our side, there's no atheists in foxholes, and we will be heros/patriots should we die for our country.

Posted by: ChrisS on January 4, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

If you read what they were capable of during the Iran-Iraq war, it's not reassuring. According to Anthony Shadid, they sent kids walking out into minefields to "clear" them via suicide. They would tie a key around their necks and tell them it was the key to paradise, which they would enter after martyrdom. This kind of thing is not unheard of with fascist/communist/theocratic regimes.

The Soviet Union did much the same thing during WWII, when virtually unarmed Red Army soldiers were sent out againt Wehrmacht units, with commissars at their backs to machine gun any who retreated. That did not mean, however, that Stalin and his henchmen were not bent on survival themselves. There's always a difference between what the men at the top will demand of their followers and what they're willing to endure themselves.

Posted by: Stefan on January 4, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Wait! I've just had a brainstorm. Why don't we arm the Taliban to invade Iran? After all, the enemy of my enemy of my enemy of my enemy can have the tix to my skybox any weekend he likes.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 4, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

There's always a difference between what the men at the top will demand of their followers and what they're willing to endure themselves.


Exhibit A: George W. Bush

Posted by: ckelly on January 4, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan
Or maybe it's just an effort to prepare public opinion for a military strike against Iran.

With what army?

This would be a precision strike from above. Cruise missiles and B2 bombers, etc.

Israel seems to be arming themselves appropriately. You can always count on the Israelis to cut through the BS and do what's needed for self preservation.

http://www.israeli-weapons.com/weapons/aircraft/f-16i/F-16I.html

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 4, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

This would be a precision strike from above. Cruise missiles and B2 bombers, etc.

Except that the Iranians, no fools they, have put numerous duplicate facilities around the country and have salted them underground throughout heavily residential neighborhoods.

Posted by: Stefan on January 4, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

a leaked European document

I promise the idea to leak it was an American idea.

So: maybe this is for real.

Knowing the outrageous liars on both sides of America and Israel versus Iran, I'll assume that the stories are basically true but enormously exaggerated.

Posted by: Gary Sugar on January 4, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Ahh, and here again we see two of the current memes pumped out by the Mighty Wurlitzer:

1) People who disagree with the Administration and its shills are "Bush-bashers" who love to denigrate Bush without reason.

2) People who disagree with the Administration should present their "Plan", but don't because they don't have one.

Both are the usual easily-repeatable right-wing garbage.

Bush is the person responsible for the actions taken by this nation, and thus his history and character are important when discussing those actions. And there is a long and dubious history with which to judge him, and find him severly wanting.

And there is no overarching "Plan" to solve all woes, there are merely myriad solutions to problems, none of which the brainwashed right-wing drones listen to anyway. Remember Kerry's health-care plan? Of course not.

As for Iranian nuclear ambitions, hell, were I Iran I'd be after a bomb too. Look what happens to oil-rich states who tick off the U.S. and don't have one.

The European approach worked in Libya, it's worth noting.

And ultimately, if we were 100% certain they were after a bomb, what should we do? Is it worth a war? How about North Korea?

Posted by: S Ra on January 4, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

that both the Guardian and some of the intelligence agencies cited have reasons to downplay Iran's ambitions is something lost on many here apparently.

if the Bush administration wanted to leak information, it wouldn't be to the Guardian.

Posted by: Nathan on January 4, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

This would be a precision strike from above. Cruise missiles and B2 bombers, etc.

Aye, because that rendered Iraq peaceful and docile.

Posted by: ChrisS on January 4, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

if the Bush administration wanted to leak information, it wouldn't be to the Guardian.

Go back 5 years and plug in "The N.Y.Times". They've fouled the nest everywhere.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on January 4, 2006 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

I promise the idea to leak it was an American idea.

Whether the idea was an American one or not, the final decision to leak was all European. Unless you think America runs Europe, which would certainly clash head-on with a bunch of Europe Now Hates America memes floating around.

Personally, I think we should lay off Iran. It's a bigger problem to Europe than it is to us, as Europe evolves into Eurabia, but they're glad to let us do the heavy lifting. If they (Europe) actually brought about a real trade embargo, it'd actually hurt Iran. That's their weakness. But with us there already playing Bad Cop, why should they?

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 4, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Did I hear, "Influence the 2006 elections"?

Iran has been pursuing its nuclear plans since 1979. 26 years.

Iraq is poison.

Move on to new hysteria.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on January 4, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

If they (Europe) actually brought about a real trade embargo, it'd actually hurt Iran. That's their weakness.

What about blockading their ports and cutting off oil exports? That'd start to hurt pretty damn fast. Might even physically prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons - no money.

Oh, it'd also send oil prices over $100 a barrel. But that's good for Mobil, right? So what's the problem? From Mr. Oily Prez's perspective, I mean?

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 4, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

I was with Stefan until the "glowing embers" comment, which he then disavowed. So back to my original point, which should (but obviously won't) shut the bloodthirsty trolls up.

If mutually assured destruction kept a country on equal military footing (i.e., the Soviet Union) from attacking us, why won't MAD work with a country less than one-quarter our size?

Oh, that's right, unlike the USSR, Iran can't be trusted (they are "religious fanatics" after all, and are swarthy).

What a bunch of war-mongering idiots. The only reason Iran is an issue to the right wing is because their stranglehold on the American government is slipping.

Posted by: brewmn on January 4, 2006 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

This would be a precision strike from above. Cruise missiles and B2 bombers, etc.

No doubt, RSM.

And what do you suppose the reaction of the Iranian government to an armed strike on its territory would be? Do you seriously imagine they'd be so cowed by the display of superior American firepower -- that which is left over from our misadventure in Iraq, of course -- that the mullahs would just shrug, write off their nuclear program and go on their merry way?

Given the US dependence on oil and Iran's position in the Persian Gulf, one tactic seems obvious. And it certainly seems that a government with the foresight to create a nuclear deterrent against what it views as US adventurism would have salted away a few contingency plans.

Lauding our military might while giving no apparent consideration to the consequences of using it is folly indeed -- the same kind of thinking, I might add, that led to the mess in Iraq. Pardon me, RSM, if I find your enthusiasm less than persuasive this time.

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

The Iranian government has been "successfully" scouring Europe for the sophisticated equipment needed to develop a nuclear bomb

there have been reports on iranian government activities of this kind for years now

i am most struck by how similar the writing is to the kind of writing used in the run-up to the iraq invasion

has been "successfully scoured" europe

for the "sophisticated" equipment needed to "develop" a nuclear bomb

an "extensive" web of front companies, official bodies, academic institutes and middlemen

"the expertise, training, and equipment for nuclear programmes, missle development, and biological and chemical weapons arsenals"

i can close my eyes and visualize condi using slides to give evidence to the phrases in a presentation at the UN

Posted by: james on January 4, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

"Not when you're deep in the blood fever of Bush Derangement Syndrome" ~tbrosz


So that's what you call Bush's illness! Bush Derangement Syndrome! No wonder reasonable people never trust him.

Posted by: Ace Franze on January 4, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

I was with Stefan until the "glowing embers" comment, which he then disavowed.

Let the record show that Stefan was for it before he was against it.

So back to my original point, which should (but obviously won't) shut the bloodthirsty trolls up.

Bloodthirsty?

If mutually assured destruction kept a country on equal military footing (i.e., the Soviet Union) from attacking us, why won't MAD work with a country less than one-quarter our size?

Oh, that's right, unlike the USSR, Iran can't be trusted (they are "religious fanatics" after all, and are swarthy).

So you are saying Iran can be trusted to not use nukes? And when I say "use nukes" I don't just mean to actually blow up a city. I also mean as leverage in becoming the 800 LB gorilla in the Middle East. Sabre rattling, in short.

Hell, we don't we extend your argument and just sell nukes to every nut-case theocracy and dictatorship, since you seem to imply it matures them, and if they have nukes they can be trusted.

What a bunch of war-mongering idiots. The only reason Iran is an issue to the right wing is because their stranglehold on the American government is slipping.

Not as long as lefties use "trust the mullahs" as a national security stance.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 4, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

> I fear I've created a little confusion. Cranky was
> referring to Michael L. Cook's statement, which I
> also excerpted in my response to Cook. I screwed
> up the HTML tags, though, so Cook's portion was
> italicized in my post.

I apologize for any confusion - I should have known to mark off the OP

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on January 4, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

" maybe it's just an effort to prepare public opinion for a military strike" ...

NOOOO!!! Really???????????

All this idiocy about "taking out" Iran, Jesus. This is PERSIA we're talking about.

(Yow! Are we having a military coup yet?)

Posted by: John on January 4, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

I apologize for any confusion

It was worth it to see Stafan labeled a neocon. Thank you.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 4, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

I'd think any secondary nation with a lick of sense will be developing WMD's as fast as they can to protect themselves from the Americans.
Ya, have your next candidate run on this platform.

Democrats: We Believe the Evil Americans Need a Good Attack!

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 4, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Not as long as lefties use "trust the mullahs" as a national security stance.

Whoa, Red State Mike--

I think I've been telling people that the Iranian Intelligence services are very active throughout the world and that they are a huge threat. I would never trust a theocratic government...

That's also why I don't trust the Bush Administration.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 4, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike:

You really do piss your pants any time your fellow right wingers sound the threat alarm, don't you?

You are a bunch of sniveling, scared little puppies. Until you get behind a real counter-proliferation strategy, just shut up. America cannot afford another war just to make you feel all warm and snuggly at night.

Posted by: brewmn on January 4, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

America cannot afford another war just to make you feel all warm and snuggly at night.

Thanks to the incompetence of this 'theocratic' administration, we'll soon have another war whether we're ready for it or not. This time, the Republicans won't be able to start a war in the sweet spot of an election cycle in order to gain seats in the Congress.

I would expect that war to start once Iran gives Hamas a nuclear device to use against Israel.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 4, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

That's what we need! MORE war!

Thank heaven for the peace and prosperity we've enjoyed under this fine administration!

Posted by: chuck on January 4, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

If some mushroom cloud rose over an American city, I wouldn't think it was done by Iranians; instead, the first thing that would come to mind is that it is another dirty trick by Rove et al.

This is ridiculous. I can imagine and accuse Rove and the Bushies of much, but this is silly conspiracy fear -- way out in left field. Beyond the foul pole. The Right are overly fearful of terrorism. The Left (or some of it anyway) is overly fearful of the Right.

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on January 4, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz:

We'll see if this enlightened approach actually manages to disarm a rogue state.

We're living in a fucking "rogue state," tbrosz. How dare we lecture other countries about the importance of the rule of law, democracy, etc. after the Iraq invasion, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, torture memos, the illegal bypass of judicial warrants in order to spy on Americans, etc.

This is not, as you like to claim, irrational Bush hatred. This is very rational hatred of his counterproductive policies and their extremely negative effects, not the least of which is the threat it presents to the democratic system of government, which is based on checks and balances. It's called the Constitution - you might want to look into it someday.

Get off your fucking high horse.

Posted by: chuck on January 4, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

I was with Stefan until the "glowing embers" comment, which he then disavowed.

Well, I didn't disavow it so much as I never said it. My position is that Iran is subject to the same sort of MAD calculus as any other rational state actor (as far as states or human beings can behave rationally, that is), and that they have no interest in seeing themselves destroyed. Quite the contrary, in fact, since their pursuit of nuclear weapons indicates a healthy desire for self-preservation.

Posted by: Stefan on January 4, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

I can hardly wait for the argument that if Iran gets nukes it will give them to Al Qaeda.


Observer wrote:

"I personally am tired of the left claiming the moral high ground and doing nothing with it at all."

Posted by: Observer on January 4, 2006 at 6:30 AM | PERMALINK


It's hard to do much when the government is run by Republicans who will go so far as to deny Dems any chance to put an amendment into a bill, will add stuff to conference reports without consulting Dems, will literally turn off the microphones and lights while a Dem is in the middle of questioning someone at a hearing and will steal elections, so that Dems don't have a chance of getting back into the majority. Nope, it's hard to do much when Repubs are in charge.

Second, it would be stupid for Dems to say much about our policy positions (not that anyone's listening) while the Repubs are falling off cliffs quite nicely without being even being pushed. What's the attraction to Repubs in breaking laws? Watergate, Iran-contra, Iraq lies, etc. There are so many crimes.

The argument many of us used in the 2004 campaign was 'Vote for Kerry because Bush & Co. are criminals.' It still applies pretty well except that now the criminals are going to be leaving office because they're being convicted and sent to jail. Why should Dems interrupt when we're winning (albeit slowly)?

How many Repubs are going to jail or at least leaving office because of the Abramoff scandal? Could Dems have won those seats easier by traditional means?

Posted by: MarkH on January 4, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

once Iran gives Hamas a nuclear device to use against Israel.

Nah, Iran will give them to Saddam so he can break out of jail.

Posted by: Gary Sugar on January 4, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Not as long as lefties use "trust the mullahs" as a national security stance.

Well, one thing's for sure...we'll never be safe from the straw man arguments so favored by Red State Mike, c.n., tbrosz and their ilk.

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

How dare we lecture other countries about the importance of the rule of law, democracy, etc. after the Iraq invasion, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, torture memos, the illegal bypass of judicial warrants in order to spy on Americans, etc.

...not the least of which is the threat it presents to the democratic system of government, which is based on checks and balances. It's called the Constitution - you might want to look into it someday.

Gosh, the perps in Abu Ghraib are in jail. Check & balance. Judicial warrants? Undergoing check & balance. Gitmo? Courts supplying check & balance. Padilla? 4th district supplies vigorous handslap check & balance. Attacking Iraq? Legislative branch approved, proving check & balance. In 2006 voters can supply check & balance.

Why do you hate our country?

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 4, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

American politicians, Republican or Democrat, want popular support. Bush has demonstrated killing other peoples and putting our young men and women in harm's way not only creates fantastic popular support, it also feeds the industries who lavish gifts and financial support to our political leaders. Bush and America have led the way into making the 21st Century as bloody as the previous century, and our political leaders, from both sides of the aisle, have been paying attention. War not only gives our lives meaning, it gives our politicians a reason to rally 'round the flag and inspire Americans to support the invasion and occupation of nations across the world.

Posted by: Powerpuff on January 4, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

RSM: Not as long as lefties use "trust the mullahs" as a national security stance.

Well, one thing's for sure...we'll never be safe from the straw man arguments so favored by Red State Mike, c.n., tbrosz and their ilk.

Go back and read what I replied to. Conversations in this thread are simultaneously suggesting that Iran can be trusted to be behave as a rational actor who will do us no harm in order to do themselves no harm, and yet be sure Bush and his entire government is irrational and will knowingly harm this country to make petro-dollars. Or similar.

Now really...does that make sense?

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 4, 2006 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Powerpuff
Bush has demonstrated killing other peoples and putting our young men and women in harm's way not only creates fantastic popular support, it also feeds the industries who lavish gifts and financial support to our political leaders.

Not sure how our wars benefit Indian casinos.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 4, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Here's my more detailed take on this. I find it to be bogus for three reasons:

We probably do know whether the info on the Shahab-3 program came from. And that's from a stash of documents that, when the CIA first got them, seemed to be less than credible (unproven, walk-in source who might have ties to defector groups). Further, the article doesn't mention one of the big contradictions in claiming the new Shahab-3 missiles are going to be nuclear--the cones are smaller, so the missiles fly longer, but that means they're not big enough for a nuclear payload.

Second, this article is making a claim that because Iran is procuring materials related to a (they claim) civilian nuclear program AND materials for missile program that (as I've suggested) probably isn't related to nukes, that they're procuring materials for a nuclear missile program. That's the problem with arguing for the existence of WMDs from procurement records--materials, even nuclear ones, can have dual uses.

And finally, does anyone believe that only China and Russia are supplying Iran? Then why only mention them? Easy, because this document is intended not ONLY to generate support for a strike on Iran, but also to support increasing tensions related to Iran with Russia and China.

Posted by: emptywheel on January 4, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Remember the good old days when if the President of the United States and the dictator of a third world shithole disageed on a topic, you could be reasonably certain that the POTUS was the one telling the truth?

Boy, the way Glenn Miller played
Songs that made the Hit Parade
Guys like us, we had it made
Those were the days

Posted by: CK Dexter Haven on January 4, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: You can always count on the Israelis to cut through the BS and do what's needed for self preservation.

Like the Nazis and Imperial Japan and Soviets and Saddam and the terrorists and the Bush administration.

A little repression here, a little there, preemptive strikes against the enemy, a little torture here, a little torture there, bulldoze the houses of innocent family members, a little assasination here, a little assasination there, ignore UN resolutions, a little human rights violations here, a little human rights violations there.

Red State Mike: Whether the idea was an American one or not, the final decision to leak was all European.

I thought you didn't trust anonymous sources?

So much for that myth and your subsequent lie about it.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 4, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Go back and read what I replied to.

Which would make your argument not a straw man, how exactly...?

Conversations in this thread are simultaneously suggesting that Iran can be trusted to be behave as a rational actor who will do us no harm in order to do themselves no harm

Why, yes, I think it's safe to say that the concept of nuclear deterrence is fairly well proven. Do you have evidence to suggest that the mullahs are not rational actors to the point that they would invite the destruction of their country?

and yet be sure Bush and his entire government is irrational

I'd prefer to say incompetent, Mike. Aftr all, as you and tbrosz and c.n. and Observer are so desperate to distract from, the nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea proceed apace while the US is bogged down in Iraq. Brilliant!

and will knowingly harm this country to make petro-dollars.

...and once again, Mike is off in straw man land.

It's nice to know that, one hundred plus posts later, our resident right wingnuts have no defense of the Bush Administration's incompetence.

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

does anyone believe that only China and Russia are supplying Iran?

No, I added North Korea.

Red State Mike,

My point was, never trust a theocracy. Iran cannot be trusted to disarm itself. The world shouldn't really fear what would happen if Iran gave Hamas a nuclear device; it should fear the escalated response that would occur. Detonating any nuclear device above ground would kill innocents, regardless of your politics.

Avoiding that should be a central focus of this administration. Sadly, they're too focused on greed and bullshit to notice what's going on in the world.

Something about a fanatical belief in the End Times, perhaps...

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 4, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

RSM again:

"Conversations in this thread are simultaneously suggesting that Iran can be trusted to be behave as a rational actor who will do us no harm in order to do themselves no harm, and yet be sure Bush and his entire government is irrational and will knowingly harm this country to make petro-dollars. Or similar.

Now really...does that make sense?"

How stupid are you? The whole point underlying this discussion thread is whether or not the US is planning a pre-emptive strike on Iran. Iran's crime, such as it is, is attempting to procure nuclear weapons for an undefined, but presumably defensive, purpose. No one is suggesting, not even the Bush administration, that they are trying to get them for the purpose of directly attacking the US. Even your fellow trolls are more worried about destabilizing the region than the direct threat to the US.

It may not make sense, but it's your administration doing all the tough talking here. Of course, in my opinion, practically nothing this dimwit would-be Fuhrer has done in the name of protecting der Heimat makes any sense.

Posted by: brewmn on January 4, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: Now really...does that make sense?

Yes, it does.

Because one situation refers to mutually assured destruction, a hallmark of conservative foreign policy if ever there was one and so one they cannot deny, and the other refers to a potential danger to a few US citizens that might be interdicted anyway through other totalitarianism activities by the Bush administration - or so they clearly believe.

The real question is does RSM make any sense.

And the answer is a resounding "no".

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 4, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider:

> I would expect that war to start once Iran gives
> Hamas a nuclear device to use against Israel.

Look, I don't trust Iran as much as I don't
trust any regime in that region (including Our
Friends the Saudis), but this is over the top.

Think about it for a minute from Hamas' perspective.

Unless the Iranians can give them a neutron bomb that will
kill people and leave the land intact, there is *no way* that
any Palestinian group is going to *nuke* what they consider
to be their rightful homeland and render it uninhabitable.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

also from the report

The Iranian government has been successfully scouring Europe for the sophisticated equipment needed to develop a nuclear bomb, according to the latest western intelligence assessment of the country's weapons programmes.
Scientists in Tehran are also shopping for parts for a ballistic missile capable of reaching Europe, with "import requests and acquisitions ... registered almost daily", the report seen by the Guardian concludes.

It seems as if it's the Europeans who need to be concerned. This is only a guess but some of those people hosting the car-b-ques wouldn't mind have a larger arsenal and even if they don't get access to the controls they absolutely gain political leverage.

When Russia had their nukes pointed at Europe we were there to make sure nothing happened. That protection no long exists. It will be up to the Europeans to protect themselves. They can point their missles at Iran but does anyone really think they'd have the balls to actually use them?

Contrary to conventional wisdom Europe is in greater danger than Israel. Iran knows that an attack on Israel is unlikely to be successful due to missle defense technology but more important, even if successful, the Israeli's will ensure the Tehran area won't be able to sustain life of any type for 200,000 years.

They also know the USA will not stand by as Israel suffers an attack.

Iran can gain nothing from attacking or even threatening Israel or the USA. I'm sure they know we already have a few megatons pointed their way.

But they know they can get Europe to buy their way out of this jam and they're setting the table. Iran will be the patron saint of all European Muslims.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory
Go back and read what I replied to.

Which would make your argument not a straw man, how exactly...?

He suggested we trust Iran. I said "trust the mullahs" will not fly as a security policy for the left.

Why, yes, I think it's safe to say that the concept of nuclear deterrence is fairly well proven. Do you have evidence to suggest that the mullahs are not rational actors to the point that they would invite the destruction of their country?

The concept of deterrence has been proven wrong a number of times. Probably the best example is World War I, where it was clearly in everyone's interest to not go to war, as Europe was prosperous. And yet somehow it came any way.

How many times did we raise our alert status with Russia? How close did we come in the Missile Crisis? Are we going to get a red phone between us and Tehran?

RSM: and (Bush) will knowingly harm this country to make petro-dollars.

...and once again, Mike is off in straw man land.

from Brooksfoe in this thread...

Oh, it'd also send oil prices over $100 a barrel. But that's good for Mobil, right? So what's the problem? From Mr. Oily Prez's perspective, I mean? Posted by: brooksfoe on January 4, 2006 at 11:19 AM
Posted by: Red State Mike on January 4, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

You truly don't know Shi'ite from Shinola, Wooten.

The Iranian Shi'ite theocracy is almost as despised as the decadent West by the Salafi lunatics who launched the attacks in Europe.

Not one Shi'ite has been implicated in al Qaeda-style terrorism against the West. Not one.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

When Russia had their nukes pointed at Europe we were there to make sure nothing happened. That protection no long exists.

Well, yeah, because basically the threat no longer exists, but I can't help but wonder where our troops in Germany, our ICBM arsenal, and the NATO treaty (which holds that an attack against one is an attack against all, and was invoked for the first time by the European members after 9/11) disappeared to in rdw's world...just as I wonder what color the sky is there.

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider, Advocate,


Hou can you be so critical of Bush. He's stepped aside and allowed the grand masters of diplomacy manage this process. The negotiations are being directly managed by Kofi at the UN and Jacques at the EU. It's the one piece of global diplomacy either is actually involved in. Surely they can handle this and just as surely they'll do a far better job than GWB could ever hope.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

How stupid are you?

About half as stupid as you wish you weren't.

The whole point underlying this discussion thread is whether or not the US is planning a pre-emptive strike on Iran. Iran's crime, such as it is, is attempting to procure nuclear weapons for an undefined, but presumably defensive, purpose.

Wha? So you think they won't use their nukes to strong arm their neighbors and increase influence in the Middle East? That they're just a peacable country looking to just tend their gardens? The Rodney King of the east? These are the same guys who are the biggest state supporters of terrorism going, and want to wipe Israel off the map.

No one is suggesting, not even the Bush administration, that they are trying to get them for the purpose of directly attacking the US. Even your fellow trolls are more worried about destabilizing the region than the direct threat to the US.

I'm not suggesting they will lob a missile at CONUS, so place your "even the trolls" phrase where it belongs. But you seem to act like destabilizing the central point in the global economy is No Big Deal. And that having a state sponsor of terrorism waving nukes over it is No Big Deal. That their self-interest intersects enough with ours for us to look the other way.

Just because it's over the horizon doesn't mean it doesn't affect us. More harm can be doen to the US of A in the Middle East than can be done by knocking down a tall building ,frankly.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 4, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

I do agree with you that this is primarily Europe's problem and not ours or Israel's.

But I have yet to see an argument that defeats the logic of deterrence if Iran gets a nuke.

The Iranian mullahs are simply not going to suicide their whole nation. They sacrifice whole waves of 13-year-olds in ground battles against tanks, but that doesn't mean they'll allow their entire country to be lain to waste.

And don't doubt that if Iran uses a nuke *anywhere* in Europe, the Europeans will be the first to respond in kind.

Appreciating peace and diplomacy is not tantamount to a taste for suicide.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

You make it hard for me to compliment you but just to show how thick-skinned I am,

BOB HAS A POINT: Here's Israel's ethnic make-up

Ethnic groups:
Jewish 80.1% (Europe/America-born 32.1%, Israel-born 20.8%, Africa-born 14.6%, Asia-born 12.6%), non-Jewish 19.9% (mostly Arab) (1996 est.)

Even Dogs don't sh*t where they sleep. It's extremely doubtful the Iranians would attack Israel knowing Palestinains are interspersed within the popultion AND the fallout could never be contained to Israel anyway. They'd never use a missle because they'd never have the opportunity to even test it 1st.

They would not provide the technology or means to Hamas either. No matter who does what retaliation will be against Tehran.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

At first the flaw in going into Iraq was just that it took resources away from finishing up in Afghanistan. Now we see that breaking our Army and our bank will degrade our ability to defend ourselves from a *genuine* nuclear threat. And you dittobutts say your leadership team is "protecting us"?!

Posted by: Neil' on January 4, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

He suggested we trust Iran. I said "trust the mullahs" will not fly as a security policy for the left.

Yes, RSM, but "containment and deterrence" has a nice ring to it.

Moreover, he suggested we trust the Iranian regime to be a rational actor, and you've failed to give one reason that stance isn't correct.

"Trust the mullahs" is simply your dishonesty showing. A straw man, indeed.

The concept of deterrence has been proven wrong a number of times. Probably the best example is World War I

Sure, WWI, but the proof that deterrence works is WWIII...you know, the one that didn't occur. Nuclear deterrence presents a risk far beyond what the warring nations in WWI are willing to bear. Which is, of course, what all of this is about. It's pretty pathetic that you have to reach all the way back to WWI (conveniently skipping, of course, the entire Cold War), Mike.

Meanwhile, you have failed to demonstrate why Iran having the Bomb would pose a direct threat to the US, as they would be deterred from attacking us, but you also overlook that Iran's pursuit of the Bomb as a deterrent against the US is indeed the mark of a rational actor -- and, I might add, a predictable and predicted result of Bush attacking the one member of the so-called "Axis of Evil" that conspicuously did not have an active nuclear program beyond Saddam's pipe dreams.

Hou can you be so critical of Bush. He's stepped aside and allowed the grand masters of diplomacy manage this process.

rdw, that's one of the funniest excuses for Bush's inaction in the face of this threat I've ever seen.

just as surely they'll do a far better job than GWB could ever hope

There it is, ladies and gentlemen: The first true thing rdw has ever written on these forums.

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike:

If the logic of deterrence prevents Iran from even thinking about using a nuke anywhere, lest face annihilation, it doesn't exactly follow that they can use their nukes as diplomatic bargaining chips.

Iran developing a nuke is as sane a dscision as going to the gym every night to deal with a neighborhood bully who's always threatening to kick your ass.

Defense against Bush's clearly stated objectives is completely rational.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

"So: maybe this is for real. Or maybe it's just an effort to prepare public opinion for a military strike against Iran. Stay tuned."

Kevin, you're suffering from what everyone else suffering from, "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."

Posted by: sheerahkahn on January 4, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Iran's crime, such as it is, is attempting to procure nuclear weapons for an undefined, but presumably defensive, purpose.

To finish out the Mutually Assured destruction meme, our MAD policy between us and the USSR depended on a survivable component of the nuke strike force. We kept bombers in the air and on alert 24/7, and had our boomers undersea in order to survive a first strike. The USSR had their own boomers and also their mobile ICBM launchers. Both sides knew their would be a counter to an offensive attack.

Iran will not have a MAD capability, near as I can tell. We could nuke them and destroy their ability to respond.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 4, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike:

If the logic of deterrence prevents Iran from even thinking about
using a nuke anywhere, lest face annihilation, it doesn't exactly
follow that they can use their nukes as diplomatic bargaining chips.
Iran developing a nuke is as sane a dscision as going to the gym every
night to deal with a neighborhood bully who's always threatening to
kick your ass.

Defense against Bush's clearly stated objectives is
completely rational. It's to deter a ground invasion.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

But you seem to act like destabilizing the central point in the global economy is No Big Deal. And that having a state sponsor of terrorism waving nukes over it is No Big Deal. That their self-interest intersects enough with ours for us to look the other way.

Nice straw man again, RSM. No one is suggesting it's No Big Deal. But you know that. It's a clear comment on the strength of the arguments against you that you fail to address them, but instead address your own distorted rendition of them.

But given your perception of the seriousness of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons -- and of course they hope to wield more influence in the Middle East; sheesh, join the club -- one wonders why you're busying yourself with straw man arguments against Bush's political opposition while giving Bush himself a free pass on his obvious failure to dissuade or deter Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Seriously, Mike -- granting, arguendo, that it's the problem you claim it is, how do you justify Bush's failures here?

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Iran will not have a MAD capability, near as I can tell. We could nuke them and destroy their ability to respond.

Bob has already noted that one need not have MAD capability for nukes to serve as a deterrent (if memory serves me right, we weren't quite there yet at the Cuban Missile Crisis, and yet neither side was willing to risk the inevitable destruction anyway -- again, contra your absurd WWI analogy.)

But no one is suggesting Iran will have a true MAD capability, Mike. Hell, neither does Red China, right now or ever. But "destroy their ability to respond" is a tall order. And as you yourself pointed out, Iran doesn't have to fire off a nuclear missile to cause serious economic harm. Offhand, I'd imagine that if they did enough damage to their own oil infrastructure -- or the tanker traffic in the Persian Gulf -- the results might be more painful to the US than if the lobbed a bomb at Israel.

Just as with your fantasizing about the surgical B-2 strike, Mike, your error is in presuming that US military might would prevent any kind of unfavorable response from the target. That attitude sure didn't work out well in Iraq, did it?

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike:

> Iran will not have a MAD capability, near as I can tell. We
> could nuke them and destroy their ability to respond.

Thank you, Edward Teller, for thinking about the unthinkable.

And unthinkably *irrelevant*. Iran will never have
nuclear *parity* equivalent to the US-USSR standoff, thus
surviving a first strike isn't remotely in the cards.

Deterrence here is simply the notion that if they try to use a nuke
on anybody, for any purpose, their whole country will get wasted.

Just how difficult is this for you to understand?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

The Iranian mullahs are simply not going to suicide their whole nation. They sacrifice whole waves of 13-year-olds in ground battles against tanks, but that doesn't mean they'll allow their entire country to be lain to waste.

We mostly agree. There's a huge difference between the clerics and those they sacrifice just as there are between all of theses leaders (arafat) and the donkey's they use as suicide bombers. Arafat and Osama never had any intention of committing suicide. It's less their country than saving their own skins.


And don't doubt that if Iran uses a nuke *anywhere* in Europe, the Europeans will be the first to respond in kind.

It doesn't matter what we think although I am far less confident that you. It matters what they think. Osama struck the USA because he perceived weakness. Never in a million years did he expect to lose everything. The entire Middle East has seen the response of the USA, France and Germany. There are no more questions as to how America will respond to an attack and that's a very good thing.

There are no questions as to how France and Germany will respond either. And that's a very bad thing. Germany just released the terrorists who tortured and assassinated an American sailor 15 years ago to Iraqi insurgents in a hostage swap. They know how to deal with Europe. It's usually very profitable.

In a few years Iran will be an immediate threat both within and without France. Remember about 25% of it's citizens under 30 are Muslim and that's quickly headed toward 50%. France doesn't have any attractive options except bribery.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

France doesn't have any attractive options except bribery.

rdw is right on cue, droning on and on about things he knows nothing about.

We have tbroz claiming Europe and the UN are active partners in helping keep nuclear weapons out of Iranian hands and rdw seems to say that 'old Europe' don't matter.

How about a smackdown between the venerable but misguided tbrosz, the somewhat sensible Red State Mike, the daft madness of Mr. Nut and the buffoonery of rdw...?

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 4, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

Unless the Iranians can give them a neutron bomb that will kill people and leave the land intact, there is *no way* that any Palestinian group is going to *nuke* what they consider
to be their rightful homeland and render it uninhabitable.

I disagree. The only tactic that works for them has been suicide bombing.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 4, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Defense against Bush's clearly stated objectives is completely rational. It's to deter a ground invasion.

What clearly stated objectives are you taking about?

There will be no ground invasion of anyone known to have a nuclear weapon. The fear in Iraq wasn't that he had nuclear weapons as much as chemical weapons. They wanted to get him out BEFORE he had a usuable nuclear weapon.

If in fact Iran is enough of a threat that we must take them out the Air Force and Navy will lead because they can operate at a distance.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Not one Shi'ite has been implicated in al Qaeda-style terrorism against the West. Not one.

...Bob

Does the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beruit by Hezbollah count.

Posted by: berlins on January 4, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

If in fact Iran is enough of a threat that we must take them out the Air Force and Navy will lead because they can operate at a distance.

...and because Bush has the Army and Marines tied down in Iraq.

But why speculate? rdw's fantasies about America striking fear into its enemies aside, Bush has done precious little about Iran, or about North Korea, which did in fact "reconstitute nuclear weapons" on his watch.

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

If in fact Iran is enough of a threat that we must take them out the Air Force and Navy will lead because they can operate at a distance.

Do you have any idea of what you're talking about? Do you have the slightest clue?

Iran has a massive military. Long before they tried to establish a nuclear deterrent, they began acquiring the best air defense equipment available. They are not a Soviet-doctrine military like Iraq or Syria--they have built a professional military based on what was left after the Shah was deposed.

If you think we can just fly into Iran and do whatever we want, you are absolutely crazy. And whatever you want to say about our Navy, yes, our Navy is excellent. We have great ships and great pilots and great people. [we have too few of them--what was once a 600 ship Navy has been shrunk to under 300 ships and is stretched too thin] We are not capable of putting every single one of them in the Persian Gulf, which would be turned into a free-fire zone. Oil tankers and freighters would have to stop; the Straits of Hormuz would be the choke point; Iran has a capable sea deterrent as well.

Sometimes when I read and post here--and believe me, I needed that break last week--it never ceases to amaze me how ignorant and uneducated the wingnuts truly are.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 4, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider,

Ok,what can France do aside from bribery?

Focus 1st on the large muslim population already in France and how they deal with them.

War with Iran is absolutely out of the question. France has no way of attacking Iran in any serious way aside from long range missle strikes. Their army is small and inexperienced and lacks transport capabilities. Their air force is powerfull but also small and lacks any range. Their Navy would inconsequential.

The sad fact is both Iran and France know France is ill-equipped for a fight. France has no choice but to pay up.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Okay, I'll skip over your earlier points, because on the first
one we vaguely agree and the second's just more of your highly
distasteful and completely speculative knee-jerk Europe-bashing.

But this next one is concretely wrong:

> In a few years Iran will be an immediate threat both within
> and without France. Remember about 25% of it's citizens under
> 30 are Muslim and that's quickly headed toward 50%. France
> doesn't have any attractive options except bribery.

Look, it's not terribly surprising that someone who has
such reflexive contempt for the continent of Europe also has
zero clue of what's actually going on there. First off, the
car-be-cues (cute phrase) were primarily a response to local
conditions (France doesn't believe in all that multi-culti
bullshit you hate so much in America and is, uhh, paying the
price for its hardass advocacy of vive-la-France assimilation
and drop the cultural traditions you came there with) and had
about as much ideology behind them as the Rodney King riots.

Secondly, Iranian mullas don't export jihadist ideology. They might
aid Hezbollah, but Hezbollah already has a hardcore list of gripes
against Israel. They don't *foment* their ideology, because Shi'ites
don't proselyze; Sunni do. There's a very rough parallel between
Catholics and Protestants. Shi'ites, like Catholics, come out of
well-established religious schools and no ayatollah is a freelancer.
Sunni imams are like loose-cannon Protestant preachers. Any imam is
MOL free to interpret the Koran how he likes and some feel commanded
to spread the word of Allah. The religious ideologues looking to
exploit the unrest in Europe are the *last thing* from Iranian agents;
they're funded, aided and trained by Wahabi/Salafi madrasses schools
with the covert support of people in Saudi Arabia and the gulf states.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

the Straits of Hormuz would be the choke point; Iran has a capable sea deterrent as well.

Kudos to Pale Rider for stating explicitly what I only hinted at above.

I won't waste my time debunking rdw's fantasies; I'll simply point out the evident glee with which he/she/it seems to favor Iran, our putative enemy, over France, our putative ally. (I know, I know, "Old Europe" and all that...yawn.)

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Ok,what can France do aside from bribery?

France has euros, euros buy oil, and the Iranians want euros for their oil.

Last time I checked, France could actually claim some moral high ground in the world when it comes to dismantling nuclear programs.

ASSISTANCE IN THE DISMANTLING OF RUSSIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS (AIDA AND AIDA MOX)
France has made a 70 million euro (FF460 millions) contribution to the dismantling of Russian nuclear weapons by providing machine tools, radiological equipment, containers and a storage building. A program was launched for the conversion of weapon-grade plutonium into MOX* fuel for civilian plants and is continuing in cooperation with Germany.

France is the sole nuclear power having announced and started the dismantling of its fissile material production facilities.

Since 1992, France no longer produces weapon-grade plutonium.
- At the end of 1997, it closed the Marcoule reprocessing* plant where this plutonium was produced.
Since mid-1996, France has ceased all production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.
- The Pierrelatte enrichment* plant, where highly enriched weapon-grade uranium was produced, has also been closed.
- The dismantling of these plants, decided in February 1996, is underway.

27 January 1996 Last and final French nuclear test
23-23 February 1996 Announcement by the President of the Republic of the permanent cessation of the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and of the permanent closing of the Pacific Test Site facilities.
Announcement of the new format for French nuclear forces :
- scaling down of ballistic missile nuclear submarine force from five to four
- further lowering of alert status
- end of Mirage-IVP nuclear mission
- dismantling of Hads* missiles
- dismantling of S3D* missiles

April 1998 France, together with the United Kingdom, is the first nuclear weapon state to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty
2 June 1998 Signature of the French-German-Russian agreement on the dismantling of Russian nuclear weapons (AIDA* - MOX*)
22 September 1998 Signature with the IAEA of an Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement (strengthened Safeguards, 93+2* program)

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 4, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

But given your perception of the seriousness of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons -- and of course they hope to wield more influence in the Middle East; sheesh, join the club -- one wonders why you're busying yourself with straw man arguments against Bush's political opposition while giving Bush himself a free pass on his obvious failure to dissuade or deter Iran's nuclear ambitions.

First, there are folks here arguing that it's not such a big deal for Iran to have nukes because they are rational, and every country has the right to arm themselves with nukes. Or something closeto that.

Second, frankly I don't know that it is in our country's power to dissuade Iran from their nuke ambitions. I said so at the top of the thread, and meant it. We are short on carrots, but have lots of sticks.

And we saw how well diplomacy worked with North Korea, as they built more bombs while under Clinton. (Not taking a shot at Clinton, just saying trust only gets you so far).

Again, I think Europe holds the cards here. They're trading partners with Iran, not us.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 4, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Pale rider,

OK, they don't have the old soviet crap as weapons. They have American stuff from 1975 that was 3nd rate in 1975. Isn't that pre-chip? so what's that now, 8 generations ago?

And so much their vaunted American weapons those butchers sent 16-yr old kids across mine fields in the war against Iraq in their friggin sandals.


We are far, far from doing a thing in Iran. But if tomorrow GWB decided the air force needed to take out every military site in Iran they could take it out. If you'll notice, the air force isn't all that occupied in Iraq nor is the
Navy and they happen to be there in exceptionally large numbers.

But all this misses the point. The question isn't 'can we'? They know we can. The question is 'would we'? Bullies prey on the weak. That's why this is a European problem.

BTW: see the article last week on the new F-22A all-purpose fighter? Seems they can take on the current state-of-the-art F-16s at a rate of 5 to 1 and win consistently. Iran's defense spending isless than 2% ours and their management of the Iraq war was a disgrace.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider:

> Unless the Iranians can give them a neutron bomb that will
> kill people and leave the land intact, there is *no way* that
> any Palestinian group is going to *nuke* what they consider
> to be their rightful homeland and render it uninhabitable.

> I disagree. The only tactic that works
> for them has been suicide bombing.

Suicide bombing doesn't irradiate the land and make it
uninhabitable. If they did that it would be considered apostasy.
The whole point of the Palestinian uprising has been to get back
the land which is currently Greater Israel, not kill Israelis
per se. That's only a tactical expression of their larger goal.

> "Not one Shi'ite has been implicated in al
> Qaeda-style terrorism against the West. Not one."

berlins:

> Does the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beruit by Hezbollah count.

I would argue no. al Qaeda-style Islamist terrorism
is a different animal than terrorism directed against
Israel and its supporters (which we clearly are). It has
an internationalist, not a local, agenda. Its goals are a
global uprising of Muslims, not a military defeat of Israel.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Ok,what can France do aside from bribery?

France has euros, euros buy oil, and the Iranians want euros for their oil.

OK then, we agree right? All France has is money for bribes!


Last time I checked, France could actually claim some moral high ground in the world when it comes to dismantling nuclear programs.

I got it. When Iran gets nuked up and decides it doesn't like how the French are treating their Islaminic minorities and starts making nasty the French will say, "Back off bub, we may be unarmed but we have the moral high ground. We'll insult you!!"

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: Advocate for God, why do you hate our country?

I love it and want to preserve its heritage of freedom; you must hate it since you want to destroy the freedom that makes America America.

Patrick Henry said "[g]ive me liberty or give me death."

Red State Mike says "[g]ive me life, even at the cost of liberty and freedom and dignity and honor and integrity and morality. I'd rather be like the Nazis, the Soviets, or the Baathists, than wounded or dead."

They're trading partners with Iran, not us.

Right. Just like we didn't trade with Iraq during the sanctions.

What a joke you are and how clueless.

Just as Reagan did, Bush will negotiate with terrorists in a heartbeat.

Conservatives bluster in public while they defile their own values in private.

Need some Goo-Gone to remove your lips from Bush's ass, RSM?

rdw: Germany just released the terrorists who tortured and assassinated an American sailor 15 years ago to Iraqi insurgents in a hostage swap.

Yeah, conservatives in America would never do anything like that!

Hardee har har!

Can you say Arms-for-Hostages, rdw?

I knew you could, even though you have to force it out of a mouth glued to Bush's ass.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 4, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

First, there are folks here arguing that it's not such a big deal for Iran to have nukes because they are rational, and every country has the right to arm themselves with nukes. Or something close to that.

I would disagree with anyone who says that Iran is a reasonable player in the world. They are not. They have supported terrorism, repression and violence throughout the Middle East. They are a radical theocracy that has introduced Sharia Law into their culture [way to bring back 13th Century values] and are controlled by clerics. Concentrating power in the hands of religious wackos doesn't get you the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

Second, frankly I don't know that it is in our country's power to dissuade Iran from their nuke ambitions. I said so at the top of the thread, and meant it. We are short on carrots, but have lots of sticks.

It should have been in our power. See, we could have been a contender. Instead, we have bums leading us. The failure to get on top of nuclear proliferation after the fall of the Soviet Union is one of the great blunders of American foreign policy. Chasing only certain terrorists and not all the terrorists in the world and fighting a hapless series of wars on drugs, Saddam and boobies on TV have sapped our resources.

And we saw how well diplomacy worked with North Korea, as they built more bombs while under Clinton. (Not taking a shot at Clinton, just saying trust only gets you so far).

Clinton deserves some shots. I still think his policy would have worked had Bush not dismantled it right after taking office. And sending Bolton to talk to the North Koreans was no smarter than sending Albright.

Again, I think Europe holds the cards here.

See--that's what I've been trying to instigate here--a rightwing smackdown between Red State Mike and rdw.

Sadly, all my dreams have not been realized. As the new year dawned, I realized that I'll never be a ballerina and I'll never been in NSync.


Posted by: Pale Rider on January 4, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: Bullies prey on the weak.

Which is one of the real reasons Bush attacked Iraq.

He's a bully and a coward and knew someone else, and someone else's kids, would do the dying for him.

That's why this is a European problem.

All right, we agree then that Bush is a do-nothing president when it comes to real threats and retreats in favor of European action when the going gets tough.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 4, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Iran's defense spending isless than 2% ours and their management of the Iraq war was a disgrace.

Given that our mangement of the Iraq was is a disgrace, that isn't the boasting point you think it is, rdw.

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

rdw says There's a huge difference between the clerics and those they sacrifice just as there are between all of theses leaders (arafat) and the donkey's they use as suicide bombers.

Can you also say there's a huge difference between the clerics and those they sacrifice just as there are between all these leaders (Bush) and the donkey's he has as followers/supporters?

Posted by: WhoSays on January 4, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider:

I absolutely agree with you that we should have made nuclear non-proliferation the key focus of our diplomacy in the post cold war era.

Understand that I'm not saying that it's "good" Iran has a nuke -- anymore than it's "good" that Pakistan has one.

Only that I think our obession with it is hiding an agenda a tad less noble than nucler non-proliferation.

I also think we should have joined the ICC.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

rdw says There's a huge difference between the clerics and those they sacrifice just as there are between all of theses leaders (arafat) and the donkey's they use as suicide bombers.

Can you also say there's a huge difference between the clerics and those they sacrifice just as there are between all these leaders (Bush) and the donkey's he has as followers/supporters?

Posted by: WhoSays on January 4, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

bob,

Agree completely the car-b-ques (which are a regular occurance) were not a religious uprising but it's early yet.

what I've read is 10% of the population is Islamic and 80% of this population is unhappy with the French. They are social and economic outcasts stuck in ghetto's with not a lot of job opportunities. Worse is that the 2nd generations are less assimilatd and much angrier with unemployment over 40%. Rumor has it they are more religious with no interest in becoming French. This is the perfect breeding ground for the fundamentalists.

I agree there is a difference between the sillyness of multi-culturalism as practiced by Denmark, Sweden, the UK versus how France operates however this is still a large, angry, subclass.

The worst of all this is the demographics. It's not going to be long at all before that 10% is 20% and then 30%.

Iran has time on it's side. France knows this.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

"Iran has a massive military. Long before they tried to establish a nuclear deterrent, they began acquiring the best air defense equipment available. They are not a Soviet-doctrine military like Iraq or Syria--they have built a professional military based on what was left after the Shah was deposed."

Pale Rider,
I think you should review Iranian defense before making statements like this. Iran's military got wasted in the War of the Cities with Iraq.
Todays Iranian military isn't what the Shah left them.
Instead, they have a core groups of Revolutionary Guards, but these are outside the basic Iranian military structure.
I'm not saying the Iranians are not rebuilding their military, but it will be sometime before they present a credible conventional threat to anyone in the region.
As for Navy.. I believe their deep water Navy can be counted on one hand, however, this information is old so I may be wrong here.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on January 4, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Bob

Suicide bombing doesn't irradiate the land and make it uninhabitable. If they did that it would be considered apostasy. The whole point of the Palestinian uprising has been to get back
the land which is currently Greater Israel, not kill Israelis per se. That's only a tactical expression of their larger goal.

I agree. I thought apostasy was the renunciation of Islam and the conversion to Christianity. I would think that they would deploy any kind of dirty bomb they could get their hands on in a way to kill as many Israelis as possible. I think you have a better grasp of the issue than I do.

rdw,

OK, they don't have the old soviet crap as weapons. They have American stuff from 1975 that was 3nd rate in 1975. Isn't that pre-chip? so what's that now, 8 generations ago?

No, they have the really good stuff now, much of it acquired through arms brokers. Go see globalsecurity.org and you might understand what this argument is all about. Iran has been trading oil for sophisticated Chinese air defense systems for twenty years. And that's post-chip shit.

And so much their vaunted American weapons those butchers sent 16-yr old kids across mine fields in the war against Iraq in their friggin sandals.

rdw, you ignorant bastard. Do you have any clue what that war involved? It was the largest and most comprehensive war that saw the widespread deployment of chemical and biological weapons by both sides. It was fought by two relatively modern armies. It was not fought in the sand on horseback like Lawrence of Arabia. It was fought in the swamps in the southern part of the country as well as in the mountains. It was fought with tanks, SSMs, helicopters and all manner of weaponry that exists right now and is just as deadly now as it was then.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 4, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: Iran has time on it's side.

Then why does Bush hesitate?

Because he governs by poll.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 4, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

No, they have the really good stuff now, much of it acquired through arms brokers. Go see globalsecurity.org and you might understand what this argument is all about. Iran has been trading oil for sophisticated Chinese air defense systems for twenty years. And that's post-chip shit.

The Chinese DON'T have really good stuff. What they have they bought from the Russians and what they have hasn't been battle tested. We have drones more powerful than Chines jets.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

sheerakahn,

They're neither helpless nor are they unbeatable. The transfer of technology throughout the world has been pervasive in the last twenty years. If a country has oil--like Iran--you can get what you want.

Here is a sample of the armaments listed on the globalsecurity.org web site.

HQ-7 / FM-80/-90 Feimeng 80
The Feimeng 80 air defense missile is a point defense missile that is usually deployed to ammunition depots or military bases. Its mission is similar to that of the "Avenger" missile. With an effective engagement range of 12-15km the system uses an E/F-band Acquisition radar and a J-band Engagement radar.

In the early 1990s China first publicly displayed its first mobile low-altitude and ultra-low-altitude missile -- the "Feimeng (Flying Midge)-80." Using a combination of infrared, television and radar guidance systems, this air defense missile system is under wireless command control all the way, which gives it excellent resistance to passive jamming, active jamming and crustal and meteorological noises. Compared to similar types of advanced air defense missiles abroad, the "Feimeng-80" is superior to the US Chaparrel, the British Rapier, and the German and French Roland in all-weather capability, combat response time, combat air space, and ability to deal with multiple targets. Its overall performance is comparable to the improved Sidewinder.

Now, that's merely one example. There are many more, and they're probably available on Jane's.

For those of you who sneer and think Iran is helpless, I would beg to differ. That is not to say that I am telling you that they couldn't be routed and beaten--any military can be routed and beaten.

Geography does favor Iran in ways that it did not favor Iraq.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 4, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

We have drones more powerful than Chines jets.

Jeez, I can't take it anymore.

See you in a week, fellas.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 4, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory
But no one is suggesting Iran will have a true MAD capability, Mike.

Hmmm, read upthread a bit. I wasn't responding to you.

Hell, neither does Red China, right now or ever. But "destroy their ability to respond" is a tall order. And as you yourself pointed out, Iran doesn't have to fire off a nuclear missile to cause serious economic harm. Offhand, I'd imagine that if they did enough damage to their own oil infrastructure -- or the tanker traffic in the Persian Gulf -- the results might be more painful to the US than if the lobbed a bomb at Israel.

Gregory, you and I are in agreement and the folks who suggested as a stabilizing rationale are wrong.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 4, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

It was the largest and most comprehensive war that saw the widespread deployment of chemical and biological weapons by both sides. It was fought by two relatively modern armies.

You are out of your mind. These were two grossly incompetent armies. Your history sucks as well. There is no such thing as a modern arab army.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: You are out of your mind.

You didn't have one to start with . . .

rdw: Your history sucks as well.

A history that sucks would be better than one invented out of whole cloth, like yours.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 4, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

You are out of your mind. These were two grossly incompetent armies. Your history sucks as well. There is no such thing as a modern arab army.

Okay.

Well, I have to apologize for the fact that the only reason why I know anything at all about this subject is because I had to learn it. And I learned it while in the US Army. And one of the people who commanded a unit that I was in was G2 for CENTCOM during the Iraq War. Oh, and long before any of this happened, I was part of the exercise that laid out the 3rd Infantry Division's path out of Northern Kuwait into Baghdad...in 1998.

So...I guess what rdw is saying is that the US Army has rendered me 'out of my mind' by giving me the necessary training to break out the order of battle and the armaments used by the various nations in the Middle East and South Asia.

My sources in open source are globalsecurity.org. If I had subscription access to Jane's, I'd gladly share that information with all of you. Spend a few years going through Jane's and I think you can pick up some pretty good info on how the world arms and defends itself.

Now I get it.

Same time, next week homies.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 4, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: The Chinese DON'T have really good stuff.

Oh ye of little faith in the PLA. The continuing technology transfers from "American" companies are doing a world of good there.

State-of-the-art avionics? That new 90 nm Intel fab ought to help their know-how.

Jet engine technology? Well that is very similiar to gas turbine technology for electricity generation. Our buddies at GE help there.

Oh wait, your theory is that these eager capitalists will be having so much fun making money that they won't threaten the US or its allies. Right. So they'll stop selling weapons to the likes of Iran or other countries that supply their lifeblood of oil. Maybe they'll stop cozying up to the likes of Sudan, Myanmar and Uzbekistan too.

Posted by: alex on January 4, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: BOB HAS A POINT

Bravo, rdw, you're making strides!

To all: One point which has lately not been emphasized (Troy was keen on this but he hasn't been around in a while) is the sheer piracy aspect of Bush's Iraq adventure.

Bush's sycophants have protested that we aren't in Iraq "stealing" their oil. But in fact, the adventure was a pre-meditated act of business piracy.

We were on the outs with Saddam, so Saddam's big oil contracts were with France and Russia, not us. Cheney & Bush decided to change those business arrangements by force, and they did.

Posted by: obscure on January 4, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

For those of you who sneer and think Iran is helpless, I would beg to differ. That is not to say that I am telling you that they couldn't be routed and beaten--any military can be routed and beaten.

Ok, Iran fought Iraq to draw. We crushed Iraq's military in 20 minutes. But Iran is going to be a real chore for the US? This makes zero sense.

THE FACT IS Iran is not going to test the USA. They won't bluff George. They saw Saddam get pulled out of his cubbyhole. They will bluff France because France will back down. They can defeat France.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Pale rider,

Dressing someone like Saddam in a neat uniform and giving him nice toys does not make him a general. Nor does it make an army.

At no point in history has there been a wider gap between the military capability of the top power and that of the 2nd. The training is just as important as the technology and we have both in addition to experience. No one else has either of these things aside from Israel. Iran is far from number 2.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Alex,

The fact Intel has a plant in China is meaningless. They can buy their chips just as easily from ireland, texas, israel, etc. Ditto for the GE factory.

Hate to tell you but those GE engines will be of little help in a fighterjet and the chips will be of no help.

The fact is China remains a totalarian state incapable of major innovation on a consistent basis. The Soviet military was never a serious military threat to the US except for their size. Look at Afghanistan. They held the Russians off for 10 years. It took the US 3 weeks.

China is growing quite rapidly and will buy everything they can get their hands on but toys do not make a soldier just as unifirms do not make a general. If they're able to buy it then it's 2nd generation.


Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

The fact is China remains a totalarian state incapable of major innovation on a consistent basis. The Soviet military was never a serious military threat to the US except for their size. Look at Afghanistan. They held the Russians off for 10 years.

How many years did Viet Nam hold us off?

It took the US 3 weeks.

Because they didn't have a superpower using htem as a proxy.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 4, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: We crushed Iraq's military in 20 minutes.

Then why are we still there?

Dressing someone like Saddam in a neat uniform and giving him nice toys does not make him a general. Nor does it make an army.

Dressing someone in the trappings of president and fawning over him does not give Bush presidential character or competence. Nor does it make him an effective Commander in Chief.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 4, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

The Soviet military was never a serious military threat to the US except for their size.

Golly, rdw, surely you aren't saying that those generations of Republicans -- Ronald Reagan for one -- were lying about the Soviets being a threat?!

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider: I would disagree with anyone who says that Iran is a reasonable player in the world. They are not. They have supported terrorism, repression and violence throughout the Middle East. They are a radical theocracy that has introduced Sharia Law into their culture [way to bring back 13th Century values] and are controlled by clerics. Concentrating power in the hands of religious wackos doesn't get you the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

Well, there's "reasonable" in the sense of open to ideals of fairness, tolerance, reason, etc. and then there's "reasonable" in the sense of having a calculating sense of one's own self-interest and desire for power and survival and an ability to calculate the odds and plan accordingly. While Iran is not the former, it is certainly the second.

Posted by: Stefan on January 4, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: THE FACT IS Iran is not going to test the USA.

They already have and continue to do so.

And Bush is failing the test.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 4, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

For those of you who sneer and think Iran is helpless, I would beg to differ. That is not to say that I am telling you that they couldn't be routed and beaten--any military can be routed and beaten. Geography does favor Iran in ways that it did not favor Iraq.

Not only geography (Iran, for example, is far more mountainous) but other factors as well, including increased urbanization (think house to house fighting in Fallujah is bad? Try Teheran) and the fact that it has three times the population of Iraq.

Moreover, any strike into Iran would quickly turn our own flank by inciting their Shiite co-religionists in Iraq against us. Right now we're only holding on in Iraq because the Shiites allow us to remain there.


Posted by: Stefan on January 4, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory: Golly, rdw, surely you aren't saying that those generations of Republicans -- Ronald Reagan for one -- were lying about the Soviets being a threat?!

Of course he's not.

Once you start talking about Reagan, the facts and theories will all change to justify a pre-ordained conclusion that Reagan was God and properly viewed the Soviet Union as a threat and defeated that threat, just as conservative facts and theories change daily to justify a pre-ordained conclusion that George W. Bush is God and that Iraq was a threat and Bush defeated that threat.

Facts, theory, and philosophy are infinitely mutable and bendy in the conservatives' World of Rationalization.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 4, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

"The continuing technology transfers from "American" companies are doing a world of good there."

I wish we could buy military (and space)equipment from Russia and China. The two cooperate on the Sukhoi advanced fighters, probably the best in the world.

http://www.aeronautics.ru/chinasu30.htm

"Currently the only foreign operator of Su-30 is India, which ordered 40 of these aircraft for $2 billion back in 1996. "

---------------------------

That comes to $50 million each, ready to rumble. These are probably the most advanced fighter body in existance, though the engine technology is behind the West. We will end up paying some $350 million each for Lockheed Raptor fighters or F-22 or whatever we call that Lockheed junk, before Congress cancels the certain fisaco of buying stuff from Lockheed.

Also, folks, China probably has the most advanced manned space aircraft undergoing tests right now, Russia the most reliable manned space craft.

Let me mention once again, the AK-47, the most used assault rifle of all time. A design given to the public domain, so simple that blacksmiths in Pakistan can turn out perfect copies from piles of recycled metal.

Posted by: Matt on January 4, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, Iran fought Iraq to draw. We crushed Iraq's military in 20 minutes. But Iran is going to be a real chore for the US? This makes zero sense.

We crushed Iraq's military in 20 minutes? And yet almost three years later we're still in the middle of major combat operations and have yet to fully conquer or even stabilize Iraq, even though we're opposed by only a few thousand men. So we could win against Iran, if by "win" you mean commit to a multi-year guerilla war in Iran and Iraq that will cost hundreds of billions and tens of thousands of US casualties a year, vastly increase the threat of terrorism, tie down the entire United States military, destabilize the world's oil supply, and give Al Qaeda and China and North Korea a free hand.

Posted by: Stefan on January 4, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: The fact Intel has a plant in China is meaningless.

So you don't think that operating a 90 nm fab will give China know-how in state-of-the-art chip manufacturing? Please tell me how you come to that conclusion.

They can buy their chips just as easily from ireland, texas, israel, etc.

In some cases that's true, which is why the export of such technology to the USSR was prohibited. Apparently the very successful containment strategy that lead to our victory in the Cold War has been abandoned. Methinks it has something to do with folks who saw Red now seeing Green. We also sold lots of good stuff to Germany and Japan prior to WW2.

BTW, Texas has now joined the Union.

Hate to tell you but those GE engines will be of little help in a fighterjet

Gas turbines for power generation are essentially jet engines on the ground. You can't bolt one into a fighter, but learning how to make one takes you a long way towards learning how to make the other.

the chips will be of no help

As someone who's designed both commercial and military electronics, I can tell you that's completely false. Industrial grade -40 to +85C plastic packaged chips work fine in most mil equipment, which is why the US military now uses lots of COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) stuff. Need full blown mil -55 to +125C parts, able to withstand thermal shock? Just derate the commercial parts and drop them into a ceramic package. That's what the US does - there is no other difference between a commercial and a military chip.

The fact is China remains a totalarian state incapable of major innovation on a consistent basis.

And how long ago would you have said that China is a totalitarian state incapable of large scale industrial production? BTW, Nazi Germany was a totalitarian state that made many innovations (first to have guided missiles, ballistic missiles, jet planes, etc.). The USSR was a totalitarian states yet they were the first to launch a satellite and the first to put a man in space.

The Soviet military was never a serious military threat to the US except for their size.

Size takes money and manpower. China is making lots of money now, and I think you know about the manpower.

China is growing quite rapidly and will buy everything they can get their hands on but toys do not make a soldier just as unifirms do not make a general.

So you assume that China is incapable of training troops? Is that something that only Americans and Israelis are intrinsically capable of? Seems to me they were pretty good in the Korean war, and that's back before they gained industrial strength.

Posted by: alex on January 4, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

The Soviet military was never a serious military threat to the US except for their size.

Yes, but any honest woman will tell you that size matters.

Posted by: Stefan on January 4, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: The Soviet military was never a serious military threat to the US except for their size.

Iran is almost four times the size of Iraq, with a complex terrain involving some of the most formidable mountains and deserts in the world. The population is three times as large as Iraq's, and Tehran, the capital, has more than 12 million people. The young Iranian population provides a potential fighting force of 10 million males.

Maximum American fighting force, absent a draft, appears to be less than 200,000.

It would appear that rdw is in denial yet again.

That's what happens when your world view is delimited by the outlines of the Bush ass you are kissing.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 4, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Matt: the AK-47, the most used assault rifle of all time. A design given to the public domain

The AK-47 design was never put into the public domain. Russia has even tried to collect royalties, but was dissuaded by people toting automatic weapons.

Posted by: alex on January 4, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

> Agree completely the car-b-ques (which are a regular
> occurance) were not a religious uprising but it's early yet.

It's a situation that can be exploited by fanatics, certainly.

> what I've read is 10% of the population is Islamic and
> 80% of this population is unhappy with the French. They
> are social and economic outcasts stuck in ghetto's with
> not a lot of job opportunities. Worse is that the 2nd
> generations are less assimilatd and much angrier with
> unemployment over 40%. Rumor has it they are more
> religious with no interest in becoming French. This
> is the perfect breeding ground for the fundamentalists.

This is a major festering problem that the French had better
figure out how to deal with. These folks threaten the Western
world with more train bombings and the like in a more immediate
way than the jihadis who get blown up and captured in Iraq.

> I agree there is a difference between the sillyness of multi-
> culturalism as practiced by Denmark, Sweden, the UK versus how
> France operates however this is still a large, angry, subclass.

Include the US among the silly multicultis -- and be damned
grateful for it. Could you imagine the uproar in our religious
communities if we decided to become like France and ban all public
displays of personal religious regalia -- cross necklaces and St.
Christopher medals along with veils? Cultural rightists who argue
there's a "war on Christmas," mock Kwaanza, detest ESL programs and
argue that America has a unitary cultural mainstream that is the
only one publicly legitimate are actually -- irony of ironies --
making the *French* argument for assimilation over pluralism.

It would infuriate our own ethnic groups and cause them to become
resentful separatists just as it has the French Muslim community.

> The worst of all this is the demographics. It's not going
> to be long at all before that 10% is 20% and then 30%.

Demographics wouldn't genuinely threaten France any more than our
own demographics threaten the emerging white minority if they
would drop the French chauvinism and become a pluralist society.

> Iran has time on it's side. France knows this.

You completely blew by what I just
wrote. Here, let me repost it for you:

Secondly, Iranian mullas don't export jihadist ideology. They might
aid Hezbollah, but Hezbollah already has a hardcore list of gripes
against Israel. They don't *foment* their ideology, because Shi'ites
don't proselyze; Sunni do. There's a very rough parallel between
Catholics and Protestants. Shi'ites, like Catholics, come out of
well-established religious schools and no ayatollah is a freelancer.
Sunni imams are like loose-cannon Protestant preachers. Any imam is
MOL free to interpret the Koran how he likes and some feel commanded
to spread the word of Allah. The religious ideologues looking to
exploit the unrest in Europe are the *last thing* from Iranian agents;
they're funded, aided and trained by Wahabi/Salafi madrasses schools
with the covert support of people in Saudi Arabia and the gulf states.

In case you hadn't noticed, Wooten, there is a long-term struggle
going on in the Islamic world between the Shia, who with Shi'ite
Iraq now have a "Shi'ite crescent" stretching from Iraqn to Syria,
and Sunni, who comprise the majority of Muslims worldwide.

Shi'ites do not proselyze. The are the religion of the oppressed
underdog and have been since Sunnis assassinated their imam Ali
and the sect was founded, and Ali became effectively a saint
of their religion. The Sunni loathe them for that reason, too,
because they claim the veneration of Ali verges on polytheism.

If you'll look in Western Europe, there are not big communities
of Shi'ite Muslims; the Iranian expats tend to be educated
technocrats, not very religious and certainly not slum-dwellers.
The slum communities are made up mostly of North African Sunnis.

If Iran were to help these people stir up trouble in Europe, they'd
first have to get over their distaste for them as Sunni Muslims.

> Suicide bombing doesn't irradiate the land and make it
> uninhabitable. If they did that it would be considered apostasy.
> The whole point of the Palestinian uprising has been to get back
> the land which is currently Greater Israel, not kill Israelis
> per se. That's only a tactical expression of their larger goal.

> I agree. I thought apostasy was the renunciation
> of Islam and the conversion to Christianity.

That's one form of apostasy. Being a Hindu is another. All apostasy
means is deviating from the True Path. Muslims would consider nuking
Israel apostasy because it would 1) render the land uninhabitable
for Muslims, 2) kill over a million Muslims who live in Israel and
3) cause fallout contamination in the surrounding Muslim countries.

Even Osama and Zawqari would condemn the act as anti-Islamic.

> I would think that they would deploy any kind
> of dirty bomb they could get their hands on in
> a way to kill as many Israelis as possible.

I'm not saying that radical jihadis don't dream of ways of killing all
Israelis and even the Muslims who live among them for being traitors,
only that they they wouldn't do it by destroying the land itself.

> I think you have a better grasp of the issue than I do.

Not really, Pale Rider. Stick around if you can.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

China is growing quite rapidly and will buy everything they can get their hands on but toys do not make a soldier just as unifirms do not make a general.

So wait...Bush isn't actually a cowboy or a construction worker or a fighter pilot even though he likes playing dress up as one?

By the way, love "unifirm."

Posted by: Stefan on January 4, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

"For those of you who sneer and think Iran is helpless, I would beg to differ. That is not to say that I am telling you that they couldn't be routed and beaten--any military can be routed and beaten."

Pale Rider, don't get me wrong, I too don't think Iran is helpless, but I'm also very realistic about their abilities. In defending themselves against an invader, I feel Iran will more than make a fight out of it, but in terms of being territorially hegemonic...mmm, not so much.
Their use of their "security" forces and their proxies in Iraq, Palestinian territories indicates to me that they would rather wield political influence rather than militaristic domination. Manpower is cheap in the ME, and with a region ripe with a steady supply of malcontents, Iran's possibilities for guerilla warfare is limitless. And with oil to fund those malcontents...well, why fight a traditional battle when you can grind away an enemy's resolve with projected decades of guerilla warfare.

Iran is not weak, nor is she strong enough to threaten anyone with conventional forces, but if she does "successfully" develope a nuke and a delivery system...then the question becomes, "what to do with Iran?"

Posted by: sheerahkahn on January 4, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan:

"And any honest woman will tell you ... "

LOL!

I've enjoyed all your comments on Iraq and Iran, btw. Totally agree with your assessments of both.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

STEFAN,

GWBs uniform doesn't matter much. Tommy Franks looked just dandy in his. So does Peter Pace and about 1M others. Plus, they know how to play with their toys

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Matt: Sukhoi Su-30 ... $50 million each, ready to rumble.

F-35A: $45M. Complete with better engines, avionics and stealth.

We will end up paying some $350 million each for Lockheed Raptor fighters or F-22 or whatever we call that Lockheed junk

Maybe it will be like that other Lockheed junk, the SR-71 and the F-117.

BTW, while it's overpriced and probably not worth it compared to the F-35, it's more like $200M, and would be more like $70-90M if they hadn't slowed production to a trickle.

Posted by: alex on January 4, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

But do they all stuff gym socks down their crotches for photo ops, that's the burning, itching question ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

The Soviet military was never a serious military threat to the US except for their size.

LOL! Yes, if you factor out their size and their capability and their weaponry they were never a serious threat to anybody.

And if you take away their uniforms too then they were nothing but a bunch of naked, smoking Bolsheviks complaining about the cold.

As for Iran's nukes, we know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.

Posted by: Windhorse with co-star Donald Rumsfeld on January 4, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: Plus, they know how to play with their toys . . .

Not really evident.

rmck1: But do they all stuff gym socks down their crotches for photo ops, that's the burning, itching question ...

George Bush would, but to do so he would have to dislodge Cheney from the front and rdw from the rear . . .

;-)

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 4, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

One great thing about the postings of Wootten the Witless is that you can take his facts to the bank - of course, once there, you have to put them in the trash.

Up thread he claimed that Germany has released the terrorists who killed an American sailor 15 years ago in a hostage exchange with Iraq.

Witless, the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 and murder of the American sailor was in June of 1985. Hammadi, a Lebanese, was convicted for the killing in a Germany court and spent almost 19 years in prison. He was paroled on December 20, 2005 and sent back to Lebanon. The US government is in the process of having him extradited to the US. There was no exchange of hostages. He was not sent to Iraq. There were no other terrorists involved in this action. The other hijackers are still at large.

This is almost as bad as your assertion that Otto Banks of Harrisburg, PA ia a rising black star in the Republican party because he changed his affliation from Democratic to Republican. You said that he had received the most votes when he ran for City Council and that Ken Mehlman had been in Harrisburg campaigning for his reelection. So far so good, except you failed to follow the election this November past when Banks ran 5th and only the top three were voted into office.

I must commend you Wootten - Your career at Verizon was a front - You, sir, were in the CIA as an operative. You must have been involved with finding all of those WMDs for George Tenet.
As Twigless would say, "You're doing a heckuva job, Woot"

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 4, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Demographics wouldn't genuinely threaten France any more than ourown demographics threaten the emerging white minority if they would drop the French chauvinism and become a pluralist society.

France has two problems each far more severe than the USA. The birth rate is much lower and as bad as the top line number is there's even more distortion between the ethnic French and ethnic North Africans. The birth rate is near 1.4 but it's much lower for ethnic French. The USA birthrate is 2.07 (2.1 = replacement) and the birth rate for whites is very close to all minorities.

The ethnic French are breeding themselves out of existance and have been working at it for 3 decades. White America is not disappearing. Further ethnic minorites are fully assimilated. This is a real melting pot. Hispanics are now the 2nd largest 'minority' but in fact they are no different than the Irish or Italians except for the complexion. Recent Mexican immigrants don't speak the language but they work their asses off. They're employees today but will be employers tomorrow

The multi-culturalism practiced here is very watered down compared to Europe. You can practice your own religion but you'll pay for your own church. The state will not fund your mosque or keep your clerics on the dole. You can have your own school but you will pay for it and it will meet American standards. You can wear your headress in our schools, or berka, but you will not preach here. You will not be placed in isolated ghetto's but find your own housing. You will also find your own jobs.

There's also the big difference of religion and the tremendous irony of militant secularism in Europe. Islamics have contempt for infidels but the sharpest contempt is for non-believers of any sort. Christainity is still a big deal in America. We have conservatives thus multi-culturalsim never caught on and we're not anti-religious. It's fairly obvious France will have a dominant religion in a short time and it won't be Christian. Liberals in America love to sneer at religious folk. That's not going to be happening in France. The interesting question is what happens in France when the average frenchman prays 5 times a day?

Europes problems in this regard are far, far worse.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: Liberals in America love to sneer at religious folk.

Another wacky lie from our premier defamer, rdw.

Further ethnic minorites are fully assimilated.

And another delusional "observation".

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 4, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

3rd paul,

you are correct regarding Otto Banks. You are wrong regarding the assassin Hammadi. He was released in a deal with the insurgents for the release of a German hostage. He tortured and then murdered an unarmed American Sailor.

This is but one of the reasons when Iran flexes it's 'muscles' to the Europeans they can do so in full confidence the USA will NOT be defending France or Germany. In fact it will be interesting to see what tghe next stage of troops withdrawals will be. Rumsfled has already completed the transfer of 100,000 of 135,000 American troops out of Germany and notified Schroeder before he left office we are not done. Most conservatives feel as I do. The proper number is Zero.

The Germans did the only thing they know. They cut a deal. These are not the kind to people to ally with.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

advocate,

Take a look at GWBs cabinet. That's America.

Take a look at the French Govt. See a pattern?

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

windhorse,

The USSR was never a serious military threat to the USA. They were very useful in terms of keeping the faux arms race going. They had a huge military but everything they had was garbage. Look at what Israeli wars. They defeated several arab armies because they had USA equipment and the arabs had Russian trash. IN every 'proxy' war the USA equiped force outdid the Russian force. This gap widened dramatically with Reagan.

Another terrific example is Afghanistan. The Russians were stuck for a decade losing several tens of thousands and retreating. The USA won in 3 weeks.


Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: The USSR was never a serious military threat to the USA. They were very useful in terms of keeping the faux arms race going.

Ah, so you think that the hundred of billions that Reagan dumped into strategic arms was a waste. perhaps we do agree on something.

Posted by: alex on January 4, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

> "Demographics wouldn't genuinely threaten France any more than
> our own demographics threaten the emerging white minority if they
> would drop the French chauvinism and become a pluralist society."

> France has two problems each far more severe than the USA. The birth
> rate is much lower and as bad as the top line number is there's even
> more distortion between the ethnic French and ethnic North Africans.
> The birth rate is near 1.4 but it's much lower for ethnic French.
> The USA birthrate is 2.07 (2.1 = replacement) and the birth rate
> for whites is very close to all minorities.

You have to factor in immigration. On that score, whites have
been losing ground every year. In New Jersey, we're going to lose
the white majority in a few years if it hasn't happened already.
Which is *fine* with me. I don't view this as a "threat" in the
least. My point is that it makes all the difference in how a society
chooses to cope with it. A hardcore assimilationist model like France
will have a harder time than a pluralist model and a multiculturalist
model like Holland will have a different set of problems in that
the newcomers will tend to slather contempt on their tolerant hosts.

> The ethnic French are breeding themselves out of existance
> and have been working at it for 3 decades. White America is not
> disappearing. Further ethnic minorites are fully assimilated.
> This is a real melting pot. Hispanics are now the 2nd largest
> 'minority' but in fact they are no different than the Irish or
> Italians except for the complexion. Recent Mexican immigrants
> don't speak the language but they work their asses off.
> They're employees today but will be employers tomorrow

"Full assimilation" is a myth. No society is a true melting pot.
My American Studies advisor prefers the metaphor of a salad bowl,
where every ingredient both blends and stands out in the texture.
We have ESL. We have unassimilated ethnic communities. We don't
have major ethnic strife because we've struck a balance between
requiring our immigrants to play by our rules and tolerating their
cultural practices. It's not a balance we should be tinkering with.

> The multi-culturalism practiced here is very watered down
> compared to Europe. You can practice your own religion but you'll
> pay for your own church. The state will not fund your mosque or
> keep your clerics on the dole. You can have your own school but
> you will pay for it and it will meet American standards. You
> can wear your headress in our schools, or berka, but you will
> not preach here. You will not be placed in isolated ghetto's
> but find your own housing. You will also find your own jobs.

I agree with you that I think our model, the pluralist model,
is the best. It strikes a balance between social tolerance
and ironclad requirements of citizenship. It's also the model
in Great Britain and some of the Commonwealth. And there are two
European alternate models: There's French strict assimilationism,
which requires immigrants to become fully "French" in a way that's
practically very difficult and then practices de-facto segregation
that "can't exist" because the French model was created to prevent
it. It's a dysfunctional system based on an inflated idea of French
culture that scoffed at American ghettoes and then built copies.

The other model's chief exemplar is the Dutch, and that's
liberal multiculturalism, practiced by the seaboard countries
that have been in the forefront of European trade and cultural
exchange for centuries. This is wonderful in theory; it exerts
little pressure on immigrants to assimilate or adopt the dominant
cultural practices. It, however, fosters disrespect. Immigrants
pay no penalty for openly mocking the norms of the host country.

Note that all three models are prone to explotation and eventual
attack by Muslim extremists (ironically enough, the French have yet
to be attacked). And note also that when this happens, the first
thing these countries do is to trumpet elements of the French system
(all approaches share goals and values with each other; Americans
talk up assimilation as well as multicultural tolerance). Tony
Blair didn't mention the French system, but talked quite a bit like
Chirac after the train bombings. Holland did the same after the
daylight assassination of Theo van Gogh. And we did the same after
9/11, saying that immigrants needed to commit to American values.

We have to be careful when we do this. Strict assimilationism,
suppression of Muslim culture, is ultimately counterproductive.

> There's also the big difference of religion and
> the tremendous irony of militant secularism in
> Europe. Islamics have contempt for infidels but the
> sharpest contempt is for non-believers of any sort.

No, this is misplaced. Radical Islamists have no problem
killing fellow Muslims; in fact, the most odious apostate is
always one who's fallen away from the faith, not the outsider
who never had it to begin with, because no betrayal is involved.
It might be fair to argue that secular culture threatens religious
conservatives, but you wouldn't want to be one stripe of religious
conservative living in a religiously conservative culture of
a different stripe. If I were an orthodox Muslim whose wife
wore the veil, I'd much rather live in secular NYC than Alabama.

> Christainity is still a big deal in America. We have conservatives
> thus multi-culturalsim never caught on and we're not anti-religious.

Not Dutch-style multiculturalism, no. And the wingnut
shrieking about the nonexistent "war on Christmas" is
evidence of how much distaste cultural conservatives have
for it. But we are still pluralist and tolerant of beliefs;
there's the Freedom of Religion Clause *and* the Establishment
Clause. We're not anti-religion, but to the extent we try
to be pro any particular religion we betray our values.

You, as a Catholic, should have an appreciation of this.

> It's fairly obvious France will have a dominant religion in
> a short time and it won't be Christian. Liberals in America
> love to sneer at religious folk. That's not going to be
> happening in France. The interesting question is what happens
> in France when the average frenchman prays 5 times a day?

As long as they continue to avoid terrorist attacks,
I question how much the French will particularly care.

> Europes problems in this regard are far, far worse.

The only area of cultural superiority I'll give America over
Europe is that we've developed the proper overall cultural
approach to our immigrants, which is more functional than
both strict assimilationism and flat-out multiculturalism.

E Pluribus Unum, baby :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1,

Calling the American model pluralist, sort of between assimilation and multi-culturalism, makes sense to me. I don't recall hearing it described this way, but it describes what I've long felt is the truth.

However I'm a little confused about the metaphors. If assimilation is a melting pot, and multi-culturalism is a salad, the what's pluralist? Let me make a suggestion: stew, or perhaps a casserole.

That reminds, it's about dinner time here.

Posted by: alex on January 4, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, so you think that the hundred of billions that Reagan dumped into strategic arms was a waste. perhaps we do agree on something.

Think so?

It's rather clear what RR did was to crush the Soviets financially. There was nothing they could do to keep up and Gorbachev knew they were defeated. The really cool thing here, and the reason RR is so highly regarded, is that he was almost alone in predicting their demise. EVERY LIBERAL was saying the exact oppositve.

There are about a billion people in Eastern Europe and Asia who are quite certain Reagans investment was far from a waste.

It's interesting to look at Russia today. Their economy is about 1/10 the USA with per capital income about 20%.

There was a time when Soviet war production exceeded the USA's. Fortunately it was mostly crap. There was a reason ot be nervous in the 50's and 60's. It's now clear in hindsight that as soon as technology because so significant they were doomed.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

I think France will not become a totalitarian Islamic state...but I do see it playing host to the cultural war which I think will break out there.
The French have a lot of problems, but the thing that we have to keep in mind is that the media is a magnifying glass which disproportinately enlarges everything. In this case, France being swept under a tide of revolutionary islamicists.
The main reason is that France and Germany have unsustainable welfare state options which are dragging their economies down. Pretty much all the Muslims living in Europe are living there for financial reasons, not because they think snow is a nice thing. France and Germany go through a recession or even a depression and the Muslims will seek greener pastures, ala, migrate to where the jobs are at.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on January 4, 2006 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

"There was a time when Soviet war production exceeded the USA's. Fortunately it was mostly crap. There was a reason ot be nervous in the 50's and 60's. It's now clear in hindsight that as soon as technology because so significant they were doomed."

rdw, you are working under some serious handicapped assumptions. First off, it wasn't till the Russians opened up their military did we discover the true capabilities. One of which was how tough and rugged their equipment was, and how cheap they were able to produce it.
Secondly, we were also suprised to learn that their airforce, and their planes were a hell of a lot better maintained, and constructed than what we thought they were.
And, to put the final touch on it, the only advantage we really had was that if push came to shove in a Warsaw Pact move to the West, we would've used tactical nukes.
It wasn't our clever technology that put them under, it was the Soviet economy that doomed them which is why capitalists have smug smiles when it comes to the "utopian" communist state.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on January 4, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Another terrific example is Afghanistan. The Russians were stuck for a decade losing several tens of thousands and retreating. The USA won in 3 weeks.

Um, I don't know if you follow the news but we are bogged down in Iraq in a very similar way the Russians were in Afghanistan:

Soviet soldiers often found themselves fighting against the civilians they intended to protect, which led to the killing of local people. Operations to capture rebel formations were often unsuccessful and had to be repeated several times in the same area because the rebels retreated to the mountains and home villages while the Soviets returned to their occupying forces.

Sound familiar? It should.

The Soviets were never able to establish security outside of Kabul. Have the Americans been able to do that? Does Karzai go on lost weekends to Kandahar with his driking buddies? Hmmmm....

Other than the fact that neither invasion went well, there are so few parallels between Iraq and Afghanistan that the comparison is disturbingly bad, but not atypical of your arguments here. What superpower is arming the Iraqi insurgents against us again to make the comparison even remotely plausible? I can't seem to find my Doug Feith decoder ring.

Also, the actual Soviet losses are recorded at 15,000 over ten years, not several tens of thousands. But I understand the facts take a back seat to the narrative when you're on a tear.

Dan Rather much?

Posted by: Windhorse on January 4, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: It's rather clear what RR did was to crush the Soviets financially. There was nothing they could do to keep up and Gorbachev knew they were defeated.

But according to you, with such crappy equipment and training, there was nothing they could do to keep up anyway. So why did Reagan want to spend all that money?

EVERY LIBERAL was saying the exact oppositve.

EVERY one? Wow. Please provide cites.

BTW, does that include the well known liberal, Harry S Truman, the original architect of the containment policy that lead to their downfall? (if you think Reagan didn't follow containment, then please tell me when and where we invaded the USSR).

I guess Ike is the real black sheep of the Republican party. He was furious over the fake bomber and missile gaps that lead to high defense spending, and left office warning of the dangers of the military-industrial complex (a phrase he coined). Must have been a liberal.

There was a reason ot be nervous in the 50's and 60's. It's now clear in hindsight that as soon as technology because so significant they were doomed.

Let's see, Reagan was president in the '80's, so I guess in hindsight his defense buildup was a waste. As you just said, there was nothing to worry about anyway.

Lastly, if containment and outspending the USSR on arms was such a good policy, then why do you think that exactly the opposite is a good policy on Red China?

Perhaps we should have had (one-sided) free trade with the USSR, and run a big trade deficit with them.

Posted by: alex on January 4, 2006 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

I suspect you and I are basically on the same page regarding America and assimilation. I am more aware of the hispanic experience especially regarding Mexicans. In Chester County we have had an influx of Mexican immigrants. They are hard working, well respected people with the newer ones segregated only because they don't speak English. It's only a matter of time.

What I think is the beauty of American assimilation is that it's mostly natural. The common path for these people will be to learn the language and the culture and adapt those things they enjoy. Their kids will learn English in school where peer pressure will accelerate assimilaton. But they also influence the culture. In the last 5 years the number of Mexican resturants has triopled while the supermarkets carry a wider variety of mexican products. You see other aspects of Mexican culture creep in as well. A better example of blended cultures is Miami.

Thus in 10 years I've no doubt Chester county will be at least 10% hispanic and as a result it won't be the same Chester County. They will change it. A great example of that is Maimi. It's a great American city with a distinctly latin flavor.

I don't know if this happens anywhere else. My reading is that both the Durtch and French models create separate societies and 2nd generation muslims do not feel they are part of the culture nor do they wish to be. If this holds the dominate culture will eventually be the Islamic culture. What happens in a Democracy when the majority decides everyone should pray 5x's a day?

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

The really cool thing here, and the reason RR is so highly regarded, is that he was almost alone in predicting their demise. EVERY LIBERAL was saying the exact oppositve.

Um, no again. To the contrary, it was the neocon Paul Wolfowitz's and Donald Rumsfeld's who were overestimating the health of the Soviet state, and they were the ones influencing policy: Team
B, the original WMD hypesters. It was those goofballs who contrived their own report in defiance of the actual intel gathering by the CIA and leaked to the press utter hogwash about "secret" and "undetectable" Soviet laser weapons and orbiting platforms and machines that eat planets.

It wasn't that the conventional Soviet military machine wasn't powerful, it's just that they didn't have the money to support it so it was waning. Had Reagan simply listened to the CIA reports we could have avoided spending billions as the Soviet economy melted down, but then how would we have enriched all those defense contractors?

Your historical revisionism is nothing if not cultish.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 4, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

EVERY LIBERAL was saying the exact oppositve.

EVERY one? Wow. Please provide cites.

BTW, does that include the well known liberal, Harry S Truman, the original architect of the containment policy that lead to their downfall? (if you think Reagan didn't follow containment, then please tell me when and where we invaded the USSR).

Let's distinguish between pre-68 libs and post-68. There is a huge difference. Reagan stood on the shoulders of some giants and Harry Truman is certainly one. Ike, JFK and LBJ were serious cold warriers. There is no comparison between that group and the Carter, Clinton, McGovern, Mondale crowd.

RR had serious and vocal disagreements with virtually EVERY serious liberal figure in the 80's. His 'Evil Empore' speech created mass hysteria. Jimmmy Carter, Strobe talbot, Arthur Schlesinger, John K Galbraith, Richard Holbrook, the entire Harvard faculty, etc. were aligned against RR and on record instructing we had to get along with Russia because they were here to stay. It's embarrassing looking back.

Regan absolutely followed containment. One of Carters worst disasters was to abandon it. The only ones to make a bigger ass of Carter than the Iranain students were the Russians. The late 70's marked the peak of their expansionism. Reagan changed that dramatically. He challenged them everywhere including Central America. Dodd and Kerry are still pissed.

BTW: George Keenen, the developer of containment ust died last year at age 101.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

windhorse,

You are full of crap. No totalarian regime EVER goes out of existance of it's own will. It was Reagan by himself pushing the right buttons. ALL on the Democratic Opposition ACTIVELY opposed all he was doing and ALL OF THEM PREDICTED RUSSIA WAS GOING TO BE AROUND A LONG WHILE.

NO DEMOCRAT PREDICTED THE DEMISE OF THE USSR. REAGAN DID REPEATEDLY.

Now you're a fan of the CIA?

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

I have to assume that was a fake rdw...right?

Posted by: Windhorse on January 4, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see, Reagan was president in the '80's, so I guess in hindsight his defense buildup was a waste. As you just said, there was nothing to worry about anyway.

TWO REASONS: The world needs America to lead it as the worlds lone super-power. We are an overwhelmnig force for good. The only reason Taiwan is still a democracy is the USA. RR's buildup created the greatest military the world has ever seen.

The 2nd reason is the positive economic effect of the spending. Regan turned the economy on a dime, permanently. We are not just the greatest military power. We are the greatest economic power.


Lastly, if containment and outspending the USSR on arms was such a good policy, then why do you think that exactly the opposite is a good policy on Red China?

Huh? We are vastly outspending China and everyone else. China is also vastly different than the USSR. They are not looking to build a global empire. Their territoral disputes are local and historic.


Perhaps we should have had (one-sided) free trade with the USSR, and run a big trade deficit with them.

The trade deficit with China is not a problem. I like cheap clothes and other goods. The economic integration is what will keep China contained. They loss access to USA markets their economy will collapse immediately.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

that's the real deal

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

The Soviets were never able to establish security outside of Kabul. Have the Americans been able to do that? Does Karzai go on lost weekends to Kandahar with his driking buddies? Hmmmm....

Th soviets never established security even inside Kabul. If that regime admitted to 15K the real number is 45K. Security has been restored almost everywhere except the Pakistna border. Afghanistan has returned over 3M refugees and is Booming.


Other than the fact that neither invasion went well, there are so few parallels between Iraq and Afghanistan that the comparison is disturbingly bad, but not atypical of your arguments here. What superpower is arming the Iraqi insurgents against us again to make the comparison even remotely plausible? I can't seem to find my Doug Feith decoder ring.


Each invasion went exceptionally well. Saddam was gone in 3 weeks. Creating democracy has been hard but it was hard in Germany and Japan as well.

Also, the actual Soviet losses are recorded at 15,000 over ten years, not several tens of thousands. But I understand the facts take a back seat to the narrative when you're on a tear.


Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: The world needs America to lead it as the worlds lone super-power.

But you just said that the USSR's military was a joke. So why did we need to spend all that money against a joke?

The only reason Taiwan is still a democracy is the USA.

But you also said that China is not expansionist. Please make up your mind.

The 2nd reason is the positive economic effect of the spending.

That must explain why, amongst post-war presidents, Reagan is only behind Clinton, Carter, Johnson and Kennedy for average annual GDP growth (oops, they're all Democrats!).

Regan turned the economy on a dime, permanently.

Why did he wait so long to do it? 1985 was a boom year, but the earlier part of his presidency had nasty recession and unemployment.

China is also vastly different than the USSR. They are not looking to build a global empire.

The USSR didn't expand beyond its Czarist borders. And this differs from China reaching its Imperial borders how? Hey, that's their explanation for their invasion of Tibet (traditional part of the Chinese empire). Taiwan? Oh yeah, they claim it's a rogue province that they want to bring back to the fold.

What the USSR wanted was not an empire, but influence around the world. Hence our reaction to Cuba going Communist. Maybe the Chinese are smarter. They'll happily influence places like Myanmar, Sudan, Iran, etc. without requiring their clients to call themselves Communists.

BTW, if China is so happy and non-expansionist, then why did we worry about them during the Cold War? Why are we still defending Taiwan?

The trade deficit with China is not a problem.

In my youth I must have been brainwashed by the Republican mantra of financial responsibility (quaint, huh?). I still have this strange idea that you've gotta pay the bill someday. Even the PBoC can't extend infinite credit, even if they wanted to.

The economic integration is what will keep China contained.

So why wouldn't that have worked with the USSR?

Face it, you have no explanation for the great contradiction of the last 25 years. The same people that laud Reagan for destroying the USSR and Communism, now tell us that it's wonderful to get into debt up to our eyeballs with the world's largest Communist country.

Doublethink at its finest.

Posted by: alex on January 4, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

rdw, you are working under some serious handicapped assumptions. First off, it wasn't till the Russians opened up their military did we discover the true capabilities. One of which was how tough and rugged their equipment was, and how cheap they were able to produce it.
Secondly, we were also suprised to learn that their airforce, and their planes were a hell of a lot better maintained, and constructed than what we thought they were.
And, to put the final touch on it, the only advantage we really had was that if push came to shove in a Warsaw Pact move to the West, we would've used tactical nukes.
It wasn't our clever technology that put them under, it was the Soviet economy that doomed them which is why capitalists have smug smiles when it comes to the "utopian" communist state.

This is total nonsense. The russians produced crap and the reasons it was cheap was because it was crap and they used slave labor to produce it.

In every Proxy war US technology dominated.

Have you noticed the propensity for Russian subs to sink?

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

But we are still pluralist and tolerant of beliefs; there's the Freedom of Religion Clause *and* the EstablishmentClause. We're not anti-religion, but to the extent we try to be pro any particular religion we betray our values.

You, as a Catholic, should have an appreciation of this.


Liberals are absolutely and openly contemptous of Evangelical Christians and they're not crazy about catholics either. Like the liberals in Europe you are aggressively secular. But this isn't Europe.

Mark Steyn made a great point recently in musing over a demonstraton in the US last electon. The demonstrators carries signs, "keep your bush off my bush". Crude but to the point. What are the chances in 2050 anyone in France would even think about carrying such a sign? There will be but one religion in France in 2050. The USA won't change.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

In a clumsy effort to sabotage Iran's nuclear program, the CIA in 2004 intentionally handed Tehran some top-secret bomb designs laced with a hidden flaw that U.S. officials hoped would doom any weapon made from them, according to a new book about the U.S. intelligence agency. But the Iranians were tipped to the scheme by the Russian defector hired by the CIA to deliver the plans and may have gleaned scientific information useful for designing a bomb, writes New York Times reporter James Risen in "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration."

... According to the book, the CIA effort to sabotage Iran's nuclear effort came on the heels of another massive intelligence failure, in which a CIA officer mistakenly sent an Iranian agent a trove of information that could help identify nearly every one of the spy agency's undercover operatives in Iran. The Iranian was a double agent who turned over the data to Iranian authorities. They used it to dismantle the CIA's spy network inside the country and arrest or possibly kill an unknown number of U.S. agents, the book says.

-- LA Times

Posted by: JamesP on January 4, 2006 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

> Thus in 10 years I've no doubt Chester county will be at least
> 10% hispanic and as a result it won't be the same Chester County.
> They will change it. A great example of that is Maimi. It's
> a great American city with a distinctly latin flavor.

Absolutely. It happened in my city in the booming 90s and changed it
for the better. It's American pluralism and it's a beautiful thing.

> I don't know if this happens anywhere else.

It happens in Britain and some countries in northern Europe.
Understand that Europe generally has a much bigger problem with both
immigration and the right-wing backlash to it (there are literally
neofascist "nationalist" parties that pick up seats in Parliament)
because of their legacy of colonialism. Algerians in France, West
Indians in Britain, etc. And Europe generally just doesn't have
the kind of space that America does, so people live cheek-to-jowl
in cities with little opportunity of escaping to the suburbs which
are much more expensive to live in than American 'burbs. The lid
came off in Britain during the early 80s global recession. Margaret
Thatcher did the Reagan thing and cut social services (much more
sharply than Reagan) and ethnic neighborhoods got violent, skinheads
and football hooligans beating up West Indians and Pakistanis
fairly routinely. Neo-nazism had a resurgence throughout Europe.

But generally, Britain has pursued the kind of balanced pluralist
approach as America. There are Muslim MPs and integrated urban
neighborhoods. As long as the economy's good, these neighborhoods
of bustling shopkeepers and restaraunts look like those in America.

When the London bombing happened, Blair started talking
like Chirac, lecturing ethnic communities about embracing
British values if they're going to immigrate and live there.

> My reading is that both the Durtch and French models create
> separate societies and 2nd generation muslims do not feel
> they are part of the culture nor do they wish to be.

This has been somewhat overblown by the media, but I will say
that the problem is much worse in France than Holland. Both
models are great on paper; I very much admire Dutch tolerance
and think any libertarian-oriented person would. Victimless
crimes are decriminalized or at least de-emphasized. I'm
not really aware beyond what I read after the van Gough murder
what the larger systemic issues are in Holland. I don't know
if Dutch Muslims are developing a separate society or not.

If the Dutch problem is that they're wimpy relativists who don't
have the backbone to say no, the French problem is the opposite;
they're rigid-minded cultural chauvinists who idealize being French
to the point where immigrants can't live up to it, so they say the
hell with French society. This has more to do with education and
employment opportunities, and French people accepting them as French
for real (as America accepts our newcomers) than it does with Islam.

But on the flipside, there's something very much to be said for
being proud enough of one's culture that one will hold newcomers
to achieving a competency in the language, etc. The French ideal
of assimilation is something you'd agree with strongly on paper.

> this holds the dominate culture will eventually be the
> Islamic culture. What happens in a Democracy when the
> majority decides everyone should pray 5x's a day?

Well, this is based on a few misconceptions and bogeymen.
First, the car-be-que crowd doesn't exactly have MPs in
Parliament. Like our own underclass, they're disenfranchised.
And to the extent that they remain in unassimilated neighborhoods
is the extent that they will remain disenfranchised, economically
and politically. So the idea of the French Parliament forcing
Shariah on the whole country is overblown, to say the least.

Secondly, "Muslim" is not monolithic. To the extent that the Muslims
develop political power in France is also the extent that they learn
to get along in the larger culture. It doesn't mean they have to stop
being conservative, but -- just like in America and Britain -- it
*does* mean they marginalize thesmelves by advocating a reactionary
flavor of their religion that insists on telling others what to do.

In other words, by the time that a majorty of the French
*electorate* are Muslim, they'll be practicing a tolerant
flavor that won't attempt to force itself down anybody's throat.

And the ones who are still intolerant fundamentalists will still
be living in ghettoized housing projects with no political power.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2006 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

As long as they continue to avoid terrorist attacks, I question how much the French will particularly care.

I think they'll get real tired of the call to prayer 5x's a day.

The French can only avoid terrorist attacks by doing what they are told. The Muslims in France are only 10% of the population. What happens when they're 20%, or 30%? It's going to happen.

How do the French change?

They are going to have their strongest growth in years in 2005 and will only to get to 2.5% and that's not creating jobs. It's hard to see how this highly taxed, highly regulated economy can break a decade long plus low growth pattern. They won't even speak of tax cuts and every year their welfare state demands grow larger. Unemployment among the under 30 crowd can only get worse.

At the same time their welfare state demands are increasing so are security/defense demands. The loss of the US defense umbrella is minor compared to terrorism defense expenses. No amount of defense spending can help them if Iran gets missles. Even if they wanted to change Chirac is so weak politically little can happen.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

Well, this is based on a few misconceptions and bogeymen. First, the car-be-que crowd doesn't exactly have MPs in Parliament. Like our own underclass, they're disenfranchised. And to the extent that they remain in unassimilated neighborhoods is the extent that they will remain disenfranchised, economically and politically. So the idea of the French Parliament forcing Shariah on the whole country is overblown, to say the least.

I don't agree our underclass is disenfranchised. If anything it's the opposite.

I don't see a French parliment forcing Shariah either, at least not before 2060 or so. You are of the opinion Islamic fundmentalism will be on the wane. That's only true if GWB is successful and the nations of Islam democratize and develop free markets. I am skeptical but I think GWB is pushing them in the right direction. France will still have problems even if fundamentalism isn't one of them.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

> "But we are still pluralist and tolerant of beliefs; there's
> the Freedom of Religion Clause *and* the Establishment
> Clause. We're not anti-religion, but to the extent we try
> to be pro any particular religion we betray our values."

> "You, as a Catholic, should have an appreciation of this."

> Liberals are absolutely and openly contemptous of Evangelical
> Christians and they're not crazy about catholics either.

Oh my, Wooten, you're up to your eyeballs in that gooey brown
stuff again, I see. You read a Mark Steyn piece and now you
think you understand something about lefties and religion ...

First of all, secular lefties really don't care all that much about
religion. Secular lefties aren't into telling people what to believe.

Secondly, there are many flavors of evangelical/
conservative/fundamentalist religion that -- get this --
aren't very political. Some are adamantly *a*political.
The Jehovah's Witnesses, for instance. We're absolutely fine
with them, although truthfully many of us probably run and
hide on Sunday mornings when they ring our doorbells. Or we
invite them in ... and have a debate with them about theodicy :)

But, being decent people, we'd offer them coffee while doing it.

Or conservative Jews (Jews aren't compelled to
proselytize) ... or evangelicals who believe, contrary to
the loudest flavor of fundamentalism, in the social gospel
and support environmental protection, economic justice and,
in contradiction to Leviticus, oppose the death penalty.

Woah ... who'da thunk it, right? Bible-believing evangelicals who
-- gasp! -- don't go along with the Robertson/Falwell/Dobson line.

Just like with Muslims, Wooten -- you think evangelicals
all came out of the same vat. They don't. The
variety of religious belief in America is staggering.

I'm not talking about *liberals* who believe in ordaining gays
and women, either. I'm talking about conservative evangelicals.

The only flavor of evangelicals we oppose are the mongos who have
been attacking *us*, often quite savagely, ever since the Scopes
trial. The ones who blame "secular humanism" on all the problems
in America. The ones who demonize liberals and call us every name
in the book. The ones who, truthfully, never got over civil rights.

We're playing defense against a raging onslaught. Do we have
contempt for the vitriol, the misplaced mean-spiritedness from
allegedly godly people, in this kind of attack? Wouldn't you?

As for Catholics, I've tried to explain this to you. As much as
secular liberals disagree vehemently with Church teaching on all
aspects of family life matters, many of us have an undying respect
for the Catholics, because of their emphasis on Good Works. Catholics
seem to care more about the poor than many fundamentalist Protestants.

Catholics reject the death penalty, and
Pope John Paul II opposed the Iraq war.

> Like the liberals in Europe you are
> aggressively secular. But this isn't Europe.

Damn right it's not; we're Americans. We are not "aggressive"
about shoving our secularism down anybody's throats. We believe
in live and let live. We're on the lookout, though, for people
who *are* interested in shoving *their* beliefs down *our* throats.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 4, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Liberals are absolutely and openly contemptous of Evangelical Christians and they're not crazy about catholics either. Like the liberals in Europe you are aggressively secular. But this isn't Europe.

???

Some of the most liberal people in the country are Catholic. Peace protesting nuns, liberation theology priests, and a laity that overwhelmingly rejects the Church's position on any number of conservative issues.

Let me guess: when you say "liberal" you actually mean five militant atheists in the Sociology Dep't at Brown who teach Marxist theory.

Your thinking is fuzzy and imprecise. A more relevant point would have been the one that Bob made for you: many Evangelical and fundamentalist Christians in this country are openly contemptuous of (any kind of) liberals.

But this isn't the Dark Ages or 15th century Spain -- yet.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 4, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

Windhorse:

> Let me guess: when you say "liberal" you
> actually mean five militant atheists in the
> Sociology Dep't at Brown who teach Marxist theory.

YES ! THAT'S EXACTLY WHO WE MEAN ! QUICK, THEY'RE OVER THERE !

THERE ! SEE ? HUDDLED IN THAT DARK CORNER DISCUSSING BERTRAND RUSSEL !

KILL THEM BEFORE THEY BREED !!!

Posted by: Ann Coulter's twelve-speed dildo on January 4, 2006 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

You might find this article interesting in this regard:

http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=7182

Posted by: Bahman Kalbasi on January 5, 2006 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

Bahman:

Excellent, excellent article. Thank you.

Power politics is as important as ideology here, indeed.

The sabre-rattling against Iran has always demoralized me, because every Persian I've had the pleasure to meet has been a wonderful person. It's tremendously ironic that Iran is so close to liberalizing, yet our need for a demon keeps only serves to legitimate the status quo.

The path to democracy for the Mideast may well run such a trecherous course through Islamism and then out again as people taste and then reject it ...

I suppose we can only keep our fingers crossed ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 5, 2006 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

rdw:

> "Well, this is based on a few misconceptions and bogeymen. First,
> the car-be-que crowd doesn't exactly have MPs in Parliament.
> Like our own underclass, they're disenfranchised. And to the
> extent that they remain in unassimilated neighborhoods is the
> extent that they will remain disenfranchised, economically
> and politically. So the idea of the French Parliament forcing
> Shariah on the whole country is overblown, to say the least."

> I don't agree our underclass is disenfranchised.
> If anything it's the opposite.

*rolling eyes* An underclass is disenfranchised *by definition*.

About 50% of eligible voters don't vote in America.

Hey Wooten ... where do you think most of them live?

> I don't see a French parliment forcing Shariah
> either, at least not before 2060 or so.

Funny ... that's about when *my* crystal ball tells
me we run out of oil and have bigger fish to fry
than worrying about the Islamic Republic of France.

> You are of the opinion Islamic fundmentalism will be on
> the wane. That's only true if GWB is successful and the
> nations of Islam democratize and develop free markets.

Well if you actually believe that GWB is honestly trying to
piddle around in the internal affairs of our closest oil-selling
allies in that region, I have a blowtorch and cabling schematics
of the Brooklyn Bridge I'd be happy to let go for a nominal fee.

Fundamentalism 101:

There are two basic kinds of Islamic
fundamentalism: conservative and radical.

Conservative Islam is obnoxious to human rights and four times as
much (quite literally if you'll look at Shariah inheritance law)
if you're a woman. Nobody in the West has much respect for it and
that's as it should be. But conservative Islamic states also tend
to be stable, secure and a bulwark against radicals. Plus, most of
them sell us just oodles 'n' oodles of barrels of oil. Saudi Arabia,
Egypt, the Gulf states, Iran, are conservative Islamic regimes.
We'd like them to liberalize, but that won't necessarily help in
the war on terrorism and might actually hurt in the short term.

Radical Islam is obnoxious in all those ways with the added plus of
being a direct threat against the West. Unlike conservative Islam, it
is not associated with the government of any nation, unless you wanted
to count the Taliban in Afghanistan, but that was a failed state that
was closer to stateless anarchy than a regime. Since it was morally
justified to take out the Taliban because Afghanistan could have
been reasonably described as a "rogue state," we toss this label
around to describe Iran and Syria. The technical term for that
is propagandistic bullshit. As odious as both those regimes might
be for any number of reasons, they are functional, stable states. Our
Friend Pakistan is far more unstable than either of those nations.

Radical Islam counts as its sworn enemies not just the West, but
also conservative Islamic regimes. The question in this little
mind-teaser is -- what happens if we work to liberalize these
regimes? Will the radicals hate them more, or hate them less?

It depends in large part on how the liberalizing was accomplished.

> I am skeptical but I think GWB is
> pushing them in the right direction.

Have you read the above link? I'd strongly suggest you do. It's
a very piercing look at Iran, paying more attention to its internal
political dynamics than an ideological analysis in terms of how it
relates to the US and the region. Iran looks like the big regional
winner with Iraq in a bloody mess and about to fragment.

Funny thing happened on the way to the Islamic Revolution.
The Iranian people, especially the young people born after
the Iran/Iraq war, have grown utterly sick to death of
rule-by-decrepit-old-fart-in-a-smelly-turban. The liberalizations
of dress codes put in by the reformist president Ali Khatamei are
still in place, and Iran right now might actually be the *most*
liberal country in the Gulf region in terms of social mores.

Pretty ironic, huh, that Bush likes to characterize this
country as totally insane and bent on self-immolation ...

What we did by invading Iraq was to increase the grip on power
of the aging and increasingly discredited mullahs. While the new
president is a hard-liner, the other institutions of government
(religious and unelected) are pragmatic enough to serve as a
check on his power. His fire-breathing rhetoric appeases the
rural peasantry and urban poor, but the real levers of power
are all about, at the end of the day, preserving the status quo.

Unlike Christianity, Islam never went through a Reformation. It
may well be that Muslim countries need to pass through a stage of
Islamic rule to get the people to experience the joys of religious
police firsthand, which, as they continue to economically develop,
allows them to set limits on the role of Islam in the state. This
process is slow, but at least it's indigenous. Instead of being
invaded by America and told that their religions tradition is a pile
of oppressive shit, they learn it themselves through experience.

Too bad invading Iraq set that process back a few decades.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 5, 2006 at 6:29 AM | PERMALINK

oh my, Wooten, you're up to your eyeballs in that gooey brown stuff again, I see. You read a Mark Steyn piece and now you think you understand something about lefties and religion ...


Actually I don't really read Mark for the information, which is good, I read him for the homor, which is terrific.


First of all, secular lefties really don't care all that much about religion. Secular lefties aren't into telling people what to believe.

Actually they and they are every bit as obnoxious about it as fools like Jerry Falwall.

Posted by: rdw on January 5, 2006 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

Let me guess: when you say "liberal" you actually mean five militant atheists in the Sociology Dep't at Brown who teach Marxist theory.

Your thinking is fuzzy and imprecise. A more relevant point would have been the one that Bob made for you: many Evangelical and fundamentalist Christians in this country are openly contemptuous of (any kind of) liberals.

Point taken but my thinking is no more or less imprecise than anyone else on this website trashing all republicans or conservatives.

Of course I know not all faculty members are as stupid as those clowns at the U of Mass with their Little Red Book. I know not all MSM talking heads are as unethical as Dan Rather. I know not all liberals hate America as much as Michael Moore. But a majority of liberals embrace Michael Moore, defend Dan Rather and agree with the morons at the U of Mass.

So on that basis it's fair to group liberals as a single very wacky group.

Posted by: rdw on January 5, 2006 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

rolling eyes* An underclass is disenfranchised *by definition*.

No it isn't. To suggest someone has been disenfranchised is to say they've been cut out. At least that's the intent. There are many different reasons someone may be disenfranchised and it's most likely they refused to participate. The classic liberal would classify our prison population as dis-enfranchised.

Posted by: rdw on January 5, 2006 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

Unlike Christianity, Islam never went through a Reformation. It may well be that Muslim countries need to pass through a stage of
Islamic rule to get the people to experience the joys of religious police firsthand, which, as they continue to economically develop, allows them to set limits on the role of Islam in the state. This process is slow, but at least it's indigenous. Instead of being invaded by America and told that their religions tradition is a pile
of oppressive shit, they learn it themselves through experience.

Too bad invading Iraq set that process back a few decades.

So Saddam was moving along that path? I guess that was the entire point of the mass murders, invasion of Kuwait and the war with Iran. Which one of his sons was going to advance this tradition?

Allow me to recommend Austin Bay. He agrees with much your point regarding the lack of a reformation. He sees Lebanon as the example of Middle Eastern advancement and the model for the region. Their 1st problem isn't fundamentalism but totalarianism. They need democracy and freedom. Austin is especially angry at Egypt and Libya but hopeful for Lebanon and Turkey.

Posted by: rdw on January 5, 2006 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Iran looks like the big regional winner with Iraq in a bloody mess and about to fragment.

This is a great example of liberal wishful thinking parading as insight. You are so desperate for GWB to fail you openly wish for it. This has been the pattern thru all stages in Iraq including the initial invasion and all 3 elections. The fact is they're going to have a democracy they've designed. The fact is they've been practicing politics for years now and they know how to do it. This will be a successful country and helps Iran not at all.

Posted by: rdw on January 5, 2006 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

rdw: RR had serious and vocal disagreements with virtually EVERY serious liberal figure in the 80's.

Caught in an obvious falsehood, rdw goes back to change his tune and add "virtually" and "serious" to his claim.

Sooooooo typical.

The fact is they're going to have a democracy they've designed.

No, they are going to have a democracy the CPA designed.

The classic liberal would classify our prison population as dis-enfranchised.

Another typical defamatory remark.

The consistency of conservative assholes when it comes to using defamation as a technique never ceases to amaze.

I know not all liberals hate America as much as Michael Moore.

The link to the quote where Michael Moore says he hates America, please . . . or any other person who can be shown to be a "liberal."

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 5, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: This is a great example of liberal wishful thinking parading as insight.

Virtually every word you right is a great example of conservative wishful thinking parading as insight, so it would appear that rcmk1 is way ahead of you on that score, even assuming your statement were correct, which it is not.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 5, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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