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Tilting at Windmills

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January 18, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

ALL ABOUT OIL?....It's no surprise that Charles Krauthammer wants to blame the Euroweenies for all our problems with Iran, but is he really serious about this?

The only sanctions that might conceivably have any effect would be a boycott of Iranian oil. No one is even talking about that, because no one can bear the thought of the oil shock that would follow, taking 4.2 million barrels a day off the market, from a total output of about 84 million barrels.

....Which is one of the reasons the Europeans are so mortified by the very thought of a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities....The problem that mortifies the Europeans is what Iran might do after such an attack not just cut off its oil exports but shut down the Strait of Hormuz by firing missiles at tankers or scuttling its vessels to make the strait impassable. It would require an international armada led by the United States to break such a blockade.

Let me get this straight: the only people worried about Iran's oil are the Europeans? Whereas United States foreign policy is blissfully free of any concern over protecting the global flow of oil? I know that Krauthammer is prone to flights of fancy when he ponders American actions overseas, but even for him this is a doozy.

Kevin Drum 1:46 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (238)

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Now that we have achieved a glorious victory in one war, why not replicate the success one more time.

Dr. Kruathammer couldn't be more right.

Posted by: lib on January 18, 2006 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

Whereas United States foreign policy is blissfully free of any concern over protecting the global flow of oil?

If Congress had passed the law allowing oil drilling in ANWR as Senator Stevens wanted we wouldn't have to worry about the global flow of oil because we would have enough oil for ourselves. But then once again liberals stopped the law from passing because they care more about the eco-terrorists and tree huggers than the national security of this country.

Posted by: Al on January 18, 2006 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

Krauthammer, huh. Doesn't his name give it all away?

Posted by: ogmb on January 18, 2006 at 1:54 AM | PERMALINK

Krauthammer is a deeply dishonest hack.

Posted by: secularhuman on January 18, 2006 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK

You want to see Bush get impeached?

Wait till he imposes sanctions on Iran, and gas prices as a direct result go sky high.

Then all those reasons for impeachment that don't so far get any traction with the general public are going to seem like pure treason, worse by far than a blowjob, and the guy will be tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail.

And Krauthammer is an idiot for thinking Americans are going to suck that all up.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 18, 2006 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

Al is being purposefully stupid.
ANWR would, at best, provide 876,000 barrels of oil per day in 2025. Now, I realize that the right is a bit ignorant of math (and science and... well, just about everything involving ACTUAL knowledge), but this is not even a drop in the f**king bucket when considering the near 20 MILLION barrels of oil per day consumed by the US.

Posted by: justin on January 18, 2006 at 2:37 AM | PERMALINK

You want to see Bush get impeached?

Wait till he imposes sanctions on Iran, and gas prices as a direct result go sky high.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 18, 2006 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

And in view of short term gain, a nation which talks about eliminating a nearby nation regularly will get its nukes.

I agree its possible. After all, America has also managed to use its anti-war movement to paint a pretty moral picture on its abetting mass slaughter.

When Israel fires off multiple nukes - do you think it might set back the peace process somewhat?

Posted by: McA on January 18, 2006 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, Iran's threat is the one thing which should have western nations considering direct removal of its government. Oil is, face it, one of the key materials to civilization as we know it. Any threat to that must not be allowed to stand, or we stand to be blackmailed by every two-bit dictator running an oil-rig.

And, had we not invaded Iraq, we would probably be in an excellent position to make this happen.

Posted by: Castor Troy on January 18, 2006 at 2:52 AM | PERMALINK

After he wrote the column, he got in his hummer and drove home.

Posted by: patrick on January 18, 2006 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

Justin:

ANWR is estimated to have a potential of 1.4 million barrels a day, which, while it is not a huge fraction of our daily use, is a pretty good chunk of 4.2 million barrels a day. Heck, even 876,000 barrels a day is 20 percent of Iran's output at that level.

If you complain about it not coming on line for twenty years, you might want to talk to the idiots who have kept us from developing it for the past fifteen years.

The idea that drilling in Alaska is useless just because we can't supply all our needs from ANWR is inane. Every barrel out of there would be one barrel we don't have to import, and fifty dollars that goes into our own nation instead of Venezuela or the Middle East.

Goes for drilling in the Gulf, off California, and other places. If you want more energy independence, tell the idiots to get out of the way. BTW, until recently, that included Jeb Bush.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 18, 2006 at 3:00 AM | PERMALINK

Castor Troy:

And, had we not invaded Iraq, we would probably be in an excellent position to make this happen.

I hear this a lot from liberals. Of course, if we had not invaded Iraq, most of the people saying "if only" would then be screaming bloody murder about the Cowboy Bush getting ready to invade Iran. And every last anti-war tirade we've been hearing about Iraq, down to the last talking point, would be exactly the same.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 18, 2006 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK
If Congress had passed the law allowing oil drilling in ANWR as Senator Stevens wanted we wouldn't have to worry about the global flow of oil because we would have enough oil for ourselves.

If decreasing consumption of foreign oil is really and truly an issue of national security, why isnt the GOP implementing steps that will actually accomplish that stated goal? ANWR at best would account for 1.7% of total domestic consumption. As less than half of our oil comes from the middle east, ANWR would replace less than 1% of the oil we receive from the middle east in any given year, and then only for a limited number of years.

Funny thing, the GOP rejected and continues to reject - higher aggregate fuel efficiency standards on vehicles that would actually achieve fuel savings of more than 1 million barrels of oil per day, or about 6% of our projected daily consumption by 2010. Over the following decade the CAF standards the GOP rejected would be saving at least 3.7 billion barrels of oil - more than the total amount of oil that can likely be pumped from ANWR profitably. Better still and unlike ANWR - the fuel savings from CAF standards would continue (and increase!) indefinitely into the future, decade after decade.

For comparison, the CAFE standards passed in 1975 resulted in a near doubling of cars' average fuel economy, measured in miles per gallon (mpg), over the ensuing decade and an increase for light trucks of over 50%.

As for ANWR, most of what youve heard from the Republicans is basically just a bunch of lies. For example, Tom DeLay we know how honest he is - had been running around spouting off the high-end estimate that ANWR holds 16 billion barrels of oil (BBO), which is a deliberate misrepresentation. Yes, the USGS says that there may be between 5.7 and 16.0 BBO in ANWR, however according to the USGS, the probability that there are 16BBO is only 5% while the mean estimates of technically recoverable oil is only 7.7BBO (95% probability). Get that? Worse still, the amount of economically viable oil is even smaller still (probably less than 4BBO).

If Congress authorized drilling in ANWR today, no oil would come out of ANWR until about 2015. Initially it would provide a miniscule 25,000 barrels a day or about 0.15% [that's fifteen hundredths of one percent] of the projected daily demand of oil [projected at 17 million barrels per day, and consisting of about 11.5 million barrels of imported oil (68%), and about 5 million produced domestically (32%).

In 2015 it is estimated we will be consuming more than 6.2BBO a year. Thus Alaska optimistically holds just under a year's supply of oil, but more probably less than half a years supply of oil. Factoring in a moderate rate of development, by 2025 ANWR could offset imports of about 475,000 barrels (2.6% of our total consumption) per day. If however the refuge contains only 3.4 billion barrels, the 2025 production potential is closer to 300,000 barrels per day, offsetting total consumption by just 1.7%.

It would have minimal impact on our dependency on foreign oil, yet alone oil prices which are, after all, artificially manipulated by OPEC.

Lets bottom line it: if the GOP were serious about reducing our dependency on foreign oil, they would be passing higher fuel efficiency standards, putting more money into alternative fuel research, and stop subsidizing the purchase of ultra large SUVs through tax incentives.

Gee, why wouldnt a bunch of Texas oil men want to get America off of its oil addiction? They want our consumption of oil to increase (its more profitable for them) they just want to be able to sell more of it to us than they already do.

Posted by: Augustus on January 18, 2006 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

But, I thought the position of the right was the the war in Iraq was not about oil...

Posted by: parrot on January 18, 2006 at 3:18 AM | PERMALINK

First off, Patrick, given his quadrapeligia, I don't think Krauthammer is driving anywhere.

Second off, We could certainly reopen the Straits of Hormuz, if we are willing to pay the price. that price would be, probably an aircraft carrier battle group or so. Yes, Iran has enough surface to surface and air to surface missiles to do serious damage to the US fleet, anyone remember the USS Stark? that missile was a generation ago, and no one saw it coming on the Stark.

And then we have the problem of dealing with a pissed off Iran. we can't invade and create regime change (there is no where to invade from, after all, anyone think we can pull off another D-Day?)Wait until Iran unleashes Hezbollah on Israel and Lebanon, talk about a fucking mess.

Posted by: northzax on January 18, 2006 at 3:19 AM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz:

Of course, if we had not invaded Iraq, most of the people saying "if only" would then be screaming bloody murder about the Cowboy Bush getting ready to invade Iran. And every last anti-war tirade we've been hearing about Iraq, down to the last talking point, would be exactly the same.

In case you didn't notice, all that liberaly handwringing about insurgencies, no WMD, and the likely collapse of the State of Iraq actually turned out to be, well, pretty damn accurate. Iran is stronger than Iraq was, and a functioning state, I sure hope we have a better plan that Iraqi Freedom.

Posted by: northzax on January 18, 2006 at 3:22 AM | PERMALINK

Augustus:

Whatever the numbers are, the oil is not doing us one damn bit of good sitting in the ground. Add ANWR to the all the other areas in the U.S. that are being roped off from development, and how does that add up? And where does that 2015 number come from? Prudhoe Bay was in production less than 8 years after the oil was discovered.

Pass your new CAFE standards. What will it take to meet them? Do you have a clue about the technology involved in doing it rapidly? Changing over the production? How long will it take for enough people to buy enough of the new tiny plastic cars to make a difference? Or will you outlaw the old cars?

There are a lot of different ways to deal with energy independence. New oil is just one of them, but it shouldn't be completely taken off the table.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 18, 2006 at 3:32 AM | PERMALINK

If we hadn't invaded Iraq, then Iran would not be feeling so secure that they could not be invaded right now. If we hadn't invaded Iraq, we would have a fresh army. If we hadn't invaded Iraq, then Iran would probably not be feeling so threatened. If we hadn't invaded Iraq, and made Iran one of the axis of evil (thank you David Frum), then there is a good chance that Iran reformers would be in charge. If we hadn't invaded Iraq, then we would probably have a much stronger coalition with which to face Iran.

Tbrosz, I really don't think you want to go there....

Posted by: jerry on January 18, 2006 at 3:34 AM | PERMALINK

As someone who is worried more by global climate change than by terrorism, I find the prospect of a massive oil shortage positively enticing.

Posted by: bad Jim on January 18, 2006 at 3:35 AM | PERMALINK

funny how tbrosz leaves the conservation aspect untouched. why no calls for the conservation obstructor "idiots to get the hell out of the way"?

regarding

"I hear this a lot from liberals. Of course, if we had not invaded Iraq, most of the people saying "if only" would then be screaming bloody murder about the Cowboy Bush getting ready to invade Iran. And every last anti-war tirade we've been hearing about Iraq, down to the last talking point, would be exactly the same."

maybe the knee jerk assumption that war is the answer to our oil dependency isn't as valid on its face as militaristic free market fetishists would have us believe.

Posted by: Dan-O on January 18, 2006 at 3:36 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Drum: a correct and excellent post. I do wish you would have someone fix those trackbacks, though.

"tbrosz" is right, above, but in fact understates the case. How could any system of international "law" which did not mandate the forcible deposal of Saddam -- given a record which appeared more dangerous than Iran's does today, and a long history of UN resolutions -- possibly support any action against Iran in 2006?

If America had not invaded Iraq, the option of force against Iran would be completely off the table, and the Iranians would know this with certainty. "Peace" protestors who complain of the present difficulty of military action against Iran should keep that in mind.

Posted by: sammler on January 18, 2006 at 3:37 AM | PERMALINK

Is the Wildlife Refuge itself of no value, or of so little value that we must countenance its destruction so that we can use the complex fossil hydrocarbons buried beneath it in the crudest way, by burning them?

Posted by: bad Jim on January 18, 2006 at 3:39 AM | PERMALINK

On the bright side, sanctions would be good for:

1. Kyoto
2. Human rights
3. WMD non-proliferation
4. Not letting zealots kill jews
5. Use of hybrids over SUV's (Although Detroit would die)

More nuclear states is one of the few thinks I fear more than oil-induced reductions to world growth.

Posted by: McAristotle on January 18, 2006 at 3:40 AM | PERMALINK

Is no one worried about the fact that France has a nuclear capability?

Iran is years away from having a bomb. By all accounts, North Korea has several, and a considerably more dysfunctional political system. Shouldn't we be more worried about them, even though they aren't Muslim and have no oil?

Posted by: bad Jim on January 18, 2006 at 3:43 AM | PERMALINK

Is the Wildlife Refuge itself of no value, or of so little value that we must countenance its destruction so that we can use the complex fossil hydrocarbons buried beneath it in the crudest way, by burning them?

First, oil development would not "destroy" this environment any more than it has "destroyed" any of the other Alaska environments where drilling is taking place.

I do agree that oil is too valuable a resource just to burn, which is another good reason for weaning our society away from burning it, but the other things we do with it also make us dependent on foreign sources.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 18, 2006 at 4:09 AM | PERMALINK

Dang. Forgot the italics on the first paragraph again.

I think what bugs me the most about the whole ANWR thing is that I know damn well that keeping drilling out of it is less about the caribou and more about sticking a needle in the eye of the Republicans.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 18, 2006 at 4:11 AM | PERMALINK

Krauthammer is insane, and doesn't understand the worldwide ripple economic effect, and following political instability, that would ensue. He's definitely underestimating it. Once everything becomes really more expensive, how strong do you think the will of citizens is going to be as far as supporting their current leadership? Pick a country...any country?

Further, how the hell do you get China to sign off on this, which is desperate for continuing oil supplies to fuel their economic expansion and keep Chinese workers off their backs? In the abstract, you can see how this could be a back-handed attempt by American strategists to stymie China, since China would certainly bear the brunt much worse than we would, perhaps causing liberatory unrest there (itself not a bad prospect), but I don't see how China is not also aware of this, and will likely never go along with this plan, if only for this very reason (and there are plenty of others).

Russia would make out like a bandit, and get really f'in rich in a short period, so they may be a force in Krauthammer's favor right now, in terms of letting these kind of sanctions go through (if even publically posturing in an opposite way), so there probably isn't any real resistance there.

The problem is kind of like the Sorceror's Apprentice though, since what seems manageable and predictable may hardly be the case, and missteps and lack of vision be fatal causes of dramatic and very serious political instability that raises the prospects of not only conflict, if not open warfare, but illiberal regime changes even in so-called "mature" democracies in the "civilized" world.

Krauthammer and his ilk are truly dangerous, and the real radicals.

Posted by: Jimm on January 18, 2006 at 4:12 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter jerry:

If we hadn't invaded Iraq, we could be invading Iran right now.

Sorry, still don't quite get this kind of thinking from anti-war people.

Anybody wondering what Saddam would be doing right now about "nuclear Iran" if he were still in charge?

Posted by: tbrosz on January 18, 2006 at 4:13 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, you know ANWR is just a farce to begin with, and is meaningless in any crisis situation, and at best is a very small chunk of oil in the bigger non-crisis picture (not to mention a decade out at least, if ever approved).

if anything is symbolic partisanism, as well as more testimony to the triumph of special interests and corruption of government, it's the constant revival of ANWR, which has little to no value in the bigger picture, especially since we will have to very shortly start a serious renewable and alternative energy investment effort and infrastructure transformation, in which case bringing ANWR online a decade from now is a fool's errand (at least to be fighting for).

Posted by: Jimm on January 18, 2006 at 4:15 AM | PERMALINK

And every last anti-war tirade we've been hearing about Iraq, down to the last talking point, would be exactly the same.

And for a good reason.

Posted by: ogmb on January 18, 2006 at 4:19 AM | PERMALINK

Jimm:

ANWR would be online now if it hadn't been shut down by the aforementioned idiots ten years ago.

Don't you get it? ANY oil from domestic sources is oil we don't have to import, and nobody really has any idea of how much is up there until we actually start looking for it. I honestly can't understand the viewpoint that if it isn't enough to solve the oil crisis all by itself, why bother?

Posted by: tbrosz on January 18, 2006 at 4:19 AM | PERMALINK

I looked it up. The CAFE standards numbers that will save us a million barrels of oil a day is based on the idea that we can raise the 5 percent a year until 2012, then 3 percent a year thereafter. How? Somehow.

Many liberals harbor a suspicion that the only reason we don't have 100 mpg cars is because some evil corporation is just refusing to build them.

I know from personal experience exactly how much has gone into increasing mileage in the past ten years technologically. While the hybrids are a great quantum jump, increasing mileage isn't something you can do forever without sacrificing size, safety, and durability.

My car has over 166,000 miles on it. In the old days, most parts were metal. In the age of "lightweight," a lot of things are plastic. My cooling system is disintegrating, fitting by fitting. I can replace some things with handmade metal kludges, but not everything.

Aluminum engines, composite bodies, computerized ignition, and high-tech variable transmissions. The car companies are busting their asses to make cars more efficient. You can't just assume that passing a law will automatically make this process happen any more than I can pass a law to make a bridge hold twice its design weight.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 18, 2006 at 4:34 AM | PERMALINK

Don't you get it? ANY oil from domestic sources is oil we don't have to import, and nobody really has any idea of how much is up there until we actually start looking for it. I honestly can't understand the viewpoint that if it isn't enough to solve the oil crisis all by itself, why bother?

With ecological understanding and valuing, the cost-benefit of tapping ANWR for the very limited oil we would draw from it is worthless. It was worthless 10 years ago, when we should and would have been investing in alternative energy and infrastructure transformation if not for special interest corruption, and it is worthless today.

The amount of oil we're talking about pales in comparison to the ecological value of that pristine wilderness, and we should have been on the track of oil dependence and towards energy infrastructure transformation 20 years ago, if not 30 years ago, if not for oil special interest lobbying, bribery, and corruption.

Posted by: Jimm on January 18, 2006 at 4:42 AM | PERMALINK

Having shot our wad on Iraq and being tied down there for the forseeable future, what the hell can we do about Iran anyway?

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 18, 2006 at 4:43 AM | PERMALINK

The bottom-line is that money has bought influence, and in this case a bad influence. Whereas this lobby is a very small number of elite operators, remarkably a competing lobby of millions of citizens has collectively gathered the contributions and letters of these millions to combat this influence and save our wilderness areas. This was a good influence, and it really is remarkable and an example of democracy in action, but it would be nice if the mountain wasn't so high to climb, so that we could get past just dueling to prevent damage by the small group of rich interests who seek to subvert democracy and the interests of the many citizens, and instead really start integrating the vast wealth of ecological insights we have that can lead us in more innovative, sustainable, and ultimately secure directions.

Posted by: Jimm on January 18, 2006 at 4:45 AM | PERMALINK

'Al' posted:

"If Congress had passed the law allowing oil drilling in ANWR as Senator Stevens wanted we wouldn't have to worry about the global flow of oil because we would have enough oil for ourselves."

Al you ignorant slut.

Spence Abraham, this administration's Secretary of Energy for the first term, while discussing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with the Sacramento Bee newspaper, said that Americans should not overestimate this region's ability to provide the nation with energy independence.

He also said that the roughly 10 billion barrels of oil expected to be found there would be the equivalent of JUST SIX MONTHS of U.S. consumption.

http://www.sacbee.com/news/special/power/032001abraham.html
.

Posted by: VJ on January 18, 2006 at 4:48 AM | PERMALINK

Why is it that conservatives don't understand markets? Why did conservatives historically have so little faith in free enterprise that they feared the threat of communism (which, since it couldn't work, ultimately had to fail, and did)?

Given cheap oil, we're hardly doing everything we can to lessen its use. The American manufacturers are developing hybrids for SUV's. They aren't building fuel efficient cars because there is no profit in the market for them because fuel is still cheap.

Posted by: bad Jim on January 18, 2006 at 4:48 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, that 6 months of oil will really go a long way!

If we had that, we could flip Hugo the birdie!

:)

Posted by: Jimm on January 18, 2006 at 4:54 AM | PERMALINK

A tax on gas of a dollar or two a gallon would buy us vastly more energy independence than ravaging the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

You can immediately gauge the seriousness of a speaker by comparing their responses to these alternatives. The environmentalists prefer to use the mechanism of free markets, albeit encumbered by a tax, while the "conservatives" would rather use eminent domain to evict caribou and birds with funny names and exploit their homeland.

Posted by: bad Jim on January 18, 2006 at 5:01 AM | PERMALINK

Most of the arguments I see about ANWR drilling are amazingly ignorant about the economics of the oil market. Simply put, oil is priced at the margins, and a relatively small change in the supply of oil has a large influence on the cost.

Easy to understand example - oil prices were down as low as $10/barrel only a few years ago, while now they're routinely over $50/barrel. Is this because eighty percent of the oil supply is in jeopardy? Or because demand for oil has increased by five times? Nah, demand has increased some, and the supply has fallen off a bit, but not much. But the difference between "how much oil we need" and "how much oil can be produced" is significantly smaller, driving up the price. There's also the element of speculation involved - if you're betting that a massive disruption of the oil supply will happen, having a big stock of oil might be a pretty good investment, no?

Fact is, if the price of oil increases too much further, then extraction from tar sands becomes economically feasible, and suddenly the world energy market looks very different. (So, too, world diplomacy, unless you're worried about radical Canadian Islamists... me neither.) Of course, that kind of extraction is hugely energy-intensive compared with Middle East oil, so forget making Kyoto targets.

So even adding ANWR's output to the world market would have an appreciable effect on price. Does that mean that we could kiss off the Iranian supply? No, a disruption there would definitely cause a huge price spike. But it'd definitely help cushion such a spike.

All that said, what else are you going to do? The energy's got to come from somewhere, anti-industrial daydreams aside. There's not much we can replace oil and natural gas with. Alternative technologies just aren't there yet - even cheap solar is more expensive than Canadian tar sand oil. You can expand wind generation, but there's a limited number of places to site wind turbines, most of which people don't want wind turbines -in-. (Not to mention the cost to wildlife, which is the entire point to not drill in ANWR, no?) You can burn coal to produce power and run stuff off hydrogen that way, but coal's even nastier and dirtier stuff than oil.

The best solution would be nuclear, actually. Go the France method, replace a significant proportion of your domestic generation capacity with safe nuclear designs. We can build them so that they don't melt down (not just "oh, we can stop it from melting down", but "in the absolute worst disaster case possible, it won't melt down" designs have been available for over a decade.) You've got to deal with radioactive waste, but you can put it in a strong container and stick it deep in the earth somewhere, whereas radiation released by coal burning just gets out into the atmosphere. (What, didn't you know?) But if you mention nuclear power to the environmentalist lobby, they go off like you threatened to eat their kids...

Posted by: Avatar on January 18, 2006 at 5:10 AM | PERMALINK

The oil that comes out of ANWR is not intended specifically for the U.S. market. It will go into the world market where it will be a small drop in the bucket for a relatively short period of time, and it will have insignificant effects on the price of gasoline here.

In other circumstances, ANWR might not be worth the effort for the oil companies. But it's federal land and if drilling goes ahead, much of the overhead and infrastructure cost will be borne by the taxpayers. The oil men get enough subsidy that they can be certain of a profit, hence the interest.

The GOP push for drilling in ANWR is oddly revealing. It's not a conservative measure at all. The only way for that oil to reduce foreign dependence is to legislate that it be sold strictly on the U.S. market- not exactly a free-market solution. What's more, the large federal infrastructure subsidy is even less free-market. Rather, this issue paints the GOP for what it is: a corrupt machine for channeling money to wealthy interests.

Posted by: Alex on January 18, 2006 at 5:22 AM | PERMALINK

Not that there's anything wrong with eating kids. With a little chipotle they're absolutely delicious.

Posted by: bad Jim on January 18, 2006 at 5:23 AM | PERMALINK

If we hadn't invaded Iraq, we could be invading Iran right now.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 18, 2006 at 4:13 AM | PERMALINK

Or you'd be dealing with the fact both wanted nukes. And planning for one attacking you unexpectantly if you hit either one first.

How would you keep sanctioning Iraq over WMD while ignoring Iran? Iraq could legitimately say they needed weapons to keep up with Iran.

Remember India/Pakistan?

One other way to look at this is the pressure on Iran got upped. The Kurds in Iran are inspired by the Kurds in Iraq.

The Shiite's are going to ask why Sistani is happy not to interfere in day to day government while Iran's Councils run everything...

Iran's Mullah needs to act now, because the long term trends are not in their favour.

Posted by: McAristotle on January 18, 2006 at 5:23 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, to be fair Krauthammer's position is not that the US would hurt less - its that Bush would bomb anyway. Remember, the next mid-term elections are his absolute last. After that, he may as well go for it to secure his place in history.

Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran
His record is win-win or win-lose!
Add Iran and it may well be win-lose-win or win-win-win!

He don't wear a cowboy hat for the fun of it!

Posted by: McA on January 18, 2006 at 5:27 AM | PERMALINK

'Avatar' posted:

"So even adding ANWR's output to the world market would have an appreciable effect on price. Does that mean that we could kiss off the Iranian supply? No, a disruption there would definitely cause a huge price spike. But it'd definitely help cushion such a spike."

Nope.

The additional problem you are ignoring is that the cost of drilling through permafrost would raise the price per barrel of oil from ANWR appreciably above the market price. Therefore, it would INCREASE the spike in oil prices, not decrease it.

.

"The best solution would be nuclear, actually."

Actually, not.

Nuclear is OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive.

.

"You've got to deal with radioactive waste"

DUH.

That's the deal killer.
.

Posted by: VJ on January 18, 2006 at 6:00 AM | PERMALINK

"You've got to deal with radioactive waste"

Posted by: VJ on January 18, 2006 at 6:00 AM | PERMALINK

Like all 1 lb for every 100 tonnes of soot or some shit like that...just drop it on Iran then nuke the whole thing to seal it under glass.

Posted by: McA on January 18, 2006 at 6:05 AM | PERMALINK

Krauthammer is about the most unserious and least crediblie of the neo-con crew. Whatever motivates him to take policy positions can historically be proven to be totally distinct from what he regularly rights and talks about.

This guy has turned himslef into a laughingstock, he doesn't deserve the media time and print space he regularly wastes with his own distinct brand of unreality.

This is a guy who would be no where if his career were judged on merit like the blogsphere is ala Glenn Greenwald two days ago. Actually Krauthammer is a great argument agiants what Ezra Klein has been writing about with reguard to credentials.

Posted by: patience on January 18, 2006 at 6:48 AM | PERMALINK

Is he suggesting that Nation States SHOULDN'T consider the impact their actions might have on the world economy and their own economies in general? Why not? What factors SHOULD play a role in foreign policy? I don't think economic growth should be determinative of foreign policy, but economic growth is important, and I definitely think it should be considered by governments deciding what actions to take in foreign policy.

Posted by: MDtoMN on January 18, 2006 at 7:25 AM | PERMALINK

Krauthammer is a war fantasist, and loves any scenario that would give him one, especially ones he makes up. Sure, let's boycott oil from Iran. And when China acts up we can boycott all those dollars they lend us.

given his quadrapeligia, I don't think Krauthammer is driving anywhere.

For the record, while he is morally and mentally challenged from all four compass points, Krauthammer is a paraplegic, not a quadraplegic.

If we hadn't invaded Iraq, and made Iran one of the axis of evil (thank you David Frum)

Frum was actually only responsible for "axis of" with the "evil" being supplied by one of the marketing space cadets in the Bush administration. It just goes to show how little it takes to get those 15 minutes of fame.

I think what bugs me the most about the whole ANWR thing is that I know damn well that keeping drilling out of it is less about the caribou and more about sticking a needle in the eye of the Republicans.

Want to argue the merits of drilling or not drilling in ANWR then fine. But what you "know damn well" is, in this case, utter bullshit.

I looked it up. The CAFE standards numbers that will save us a million barrels of oil a day is based on the idea that we can raise the 5 percent a year until 2012, then 3 percent a year thereafter. How? Somehow.

CAFE standards are only part of the equation (although one has only to compare the relative size of the SUV market here and elsewhere to see why we need them). For example, between 1979 and 1984 oil consumption actually fell 15 percentt, while GDP still managed to grow 16 percent. (Actually bu about 1983 the U.S. was consuming the same amount of oil it was in 1970.) Care to hazard a guess why?

Unfortunately, from the Reagan administration to the present abomination, conservation has been relegated to the personally virtuous, and pretty much eliminated from actual policy. It seems that our present energy company-friendly leaders practice some sort of conservation abstinence, as if energy efficiency were against biblical principles, or merely Dick Cheney's.

Posted by: R. Porrofatto on January 18, 2006 at 7:47 AM | PERMALINK

If George "Wildwest" Bush does the right thing this time and waits for the UN, he would have the support for taking out Iran just as he did for Afghanistan.. No need to deal in flights of fantasy, lies to the American people and Congress, breaches of the Constitution, war crimes, etc...Put the guns away, Tex. and wait

Posted by: murmeister on January 18, 2006 at 8:00 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, Iran's threat is the one thing which should have western nations considering direct removal of its government. Oil is, face it, one of the key materials to civilization as we know it. Any threat to that must not be allowed to stand, or we stand to be blackmailed by every two-bit dictator running an oil-rig.

Dude, you're insane.

It's not our oil under their sand, and they're free to sell as much or as little as they please.

Hells Bells, please tell me you were kidding when you suggest killing a bunch of people to "maintain the flow of oil" or whatever.

Posted by: chuck on January 18, 2006 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

Sammler:

If America had not invaded Iraq, the option of force against Iran would be completely off the table, and the Iranians would know this with certainty. "Peace" protestors who complain of the present difficulty of military action against Iran should keep that in mind.

Sammler - would you be willing to risk your own son's in the glorious, Bush (read: incompetent) invasion of Iran? Would it be worth it to you?

If not, please stop volunteering other people's sons for your warmongering fantasies.

Posted by: chuck on January 18, 2006 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

Charlie is self-medicating these days.

Posted by: whitewaterbadboy on January 18, 2006 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

Of course the European and US foreign policy in the Middle East revolves completely around our access to its oil. We have the absolute right to take it, don't we? If they are unwilling to sell it to us, we will have to do something about it.

PS. No wonder Iran wants to build a nuclear bomb.

Posted by: terry k on January 18, 2006 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

"If Congress had passed the law allowing oil drilling in ANWR as Senator Stevens wanted we wouldn't have to worry about the global flow of oil because we would have enough oil for ourselves. But then once again liberals stopped the law from passing because they care more about the eco-terrorists and tree huggers than the national security of this country."
Posted by: Al on January 18, 2006 at 1:53 AM

Go Al!!!! I second that post.

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 18, 2006 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

Did they not have elections in Iran recently?

Instead of invading Iraq, it seems like we had a viable option of working with the moderates in Iran to strengthen their democracy as a means of reducing the power of the theocrats.

This would have given us the base of democracy in the Middle East that we have tried to establish with guns in Iraq.

But Bush lumped them into the axis of evil after 9/11 and applied pressure on them to select a defense that would be effective against our overwhelming military power -- a nuclear deterrent coupled with economic hostage taking.

Contrary to our aims, as a result of Bush' policies, the world has presented us with every means necessary to combat us -- nuclear deterrence, guerrilla warfare, and an increase in terrorism. Our own system has evolved every means possible to avoid dealing smartly with these problems -- a secretive and incompetent presidency, a divided nation, a crippled and corrupt legislative branch, an overextended military, and technology and infrastructure built on and increasingly dependent on cheap oil.

People, we got a serious problem here. Krauthammer is only pointing out the obvious -- that we have all got our heads up our asses and are hooked on the smell.

Posted by: lou on January 18, 2006 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

This guy should be mortified by his idiotic use of the word mortified. It means embarrassed, you jackass.

Posted by: and on January 18, 2006 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

Funny how tbrosz thinks it would be so hard to make more efficient cars. It's trivial---buy smaller cars. SUVs are vanity cars that do not increase safety.

Another thing---public transportation, particularly trains. Trains are very energy efficicent, but the Bush administration is trying to destroy what little passenger train use we have.

Posted by: Marky on January 18, 2006 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

And, had we not invaded Iraq, we would probably be in an excellent position to make this happen.

I hear this a lot from liberals. Of course, if we had not invaded Iraq, most of the people saying "if only" would then be screaming bloody murder about the Cowboy Bush getting ready to invade Iran. And every last anti-war tirade we've been hearing about Iraq, down to the last talking point, would be exactly the same.
Posted by: tbrosz on January 18, 2006 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

That is a profoundly dishonest and liabelous comment by tbrosz.
Afghanistan had political concensus.
Iran would be the same and the righties know it.
Just like German conservatives at the end of World War One, the American right is looking to blame everyone but themselves for the Iraq debacle.

Posted by: Nemesis on January 18, 2006 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if the people calling for attacking Iran over oil realize that they're justifying the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on January 18, 2006 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

"He don't wear a cowboy hat for the fun of it!"

You know, I'm guessing you don't see a lot of cowboy hats in your part of the world. I do. Just for the record there are two kinds of people who commonly wear cowboy hats:

1) Real cowboys (hint: Connecticut prep school boys with fake ranches are *not* real cowboys)

and

2) Assholes

Just sayin'.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 18, 2006 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

First, a warning. If we don't seriously curtail our use of fossil fuel in the next few years there won't be an ANWAR to protect, although it might actually be one of the last liveable places on earth.

Iran. I think a lot more is going on here than meets our 'media-shuttered' eyes. I was amazed to read that Iran is planning to open an oil 'bourse' (market) in March of this year. The oil traded on this market will be priced in euros and will compete directly with NYMEX and the IPE in Great Britain, currently the world's only two oil markets. I'm not an economist but what I've read says that this will be calamitous for the US dollar. By chance I also noted an article in Pravda last week (yes, my info sources have changed over the past several years) which warns of a decline in the dollar in March 2006 and suggests Russians convert their savings from dollars to euros.

In summary, I think Iran's future possession of nuclear weapons isn't the real issue any more than WMD was the real issue in Iraq but is being used to once again scare Americans and Europeans into acceptance of some sort of military intervention in Iran, probably missile strikes in conjunction with Israel, in the very near future. As always, it's all about oil.

Posted by: nepeta on January 18, 2006 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Our 1979 Corolla got 24 mpg. (Those Corollas regularly lasted well over 200,000 miles. Safe. Durable. Dependable.) Since then we've watched one big booger car after another become the fetish of the day. Expensive junkers. The Market is rational. It's just people who go nuts.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on January 18, 2006 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

Jeffrey Davis,

"I wonder if the people calling for attacking Iran over oil realize that they're justifying the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor."

Of course they're not. You see, here's the difference. We're *American*. They were *Japanese*. See the difference? Night and day, utterly different.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 18, 2006 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

I know this is a bit sadistic, but does Krauthammer remind anyone else of Dr. Strangelove? All those lunatic ravings and wild eyed stares when he talks. And all with a complete certainty that what he says makes sense.

Second, anyone else disgusted when a few weeks back the NY Times printed a fawning piece about how Krauthammer was a such a vaunted and respected intellectual in DC? Buhmiller would have been so proud.

Third, the whole article illustrates a simple GOP strategy - throw out every argument you can and accuse everyone else to distract from one simple fact. Because of the disaster in Iraq the US let Iran go nuclear and destroyed the US ability to do anything about it.

All the GOP arguments distract from that simple point: Iran is going nuclear - we had the chance to help the opposition 4 or 5 years ago, and instead we chose to mount a disastrous invasion of a neighbour who didn't threaten us.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on January 18, 2006 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

wanna see why nobody believes, even for a second, that conservatives thought Iraq was ever a humanitarian war ? ok. here ya go:

just drop it on Iran then nuke the whole thing to seal it under glass.

such a humanitarian.

Posted by: cleek on January 18, 2006 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

For the record, I have a closet full of cowboy hats, boots, and Western style suits , but I don't wear them since Brokeback Mountain.

I also have an oversize F-150 4-wheel drive truck, which is not a "rational" choice to some people. I read one account of a family that made it out of New Orleans in a Chevy Blazer with oversize tires because their vehicle could drive through water 48 inches deep. They also had to brandish firearms to protect their truck from looters before they were quite ready to leave.
My favorite snapshot of the Katrina disaster was a storefront with plywood over the windows on which the storeowner had spray painted: "(MONDAY) LOOTERS STAY OUT, WE ARE INSIDE WITH FOUR GUNS, THREE DOGS, AND A VERY MEAN WOMAN" this intimidating message was matched by a new one a panel away that proclaimed: (SATURDAY) WOMAN LEFT THURSDAY, COME ON IN FOR SOME DOG GUMBO.

I don't know what is rational. I reckon I'll start wearing my hats again in a year or two, and keep the truck even if gas goes up to $8.00 per gallon, because when you need a big truck, nothing else will quite do. Same goes for all the firearms.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 18, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, if we had not invaded Iraq, most of the people saying "if only" would then be screaming bloody murder about the Cowboy Bush getting ready to invade Iran. And every last anti-war tirade we've been hearing about Iraq, down to the last talking point, would be exactly the same.

tbrosz, ladies and gentlemen, in full glory for anyone who still imagines he is an honest commentator.

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

It would be a much bigger shock to Europe than to us to interrupt Iranian oil. Duh.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 18, 2006 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Read Buchanan's column recently on the Iran situation - this genuinely conservative piece from the heart from a bright man is quite an antidoe to the neocon Israel-lobby blandishments and hatchet jobs of the grumpy, tendentious, over-rated good Doctor.

Posted by: Neil' on January 18, 2006 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Lurker42: I second that post.

Proving you are as dimwitted by nature as the fake Al is by design.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 18, 2006 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Let me get this straight: the only people worried about Iran's oil are the Europeans?

Understatement. Given the Straits of Hormuz thing, it should be "the only people worried about Gulf oil are the Europeans?"

Note, Krauthammer also writes, accurately enough:

A full cutoff [of Iran's oil] could bring $100 oil and plunge the world into economic crisis.

So what would a full cutoff of Gulf oil bring, in Krauthammer's view? The biggest economic disaster since at least the Great Depression? Nope:

. . . serious economic disruption . . .

Some serious logic disruption going on there.

Posted by: Robert McDougall on January 18, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Augustus
Funny thing, the GOP rejected and continues to reject - higher aggregate fuel efficiency standards on vehicles that would actually achieve fuel savings of more than 1 million barrels of oil per day, or about 6% of our projected daily consumption by 2010.

The republicans won't agree to regulate in conservation measures. The democrats won't let us look for new energy that would lower our dependence on foreign oil. we need to do both. They both suck.

They both suck.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 18, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

If not, please stop volunteering other people's sons for your warmongering fantasies.

Posted by: chuck on January 18, 2006 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

Did you guys bring back the draft?

Posted by: McA on January 18, 2006 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Gregory
Tbrosz: Of course, if we had not invaded Iraq, most of the people saying "if only" would then be screaming bloody murder about the Cowboy Bush getting ready to invade Iran. And every last anti-war tirade we've been hearing about Iraq, down to the last talking point, would be exactly the same.

tbrosz, ladies and gentlemen, in full glory for anyone who still imagines he is an honest commentator.

At least you didn't pull out your "shame on you" attack.

Really though, it looks an awful lot when folks here argue that Iraq keeps us from invading Iran, that you're close to arguing "We would have invaded (or even just supported) Iran if you hadn't invaded Iraq."

You think that's true? I don't. I can't picture this crowd ever supporting an invasion of Iran, the best reason being that it never would make sense. Differences between Iraq and Iran...

- Iraq got an ass-whupping in 1991.
- Iraq was under sanctions that seriously weakened it
- Iraq was under no-fly zones that chipped away at air defenses
- Majority of Iraq's population stepped aside when we went in. Kurds welcomed us with open arms. Wouldn't happen in Iran.
- Iraqi armed services folded. Wouldn't happen in Iran.
- Iran's armed forces are just plain better
- Iran strategically positioned along length of gulf to challenge our Navy and oil shipping

The idea that invading Iran was ever a good one, but that Iraq pulled it off the table, is just plain stupid.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 18, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

The idea that invading Iran was ever a good one, but that Iraq pulled it off the table, is just plain stupid.

The only person really qualified to talk about the air defenses one would find in Iran as opposed to Iraq would be Red State Mike.

RSM, I'd like to cordially invite you to explain to all the nature of Iran's air defenses, given that we know they have been buying quite a bit of Chinese and Russian equipment, as well as whatever the French, the Germans and the Iranians themselves have been able to come up with.

Also, if you can, please comment on the Surface to Ship missiles that Iran has widely deployed along its coastline. These weapons are incredibly dangerous for the world's oil tanker shipping (and this is why pipelines avoiding the Straits of Hormuz are so popular right now.)

My own experience looking at Iraq's severely degraded air defense system was limited to 1997-99 and much of that was taken out without much fuss in 2003.

I make this invitation out of interest in actually learning something as opposed to the typical WashMonthly snark, so if you can add something, please do. I'm especially interested because the Air Force just rotated some fighter planes into the area, plus we have bases in Qatar and the UAE that are fairly vulnerable to Iranian responses.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 18, 2006 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

RSM -
You're forgetting that the right in the US(not just Republicans) has done their very best to prevent alternative energy sources from being developed for 30 years.
All while massively subsidizing the petroleum industry. (And if you don't consider military intervention an indirect subsidy, you really need to think a little harder about what it means.)

We're 30 years behind where we might have been, with the other attendant technologies that could have been developed. Patents, industries, jobs, lost opportunities - taxpayer dollars and service personnel's lives and health squandered, all so we keep burning petro-products.

Future generations - if there is still an industrial society in 100 years - will curse us for wasting the most valuable industrial lubricant and raw material on the planet. Mind you, once it gets too expensive, plastics recycling and truly synthetic lubricant development will accelerate assuming that violent, potentially nuclear conflicts haven't rendered that unnecessary.

We have a problem - we're addicted to fossil fuels, and petroleum in particular.
Getting over it does not involve finding a new dealer.
IT MEANS PUTTING THE FUCKING CRACK PIPE DOWN.

Posted by: kenga on January 18, 2006 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if the people calling for attacking Iran over oil realize that they're justifying the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Heh. Excellent point.

Posted by: sglover on January 18, 2006 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

Iran over oil realize that they're justifying the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Heh. Excellent point.

Posted by: sglover on January 18, 2006 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

Don't invade it over oil. Invade it over human rights and buy the oil from the new government. Like Iraq.

The difference is that the Japanese didn't pay conquered countries for their resources.

Posted by: McA on January 18, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

just drop it on Iran then nuke the whole thing to seal it under glass.

such a humanitarian.

Posted by: cleek on January 18, 2006 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, everyone is going to be dead there anyway thanks to the fact you want equal opportunity nuclear distribution.

Posted by: McAristotle on January 18, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Next to the Daily Show, I get my loudest political yucks from reading Krauthammer's columns. The man has an attention span shorter than a Mormon's orgasm. Remember when he was banging the drum to attack Iraq, ten years ago? Week after week, he said we had to take out Hussein. Then Clinton launched attacks in revenge for Saddam's plot against Bush Sr. and what did Krauthammer write? That Clinton was just wagging the dog. The man is a total joke, good only for laughs.

Posted by: Wally on January 18, 2006 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

If you want more energy independence, tell the idiots to get out of the way.

Yes, t-bore, idiots like George W Bush. Another way to alleviate the Iranian shortfall (btw, 4.2 million bpd is what we import from Iran, not what they produce) is to lessen our usage of oil. It's a lot easier and cheaper to find alternate sources to make up that 4.2 million bpd than to find new oil streams.

But go ahead, blame the environmentalists, while your crooked party imposes tax cuts on the purchase of Hummers. You continue to be a fucking tool.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on January 18, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Well, keep in mind that the U.S. and Canada have all the "fossil fuel" we will ever need, in the form of coal and oil shale. We can convert either of these into liquid fuel form, but I would use nuclear plants in the remote (even desolate) places these resources are located. I would use nuclear to reduce the net carbon input to the atmosphere.

Liquid petroleum has been a wonderful, relatively inexpensive energy source that I contend has done more than anything else to maintain the social mobility and quality of life of middle class and rural Americans. Everytime I hear cosmopolitan elitists try to force everyone in America to live like they do, I think, hmmm, they are threatening to not send their children to fight for "foreign" oil. What children would those be, as sterile degenerates and one child wonders are not known for keeping the populations of Western democracies up. Immigration does that.

Cheap oil (relatively) has been the only real friend that working class people have had in the last century, besides the relatively cheap electricity that FDR's love of building dams brought us. But today's elitists tear down dams, hate nuclear power, and really would rather everyone bicycle to work. Out here in Washington industry such as aluminum plants are always one paycheck away from closing because of elitist resistance to anything that could really deliver inexpensive electricity. The mark of smoking crack is believing that solar or windpower will ever promote social equality. The reality is so far the opposite. . .

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 18, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: The democrats won't let us look for new energy that would lower our dependence on foreign oil.

This isn't true, unless you confine "looking for new energy" to "exploiting a smidgen of additional oil stocks located in ANWR."

Democrats would support some development of nuclear power, if they could count on the federal government to ensure safety at such facilities and come up with a viable plan to dispose of radioactive waste.

They can't, however, because conservatives absolutely refuse to hold the operators of nuclear facilities accountable for safety violations and absolutely refuse to permit the intensive regulation that would be necessary to ensure the highest levels of safety at these facilities.

As long as the GOP takes a hands-off-we-can-trust-the-operators approach to safety regulation at nuclear facilities, Democrats can't support building what would be ticking time bombs.

As for solar power and other fuels, the GOP has consistently opposed anything that would damage their benefactors in the oil industry.

Blaming the Dems for the lack of alternatives to foreign oil is, quite simply, the type of mendacity that earns you the same contempt that I hold for rdw.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 18, 2006 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

McAnustotle: Hey, everyone is going to be dead there anyway thanks to the fact you want equal opportunity nuclear distribution.

They could be crispy and glowing and still never be as dead as your brain cells.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 18, 2006 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Are there any trustworthy estimates on the ecological impact of drilling in the ANWR? I agree with tbrosz that even such a - relatively - small amount of oil being sucked from there would help with eventual shortages from Iran. However, I think it's irresponsable to ignore the ecological impact of such a project, if there is one (I have no idea), by attributing it to 'ecoterrorists and tree-huggers'.

As for Iran, is it realistic to believe that they would resort to such extreme measures as to completely cut off their oil exports? How much time would the regime survive without oil revenue, and how much time such embargo would need to seriously disrupt our economy? I ask that because I have no idea, but in the end I think that's the secret to evaluate this possibility.

The problem I see for the Bush admin, politically speaking, is that they played the WMD card to justify the Iraq operation (even if they switched those cards later when no WMDs were found); how can they NOT play it now with Iran when their rulers, unlike Saddam Hussein, go to the world press and say, 'You know, I think we will start mixing up some uranium now and you can all screw yourselves if you don't like it'.

I really don't like wars, and I have mixed feelings about Iraq (the end result is a close 'it was a mistake') but I'm not naive to think that no war is justified. Maybe THIS one would be. I don't know if it's fair for me to say that though, since I probably wouldn't be the one fighting it (by 'I' I mean my country).

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 18, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

> I looked it up. The CAFE standards numbers that
> will save us a million barrels of oil a day is
> based on the idea that we can raise the 5 percent
> a year until 2012, then 3 percent a year
> thereafter. How? Somehow.

In other words, take the US auto fleet fuel economy back to where it was in 1994 or so, before the super-size SUV and 400 hp "sports sedan" craze really got rolling? Before the 12 mpg Hummer H3?

If you seriously think that the US cannot improve its fuel economy 3%/year for 10 years, you have a very sad view of the US' capability and potential. With just a tiny bit of self-discipline (this is "wartime", remember), we could easily _double_ fleet economy without reducing our mobility or comfort one whit. Probably increase comfort, in fact, as vehicles (say) 20% smaller than we use today would mean 20% less clog on streets and highways.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on January 18, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

The idea that invading Iran was ever a good one, but that Iraq pulled it off the table, is just plain stupid.

Notice what RSM is saying here.

That the US military, in its full force, not depleted as it is by the idiot Iraq adventure, could not have realistically launched an invasion against Iran, even with the clear and limited goal of locating and removing its nuclear facilities.

THAT really makes sense.

RSM, always eager to find his way to right wing talking points, even when they don't make a particle of sense.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 18, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

The difference is that the Japanese didn't pay conquered countries for their resources.

When FDR cut off oil to Japan, it hadn't been that long since we'd slaughtered resistance fighters in The Philipines. (That was where Ike and MacArthur had learned about war.) In case you're arguing for "clean hands".

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on January 18, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

You can judge the ANWR impact by looking truthfully at the impact of other North Slope development, which has been exceedingly slight. Caribou herds are not about to disappear, etc. They seem to be thriving, as does all other local wildlife. Not only would I start developing ANWR immediately, I would promise all the oil goes to Japan, which is the closest major consumer.

More than that, Japanese courage needs some bolstering right now.

We have, incidentally, a fine place to put nuclear waste. It's called Yucca Mountain. Yes, in 10,000 years a tiny, tiny percentage of what is put in there may leach out. You know what? I don't care. Ten thousand years from now people will know what to do about such a miniscule problem. They will either fix it or ignore it, probably the latter, because they won't be nearly as hysterical as people today, we can hop.

Nuclear plants today are models of safety. I would review a lot of the regulatory procedures to make them reflect some common sense. If dams were held to such standards we would have to drain every one of them and make them all three times as thick in the walls.

Yes, terrorists could coordinate an attack on a nuclear plant. If they took one over and knew what they were doing, it could be bad. That is precisely why I hope the NSA keeps snooping on phone calls between Americans and people overseas suspected of terrorist involvement.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 18, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Any discussion of what to do about Iran has to, as Josh Marshall commented yesterday, take account of the fact that for the next few years that policy will be carried out by Bush and his henchmen -- that is, even if we come up with a good idea they will manage to fuck it up in the most spectacular way possible.

Or, in toher words, the quesstion isn't "what should the US do about Iran?"; it's "how do we prevent Bush from further fucking up the US position vis a vis Iran?"

Posted by: Stefan on January 18, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

When FDR cut off oil to Japan, it hadn't been that long since we'd slaughtered resistance fighters in The Philipines. (That was where Ike and MacArthur had learned about war.) In case you're arguing for "clean hands".

Nor that long since we'd practiced gunboat diplomacy in China....

Posted by: Stefan on January 18, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, everyone is going to be dead there anyway thanks to the fact you want equal opportunity nuclear distribution.

wow, not only are you a sociopath, but a lousy mind-reader, too.

Posted by: cleek on January 18, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Was there any discussion about all this in Cheney's secret energy meetings?

Did they gamble that Iraq would be up to full production by the time that we needed to put the squeeze on Iran? How much did Iran play into the decision to invade Iraq?

Will we emerge from the Bush years without experiencing a full blown, worldwide energy crisis that dwarfs last fall's price rise? When do we need to worry about China invading the Middle East?

Posted by: lou on January 18, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

...how do we prevent Bush from further fucking up the US position vis a vis Iran?

"we" can't do anything. so, sit back and enjoy the ride.

Posted by: cleek on January 18, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

That the US military, in its full force, not depleted as it is by the idiot Iraq adventure, could not have realistically launched an invasion against Iran, even with the clear and limited goal of locating and removing its nuclear facilities.

Probably true, actually. Without the Iraq debacle could we have invaded Iran? Yes, in the sense that we could have invaded, defeated its army and overthrown the regime. No, in the sense that to do so would have cost us trillions, disrupted the global economy, and bogged us down in a years-long counter-insurgency campaign that would make Iraq look like a Sunday school picnic. It would be the very definition of a Pyrrhic victory.

Posted by: Stefan on January 18, 2006 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

China may be letting a shoe drop already. "Dear Leader" from nuclear client state number one flew to Peking for an emergency consultation. China has announced it will buy no more T-bills and seems to be dumping dollars. The Japanese are panicking for no really apparent reason. . .

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 18, 2006 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Or, in toher words, the quesstion isn't "what should the US do about Iran?"; it's "how do we prevent Bush from further fucking up the US position vis a vis Iran?"

If there can be a good thing about Bush's utter incompetence, it's that it's taken the options off the table he'd do the most damage with.

He can't fuck up an invasion of Iran, because he can't invade Iran.

He can't fuck up an air strike, because oil prices would go through the roof, and he no longer has the support of the American people for the sacrifice that that would entail.

So he's left with "diplomacy". Unhappily for us, impotent diplomacy, but that is the price we pay for having elected a congenital fuck-up.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 18, 2006 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

So he's left with "diplomacy". Unhappily for us, impotent diplomacy, but that is the price we pay for having elected a congenital fuck-up.

Teddy Roosevelt coined the phrase "speak softly and carry a big stick."

Bush's legacy will be "bluster loudly and swing wildly a very small stick (and then poke yourself in the eye with that stick)."


Posted by: Stefan on January 18, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

RSM: At least you didn't pull out your "shame on you" attack.

With posts like that, tbrosz demonstrates that he is beyond shame, of course, but what's it to you? Don't you think he should be ashamed of such dishonesty?

Really though, it looks an awful lot when folks here argue that Iraq keeps us from invading Iran, that you're close to arguing "We would have invaded (or even just supported) Iran if you hadn't invaded Iraq."

No, the argument is that Bush's Excellent Adventure in Iraq -- which, you may recall, was supposed to scare states like North Korea and Iran into line; big failure there! -- has made threats of serious military action moot, which means that Bush isn't impressing anyone except the usual chickenhawks with his tough talk.

The idea that invading Iran was ever a good one, but that Iraq pulled it off the table, is just plain stupid.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and presume that you just misunderstand. The idea is not that invading Iran a good idea, but that Iraq has pulled it off the table regardless. And therefore, Bush's "speak loudly and carry a small stick" policy does nothing to enhance our national security.

Of course, that leaves the very real likelihood that his bluster is simply for domestic consumption.

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan and I seem to be on a wavelength....of course, the metaphor is rather obvious. :)

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2006 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

We have, incidentally, a fine place to put nuclear waste. It's called Yucca Mountain.

Yucca Mountain is a terrible place to put nuclear waste. Nuclear waste should be stored in a seismically stable location, well below the waterline. Like the salt deposits of Arizona. Yucca Mountain is not and will not be seismically stable for 50 million years.

The reason it was chosen instead of Arizona is its 4 electoral votes. NIMBY rears its electoral head.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on January 18, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

ML Cook,

It is OK to go back to wearing a cowboy hat - Don't forget to wear your cowboy belt with your name on the back, so the trucker's will know who they're "entertaining".

Posted by: stupid git on January 18, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

I'd hate to see our leaders address something meaningful like the Millennium Goals.

Posted by: bobby on January 18, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

"truckers", oh, how stupid of me, with my 5th grade humor

Posted by: stupid git on January 18, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Check out The Borgen Project (www.borgenproject.org) if you're looking for the latest scoop on the Millennium Goals.

Posted by: lana on January 18, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK
I think what bugs me the most about the whole ANWR thing is that I know damn well that keeping drilling out of it is less about the caribou and more about sticking a needle in the eye of the Republicans.

Your first problem is that you fantasize that everyone else is as much of a blind partisan as you are.

Your second problem is that you think of your resulting prejudices as things you "know damn well".

Posted by: cmdicely on January 18, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK
The democrats won't let us look for new energy that would lower our dependence on foreign oil.

We'll let you look for whatever you want. (Well, within the boundaries of, e.g., the Fourth Amendment.)

We'd prefer not to let you destroy the ANWR on the basis of finding a quantity that won't make any difference when at full production, and won't be at full production for very long.


Posted by: cmdicely on January 18, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

is Krauthammer really serious about this? (Kevin)

It depends on what you mean by serious. If you mean honest, well no, he's never been honest. He wants America to attack Iran; he doesn't care about the consequences to America; and he'll say anything.

Posted by: Gary Sugar on January 18, 2006 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Jefferey Davis,

As to MacArthur and Eisenhowere learning about war from being involved in the Rebellion in the Philippines, better go back and check your history. The rebellion was going on when MacArthur was graduating from the Point - Eisenhower did not graduate until 14 years later. MacArthur was not immediately posted to the Philippines - His first engagement with hotile fire was in Mexico during an incursion into Vera Cruz. He did not see significant combat with units under his command until the First World War in France. Eisehhower was always a staff officer.
Perhaps, you might peruse the record of Gen Leonard Wood.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 18, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

"is Krauthammer really serious about this? (Kevin)

It depends on what you mean by serious. If you mean honest, well no, he's never been honest. He wants America to attack Iran; he doesn't care about the consequences to America; and he'll say anything.

Posted by: Gary Sugar"

The fecklessness here is unrelenting. Iran is a more dangerous enemy than Iraq was but it had given no overt provocation, like Iraq had, and it is much, much more difficult terrain.

What we need to be doing is fomenting revolution in Iran. Maybe with special forces and clandestine aid to rebels. Apparently, the mullahs are calling in Hezbollah terrorists to put down revolts because they don't trust their own troops. Even the Revolutionary Guards are apparently not trustworthy enough.

Success in Iraq will do more to destabilize Iran than any sanctions, which have never worked anyway. It would be oil-for-food squared.

The UN, of course, is useless. Europe is impotent and will keep dissing us until the Russian Bear rears up on its haunches again.

It is up to us. The Republicans, I mean. Democrats are missing in action invoking God as the cause of the hurricanes.

What a sad end to a once great party.

Posted by: Mike K on January 18, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone really think that we can enforce a global boycott of Iranian oil. Someone will buy it. If they do, that will free up the oil they wouild have purchased for others to buy. Oil is a fungible product.

Posted by: NeilS on January 18, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

The US and other nuclear powers are in an untenable position. How can we make a credible case that Iran shouldn't have nuclear weapons when we ourselved continue maintain an arsenal of nuclear weapons? The only basis we could have for making this claim is that we are somehow more mature, responsible, and virtuous than Iran. You can imagine how this rings hollow in the Arab world.

Nuclear weapons have no place in this world. They are extremely dangerous. NO country should have them. They should be eliminated and criminalized. Weapons-grade fissionable materials in ALL countries ought to be carefully regulated, tracked, and guarded.

The US and other developed nations could put themselves on the moral high ground by eliminating their own stockpiles of nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Will on January 18, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Democrats can save our country stronger by issuing a Declaration of Energy Independence.

Message: Republicans seem to be satisfied to keep getting in oil-fueled conflicts. Democrats want to alter the playing field so countries like Iran can't keep "holding us over a barrel."

Posted by: Nick on January 18, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

It is up to us. The Republicans, I mean.

Yeah, because the Republicans' policy toward Iran over the past five years has been such a stellar success.

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Will, are you really this stupid??

"""The US and other nuclear powers are in an untenable position. How can we make a credible case that Iran shouldn't have nuclear weapons when we ourselved continue maintain an arsenal of nuclear weapons?"""

THAT'S LIKE SAYING HOW CAN WE ARGUE THAT WE CAN HAVE A GUN, WHEN WE DON'T GIVE CRIMINALS IN PRISONS OR FELONS GUNS.

IRAN HAS REPEATEDLY STATED THAT IT WILL WIPE ISREAL OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH, KILLING PERHAPS 10 MILLION PEOPLE IF IT GETS A NUCLEAR WEAPON.

I GUESS WILL WILL BE DEMANDING THAT AL QUEDA SHOULD HAVE PILOTS BECAUSE WE HAVE PILOTS.

Posted by: Patton on January 18, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

The US and other nuclear powers are in an untenable position. How can we make a credible case that Iran shouldn't have nuclear weapons when we ourselved continue maintain an arsenal of nuclear weapons? The only basis we could have for making this claim is that we are somehow more mature, responsible, and virtuous than Iran. You can imagine how this rings hollow in the Arab world.

Iran can also make the case that, given that its immediate and near neighbors are nuclear-armed Israel, Russia, China, Pakistan and India, and that nuclear-armed America threatens it in speeches and by sitting on its borders, acquiring nuclear weapons is merely good common-sense as a defensive strategy.

Posted by: Stefan on January 18, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Yes. I completely blipped out MacArthur's World War I service. I was just thinking of Eisenhower's service under MacArthur in the Philipines because Eisenhower's large role in World War II related to the point about the Japanese/oil connection.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on January 18, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

What we need to be doing is fomenting revolution in Iran. Maybe with special forces and clandestine aid to rebels. Apparently, the mullahs are calling in Hezbollah terrorists to put down revolts because they don't trust their own troops. Even the Revolutionary Guards are apparently not trustworthy enough.

I see that insane old Mike K is back with his own special brand of wild-eyed frothing and lunatic conspiracy theories. Note the use of "apparently" in his fact-free second sentence. You know, I've heard that apparently the Bush regime is using Uzbek mercenaries to put down revolts in the blue states -- even the National Guard is apparently not trustworthy enough....

Posted by: Stefan on January 18, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans think solely in the short term regarding oil because they have no financial stake in long term strategies. Future energy products won't matter in their thinking until they control those products.

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

Simon Jenkins of the Guardian makes a valid point, which basically buttresses Stefan's post at 12:06:
"Of all the treaties passed in my lifetime the 1968 nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) always seemed the most implausible. It was an insiders' club that any outsider could defy with a modicum of guile. So it has proved. America, sitting armed to the teeth across Korea's demilitarised zone, has let North Korea become a nuclear power despite a 1994 promise that it would not. America supported Israel in going nuclear. Britain and America did not balk at India doing so, nor Pakistan when it not only built a bomb but deceitfully disseminated its technology in defiance of sanctions. Three flagrant dissenters from the NPT are thus regarded by America as friends.

I would sleep happier if there were no Iranian bomb but a swamp of hypocrisy separates me from overly protesting it. Iran is a proud country that sits between nuclear Pakistan and India to its east, a nuclear Russia to its north and a nuclear Israel to its west. Adjacent Afghanistan and Iraq are occupied at will by a nuclear America, which backed Saddam Hussein in his 1980 invasion of Iran. How can we say such a country has "no right" to nuclear defence?"

Posted by: Botecelli on January 18, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Fomenting revolution? I've heard that one before. When has it actually worked?

BTW, I have a partial solution. If people would just get on their bikes and ride more, we'd have less foreign oil dependency and less health problems too. I've got 3 or 4 coworkers who are riding religiously, despite having cars, and as a result have lost quite a bit of weight. No bad bike accidents either.

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

Patton -

Other than some juvenile name-calling, your post didn't seem to make any point. Are you saying that nuclear weapons DO serve a useful purpose to the developed nations? And that their usefulness outweighs their both their extreme riskiness and their damage to our ability to credibly deplore them?

Nuclear weapons are very difference from guns. They are much more dangerous and much less useful. What would be the down side of the US eliminating its nuclear weapons?

Posted by: Will on January 18, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, please inform us of your interpretation of the following sentence....

"No one is even talking about that, because no one can bear the thought of the oil shock that would follow, taking 4.2 million barrels a day off the market, from a total output of about 84 million barrels."

Posted by: Will Allen on January 18, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Krauthammer is insane. If you read his piece you will note that he does not provide any alternative. All he does is to criticize the Europeans and then point out that diplomacy having failed that there is now no military option. What he does not mention is that there was no military option two years ago either.

Iran has a population of 75 million. There is absolutely no way that the US could possibly occupy Iran under any imaginable circumstance. Not even if conscription was brought in. There are simply too few Americans to occupy a country that size on the other side of the world.

There is no way that either the US or Israel can prevent Iran getting the bomb at this stage. The fault is entirely due to George W. Bush and his axis of evil speech. The minute that speech was made the Iranian government had not choice but to ensure it got the bomb as fast as possible or face a US invasion. Until that point the authoritarian faction was partly balanced by the democratic faction, the threat of external invasion has allowed the mullahs to consolidate their power and eliminate the democratic faction.

There is considerable evidence that the Iranian mullahs encouraged the US invasion of Iraq, even supplying many of the fake documents used by Challabai. It certainly makes sense for them to have one enemy eliminate the other and incapacitate its military in the process. One card that the Iranians can play is to threaten an upsurge in Shi'a resistance in Iraq if the US attacks Iran. The Iraqi government would certainly have to expell the US troops or it would quickly fall.

Israel does not have the capacity to eliminate the Iranian nuclear program either, it is too widely dispersed, too well protected, too well hidden. An ariel attack such as the attack on Osirac would be unlikely to work, it is also very likely to result in retaliation by the Iranians who have given Hezbolah plenty of sophisticated ordinance over the years.

The only way Iran can reliably prevent a US invasion is to be able to pose a credible threat to Israel. Once they get to that point however mutually assured destruction will prevent them from using it in exactly the same way that it stopped the US and USSR attacking each other.

A nuclear Iran is not inherently destabilizing to the region: Israel already has the bomb. What a nuclear Iran will do is to restrain the Likudite and far right. Any notion of demolishing the Al-Aqsa Mosque or forcibly expelling Palestinians from the West bank would be dead. Israel would no longer be the regional superpower, Iran would take that role.

In summary the Krauthammer's of the world have only themselves to blame. Israel will now face the real threat of nuclear anihilation and there is absolutely nothing that can be done to prevent it.

Posted by: Phill on January 18, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

4.2 million barrels a day off the market, from a total output of about 84 million barrels."

Posted by: Will Allen on January 18, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

No!!!! 5% of the market. Just give them nukes now. Please. Just switch to Toyotas and close GM and you'd save that much gas.

Plus global warming is reducing heating oil demand anyway...

Posted by: McA on January 18, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Iran is a proud country

Posted by: Botecelli on January 18, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

'cos every country is proud and point to a neighbour with nukes. Perhaps Cuba, Venuezela and the Shining Path in Peru should get it. They've been attacked by a nuclear nation called America.

An ex-con might be the equal of a licensed engineer but he shouldn't have an explosives license.

Plus everytime a new nation gets nukes it has new neighbours who can argue they deserve nukes.
You got to stop somewhere.

By the way, why the Cuban missile crisis? They have a nuclear neighbour.

Posted by: McA on January 18, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

I am sure that most of you have read this piece by Larry Johnson, but for thos who haven't had the chance, it will give you a good idea about why the Iraq war was so successful.

Posted by: lib on January 18, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK
THAT'S LIKE SAYING HOW CAN WE ARGUE THAT WE CAN HAVE A GUN, WHEN WE DON'T GIVE CRIMINALS IN PRISONS OR FELONS GUNS.

Or, it would be, if nations were actors living under a common sovereign power, and Iran had been convicted and was serving a defined lawful sentence for some crime against that power.

Unfortunately, our current model of international law doesn't work that way; for one thing, international bodies do not even notionally exercise sovereignty, for another, if we were to view actions of international bodies as akin in the relevant cases to criminal proceedings, we would have to recognize that they do not follow even the principle of legality; instead, the UNSC acts on whatever it perceives to be a threat to international peace and security. It is not bound to rule against only things which were established and knowably illegal at the time committed, nor is it otherwise constrained.

I'm not saying that the process is bad or improper for its role -- what I am saying is that what might be described as a "rogue state", one in violation of the norms of the international system in place is not analogous to a duly convicted criminal under a legitimate system of national law committed to the principle of legality.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 18, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

WILL, WHAT I'M SAYING IS YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO MAKE A MORAL JUDGEMENT. WOULD YOU SELL OVENS TO HITLER? WOULD YOU HAVE A PEDOPHILE WATCH YOUR KIDS?
WOULD YOU LET A SKINHEAD ADOPT A BLACK CHILD?

IF YOUR NEIGHBOR TELLS YOU EVERYDAY THAT WHEN HE GETS HIS KNEW RIFLE IN THE MAIL, HE PLANS TO KILL YOUR WHOLE FAMILY...WOULD YOU ATTEMPT TO STOP HIM??

IRAN IS NOT A PEACEFUL DEMOCRACY, IT IS A RADICAL, EXTREMIST TERROR STATE WORSE THEN HITLER, STALIN AND POL POT...YOU DON'T MAKE THE STUPID CLAIM THAT WE ARE ALL MORALLY EQUIVALENT.

Posted by: Patton on January 18, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Are you really that stupid?

Posted by: kruschev on January 18, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

NICE TRY cmdicely, BUT YOUR 'INTERNATIONAL LAW' CAN GO TAKE A FLYING LEAP.

INTERNATIONAL LAW IS MEANINGLESS BECAUSE REGARDLESS OF WHAT IT SAYS YOU ALWAYS HAVE THE RIGHT TO SELF DEFENSE. AND THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE TO LET IRAN DESTROY YOUR COUNTRY BEFORE YOU TAKE ACTION.

The liberals have repeatedly attacked Bush for supposedly not following the Geneva convention, well, let the world know they have failed to make coutries like Iraq, Iran, North Korea, etc. live up to any international agreements or laws so the international community has made themselves moot. They all sit around because they are too weak to actually do anything.
It always required the United States to bring about freedom and democracy.

Posted by: Patton on January 18, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

5% of the market.

5% is an awfully large chunk to just disappear in such a tight market.

But I don't care ... I can bike to work if need be.

Posted by: ChrisS on January 18, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK
INTERNATIONAL LAW IS MEANINGLESS

While that goes beyond what I would say, yes, that largely comports with my point about why your analogy fails.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 18, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

The United nations charter states:

""All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations."""

IRAN HAS ALREADY BROKEN THIS BY THREATENING TO DESTROY ISREAL (A NATION CREATED BY THE UNITED NATIONS)...AND JUST WHAT HAS THE INTL COMMUNITY DONE ABOUT IT??? DIDDLY SQUAT.

Posted by: Patton on January 18, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Up thread was the mention of the French (and I also believe, the Japanese) approach to Nuclear Energy.

Indeed, modern designs of Nuclear plants are safe. Furthermore the half life of the waste from French energy plants is only 300 years, not the 45,000 years of the process used in the United States.

France also makes maximum use of hydroelectricity and has excellent, low energy public transportation.

Face it. We are a dumb people. We built cities that are reliant on cars and hydrocarbons and the cost of that reliance is coming home to roost.

Its high time we take a constructive, comprehensive approach to the problem: Hydroelectric, Nuclear Electric (back on the table), Renewable Hydrocarbons, tax incentives to encourage efficiency and higher density living and better public transportation.

Of course we wont do anything like this. We are a dumb people and a broken system can't fix itself. Churchill said "Americans always do the right thing, after they have tried everything else." By the time we get around to fixing this problem we will be a third world country.

Posted by: E Publius on January 18, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Iran may be missing a few screws, but there is no way they are dumb enough to sink ships in the strait. They would face a total global coalition(except maybe the Palestinians) if they did.

I think it is a mistake not to talk to them. A few carrots may assuage them and also start the decline of the radicals power by starting them on the road to free market modernity.

For the West, the military option is not the only choice. The same can't be said for Israel. Why oh why are indisputably dominant military powers always so afraid to negotiate? It's pathetic, absurd, costly in blood and treasure, and often in the long run counterproductive.

Everyone remembers how the appeasement emboldened Hitler, but no one remembers how the spiteful, malicious, misdirected dictated Treaty of Versailles brought him to power in the first place.

A second attack on an Islamic country may well insure that Bush was right about the 100 year war.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on January 18, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Patton/Alice quoting the United Nations Charter is like watching a retard make a salad.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 18, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

This is an old Soviet trick: since you cannot criticize the policies of your own government, you criticize identical policies of another one. Krauthammer's real target is probably the "reality-based community" (or its remnants) within the US government.

Posted by: Mike J. on January 18, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

red state mike: if you think only democrats are blocking oil exploration, try to find a republican official in florida who favors drilling off the state's coast . consider the state's leading industry is tourism, and all of a sudden energy independence is someone else's problem. funny how conservatives turn "liberal" when its their ox that's being gored.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on January 18, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Some days I wish his namesake's fate would befall "Patton."

Posted by: Jim J on January 18, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Patton -

The point I was making is that it is dangerous and counterproductive for the US to maintain a nuclear arsenal.

Nuclear weapons should be outlawed. Then we wouldn't have to try to make the case about which countries "deserve" nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Will on January 18, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz wrote:

"Many liberals harbor a suspicion that the only reason we don't have 100 mpg cars is because some evil corporation is just refusing to build them."


What's the mpg of a European Volkswagen tdi?
What kind of mpg does a hybrid bio-diesel get?


tbrosz continues:
"The car companies are busting their asses to make cars more efficient."

Posted by: tbrosz on January 18, 2006 at 4:34 AM | PERMALINK


Which American car company decided NOT to invest in making a hybrid engine and simply bought a license to use Toyota's? Is that equivalent to "busting their asses"?

If we're so darned great, then why did Toyota put a hybrid on the market before any American car company?

Posted by: MarkH on January 18, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: I know from personal experience exactly how much has gone into increasing mileage in the past ten years technologically. While the hybrids are a great quantum jump, increasing mileage isn't something you can do forever without sacrificing size, safety, and durability.

Oh? My '96 Prizm reliably gets about 40 mpg on the highway. Could you please point me to a car I could buy today in the same class that does substantially better?

Posted by: arcseed on January 18, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Our 1979 Corolla got 24 mpg. (Those Corollas regularly lasted well over 200,000 miles. Safe. Durable. Dependable.)

My 79 Corolla gave me 200k, thne my friend another 50k before he sold it. It may still be running. Never burned a drop of oil and got way more than 24 mpg.

My 87 Tercel got at least 45mpg on the highway when driven at 55. We dont need no stinking Hybrids.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on January 18, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

People keep focusing on oil, but Iran is a key source of natural gas too.

Posted by: Jimm on January 18, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

"The US and other nuclear powers are in an untenable position. How can we make a credible case that Iran shouldn't have nuclear weapons when we ourselved continue maintain an arsenal of nuclear weapons? The only basis we could have for making this claim is that we are somehow more mature, responsible, and virtuous than Iran. You can imagine how this rings hollow in the Arab world.

Posted by: Will on January 18, 2006 at 11:59 AM"

I live in Brazil, and I personally don't have a problem with the US or Europe having nuclear weapons. This is why I trust that their democracies keep their rulers in check, and thus they will maintain them responsibly. It's the "nutcases" (they are not really crazy, and it's dangerous to believe they are) on the tyrannies that I'm worried about.

"Nuclear weapons have no place in this world. They are extremely dangerous. NO country should have them. They should be eliminated and criminalized. Weapons-grade fissionable materials in ALL countries ought to be carefully regulated, tracked, and guarded.

The US and other developed nations could put themselves on the moral high ground by eliminating their own stockpiles of nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Will on January 18, 2006 at 11:59 AM"

Will, I agree with you in principle, but I think this is just impractical. I believe that's pretty much a case of the genie being out of the bottle, unfortunately. I don't know if you would want to risk eliminating your nuclear stockpile and trust that Pakistan will do the same. That's the 'Prisoner's Dilemma' in its most nefarious form.

I think this Iran thing is extremely serious, and something really needs to be done. But I'm not sure what. However, if military intervention is the way, now would be the time to do it. It's sad to see that the Bush admin might - might, might, might - have applied the right solution to the wrong problem.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 18, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

My 79 Corolla gave me 200k, thne my friend another 50k before he sold it. It may still be running. Never burned a drop of oil and got way more than 24 mpg.

Same for my 77 Corolla--it was a beast. The Minnesota winters finally did it in, and the thing rusted out before the engine died. I seem to remember the reason why it didn't burn oil was because the engine was made out of inch-thick aluminum or something--it was different than a standard engine and if it wasn't made out of aluminum but something else, I can't recall.

Those things lasted forever. I'll bet there are plenty of them still tearing around Arizona and West Texas in great condition with 300K or more on them...

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 18, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Proving you are as dimwitted by nature as the fake Al is by design."
Posted by: Advocate for God on January 18, 2006 at 9:52 AM

Ah, just more love from one who pretends to care about people yet whos' actions show their true name calling hate-filled heart.

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 18, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

What's the mpg of a European Volkswagen tdi?

Well, it isn't European, but my new VW Beetle tdi gets about 40 MPG per tank, combined city/highway driving. Which is exactly why we got it, of course.

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, just more love from one who pretends to care about people yet whos' actions show their true name calling hate-filled heart.

None of which changes the fact that AfG pwnzed you with that comment, Lurker.

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

People keep focusing on oil, but Iran is a key source of natural gas too.

Our wingnut coalition produces a lot of methane gas as well.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 18, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Our wingnut coalition produces a lot of methane gas as well.

I thought it was just a lot of hot air.

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

I think what bugs me the most about the whole ANWR thing is that I know damn well that keeping drilling out of it is less about the caribou and more about sticking a needle in the eye of the Republicans.

Wrong as usual. Just because you don't share a gestalt with environmentalists and outdoorsmen doesn't mean it's not real. Solipsism much? Even my conservative Alaskan friends and family don't want drilling in ANWR not only to preserve the wildlife but to preserve one of the last few pristine places in the country. Ironically, as someone pointed out upthread, global climate change is about to make this a moot point as permafrost melts, forests die, and invasive species threaten native ones.

Many liberals harbor a suspicion that the only reason we don't have 100 mpg cars is because some evil corporation is just refusing to build them.

This liberal is married to someone who works as an engineering specifications analyst for one of the Big Three and that is exactly the case. Why spend money in retooling and R&D when your big moneymakers are gas-hogging SUV's? When my wife brought up the necessity of developing fuel-efficient vehicles in meetings in the mid '90's she was mocked; "Big trucks is where it's at, little lady." Now the same people are shitting their pants wishing they'd focused on hybrids and fuel efficiency as truck sales are down and there are six month waits to purchase new Prius's.

Add to that the fact that we own a vehicle that gets 50mpg highway and can run on used vegetable oil and it furthers disproves your point. How much longer could we stretch out that oil if the average commuter got even 40mpg highway rather than the 17mpg or so they're probably getting now? The Escape and Mariner are 4-door SUV's that get almost 40mpg city and 31mpg hwy, and there's a long way to go to refine that technology.

While the hybrids are a great quantum jump, increasing mileage isn't something you can do forever without sacrificing size, safety, and durability.

There are few things if any that you can do "forever" which makes this statement little more than a rhetorical device to bolster a weak argument. My car has among the highest safety ratings, and I can seat four people or put the hatchback down and have enough room for two people and weeks' worth of camping gear and supplies. With 130,000 miles the body shows so little wear even here in Michigan that everyone -- and I mean everyone - who sees it thinks the car is new.

And the engine will likely last to 300,000 miles.

You don't need to increase mileage forever, just long enough to stretch out our available oil until we develop replacement technologies.

Posted by: trex on January 18, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

arcseed:

Oh? My '96 Prizm reliably gets about 40 mpg on the highway. Could you please point me to a car I could buy today in the same class that does substantially better?

Don't know. It would take a lot of research, and anyway, the mileage on the sticker would not be as reliable a number as the mileage you have actually logged.

You may be proving my point that, hybrids aside, the technological capacity of the standard gasoline-powered auto to greatly increase its mileage may have already reached a plateau.

Mark H:

What's the mpg of a European Volkswagen tdi?

The VW TDI meets only Tier 1 emission standards. New York and California, and other states in the future, are demanding Tier 2. There's no free lunch. Diesels are getting better at meeting pollution standards, though.

What kind of mpg does a hybrid bio-diesel get?

Bio-diesel probably has the same emission issues, but if someone built one, and it was legal to own in California, I'd look into buying it. Assuming it also burned regular diesel.

Which American car company decided NOT to invest in making a hybrid engine and simply bought a license to use Toyota's? Is that equivalent to "busting their asses"? If we're so darned great, then why did Toyota put a hybrid on the market before any American car company?

I was using "car companies" in the universal sense. I said nothing about "U.S. car companies." If the Japanese car industry lights a fire under the hind end of the U.S. industry, it wouldn't be the first time, and more power to them. My wife's car is a Honda Pilot.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 18, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Brazil Connection-

Re: Will, I agree with you in principle, but I think this is just impractical. I believe that's pretty much a case of the genie being out of the bottle, unfortunately. I don't know if you would want to risk eliminating your nuclear stockpile and trust that Pakistan will do the same. That's the 'Prisoner's Dilemma' in its most nefarious form.

I don't claim eliminating US nukes now will solve or significantly reduce the Iran problem, but it wouldn't hurt.

I believe the 'Prisoner's Dilemma' for the US ended with the end of the cold war. From that point forward, there has been no need for a US nuclear arsenal. If we had eliminated our nukes then, and pushed the idea that no country should have them, the world would be a safer place now.

Keeping our nukes does us more harm than good. In the long run, eliminating our own nukes is the best way to promote non-proliferation.

Posted by: Will on January 18, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Furthermore the half life of the waste from French energy plants is only 300 years, not the 45,000 years of the process used in the United States.

France uses fuel reprocessing to remove the long-term wastes. Who killed that off in this country?

Posted by: tbrosz on January 18, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

"AfG pwnzed"

Ok, now i'm not sure what that is but Halleluja (sp) I've been AfG pwnzed. YEA!!!!!
Funny I don't feel any different. *shrug* Must not matter. YEA!!!!! It doesn't matter so i don't give a crap.
But thank you for taking the effort to point that out to me none the less Greg.

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 18, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Patton, I'm really curious. Can you explain what determines when and for how long you put your caps lock key on? What does it mean when you don't type in caps? I'd really like to know?

Posted by: WhoSays on January 18, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, now i'm not sure what that is but Halleluja (sp) I've been AfG pwnzed.

I think it means that you could wear your ass for a hat while you get yourself a cup of shut the f*ck up.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 18, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

I hadn't realized we had won WW III, excuse me, The Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism, er, I mean the war against terrorism -- Battlefield Iraq. ...But then I heard reporting on Fox, live from "Camp Victory." I'm so glad we finally won! Victory is sweet, I thought Saddam had us for sure.

In, fact, I had already bought my own copy of the Koran and a prayer rug. And this will save me tons of tuition in those Arabic courses I figured we'd need. Thank god we we're nuked or hit by Iraq's stockpiles of dangerous WMDs.

As uncertain and difficult this war with the super-power of Iraq was, I'm willing to support another glorious crusade against the infidels, I mean Iran. That crazy Iranian President is clearly the anti-Christ, if we don't act now, as Pat Robertson, says, we can't expect God to look down on us with favor as he has. We have a duty to protect the holy land, because it's holy and we're fighting on the side of God, who said it was holy in the Bible.

Personally, although I'm a great supporter of the most brilliant President ever, George W. Bush, I have to admit to being disappointed that he hasn't started war with Iran sooner. I know all the terrorist supporters, the liberal communists, with their damn lattes and Hollywood, have tricked the media into thinking this has something to do with oil, but Mr. Bush has to suffer, like Jesus, if he is to do God's will.

Certainly, it must be painful emotionally for President Bush to hear repeated lies about this war not really being war. President Bush may be from a Texas oil family, but he has repeatedly assured us this isn't about oil. If anyone would know if it were about oil, wouldn't a man who's family is connected with both the Texas and Saudi oil syndicates, I mean business worlds, know if this was about oil??? Hello, duh. Michael Moore lovers are so stupid.

I'm sure the anti-Christian, communist left will call war on Iran an oil war too. I mean what else do they have to complain about, everything is going so well. Be that as it may, Christ suffered, and I'm sure President Bush can make it through. The important point is that we nuke Tehran quickly.

Even if we don't nuke Tehran, an air war and draft I will gladly support. And if not for my bum knee, I would surely volunteer to serve. Iran is a country of 75 million which is twice the size of America's 300 million, so the odds are against us, but I have confidence we will win. We have no choice, really it's God's will.

-God Bless America

Posted by: Spectator Consumer on January 18, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

I believe the 'Prisoner's Dilemma' for the US ended with the end of the cold war. From that point forward, there has been no need for a US nuclear arsenal. If we had eliminated our nukes then, and pushed the idea that no country should have them, the world would be a safer place now.

Posted by: Will on January 18, 2006 at 1:33 PM

I don't know. I don't think the end of the Cold War completely eliminated Russia's threat, and they still have a significant nuclear stockpile. I tend to trust democracies on this issue, and Russia can't honestly be called one. So I think it is, indeed, strategically dangerous for the US or Europe to discard their stockpiles. If I'm correct, they won't do it for a long, long time.

Besides, I believe this discussion is moot. From what I understand about the subject, as far as it can be, nuclear proliferation is already "illegal" if you adhere to the NPT. Well, Iran did adhere to it, and look at what we are discussing now. So what's the point of having nuclear weapons outlawed if this can't effectively be enforced, save for embargoing the country or blowing it to smithereens, solutions that do as much evil as they do good?

As I said before, I agree with you in principle, but I don't see how your suggestions could be achieved unless nations surrender part or all of their sovereignity. Having something 'outlawed' must imply that no one can have the liberty to decide when to follow the law or not.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 18, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

"I think it means that you could wear your ass for a hat while you get yourself a cup of shut the f*ck up."
Posted by: Pale Rider

Could you imagine being that flexible!!!!

Yet ANOTHER model of civility. I just can't understand why your side doesn't win more often.

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 18, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK


lou; Was there any discussion about all this in Cheney's secret energy meetings?

is it true that when bush flew to d.c. for his first inaugrual...

he flew on an enron jet?


oil on 1/20/01: 22.50

oil on 1/18/06: 65.72

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on January 18, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

You're forgetting that the right in the US(not just Republicans) has done their very best to prevent alternative energy sources from being developed for 30 years.

All while massively subsidizing the petroleum industry. (And if you don't consider military intervention an indirect subsidy, you really need to think a little harder about what it means.)

Nooo, I'm not forgetting it. I am well aware of it, and how we could be much farther ahead of we had spent research dollars in that area. Both sides of thefence share blame in our current dependence on foreign oil. The repubs for dependence on oil especially. The dems, for dependence on the foreign part, especially.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 18, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly0
That the US military, in its full force, not depleted as it is by the idiot Iraq adventure, could not have realistically launched an invasion against Iran, even with the clear and limited goal of locating and removing its nuclear facilities.

Could? We could still do it. With access to Iran's frontiers through Iraq, it'd be easier in many respects. Otherwise you'd be talking amphibious invasion coupled with coming through Afghanistan.

Would? Why? The idea that we could just invade a couple of nuke sites in downtown Tehran is of course a non-starter. It'd be a full-on battle royale far bigger than Gulf War I back in 1991 to invade. It would be ugly. We would lose a *lot* of lives. Untenable.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 18, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

My 79 Corolla gave me 200k, thne my friend another 50k before he sold it. It may still be running. Never burned a drop of oil and got way more than 24 mpg.

That was aggregate. On the highway, it was amazing.

True story. We were driving home from Florida during the '79 oil crisis in which we couldn't depend upon gas stations being open. We topped off regularly.

We'd been driving with the AC on, but I calculated that if we turned it off, we could get home from north of Atlanta without having to top off again. So, we turned the AC off. On the other side of Chattanooga, we topped off just to be safe. In that span, we'd gotten 39 mpg. 1979 technology.

There were 4 comfortable adults in the car with all their luggage for a 2 week vacation.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on January 18, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody discussing a ground invasion of Iran needs to do a little research on a few things, such as the population and physical size of that nation compared to Iraq. Invasion is not an option that should be anywhere near the top of the list, so complaining that our military is "tied up" in Iraq is largely irrelevant.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 18, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, serious this time.

I wouldn't mind scraping the Department of Defense and just keeping a few thousand troops to man the nukes. Wasn't that one the priciple arguments used to sell the coldwar build up of our nuke stockpile- that we wouldn't have to spend money on the future on a regular military because nukes would act as all defense we needed?
Somehow this idea has conveniently been forgotten.

Now we still have this giant Department of Defense, which should really be called the Department of War, imperial, neo-colonial war too, fyi. And this Orwellian-named DoD costs us more than ever, despite the fact we can wipe out any damn county we please. And I know the objections, so here the responses.

1. We need a regular military incase we're invaded by land. Okay this is just dumb. Providing we were invaded on land, you could call up a draft, and really you wouldn't have to do that. Who would invade a nuclear armed state? The argument goes, well they'd know we wouldn't use them. Really? You think anyone around the world doubts the US would use nukes if invaded?

2. Nukes don't help in the war on terrorism. True enough, but neither does our professional military if you've been paying attention. It didn't do such a wonderful job in Vietnam either, if memory serves. Our professional military is only useful against other advanced, national militaries.

3. War industries need the funds so that they are ready should we ever need them. First, I'd point to how quickly the US was able to turn to a war economy 65+ years ago, and suggest that today we could so even more quickly given new manufacturing technologies and automization. Additionally, I'd point back to my answer to objection 1, who the hell is going to invade us with all the nukes?

4. The economy would suffer because of all the jobs associated with military and contractors. Not if you subsidized them for other purposes. Wouldn't work on technology, like space exploration, nano technology, bio tech all put these major industries to better use. And, frankly, we aren't a communist state, why should we subsidize industries that cannot compete, and at least for the military itself, denies the right to unionize? Not to mention the terrible consequences we've had to pay thanks to our current "defense" budget. The wars in Vietnam and Iraq jump to mind, neither would have been feasible without this huge standing professional military-industrial complex.

Objections really come from people that have military in their family and understandly don't want to see their jobs put at risk. Bur, remember, we could simply retask the military industry to do things other than military in nature....things that might actually be productive rather counter-productive.

Posted by: Spectator Consumer on January 18, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

"My 79 Corolla gave me 200k,..."

Corollas are great. I just bought an "S" about 7mos ago. 34mpg normaly, 38mpg on all highway, 42mpg on all FLAT highway with a favorable wind.

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 18, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Invasion is not an option that should be anywhere near the top of the list, so complaining that our military is "tied up" in Iraq is largely irrelevant.

But wait, when we follow your advice:

Anybody discussing a ground invasion of Iran needs to do a little research on a few things

We find that our troops are tied up in Iraq. We find that the useful part of our military--that is, full brigades of ground troops equipped with armored vehicles--are exhausted from a nearly three year effort to subdue 25,000 Iraqi insurgents.

A lot of people try to play this numbers game--that there are over a million people on active duty, there are another million or so in the reserve and national guard contingents of the military--and that's wrong.

Talk to me about units. Fully trained and equipped units, ready to go.

Just a hint, because I missed my daily reading of Bill Roggio's bought-and-paid-for-with-tax-dollars milblog, when we sent the training units at Fort Irwin, CA and Fort Polk, LA, we set back the training of our stateside manuever units several years.

Maybe later on we'll talk of how DoD went to raid the spare parts stored at Camp Carroll, Korea [actually been there] and found that the stocks had rotted in the warehouses and couldn't be used in Iraq.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 18, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider, here's the best open assessment of Iran's armed forces I've seen. As a Navy guy, their submarines and anti-shipping missiles garner a *lot* of attention.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 18, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

"Anybody discussing a ground invasion of Iran needs to do a little research on a few things, such as the population and physical size of that nation compared to Iraq. Invasion is not an option that should be anywhere near the top of the list, so complaining that our military is "tied up" in Iraq is largely irrelevant.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 18, 2006 at 2:15 PM"

That's true - an invasion is never a trivial affair, even for such a strong military as the US. I'm no expert, and have no idea about how complicated this would be. However, in my opinion, that's PRECISELY why the Iraq invasion is relevant in this matter: invading Iran would be quite difficult and demanding even if you already hadn't 2 open fronts in Afghanistan and Iraq; but in the current situation, it would be a likely nightmare for your armed forces.

I don't know if the right solution for Iran is military action. I fear, though, that might end up being the only one. I do believe, however, that in this case you'd probably be able to gather much more international support if you played it right.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 18, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody discussing a ground invasion of Iran needs to do a little research on a few things, such as the population and physical size of that nation compared to Iraq. Invasion is not an option that should be anywhere near the top of the list, so complaining that our military is "tied up" in Iraq is largely irrelevant.

As usual Flanders continues to mislead. The only people really pushing for an invasion of Iran are the radical right-wingers.

The argument on our side, on the other hand, isn't that an invasion of Iran would be a good idea if only we hadn't invaded Iraq; it's that the right-wing bluster about invasion is revealed to be meer empty bellicosity given the swamp they've bogged themselves down in in Iraq.

So now we (a) can't invade, (b) can't use air strikes, and (c) can't use sanctions. Which leaves us with...asking politely.

Posted by: Stefan on January 18, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

As a Navy guy, their submarines and anti-shipping missiles garner a *lot* of attention.

RSM,

Thanks. I wish there was a way to explain to people how the Serbs brought down the Stealth...

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 18, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

The only people really pushing for an invasion of Iran are the radical right-wingers.

Posted by: Stefan on January 18, 2006 at 2:30 PM

Hey, I resent that! :) Just kidding. I'm no right-wing radical, but then again I'm not really pushing for invading Iran either.

But what if the international community finds itself out of options? 'Asking politely' unfortunately is not one that has a lot of chance to work (and yes, I know Stefan was kidding in this one as well).

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 18, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

"First off, Patrick, given his quadrapeligia, I don't think Krauthammer is driving anywhere."

Driving, being driven, what's the difference. Besides, it looks like you're unfamiliar with some of the gizmos that let disabled people drive.

As for Krauthammer, is the wheelchair the only reason I think of Dr. Stranglove every time I see him?

Posted by: Cal Gal on January 18, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

This is an excerpt from the link Red State Mike provided:

To bolster defense, Iran has sought to create its own deterrent triad, consisting of:

1. The ability to disrupt oil exports from the Persian Gulf should it desire to do so;

2. The ability to launch terror attacks on several continents in conjunction with the Lebanese Hizballah, and;

3. The development of non-conventional weapons and the means to deliver them throughout the Middle East, if not beyond--by missiles and various non-traditional means such as saboteurs, unmanned aerial vehicles, and boats.

It has sought to bolster its deterrent capability by cultivating the image of Iran as an undeterrable state, whose soldiers seek martyrdom, and whose society is willing and able to absorb heavy punishment. While this image may have bore some relationship to reality during the heady days of the revolution in the early 1980s, it is certainly no longer the case. Years of revolutionary turmoil and a bloody eight-year-long war with Iraq have made Iranians weary of war and political violence, and transformed the Islamic Republic into a more "normal" state--at least in terms of its ability to absorb casualties.

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

Pretty sobering. Plus, they have Challenger tanks. And have we talked about geography yet? Hello, you're not going to roll into Tehran on a flat road covered with rose petals.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 18, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Just a hint, because I missed my daily reading of Bill Roggio's bought-and-paid-for-with-tax-dollars milblog, when we sent the training units at Fort Irwin, CA and Fort Polk, LA, we set back the training of our stateside manuever units several years.

I couldn't believe it when I heard we did that. It was like eating our seed corn.

Posted by: Stefan on January 18, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Actually there are plenty of people pushing for the war on Iran.

1. The expatriated Iranians in exile. Y'know, our friends, and now children, that ran the country for us under the Shah.

2. The oil industry. Under the US colonial rule through the Shah, five western oil companies controlled Iran. They still want their oil.

3. The Defense industry. New war, especially in Iran means a draft, which means, massive new outlays of money.

4. The Israeli lobby that hates the theocratic Iran.

5. Ideologues who favor the war because they believe the war on terror must be expanded if it will ever be accepted as a true replacement for the coldwar.

6. Media. Even when they question it, just by discussing the issue they are giving the issue legitimacy. Every Chris Matthews psshaw at the idea is another win for war advocates. And remember, Matthews and the rest of the media all benefit by higher ratings during war time which equally higher ad revenue.

7. GOP political strategtists. Not all of them favor a war, but many feel with Rove to be indicted (perhaps Cheney), NSA-gate, Abramoff, Frist and all the rest, they need a major distraction. Provided the war was started with finesse...like how they're framing it so far, as if Iran is to blame, the US will rally around the President. A sinking of the Maine, or simply a defense of an attack on Israel would probably be sufficient to motivate support for most Americans.

The only real fly in the ointment is the draft that would be needed to occupy Iran. The Draft isn't popular, so Bush would need the war sold the right way for it to work. Remember though, with the President facing a potential loss of Congress, he would be impeached if it came to pass. He may feel he has little to lose politically.

For all the people that thought Bush was bluffing about Iraq, and how insane that would be, remember he lied up that war. The man has already killed probably 100,000 people because of a strategy he endorsed. 100,000 dead. What do numbers matter when you're capable of that?

Posted by: Spectator Consumer on January 18, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

invading Iran would be quite difficult and demanding even if you already hadn't 2 open fronts in Afghanistan and Iraq; but in the current situation, it would be a likely nightmare for your armed forces.

Not only that, it would also create one long unbroken string of land from Afghanistan to Iraq for the rebels and terrorists to move through unhindered. It would be a massive land war on the Asian landmass, which, as Vizzini reminds us, is something only a great fool would engage in.

I don't know if the right solution for Iran is military action. I fear, though, that might end up being the only one. I do believe, however, that in this case you'd probably be able to gather much more international support if you played it right.

"If we played it right" -- excuse me while I wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes. Don't forget that this is the Bush gang, so they're absolutely guaranteed to play it wrong. If anything they'll drive all the allies to Iran's side....


Posted by: Stefan on January 18, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

"If we played it right" -- excuse me while I wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes. Don't forget that this is the Bush gang, so they're absolutely guaranteed to play it wrong. If anything they'll drive all the allies to Iran's side....


Posted by: Stefan on January 18, 2006 at 2:54 PM

Now, I can't really argue with that. Really sorry though.

At least your president has a college degree. But again, compared to mine, I think that's pretty much it.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 18, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, Pale Rider

As usual, you leftys are spinning your wheels while George W Bush straightens things out.

All he has to do is place his hands on those slender man hips of his, stare at the Iranians across the table, and tell them to back down.

And back down they will. Bush defeated the Kyoto treaty and now he'll defeat Iran. No amount of crazy howling from Billary or Al Bore will change that.

Posted by: rdw on January 18, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Brazil Connection -

Re: I don't think the end of the Cold War completely eliminated Russia's threat, and they still have a significant nuclear stockpile. I tend to trust democracies on this issue, and Russia can't honestly be called one. So I think it is, indeed, strategically dangerous for the US or Europe to discard their stockpiles.

What? You think the Ruski's still want to obliterate the west? That's absurd. Even if it were true, the US has enough conventional power to deter any such attack. A much more likely risk is a nuclear attack on the US by terrorists, in which case our nuclear arsenal is useless.

No, better to recognize that nukes are a genocidal weapon. Unless you're contemplating genocide, they serve no useful purpose, and possessing them undercuts our ability to object to anyone else's nukes.

We need to dispel the misconception that nukes are a legitmate part of every powerful nation's weaponry.

Posted by: Will on January 18, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Even if it were true, the US has enough conventional power to deter any such attack.

Well, we did. See above in the thread as to why we don't anymore.

Posted by: rdw on January 18, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

rdw,

You defeatist!

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 18, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

stefan, pale rider

That's the fraud RDW.

Posted by: rdw on January 18, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

At least your president has a college degree.

Yes, but only from Yale -- the finest school in Connecticut.

Posted by: Stefan on January 18, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Just to give you an update on european consumption levels: Our 2004 model Mercedes A160 CDI does an average of 57.6 mpg according to the manuals.

No hybrid, standard diesel.

Using biodiesel, which is widely available where I live (Germany) and costs about 10 cent less a liter, in theory the consumption will go up about 10%. But I havent noted that for myself.

BTW A Liter of diesel costs 1,11 today.....

Posted by: Stefan on January 18, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

"Gee, my old LaSalle ran great" - from Archie Bunker

"Gee, my old Corolla ran great" - from this thread

"Gee, my old Geeley ran great" - if anyone will still be alive to sing of the coming of the Chinese and their cars.

Posted by: stupid git on January 18, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, there's another Stefan here! Just so we don't get confused, I'm the Stefan who lives in New York and doesn't own a Mercedes (I take the subway)....

Posted by: Stefan on January 18, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

fraud RDW,

You're better than I am. I never heard 'Billary and Al Bore' before. That's terrific. If you're going to steal my name I'm going to steal your lines.

Posted by: rdw on January 18, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

"At least your president has a college degree."

For what that's worth. Some of the dumbest people I know have college degrees. You can't teach common sense.

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 18, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Oops, didnt notice there was another Stefan in here. I will gladly rename myself to Stefan2....

Posted by: Stefan2 on January 18, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

That's the fraud RDW.

Yes, in point of fact, rdw is a fraud.

Gee, it's hard to type on my laptop as I drive my LaSalle into the Delaware River. Never fear, George W Bush will send FEMA to save me. I'll just wave my superhero cape...

Posted by: rdw on January 18, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

"What? You think the Ruski's still want to obliterate the west? That's absurd. Even if it were true, the US has enough conventional power to deter any such attack.

Posted by: Will on January 18, 2006 at 3:02 PM "

I don't know if Russia wants to obliterate the West or the East or the free world or Pluto or the Romulan home world or not. What I do believe is that it would be foolish for the US and Europe to believe that Russia, a country that is effectively run by a cadre, would willingly discard its stockpile of nuclear weapons, especially if they had good reason to believe that the US and Europe would do so. Think about the strategical advantage they would have over Europe and the US. And strategical advantage is, after all, the only reason that leads a country to go after nuclear weaponry. And what about China, by the way?

And, by the way, do you really believe all the might of the US military could face a few thousand nuclear warheads? That's what Russia allegedly has.

"No, better to recognize that nukes are a genocidal weapon. Unless you're contemplating genocide, they serve no useful purpose, and possessing them undercuts our ability to object to anyone else's nukes.

We need to dispel the misconception that nukes are a legitmate part of every powerful nation's weaponry.

Posted by: Will on January 18, 2006 at 3:02 PM"

Will, AGAIN, I agree with you IN PRINCIPLE, but you keep suggesting something that is hands down impractical. I would love to have Harry Potter or the Starship Enterprise to come to Earth and transform all warheads in salt or to teleport all nuclear weapons to the core of the Sun, but I don't see that happening. Maybe that Intelligent Designer fella could do it.

But let's try something different: how do YOU suggest we enforce a ban on nuclear weapons? How are we gonna force all countries that have them to dismantle them? How are gonna force all countries to cease research and development on them? How are we gonna punish anyone who does it or who does not discard them?

Listen, Iran is already posing itself to be quite a problem because of this, and they don't even have weapons yet. How do you think it would be if RUSSIA or CHINA decided not to go along with the plan?

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 18, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Patton: IRAN HAS ALREADY BROKEN THIS BY THREATENING TO DESTROY ISREAL (A NATION CREATED BY THE UNITED NATIONS)...AND JUST WHAT HAS THE INTL COMMUNITY DONE ABOUT IT??? DIDDLY SQUAT.

Bush broke that provision of the Charter also.

Lurker42: I just can't understand why your side doesn't win more often.

Civility clearly doesn't win elections. Just ask the GOP which has been the most uncivil of parties for the past 50 years or more and still manages to win elections.

Advice to liberals from conservatives like Lurker42 on how to campaign more effectively and win elections is like advice from a crocodile to a fish on how not to get eaten.

I just can't understand why no one takes you seriously, Lurker42.

You can't teach common sense.

You are living proof of that!

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 18, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

"I just can't understand why no one takes you seriously, Lurker42"

Simple, Because you ARE no one and I'm NEVER serious. *grins*

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 18, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, there's another Stefan here! Just so we don't get confused, I'm the Stefan who lives in New York and doesn't own a Mercedes (I take the subway)....

So, which one is the Deranged Bush Hating leftist who hates our country?

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 18, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Lurker42: Simple, Because you ARE no one and I'm NEVER serious.

Interesting that you think you can reply to "no one".

Is that another conservative delusion brought on by BIS?

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 18, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Brazil Connection -

Re: And, by the way, do you really believe all the might of the US military could face a few thousand nuclear warheads? That's what Russia allegedly has.

I claim our nukes are no longer a useful deterent. You say you agree but then you say the opposite. The fact that we have nuclear weapons legitimizes nuclear weapons.

I am not proposing an immediate international ban nuclear weapons, but it would be a good long term goal.

I am proposing that the US disarm and encourage other nations to do the same. Nuclear weapons should have the same taint as chemical weapons. Instead, the US has helped make nukes a source of national pride and prestige for every country that has them.

Posted by: Will on January 18, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Oops, didnt notice there was another Stefan in here. I will gladly rename myself to Stefan2....

Could I persuade you to use Stefan2: Electric Boogaloo....?

Posted by: Stefan on January 18, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

RSM: So, which one is the Deranged Bush Hating leftist who hates our country?

Hah!

That would, of course, be the famed jihadist Khalid Sheikh Stefan ben-Nasri.

Posted by: Stefan on January 18, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Im neither deranged nor leftist and I do love my country. I even like yours, even if I perfer mine.

Courtesy forbids telling my opinion about Bush, though.

Posted by: Stefan2 on January 18, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

"At least your president has a college degree."


"the world is run by "c" students." - woody allen

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on January 18, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Im neither deranged nor leftist and I do love my country. I even like yours, even if I perfer mine.

Even a Christian Democrat is a "leftist" by American standards.

Courtesy forbids telling my opinion about Bush, though.

Ach, we're all friends here. Fire away....

Posted by: Stefan on January 18, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

When will the conservatives admit that rather than Iraq being the first domino to fall for the spread of democracy in the region, their invasion of Iraq had the ripple affect of forcing Iran to pursue a nulear weapon to secure its sovereignty. Who can fault Iranian leaders when they see the Rumsfeld's Pentagon building permanant bases in Iraq?

Plus, they witness the success of North Korea in staving off an American assault once it acquired the nuclear weaponry.

How come the Iranian threat is a nuclear weapon? Why don't they just avoid the nuclear suspicion and build chemical and biological weapons if they are so intent on oblitterating Isreal?

Speaking of the US bases in Iraq, how safe would they be if we used them to atach Shiite Iran? Is it even reasonable to think we can safely discuss military action without further destabilizing Iraq? Or, if the West seeks sanctions, will the new Iranian ally of Iraq wilfully increase oil output to quench our thirst, or will they curtail production and put a serious hurt to the world economy? Oil could supplant nukes as their weapon of choice.

Posted by: fcadmus on January 18, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Im neither deranged nor leftist and I do love my country. I even like yours, even if I prefer mine.

And which Banana Republic might that be?

Courtesy forbids telling my opinion about Bush, though.

Now there's a first! I'll assume you're not a New York taxi driver.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 18, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

When will the conservatives admit that rather than Iraq being the first domino to fall for the spread of democracy in the region, their invasion of Iraq had the ripple affect of forcing Iran to pursue a nulear weapon to secure its sovereignty.

Apples and Oranges. Both things are possible.

Plus, they witness the success of North Korea in staving off an American assault once it acquired the nuclear weaponry.

So just how did North Korea stave us off during the 40 or so years before they got nukes?

Speaking of the US bases in Iraq, how safe would they be if we used them to atach Shiite Iran? Is it even reasonable to think we can safely discuss military action without further destabilizing Iraq?

Now that's a genuinely interesting question.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 18, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz,

Bio-diesel probably has the same emission issues, but if someone built one, and it was legal to own in California, I'd look into buying it. Assuming it also burned regular diesel.

wrong. the emissions are much cleaner with biodiesel. VW makes several models that use the TDI engine. This engine can run on refined biodiesel with absolutely no modification whatsoever. With relatively minor modifications the TDI engine can run on pure vegetable oil. The last year you could buy one new in CA was the 2003 model. The current expectation is that the 2007 model will meet CA emission standards.

So, you can wait until 2007 to buy a brand new model that can run on biodiesel or you can buy a used VW from 2003 or before.

I have a 2003 VW Jetta TDI that gets an average of 43mpg. Total. My commute is roughly 1/2 highway, 1/2 city. My brother-in-law bought a used 2002 VW Jetta TDI that he runs biodiesel and regular diesel in. He gets roughly 40 mpg.

And yes, you can run biodiesel, regular diesel or even a mix of the two at any point. This is clearly one of our best transition options to the post cheap oil future.

Posted by: Edo on January 18, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

rsm,

So just how did North Korea stave us off during the 40 or so years before they got nukes?

I believe the thousands of pieces of artillary pointing at Seoul had something to do with that.

Posted by: Edo on January 18, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

After a long couple of months of installation and tense moments of well drilling, I'm about to get my geothermal heat pump system on line. Excited to see what kinds of savings I'll get.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 18, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Quite a chorus of rightwing regulars in this thread, I see, all arguing for a hardline stance against Iran.

Like the US has any leverage in this matter - Iran has already won Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Still, I enjoy watching the impotent raging against the inevitable.

Posted by: floopmeister on January 18, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK
Still, I enjoy watching the impotent raging against the inevitable.

Yeah, but on the other hand, the potential of their ideological allies in positions of power doing something futile and stupid to avoid admitting that the inevitable is inevitable is alarming.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 18, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

RSM: Now that's a genuinely interesting question.

You say that like's it's the first time you've seen it, when it's a point I've made several times previously in prior Iran threads. Our continued presence in Iran, three years after Bush et al. had intended we be gone, has made us, in effect, hostages to Shia good will. So long as we have 150,000 troops in the middle of Shia Iraq our options in regard to Shia Iran are sorely limited. The minute we raise a hand to the latter we lose the former. We've made a classical military blunder in entrusting our safety to a potentially hostile "ally."

Posted by: Stefan on January 18, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, but on the other hand, the potential of their ideological allies in positions of power doing something futile and stupid to avoid admitting that the inevitable is inevitable is alarming.

Yeah, good point.

You know, I've come to believe that Seneca's classic quote about Fate neatly encapsulates the difference between the progressive and conservative mindsets.

The progressive worldview is led by the twists and inevitabilities of Fate.

The conservative worldview is dragged.

Posted by: floopmeister on January 18, 2006 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan
You say that like's it's the first time you've seen it, when it's a point I've made several times previously in prior Iran threads.

Why, yes you did. And, why, yes I did acknowledge the (momentary?) wisdom of your observation. More than once. Go back and check.

As for your "classic military blunder" statement, I don't recall Vizzini mentioning that one.

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 18, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Our continued presence in Iran, three years after Bush et al. had intended we be gone, has made us, in effect, hostages to Shia good will. So long as we have 150,000 troops in the middle of Shia Iraq our options in regard to Shia Iran are sorely limited. The minute we raise a hand to the latter we lose the former. We've made a classical military blunder in entrusting our safety to a potentially hostile "ally."


This is such nonsense. If the Shia in Iraq had any ability to fight Saddam would not have been able to brutalize them for 30 years. If for some reason we need to go to Iran we go. We take the troops we need out of Iraq and take care of business. If the Shia in Iraq decide they don't want us there we leave. What is so hard about this? If the Shia and Sunni haven't sorted things out yet they will after we leave. They've been living along side each other for 1,000 years.

Out hesitation to deal with Iran has zero to do with Iraq. If anything it's an advantage. We are fully staged. This is a military that defeated Japan and Germany at the same time. To think we can't do with two medievil countries is moronic.

Posted by: rdw on January 18, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Out hesitation to deal with Iran has zero to do with Iraq. If anything it's an advantage. We are fully staged. This is a military that defeated Japan and Germany at the same time.

Yeah, but you didn't borrow money from a strategic rival in WWII to help defeat Germany and Japan.

Were you massively in debt to China throughout the 40's? I don't think so.

Oh, and this time you don't have the massive reserves of oil you had in WWII - which was one of your strategic advantages. You're importing more than half now, remember? Your military runs on imported oil now.

To think we can't do with two medievil countries is moronic.

You've got a nice line in gung ho rhetoric going there, but Iran ain't Iraq. Short of a draft, where will you get the grunts? You don't have them, period.

Posted by: floopmeister on January 18, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

We take the troops we need out of Iraq and take care of business.

Such Clausewitzian insight!

...70 million population...
...3 times the size of Iraq...
...horrible terrain...
...reasonably well equipped and well fed army...
...fourth largest opil producer...
...controls the world's oil chokepoint...
...overstretched US army with falling morale and retention rates...

= Take Care of Business!

So simple!

Posted by: floopmeister on January 18, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

``Afghanistan had political concensus.
Iran would be the same and the righties know it.''


Incorrect. There wouldn't have been, there is not and there will not be a political consensus on attacking Iran. You're delusional if you think that's true.

Posted by: secularhuman on January 18, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

This is a military that defeated Japan and Germany at the same time.

No, its not. That military was a largely conscript force that had 36 active army divisions at the beginning of the war (which, incidentally, it didn't chose) and around 90, IIRC, at its peak, the current one is an all-volunteer force with 10 army divisions. And its, what, 60 years later. Its not even a similar force, organizationally, in size, in equipment or any other way. Its completely different, and the world it exists in is completely different.

That the one is the distant predecessor of the other is of historical note but largely irrelevant.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 18, 2006 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

To think we can't do with two medievil countries is moronic.

We haven't yet defeated the medievil [sic] Iraqi forces -- they just morphed into a guerilla movement. Here's an excerpt from the latest assessment by USAid, which is similar to the reports issued by both Human Rights Watch and UNAMI:

An official assessment drawn up by the US foreign aid agency depicts the security situation in Iraq as dire, amounting to a "social breakdown" in which criminals have "almost free rein".

The "conflict assessment" is an attachment to an invitation to contractors to bid on a project rehabilitating Iraqi cities published earlier this month by the US Agency for International Development (USAid).

The picture it paints is not only darker than the optimistic accounts from the White House and the Pentagon, it also gives a more complex profile of the insurgency than the straightforward "rejectionists, Saddamists and terrorists" described by George Bush.

The USAid analysis talks of an "internecine conflict" involving religious, ethnic, criminal and tribal groups. "It is increasingly common for tribesmen to 'turn in' to the authorities enemies as insurgents - this as a form of tribal revenge," the paper says, casting doubt on the efficacy of counter-insurgent sweeps by coalition and Iraqi forces.

Meanwhile, foreign jihadist groups are growing in strength, the report said.

"External fighters and organisations such as al-Qaida and the Iraqi offshoot led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi are gaining in number and notoriety as significant actors," USAid's assessment said. "Recruitment into the ranks of these organisations takes place throughout the Sunni Muslim world, with most suicide bombers coming from Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region."

"In the social breakdown that has accompanied the defeat of Saddam Hussein's regime criminal elements within Iraqi society have had almost free rein," the document says. "In the absence of an effective police force capable of ensuring public safety, criminal elements flourish ... Baghdad is reportedly divided into zones controlled by organised criminal groups-clans."

The lawlessness has had an impact on basic freedoms, USAid argues, particularly in the south, where "social liberties have been curtailed dramatically by roving bands of self-appointed religious-moral police". USAid officials did not respond to calls seeking comment yesterday.

http://tinyurl.com/7zm6m

If you're just suggesting that we can do a repeat performance in Iran and turn it into a state of utter anarchy, that's probably doable. But if you think it's going to resolve itself like the situations with Japan and Germany did after WWII, think again.

Posted by: trex on January 18, 2006 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

We aren't going to do anything about Iran except perhaps try to identify the isotope blend from their reactors, in case any shows up in fall-out from a terrorist attack somewhere.That, and station a Trident submarine somewhere with every target bearing an Iranian location.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 19, 2006 at 7:04 AM | PERMALINK

This is a military that defeated Japan and Germany at the same time.


Am I misinformed or wasnt Germany beat by the soviet union, great britain and about 40 other countries together, not just by the USA ??

Posted by: Stefan2 on January 19, 2006 at 7:05 AM | PERMALINK

floopmeister,

We're not going to be fighting 80M people. We're not really even going to be fighting the Iranian Army. At least not after 3 days. If we do anything it'll be surgical. We go in and take out the nuclear assets and leave.

This is men versus boys. There will be no draft nor an occupation.

In fact there's only about a 1% chance of anything happening. The arms are not a threat to either Israel or the US. They are a threat to the Arab world and Europe. The Mullahs are the classic bullies. They want it for leverage. They know if they used a bomb on israel they would kill more muslims than jews and the remaining jews would turn all of Iran into a ghastly deathzone unable to sustain life for 50,000 years.

Posted by: rdw on January 19, 2006 at 7:27 AM | PERMALINK

Am I misinformed or wasnt Germany beat by the soviet union, great britain and about 40 other countries together, not just by the USA ??

The US did not do it alone but was the deciding factor. Absent US factories and manpower the Germans would have defeated both Britian and Russia.

Posted by: rdw on January 19, 2006 at 7:30 AM | PERMALINK

We're not really even going to be fighting the Iranian Army. At least not after 3 days. If we do anything it'll be surgical. We go in and take out the nuclear assets and leave.

Remember to wear your superhero cape when you lead our forces to victory!

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 19, 2006 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

Anybody who wants to compare the invasion/occupation of Iraq to an invasion/occupation of Iran needs to take a few seconds to look at a map.

1. Iran is geographically about four times the size of Iraq.

2. Iraq is mostly flat. Iran is mostly mountains.

Consider also that Saddam was supported only by his fellow tyrant cronies and whoever was getting paid off. Iran has a resistance, but it also has a sizable percentage of the population who are committed to its government and would fight on its behalf.

Posted by: wally on January 19, 2006 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

wally,

We're not going to fight the iraqi people. If on the 1% chance action is needed we go in. We take out the reactors. We leave. Isral did it 18 years ago. This is more difficult. We are more capable.

A simple understanding of diplomacy will tell you soft power is useless without hard power. Exhibit A = UN. Exhibit B = EU. The Mullahs have obviously been toying with both the UN and EU for years. They won't play chicken with GWB. You might be terrified of the Iranian resistance but I'll guarrantee you the Marines are not.

Iran has a fairly unique religion and ethnicity. They do not have the divisions we see in Iraq. There would be no reason to stay in Iran.

Posted by: rdw on January 19, 2006 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Targeting Iran's nuclear threat
TODAY'S EDITORIAL
January 19, 2006

In technical terms, the U.S. military has the ability to inflict major damage to Iran's nuclear weapons program, potentially setting it back for years. That's the general view of military strategists in the United States and Israel. Earlier this week, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld publicly confirmed that such a project has been contingently planned, and is doable.

Given that Iran's nuclear program is believed to be widely dispersed among dozens or more sites, some of them easily concealed and unknown to foreign intelligence agencies, it's not likely that military action short of overthrowing the current regime could eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat. Since Iran has a population of close to 70 million, almost three times the size of Iraq, it's extremely difficult to imagine any scenario by which the United States, with its armed forces stretched in Iraq, could assemble a coalition force large enough to effectively occupy the Islamic Republic of Iran. The most likely scenario is U.S. or Israeli destruction of Iranian nuclear facilities.

This is from the Washington Times. The consensus seems to be we can inflict significant damage and set the program back several years although not end it. This is very smart posturing. It's important they understand there are consequences. We're not France.

BTW: Bolton is doing a great job at the UN letting them know the anti-Israel parties are over. He's taking a very hard look at the budget as well. Kofi is no fool when it comes to money. He sees a squeeze coming.

Posted by: rdw on January 19, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Tremendous News!!!!

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that she will shift hundreds of Foreign Service positions from Europe and Washington to difficult assignments in the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere as part of a broad restructuring of the diplomatic corps that she has dubbed transformational diplomacy.

The State Departments culture of deployment and ideas about career advancement must alter now that the Cold War is over and the United States is battling transnational threats of terrorism, drug smuggling and disease, Rice said in a speech at Georgetown University. The greatest threats now emerge more within states than between them, she said. The fundamental character of regimes now matters more than the international distribution of power.

As part of the change in priorities, Rice announced that diplomats will not be promoted into the senior ranks unless they accept assignments in dangerous posts, gain expertise in at least two regions and are fluent in two foreign languages, citing Chinese, Urdu and Arabic as a few preferred examples.

Rice noted that the United States has nearly as many State Department personnel in Germany which has 82 million people as in India, with 1 billion people. As a first step, 100 jobs in Europe and Washington will be immediately shifted to expanded embassies in countries such as India, China and Lebanon. Many of these diplomats had been scheduled to rotate into coveted posts in European capitals this summer, and the sudden change in assignment has caused some distress, State Department officials said.

Officials said that ultimately as many as one-third of the 6,400 Foreign Service positions could be affected in the coming years.

Allow me to do the math. Over 2,100 diplomatic jobs will be removed from Old Europe. This will probably be 80% of all European posts. GWB will have permanently removed 90% of our troops from Old Europe a well. Consider the message this sends to everyone in the State Dept. Europe is Dead End. Want to learn a language to advance? Forget French or German. Want to work for the State Dept you know what to study and it's not Old Europe. The message to the rest of the world is equally clear. Jacques can't be happy.

Posted by: rdw on January 19, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Remember to wear your superhero cape when you lead our forces to victory.

I was going to tell you that as a neo-con I only make the decisions, as hard as they are. I don't have to carry them out. I know that fits your stereotype of a neocon. Except I'm no johnny-come-lately. There's nothing neo about me. I've been conservative my entire life.

Posted by: rdw on January 19, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

YES, WE'RE WINNING: Osama bin Laden offers a truce.

From instapundit.com.

There are also multiple reports the Sunni in Iraqi are hunting Al Qaeda down and killing them.

Posted by: rdw on January 19, 2006 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Threatening To Use Nuclear Weapons Against Terrorist States

No, that's not the latest bellicosity from George Bush--but from France:
BREST, France (Reuters) - France said on Thursday it would be ready to use nuclear weapons against any state that carried out a terrorist attack against it, reaffirming the need for its nuclear deterrent.

Deflecting criticism of France's costly nuclear arms program, President Jacques Chirac said security came at a price and France must be able to hit back hard at a hostile state's centers of power and its "capacity to act."

He said there was no change in France's overall policy, which rules out the use of nuclear weapons in a military conflict. But his speech pointed to a change of emphasis to underline the growing threat France perceives from terrorism.

"The leaders of states who would use terrorist means against us, as well as those who would consider using in one way or another weapons of mass destruction, must understand that they would lay themselves open to a firm and adapted response on our part," Chirac said during a visit to a nuclear submarine base in northwestern France.

Posted by: rdw on January 19, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

I wrote: "Plus, they witness the success of North Korea in staving off an American assault once it acquired the nuclear weaponry."

Red State answered: "So just how did North Korea stave us off during the 40 or so years before they got nukes?"

CHINA!!! At least for the first 30 years.

Must I remind you, North Korea was inserted into the Axis of Evil just five years ago...and the United States' administration only adopted the neocon policy the of unprovoked invasions of soveriegn nations afte 9/11/01.

For the entire period prior to George W. Bush's inauguration, the US policy was protecting South Korea, not challenging the soveriegnty of North Korea.

Posted by: fcadmus on January 19, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

I wrote: "When will the conservatives admit that rather than Iraq being the first domino to fall for the spread of democracy in the region, their invasion of Iraq had the ripple affect of forcing Iran to pursue a nuclear weapon to secure its sovereignty."

Red State replied: "Apples and Oranges. Both things are possible."

If democracy was a domino, then it could have flowed from Turkey...but it didn't. There are cultural and religious reasons why this region hasn't embraced western-style democracy despite significant exposure to western education, trade with the international markets and witnessing the benefits enjoyed by western democracies since the early 1800's. The domino effect espoused by the neocons is neither an apple nor an orange...its not even a raisin...it is farce, just as the communist domino never fell after Vietnam.

However, the evidence of nuclear proliferation instigated by the unprovoked invasion of Iraq was clearly foreseeable. Just think what our reaction would have been if China invaded Mexico or Canada. Your damn straight this nation and every individual would have pursued every conceivible measure to secure our soveriegnty.

Iran was opening diplomatic relations with the United States prior to the neocon brainstorm. We were talking about wrestling and soccer competitions, culteral exchanges and dropping embargos on cavier and pistacheos. Farm trade was growing 300% annually. Now, after the axis of evil speech...NADA!

The pursuit of nuclear weapons by Iran was not a foregone conclusion. Bush made it inevitable.

Posted by: fcadmus on January 19, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

fcadmus,

Iran has been pursuing nuclear technology since the mid 90's.

Posted by: rdw on January 19, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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