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Tilting at Windmills

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January 15, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

IRAN AND THE BOMB....Niall Ferguson pretends to be a future historian looking back on today:

The devastating nuclear exchange of August 2007 represented not only the failure of diplomacy, it marked the end of the oil age. Some even said it marked the twilight of the West. Certainly, that was one way of interpreting the subsequent spread of the conflict as Iraq's Shi'ite population overran the remaining American bases in their country and the Chinese threatened to intervene on the side of Teheran.

Yet the historian is bound to ask whether or not the true significance of the 2007-2011 war was to vindicate the Bush administration's original principle of pre-emption. For, if that principle had been adhered to in 2006, Iran's nuclear bid might have been thwarted at minimal cost. And the Great Gulf War might never have happened.

I have a feeling we can look forward to a lot more op-eds just like this over the next few months.

Kevin Drum 11:23 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (360)

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Comments

Wouldn't China have to go over 1-2 countries
to reach Iran?

Posted by: McAristotle on January 15, 2006 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

I find it hard to believe that A.Q Khan's 2nd customer wasn't Iran. I think this is all a bunch of bullshit. Iran has five or seven nukes, and the IAEA seals they broke were just a way for them to rattle some sabres. Why would A.Q. Khan not sell to Iran? They have always been wealthy, local, and damn good at foiling U.S. intel.

Posted by: JamesP on January 15, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

As opposed to pretending to be a historian today?

Posted by: tom on January 15, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

WOLF!!

No Really, WOLF!!


...


Hey come on everyone, we're serious this time . . . WOLF,WOLF,WOLF!!

Posted by: Thumb on January 15, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

What will the Democrats be recommending as the proper US response to the recent Iran nuclear actions?

Posted by: pencarrow on January 15, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

It'll all be OK, I saw this movie already. They drop paratroops into Montana, but a bunch of plucky, all american white kids kick the crap out of them.

GO WOLVERINES!!!

Posted by: Mysticdog on January 15, 2006 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Yet the historian is bound to ask whether or not the true significance of the 2007-2011 war was to vindicate the Bush administration's original principle of pre-emption.

"'Jaw-jaw' is always better than 'war-war'"

Notorious liberal appeaser and girly-man Winston S. Churchill, in remarks at the White House, June 26, 1954.

Fergusson knows better -- but that doesn't make him feel all tingly.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on January 15, 2006 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Exactly. I have been wondering why it is that Iran is such a threat. As compared to Pakistan (our good buddies... snark!) who already have advanced nuclear technology and threaten to use it periodically against India.

Why don't the Bushies preemptively attack Pakistan? Or is Mushareff is a great guy.. installing democracy in a military coup.

AQ Khan was actively SELLING the technology. What did the US do? We sold them F-15 fighters to show our concern.

Bush/CheneyCo are well beyond salvation. Is there anything that they would say to make me believe their foreign policies are anythng but a power and money grab? No! Hell no!!!

And it's not like

Posted by: Jay in Oregn on January 15, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

It's ok! All we need to do is WAGE PEACE with the mad mullahs~! We know that's what they want!

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 15, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

The U.S. invaded two countries during GWB's first term. It wouldn't do for him to feel The War President is falling behind. I realize the U.S. isn't at war now ( no I haven't had a memory lapse : think it over ) and technically never was for decades. Wherefore expanded powers BTW ?

Posted by: opit on January 15, 2006 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

I'm convinced. We should get all of our troops out Iraq before August 2007.

Posted by: Alvord on January 15, 2006 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

Jay:

Please let the adults decide foreign policy. BDS is not appropriate for the position.

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 15, 2006 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

What an idiot. Iraq: its nuclear program concentrated in one major facility. Iran: its nuclear program scattered and sheltered across a country almost twice as large. So much for preemption, unless land forces are involved (like that was likely to happen).

Exploiting the window that 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan opened between the US and Iran's then-moderate President--and public, rather than slamming it shut by labeling Iran part of the Axis of Evil would have helped entrench Iran's swing away from Islamic fundamentalism. Instead it became a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Posted by: Wombat on January 15, 2006 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

Wombat:

What evidence do you have that as of March 2003 Iran was headed AWAY from Islamic fundemtalism?

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 15, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

I really don't understand McAristotle's post. Maybe we just don't use the same drugs. It must be, in a way, cool to be so clueless. China is a major buyer of Iranian oil, and if you hadn't noticed, has a high growth economy dependent to some extent on oil, and would therefore be unhappy if that oil were cut off. It's probably hard to imagine but it might be like if China attacked Saudi Arabia and cut off our oil supply radically. This goes without even bringing up the issue of potential nuclear fallout drifting across India and Pakistan and what their reaction might be. Those must be some truly righteous drugs.

Posted by: MRB on January 15, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

opit:

Your BDS is showing. If you don't like Congress not asserting it's powers over the President in war-time, elect a Dem majority. Otherwise, please kindly have a nice cup of STFU.

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 15, 2006 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

MRB:

When an American city is smoking, radioactive ruin, I will trot out the 100,000 BDS posts from 2003-2006 to show how liberals brought on the appeasement conditions that allowed it to happen. I will prominently display your posts the most and in largest font!

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 15, 2006 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

What will the Democrats be recommending as the proper US response to the recent Iran nuclear actions?

Don't ask embarrassing questions.

There's already been a whole thread on this down below.

No real solutions, a lot of loopiness, but also a few pretty good analytical comments on the problem.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 15, 2006 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

What's the over-under on the first use of 'dhimmi' or a derivative thereof on this thread?

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on January 15, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz:

1. BDS
2. America-hatred
3. Israel-hatred

Scratch a leftist and you'll find all three. Rational thought, uh no.

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 15, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Davis:

There are actual dhimmis in Muslim countries right now, and there are self-imposed dhimmism whereby leftists such as yourself allow Muslim outrages in Western countries, such as allowing a Muslim woman to wear head scarf while taking DMV photo.

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 15, 2006 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

While I agree that Iran, as it is now, is a threat... the current administration has consistently exaggerated threats and imagined dangers where there are none. We need somebody else in charge.

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on January 15, 2006 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

Is "BDS" some new acronym being traded amongst the semi-literate online wingnuts, these days?

Posted by: Constantine on January 15, 2006 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

Constantine:

I can you are a very artful practioner of ad-hominem, since rational thought is impossible.

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 15, 2006 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

If Iran is such a huge threat, then there is no doubt some other country with sufficient credibility able to step up to the plate. Since the US has proven to the world that it is not credible and that it turns everything it touches to crap, obviously no one is going to trust them to deal with Iran. So better that the US stays out of this one. Bush "blew our wad" with Iraq. If Iran is some huge threat, even greater than Pakistan, there's precious little we can do about it.

Posted by: Constantine on January 15, 2006 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody knows how to manage the world any longer, and there aren't adults in control in any event. Our approach to nuclear weapons and climate change are only two examples. Our societies are fragile. What happens if we go the way of the collapse of the USSR, with no outside power left to prop up civilization, as we did for them?

There really does need to be a worst-case backup. Not as in a backup plan, more like a backup of our hard drive.

We should be constructing "knowledge capsules", as the Norwegians are doing with seed varieties. Plus basic scientific knowledge in long-lived print forms, as Lovelock suggested recently, durable readers for electronic media, and long-lived optical media for more comprehensive genetic and cultural libraries.

It should be done now, before any given crisis causes too much chaos organize it later on. The first half of this century could easily be much worse than the first half of the 20th.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on January 15, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Darryl:

Fortunately President Bush is not going to wait 3 years doing nothing because you decided we need someone else in charge. No wonder Dems are losing elections, no one can take you seriously on national security.

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 15, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

And if they get a nuke 'cos no action is taken who would take responsibility?

On China, do they share a border with Iran? How is the Chinese army going to reach Iran?

Posted by: McAristotle on January 15, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Donkey:

Iran had a moderate President and an urban population, economic class, and a student movement that were fed up with the Islamic Republic. Perhaps you don't remember the demonstrations of sympathy (unauthorized by the Iranian regime) with the United States after 9/11. Perhaps you don't remember that US military representatives met with their Iranian counterparts to ensure that US service personnel that strayed into Iran during the invasion of Afghanistan would be speedily repatriated. We probably won't know for several decades the amount of clandestine cooperation vis-a-vis Afghanistan that took place between the US and Iran.

You appear to be unaware of the power struggle between the religious-security establishment and the executive and legislative branches of the Iranian government; a power struggle that could have been exploited had the US government not been run by incompetents. Instead of driving a wedge further between the competing sectors of Iranian society, we cut the legs out from under the moderates.

Posted by: Wombat on January 15, 2006 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

I can you are a very artful practioner of ad-hominem, since rational thought is impossible.

I must have hit it pretty close to the mark to get you all riled up like that. Have a beer, take a deep breath, and find another hobby. Don't act like a petty annoyance around here. There are far more annoying trolls that already grace us with their presence, and they are no doubt going to be offended that you're trying to barge in on their turf.

Posted by: Constantine on January 15, 2006 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce:

Your defintion of "adults in charge" is Jimmah Carter giving uranimium to the Pajama Boy in North Korea. Good work there.

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 15, 2006 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

The lefties HAVE a sensible program for dealing with Iran. It's called "take control of foreign policy out of the hands of chuckleheads". Unfortunately, the chucklehead caucus controls all three branches of government and still whines about how all their fuckups are the fault of the liberals.

Posted by: citizen k on January 15, 2006 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

Donkey: feel free, whatever turns you on. I was describing why China might be unhappy with a nuclear attack on Iran. My issues with respect to appeasement or nuking whoever-wherever, as if these were the only choices, were not really evident in my post. What's BDS-Barely Dependent Stupidity? Bone Da Slut? Badly Distorted Senses?

Posted by: MRB on January 15, 2006 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

China would have to go through Afghanistan or Pakistan to reach Iran. Alternatively through Turkmenistan, Kygristan, blah, blah, blah.

Posted by: McAristotle on January 15, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

You know, if the Democrats really wanted to get on top of this thing --- and win an election all at the same time --- they'd hop on the airwaves, start yelling about pre-emptive strikes (while te Republicans are still making pretenses of diplomacy), and go into November with the slogan, "Democrats: We won't fuck up the war on terror."

Posted by: Monstertron on January 15, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Sanctions. International isolation. An internationally enforceable agreement not to sell Iran any uranium.

At the same time, we might announce some initiatives to further reduce the US nuclear stockpile, so we could build some international momentum against nuclear weapons. The point is to increasingly make Iran look like the badguys in the eyes of the world.

People who know nothing about international relations or the Middle East, or who have little regard for the value of human life, or who have been rendered jingoistically militaristic by too much exposure to blockbuster movies and violent video games, may find such a response weak and unpersuasive. It should be the job of those in the media and the expert foreign policy and security communities to educate such people, rather than working them up into a politically useful frenzy over complex problems that do not admit of easy solutions.

Military preemption is totally idiotic. It is beyond belief that someone with as sophisticated a mind as Niall Ferguson can support something so imbecilic.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 15, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

President Bush was so involved with Iraq that he took his eye off the ball with Iran (other than issuing gratuitous threats).

Posted by: Wombat on January 15, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

McAristotle: "On China, do they share a border with Iran? How is the Chinese army going to reach Iran?"

Does your atlas show a land bridge from the United States to Iraq?

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on January 15, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

MRB:

BDS is Bush Derangement Syndrome which 99.999% of liberals suffer from. It's totally irrational hatred of George W. Bush which clouds all rational thought.

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 15, 2006 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

no one can take you seriously on national security.

Great! I'm so cynical now I can't trust anybody on national security. Now on who's watch did we waltz with the tar baby into the briar patch that is Iraq?

What did George Bush say? Oh, yeah: When I take action, he said, Im not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. Its going to be decisive.

Looks like he missed, and made a lot more enemies as well. Its two-fer-one!

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on January 16, 2006 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe:

sanctions is practically an act of war. I didn't know libs were pro-agression.

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 16, 2006 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

Donkey, take your silly made up language that you like to speak with all of your chuckle-headed right-wing friends and go run off with them. We've no room for it here.

Posted by: Constantine on January 16, 2006 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

Darryl:

Your last post is more evidence you are incapable of rational discussion on the important issues of the day. Leave it to adults. The kiddie section is over there...

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 16, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

OK, all apparent reason and the overwhelming bulk of the evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, we should launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran.

1) How?
2) With what?
3) At what cost?
a) upfront?
b) cleaning up afterward?
c) oil prices?
4) What about the Iraqi Shi'ites?

Posted by: Thinker on January 16, 2006 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

Donkey_Courage:

you don't actually think killing people is bad, do you? I mean, you don't actually care whether or not people die.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

Right -- "at minimal cost". Too bad the author doesn't run the numbers. I think he'd find the cost of a full-out invasion of Iran sufficient to "pre-empt" Iran getting and using the bomb would be a little bit higher than in his fantasies.

Heck, I thought Iraq was supposed to be a "low-cost endeavor". Hasn't quite worked out that way, has it?

Posted by: Jonathan on January 16, 2006 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

Donkey>When an American city is smoking, radioactive ruin, I will trot out the 100,000 BDS posts...

When that happens, where do you think the blame will go? Iraq is a sideshow. An example on focusing on 3rd tier problem you think you can manage, because the 1st and 2nd tier problems are too intimidating.

Invading Afghanistan was clearly justified. So america's "liberal" allies supported it.

But the next set of problems were clearly Pakistan , N Korea and Iran. In addition to the ever-smoldering Israel/Palestine issue that only a "no f@ucking around any more" approach from America could solve. The GWB admin ran away from those problems. More; they faked the existance of problems in Iraq that actually do exist in the four countries mentioned!

As to Iraq, you can't force people to accept democracy. It has to arise from the population itself, including a willingness to compromise strong enough to overcome tribal animosity. Toppling Saddam just exposed what a mis-made country Iraq really is, and so a brewing civil war.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on January 16, 2006 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

Once again, at the end of the day leftist a$$holes have no solutions on Iran and the REAL hard work of policy is left to the adults in the Bush administration. Go Condi!

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 16, 2006 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

Donkey,
Sanctions are not the equivalent of war. I do hope you'll agree with that much, at least.

And if you do, then that's pretty much the end of your rhetorical sleight of hand.

"adult conversation" indeed.

Posted by: Jonathan on January 16, 2006 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

I know, I know. It's Bush Done-got Sense. That's it isn't it?

But why would China care to get to Iran? China's desire to intervene on the side of Iran doesn't mean them going there to view the nuclear destruction. Plus, I've heard somewhere where China has these things called "jet planes" and "missiles" whereupon they can attack places without actually going there. Still not sure I see why exactly China would be going to Iran to intervene for them. Maybe cause the women there are just so damn good.

Posted by: MRB on January 16, 2006 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

We can hope that the Iranian political establishment will act against President Admenijad (or however the hell you spell his name) as a danger to the existence of Iran. They've kept him on a fairly short leash as regards his cabinet appointments.

Posted by: Wombat on January 16, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

BDS is Bush Derangement Syndrome which 99.999% of liberals suffer from.

You stand by this statement?

Maybe we can work toward some common ground: Answer one question without any snark or subjective opinion and we can move forward from there as real adults, m'kay?

Do you notice that objects appear larger the closer they are?

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on January 16, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't our bases have to be in Iraq to start this...

Oh, right.

No, that doesn't really make sense. Wouldn't the lack of diplomacy be Bush's fault, not his vindication?

-Crissa

Posted by: Crissa on January 16, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

Bruce:

I will agree that trying to impose our values on those religious idiots(Shia and Sunni) in Iraq is not going to work in the short-term. I'm for all out civil war, let a few million be killed and then we'll side with the winner.

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 16, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Thank you, donkey_courage.

The answer was apparently 3.

Now back to your regularly scheduled 5th Crusade.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on January 16, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Donkey,
You're part of a small and shrinking minority of Americans who still think the Bush administration is doing a good job.

The fact that you praise them so heavily, in spite of the self-evident colossal screw-up that is Iraq, serves only to discredit your statements in the eyes of our illustrious readers.

And what the heck is "Donkey Courage" supposed to mean, anyway? It doesn't exactly take courage to abdicate your responsibilities as an American, preferring blind adoration of leaders.

Posted by: Jonathan on January 16, 2006 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe China would start disposing of its holdings in the US dollar, ending its share in the deficit gravy train that it currently helps subsidize.

Posted by: Wombat on January 16, 2006 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

the 2007-2011 war

I doubt that any war involving nuclear weapons will last longer than, say, ninety minutes. Tops.

"I'll see you again, Ma, when the war is over
An hour and a half from now!"
---Tom Lehrer

Posted by: Sharoney on January 16, 2006 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

When an American city is smoking, radioactive ruin, I will trot out the 100,000 BDS posts from 2003-2006 to show how liberals brought on the appeasement conditions that allowed it to happen. I will prominently display your posts the most and in largest font!
Posted by: Donkey_Courage

this is actually kinda funny ... in the event of a nuclear terrorist attack, I personally would be wondering who the fuck dropped that ball.

but never fear ... this pussy will be busy posting on the internet. ... in large font.

Posted by: Nads on January 16, 2006 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

Donkey Courage apparently gets his foreign policy knowledge from fortune cookies.

Posted by: Wombat on January 16, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

Darryl:

Ok, you want to discuss the issue as adults, fine. Tell me why Iraq posed no threat, and don't trot out the standard line that they didn't have WMDs.

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 16, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

"What will the Democrats be recommending as the proper US response to the recent Iran nuclear actions?"

What is the Bush administration's response? Is it Rice's call for diplomacy or Cheneyesque swagger and threats of sanctions?

Has the Bush administration had an Iran policy since 2001? Other than calling Iran "evil" and toppling their greatest rival, gratis?

If the spaghetti hits the fan in Iran, it will become clear why you do not overstretch your military for neocon fantasies of shaking down brown people and exporting democracy by force. "But our troops are just next door!" Yeah, they are busy, right? And not exactly tuned up for conventional war.

If/when an atomic bomb is detonated in the US, I wonder how the fsck Bush apologists will justify failing to secure leftover nuclear material after the fall of the USSR, failing to have an Iraq/N. Korea/Pakistan nuke policy, failing to catch Osama, alienating the rest of the planet, securing ports . . .. Oh wait, yeah, I know: they will blame Clinton. Or maybe blame the New York Times for, gasp, telling the world that the NSA intercepts communications. It is never the fault of Bush and the GOP houses of congress which have been in power >4 years. Idiots. Blithering. Idiots.

Posted by: airron on January 16, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

I've heard somewhere where China has these things called "jet planes" and "missiles" whereupon they can attack places without actually going there.

Posted by: MRB on January 16, 2006 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the missiles but on air force, you have to get permission or beat the airforces of several other countries to get there. Who like the Chinese have Russian planes?

I think China's wonderful - but its not got an armed forces capable of force projection of that level yet. Another 10 years of growth would do it.

I note some attempts here to stick heads in sand. But I doubt anything would appease Iran except Jewish genocide. I know the position is appealing to a large minority of the Democrat party - but I suspect a slim majority of the party would block this one (once Barbara Streisand gets told by Joe Lieberman that being liberal doesn't make you a not-jew by Islamic law).

Posted by: McAristotle on January 16, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

Wait, because we don't want a war with Iran, we hate Israel?

How does that follow?

Posted by: Crissa on January 16, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

So far, no one has explained how the Republicans can be taken seriously on the subject of national defense. Really, we should take seriously the guys who didn't just tell us that Iraq was a threat to us, but who also invaded that nation and exhausted our military on nation building?

Posted by: heavy on January 16, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

"Yet the historian is bound to ask whether or not the true significance of the 2007-2011 war was to vindicate the Bush administration's original principle of pre-emption. For, if that principle had been adhered to in 2006, Iran's nuclear bid might have been thwarted at minimal cost."

and the editorial continues...

Unfortunately, the Bush adminstration's unnecessary war in Iraq (2003-2007)had so weakened the US military that the option of pre-emption was never a real option. The Iraq War revealed that the USA was a paper tiger, all bluster, no bite: world attitudes towards the US continued to deteriorate. In the Arab world, hostility to the US reached historic levels. Furthermore, the Bush administration combination of imperialism, aggressiveness and incompetence provoked other nations to escalate their development of nuclear weapons which was the leading cause of the Great Gulf war.

Historians of the nation-state formerly known as the USA will also consider the role of civil unrest in the US prior to the great Gulf war. Without a doubt, plummeting standards of living and administration corruption contributed to national discontent and weakened morale. The decisive event was the December riots of 2006, when thousands of discontented American, demonstrating against Republican election fraud in Florida and Ohio, were imprisoned for criticizing the President. Others were killed by Republican-sponsored militia known as "red shirts." After this event, the president declared a national emergency and dissolved Congress, setting in motion the end of the 200-year old US experiment in democracy.

Posted by: PTate in MN on January 16, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

Help me out, folks. Is Donkey Courage a reflagged Charlie/Cheney or Alice/Patton, or is he a completely new moron? Some of his slurs are new ones, so one suspects a bored little troll wandering over from LGF.

Posted by: Hank Scorpio on January 16, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

Donkey Dung Bushbot:
"BDS is Bush Derangement Syndrome which 99.999% of liberals suffer from. It's totally irrational hatred of George W. Bush which clouds all rational thought.
---

In your haste to refute and demonize all of us who have BDS... you mistyped. "BDS is totally rational hatred of George W. Bush BECAUSE the addled brained boy king has NO rational thought.
---

As for adults ru(i)nning foreign policy... 2 words Iraq. Clusterfuck.

Explain your BWS (Bush Worship Syndrome) to the 2200 killed troops for war proits, military bases, and political gain.

FU Donkey Dung !!!

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on January 16, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

I will agree that trying to impose our values on those religious idiots(Shia and Sunni) in Iraq is not going to work in the short-term.
Posted by: Donkey_Courage

Ironically, given how quickly the cowardly repub voters are willing to cede their civil rights, it hasn't worked on the christofascist fanatics in this country, either.

Posted by: Nads on January 16, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

Donkey_Courage: "Tell me why Iraq posed no threat, and don't trot out the standard line that they didn't have WMDs."

Hilarious! Keep that stuff coming.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on January 16, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

Military action against Iran is very, very unlikely. It would kill large numbers of civilians, wipe out whatever is left of the US's standing in the eyes of the world (not just the Muslim world), and expose US forces in Iraq to massive violent retribution from the Iranian army and navy. We would take large numbers of casualties.

However, we would probably not actually be defeated. US forces could probably smash numerically superior Iranian forces. One could imagine a situation in which the US carried out "pre-emptive" strikes (read: unprovoked aggression), Iran retaliated against US forces, and what developed was conventional war between the US and Iran - causing the Iraqi government to collapse while US forces became a kind of free radical ranging across the Middle East, sowing death and destruction in their wake.

So I wouldn't say military action is impossible. Just very unlikely.


It would of course eliminate any chance of democratic evolution in Iran for a generation, possibly destroy US alliances with the Gulf states, perhaps cause the Pakistani government to fall or to renounce cooperation with the US, and perhaps drive Iran to cooperate with the Taliban to undermine the US-backed government in Afghanistan. It would dramatically raise the likelihood of catastrophic terror in the US and Europe, necessitating total visa denial to the US from the Mideast.

But none of this is impossible. It could result in temporary political gains for the GOP. This is what happens when irresponsible dogmatic expansionist right-wing regimes take power in strong, militarily oriented countries: self-perpetuating, endless war. The best term for it is fascism. Ultimately, it always ends in defeat, but in the meantime a lot of people die.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

Donkey,
Since the fact that they didn't have WMDs has been verified by the Bush administration itself, I find it odd and rather amusing that you consider that fact a "standard line" to be dismissed. That, in fact, IS the point, my friend.

I'll repeat: I find it very ironic that you mention courage in your name, when it's clear you live in utter terror ("smoking crater", indeed), and evidently see Bush and his administration as your savior-king.

Hardly a novel condition for modern wingnuts, true. But still, it's ironic.

Posted by: Jonathan on January 16, 2006 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

I will trot out the 100,000 BDS posts from 2003-2006 to show how liberals brought on the appeasement conditions that allowed it to happen.

Aren't you getting a little ahead of the situation, Ass_Bravado?

A desire for statesmanship, presidential honesty and peace among nations is not the same as appeasement. Remember, troll-of-the-moment, it was conservatives (some of them, like the president's grandfather, actively trading with the Nazi regime) who opposed American involvement in the war against Germany.

When an American city is smoking, radioactive ruin

I fear this fantasy of yours is wishful thinking, isn't it? Martial law declared, the fascist clampdown completed. Isn't that the America you want?

Posted by: snowy s.o.b. on January 16, 2006 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

I reiterate:

Answer one question without any snark or subjective opinion and then we can move forward from there as real adults.

Do you notice that objects appear larger the closer they are?

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on January 16, 2006 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

Apparently you've never heard of "limited nuclear war". Reagan was orgasmic with respect to it. Can you imagined that he dreamed that it was possible and would not necessarily cause more and more use of nuclear warfare and a spreading of the nuclear conflict? That somehow it could be done in an area of the planet without having any effects whatsoever on the rest of the planet. And some say Reagan wasn't a dreamer! He just planted the seed for a later moron pinhead (see George Bush) to think that it was actually possible.

Posted by: MRB on January 16, 2006 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

Jay:

You illustrate BDS perfectly to a TEE>

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 16, 2006 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

PS - There's a reason we couldn't stop North Korea or Pakistan from having nuclear weapons:

They have Unranium deposits in them thar hills.

Posted by: Crissa on January 16, 2006 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

I am sorry why is this even a problem? I thought a free and democratic Iraq was going to stabilize the entire region? The mere act of voting was supposed to inspire all the hardliners in the Middle East into loving freedom for everyone even more than they love their deeply held religous code and grip on power on absolute power.

That was the point of the Iraq War right? It would stabilize the Middle East right? I guess some sort of military action against Iran will do that, definitely, this time, totally solve every problem.

Posted by: ellenbrenna on January 16, 2006 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

What plan should Democrats have for Iraq?

I have a fairly radical suggestion.

Overall, return the US to a position of strength and respect in the region which has so clearly been lost under Bush.

First, abandon Bush's pretense that America must bring about democracy in Iraq -- a goal he has put forth only because of politics. Pull out of Iraq, making it clear that we fully expect the Iraqis to achieve democracy on their own, if they are going to do so.

Make it clear that, hence forward, under Democratic leadership, the goal of the American military, primarily, will be the security of the American people, not nation building, which we do not have the resources to do militarily.

Make it clear as well that we mean to free up our military as quickly as possible so that it can deal with GENUINE threats in the region, and elsewhere in the world -- threats such as that represented by Iran. Keep a large number of troops positioned close to Iran so that they get the message.

Go back to a "speak softly, carry a big stick" policy. Lean on Iran in every way necessary to get them to accept inspectors, and to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons.

While this may strike many Democrats as too "American centric" a policy, if you think it through, it's mostly a realistic assessment of what our military can, in fact do, and how, in fact, it should be utilized -- mostly as backing up credible threats.

So ask yourself the question, do you want to be perceived as strong on national security, or not? Because this is a way to make it clear that WE, the Democrats, NOT the Republicans, are the ones who will take it seriously, and project American STRENGTH throughout the world, while maintaining, whereever possible, peace.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 16, 2006 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

I guess some sort of military action against Iran will do that, definitely, this time, totally solve every problem.

Cheney/Rumsfeld '08: This time we'll get it right!

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on January 16, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Wait, because we don't want a war with Iran, we hate Israel?

How does that follow?

Posted by: Crissa on January 16, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

No. But the idea of letting Iran get nukes when it has repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel is naive.

I'm not sure whether gross stupidity of that level
is real or faked. Kinda like being the Germans who believed the Jews being shipped out in trains were all camping in Switzerland.

The liberal movement is so quick to be paranoid about their own government they they scream 'fascist' at the slightest shadow but miss the really obvious in other countries.

I'll never understand you guys. Have you never been overseas or read world history?

Posted by: McAristotle on January 16, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

What plan should Democrats have for Iraq?

I mean Iran.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 16, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: david on January 16, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

heavy,
The answer is that they can't. The evidence of history leads to the inescapable conclusion that Bush cannot be trusted to tell the truth about the threat, if any, posed by Iran, and even if he could, he can't be trusted to deal with it effectively.

This is an election-year scaremongering ploy. People like "Donkey Courage" either are too terrified and cowardly to recognize that fact, or they DO know it and think the rest of us can't see right through it.

Posted by: Jonathan on January 16, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, BDS sounds like a wingnut disease to me.

Posted by: Another Bruce on January 16, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Jewish genocide. I know the position is appealing to a large minority of the Democrat party

You ignorant anti-semitic buffoon. Shut your fat trap. You know nothing about Jewish political alignment, obviously, so keep your little nose out of these issues.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

I think we should let the President wiretap freely at his own discretion without any authorization and torture and kidnap and export anybody he chooses. What say good people?

Posted by: murmeister on January 16, 2006 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

Donkey Dung Bushbot
"Once again, at the end of the day leftist a$$holes have no solutions on Iran and the REAL hard work of policy is left to the adults in the Bush administration. Go Condi!"

Adult. Condi. Oxy. MORON.

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on January 16, 2006 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

Darryl:

I never said that we invaded Iraq to disposess Saddam of existing WMDs. The point of it was:

1. To get rid of a hostile Saddam who was funding terrorists in Palestinian and training others in places like Salman Pak

2. To set an example to the other radical regimes of what MAY happen to them if they pursue their terrorist-exporting agenda(see Iran, Syria)

3. Iraq is a physical staging area to implement air-strikes, and/or regime change in Syria/Iran, IF necessary. I'm not saying it's inevitable. Just the threat might be sufficient.

Now this excercise in "democracy" is bullshit, since we can't impose our model of constitutional republic on these religious idiots who simply want to slaughter each other. The reason why Bush pursues this point so much is a sop to Western liberals who cherish the notion of "democracy" so much. I'd much prefer Kissinger-like realpolitik.

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 16, 2006 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

>I doubt that any war involving nuclear weapons will last longer than, say, ninety minutes. Tops.

Russia, the US and China are very unlikely to go head to head against each other. And none of the nascent nuclear powers have thermonuclear warheads , only fission warheads the scale of Hiroshima, 1/100 the power of thermonukes. Those are capable of 100-300k casualties per hit, and each nation has only a handful of them.

So it wouldn't be the same scenario as a superpower holocaust. A nuclear war in the middle east or between India/Pakistan would thus be, as you said, a 90 minute exchange of nukes. But I'd bet it would then followed rapidly by a ferocious regional war, with each of Russia, the USA and China playing its pieces there by proxy, possibly even directly.

If the US itself was nuked, I actually cannot guess the response. I expect it would take time to find out the nuke's source, and the globe would just about turn to ice as those days ticked by.

Then all of the former rules would be removed, and power would be wielded openly for the last of the middle east oil, with no regard for the stability of the global economy, the fear that keeps the players in check now. I think from that vantage point, it would be obvious in retrospect the direction we were headed in now.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on January 16, 2006 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

Just like the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with WMD, so the neocon policy towards Iran has nothing to do with nuclear weapons. I mean, we've been through this before guys. Did everyone know that Iran is opening an oil 'bourse' on March 20, 2006? That's the French word for 'market.' And the oil traded will be priced in euros. Ring a bell? This is complicated stuff. Please read this.

Petrodollar Wars

and this:

The Dollar May Fall This March

Posted by: nepeta on January 16, 2006 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

I don't understand. Are we totalitarians here or what? I'm getting all mixed up. If Bush is the example to which we aspire then shouldn't we be giving Iran nukes or germ weapons (germ weapons like Reagan gave to Saddam Iraq) and be nuking Venzuala and Chavez? Iran is where the totalitarians are (which Bush lusts after) and Venzuala is where the citizens vote for leaders (you know leftist socialists). I just can't keep up. Maybe we should just nuke everybody.

Posted by: MRB on January 16, 2006 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

frankly0,
Utterly kick-ass, and based upon polling, sounds like a winner.

Donkey,
At least you're finally being honest about hating democracy.

Posted by: Jonathan on January 16, 2006 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, BDS, or Bush Defender Syndrome is a leading indicator for TSFW, the dreaded Too Stupid For Words infection.

Posted by: on January 16, 2006 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, I forgot.

The anti-war movement were the guys who testified before your Congress that there would be no retaliation on pro-American Vietnamese if they left. All to set up a Communist regime that is now Capitalist and seeking Nike outsourcing contracts.

I guess being anti-war means you aren't responsible for indirect deaths from your actions.


Posted by: McAristotle on January 16, 2006 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

Anyhow, 'Donkey_Courage' (what an ironic name, as it comes fromsomeone who is neither a donkey, nor courageous) has actually showed up here before.

Perhaps it's just another pseudonym. But they were here before the Iraq invasion.

Posted by: Crissa on January 16, 2006 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

I reiterate:

Answer one question without any snark or subjective opinion and then we can move forward from there as real adults.

Do you notice that objects appear larger the closer they are?

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on January 16, 2006 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

So refreshing when a wingnut fesses up. The fact that they still back Bush despite his felonious violation of civil rights is a pretty good indicator that they prefer dictatorship to democracy, but better to have them say it themselves.

Posted by: Jonathan on January 16, 2006 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

Just the threat might be sufficient.

Yeah, it's done a wonderful job of dissuading Iran from pursuing nukes, hasn't it?

Have you ever heard of a performance review? Of evaluations? Of evidence-based funding?

The idea is that when policies demonstrably fail, at some point, you alter them. The invasion of Iraq has been a staggering failure in its effects on Iran, as well as in every single other way, except for getting Saddam's innocent prisoners out of Abu Ghraib (so we could replace them with our own).

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

Darryl:
I never said that we invaded Iraq to disposess Saddam of existing WMDs. The point of it was:

... which is good, since there weren't any.

1. To get rid of a hostile Saddam who was funding terrorists in Palestinian and training others in places like Salman Pak
Posted by: Donkey_Courage

we funded israeli aggression with our tax dollars, which is perpetuating the humanitarian crisis and destabilizing the region ... AND has killed more civilians than have palestinian terrorists ...

we've trained worse terrorists than the palestinians in central america.

maybe we can invade ourselves next.

Posted by: Nads on January 16, 2006 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

By Donkey's description of the threat from Iraq, we should already be fighting Iran and Saudi Arabia. Our presence in Iraq has forced Syria to change how it meddles in Lebanese politics, but has certainly not kept it from doing so.

What we are doing in the Middle East is the opposite of realpolitik, which Donkey would realize if he had the faintest idea of what he is talking about.

Posted by: Wombat on January 16, 2006 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

darryl:

I just gave you my analysis of the situation and all I got in return was a snark from you. Pot. Kettle. Black. Or are you REALLY interested in a debate on Iraq and the Middle East?

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 16, 2006 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

McAristotle,
Time to come into the 21st century. Everything has consequences, including invading a country without provocation and allowing it to fall into chaos and become a terrorist training ground.

Posted by: Jonathan on January 16, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

http://www.intrade.com/jsp/intrade/contractSearch/

Trade sports puts the odds at 28% of an airstrike by end of 2006 by US or Israel.

This site is fantastic by the way. It called ALito as a sure thing faset than anything else.

Posted by: McA on January 16, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

What we are doing in the Middle East is the opposite of realpolitik

Reallystupidpolitik?

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

When an American city becomes a smoking ruin because of a nuclear attack by a terrorist, I'll blame the Bush administration for wasting our time, money, resources and lives by invading Iraq instead of hunting down Osama and Al Qaeda.

Posted by: Another Bruce on January 16, 2006 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

I just gave you my analysis of the situation and all I got in return was a snark from you. Pot. Kettle. Black. Or are you REALLY interested in a debate on Iraq and the Middle East?
Posted by: Donkey_Courage

this isn't debate ... one doesn't debate with ignorant cowardly monkeys like you and mca. this is solely for my entertainment.

Posted by: Nads on January 16, 2006 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

Donkey, I set the condition: Answer a simple question. You didn't do it. I can't trust you now.

See how that works?

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on January 16, 2006 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

Notice how Bushies blame everyone else for their "victories"?

Posted by: owlbear1 on January 16, 2006 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

Brooksfoe,
None of that matters, when the ultimate impetus for your beliefs and actions is utter terror and a blind adoration of your dictator-leaders.

Performance reviews are for lesser beings.

Posted by: Jonathan on January 16, 2006 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

Donkey_Encourage: "2. To set an example to the other radical regimes of what MAY happen to them if they pursue their terrorist-exporting agenda(see Iran, Syria)"

Yes. They'll get us mired down in a seemingly endless guerrilla war, too. That's some example we're setting.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on January 16, 2006 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

Wombat:

The bigger part of the strategy for dealing with Iran and Saudi ARabia is having a physical staging area to operate out of. Iraq is the logical choice. Now, the democracy-experiment is the one part of the neoconservative agenda I don't approve of.

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 16, 2006 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

I don't have answers, only questions.

1) Would an American or American-led NATO airstrike on Iran's nuclear facilities provoke an Iranian counter-attack on American installations in Iraq, on Israel, or both?

2) If the answer to number one is yes, is the American middle class prepared to have their sons and daughters drafted into a war with Iran?

3) Do we have reliable intelligence on the locations of Iran's nuclear facilities? Does it matter?

4) Even if the Chinese have no intention of intervening militarily or even threatening to intervene militarily on behalf of Iran, might the prospect of an American conquest of Tehran be the final straws that convinces them to cut their losses and stop propping up the dollar?

Posted by: The Blue Nomad on January 16, 2006 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

On another note, take a look at this part of the Niall Ferguson quote:

The devastating nuclear exchange of August 2007 represented not only the failure of diplomacy, it marked the end of the oil age. Some even said it marked the twilight of the West.

Isn't it interesting how, from the new Robert Kaplan book to this Ferguson line, the neocon pro-empire intellectuals seem to increasingly be falling into this Spenglerian mood of civilizational decline? Weren't we supposed to be launching our American empire because our sun was rising, at first? Not because it was setting, and we were manning the last bastions of civilization?

Kind of predictable that fascist expansionism soon turns from predictions of a thousand-year Reich to gloom and Gotterdammerung, I guess.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

Donkey Dung Bushbot:
"The reason why Bush pursues this point so much is a sop to Western liberals who cherish the notion of "democracy" so much."
--
I had no idea that the boy king loved liberals so much that he would dedicate FIVE speeches during Nov/Dec 2005 to this democracy Sop. I'm thrilled. Really.

PS: Who would be more full of shit... Bush or Donkey Dung?

So little time... so many questions.

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on January 16, 2006 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

I can you are a very artful practioner of ad-hominem, since rational thought is impossible.


Apparently rational posting is also impossible as I can't for the life of me find the verb in the first clause.

Posted by: Donkey_Spewage on January 16, 2006 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

We can use Israel, Kuwait, Bahrein and Qatar as staging areas against Iran. Saudi Arabia is militarily neglible. A couple of carrier groups could deal with them (and Iran's naval and air forces too). Sorry, silly argument on your part.

Posted by: Wombat on January 16, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Darryl:

ohh! I'm so sad that you can't trust me anymore! ohh, ohh what will I do????

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 16, 2006 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

That's "negligible"

Posted by: Wombat on January 16, 2006 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

Everything has consequences, including invading a country without provocation and allowing it to fall into chaos and become a terrorist training ground.

Posted by: Jonathan on January 16, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

Well, yes. If you hadn't invaded. You might be fighting both at once instead of one after the other. Plus more tortured people in the meantime.

Everything has consequences including leaving a threat in place.

Posted by: McAristotle on January 16, 2006 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

Saudi Arabia is militarily neglible.

Uhh, not that I disagree with much you have said, but I disagree with this. They have a lot of fine military hardware that we have sold them. With sophisticated air bases and planes to match them.

Posted by: Another Bruce on January 16, 2006 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

Why don't we just get the rational ones (you know, the fundementalist conservatives) to make two lists. One of all the countries we like and one of all the countries that pisses them off or there afraid of and then we'll just nuke all the ones on the pissed off list. Now would that make it all better? Remember nuking parts of the US is off limits.

Posted by: MRB on January 16, 2006 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

Everything has consequences including leaving a threat in place.
Posted by: McAristotle

what threat, exactly, are you referring to? has the specter of saddam unmanned you so much, powerless as he was?

Posted by: Nads on January 16, 2006 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

ohh! I'm so sad that you can't trust me anymore! ohh, ohh what will I do????

Watch the country go down in flames because we couldn't find any common ground. That should be self-evident, you selfish, dunder-pated ignoramus.

Abraham Lincoln said, "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."

Thanks, Donkey, ever so much, for being the trip-wire. It's been grand.

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on January 16, 2006 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

frankly0: "Because this is a way to make it clear that WE, the Democrats, NOT the Republicans, are the ones who will take it seriously, and project American STRENGTH throughout the world, while maintaining, whereever possible, peace."

I like your suggestions! They don't sound radical at all, to me.

brooksfoe: "Military action against Iran is very, very unlikely....However, we would probably not actually be defeated. US forces could probably smash numerically superior Iranian forces.

I believe the term is Pyrrhic victory. And I'm not so confident that US forces could smash numerically superior Iranian forces. In Iraq, we haven't had a smashing success against a numerically inferior resistance forces. What makes you think that we would have lasting success against a far greater foe, in their homeland? I suppose we could do an air campaign and just bomb them into pulp.

brooksfoe: "Isn't it interesting how, from the new Robert Kaplan book to this Ferguson line, the neocon pro-empire intellectuals seem to increasingly be falling into this Spenglerian mood of civilizational decline? Weren't we supposed to be launching our American empire because our sun was rising, at first?"

And THIS is an excellent observation. It is very interesting. Here we thought they were rational and now we discover they are Wagnerian.

Posted by: PTate in Mn on January 16, 2006 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

McAristotle:

You cant have rational debate with moonbats.

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 16, 2006 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK

Dondey_Courage,
All my sporting blood has turned to horse piss over the wonderful adventure in Iraq. You are free to join any fun that the pres is cooking up for Iran.
I will pass on that however.

Posted by: dilbert donkey on January 16, 2006 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

MRB: "...make two lists. One of all the countries we like and one of all the countries that pisses them off or there afraid of and then we'll just nuke all the ones on the pissed off list."

Now that would be pre-emptive!! World peace, at last. Not a single living soul left to attack us.

Posted by: PTate in Mn on January 16, 2006 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

I doubt that any war involving nuclear weapons will last longer than, say, ninety minutes. Tops.

"Why I even remember World War III.
All forty-five seconds of it.
I remember the President, he came on TV and said,
'Goodluckyoureonyourowngoodnight!'"
-- Robin Williams

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on January 16, 2006 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

Never forget that Saudi Arabia has many interests in the U.S. beyond the 15 hijackers that they contributed towards the destruction of the WTC and the Pentagon. They have nearly a trillion dollars worth of investments in the U.S. economy. They have a controlling interest in Citi Corp. It was kinda hard for the Bush administration to hold a grudge against these guys for a little thing like 9-11, so he attacked Iraq instead.

Posted by: Another Bruce on January 16, 2006 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

But then after nuking every country that pissed them off, they would look around and sure enough there would be others that pissed them off. You know, like the Mexicans or those that didn't walk upright, or the ones that looked gay, or the old ones that didn't get out of the way fast enough and then those would need to be killed. And eventually they might begin to fear or be pissed at each other and then we've got full blown paranoia. Oh.......

Posted by: MRB on January 16, 2006 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

Don't lose sight of the original reason for attacking Iraq.....Osama Bin Laden was hiding in the mountains of Pakistan

Posted by: murmeister on January 16, 2006 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK
Fortunately President Bush is not going to wait 3 years doing nothing because you decided we need someone else in charge. Posted by: Donkey_Courage
Bush won't wait three years? Where have you been? He has been president for 5 years and what has he done about North Korea? He has had 4 years to capture bin Laden? How is that hunt going? He has had 2 years to win in Iraq. How is that war going?
know the position is appealing to a large minority of the Democrat party Posted by: McAristotle
There is no smear to base not to be uttered by Republican.
I never said that we invaded Iraq to disposess Saddam of existing WMDs. Posted by: Donkey_Courage
You never said? Do you speak for Bush, because Bush said it often and vehemently. Bush, Condi, and Cheney spoke of mushroom clouds then, and they will again about Iran. Saddam was not funding terrorists. As for setting an example, the lesson everyone is taking from Bush's Folly is that a well armed and well organized insurgency can stymie the most powerful army on earth. That is not a lesson of fear; it is a showing of American weakness. We don't need Iraq as a staging area. We have aircraft carriers and Qatar. All your reasons are bullshit just like Bush's. At no time until Sistani demanded it, did Bush ever seriously talk of a democracy in Iraq. Kissinger's realpolitik accomplished nothing except to align us with right-wing dictatorships across the world.
I guess being anti-war means you aren't responsible for indirect deaths from your actions. Posted by: McAristotle
No, launching wars is what directly lead to the deaths of innocent people. Interfering in national unity movements and civil wars is counter-productive and foolish, as in Korea or Vietnam.
No real solutions Posted by: tbrosz
I'm not impressed with the results of any Bush foreign policy action taken thus far in Iraq, North Korea, Afghanistan, Haiti, Venezuela, or anywhere else for that matter. All the fear-mongering about Iraq lead to a quagmire with the America equipment being decimated and the army overtaxed and overstretched for no reason. This proven incompetence only means that any action, any rhetoric by Bush and his minions concerning Iran will be equally worthless. Posted by: Mike on January 16, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

who the fuck is this "donkey_courage" dumbass, spouting off on how libs supposedly aren't capable of rational thought?

i mean, exactly how much RATIONAL thought was used by the Bush regime to 'justify'.. err, 'sell' the completely unnecessary invasion of Iraq in 2002-early 2003, and how much THOUGHT of any kind was used to plan for keeping the peace after we won the war?!?

pot, meet kettle. you can both go fuck yourselves.

Posted by: humbucker on January 16, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

Tell me why Iraq posed no threat, and don't trot out the standard line that they didn't have WMDs

Your party's actions scattered the rag-tag Iraqi Army to the four winds and found near-on-nigh WMD programs to the cost of billions of dollars, thousands of dead Americans, and tens of thousands of dead Iraqs - but we're the ones who are supposed to explain our actions?

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on January 16, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

who the fuck is this "donkey_courage" dumbass, spouting off on how libs supposedly aren't capable of rational thought?

It's hard to remember the reason you came to website when you're up to your rear-end in wingnuts and moonbats. And with that.... I bid you all, good night!

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on January 16, 2006 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

Tsk tsk. Some dumbass Harvard blatherwart spouts nonsense and we even have the Chinese commenting.

He was only joking and he had a byline deadline.

Posted by: ljr on January 16, 2006 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

Ferguson's little fantasy is amusing, as far as it goes. This line, however, sticks out:

Even if Ahmad-inejad had broadcast a nuclear test live on CNN, liberals would have said it was a CIA con-trick.

That seems like something tbrosz would write, not something befitting a smarty-pants (elite?!) Harvard professor.

Posted by: craigie on January 16, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

Once upon a time, I was in awe of Chaired Professors, in shock and awe of Harvard chairs.

Take out the Great Nuclear Exchange and Niall has a very plausible scenario for the Gulf with or without enrichment, with or without a bomb, with or without warhead delivery capability better than a Scud missile.


Wars don't start with nuclear exchanges though admittedly we've been the only country to test the nuclear war fighting theory in pratice.


Israel and Iran are quite beside the point when it comes to the disaster Bush has visited on the world with his preventive war against a figment of his imagination.


He has no options.

Ferguson fortunately has tenure and the outline of a junk novel, perhaps even a screenplay for a a bad movie screenplay. Thoroughly implausible, poorly developed, researched, and written, yet Ferguson touts his work within the reach of the most mediocre historian.

Bush has no options. At least Ferguson has tenure.

Posted by: John McC on January 16, 2006 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

Yesterday, an acquaintance refused to give me back the $500 he owes me. In the desire not to appear weak or appease him in anyway I just put a 38 slug in his brain. Personally I fiqure what works in international relationships works at home also. I still don't have the $500, now I can't get it, so I'm still trying to fiqure out exactly how this relationship really works. Plus the guy had some good ideas once in awhile that I'll never get benefits from now.

Posted by: MRB on January 16, 2006 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

I repeat again what I inferred last night: Turn Iran into a social democracy and all of our big problems go away. Drop Bennigans and Best Buys and not bombs. Y'see, capitalism and the free flow of ideas really are wonderful things. I kinda remember that once upon a time, Republicans used to believe in that too. Something about tearing down walls and shining cities on hills.

Alas poor Ronnie, we hardly knew ye.

But if all you're after is the visceral reaction of seeing dead brown people or following orders, then do us all a favor and go for the front-row seat. What say you, Elephant Coward?

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on January 16, 2006 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

No. But the idea of letting Iran get nukes when it has repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel is naive.

'It' has?

Is that like how the US asked 'Is our kids learnin'? and called for the destruction of the 'Axis of evil'?

Yeah. Whatever. People like you make me care less and less about your 'cause' - which mostly seems to be to get people killed.

Posted by: Crissa on January 16, 2006 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

He was only joking ...

Yeah, it's all fun and games until somebody's city lays in smoking ruins.

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on January 16, 2006 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

powerless as he was?

Posted by: Nads on January 16, 2006 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

If he's powerless..why did we need more troops to invade Iraq? And why do we need to leave now to prevent more deaths?

The liberal view of the capabilities of a country bounce back and forth in the middle of a discussion.

1. A country is no threat 'cos its too weak

2. But if a war start, it'll do tremendous harm!!!!

---------


Interfering in national unity movements and civil wars is counter-productive and foolish, as in Korea or Vietnam.

Posted by: Mike on January 16, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

There might be exceptions to that - when a country is determined to go to war anyway.
Interfering with Japan earlierwhen it first invaded China would have made an inevitable war smaller ....

Posted by: McAristotle on January 16, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

after is the visceral reaction of seeing dead brown people or following orders, then do us all a favor and go for the front-row seat. What say you, Elephant Coward?

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on January 16, 2006 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

If you believe the idea of Israel living with nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran is all fun and games, why don't you move their then?

Posted by: McAristotle on January 16, 2006 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

So good, it had to be repeated:

Iran had a moderate President and an urban population, economic class, and a student movement that were fed up with the Islamic Republic. Perhaps you don't remember the demonstrations of sympathy (unauthorized by the Iranian regime) with the United States after 9/11. Perhaps you don't remember that US military representatives met with their Iranian counterparts to ensure that US service personnel that strayed into Iran during the invasion of Afghanistan would be speedily repatriated. We probably won't know for several decades the amount of clandestine cooperation vis-a-vis Afghanistan that took place between the US and Iran.

You appear to be unaware of the power struggle between the religious-security establishment and the executive and legislative branches of the Iranian government; a power struggle that could have been exploited had the US government not been run by incompetents. Instead of driving a wedge further between the competing sectors of Iranian society, we cut the legs out from under the moderates.

A-yep. But the PNAC Platoon and their friends in Likud fell for Ahmad (The Grifter) Chalabi and his "you can have back the bases you lost in the region when the Shah left town, plus Israel will be made safer" lies, so they decided to take a secular dictatorship that looked Westward and encouraged its men and women to get college degrees, and replace it with a Shiite dictatorship where persons selling Western clothes or music are executed in the streets and women are lucky to be allowed to read, and certainly not allowed to get college degrees, much less careers based on them.

Posted by: Phoenix Woman on January 16, 2006 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

Israel has it's own nukes and plenty of military hardware that we have so generously donated to them over the course of decades, they can defend themselves, why the hell do we have any obligation to act in their interests?

Posted by: Another Bruce on January 16, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

unaware of the power struggle between the religious-security establishment and the executive and legislative branches of the Iranian government; a power struggle that could have been exploited had the US government not been run by incompetents.

Posted by: Phoenix Woman on January 16, 2006 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

So what wonderful track record under Clinton can we site as an example, of the Left's continuous claim of being able to the same thing better than anyone else?

Especially when their only positions are in hindsight?

Posted by: McA on January 16, 2006 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

What will the Democrats be recommending as the proper US response to the recent Iran nuclear actions?

Me, I'm recommending invasion ASAP. No, really. Seriously. You guys convinced me.

Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft on January 16, 2006 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

If you believe the idea of Israel living with nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran is all fun and games, why don't you move their then?
Posted by: McAristotle

when the fuck did we become israel's client state??? and I'm actually more concerned about the comfort level of the average iranian who knows about israel and america's nukes ... since both are significantly more likely to use them than vice versa.

Posted by: Nads on January 16, 2006 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't be playing with the Malasian attention sponge, but, eh, what the heck.

If you believe the idea of Israel living with nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran is all fun and games, why don't you move their then?

a.) I'm Catholic, not Jewish.
b.) Though I support the right of the Israeli state to exist, I don't support it to the extent of joining up with the IDF.
c.) The Israelis already have nukes and an intelligence agency second to none. If Admad gets the bomb and even looks at Israel cross-eyed, he'll be dead, their missile silos evaporated, and their Football on display somewhere in the Knesset.

By the way, the U.S. Army does take foreign nationals, McMao. It's the fast track to citizenship!

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on January 16, 2006 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

Israel has it's own nukes and plenty of military hardware that we have so generously donated to them over the course of decades, they can defend themselves, why the hell do we have any obligation to act in their interests?

Posted by: Another Bruce on January 16, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe because their defense policy includes the 'Samson Option' which would involve firing off all their nukes at the Arab world in return for their own impending annhilation.

Maybe because a disaster of that scale is something a superpower should care about?

Especially if they had sent weapons to that nation at some point in its history?

But the Liberals position is always to bitch..do nothing..then to blame afterwards, "When this was always your fault for arming Israel in the first place?".

Posted by: McAristotle on January 16, 2006 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, the U.S. Army does take foreign nationals, McMao. It's the fast track to citizenship!

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on January 16, 2006 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

Only with a green card. And who wants American citizenship anyway?

No benefits, and a share of the national debt. No thank you.

Posted by: McAristotle on January 16, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

McA: Clinton has been out of office now for 5 years. What exactly was he supposed to do during that time? Is Bush responsible for his time in power or not? Through his illogical actions he may have increased the power in Iran of dangerous factions that now insist on gaining nuclear arms. He has some responsibility, it happened on his watch. If Bush is making these decisions then he is responsible-not Clinton.

Posted by: MRB on January 16, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

People like you make me care less and less about your 'cause' - which mostly seems to be to get people killed.

Posted by: Crissa on January 16, 2006 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

And your 'cause' seems to be good at pretending people aren't killed in mass graves or sticking your head in the sand when nations acquire the means to kill lots of people.

Posted by: McAristotle on January 16, 2006 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

McA: Clinton has been out of office now for 5 years. What exactly was he supposed to do during that time?
Posted by: MRB on January 16, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

Well, he didn't do anything in 8 years about things like AQ Khan or Iran.

Phoenix Woman claims Bush missed out on a non-violent regime change. Well, maybe. But if such an opportunity existed, Clinton certainly didn't manage to use it either.

But its OK for liberals to make shit up, to justify their beliefs. We should trust them regardless 'cos their views are so much snarkier!

Posted by: McAristotle on January 16, 2006 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

JAMESP: Iran has five or seven nukes

How do you know that?

Posted by: Steve J. on January 16, 2006 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

This debate has certainly raised a lot question marks.

Posted by: Michael7843853 GO in 08! on January 16, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

seriously Mca ... did someone brown molest you as a child or something??? this is pretty visceral racism against arabs you're displaying ... it's worrisome ... if I gave a shit about you.

Posted by: Nads on January 16, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

DONKEY_COURAGE: When an American city is smoking, radioactive ruin

The only good option for the GOP.

Posted by: Steve J. on January 16, 2006 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

Phoenix Woman claims Bush missed out on a non-violent regime change. Well, maybe. But if such an opportunity existed, Clinton certainly didn't manage to use it either.
Posted by: McAristotle

why bother with regime change??? what are we changing the regime to??? why the FUCK do we think we can or should install friendly mideast puppets and expect this to have good consequences and NOT have predictable 9/11-like blowback consequences???

Posted by: Nads on January 16, 2006 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

DONKEY_COURAGE: No wonder Dems are losing elections, no one can take you seriously on national security.

Well, some took Fredo seriously and we got 9-11 and Iraq. Time for a change, no?

Posted by: Steve J. on January 16, 2006 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

Nations develop methods to kill people for their own security. Other methods of dealing with one another involve discussions, trust, and negotiation. One way may involve deaths, maybe massive deaths, the other has a chance to reduce deaths, innocent deaths. War is used last not first. If used first then maniacs are in charge. Nations that attack others are forever changed by the process. Sometimes they never recover. Killing isn't as easy as it first seems to be. Just as we will never stop countries from seeking the means to kill people, we will never kill the desire for people to seek a peaceful outcome.

Posted by: MRB on January 16, 2006 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

We don't need anymore of this War bullshit.

Posted by: VanishingMiddleClass on January 16, 2006 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe because their defense policy includes the 'Samson Option' which would involve firing off all their nukes at the Arab world in return for their own impending annhilation.

Sounds like the U.S. better take out Israels nukes as well.

Posted by: Another Bruce on January 16, 2006 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

It's interesting that Ferguson thinks the "Great War" could be prevented by the US being more bloodthirsty and murderous than it is. It appears to him that wiping out the Islamic world is a perfectly justifiable action to take to deal with perceived threats. No doubt the British were not brutal enough for Ferguson when they were trying to manage their Iraq colony and that's why we have to clean up their mess today. These ideas can't be defended on moral grounds and maybe it's just a symptom of how far the West has declined that "thinkers" like Ferguson believe we have to resort to barbarity to survive.

Posted by: Taobhan on January 16, 2006 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

Any. More.

Posted by: VanishingMiddleClass on January 16, 2006 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

DONKEY_COURAGE:We probably won't know for several decades the amount of clandestine cooperation vis-a-vis Afghanistan that took place between the US and Iran.

I'll give you a headstart:


Iran helped overthrow Taliban, candidate says
By Barbara Slavin, USA TODAY
Fri Jun 10, 6:56 AM ET

Current and former U.S. troops and officials confirm Iranians were present with the Northern Alliance as U.S. forces organized the rebels in 2001.
Former CIA Afghan team leader Gary Schroen says there were two Iranian guard colonels attached to a Northern Alliance
commander, Bismullah Khan, outside Kabul when U.S. Special Forces arrived in September 2001. "We knew they were on the ground," says John McLaughlin, former deputy director of the CIA.

Predominantly Shiite Iran nearly went to war against the Taliban after the massacre of Afghan Shiites and nine Iranians in Mazar-e-Sharif in 1998.

James Dobbins, a former State Department official who worked with diplomats from Iran and other Afghan neighbors to create the first post-Taliban government, says the Iranians "were equipping and paying the Northern Alliance. Russia and India were also helping, but at the time, Iran was the most active."

TOO BAD FREDO SCREWED THAT UP!


Posted by: Steve J. on January 16, 2006 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

Yech. So far, the 18 linear inches of Chinese is the best part of this thread.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 16, 2006 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

Bush needs war to stay in power. Conservatives and fascists need constant war or fear of war to retain power. Fear is so easy to develop. It's so easy to manipulate someone that is afraid. For evidence just look at McAristotle's posts. He's afraid as hell and being so afraid is so very easy to manipulate. It's just like Pavlov's dog. Turn the fear into hate, project it towards someone, and you can do anything to them you want. If they object, just warn them of the threats and/or accuse them of weakness regarding the enemy that you invented for them. It's so easy and Bush works it. Ooh, look out something's gonna getcha. And when your scared about something, you'll never even notice while he steals all your money and takes away all your freedom. Just as long as he can use that fear.

Posted by: MRB on January 16, 2006 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

Yech. So far, the 18 linear inches of Chinese is the best part of this thread.
Posted by: tbrosz

that's because you have limited proficiency with english.

Posted by: Nads on January 16, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

DONKEY_COURAGE:I never said that we invaded Iraq to disposess Saddam of existing WMDs.

Pres. Fredo did:

THE PRESIDENT: Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament. 3/6/03
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030306-8.html

Posted by: Steve J. on January 16, 2006 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

Has anyone considered that the Canadians did not enter into the alliance to free Iraq and therefore should be considered suspect and eligible for invasion. Not only would it save billions of dollars in transport costs but they have oil AND they have the water resources too not to mention delicious "freedom" bacon.

Posted by: murmeister on January 16, 2006 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

STFW, I could write a editorial in favor of US textiles including a future historian's view of why we rolled over for China in 2009 and allowed their troops to march on Astana in return for ending their 6 month-long underwear embargo on the US.

Posted by: B on January 16, 2006 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

In just 5 short years Bush has turned an ally against Al Quaida into a foe. And for this, with some sort of weird bizarro like logic, it's determined that he's helping the mideast situation somehow. He's broadening out the unrest, the potential for war with another and probably after that, another country and somehow that is to help develop world peace. This was forecast in regards to the Iraq fiasco when once they were enemies. But Bush needed to be re-elected so therefore he needed a war somewhere.

Posted by: MRB on January 16, 2006 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

Well with Bush I would fiqure that if unhappy with Mexico that he would attack Canada.

Posted by: MRB on January 16, 2006 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

murmeister >Has anyone considered that the Canadians...should be considered suspect and eligible for invasion...they have oil...

Why buy the cow, when...?

Especially from the GOP point of view, given the cow would be, politically, washington state/california but with worse weather.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on January 16, 2006 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

Submitted for your consideration, the following proposal for preempting a nucleated Irania:

Rather than further alienating and ostracizing the Iranian people and, in the process, reducing the influence of moderates in the country, we should make every effort to integrate Irania into the global community. We hardly make anything at home anyway, so why not help them to at least start some low level manufacturing and give them sweetheart contracts to ensure their success. The more prosperous they are, the less likely they are to risk immolation in an effort to vaporize Tel Aviv or DC or anywhere else. Such an effort can hardly be one-tenth as expensive as a war and/or world wide oil crisis. It is quite likely that other first world countries would happily join us in such an endeavour. Of course, the American government can have nothing to do with this, but consumers in the first world would be willing purchase all their 'widgets' from Irania in exchange for them not going on a fission expedition.

If we had been using this method throughout the middle east for the last 30? years many of our current problems might not even exist. A relatively prosperous working and then middle class would be ill-disposed to risk in spurious jihads.

Posted by: Sterling Rod on January 16, 2006 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

First time poster here....

"Weren't we supposed to be launching our American empire because our sun was rising, at first?"

Well, consider the times. We had a competent President that had the world's respect. Of course the war mongers could springboard off Clinton's accomplishments. Of course, no one could know what an imbecile the selected boy-king would turn out to be. Under his stewardship, the Project for a New American Century will end up 9 decades short.

I see that you have your own resident Bush Apologist on board. Fascinating that they all have the same idiotic talking points and they all sound alike.

Posted by: Innocent Bystander on January 16, 2006 at 2:53 AM | PERMALINK

there's no such thing as an irrational hatred of Bush. he's earned every ounce of hate rational people have for him. his disdain for rule of law, favoring "rule of Bush" instead, merits it without any question. the bush-defenders reveal themselves as disgusting imperialists, nothing more, deserving nothing but scorn.

Posted by: g on January 16, 2006 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

donkey courage is incapable of thinking for himself. Everything he has said here today you will find at the right wing blogs and in the right wing media (which accounts for most of it). The more you respond to him, the greater his climax. He's just another right-wing wanker masterbating with his left hand while typing with his right.

Bojangles

Posted by: Bojangles on January 16, 2006 at 2:58 AM | PERMALINK

If prior to this time, we have done nothing further to suppress their retaliatory capabilities, we will suffer virtual annihilation. Now, if we were to immediately launch an all out and coordinated attack on all their airfields and missile bases we'd stand a damn good chance of catching 'em with their pants down. Hell, we got missile superiority as it is

Now, the truth is not always a pleasant thing, but it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless, distinguishable post-war environments: one where you got twenty million people killed, and the other where you got a hundred and fifty million people killed.

I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say... no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Depending on the breaks

Perhaps it might be better, folks, if you were more concerned with the American people, than with your image in the history books.

Posted by: Turgidson on January 16, 2006 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

war mongers could springboard off Clinton's accomplishments.
Posted by: Innocent Bystander on January 16, 2006 at 2:53 AM | PERMALINK

Bombing Sudan over bad info and a domestic scandal...

Sending people into Somalia without proper support and running to moment a dead body appeared on CNN?

Pakistan going nuclear?

I think Clinton's accomplishments were an American reputation so weakened that Osama could 9/11 your ass, and Afghanistan felt comfortable refusing to hand him over.

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

Rather than further alienating and ostracizing the Iranian people and, in the process, reducing the influence of moderates in the country, we should make every effort to integrate Irania into the global community.

Posted by: Sterling Rod on January 16, 2006 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

But where the not alienating involves allowing them to build a nuclear bomb...that also means failure to integrate results in many, many more deaths.

Do you trust the anti-war movement to advise you on such a decision?

If they had done this in the Middle East before.
There would have been multiple nuclear powers and several nuclear exchanges.

Posted by: McAristotle on January 16, 2006 at 3:24 AM | PERMALINK

It's obvious. A.Q. Khan and Iran would both have to be far more stupid than they have been proven to be to miss the obvious business arrangement with each other.

All this hogwash about "OOOOH! Iran is going to get the bomb!" belies the fact that we don't have a rats ass worth of useful intel on Iran because they've been screqing us left and right with Chalabi, the double agents recently in press after having been spiked by the NYT, and a bunch of other hooey.

Iran already has some bombs. Trying to keep them from getting it with a military strike will just make them want to use theirs.

Posted by: JamesP on January 16, 2006 at 3:24 AM | PERMALINK

someone brown molest you as a child or something??? this is pretty visceral racism against arabs you're displaying ... it's worrisome ... if I gave a shit about you.

Posted by: Nads on January 16, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

No. I live in a country of brown people.

However I think allowing more states to get nukes out of political correctness sets the stage for multiple genocides.

Liberalism: Naive, illogical, with a head in the sand. The most dangerous people alive.

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

All this hogwash about "OOOOH! Iran is going to get the bomb!" belies the fact that we don't have a rats ass worth of useful intel on Iran ....
.........
Iran already has some bombs. Trying to keep them from getting it with a military strike will just make them want to use theirs.

Posted by: JamesP on January 16, 2006 at 3:24 AM | PERMALINK

Typical liberal bullshit. Make up stuff that's internally self-consistent. If the intelligence sucks, how do you know they have a bomb?

If they have one, then the option of a Preemptive Nuclear Genocide becomes a serious option in international circles...setting back Jewish-Muslim relations forever.

Given their history, Israel tends to believe threats of genocide. After all, the last time they though someone was kidding- they got a rude shock.

Posted by: McAristotle on January 16, 2006 at 3:32 AM | PERMALINK

Reading through the comments I gotta ask:
How much is Donkey_Courage getting paid per post?

Posted by: T on January 16, 2006 at 3:38 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter bedwetter: Daddy, I'm scared! Please protect me against those evil people!

Now that we can't be afraid of the Russkis anymore, we need to find someone else to help us dampen the mattress. We can't go to sleep without the extra warmth our fear contributes.

One wonders how, or even if, some of the commenters ever make it out the door in the morning. Mommy! Daddy! The boogie man's still out there!

Pakistan's already got an Islamic bomb. They're Sunnis, I think, but hardly Arabs. In a few years Iran might get a second Islamic bomb. They're Shi'ites, but likewise not Arabs.

These trolls would piss their pants if they remembered that FRANCE HAS THE BOMB!

Posted by: bad Jim on January 16, 2006 at 4:02 AM | PERMALINK

JAMESP:Iran already has some bombs.

Again I ask: How do you know this?

Posted by: Steve J. on January 16, 2006 at 4:17 AM | PERMALINK

I love this editorial. The neocons take over all branches of government, invade Iraq and take away our civil liberties to keep us safe and spread democracy in the Middle East. But if this whole project sets off a nuclear war instead, it will be the fault will lie with the liberals, who didn't give Bush enough power.

On the surface, this editorial seems to be the standard right-wing talking point, possibly titled If You Don't Agree With What I Believe, Terrible Things Will Befall! But lurking underneath all that is an anxiety that comes from really, truly believing that Bush was going to save us from the Arabian Boogey Man by being big and strong and invading Iraq in a really macho way. Somehow, a show of force coupled with "resolve" was going to save us, but what's that? North Korea have nukes? Iran will have them soon? Wow, I don't feel any safer after all, do you? Wasn't Bush was supposed to fix that? I thought the only problem was that liberals were pussies?

Guess what guys, you got everything you wanted and if this editorial is to believed, the world will go to shit on your watch. When America is mourning their dead from WWIII, the only thing they will know is that you guys were in charge when it happened and they are going to blame you. No amount of whining about the liberals is going to change that.

Posted by: MrOnion on January 16, 2006 at 4:39 AM | PERMALINK

Only with a green card. And who wants American citizenship anyway?

No benefits, and a share of the national debt. No thank you.

And there's McMao in a nutshell: Willing to toe the GOP line just as long as he can leech off of the generosity of the Australian government.

If Pale, Global, Gregory, or any other of our regulars catch this, I hereby submit that we simply respond to any of McMao's screeds with the simple line:

McMao is not an American citizen, does not with to be an American citizen, and is happy leeching off of the government of Australia.

Short. Sweet. To the point. How 'bout it, gang?

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on January 16, 2006 at 5:07 AM | PERMALINK

Well some of us noted this well before the war. We were ignored.

That being said why do Rumsfeld and CHeney each get a free pass ofr doing subcontract work with nuclear proliferators via third parties such as South Africa and israel and the halliburton/KBR/Ingersoll Rand people, tech, and hardware?


By the way, IBM kept its Asian regional HQ of its sprawling vast multinational in Tehran during and after the hostage crisis. A mere turn of the croner from the embassy. Nary a stone was thrown at it.


Ted Koppel never noted how many days IBM was doing free trade with Iran during the hostage crisis.

Why exactly do you tend comic book scenarios and ignore the fact that multinationals are the world government and nationalism/boundaries are simple ways to distract the masses?

There are no superpowers. We proved that in oilraq. We have to work interconnected with the world community and see to it the business interests keep the lands on the up and up in lieu of sanctions.

China's an emerging superpower, and Russia is imploding into a new era of graft as the Enron enablers took their wares and pedal them voerseas where bigger fossil reserves are stored.

Posted by: Mr.Murder on January 16, 2006 at 5:08 AM | PERMALINK

The ability of Iran to deliver nukes by magic carpet was the other key ingredient in their successfull destruction of America made possible by the liberal back stabbers who handcuffed and sabatoged our intellegence capability.

On a more serious note this stuff is of course the prelude to our nuking Iran since that's the only attack that makes any sense.

Posted by: rapier on January 16, 2006 at 5:09 AM | PERMALINK

wish to be

I hate when my typing goes bad like this.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on January 16, 2006 at 5:12 AM | PERMALINK

Technically we are still in a state of war with Iran because of the embassy invasion.

The issue in Iran is whether the Iranian beaucracy can control the little hitler before he ruins the Iranian economy. I think we will have more of the same old, more sanctions, Russia will start to set boundaries, the Iranian economy will get worse, China will abstain, and their nuclear programn will go underground.

This is not Germany, the Iranian president is no hitler, and these folks are still years away and their failing economy will only make nuke development harder, not easier.

Posted by: Matt on January 16, 2006 at 5:27 AM | PERMALINK

This is not Germany, the Iranian president is no hitler, and these folks are still years away and their failing economy will only make nuke development harder, not easier.

Posted by: Matt on January 16, 2006 at 5:27 AM | PERMALINK

Yup - he's closer to a Nuke than Hitler was. 60 years have passed since WWII.

Malaysia was manufacturing uranium centrifuges for Libya for Pete's sake.

And if you haven't noticed. They have missiles than can reach Western Europe.

Posted by: McAristotle on January 16, 2006 at 5:56 AM | PERMALINK

Interfering with Japan earlierwhen it first invaded China would have made an inevitable war smaller .... - McA

Rarely do five scrolls worth of the screen elapse without some hilariously foolish observation from the Sage of Kuala Lumpur. I propose to McA that we come to an agreement: the moment Iran launches an attack on another country, as Japan did against China, the US should respond with a devastating military retaliation. I believe there is not a liberal Democrat in the country who would disagree.

We disagree, however, with the proposition that the US should invade Japan now, on the possibility that the country will soon develop nuclear weapons and again use them to attack China.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 6:10 AM | PERMALINK

Why would China side with Iran? Now that they are all capitalist and shit. They don't like religion, remember?

Posted by: Frances on January 16, 2006 at 6:12 AM | PERMALINK

Technically we are still in a state of war with Iran because of the embassy invasion.

This is nonsense. The US never declared war on Iran in 1979. We just don't have diplomatic relations.

Actually, I'd be curious to hear from international law experts whether the US has been in a state of war with any country since the end of World War II, which was the last time we actually declared war. As far as I understand, the Korean "Action" never in fact involved a state of war between the US and North Korea or China, and we were never technically at war with North Vietnam. Or with Iraq, even in 1991 - even in 2003, for that matter, when we were destroying its army and overthrowing its regime.

All of which is a good demonstration of the sickness and perversion of our political discourse.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 6:16 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz is right,
this is a crappy thread.
one nutcase from LGF pukes on the board and half a dozen suckers spread it around.
sheesh.

Posted by: joe on January 16, 2006 at 6:26 AM | PERMALINK

Never argue with anyone whose pants are damper than yours.

Posted by: bad Jim on January 16, 2006 at 6:35 AM | PERMALINK

Japan did against China, the US should respond with a devastating military retaliation. I believe there is not a liberal Democrat in the country who would disagree.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 6:10 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, well - if the first shot is a nuke. It doesn't do anyone any good, does it?

By then, liberal democrats will oppose the war because of the potential loss of life from WMD against American troops.

If Japan puts a government in place that says it wants nukes to annhilate any race...well, then reconsider.


Posted by: McAristotle on January 16, 2006 at 6:51 AM | PERMALINK

"..which was the last time we actually declared war.."

I think the attacked country is at war, by definition. Iran has not denounced the embassy takeover, and the presumption is they maintain the determination to attack our embassy there, or anywhere else.

This actually gives us some leverage, since we can take special forces action against the attacking country. Iran knows this. In a secret wart with Iran, we would win; since we have many more cards toplay. Iran knows this.

Britain, for example, would have a much greater difficulty in starting a secret agent war with Iran, because of the constitutionality they rely on there. Being the giant that we are, we can simply make note of those countries that decare war with us periodically. Then if secret action is needed, the administration (any administration) can show the belligerance of the target to Congress, and get away with CIA action.

Small countries, and idiot countries are kind of stupid in not figuring this out before their leader declares war on us, which they do all the time.


Posted by: Matt on January 16, 2006 at 7:16 AM | PERMALINK

People like Donkey_Courage are WATB, who what the daddy to protect them from monsters.

They are the kind who live vicariously for nuking all of their enemies. And as Donkey_Courage would so desire, they would love for all of us to just STFU, because they can't stand to have anyone tell them they are flat out wrong.

Donkey_Courage in his blind support for Bush, has misplaced his love for America with hatred. This troll hates America. It hates America, because we liberals are part and parcel what make up the fabric of this country.

Donkey_Courage is nothing more than a sad shell of a person, lashing out at anything that may spoil his or her dream of an Uber Bush.

It the blind bleating of sheep like this troll that would lead us down the path of totalitarianism.

I submit that Donkey_Courage is a COWARD who is afraid of a few crazy mullahs who have no ability to bring down this great nation, even if they possess nukes. A COWARD because Donkey_Courage would rather restrict the rights of Americans, because it honestly believes that a band of terrorists can bring down this nation.

The way this troll shows its courage is to cheer from the sidelines, safe at home with a bag of Cheetos, while real people fight and die in this troll's name.

Posted by: Lee Burl on January 16, 2006 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

You know, if the Democrats really wanted to get on top of this thing --- and win an election all at the same time --- they'd hop on the airwaves, start yelling about pre-emptive strikes....."
Posted by: Monstertron on January 15, 2006 at 11:57 PM

And 'cut taxes', don't forget CUT TAXES!

Oh yeah, 'Liberal media' too.

.

Posted by: freejack on January 16, 2006 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK


"Liberalism: Naive, illogical, with a head in the sand. The most dangerous people alive."

The naive people are the ones who think we can deal with Iran using military force without having it blow up in our face. They are ten times the threat Iraq was, and we proved ourselves incapable of handling Iraq. The bunch of demonstrably incompetent fools who have been running U.S. foreign policy for the last 6 years are more dangerous than any liberal.

However, Bush has systematically shown that he is reluctant to use force against any country that actually has significant military power -- China when they took our spy plane, North Korea, Iran -- so hopefully his administration will remain sane on this issue too.

Posted by: MQ on January 16, 2006 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

McAristotle or McA is a Malaysian.

He is not an American and he doesn't want to be an American.

Stop responding to his errant propaganda. He's a foreigner.

His political mentor wears a crown and he believes that Bush should wear one, too.

Posted by: Public Service Announcement on January 16, 2006 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

So its become cheaper for the gop to outsource it's political shills to third world muslim countries. Perhaps Mr. McA is just showing his loyalty to his masters and protecting his own interests.

Posted by: allen kayda on January 16, 2006 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

Blah blah blah, I'm boring. BDS. Blah blah blah, moonbats. BDS. Blah blah blah. I made up an acronym. I think it's really clever. Blah blah blah, I'm going to use it 500 times in 300 posts on one thread. BDS. Blah, blah, blah. Moonbats. I read a Tom Clancy novel and enjoyed the Reagan era, so I'm convinced I know the best way to handle every possible foreign policy situation, and it usually involves me being very, very smug. Blah blah blah. BDS. Moonbats. In high school, everyone threw dodgeballs at me. Blah blah blah, I'm asserting my manhood. BDS. BDS. Moonbats. BDS. Liber-BDS-moonbaclintonBDS.

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 16, 2006 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Another View:

The devastating nuclear exchange of August 2007 represented not only the failure of diplomacy, it marked the end of the oil age. Some even said it marked the twilight of the West. Certainly, that was one way of interpreting the subsequent spread of the conflict as Iraq's Shi'ite population overran the remaining American bases in their country and the Chinese threatened to intervene on the side of Teheran.
Yet the historian is bound to ask whether or not the true significance of the 2007-2011 war was to implicate the Bush administration. For, if that administration had not first used tactical nuclear weapons against Iran in 2006, retaliations for the invasions of Iraq and Iran would still have been intense, but would likely have continued to use conventional weapons.
Posted by: P. Cohen on January 16, 2006 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Reading these post is both hilarious and depressing. It's funny to see how clueless most are, on the left and especially on the right. I haven't scrolled thru all these posts, but I haven't seen one comment on how INCOMPETENT the current administration is. Yeah, Bush marches on Iran, gets lost and start cutting brush. So much for pre emption.

Those on the left have't figured out how to get rid of these bozos in office, and how the right is being so successful in demonizing the left. Cut their nuts off, stop being polite, and call them facists.

Posted by: Rex Thames on January 16, 2006 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

McAristotle or McA is a Malaysian.

McA may live in Malaysia, may even have been born in Malaysia, but I'm pretty sure he's an expat Brit. It just seems to fit with his prejudices and hobby horses better. If I recall too McA once known as Researcher also spent some time in the Middle East.

In any case, he's got his republicant down.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 16, 2006 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

Let me get this straight.

When a liberal opines that, perhaps, we shouldn't have invaded Iraq, he's rooting for the Iraq Mission to fail, but when a conservative talks about the next attack (on a large democratic voting city, no doubt) and how it will vindicate his position, he's NOT rooting for it to happen?

Just checking.

Posted by: Geeno on January 16, 2006 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, this could have been an interesting discussion but the persistent idiots - including this new Donkey_Courage bozo - really filled things up quickly.

Mark my words, Kevin, the ability of these unintelligent reactionary cultists to come here and post as much as they like will be the downfall of this comments section. You will yearn for the day when tbrosz could get a word in edgewise.

So, Ferguson.

One of the particular things which galls me is the belief amongst the conservatives that somehow liberal criticism of their mistakes is to blame for those mistakes. Witness Ferguson's staggeringly stupid throwaway comment "Even if Ahmadinejad had broadcast a nuclear test live on CNN, liberals would have said it was a CIA con-trick". It fits perfectly with conservatives' general placing of blame on liberals and/or Democrats for not marching in lock-step. Because God knows that somehow Teddy Kenney is still making policy.

Emotionally, it makes sense - they keep fucking things up but can't admit guilt. Intellectually, however, it's utterly stupid.

Let me make this clear, conservatives:

You assholes are running the show.

You have been for five years.

It is your fault.

If we liberals were running the show, the world would be entirely different. Iraq would still be an impoverised dictatorship, Afghanistan would be a flourishing concern and affrighting Iran through its sudden and attractive prosperity, Bin Laden would be in custody or dead, and the rest of the world would not be convinced that Americans are assholes, or that they need nuclear weapons to keep U.S. troops out of their country.

As I've said before, who is driving Iran to the bomb?

Bush.

Anyway, I enjoy a good alternate history or future history but Ferguson's piece is mostly stupid. He brings up Europe in contrast to the Middle East when the conflict he then lays out is with the United States, whose demographics are rather different. And he falls into the comfortable and self-righteous "oh the appeasers caused it" idiocy of the right when in fact a) the "appeasers" have no power, at least not in the States and b) the high-handed and aggressive policies of the hawks - such as an actual invasion - are to blame, at least by any rational observer.

The piece is written in good English, I'll give it that, and presents some interesting albeit unrelated facts, but in sum it's basically the usual conservative pablum.

Posted by: S Ra on January 16, 2006 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

I have just found it all, having not looked all weekend, I cannot be bothered even to read any of the posts..............

Read Ferguson's bio ---- He sold out years ago and shills for the Zionist Cause, so anything he writes is slanted so must be read with that in mind..

Posted by: maunga on January 16, 2006 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

No. McA is a Malay of Chinese heritage. If I lived in that fascist shithole of a country, I'd probably spend all my time on websites devoted to another nation's politics too.

Posted by: Pat on January 16, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Innocent Bystander: Good Points!
Frankly0: excellent posts, as usual!

I think the basic point of not killing people should be foremost. I love all these ideas about working with countries--yes, even enemies. I don't get how so many of the right-wingers get all self righteous and "moral" about sex issues, and seem utterly fine with petty name-calling, even "nuking" of enemies, when Jesus said to love your enemies. I'm a radical--I actually think Jesus meant that. I'll be written off as a naive peace freak. So be it.

Posted by: vaughan on January 16, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Haven't had the chance to review all the comments here, but I think we're ignoring a fundamental problem with Ferguson's point, which is that it basically boils down to "Here is a bunch of stuff I have pulled out of my asshole, ergo you liberals are EVIL". Why draw the line at nuclear exchange? Why not radioactive dinosaur legions?

Posted by: Joe on January 16, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

All I would need is my assistant Jack D Ripper and a few good men like Major TJ "King" Kong and we'd "Nuke 'em all, nuke 'em all, the long, the short and the tall"

Posted by: Curtis LeMay on January 16, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

On this day of honoring Dr Martin Luther King, may I suggest Juan Cole's site - An excellent summation of Dr King's speech regarding Viet Nam and the parallels with our present dilemmas.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 16, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

"... and there are self-imposed dhimmism whereby leftists such as yourself allow Muslim outrages in Western countries, such as allowing a Muslim woman to wear head scarf while taking DMV photo."

Let's give them the full list of outrages, Donkey_Courage:

TOP 10 WINGNUT OUTRAGES OF ALL-TIME

10. The Holocaust
9. Pearl Harbor
8. 9/11
7. That Timothy McVeigh didn't blow up the NY Times building
6. The existence of Michael Moore
5. John Kerry's Purple Hearts
4. The New Deal
3. Something to do with France
2. Muslim women allowed to wear head scarfs for DMV photos
And the Number 1 Wingnut Outrage of All-Time is ...
1. Monica Lewinsky blowing Bill Clinton

Posted by: Demogenes Aristophanes on January 16, 2006 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

What a drama queen that Niall is.

Posted by: Nemesis on January 16, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

"Why draw the line at nuclear exchange? Why not radioactive dinosaur legions?"

When the continent of North America is laid to waste by radiocative dinosaur legions, I'm sure tbrosz and Donkey_Courage will be the first to "prominently display your posts the most and in largest font" ...

Did I mention the radioactive dinosaur legions will also destroy grammar?

Posted by: Demogenes Aristophanes on January 16, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

"I note some attempts here to stick heads in sand. But I doubt anything would appease Iran except Jewish genocide."

I call your utter bullshit. Look, the Burmese junta is constantly making official statements describing the Thais as sub-humans. But nobody takes that as evidence that Burma is about to invade Thailand, because everybody knows that the junta is evil but not suicidal, and that the rhetoric is just red meat for their own people.

Same with this latest batch of anti-Israel shit from Iran. Indicative of a diseased mindset, yes, but not evidence of an intent to nuke Israel.

Posted by: Demogenes Aristophanes on January 16, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

You know, I think the best rhetorical line against this kind of nuclear fear-mongering is to ignore and go on the attack. I'm quite fond of the "Republicans won't do what it takes" line of rhetoric.

Republicans didn't do what it takes to defend us against Osama bin Laden, even though they were warned.

Republicans didn't do what it took to capture OBL, because they were worried about upsetting the public with US casualties at Tora Bora.

Republicans didn't do what it takes to be certain that Saddam's WMD were a real threat before comitting our troops to invading.

Republicans didn't send enough troops to secure Iraq after it was defeated militarily.

Republicans didn't do what it took to get other countries involved in Iraqi reconstruction.

Republicans haven't done what it takes to find Zarqawi.

Republicans haven't done what it takes to provide body armor to our troops in Iraq.

Republicans haven't done what it takes to provide armored Humvees to our troops in Iraq.

Republicans haven't done what it takes to prepare for major disasters like Katrina.

The can talk tough, and act tough, but when it comes to being tough, they don't have what it takes.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on January 16, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

It should be obvious that Donkey's goal here is to insult and put down anyone that doesn't agree with his right-wing, Bush-worshipping, warmongering opinion. His ultimate goal is to get others sniping at each other. You'll notice that he went away for quite a while when others were quarreling among themselves.

He's totally ignorant and totally useless, so why waste any time answering him? It's a lost cause!

Posted by: DonkeyIsAnIdiot on January 16, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Israel should(and maybe is) through back channels advising the Iranians that Israel will fire 20 nukes into Iran long before any nukes are close to being ready to use. The US is not in a position to alter this likely reality. Israel cannot afford to take any nuclear hits and will have to take any measures to preclude the possibility.

The West, on the other hand, should be offering the carrot of economic development as an alternative to annihilation.

Every day the Bush Clowns remain in office, civilization grows closer to dissolution. The day of the peurile, homocidal, suicidal cowboy passed more than a century ago.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on January 16, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Doctor Jay, don't forget about the Anthrax Killer ...

Posted by: Demogenes Aristophanes on January 16, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Ferguson's little fantasy is amusing, as far as it goes.

Well, if his Great War stretches to 2011, his oldest child will be able to serve.

Posted by: ahem on January 16, 2006 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

I went to the mountain top and received the following wisdom.

(1) China does not want the Mid-East reduced to glowing ashes. China wants the oil. China has too much to lose to not give heed to MAD considerations.

(2) The U.S. will not act militarily against Iran.

(3) Israel will probably not, either, but you can never tell.

(4) President Hillary would attack Iran, vigorously. The New York Times will nominate her for sainthood for doing it.

(5) During all the distraction, China will invade Taiwan. President Hillary will withdraw the U.S. Navy to San Diego.

(6) Jesus will return.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 16, 2006 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

"The reason why Bush pursues this point so much is a sop to Western liberals who cherish the notion of "democracy" so much."

Wow.

Posted by: Molly Douthett on January 16, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Jesus will return.

Cool. I want to see the look on their faces when Jesus asks the neocons to take a shower before entering paradise.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on January 16, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

(5) During all the distraction, China will invade Taiwan. President Hillary will withdraw the U.S. Navy to San Diego.

(6) Jesus will return.

Wow, Michael - that must be one really gnostic and apocryphal version of the Book of Revelations you're using there... I like it, I like it...

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz-
"Yech. So far, the 18 linear inches of Chinese is the best part of this thread."

The best summary imaginable of the intellectual content here. Just admit it, lefties, secretly you really really want the GOP to stay in charge forever. Then you can blame everything on them, without ever having to come up with any real solutions yourself.

For those that say we should just let the Iranians be, don't worry about them as they're harmless (holocaust denial? wiping Israel off the map? - all just hyperbole), that's not even worth discussing. It's electorally unsalable and will obviously never become policy. Even sensible dems reject it.

But for those of you, here, who care about the issue at all; and do not accept nukes for mullahs; and are willing to at least think about doing something to stop them, do you have any suggestions for what to do? Anything?

Anyone?

Posted by: cecce on January 16, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

And do the Israelis respond unilaterallry with their own 'nonexistant' nucular armaments?

Where the WMD's are?

Posted by: couser on January 16, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

There are no words for how stupid and ill-informed Ferguson's article is. He cannot possibly believe this twaddle. First let's talk about Iran - Ferguson may have forgotten this but a million Iranians died in the 1980s in a war against Iraq, a completely pointless war. Young Iranians have become a fairly cynical bunch, it won't be as easy next time for the mullahs to send them into the trenches. Second, Ahmadinejad is clearly posturing to gain support from hardliners - there is no evidence that he is insane enough to actually invite nuclear retaliation by launching a first strike. The ideologues who run Iran have no real faith in God anymore than Brezhnev believed in Communism. Third, if Tel Aviv and Iran did lob nukes at each other it would, in a sick way, be the answer to Washington's prayers. Under cover of the ongoing confusion we could go medieval on Iraq unleashing our air force and decimating the Shia for generations. There is no chance of Shia Iraqis with AK-47s and IEDs overrunning American bases in that scenario. Iran is also in no position to survive a nuclear exchange with Israel. Iran would be devastated and the US would be "forced" to occupy it to safeguard the oil. None of the players - India, Pakistan, Iran - can strike the US so we just sit back and let them destroy each other. Maybe this leads us into conflict with China and Russia, granted. But more likely the three powers figure out a why to divide the spoils. A genocidal nuclear attack on Israel would certainly shift America into blood vengeance mode and we would probably occupy the entire Middle East within weeks of such an event. I think Ferguson is not describing his nightmare, it's his neocon fantasy, maybe the US wants Iran to have nukes.

Posted by: Vanya on January 16, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

"Israel should(and maybe is) through back channels advising the Iranians that Israel will fire 20 nukes into Iran long before any nukes are close to being ready to use. "

Michael, I see you actually made an attempt. Of course, a totally unworkable solution. How would Israel know when nukes are "close to being ready to use"? Of course they won't. Plus a preemptive nuke strike is out of the question as policy.

Posted by: cecce on January 16, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

If the US should make war with Iran, it will end the social contract between its constituents and its rulers.

If the US should have its war with Iran, may the first casualties be corporate toadies like Niall Ferguson and his family.

Posted by: Hostile on January 16, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

If he's powerless..why did we need more troops to invade Iraq? And why do we need to leave now to prevent more deaths?

McA would do well to remember that in Gulf War I, Colin Powell and others predicted that taking Baghdad and toppling Saddam -- though easily achievable -- would result in unacceptable risk of bogging our forces down in occupying the country in the face of a likely Islamist insurgency.

So, yes -- Iraq was contained and deterred, and no threat to us at all, but the invasion did, as we've seen, create a deadly insurgency -- a much greater harm to US national security.

All the more reason the Republicans can't be taken seriously on national security.

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Alternate Repukelican Universe:

Through a coordinated international diplomatic effort of pressure and incentives led by the US, Iran eschewed all effort to enrich uraniumm.

In rejecting zenophobic, nihilist, paranoid extremist republican bedwetter demands for ever greater surveillance of Americans, restrictions on individual's right to privacy, and consolidation of government power in an omnipotent executive, America regained its position of prominance as a beacon of feedom, humanity, and inspiration that it was priuor to 2000.

The republican party of late 20th and early 21st century crashed and burned in its sesspool of corruption, value manipulation, paramoid self-aggrandizement.

Posted by: gak on January 16, 2006 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

If Pale, Global, Gregory, or any other of our regulars catch this, I hereby submit that we simply respond to any of McMao's screeds with the simple line:

McMao is not an American citizen, does not with to be an American citizen, and is happy leeching off of the government of Australia.

Ah...I'd already responded above before catching this. But I'm honored to be mentioned alongside Pale and Global. :)

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2006 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Michael, I see you actually made an attempt. Of course, a totally unworkable solution. How would Israel know when nukes are "close to being ready to use"

I didnt offer it as a solution. Just as a very possible scenario. You are correct; Israel wont know and that is why they wont wait long.

Economic development via non-governmental means is the best incentive we have to offer. Surely the many Iranian expatriots in the US would be happy to help their former country. Even if they cant go home, they probably still have many contacts there.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on January 16, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Wag the Dog.

What will they do when the investigations start to get really close to Cheney and Rumsfield?

Posted by: brodix on January 16, 2006 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

And how will "Economic development via non-governmental means" prevent the Iranians from getting nukes during the next few months to a couple of years?

Posted by: cecce on January 16, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Do not be too hard on poor Michael L Cook - Over 25 consecutive days of rain can create delusions.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 16, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Personally, I already posted some suggested solutions in a threat down. Airstrikes combined with sanctions could work very well.

We don't want to invade and occupy, which is clearly a pain in the ass (see, Iraq). However, an air campaign can yield almost limitless results:

1. Destruction of their only reactor.
2. Destruction of all known and suspected nuclear research or other nuclear weapons manufacturing sites.
3. Killing a good portion of their nuclear scientists, rocket scientists, and other key personnel.
4. Destroying other military infrastructure important for them to launch war against Israel, Iraq or us, such as missile facilities, airstrips, airports, air defence facilities.
5. Civilian infrastructure even tangentially involved in their nuclear efforts, such as research labs and technical universities could be taken out.

The rest of their civilian infrastructure could also be destroyed from the air, if they do anything at all to retaliate after a more "limited" attack. Basically, we can (but probably don't want to) bomb them back to the Stone Age. Stone Age men make few nuclear weapons.

The oil argument is just a red herring. Their principal export is oil. They won't shut the flow down, except for short periods, because without selling oil, no money. They can't eat the oil. As for domestic uses of oil, that too can be taken care of by destroying their refining capacity.

Thus, the entire problem can be taken care of with airstrikes. If we want to.

Posted by: cecce on January 16, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

And how will "Economic development via non-governmental means" prevent the Iranians from getting nukes during the next few months to a couple of years?

It wont but the prospect, real or merely intimated, of a devastating preemptive strike from Israel coupled with a very real prospect of economic boom could. The Iranians will be able rationalize their nuclear retreat as simple prudence when offered these alternatives. It's not a sure fire idea, but what is. If you have one, spill it. Or are you waiting for the Oracle of Crawford to speak for you.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on January 16, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

We may be seeing a new generation of anti-aircraft missiles being used in Iraq this week against our helicopters. If so, it won't take too long to recover missile parts and figure out where they were manufactured.

If they are Russian STRELA types, or Chinese versions of the same, this is going to be an interesting summer coming up.

I mentioned China invading Taiwan, which is certainly on Peking's agenda for an auspicious year, but I didn't mention the other nuclear power in the area which has dicey relations with both China and China's protege, North Korea.
Japan has been busily pumping up its military. I don't know what Japan's policy will be regards a Taiwan invasion, but there must be some worry about the Spratley island oil claims and Japan's sea lane access to the Persian Gulf.

Personally, if I were a big-wig neo-con, I would legalize North Slope oil development post haste and guarantee Japan that they get every drop of that oil, (which makes economic sense because they are the closest major consumer to that oil anyhow.) If congressional Democrats object, I would solicit Japanese campaign contributions to get rid of the anti-ANWAR Democrats.

In return, the Japanese need to stand by the U.S.A. a little more visibly in the coming troubles.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 16, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

As with the run-up to the Iraq war, conservatives keep murmuring, hynotically, it will be easy. No problems. The world will be safer. Not doing this will lead to certain catastrophe. We're certain to win. You guys worry too much. Piece of cake. We'll be met with flowers.

And we have seen how well their forecasts for Iraq turned out! What is the saying? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me...fool me..You can't fool me twice.

Posted by: PTate in Mn on January 16, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

"To live outside the law you must be honest."

"Military pre-emption" demands almost saintly hands to wield it. Otherwise, it's just thuggishness with nice rhetoric. Consider all the ways in which our current anti-President is not saintly. [An hour later.]

OK, in the interest of brevity, let's move on. The Israelis took out Iraq's nuclear program. We moaned about it. I believe even The Iron Butterfly moaned about it. But the precedent was set. If Bush wants to take out Iraq's nuclear program (and he does) why is he waiting? I'll tell you why: to maximize domestic political advantage.

That's the real Bush Doctrine, "Do anything, do everything, who cares? But do not do anything without getting yours first."

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on January 16, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

We see a clear application of the Bush-Rove-Delay principle, here. Scare the bejeesus out of the Americans and be elected forever as the party of toughness.

Future young Republicans, pay attention, here is how it is done. First, imagine a worst-case fantasy scenario. Then the entire party, as one voice, shouts it from the rooftops as if it were an absolute certainty. Examples: Iraq has nukes; anthrax bombs; planned 9-11. Nothing is too wild. This technique resonates with the endemically paranoid Americans who are currently scared pantsless by a threatened suitcase nuclear bomb (which doesn't exist in any arsenal) and a bird flue pandemic (which has not mutated and has only a miniscule chance of doing so.)

The Bush-Rove-Delay technique is not new. Back in the fifties Airforce General Curtis Lemay, the godfather of the movement, was so certain of a coming Russian nuclear first strike that he preached a pre-emptive strike of our own. Wouldn't that have been a good idea? The difference between then and now is the Republicans have more power. 9-11 gave their shenanigans a huge boost and the media is listening to them.

Dear Republicans, why stop at little-old nuclear armed Iran? Think how much mileage you could get out of a coming mass attack of aliens with death rays? Back in the thirties a silly radio drama convinced a goodly number of Americans it was actually happening. It could still work. A little creative hysteria has always worked for you guys, but this could be big. You might be able to turn this messy democracy into a nice clean Christian-Republican dictatorship of the oligarchs. Hey, you don't win big unless you dream big!

Posted by: James of DC on January 16, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

All the "leave the ayatollahs alone" ideas here are based on the premise that those guys are sane. Maybe so. Maybe they don't believe that a nuclear apocalypse will make the Mahdi appear and right the world.

So, let's test it. Here's a sequence:

1. Limited airstrikes. Reactor plus all other known or suspected nuclear or missile sites gone. Everything else ok.
2. Pause. No more strikes.
3. Public and private declarations that the Iranians have two choices: no retaliation and we just walk away quietly now or we can do it the hard way, they can retaliate with a few missiles against Israel or whatever weak response they can think of and they lose their entire military and most of their civilian infrastructure. Stone age time. Plus we establish no-fly zones in Iran (soon to become a bunch of little breakaway republics) whereever there are ethnic minorities that don't particularly want to be ruled by Persians.
4. Wait and see. If they're so "rational" I am sure we can count on them choosing the first option, which after all leaves them with almost all they have now, minus some nuclear tech.

Posted by: cecce on January 16, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

This entire problem illustrates one of primary reasons a guy like George Bush should not be elected. He and the people he has hired do not believe in international organizations at all and they do not comprehend the importance of working via alliances. It been said ad nauseum, but its true: they believe in the Lone Ranger approach. That wont work in the modern world.

What institution is without fault? Certainly not the UN, but the UN was created for a reason: It is no fun fighting world wars. It is not smart try to control nuclear weapons by yourself.

Whats wrong with being strong but also favoring negotiation and action through consensus as first resort? This is not rocket science. Just pay attention, educate yourself, and dont overreact to folks of different religion, color, and life style.

Bush and his gang have absolutely played to peoples paranoia and ignorance. That is not an arrogant statement; it is a statement that attempts to explain why so many people bought into the idea that pitiful Iraq was a huge threat.

Bush is now so mistrusted that the rest of his administration will be handicapped, crippled. His only hope is to change and probably fire some people as well. But dont hold your breath.

While Bush is President, our only option is to figure out truth and solutions without him. We have to try to use the Congress. We have to try to put pressure on our senators. We have to use the courts, the press, you name it. Elected officials can be responsive.

Get out and work to have your guy or gal elected in 2006.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 16, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Dont forget to bomb the hospitals and nurseries, Cecce. They give aid and comfort to the enemy.

Let's face it; You guys just like to kill people. I bet you got your rocks on the cops killing that 15 year old. A leg shot or rubber bullets might not be a sure thing and only sissies use that kind of stuff anyway.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on January 16, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

3. Killing a good portion of their nuclear scientists, rocket scientists, and other key personnel.

Here's another one of these characters. cecce, does your system of values incorporate the notion that killing people is wrong? Wrong, in general, but especially when they haven't done anything to hurt you?

Wasn't that, like, the reason 9/11 was a "bad" thing, rather than a "good" thing? Because they killed a lot of people who hadn't done anything to hurt them? Do you think it would be legitimate for the Iranians, say, to send hit men to the US to kill scientists working on weapons systems, with the very reasonable anticipation that such systems might soon be used against them?

But no, more generally: when you think about killing Iranians, do you think about gruesome pain, waste of life, small children crying because their parents have been killed? Or do you think: yay, killing! Go, killing! Get 'em! Zap!

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Nice try, cecce. But I think you are wasting keystrokes. tbrosz's comment is still the summary of the thread. You just asked these guys to engage their brains in something that doesn't involve figuring how much they really really really hate boooosh. The sound you just heard was their brains tilting.

Posted by: peanut on January 16, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

You can see I already dealt with that. We can do more limited strikes first. Then, if they retaliate we can up the scale. Your whole argument rests on the idea that these guys are sane non-threatening actors.

If they are not, and the choice is between airstrikes now and nuclear annihilation in Iran and Israel (if not elsewhere) later, then I vote for strikes now.

If we could have stopped AQ Khan before he set up his BargainBasement Nuke Mart, all sane dems would have argued that would be a good thing, right? Please tell me I'm right on that.

Posted by: cecce on January 16, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Guess what, you idiots?

Bush isn't going to do anything about Iran getting nukes. He'll take it to the Security Council; they may or may not impose sanctions.

That will be the end of it. Five years down the line, Iran may or may not get nukes.

I used to enjoy fantasizing about airstrikes; I knew all the specifications of all the major combat aircraft in the world, and I used to construct elaborate scenarios of how I would use them in various ways to defeat the USSR and free Eastern Europe.

I was twelve years old. (Judging from the level of reasoning evident in your posts, you probably are too.)

And then, guess what? Eastern Europe was freed, and the USSR fell apart. And guess what? Airstrikes were not involved.

Take your childish fantasies back to your bedrooms where they belong. You are, quite literally, fascists; you dream of hideous death. You are on the side of evil.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Brian: I didn't want to sell this stuff. It's only a job. I hate the Republicans as much as anybody.
PFJ: Sssh. Ssssh, sssh, sssh, ssssh
Judith: Are you sure?
Brian: Oh. Dead sure... I hate the Republicans already.
Reg: Listen. If you really wanted to join the PFJ, you'd have to really really hate the Republicans.
Brian: I do.
Reg: Oh yeah? How much?
Brian: A lot!
Reg: Right. You're in.

Posted by: peanut on January 16, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

cecce, let us put your children at one of those Iranian reactors you are so happy to blow up. If you seriously believe killing Iranians is a solution for our nation's security, then sacrificing your children should be a prerequisite.

You Bush cock sucking murthafucker. Turn your scenario around and have Iran destroy our nuclear capabilities and see if the rulers of our repuplic tyranny are sane.

The best thing America can do is disarm and vow to never fight wars in the name of the Great Game. Those who think the US should interfere with the policies of other countries through any means not diplomatic, should contract bleeding string warts on their genitals!

Condemn US war mongering. Accuse war mongerers of being less than human; accuse them of cannibalism. Destroy our ability to wage offensive war. Attack war pigs and never let them rest.

Oh Allah, I beseech you, cast out the war pigs from America!

Posted by: Hostile on January 16, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for sending us your childhood reminiscences, brookfields, you shouldn't have. No, really, you shouldn't have.

Because apparently you forgot to write down the answer to the question. Assuming you are also not keen on the Iranians having nuclear warheads, what do you think ought to be done?

Posted by: cecce on January 16, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Cross-posted elsewhere:

It is remarkable that nobody in the West is taking a leadership position on nuclear arms proliferation is South Asia - indeed, the Americans now are redoubling efforts to send India more nuclear technology ("peaceful uses"), while the Indian government reserves the right to maintain non-IAEA reviewable installations for their military nuclear research and bomb production, all under the guise of "non-signatory to NPT". Pakistan has benefited from the rogue AQ Khan network, and has no intention of pulling back from nuclearisation of its military capability. And let us not speak of the Israelis, long consecrated by the Americans as their nuclear proxy for the Middle East. With all that, and the fact that India and Pakistan nearly "went nuclear" over Kashmir a scant few years ago, the brouhaha over the Iranians wanting to pursue uranium enrichment (minus any evidence to date that diversion into nuclear weapons programmes has been established) simply gives one pause. As long as the West insists on conserving nuclear weapons, reserves the right to use them, and does precious little to discourage its "allies" in S. Asia and the Middle East from building formidable nuclear weapon arsenals, how in God's name can they take Iran to task, one may ask?

Posted by: barrisj on January 16, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

For the record, if you wish the USA ill (Hostile), or think that there is some kind of "moral equivalence" between us and the ayatollahs, I have nothing to say to you.

I am engaging honest patriotic dems here, who do not wish for Iran to get nukes, and want to do something to stop it. If you have better ideas than what I just listed above, I'm interested. Otherwise, I just don't care.

Posted by: cecce on January 16, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose its most comforting to fantasize about the terrors of weapons of mass destruction rather than meeting the reality of their absence.

(not to say that Iranian Mullahs aren't bat-s***-crazy, but lets stick to reality for a change, K?)

Posted by: Jon Karak on January 16, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

If they're so "rational" I am sure we can count on them choosing the first option, which after all leaves them with almost all they have now, minus some nuclear tech.

When you reach 11th grade, cecce, hopefully, you will begin to study 20th century world history, or at least 20th century American history, which may include some discussion of the Vietnam War.

It was an article of faith among people like Walt Rostow and other strategists that if the North Vietnamese were "rational", they would see that continuing to support the Viet Cong and infiltrate South Vietnam would entail ever-increasing American punishment and bombardment, and this would lead them to a negotiated settlement that left South Vietnam under the Saigon regime.

What the Americans refused to recognize, with incredible stupidity, even on a game-theory level, was that the Vietnamese were entirely rational, but had a different assessment of the value of certain goals, notably national independence and unity. They considered this non-negotiable, and were willing to force the US to kill millions of their soldiers and civilians rather than accept a bastardized, fragmented, weakened nation.

An unprovoked American attack of the sort you have outlined should do the trick of convincing virtually all Iranians that they must be eternally vigilant against American aggression. It will certainly drive them to do their best to drive American troops out of Iraq - which really shouldn't be too hard, if they're willing to put three or four years into it. It will certainly convince them that they need friendly regimes on both sides to protect them from American threats, which will lead them to topple the fragile regimes in Baghdad and Kabul - which, again, they should be able to accomplish if they really put their minds to it. And it will certainly lead them to engage long-range programs to avenge their humiliation, bringing closer the day of a catastrophic terrorist attack on an American city.

Military action is never clean, it is never easy, it is never final. It always leads to some kind of retaliation; the consequences are never what you predict them to be, and you always get involved in widening circles of horrifying collateral damage, which usually dwarfs the goals you set out to accomplish. There are cases in which military action is justified. This case is so far from being one of them that only a blood-crazed adolescent maniac could believe otherwise.

Oh, and cecce, in case I forgot to mention it - you are an evil person.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

"BDS is Bush Derangement Syndrome which 99.999% of liberals suffer from. It's totally irrational hatred of George W. Bush which clouds all rational thought."

Ooh! I've got one! BPC - Bush Personality Cult!!

Posted by: Jim D on January 16, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter cecce:

"How can we take anybody seriously who doesn't want to risk everything on the ultra-violent, alliance-destroying, Armageddon-hastening solution to all of our problems, all the time?"

Seriously, cecce, openly attacking another country while the majority of Americans are having serious doubts about our current predicament in Iraq, is pretty damn "electorally unsaleable."

But you don't seem to think so. So, as I stated in an earlier thread, please, Republicans, make 2006 about the Dems not wanting to start a war with Iran. Please, please, please do this.

Posted by: Demogenes Aristophanes on January 16, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Here we go again, neocon agitprop. The enemy is coming. Same narrative, different country.

Professor Ferguson distinguishes himself from the other neo-imperialists in that he seems to love Western imperial domination of other peoples counties just for the luster and bluster of empire. I wonder if he is a Scottish nationalist or more a lover of the Windsors and their royal dominion?

He pulls out all the great neocon/imperial themes undigested from the playbook:

1. The West is fat and decadent and sterile and has squandered its potential for glory. - Nations are not people. However intuitive organic analogies may be they are not useful in understanding global affairs. And youthful energy?? Because of population growth? What parlor room silliness. Has Professor Ferguson ever been to a third world country? He wants to say what he cannot say, which is let us grow a great nation or maybe he means let the mothers of the American nation produce the fighting men for a land war or enough poor to take jobs from China.

2. Religion makes men martial and willing to die for things greater than themselves - Part of the Straussian charge that the people should believe in mystical things if the nation is to be great. The leaders may know the truth. Ignorance is strength. This is antithetical to the views of Tom Paine.

3. Islamism is a pan movement analogous to communism and fascism. Islamism was anti-Western, anti-capitalist and anti-Semitic. Radical Islamism or pan-Islamism is only embraced by a tiny minority in the Muslim world. But this minority has a voice with Middle Easterners because most reject Western Imperialism and want self-determination for their own countries and their own resources. In reality they just want to be left alone. It is true that both communism and fascism were used the 20th century to preserved national identity that was under threat from outside and inside the nation-state.

4. If we do not make war the world will end. Twenty-four months ago Saddam was to bring us the end of the world, with mushroom clouds and poison gas. Now it is Iran allied with China. He knows full well that there is no alliance between Iran and China and that China has little to gain from aggressively alienating the United States. In any event it would not need weapons it would just have to stop financing the deficit and, even worse, stop sending Americans everything from computers and car engines to kitchen ware. Wal-Mart would be empty. This would also destroy China. Stupid on stilts. In the 21st century because of nuclear weapons and trade ties great nations will gain nothing from conflicts.

5. And Neville Chamberlain again, and the appeasement of Hitler. Last time Saddam was like Hitler and liberals were Chamberlain. (Of course, Chamberlain was duped by Hitler and it was Halifax that want to make a deal with the personification of evil, but never mind history) Unlike Hitler the Iranians are not interested in invading other countries. They are Persians with ancient animosities toward the Arabs both national and religious.


Posted by: bellumregio on January 16, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Besides, if America was really serious about Nuclear non-proliferation, then we would put the kibosh on our Pakistani "ally" who keeps selling the nuclear weapons technology.

But we can't do that until we find Bin Laden, and we need to play nice with Pakistan to find him. Talk about the absolute failure of American Foreign policy.

Posted by: Jon Karak on January 16, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

So I take it then, brooke, that you have no idea what to do. Better just to bitch about the admin.

As to your nonsense about Iraq, what does that have to do with anything? We're on the way out of there already. And your parallell with Vietnam? Are you really that dimwitted? Nothing military is conceivable that is not related to Vietnam? A land war with half a million US troops on the ground is comparable to airstrikes lasting just weeks or months?

If you had bothered to think about the issue at all, you would have realized that a better analogy would be Operation Desert Fox. Launched by your favorite prez, Clinton. It worked quite well and did not lead to much in the way of retaliation from the Iraqis.

Posted by: cecce on January 16, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Assuming you are also not keen on the Iranians having nuclear warheads, what do you think ought to be done?

Guess what, you infantile maniac? There are some bad things in the universe that you can't prevent. Even with all your AF-15Es and your bunker-busters and laser guided...pccchewwwww! Nyaauuuummmm! Kachunka chunka chooph -- Bccccchhhhh! Gosh, isn't this fun? Pay no attention to those mangled infants...

I would also like to prevent tsunamis. Cecce - what is your plan for stopping continental drift? Come on! Get serious! Answer the question!

Anyway, my response is simple and comprehensive: we refer the Iranians to the Security Council, we get sanctions imposed if possible, we make them international tarbabies for their idiotic nuclear ambitions, and we refrain at all costs from killing a lot of innocent Iranians and turning them into the f***ing goodguys.

Terrible world events do not happen because bad people get control of the Doomsday Weapon. That is how things happen in dumb Hollywood movies. Terrible world events happen when idiotic people decide to do something stupid with whatever lies to hand - like flying planes into buildings, or invading Iraq.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

"...Iran's nuclear bid might have been thwarted at minimal cost."

Minimal, scminimal. It'll cost big no matter what, and make the estimated 1-2 trillion in Iraq look like pocket change.

I don't see a win either way. Just a lot of dead people.

We should take the money we are pissing away trying to rule the world, spend it on energy independence and get the hell out of the Middle East.

Unfortunately, the Oil Com.., er, Republican Party is in charge and are too busy trying to maximize profits until the black gold dries up.

Posted by: jake on January 16, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

"So, as I stated in an earlier thread, please, Republicans, make 2006 about the Dems not wanting to start a war with Iran. Please, please, please do this.


Really, Demogenes, are you sure? It worked alright for Clinton after Desert Fox.

Posted by: cecce on January 16, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

"... a better analogy would be Operation Desert Fox. Launched by your favorite prez, Clinton. It worked quite well and did not lead to much in the way of retaliation from the Iraqis."

A better analogy? Airstrikes against a totalitarian, criminal regime which had violated UN-brokered cease-fire conditions versus a nakedly aggressive attack on a sovereign nation that has committed no overt offense against its neighbors?

Yeah, great frickin' analogy, cecce. Moron.

Posted by: Demogenes Aristophanes on January 16, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Here's Jake about airstrikes:

"It'll cost big no matter what, and make the estimated 1-2 trillion in Iraq look like pocket change."

Uh, how?

Posted by: cecce on January 16, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

This cecce person is evil, thinking he/she can dictate to other nations what they can or cannot do, and that if they do not bow down to US militant hegemony we can destroy them with our ungodly huge arsenal. It is this hubris of Americans that is so odious, and cecce smells like Bush diarrhea after Bush has been gang fucked by a platoon of Guckerts.

This evil cecce person is also a coward, unwilling to put anything of his/her value into the pot, thinking war only creates victims on the other side of the equation, so she/he is also emblematic of the ignorance of most/many/a lot of Americans. This ignorance of war's consequences shall be America's doom.

cecce, go to the Iranian nuclear sites and then ask the US to destroy them, ridding the world of two threats all at once. You are a child of a US soldier who killed women and children at My Lai. You are borne from American blood lust. Your great great great grandfather, who was a puritanical pastor, handed out typhus infected blankets to Native Americans in order to have them die so he could steal their land. You are the poster American war pig, eating the livers of Iraqi children during the Thanksgiving feast and licking the blood off of dead children's genitals in order to achieve orgasm. You are a home schooled Republican.

Posted by: Hostile on January 16, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Demogenes-

Read cecce's post again. Try to open your eyes this time. He said better analogy THAN VIETNAM. Idiot.

No two situations are exactly alike, but Iran is a criminal totalitarian regime which has violated all kinds of UN treaties. Besides the issue was what the other side would do to retaliate. Try to pay attention.

Posted by: peanut on January 16, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Really, Demogenes, are you sure? It worked alright for Clinton after Desert Fox."

Yeah, the "wag the dog" rumor mill, the 2000 elections and Clinton's fucking IMPEACHMENT never happened.

Posted by: Demogenes Aristophanes on January 16, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

A land war with half a million US troops on the ground is comparable to airstrikes lasting just weeks or months?

You cretinous turd, airstrikes lasting just weeks or months are comparable to airstrikes lasting just weeks or months. Operation Rolling Thunder was a three-week intensive bombing campaign in 1965 which, according to all these brilliant strategists, was going to deter North Vietnam by showing them we could, to use the terms you've borrowed from Gen. Curtis LeMay, "bomb them back to the stone age".

The critical game-theory error here is the theory of the decisive strike. It never, ever works.

There is no simple quick unilateral emergency action that can be taken to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Can't be done. The things to do are to continue working with the Russians to lock down their nuclear arsenal and to work with their newfound irritation at the Iranian refusal of their uranium supply offers (they're no more interested in having a nuclear Iran than we are), and to get the Chinese on board in the same kind of vein. (China doesn't like instability.)

We need to work on global efforts to control uranium supplies. And we need to generate enough alarm to get serious sanctions imposed on Iran. Ahmedinajad has been helping us out there with his loony pronouncements. And this is the sum total of what we need to and can do. Will it prevent Iran from developing nukes in 5 years? Not necessarily. But it's a fuck of a lot more likely to work than anything else that's out there.

What you are proposing is total insanity, the doodlings of a violent child. I respond only because I'm so upset that there are people who call themselves Americans and think this way. Your whole way of thinking about the world is sick and deadly.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

"I would also like to prevent tsunamis. Cecce - what is your plan for stopping continental drift?"

So, brooke's vote is just to let crazier than batshit ayatollahs have nukes. Can't be prevented any more than continental drift.

I guess I don't care insofar as his team never gets to be in charge.

Posted by: cecce on January 16, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

The Russians just built a reactor for Iran, nitwit.

Posted by: peanut on January 16, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK


McA: So what wonderful track record under Clinton can we site as an example, of the Left's continuous claim of being able to the same thing better than anyone else?

less dead americans...for one....

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on January 16, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

I guess I don't care insofar as his team never gets to be in charge.

Your team has been in charge for 5 years. You're driving us straight to hell and stepping on the gas. If my team "never gets to be in charge", I guess that makes the disastrous situation in Iran your team's fault - not to mention the more disastrous situation in N Korea, which built all its nukes on your watch while you fiddled around trying to figure out whether to talk to them or not. And the disastrous situations in Iraq, Darfur, the budget and trade deficits - we don't need to go further with this.

We'll revisit all this in a year, when no military action has been taken against Iran, the country is proceeding along whatever road to nukes it's on right now (or has been dissuaded by sanctions and diplomacy, my preference), and the issue has mysteriously vanished from the headlines because it's not politically useful and Ahmedinajad hasn't made any crazy pronouncements for a while. Then you can explain to me why Bush didn't take your advice, and why the issue is no longer so important to him.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Yet the historian is bound to ask whether or not Niall Ferguson is a shill and operative for the conservative right.

Posted by: m2m on January 16, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

I am astonished to read such ignorance of people like cecce and peanut. Iran is a democracy, no worse than our own. Iran just elected a conservative idealist as national leader and so did the US. Iran's religious leaders are no less insane than the US's religious leaders, who often call on the US to assassinate other nation's democratically elected leaders. Probably, Iran's religious leaders are much more learned than Americas, as they spend all of their lives studying religious texts while American religious leaders spend most of their time fund raising. The calling for war by imperialists like Ferguson and the simpletons who comment for it is worse than shameful. It is a betrayal of humanity.

Posted by: Powerpuff on January 16, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Peanut brain, perhaps you can explain Russia's condemnation of Iran's declaration that it intends to resume nuclear research to me, and its willingness to refer Iran to the Security Council, if you think Russia does in fact want Iran to have nuclear weapons.

The Russians thought they'd be able to control the Iranian program. Now they realize they can't, and they're going to try and stop it - long as they get paid for it.

You can also explain to me why you think the Russians will be less scared of Iran providing a nuke to Islamist separatists in Chechnya and Dagestan, which it BORDERS, than we are of Iran providing a nuke to Al-Qaeda so they can try to smuggle it halfway across the world to the US.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

"I am astonished to read such ignorance of people like cecce and peanut. Iran is a democracy, no worse than our own."

I guess that needs no further comment. If this is the dem position, good luck.

Posted by: peanut on January 16, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

This makes as much logical sense as the silly neocon justification for the Iraq war based on the possibility of the existence of a parallel universe:

If we didn't invade Iraq, and it turned out they did have WMDs, which they then could have used to attack the US, then we would be sorry. Therefore it was right to invade Iraq.

Posted by: astreeter on January 16, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

So, we condemn it. And let's not forget about referring to the UN. And then, when that won't work (Kevin Drum recently conceded that sanctions would be "too leaky" - I guess that's the "smarter dem" position) then, we do nothing. And when Tel Aviv burns down, brookfop will probably write an angry letter to the editor.

Posted by: peanut on January 16, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

For the record, if you wish the USA ill (Hostile), or think that there is some kind of "moral equivalence" between us and the ayatollahs, I have nothing to say to you.
Posted by: cecce

well the ayotollahs are at least honest about their anti-semitism, as opposed to the red-staters' unspoken but understood hatred of jews ... and arabs, and blacks, and hispaniscs.

Posted by: Nads on January 16, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

麥克A是法西斯的蠢蛋.
共和黨正在毀滅美國.
是病毒.

PLEASE, give this thread some smarter monkeys.

Posted by: OneTopJob6 on January 16, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Although Iran's largest export now is crude,
they sit on some of the world's largest deposits of ..uranium..
The future world energy conflicts may very well hinge on uranium, not oil...why shouldn't they develop for tomorrow all the uranium based infrastructure they can? and pay for it with today's
oil.
Uranium wars...wonderful!

Posted by: couser on January 16, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

brooke - you don't share my view that Iranian nukes are unacceptable so our solutions are obviously not aiming to solve the same problem. I wish you luck, electorally and otherwise, with that stance. And for those of you who think the US is the problem, go to hell. Or go anywhere, just go away.

Are there any honest patriotic dems here who agree that Iran getting nuclear warheads is not acceptable? If so, what would you think could and should be done?

Posted by: cecce on January 16, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

And when Tel Aviv burns down, brookfop will probably write an angry letter to the editor.
Posted by: peanut

again, I ask: when did we become israel's client state?

Posted by: Nads on January 16, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

And for those of you who think the US is the problem, go to hell. Or go anywhere, just go away.
Posted by: cecce

why??? and let pussies like you wreck this country and cause other 9/11s? No thanks, little bitch ... I'd just as rather stay and take my country back from the war profiteering religious fanatics.

Posted by: Nads on January 16, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

And when Tel Aviv burns down

You stupid jerk. Have you ever even been to Tel Aviv? Hayita b'Tel Aviv? Garta sham? Ata yodaya mah zeh l'chiyyot b'aretz shemevin mah zeh milchamah? Ata yodaya mah zeh lagur tachat haraketim? Ata yodaya mah zeh lehistakel bepanim shel mishehu sherotzeh lirtzoch otcha mipnai sheata yehudi?

You have no freaking clue. It's people like you who got Israel into the trouble it's in today. The single, decisive strike that will teach them a lesson once and for all. "The Arabs only understand force." "They have it better under us than they ever did under Arab regimes." "They threw flowers at our tanks when we rolled in."

Take your concern for Tel Aviv, roll it up, and use it to perform some useful and gratifying task. Tel Aviv can take care of itself.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

How's the view from the floor, cecce and peanut, that surface that brooksfoe is currently wiping with you? I grant you that it sucks we've been shortstacked by Bush in dealing with Iran. Now find another room that encourages shit-flinging insanity, and please allow the grown-ups to make the best out of a bad situation.

Posted by: Demogenes Aristophanes on January 16, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Are there any honest patriotic dems here who agree that Iran getting nuclear warheads is not acceptable? If so, what would you think could and should be done?

The question still stands. If you have an answer, I would be happy to reply and discuss. Otherwise, I just don't care.


(silence.)


(crickets chirping)


Posted by: cecce on January 16, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Are there any honest patriotic dems here who agree that Iran getting nuclear warheads is not acceptable? If so, what would you think could and should be done?

The question still stands. If you have an answer, I would be happy to reply and discuss. Otherwise, I just don't care.


(silence.)


(crickets chirping)


Posted by: cecce on January 16, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Are there any honest patriotic dems here who agree that Iran getting nuclear warheads is not acceptable? If so, what would you think could and should be done?"

A variety of possible frameworks for carrot-and-sticking the problem have already been put forward on this very thread.

But you simply ignore those, because you don't really want to hear about any alternative that doesn't involve spilling blood ... especially said strategy is more sound strategically.

To call you intellectually dishonest would be to give too much gravity to the primeval fear vomiting forth from your id.

Posted by: Demogenes Aristophanes on January 16, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

When Ferguson holds forth on many things he's pretending to be a historian of them.

Historians don't write books without footnotes or without visiting archives.

For more on this, go here.

Posted by: Tom Spencer on January 16, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

For someone who just doesn't care, you keep posting the same thing rather repetitively. Are you a GOP-bot?

I will repeat this again so you understand. There are a lot of things that are undesirable in the world, but very few that are "unacceptable", in the sense that it is worth doing literally anything to oppose them, that you ought to die rather than permit them to occur.

On the scale of things currently taking place in the world that ought to be rated "unacceptable", the ongoing slaughter and ethnic cleansing in Darfur is considerably higher than Iranians continuing a nuclear research program that may someday lead to them getting a bomb.

Another thing we might decide to rate "unacceptable" would be the fact that several thousand kids around the world die every day from lack of access to clean water. That may seem like an insoluble problem; but what if we were to spend, oh, $250 billion on it? Over, say, three years? Hey, if we could afford to throw it away on failing to enhance US national security in Iraq, surely we could afford to spend it on bringing clean water to just half those several thousand kids who die every day...?

The word "unacceptable" is just an indicator of priorities. And, no, I don't think the current situation in Iran should be our top priority right now. Avian flu, global warming, and the budget deficit are all a lot scarier. More people will probably die early because of what's going on this month with prescription drug benefits than will die because of the Iranian nuclear program.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK


Future historian? I'd settle for a competent past historian.

Posted by: theo on January 16, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

I don't agree.

"Undesirable", yes.
"Unacceptable", no.

You keep using that word, but I do not think it means what you think it means. Unacceptable implies "unacceptable at any cost". Almost nothing comes under that heading except national destruction or subjugation. A nuclear-armed Iran would be worrying in a lot of ways, but the US would survive.
If it were 'unacceptable', I would say "Call up all the reserves. Start a draft. Move to a war economy. Pull out of Iraq's cities and redeploy in the desert for an invasion. Launch an invasion as soon as practical. Use nuclear weapons on any suspected launch sites, etc."
But it is far from unacceptable. And given that, the principle of cost/benefit comes in.

Posted by: ajay on January 16, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

ajay, you actually make a point. But you will notice I never suggested an invasion. So perhaps our definitions of unacceptable are not all too far apart.

However, if unacceptable to you simply means "undesirable" meaning "let's see if Kofi can handle it, and if not, then oh well, we tried", then we disagree.

Posted by: cecce on January 16, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

I think cecce's post was pretty easy to understand, brooke shields, he just doesn't care about YOUR opinion.

Posted by: peanut on January 16, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

The Israelis bombed the Osirak reactor in Iraq which the French had provided Saddam, in their greed and recklessness. That intervention has been vindicated pretty thoroughly.

Posted by: GBH on January 16, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

"brooke shields"? Am I supposed to be insulted? Why, because she's a woman?

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Good point, GBH, but you will notice that the head in the sand crowd here would rather deal in evasions and vietnam nostalgia.

But here's a question: the Iranian program is almost certainly much more difficult to hit. And it is further from Israel. So what to do now?

Posted by: peanut on January 16, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

That intervention has been vindicated pretty thoroughly.

1. Hussein at that time was more dangerous than Iran is today. He was red in tooth and claw and hot to conquer Iran. Later he decayed into his corrupt and decadent general-in-his-labyrinth stage, the Brezhnevite phase of Baathist rot. Anyway, Iran isn't about to invade anyone, Ahmadinejad's blah-blah notwithstanding.
2. Can't do it again. Everybody knows it might be coming. The sites are scattered.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060116/ap_on_re_mi_ea/europe_iran_9;_ylt=ApaPxyVrk5uEioFW2OJwewlSw60A;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

Awesome! This is a very good first step. Now, let's see if there will actually be sanctions. Then, let's see if they will work.

If they don't, we still have all military options. A very good day for the world.

Posted by: cecce on January 16, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

But here's a question: the Iranian program is almost certainly much more difficult to hit. And it is further from Israel. So what to do now?

Don't hit it. Duh.

Iraq in 1981 was technically still in a state of war with Israel. Contrary to the weird ravings of an ignoramus named Matt above, Iran is not in a state of war with the US.

Also, Israel's actions were lent international legitimacy by the fact that Israel is much smaller than its Arab neighbors and is genuinely threatened by them. The US, on the other hand, if it is actually scared of a country like Iran...that's just pathetic.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe: "The word "unacceptable" is just an indicator of priorities."

Nice post! Citizens in a democracy get to make choices. We can reject Bushco's priorities and still be safe and strong.

Actually, a nice series of posts. Thanks.

Posted by: PTate in MN on January 16, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Peanut, you're right that the Israelis cannot do it themselves. Too far away. We, on the other hand, have carriers close to their beaches. No problem taking out the reactor, if it comes to that. And the reactor (or all three of them, if Russia makes good on their promise to build more) will be the ayatollah's best route to making large amounts of nuclear bomb materials fast. That's why the Iranians are so hell-bent on building reactors. Three well-known sites are not too hard to destroy completely.

Posted by: cecce on January 16, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Iranian nuclear weapons are acceptable. It is undesirable that any country has nuclear weapons, that dream was dead before it was conceived, but Iranian nuclear aspirations are directly tied to US and Israeli aggression. If the US had not armed Israel with nuclear weapons and helped both Pakistan and India arm themselves, Iran would not be developing nuclear weapons.

Both the US and Israel have nuclear weapons pointed at Iran right now. If you were an Iranian you would have to conclude nuclear weapons would be the only defense preventing US hegemony over the national interests of Iran. It is unconscionable that any American thinks she/he can dictate to another country what is in their best interests, especially while threatening to kill tens if not hundreds of thousands of that phantom threat's people. Iran is not a threat to US security in any way. It is the US who is a threat to Iran's security and internal affairs.

People exhorting the use of force against a country posing no threat to it must have reasons for doing so that they are either unconscious of or concealed. Some accuse them of being barbarians or worse. Perhaps it is just cold lust for wealth that oil represents or the hysteria of 9//11, which can only be alleviated with the complete subservience of all Islamic peoples with occupation or threats of nuclear annihilation. The history of mankind is filled with the exhortations of demagogues calling for the annihilation of the neighboring village. Not much has changed in ten thousand years, except the technology to kill our neighbors. It saddens and sickens me to read fellow Americans' comments for the military subjugation of another sovereign nation, who will almost certainly never threaten us with invasion or militant hegemony, on MLK Day.

Posted by: Powerpuff on January 16, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Actually brookfoe, Israel was not at war with Iraq in 1981 when they bombed Osirak. At least Iraq was no more at war with Israel than almost the entire arab world still is. Technically the arab-Israeli war never ended, if you want to be silly about it. But in reality, there was no war in 1981 or today.

That doesn't make it wrong for the Israelis to take out the reactor. Clearly, history has vindicated their decision.

Posted by: GBH on January 16, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Clearly being so far away from Iran is a disadvantage to the U.S. as far as knowledge of their customs, philosophy, traditions go.
We need a trusted intermediary to act as our negotiator. Someone fron the region with a sterling track record. Someone like Dr. Chalabi.

Posted by: Salvador Allende on January 16, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

In the Guardian today:

Democrat Evan Bayh urged diplomacy, but said there were elements of Iran's nuclear programme which, if attacked, "would dramatically delay its development".

Dramatically delay the development. Has a nice ring to it. I could settle for that.

Posted by: peanut on January 16, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Hojjatieh
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Hojjatieh is a semi-clandestine Iranian organization which is radically anti-Bah' and anti-Sunni. The group flourished during the 1979 revolution that ousted the Shah and installed an Islamic government in his place. However it was banned in 1983 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the father of the revolution. They believe that chaos must be created to hasten the coming of the Mahdi, the 12th Shi'ite imam. Only then, they argue, can a genuine Islamic republic be established. The Hojjatieh is more of an anarchic-Islamic group than your typical Islamic fundamentalist group.

The current president of Iran Mahmud Ahmadinejad is rumored to be an advocate of this group, though this has not been confirmed anywhere.

Posted by: simtech on January 16, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK
The impeachment trials of October 2007 represented not only the failure of the Bush presidency, it marked the end of the neoconservative movement. Some even said it marked the twilight of the modern GOP. Certainly, that was one way of interpreting the convictions stemming from the K Street Project that had corrupted the Republican-controlled government from the Oval Office to Congress, and the errant Iraq War that led American voters to deliver a 2006 election victory and the 2008 presidency into the hands of the Democrats.

Yet the historian is bound to ask whether or not the true significance of the 2006 and 2008 elections were to vindicate the Democrats' domestic and foreign policies. For, if these policies had been adhered to in 2001, America's superpower status and credibility could have been retained and impending world economic dominance by the European Union and China thwarted. And 9/11 might never have happened.

Posted by: Nightol Ferguson on January 16, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

I got so outraged at the stupidity of Ferguson's article that I immediately posted a rebuttal at my blog. The short version: from even the most cursory military and diplomatic analysis, Ferguson is full of crap.

Posted by: Kingdaddy on January 16, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Cecce, your comment about the US taking out the Iranian reactor just shows how little you know about the current situation vis-a-vis the Iraqi circumstance which prompted the Israeli airstrike. The Iraqi reactor was a breeder reactor, designed to produce plutonium in relatively large quantities. Most of its output would have been destined for nuclear weapons. Just like the equivalent Israeli reactor hiding in the Negev.

The Iranian reactors are designed to produce power. They are not intended to be breeder reactors. The IAEA problem with the Iranians involves their restart of their nuclear fuel enrichment program. That means enriching uranium to a higher concentration of U235 (the easily fissionable kind) in fuel rods to generate heat and,thereby, power through a steam turbine-generator cycle. The Iranian reactor has nothing to do with the enrichment. The enrichment facilities are dispersed across Iran, to prevent exactly the type of pin-point, choke-point attack the Israelis carried out on the Iraqis. Hitting the Iranian reactor will not stop the enrichment. It will only embitter the Iranians more against the US.

The stated rationale is the Iranian's claim they need the enrichment to fuel the reactor. That is true, on its face. No one has done anything to unmask that claim by the Iranians. No one has done anything to offer the Iranians a deal that they couldn't refuse. When the US steps up to the plate and offers the Iranians a fuel supply contract for the Iranian reactors at a deep discount in price (as in dollars per BTU per pound of enriched Uranium fuel)with a guaranteed delivery through a non-partisan third party, then we'll know that Dubya's administration is implementing policy. Right now, all he and his minions are doing is playing politics for the domestic scene. Somebody is going to have to potentially take the hit for buying the Iranians off in order to expose their duplicity, but Dubya and Condi don't seem to have had the imagination to do that yet.

Posted by: PrahaPartizan on January 16, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

"ohh! I'm so sad that you can't trust me anymore! ohh, ohh what will I do????"

Continue to crawl up W's ass, troll.


Posted by: Dorge on January 16, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with brooksfoe, Bush isn't going to do anything about Iran's nukes except take it to the Security Council, which is the right thing to do. He got burned on guessing about WMD's once. This time, he will let New York or DC get a big hole blown in them.

It kind of comes down to Spielberg's little fling with Ghandian liberalism in MUNICH. A lot of the typers on this thread obviously think the right thing for Israel to do was just to sit down and have a serious heart-to-heart with someone after the athletes were killed. That would have worked fine until the next Olympics, and all the Olympics since.

BTW, Michael784, Jesus will not require neo-cons or anyone else to shower before coming in. That's what grace is all about. Even Joe Stalin will be welcomed in if he humbles himself enough to ask. No problem. It doesn't matter if you've killed millions, hundreds of thousands, only a few hundred, or somewhere in between like Clinton's 78-day air war using B-2's to bomb the bejeepers out of the Yugo factory. I mean, the Yugo was a hideous car, but goodness, it wasn't like one was going to show up in Atlanta with a hundred kilos of weapons-grade anthrax in the trunk.
Yes, thirdPaul, it has been raining too long here. When second Paul, Mr. Allen, brought tears to my eyes congratulaing his Seahawks in the locker room I realized this team could be in the Superbowl and the Last Days can't be far behind.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 16, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

There are a lot of things that are undesirable in the world, but very few that are "unacceptable", in the sense that it is worth doing literally anything to oppose them, that you ought to die rather than permit them to occur.

Alas, "unacceptable" to some is the Democratic Party regaining power. "Unacceptable" to some others are brown-skinned people getting The Bomb and remaining uppity to America. Thusly, if some Americans and Iranians (though none of the some mentioned above) must be sacrificed to keep things "acceptable", its a sacrifice they're willing to take.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on January 16, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of the typers on this thread obviously think the right thing for Israel to do was just to sit down and have a serious heart-to-heart with someone after the athletes were killed.

I may be a little late to the thread this morning, but mind providing a link for the crowd?

(Last I left, there were 190 posts. 320+ by this afternoon? All we need now is an Ayatollah Chuckles cut 'n paste spamfest.)

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on January 16, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Nightol Ferguson: "Yet the historian is bound to ask whether or not the true significance of the 2006 and 2008 elections were to vindicate the Democrats' domestic and foreign policies. For, if these policies had been adhered to in 2001, America's superpower status and credibility could have been retained and impending world economic dominance by the European Union and China thwarted."

Nice revision! Thanks!

Posted by: PTate in MN on January 16, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

If Iran deserves to be nuked, then I'll tell you one other thing: the US really deserves to be nuked! I hope Iran gets the bomb, it's likely the only thing that will save the planet.

Posted by: Romdinstler on January 16, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Hot damn, Got me a crew - Hey, cece ole buddy, get in the right seat, peanutbrain can be our bombardier, on to Tehran. Drop 'em right on the Bazaar. We'll draw straws to see who gets to ride the first smoker down. YaHoooo. Gen Jack and Curtis will be so proud. We'll be legends in Omaha.

Posted by: Maj TJ "King" Kong on January 16, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

I love futurism as much as the next lunatic. But I wish Niall had elaborated on the outcome of the pre-emption he believes would prevent the "devastating nuclear exchange of August 2007."

Such as the Dirty Bombing of London, Berlin and Madrid ... the overthrow of Musharaff in Pakistan and the renewal of nuclear war drumbs between that country and India--maybe even a Pakistan "intervention" in Afghanistan ... the overthrow of the ruling royal families in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, which are replaced by virulently and violently anti-American Islamist regimes ... ditto for Egypt and Iraq, where even the pretense of normal relations with Israel or the West becomes politically impossible ...

Posted by: David on January 16, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, somebody's gotta propagate the propaganda. He might as well make some money off it.

More? Yeah, there's a lot of those propagandists being paid beaucoup dinero to tell lies.

Posted by: MarkH on January 16, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

Donkey_Courage wrote:

"Fortunately President Bush is not going to wait 3 years doing nothing because you decided we need someone else in charge. No wonder Dems are losing elections, no one can take you seriously on national security."

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on January 15, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK


We weren't at war during either the Carter or the Clinton years. So, maybe the public had better look at Dems as better national security leaders. Under Bush II we were attacked on our own soil in disastrous fashion (9/11) and many Americans have been quite fearful ever since. Repubs should apologize, at long last, for that horrendous failure.

Posted by: MarkH on January 16, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

Well now, all these questions are thumbsuckers, aren't they? All I really know is that I have a number of Islamic people who are neighbors and co-workers and I like all of them.There is no question in my mind that the gates of heaven will be open for them. Secular humanist leftists I find to be a different breed of cat altogether, and the less said about y'all the better.

Let's try to summarize.
(1) Bush is not going to bomb Iran
(2) Bush is not going to be impeached.
(3) Alito will be confirmed to the Supreme Court
(4) The U.S. may need to mount a mid-winter humanitarian mission into certain regions of Pakistan, to check on earthquake damage and reports about our stray missiles. I like Gen. Moushareff and I hope we give him a certified copy of the targeting orders of any Trident subs we have in the Indian ocean just so he doesn't get real stupid.
(5) the Fall elections of '06 are still quite distant, but I will be very surprised if the Republicans lose more than a few seats in the House and we will gain in the Senate.
(6) If Israel is going to attack anyone, it should be the Spielberg movie studio in Hollywood. Also the people who made "Syriana", another twisted world view in which truly evil forces are given cosmetic makeovers and blameless, honorable people are maligned and villified by all the usual leftist sneers and innuendos.
(7) Tom DeLay will go to trial and the case against him will be put on trial. If others in Congress were playing by the same rule book that Mr. DeLay thought was legal at the time, that will be addressed. If the Dems want a blood war over campaign finance, they are going to find that their trusty friends in the MSM can't shield them.
(8)Recent elections in Baghdad and Seattle most certainly were rigged. A cheat U.S. Senator named Cantwell was installed in 2000, and Gov. Gregoire in 2004 by processes which allow those inclined to vote multiple times the opportunity to do so without being discovered and punished. Voters in Seattle are on the honor system, which means a lefty gal can register under her maiden name of Smith and vote at her ancient college residence address, register again and vote as Smith-Jones at her old married address, vote again as Jones-Smith and vote at her post-divorce address, and vote again in Oregon and California absentee without any chance of any of it ever being found out. No one ever really checks and no picture I.D. or meaningful I.D. is found.

If there aren't enough lefty gals to quite swing the elections, the county Dems just keep whacking at the numbers in the back rooms until they get a result they like. Their secret--computers that print out unnumbered ballots. This is why in the elections I mentioned there are always up to several thousand more votes cast than voters who officially registered.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 16, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

(6) If Israel is going to attack anyone, it should be the Spielberg movie studio in Hollywood. Also the people who made "Syriana", another twisted world view in which truly evil forces are given cosmetic makeovers and blameless, honorable people are maligned and villified by all the usual leftist sneers and innuendos.

asshats like mike cook aside, most israelis have a very realistic view of their relationship with the palestinians, and it is a damn site more honest and even-handed than the unapologetic support of zionism in all its excess that we get in america.

and what bothers the wingnuts about syriana is the exposure of oil companies and war profiteers for the morally bankrupt whores that they are ... which is only malicious since so many of them voted for such in the bush/cheney ticket.

Posted by: Nads on January 16, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK
I find it hard to believe that A.Q Khan's 2nd customer wasn't Iran. I think this is all a bunch of bullshit. Iran has five or seven nukes, and the IAEA seals they broke were just a way for them to rattle some sabres. Why would A.Q. Khan not sell to Iran? They have always been wealthy, local, and damn good at foiling U.S. intel.

Its pretty widely known that Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea all collaborated on nuclear weapons and delivery systems technology (the idea that A.Q. Khan was a rogue actor is a pretty transparent smokescreen to attempt to put Pakistan's proliferation activities "in the past" to make the new US alliance more palatable in the US.)

Posted by: cmdicely on January 16, 2006 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Actually brookfoe, Israel was not at war with Iraq in 1981 when they bombed Osirak. At least Iraq was no more at war with Israel than almost the entire arab world still is. Technically the arab-Israeli war never ended, if you want to be silly about it. But in reality, there was no war in 1981 or today. - GBH

In case anyone's still reading: the "technically at war" thing made and makes a difference in the case of Israel's actions towards Arab states, because since the stated rationale of the original 1948 war launched by the Arabs was to prevent Israel's existence, their refusal (except for Egypt and Jordan) to end the state of war shows they are not willing to publicly accept Israel's existence. This highlights in a clear way the continued, if now significantly smaller, existential threat which Muslim states still pose to Israel, and makes Israeli armed actions against them seem to have at least an arguable legitimacy. If a Muslim state wants to avoid Israeli attacks, the reasoning goes, let them conclude a peace treaty - after all, no one would accept an Israeli attack on Egypt or Jordan. Or Turkey.

In contrast, the fact that Iran is not at war with the US in even a technical sense renders US armed action against them illegitimate. If Iran commits a clear act of war against the US, or declares war, then US military action to take out Iranian nukes would gain considerable legitimacy.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

(8)Recent elections in Baghdad and Seattle most certainly were rigged. A cheat U.S. Senator named Cantwell was installed in 2000, and Gov. Gregoire in 2004 by processes which allow those inclined to vote multiple times the opportunity to do so without being discovered and punished.

Hi Mike! Still curious over here about where in the Book of Revelations it mentions Taiwan. But I'm glad to see the paranoid fanatic conspiracy-theory wing of the GOP is still in operation; I thought they took a vacation when Bush came into power and there started to actually be black helicopters flying overhead.

Incidentally, there are two things that just aren't gonna happen: Bush will not attack Iran, and Jesus is not coming back. It's dubious whether he ever existed; there's nothing in the Roman-era historical record about him, while there's voluminous material about Bar Kochba, Hillel, and other prominent contemporaneous Jewish figures. If he did exist, he was clearly a pretty insignificant figure.

Enjoy spending the rest of your life waiting for him, as so many of your co-religionists have for the past 2000 years!

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

"What will the Democrats be recommending as the proper US response to the recent Iran nuclear actions?"
What is it with Repugnantkins? "What solution to this problem do the democrats offer?" Hey! Clueless wonders; The spineless dems are'nt in charge. They did'nt start this mess either. It was your sociopathic, silver-spoon-fed moron who got us into this. Maybe you oughta look to him for a solution. He's the one you think is protecting you from terrorism, right? (forgetting that the worst terrorist attack in our Nation's history occurred on HIS watch. Even though he was warned)
If you support Bush, you are a sucker and a fool.
(by the way, y'all hated Clinton for adultery. I hate Bush because he's destroying my country. Priorities. Where are the patriots here?)

Posted by: RoodDood on January 16, 2006 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

Iran has five or seven nukes, and the IAEA seals they broke were just a way for them to rattle some sabres. Why would A.Q. Khan not sell to Iran? They have always been wealthy, local, and damn good at foiling U.S. intel.

Really? The fact of the matter is, Iran has zero weapons. That's why they're desperately trying to acquire the technology to make a weapon.

Every time you look up, you can hear the war drums pounding.

Global Security.org says:

Iran does not currently have nuclear weapons, and would appear to be about two years away from acquiring nuclear weapons. By some time in 2006, however, Iran could be producting fissile material for atomic bombs using both uranium enriched at Natanz and plutonium produced at Arak. The Natanz facility might produce enough uranium for about five bombs every year, and the Arak facility might produced enough plutonium for as many as three bombs every year.

With recent events, I would say 2007 is the earliest that they could expect having a weapon, but let's try to do away with the idea that they currently have a weapon. They don't.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 16, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

So, yes -- Iraq was contained and deterred, and no threat to us at all, but the invasion did, as we've seen, create a deadly insurgency -- a much greater harm to US national security.

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Again, editing reality. If that war didn't happen - Kuwait and its oil would be part of Iraq (and possibly Saudi if he kept rolling on). And you have no idea what the consequences of that would be?

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

Look. The President of Iraq was a student leader of the group that took hostages. Believes in a faction of Islam with religous support for suicide bombers and Jewish genocide....Any progress towards them getting a Nuclear Bomb
is sheer stupidity.

-----------

there's nothing in the Roman-era historical record about him, while there's voluminous material about Bar Kochba, Hillel, and other prominent contemporaneous Jewish figures. If he did exist, he was clearly a pretty insignificant figure.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08375a.htm

Actually, he was mentioned by:

Tacitus
Suetonius
Pliny the Younger
Josephus (Jewish historian)

Posted by: McAristotle on January 16, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

I put this up before. I'd like to think it will influence people like Cecce, but realistically, I suppose I'm whistling into the wind. Thank God no right wing Republicans were in charge in those times. Air Force General Curtis Lemay, one of the few certified wing nuts in a position of influence back in the fifties, preached a nuclear first strike as the Russians were certain to go first if we didn't.

We need a national hew and cry against this new Republican stupidity of regime change by war. Time, diplomacy and patience invariably do the job that no violent incursion can. Can anyone come up with a believable scenario in which going to war with any of the brutes below would have been a good idea? Then why Saddam? Why Iran? In both barbarity and threat to us, many of the characters in this list make the Bushfoes look like pussycats.

Joseph Stalin, brutal dictator, murdered millions of his own people.
We contained him as best we could. He was followed by a much less dangerous government.

Mao Tse Dong, brutal dictator, murdered millions of his own people.
We contained him as best we could. He was followed by a much less dangerous government.

Pol Pot, brutal dictator, murdered millions of his own people.
Reflexively supported by the U.S in Vietnam debacle. Followed by a much less dangerous government.

Ayatollah Khomeini, a dangerous dictator. He suppressed his people and murdered some.
We contained him as best we could. He was followed by a much less dangerous government.

Augusto Pinochet, brutal dictator, murdered tens of thousands of his own people.
Because of Communist hysteria he was our boy. Followed by a much less dangerous government.

Idi Amin, brutal dictator, murdered millions of his own people.
We ignored him. (This is Africa, after all.) He was followed by a much less dangerous government.

Anastasio Samoza, brutal dictator, Supported by the U.S. because of Communist fears.
Followed by a leftist regime that was much less dangerous.

Ho Chi Min, less brutal dictator, but still suppressed his people.
U.S. lost a war for "regime change." Even so, he was followed by a less dangerous government and an opening up of his country.

Good arguments from brooksfoe. Those Republican megalomaniacs think the condition of the world depends on them doing something, but the world was improving quite nicely without the likes of GWB and it will do it much better when he is gone.

Posted by: James of DC on January 16, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

Contemperaneous accounts of Jesus (none of which was written during his actual supposed lifetime):

Tacitus: Writing roughly 95 years after Christ, Tactitus does not mention a "Jesus" but writes that a "Christus," founder of the Christian sect, was put to death by "Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius." Possibly a later interpolation by Christians, possibly just Tacitus repeating what Christians said about themselves. The negative attitude of Tacitus towards Christians, though, makes this citation perhaps the most plausible of the four you mention.

Suetonius: Writing roughly 90 years after Christ's supposed life, he mentions a "Chrestus" (a common slave name in the Roman Empire) who was instigating Jewish slaves, but places this "Chrestus" in Rome in 54 A.D.

Pliny the Younger: Roughly 90 years after Christ's supposed life, Pliny makes no mention of a "Jesus" but notes that Christian sect worships a god they call "Christus." No mention of "Christus" as an actual historical figure. Essentially just reports what the Christians say of themselves.

Josephus (Jewish historian): Roughly 60 years after Christ, he references Jesus, calls him "the Christ," in Testimonium Flavianum, but this is widely regarded as a later Christian interpolation.

There is vanishingly little historical evidence that a person resembling in a meaningful way the Jesus Christ of the Gospels ever walked the earth. And that which exists is skeptically viewed by serious historians.

Doesn't mean he didn't live, just that it's more reasonable to assume that he's made up.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus#Non-Christian_writings

www.infidels.org

Posted by: Demogenes Aristophanes on January 16, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

James of DC, I agree with 99% of your post. I've got a small quibble, though, on this part:

"Pol Pot, brutal dictator, murdered millions of his own people. Reflexively supported by the U.S in Vietnam debacle. Followed by a much less dangerous government."

Actually, the violent incursion by Vietnam is what put an end to his reign and propped up the "much less dangerous government."

The same, I think, could be said for our invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, getting rid of the Taliban. Which is to say that on rare occasions, the regime-changing invasion can work, but as you say, it's terribly risky and as likely to be bloodier than "just waiting 'em out" as not.

Posted by: Demogenes Aristophanes on January 16, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, he was mentioned by:

Tacitus
Suetonius
Pliny the Younger
Josephus (Jewish historian)

Neither he nor Pilate are mentioned in Tacitus's Annals or Histories, which were written in the 120s AD. (I said "contemporaneous".)

Suetonius's (75-160 AD) sole reference is to Jews being expelled from Rome due to rabble-rousing by "Chrestus". As your own source notes, he thought Chrestus was some guy who lived under the reign of Claudius, AD 41-54. As he elsewhere correctly spells "Christians", it's unclear who this Chrestus character was supposed to be, or whether he was just taking Christians' word for his existence.

Pliny the Younger mentions the existence of Christians, in a letter to emperor Trajan. He does not mention the existence of Jesus Christ. Since Trajan lived from AD 61-115, this is hardly contemporaneous evidence. Nobody disputes the existence of Christians, obviously; the question is the existence of Jesus Christ.

Josephus was born in 37 AD, which as close to contemporaneous as you guys get. Kinda like me trying to bear witness to the existence of Buddy Holly, if all I had to go on was stories and rumor. He mentions Jesus twice. The first refers to the sentencing of James, "brother of Jesus who is called Christ". This counts, though it's still hearsay.

The second Josephus reference is widely believed to be a fake interpolation by later Christian authors. It's totally bizarre because it states without commentary that Jesus was resurrected on the third day and fulfilled all sorts of prophecies. Yet Josephus's hundreds of pages of other writings contain no indication of anything Christian. There's just this one little paragraph: "Oh, and by the way at this time the Messiah appeared." As if in the middle of Tony Judt's history of postwar Europe, you were suddenly to read: "And at this point, the Reverend Moon, God's messenger on Earth, appeared, carrying out many miracles and receiving God's new revelation for mankind." And then he moves on. Does not compute.

So we have the one mention of James, the brother of Jesus, from Josephus, some decades after the supposed crucifixion. And that's what we've got.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

Breaking news from CNN:

..the Iranian government banned CNN journalists from working in the country after a translation error broadcast by CNN mistakenly quoted Iran's president as saying his nation has the right to build nuclear weapons.

CNN was not informed directly by the Iranian government that it was banned from the country.

The dispute arises from a moment of simultaneous translation Saturday.

As Ahmadinejad was speaking, an interpreter working for a translation company hired by CNN misquoted him as having said Iran has the right to build nuclear weapons. In fact, he said Iran has the right to nuclear energy, and that "a nation that has civilization does not need nuclear weapons." He added, "our nation does not need them."

The incorrect translation was re-broadcast on CNN later Saturday.

Posted by: Jimm on January 16, 2006 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

I'll keep on waiting for Jesus, but it may not be all that long. All the New Testament material about Christ was written within a century after he was reputed to have died (quibble if you like, that's what my scholarly sources say.)

The gnostic account which was discovered at Nag Hamadi in Gaza in 1947 was written about 300 years after Christ. The gnostic version includes two quite disparate elements: a highly-involved mystic philosophical discussion which seems to be Persian (today's Iran) in origin, and a lot of homilistic sayings of Jesus which are not in the standard Bible but apparently were quite common in Palestine three centuries after Christ perished and 250 years after the Romans burned the Temple in Jerusalem and dispersed the Hebrews.

Another bunch of ancient writings were discovered with a year of the Nag Hamadi documents, dozens of miles away in a cave in Qumran. The Dead Sea Scrolls are interesting mainly because they indicate how little the Bible really has changed. Hundreds of years before Jesus the Hebrews made the uncharacteristic and costly decision to have the Septuagint translated into the newly created "universal" language of higher philosophy, Greek. Greek was newly created because Alexander the Great, at Aristotle's urging, had created a commission to unify the various Greek dialects. Whether in Hebrew or in Greek, the amazing thing about the Dead Sea scrolls is the high degree of precision with which these oldest documents accord with modern versions of the same texts. Differences of translation exist, but it is possible to get back to original meanings of nearly every reference.

The great Bible editing conference at Nicea did not elect to include the gnostic gospels, possibly because they complicated the simple message the Nicean council wanted to highlight:
an obscure rabbi named Jesus once lived, was put to death by the Romans, and three days later rose from the dead. Further, the Christ story guarantees to everyone not only that they, too, will rise from the dead, but that Christ in the bargain has also absolved all their sin, so that any prospect of judgment after death need not be dreaded.

Now, what else has happened around the 1945-47 time period? Only the Holocaust, the invention of the atomic bomb, and the founding of the modern state of Israel. What thinking person could possibly believe all these coincidental things are portentious? Uh, me, I have to admit. Go ahead and call names and sneer as it pleases you, if there truly is a pre-ordained destiny coming about in all these elements, by and by as portents accumulate even the most hard-headed skeptic may face conversion by epiphany.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 17, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Secular humanist leftists I find to be a different breed of cat altogether, and the less said about y'all the better.

The Jesus stories talk about people like you who claim to themselves divine judgement. Of course, you are actually on crack (or Tim LaHaye, same difference), so who gives a flying fig what you 'think'?

Further, the Christ story guarantees to everyone not only that they, too, will rise from the dead, but that Christ in the bargain has also absolved all their sin, so that any prospect of judgment after death need not be dreaded.

[fastvoice]Offernotvalidinrealworld.[/fastvoice]

Posted by: ahem on January 17, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

"All the New Testament material about Christ was written within a century after he was reputed to have died (quibble if you like, that's what my scholarly sources say.)"

Huh? What scholarly sources say that the earliest copies of the Gospel and other New Testament accounts can be dated to "within a century after he was reputed to have died?"

Posted by: Demogenes Aristophanes on January 17, 2006 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

What thinking person could possibly believe all these coincidental things are portentious? Uh, me, I have to admit. Go ahead and call names and sneer as it pleases you, if there truly is a pre-ordained destiny coming about in all these elements, by and by as portents accumulate even the most hard-headed skeptic may face conversion by epiphany.
Posted by: Michael L. Cook

the only reason I would sneer is because I imagine upon His return, jesus would verily bitch-slap those blasphemous whores who dare call themselves christians. ... you'd best turn that cheek.

Posted by: Nads on January 17, 2006 at 3:16 AM | PERMALINK

Read the article at http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=%20CH20060103&articleId=1714. The US and Israel are in an advanced state of preparedness for an attack on Iran in late March. It will be a preemptive strike utilizing nuclear weapons. As always, the adults in Washington haven't considered what comes next. The consequences make all of these arguments irrelevant. Read and think.

Posted by: Uranus on January 17, 2006 at 3:59 AM | PERMALINK

Idi Amin's successor, Milton Obote, killed almost as many as Amin.

Posted by: Wombat on January 17, 2006 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Demogenes, buy or borrow a New International Version of the Bible, which has extensive commentary on everything by Christian scholars. They do not actually print the names of these people in their Bible, but their names can be obtained by writing NIV, 1820 Jet Stream Drive, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80921-3696.

The transparent reason most Christian scholars conclude the gospels were written relatively soon after Christ's death is that the authors (who stylistically do seem to be separate people) claimed to be colleagues or, like Paul, near-contemporaries of Jesus.

Now, as to Nad's well-taken point that I am a great sinner and much to be loathed, I agree, but it is a peculiarity of Jesus that this is the very type of person who will receive full and unconditional grace. All one really has to do is ask for it.

I've spent time on other threads defending the supernatural, particularly in regards to evolution. I believe that the Earth is four billion years old and monkeys are certainly our cousins. But the basis of "science" is the repeatable experiment, whereas supernatural events and interventions are generally singular and highly subjective to the observer. Nevertheless, the miracles I have witnessed were totally convincing and unmistakeable. I can believe in scientific laws (and really spend more time reading Roger Penrose and other science writers than I do the Bible) and still believe in the Supernatural.

BTW, both China and Russia seem to support UN sanctions on Iran, superficially, at least. The ACLU has a full-page ad in my morning paper calling for Bush to be impeached over NSA policy.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 17, 2006 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

This reminds me of the "Left Behind" novel series.

RW wackos, when faced with reality, tend to retreat into their imaginations.

Posted by: Paul -V- on January 17, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

It does seem odd that no one called Brooksfoe, Mr Zion, for not advocating the bombing of that Near East terrorist "country" Israel's known nuclear bomb silos!

As long as his like are not called upon to accept that Israel is not a friend of the US and that they must therefore choose whether they are Americans or Israelis, we shall go on screwing ourselves in the world.

Posted by: maunga on January 17, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Maunga, I've been meaning to ask, Qumran was notable for having no perimeter wall, so what "defenses" were you referring to? The number of towns with no wall was only about two or three, all religious communities, I believe.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 17, 2006 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Michael L. Have a look at this site..... http://www.nelc.ucla.edu/Faculty/Schniedewind_files/DSS/Murphy-OConnor_Qumran_abd.pdf .... Qumran was originally just a building but from quite early on was a fortified one. It was always not a town but a building, albeit quite a large one at the end, and quite monastic in form.

I was a lowly young listener at tables where both Gerald Lankester Harding and Roland de Vaux both assured us that Qumran was fortified.

It is fun we should be assured that a number of nearly contemporaneous writers about the Christ should not be considerd as telling us the truth as "too late" in writing 70 to 100 years after the event, despite the equally nearly contemporaneous archaeological evidence supporting them, but that we are to believe he or those (but they all wrote at the same time) who wrote 2,000 to 500 years after totally fictitious happenings, as are found in the Old Testament. The Old Testament before c.700BC is not supported by any archaeological nor written evidence. (And BTW, it is BS to suggest that the Egyptians might have expurgated the Cannanite evidence. The C'ites were just not so important.)

Fun as my Christianity is to discuss, I am much more interested in hearing from someone prepared to discuss the fact that the US and Israel's interests in the Near and Middle East are not the same, despite the long, long time efforts of the likes of PNAC, AIPAC, WHIG (lately), Jonathan Jason Pollard et al, and their pals the media owners.

I should further like to hear from those who are not one-eyed Zionist supporters how they justify the US's not taking out Israel's nuclear arsenal.

It is in the US's power to force Israel to cease being the aggressor and to come to an accommodation with the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world, to return to their pre-Zionism rather cosy jointly Semitic existence.

Posted by: maunga on January 17, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

"The transparent reason most Christian scholars conclude the gospels were written relatively soon after Christ's death is that the authors (who stylistically do seem to be separate people) claimed to be colleagues or, like Paul, near-contemporaries of Jesus."

Fine. But why do our earliest copies of these Gospels not date until much later? I only ask this because with this quote ...

"The gnostic account which was discovered at Nag Hamadi in Gaza in 1947 was written about 300 years after Christ."

... you seem to assume that the Gnostic Gospel found at Nag Hamadi is the earliest possible version of it.

I assume that when you say the Gnostic Gospel "was written about 300 years after Christ," that you refer to scientific dating of the Nag Hamadi discovery. I also assume that by juxtaposing a later Gnostic Gospel with presumed earlier (even contemporaneous) canon Gospels, you are calling into question the reliability of the Gnostic account as it pertains to true early Christian belief and history.

But this just leads me to ask you, why do you accept claims within the canon Gospels to date them conveniently earlier than the Gnostic Gospel, but then switch away from such considerations with regards to the Gnostic Gospel, which presumably you don't much like, and demand that it be dated with a scientific rigor that you don't demand of dating the Gospels you do like?

Forgive me if I put words in your mouth. This just seems to me to be what you are implying here ... I've seen it done before by apologists.

Posted by: Demogenes Aristophanes on January 17, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

"It is fun we should be assured that a number of nearly contemporaneous writers about the Christ should not be considerd as telling us the truth as "too late" in writing 70 to 100 years after the event, despite the equally nearly contemporaneous archaeological evidence supporting them, but that we are to believe he or those (but they all wrote at the same time) who wrote 2,000 to 500 years after totally fictitious happenings, as are found in the Old Testament."

What archaelogical evidence are you talking about? Who is asking you to believe that the Old Testament is historically accurate?

Posted by: Demogenes Aristophanes on January 17, 2006 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

My precise belief about the O.T. is that all of it is true, and some of it really happened. I choose to believe that sometimes the oral histories of ancient peoples do approximate something like what actually may have happened.
The stories may be highly allegorical.

Now, how archeologically supported is the Biblical dating of Solomon's Temple from about 900 B.C.E.? The tripartite floor plan into ulam, hekal, and debir(portico, main hall, & inner sanctuary) was found among the West Semitics as early as 2300 B.C.E. at Ebla in Syria. Closer to David and Solomon would the temple remains at Tel Tainat in the Orontes basin, thought to date from 900 B.C.E.

Prominent in the O.T. accounts of Solomon's Temple are the twin pillars of bronze that graced the portico, named Jakin and Boaz. Bronze casting in the Jordan Valley at Zarethan appears to have attained circa 1000 B.C.E. the ability to cast large ornate pillars.

Why should I doubt the "hill people" of Palestine might have become rich enough under a warrior king to build an elaborate temple as early as 900 B.C.E.? Why should I doubt the account in my New Internation Version Bible that credits David c. 1000 B.C.E. capturing Jebus, which already had walls towering over steep canyons and deep shafts connecting to an underground water source. David, of course, did not build a temple, but he did purchase some exposed bedrock on high ground that Araunah the Jebusite was using as a threshing floor to build an altar.

According to the NIV, "substantial historical evidence, both Biblical and extra-Biblical, places the temple of Herod (and before it the temples of Zerubabbel and Solomon) on the holy spot where King David built an altar to the lord."

Now, previous to that did the Eastern Semitic hill people originally come from the Euphrates via a sojourn in Egypt? It is reasonable to me to believe that drought and famine are rather regional things and it makes a lot of sense to me to think that a whole people can pick up and move when they are facing starving to death.

They can also choose to move because of heroic legend and prophetic promise. Academic theories have their place, but I am not about to discount ancient Biblical sources because some jumped-up recent hot shot claims he or his pupils can't find any evidence that 10,000 nomads once camped out along known trade routes. Another little problem is that beach front property has always been "hot" as a place to live, but sea level for the last 4,000 years has not been constant, so much archeology could be beneath the waves, as with the city of Alexandria.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 17, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

Most historians get the past wrong. Their predictive abilities are even worse. I do like the 'those who do not learn are doomed to repeat' snark however. I don't recall the Cocoa Puff kids embracing the Clark future terrorism scenario in the Jan/Feb 2005 Atlantic Monthly. Then again, I didn't really care for the second edition of "What If..."

Posted by: Thucydides is overrated on January 18, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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