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Tilting at Windmills

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February 4, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

HOW LIKELY IS A MILITARY STRIKE AGAINST IRAN?....I was up in Los Angeles today, and along with a dozen other bloggers I spent about an hour chatting with Wes Clark, who was in town for a political rally. Clark had some provocative things to say about Iran and its nuclear program, especially in light of today's news that the IAEA has reported Iran to the UN Security Council because of concerns that they're developing nuclear weapons.

Here's what he said. Contrary to conventional wisdom, which suggests that Iran's research sites are too widespread to be destroyed via bombing, Clark believes that a military strike on Iran could wipe out its nuclear program very effectively indeed. He figures that a 14-day bombing campaign plus a few special-ops missions which he described in some detail would pretty much put them out of business. What's more, he also seems to believe that an operation like this is very much under active consideration within the White House and the Pentagon.

I have no idea what his sources are for this, of course, so take it for what it's worth. However, it does suggest that Democrats ought to figure out now what they think about Iran. After all, we've got the Ken Pollack book, we've got the referral to the Security Council, we've got the slam dunk intelligence, and we've got the lunatic leader screaming insults at the United States. Remember what happened the last time all the stars aligned like that?

So: What would be the Democratic response if (a) Bush asked for an authorization of force against Iran or (b) simply launched an assault without asking Congress? The chances of this coming up as an issue this year are strong enough that it would be foolish not to be prepared to deal with it.

UPDATE: Apparently some commenters are reading more into this than is there. For the record: Clark didn't say he thought a military strike against Iran was a good idea. He just said it was entirely feasible and that the White House considers it a serious option.

Kevin Drum 8:29 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (634)

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Comments

1. If Bush launches a strike without consent of Congress-immediately introduce an impeachment resolution and when it fails, walk out until the election.
2. If he asks, for Christ's sake vote "no."
Of course Kevin, you know and I know neither of these plans will be adopted. And the few survivors of the Republican sweep of '06 will shake their heads and wonder why.

Posted by: JMG on February 4, 2006 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Iran is 10 years from a bomb, at best. This would probably start a global war. God knows it's a wonder we haven't managed it yet.

Posted by: Dilapidus on February 4, 2006 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree. If Bush used force without asking, and then Democrats went after him on it, he'd play the same "can't trust Dems with national security card" he's played over and over again.

However wrongheaded this might be, thanks to the Prez's bully pulpit, that's what the people will hear, and Repubs will profit from it in '06 unless military operations go very badly very quickly.

Posted by: Don Zeko on February 4, 2006 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

How likely? Too damned likely.

Dems' best response?
1) This is what we should have kept our powder dry for all along - a REAL threat.
2) 65% of Iraqis are Shi'ites. Our troops in Iraq have their hands full just with the Sunni insurgency. Things aren't any worse for us than they are because we've formed a de facto alliance with the Shi'ites. A strike against Iran will end that alliance for sure. If the President wants to hit Iran, we'll back him - but FIRST he'd better make sure our troops in Iraq are ready to deal with living in a country where practically everyone hates them.

That's my take, anyway.

Posted by: RT on February 4, 2006 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Operation Barbarossa, all over again.

Posted by: VietnamVet on February 4, 2006 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

I think that with the IAEA on our side, the Democratic Party should be perfectly willing to take action against Iran and must say so forcefully. the Democrats must also state forcerfully that no Bush / Rumsfeld led military is capapble of addressing the issue competently. We must acknowledge the need to deal with the threat, and simultaneously express the inabitlity of the current administraton to address it, or to be counted on for an honest assessment.

It is particularly important to stress our agreement with the IAEA in their analysis of the situation in the leadup to Iraq. If they feel that Iran presents a threat we must be willing to accept that their recommendations might imply a need for military action. There is no circumstance under which it can be allowed soley on the basis of Rummy / Cheney intelligence. We need to actively frame the matter accordingly. If our position is simply "no war with Iran", then we should hold our breath and focus our energies on something we can handle like the upcoming baseball season rather than governing the country.

Posted by: Jim Bob on February 4, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

You're kidding, right? Did you listen or read what the "lunatic leader " had to say in its entirety or just hear the choicely edited snippets? Are you aware that Iran is scheduled to start its own oil commodities market in March and that it will not denominate in dollars but in Euros and that is what really has the US oligarchy shitting itself? Do you think there will be no consequences for this strike? What about the great mass of Iraqi Shia that have until now been biding their time? If we can barely keep control of the green zone and the airport now what happens when the Shia hit the fan? What about Iran shutting down the Straits of Hormuz? Where the hell have you been the last two years ? Have you forgotten what utterly incompetent and lying bastards the Bush administration is? But let's just forget all this and shit ourselves because Karl Rove might say we're soft on terror. It's time for the Democrats to show strength and resolve by fighting this absolutely disasterous idea right now. THAT'S the kind of guts Americaqns want to see from the Democrats.

Posted by: nameless bob on February 4, 2006 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK


KEVIN DRUM: [blah, blah, blah] we've got the lunatic leader screaming insults at the United States.

They've got no monopoly on lunatic leaders. Ours is even lunatickier.
KEVIN DRUM: So: What would be the Democratic response if [blah, blah, blah]

The Democrats are lunatics too if they wait for more of Bush's ifs. Impeach Bush NOW!


Posted by: jayarbee on February 4, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

If Wes Clark thinks that Iran's nuclear program is easily targetable, he's one of a very few I know of that thinks so.

A year, or ten years from a bomb? That's a very important question. And believe me, there's also one hell of a difference between a "bomb set off on a test range" and a "bomb that fits on top of a missile."

It's a major miracle that we even got this issue to the Security Council. Whether it does much good or not, it will at least drive the issue home. Give the U.N. some rope, and see what happens. At least for a while. I suspect sanctions would raise the mullahs' hackles almost as much as a military attack would. Iranian attempts to block the Persian Gulf would get interesting pretty damn quick.

What I wish the U.S. and other nations were doing right now is supporting the dissidents in Iran. As I understand it, Iran has an even stronger educated secular base than Iraq did. There are union movements there that have some potential as a liberating influence, too.

Maybe Iran needs a bombing attack right now a lot less than it needs a Lech Walesa.

Suggestion for the Democrats: Look at any Bush policy on this on its own merits, rather than seeing what Bush does and setting yourself automatically on the opposite side.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 4, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

My response if Bush asks for authorization is:

make you a deal - you resign the Presidency, put Wes Clark in charge of the assault, and sure - authority granted.

But authority to George W Bush to go fishing for "security" votes in 06 and 08? No fucking way.

Posted by: craigie on February 4, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

If Bush were to launch a strike against Iran without first making an iron-clad case to the world, and without gathering a world-wide and Islamic world-wide support, his actions will provoke far worse responses than Nixon's extension of the Viet Nam War into Cambodia.

World opinion aside, that action would expose Bush as the reckless and dangerous person that he has been the entire time.

Posted by: James E. Powell on February 4, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

My god, it's like Lucy with the football, Charlie Brown. They're gonna take you in again. Two years from now we'll look back and see it was all manipulated propaganda but hey, who could have known they would lie and manipulate intellegience or manipulate the IEAA or misrepresent their findings, right? I mean it's not like they have ever done that before.

Christ, I give up.

Posted by: nameless bob on February 4, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

It's a shame we've squandered every last drop of credibility we ever had with the entire world. Yep. A damn shame.

Posted by: lin on February 4, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Bush will wait for the UN Security Council to take a position.

He doesn't need to, though. If Bush took out Iran's nuclear facilities now, he would have bi-partisan support from Democrats, plus the support of our allies. This time, including France.

Posted by: GOPGregory on February 4, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Suggestion for the Democrats: Look at any Bush policy on this on its own merits, rather than seeing what Bush does and setting yourself automatically on the opposite side

Suggestion for Bush-lovers: look at the Bush record so far, instead of setting yourself automatically on the Bush side.

Posted by: craigie on February 4, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems damn well need a strategy on this one.

You know why? Because to Bush, the strategic implications of hitting Iran won't matter -- if they decide to strike militarily, they will time it nicely for the 2006 midterms, and use it as a cudgel against Dems.

That sounds a bit familiar, doesn't it? The year 2002 is in my mind for some reason ...

The Dems don't need much of an actual policy stance on this --they have no power, and they are not going to be consulted with in any honest way by this administration.

But they damn well need a political stance on this. I'm not sure what it'd be: probably that a military strike is on the table, with international support only, but that they have grave misgivings that Commander Codpiece could actually do it right. He has the reverse Midas touch -- everything Bush touches turns to shit.

And we need to be prepared for the crippling oil embargo if Bush does strike.

Posted by: teece on February 4, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

If the events of the last week prove anything its that some societies are in no way mature enough to be trusted with "the bomb".

Pakistan was a huge screw up, now we are stuck with supporting their corrupt government because we can't afford to let anyone else control their weapons.

This is some serious shit. The loyal oppostion (we Dems)must continuely press and challenge the administration to be clear, transparent and forthwright in addressing this issue. Posturing for electoral or PR advantage - not acceptable.

Remember, if we attack Iran in any way, we will be attacking the Islamic world (once again) Against that backdrop, this week's cartoon riots ight just seem, well, cartoonish.

In other words, there will be no good options, just some that are slightly less miserable than others.

Posted by: Keith G on February 4, 2006 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

Posturing for electoral or PR advantage - not acceptable

Yes, it's only Democrats who don't have this option. We have to be responsible. Meanwhile, fiddling while the US gets progressively less safe, because it gives the Republicans an electoral advantage - completely acceptable.

Give me a fucking break.

Posted by: craigie on February 4, 2006 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

(b) simply launched an assault without asking Congress?

Kevin Drum 8:29 PM

Can Bush (as an US president) strike another country without asking the US Congress for permission? Or do Congress only enters the picture if the president want to declare war?

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 4, 2006 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK


In other news, the guy down the block from me with a huge collection of guns has heard that I'm considering the purchase of a derringer. Word is he's planning a massive assault on my home to make the neighborhood safer.


Posted by: jayarbee on February 4, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

A year, or ten years from a bomb? That's a very important question.

Washington Post:

Negroponte said that on its current path, Iran "will likely have the capability to produce a nuclear weapon within the next decade." One year ago, Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby, then director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told Congress that Iran was within five years of the capability to make a nuclear weapon.
Posted by: Ruth on February 4, 2006 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

Take a breath craig, we are on the same side.

If this unfolds violently, I would like to know that my party was able to define and advocate the long term national interest.

Something that wasn't done by either side, 2002-2003.

Posted by: Keith G on February 4, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

Can Bush (as an US president) strike another country without asking the US Congress for permission? Or do Congress only enters the picture if the president want to declare war?

Good question. The closest recent similar operation (quick aerial war against military targets in the Middle East) would probably be Desert Fox, which I believe was run under the authority of the original Authorization to Use Force given to George H.W. Bush. I don't recall any specific request for Congressional authorization for Desert Fox, but I could be wrong. I do know the U.N. did not approve.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 4, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Wasn't Iran getting more progressive a few years ago, and didn't they become more radical in response to Bush administration, particularly the invasion of Iraq? I never hear this faction mentioned in the current drumbeat coverage.

Posted by: NJC on February 4, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

And Clark has all this information that no one else has, how, exactly?

Posted by: G Money on February 4, 2006 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

Can Bush, politically speaking, really refrain from pushing the use of force after Iraq? He did use the WMDs as the key casus belli in the Iraq operation.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 4, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

Take a breath craig, we are on the same side.

That's nice. Which side are the Republicans on?

Look, the simple truth is that after 5+ years of lying (6 if you count the 2000 presidential campaign), there is truly nothing that Bush could say or do that would convince me that he is being honest on this or any other issue. Nothing.

So I'm sorry if "quick! Attack Iran!" seems to me to be something only being said for partisan advantage in front of the 06 elections - and something never to be mentioned again afterwards.

Bush (and Rove and Frist and Cheney and DeLay and ...) are liars. They can't help it - they just lie all the time about everything. So I go a little gaga when someone suggests that, in the face of that, we have to be the grownups.

Posted by: craigie on February 4, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Last year the US "sold" some bunker busting bombs to our Isreali friends. I believe they have been threatened by the Iranian President. I suspect there is a reason the US "sold" the bombs to Isreal. I also believe Isreal has a first rate air force. Explain to me why the US is the only player capable of taking action in this situation.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 4, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Remember General Clark's air campaign in Kosovo? Clark claimed that it would bring Milosovic to his knees in days. It took weeks. Clark claimed that he had destroyed hundreds of Serbian armored vehicles. The actual count was 14.

Perhaps General Clark should not be our authority for swift, surgical air campaigns.

Posted by: No Preference on February 4, 2006 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats should handle Iran the same way most of them handled Iraq.

Insist that Bush work with the international community via the United Nations. Insist that Bush operate in good faith. If the information and policy he advocates is as foolish and deceitful as it was with Iraq, fight him tooth and nail. If his process is straightforward and realistic, support him.

The difference this time around is that we know more than ever that Bush cannot be trusted. Neither his honesty or his competence. So no bull should be tolerated at all, regardless of perceived political consequences.

And the idea of unilateral U.S. action is extremely foolish. On an issue like Iranian nuclear capability, we dont need any lone ranger action from Israel or the United States, primarily because it is not necessary. Consensus can be built.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on February 4, 2006 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Bush (and Rove and Frist and Cheney and DeLay and ...) are liars. They can't help it - they just lie all the time about everything. So I go a little gaga when someone suggests that, in the face of that, we have to be the grownups.

This is exactly why the Dems need a political strategy on Iran, but not much else. An actual foreign policy strategy with Iran for the Dems is almost utterly pointless: the current Republican administration is corrupt to it's core, and has shown zero qualms about using matters of life-and-death national security as political footballs. The entire Iraqi adventure seems to have been timed solely to monkey with the '02 elections, and was purposed for the sole mission of giving Commander Codpiece his wartime President moniker that he wanted so badly. That, and he wanted to one-up Daddy.

There is absolutely no reason to believe that the Republicans would honestly listen to anything the Democrats had to say about Iran. So the Dems position on Iran is effectively irrelavent.

But the Republicans are damn sure going to try and use Iran as a way to get elected come Nov. 2006 -- especially when you consider how bad things are looking for them right now.

So the Dems need to think long and hard about how to deal politically with Iran and the Republicans. Because it is only if they figure out the politics of the matter that they will be able to have any serious discussion about foreign policy. That is, unless they play the politics right and win the House or Senate in '06, their foreign policy is just pissing in the wind.

The Bush White House and Republican congress will do whatever it takes to hurt Dems this Nov., with zero regard for issues of national security.

Posted by: teece on February 4, 2006 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

It's painfully obvious what the Democratic response would be.

"Wha---? Huh. Well, gee, OK."

Posted by: rabbit on February 4, 2006 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

Nothing will dissuade the Iranians in their weapons development like 14 days of bombing.

Posted by: Digital Amish on February 4, 2006 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

Last year the US "sold" some bunker busting bombs to our Isreali friends. I believe they have been threatened by the Iranian President. I suspect there is a reason the US "sold" the bombs to Isreal. I also believe Isreal has a first rate air force. Explain to me why the US is the only player capable of taking action in this situation.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 4, 2006 at 9:23 PM

I'm pretty sure Israel is already flexing its fingers on the trigger over this. And no wonder: they do have a lot to lose if Iran goes nuclear. But if a US attack on Iran is bound to create quite a backlash on the Muslim world, can you imagine what an Israeli attack would do?

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 4, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats should call for Bush to bomb Iran NOW.

Then if/when Bush does bomb Iran, it'll look like he needed Democrats to get him to take governing seriously.

And that's a story-line WE should be creating...

Posted by: Density-land on February 4, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

But if a US attack on Iran is bound to create quite a backlash on the Muslim world, can you imagine what an Israeli attack would do?

If we'd left Saddam alone, we could now pay him to invade Iran for us - and it would have cost a lot less than the $1trillion this little war is going to end up costing us.

Hmmm, I wonder if I'm kidding...

Posted by: craigie on February 4, 2006 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

"Democrats ought to figure out now what they think about Iran"

Bless the Democrats, for they are so useful.

But wouldn't thinking about Iran distract from non-stop Bush hatred? Gotta keep your eye on the ball, Kevin.

Posted by: am on February 4, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

RT upthread captures a major problem inherent in any action against Iran. What do all of those Shi'ites in Iraqnow sort of, kind of allied with usdo about it? I suspect that our troops in Iraq don't want to find out. War hero Bush could find himself having lost one warif he hasn't already done soon account of having started another one. The unfortunate reality is that the leaders of this administration may be so stupid that they don't realize it. So is precipitous action possible? You bet.

Democratic response to anything here? Hah! Don't bet on it. Republicans, who control the Congress? You gotta be kidding. American public opinion? Go kill them terrists Georgie. You betcha.

Surprisingly, tbrosz has a very cogent post. I actually agree with him. Whatever happened to fomenting revolution? We used to be fairly good at it. In fact, we've done that sort of thing in Iran. Iran is ripe for some dirty tricks. But, then, Iraq was too. And look what happened there.

Bend over. Get ready for more casualties in Iraq and $5 a gallon gas. We really are led by the gang that can't shoot straight.

Posted by: Nixon Did It on February 4, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

Why is it that Iran's nuclear weapons program is any more of a problem that Israel's or Pakistan's?

Israel is crazy enough to use them.

Pakistan's government can't be considered stable and the most likely replacement government is more likely to transfer nukes to al Qaeda than Iran's government.

Isn't the United States less likely to get into a regionally destabilizing war if Iran acquires nukes quickly?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Israel is crazy enough to use them.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg

The difference is that the leader of Iran has said he wants to wipe Isreal off the map. Also the Mullahs that pull the strings are radical idealouges

Posted by: Fat White Guy on February 4, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

I'm unable to care very much about the threat of Iran having a nuclear bomb. Not that there aren't plenty of crazy-ass religious fuckers in their leadership, but that ship already sailed when Pakistan got the bomb. I don't see them as any more of a threat than Pakistan, and in some ways less; Iran has a more resilient civil society and yes, more democracy than Pakistan. Pakistan is about 5 minutes from a successful coup at any point; Iran isn't.

Nor can I find their interest in obtaining nuclear arms to be invalid; the Bushistas made it clear that they feel free to destroy any country that they want, with or without legitimate reasons. They used to call that waging aggressive war, and hung people for it, but it's apparently OK now. And that the only convincing deterrent to is having nukes.

So in other words, I think the country is run by oppressive assholes, but they are acting in a perfectly rational manner, which makes it hard to work up righteous fury, even though I think the world would be better off without them having nukes.

And in response to the person who was saying that it was all more faked intelligence, Iran flat out has the industrial base, scientific talent, and money flow to do it within a reasonable time. I don't think there's much debate about that, though the exact period is arguable.

So I suppose the politically smart thing to do is indeed to get all rabid and foaming to kill! Kill! KILL! And Kevin and co. are undoubtedly correct that the Bushistas will use it to win the '06 elections. I'm just not enough of a hypocrite to be able to wave a flag and cheer it on.

The utter, utter stupidity of wasting billions of dollars, 2000 American lives, and huge amounts of our war materiel to put several hundred thousand American hostages in a country that post 1991 was a neutered backwater I can get behind pointing out, though.

Posted by: tavella on February 4, 2006 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Can Bush (as an US president) strike another country without asking the US Congress for permission? Or do Congress only enters the picture if the president want to declare war?


Brazil Connection -- good question!

Here is the conundrum we are witnessing:
Only Congress has the authority to declare war (US Constitution, (Article I, Section 8) but the President is the Commander in Chief of "the Army and Navy and militia of several states", (Article II, section 2) Which means that the president can order the military to do anything that he wants as he is in command. He cannot however, legally declare a state of war. That is Congress' job. The kicker is that since war is expensive and Congress hold the purse-strings of the Treasury, he has to get his funding from Congress. Hence, Congress authorizes certain uses of military force (as they did with Iraq) so the president can get his funding.

War on Iraq has never been legally declared. What is going on, however, is being funded through legal, if not deceitful, means. (And in my opinion, it is/was deceitful).

Does that help?

Posted by: jcricket on February 4, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

I'm disappointed in Wes Clark - this just feeds into thinking there is a military solution. The most pertinent question is what happens after the bombing campaign. My guess is a permanently inflamed Shiite Iran; chaos in the oil markets and the Mohammed cartoon clashes would seem like child play.

Posted by: Phyllis on February 4, 2006 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

Iranian politicians talk trash, so what?

The United States and Israel have openly contemplated first use of nuclear weapons.

IMO, Iran's leaders are just beating their chests. I'm not so sure about the Neo Cons and Likud.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

While everyone is ready to pull the trigger, try imagining that the trigger doesn't even exist.

How do you destroy a nuclear program that hasn't created a single weapon?

Iran has no nukes. Wipe out their ability to weaponize material and that will set them back but it may not deter them.

When Israel wiped out Iraq's reactor, it set them back but they kept trying. The Iraqis did what they could to reconstitute a program but fell far short of getting themselves in a position to make a weapon.

While I respect General Clark, he probably doesn't want to acknowledge what would happen to Israelie, US or NATO pilots that would be shot down in Iran.

I mean, the Iranians aren't going to simply power down their air defenses and allow a carrier group to park in the Strait of Hormuz. And they're not about to tolerate strikes launched from Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE or Qatar.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 4, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

If we're gonna have a reality-based discussion of nuclear weapons it seems like the "nukes are good" perspective should get plenty of play.

Nuclear weapons kept the Cold War from becoming out-of-control.

Why not reproduce this model?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

Few noticed the special message Bush sent directly
to the Iranian people last Tues was very similar
to the way he talked to the Iraqi people before the invasion.

Posted by: Semanticleo on February 4, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

I don't get it.

As others have pointed out, up until recently we've been hearing that the Iranians were 5-10 years away from nuclear weapons.

If the US bombs Iranian sites, the Iranians blockade the Straits of Hormuz.

Game over. Saddle up your horse, the 70s oil shocks are going to look like a bump by comparison.

2006 elections will look very far off very quickly.

Up until tonight, I was a Clark supporter. Now I'm not sure I want his hand on the button.

The alternatives are looking like Dukakis from Virginia or Dukakis from Indiana.

What is wrong with this country?

Posted by: Taylor on February 4, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever else about this issue, it is important to make sure that the likely ramifications of any such attack are spelled out to the American people so that they have the facts and a reasonable idea of what to expect if military action is taken. One of the worst things Bushco did regarding the selling of the Iraq war was to leave the American people totally unprepared for the predictable and predicted results, especially since Bushco spent much of its efforts squelching such information instead of presenting the American people with the facts of the matter so they could make an informed decision. Whatever else the American military is stretched really thin and is worn down quite a lot as well because of the Iraq war and occupation. Therefore it needs making sure that discussion occurs about how well that military can deal with not just the mission but the repercussions of that mission given the troops deployed in Iraq as noted by RT as well as elsewhere in that region.

Iran is a real problem politically. Unlike Iraq it does have WMDs, is well known to be working on nuclear technology, and even had links to the 9/11/01 operation at a minimum by letting members slide through their customs without official notice. Not to mention far closer links with regional terrorist groups, including the funding of them and supplying them with weapons capabilities as well. So it does represent a real threat to American security and global security because of the sensitivity of the region on both resource and societal (religious) grounds. So Kevin is quite correct when he states the Dems need to have this thought out now, because trying to do it on the fly will only reinforce the image of Dems being soft/idiots on national security issues.

I am also inclined to think that since this matter is coming to a head in this year that it is extremely probable Bushco and the GOP will use this to try and limit fallout from the various corruption scandals in Congress. The one thing that must worry Bushco is the possibility of having to face a hostile chamber of Congress investigating their activities and actually performing oversight instead of the rubber stamp they have had from the GOP Congress. So they will do whatever they can to try and prevent such an outcome, and unfortunately the GOP and Bushco have proven in 2002 and 2004 that they will use and abuse national security issues and concerns solely for partisan political gains/purposes regardless of what the long term consequences can/will be.

In many ways this is a far more complex issue than Iraq ever was. Iran poses a real threat, and does have the capacity to strike back from any such assault, unlike Iraq. It also will unify the Iranian people like nothing else, and 75 million people all out for blood next door to the great democratic experiment in Iraq, a country 2/3rds of the same ethnic group as the vast majority of Iran will have so many ways of striking back. While their retributions will not be anywhere near as powerful individually as the American attack, like drops of water they will accumulate and in toto will be surprisingly damaging and costly.

What the Dems need to do is approach this rationally. They need to make sure they state that they recognize the threat potential, but that they also recognize the reality of America's armed forces, her credibility and respect on the global stage especially on military matters these days, and the need for a REAL international consensus before doing anything so definitive. The law of unintended consequences loves this sort of thing, especially in that region of the world, as Iraq so graphically reminds us of. They need to make sure they have a consistent message, but they also must be equally insistent on the need for oversight and showing that the aftermath is being planned for in detail as the Iraq war clearly was not. Indeed, that last point could be used to not only defend on Iran but to emphasize the mess because of too little forethought, consideration, or even concern for the aftermath of dealing with Iraq. America can not afford a similar mess from Iran, especially while so many of her troops are in Iraq to begin with. That is the sort of message the Dems need to be thinking along the lines of I'd say.

They also need to be willing to counter GOP talking points about Dems being weak/bad for national security by constantly reminding everyone they were not the ones that did not plan for the occupation of Iraq, nor were they the ones that mismanaged everything so badly despite their attempts to point out the foreseeable troubles that came true. That Bush and the GOP have had a free hand because of their control of Congress and the Executive, so really who is wrong for national security again? Pound it home every single time and mock the GOP spinners whenever they try to claim otherwise. That is the only way to get past it, by being confident about it and standing up for it at every opportunity. After all, it isn't like one is lying about anything, so there is no fear of trouble for false/misleading statements. Not to mention the sight of the willingness to stand the ground will also reinforce this message while undercutting the GOP one about how weak Dems are.

Posted by: Scotian on February 4, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

OmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigod!!!!!!!!

"British intelligence has learned that" Iran "is determined to" "develop weapons of mass destruction" "verified by expatriates and dissidents" "former nuclear scientists of the regime" "popular expatriate waiting to take over seamlessly" "leader of resistance group" "rose petals" "reconstruction will pay for itself" "America-hating leftist traitors love terrorists" "watch what you say"

Whew! Only had to change one word from the original screenplay from 2003.

Posted by: Phobos Deimos on February 4, 2006 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

IRAQ WAS A TOUGH CALL AND I STILL THINK WE WERE RIGHT NOT TO APPEASE HUSSEIN; THE INSPECTIONS WERE NOT EFFECTIVE BECAUSE THEY WERE THWARTED AND THUS DID NOT PERMIT US SECURITY; REGARDLESS OF THE WMD THAT MUCH IS TRUE. THE SANCTIONS WERE A WORSE FAILURE. SO, "FRAME" ALL YOU WANT, THE ALTERNATIVE TO MILITARY ACTION WAS ON-GOING APPEASEMENT. AGAIN, IT WAS A TOUGH CALL.

IRAN IS A NO-BRAINER; BETTER NOW THAN LATER. TODAY, ANDREA MERKEL OF GERMANY SAID IT AS ONLY THE CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY CAN SAY IT: THIS IS HITLER ALL OVER AGAIN. WHERE HUSSEIN WAS A WILD-CARD AT LEAST HE WAS RELATIVELY RATIONAL; THE IRANIANS ARE CAUGHT UP IN SOMEKIND OF PHANTASMAGORIC GROUP THINK AKIN TO THE NAZI OCCULT NORSE MYTHOLOGY. AND THEY CAN DO MORE DAMAGE MORE QUICKLY.

I REGRET THE CAPS; BUT AMERICA NEEDS THE REGRESSIVE-DEMOCRATS ON BOARD FOR THIS IRAN CHALLENG - FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE TO THE MEDIA OUTLETS TO THE HOLLYWOOD PARTY CURCUIT TO THE UPPER WEST SIDE VIRTUAL SALONS TO THE FARMS TO THE STREET.

IF THE IRANIANS START SOMETHING, I SAY LET'S ROLL.

[P.S., WE WON'T BE NATION BUILDING THIS TIME; JUST MASSIVE RETALIATORY DEATH AND DESTRUCTION . . . MUCH EASIER.]

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 4, 2006 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

Someday somebody is going to ask why the United States of America should be the sole authority as to who should have nuclear weapons and who shouldn't.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on February 4, 2006 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

It is often true in war that when battles begin to turn in favor of an enemy, that the panicked party lashes out against peripheral enemies as if just one more big battle will turn the tide. The reality is that it is actually a time to concentrate forces, withdraw to defensible positions, and relook at one's strategic objectives. Would that Murtha was in charge. These guys are still trying to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail. My suspicion is that the administration is trying to deny victory in Iraq to Iran by another name. The Iranians are fools if they keep this up, however, they have no dog in this fight and can wait for optimal outcomes. But they are also foolish zealots and may glow in the dark for their love of opposition. For America, it may be too late--leadership is crazed or abysmal.

Posted by: Sparko on February 4, 2006 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

Capabilities become intentions,if the administration thinks it has the capability to take out the Iran nuclear program,it's a short walk to doing so. I agree with those who have said the Dem position should be to let the international pressure continue,back the Russian plan to process uranium,and insist the administration have a real good bug out plan for the troops in Iraq. In 1979,there were what 59 hostages? Now there are 138,000 just over the border.

Posted by: TJM on February 4, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Is the United States more secure than it was before invading Iraq?

How will Iraqi Shi'ites react to the U.S. military slaughtering Iranian Shi'ites?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Nuclear weapons kept the Cold War from becoming out-of-control.

The elites of both sides of the cold war really, really liked staying alive; and, the governments involved were relatively stable. In an Islamic arms race...not so much.

Posted by: Keith G on February 4, 2006 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Dr. Sardonicus:

Why? Because it's in our national security interest to be the sole authority. It was simple enough to answer.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 4, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

How long before we see Joe Biden at the Rose Garden endorsing Bush's determination to attack Iran, undercutting Harry Reid's attempt to stop a stampede of frightened Democrats?

Like Mr Berra said, it's deja vu all over again!

Posted by: Taylor on February 4, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G, what is your evidence that Islamic political leaders lack a self-preservation instinct?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Objective Historian: My mentally ill incarcerated clients send me letters in all caps like your post. Don't apologize for it, don't do it! It's obnoxious and just plain unreadable.

Posted by: Donna Dallas on February 4, 2006 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Objective", what is your evidence that it's more in U.S. national interests for the United States to police nuclear weapons proliferation than it is in our interest to allow the United Nations to fulfill the function?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

IF THE IRANIANS START SOMETHING, I SAY LET'S ROLL.

Roll where? Think it'll be a cake walk?

Think again.

And where, pray tell, are you going to find the troops, the ships and the weapons inventory to do this? Did it escape people that our military is stretched to the breaking point, our Navy is well below the 300 ship mark, our airlift capability is also stretched thanks to Iraq and our inventory of weapons and spare parts has been seriously depleted--depleted to where they've raided the stocks in Korea, only to find much of the gear stored there has rotted?

Let's roll, huh?

Roll over Iran's air defenses? Roll past their Surface to Ship missile defenses?

How about we chat about the last time US Marines took on Iran. We had a bit of a dustup on an oil rig in...hmm? Was it 1988? Can't recall right now.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 4, 2006 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

An amazing thread, with tbrosz as the voice of reason.

I'd be hugely skeptical of the idea that some airstrikes and a few commando raids will dispose of the whole program. Recall that this is the same bunch that was SURE there were active WMD programs in Iraq; if they were that wrong there, how can they know enough about the disposition of the Iranian nuke program to take it all out surgically?

Aside from the implausibility of the mission, there's also the question of what this does with the U.S. troops in Iraq, living among a sea of shiites. Worst-case scenario: we don't really do much more than dent Iran's program, while at the some time making the Iraqi insurgency 2 to 5 times what it is now. Add to that some pictures of dead Iranian women and children from "collateral damage," and chaos on the world oil markets, and this has the capacity to go very very wrong.

By now I should think it should be clear that Democrats should never, ever cooperate with the Bush White House. Will they be called traitors? Of course they will. They will be anyway. Oppose Bush's action, which is certain to turn to crap just as all his others have. What if war with Iran turns out to be a huge success? If it does, it'l be a first for W.

Posted by: jimBOB on February 4, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

1930s passivism killed 60 million people from 1939-1945; the policy of peace does not mean there will be no bloodshed.

I'm telling you; no appeasement. Zero. If the satelitte mounted Geiger counter goes off over Iran, LAUNCH; death and destruction.

And this time, let's just commandeer the oil, let the U.N. audit us, pay the Iranians royalties in food and medical supplies and use the remainder as salaries for local police and militia to keep the peace as best as they can; if we suspect terrorist camps, we pinpoint missile strike 'em from the Persian Gulf

Then we step back and let them kill each other if they want or watch them figure it out on their own if they want.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 4, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Just to make something clear here, General Clark has never advocated for following the military option...He has been a strong and clear advocate of opening a dialogue with Iran...and now! He has repeatedly mentioned the fact that the consequences of a military option here may be very bad indeed....but he has not denied that there is a military option. You can watch or listen to his recent remarks in his "Real State of the Union 20006" address at the New America Foundation conference last week here: http://securingamerica.com/node/560 .

It seems to me that all that he was doing in this session with the bloggers was expressing his opinion that a military strike could be successful in taking out the nuclear program...not in any way that that is the course we should pursue or that it would be wise at all to do so.

Thanks for reading....

Posted by: Carol on February 4, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Carl,

Pure speculation.

And some second hand info about rewards of a death suffered while fighting infidels.

Posted by: Keith G on February 4, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Operation Preying Mantis was a pre-emptive strike on the Iranian navy and was quite successful.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

If Bush were to launch a strike against Iran without first making an iron-clad case to the world, and without gathering a world-wide and Islamic world-wide support, his actions will provoke far worse responses than Nixon's extension of the Viet Nam War into Cambodia.

Maybe. But I don't recall Israel's demolition of Iraq's program way back when provoking a "far worse respone" than Nixon's extension of American military action in southeast Asia. Remember, we're not talking about a land invasion. We're talking about aerial bombardment and cruise missiles targeting military assets. Much of the world -- including most the governments of the Middle East -- will be grateful.

Now, the obvious objection to this line of reasoning is that Iran's nuke program will require a far longer and more robust campaign than Israel's single strike against Iraq. And two weeks' worth of bombing the snot out of Tehran's WMD facilities no doubt will provoke the usual cries for the blood of infidels from the usual quarters. But so what? What are they going to do about it? Hijack some more planes? They already tried that and we're still standing. Fuck 'em.

By the way. Absolutely nothing in the Constitution of the United States would justify impeachment proceedings should Bush move against Iran without Congressional approval. He's the CIF, and can order such action if he wishes. Did the president get congressional approval for Grenada or Panama? Congress could, of course, vote to withhold funds, but that won't happen, and isn't practical, given the reality that we're talking about a mere two weeks or so worth of military action.

Finally, my guess is, if we strike Iran, we will indeed do so without warning. Bush isn't about to telegraph his intentions to Abjimaniac by asking Congress for a declaration of war. And one last point: before you indulge in talk of Pearl Harbor and Barbarossa, remember Israel's attack against Saddam. Are you seriously arguing that action wasn't prudent and justified?

Posted by: 99 on February 4, 2006 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

1930s passivism killed 60 million people from 1939-1945; the policy of peace does not mean there will be no bloodshed.

Oh, please. Put away the war drums and have a cup of shut the fuck up.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 4, 2006 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

Cake walk?

You are confused as to my plan; this should be a Bosnia type mission. We're not looking to control territory or supervise people like in Iraq (arguably a mistake), but a la W. T. Sherman and U.S. Grant, we're going to kill enemy combatants and destroy economic infrastructure from the air. If mayhem ensues below, that's their problem.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 4, 2006 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G, are you concerned that your stereotypes of Muslims are dehumanizing?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

Donald Rumsfeld today...

Speaking before the International Atomic Energy Agency voted to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear program, Rumsfeld accused Tehran of sponsoring terrorism.

What are all the questions about? Iran is related to terror, therefore the AUMF gives the President the authority to do whatever he pleases against Iran. He is at the "zenith" of his powers now.

What...you didn't get the memo?

Enjoy Monday's kabuki dance, err...hearings.

That is all.

Posted by: justmy2 on February 4, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Wesley Clark knows something I don't (in fact, I've no doubt he knows plenty of things that I don't), but I think the conventional wisdom makes sense because the thing that gives you a nuclear capability, long term, isn't bricks and mortar or industrial plants, it's the contents of people's heads and their hard drives. And you can probably store the entire critical intellectual property of the Iranian nuclear program on a single DVD-ROM.

Sure, you can probably set them back by several years, even assuming they haven't dispersed their centrifuges and all the other essential paraphenalia (for instance, the uranium gas feedstock production, or the machine shop where they produce the crucial mechanical components for their centrifuges). But it's very difficult to see how you can put them out of business completely.

One consequence of such an attack, assuming the regime survived, would be that they would almost certainly redouble their efforts to get the bomb, whatever the consequences. If that happened, it wouldn't be surprising if the extra intensity of effort saw the bomb program progressing faster than it would have otherwise.

So I really don't see how any air strike could possibly achieve what Clark is claiming.

Posted by: Robert Merkel on February 4, 2006 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider:

I admit that was probably the best response you could come up with to the FACT that passivism has a long and storied history of encouraging aggression and enabling death of innocents.

You have to grow up, Polyanna.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 4, 2006 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

As Kevin says, serious Dem politicians and the Dem policy apparatus need to thinks seriously about this issue and come to some conclusions.

Not, however, simply in order to have a position to talk about on TV in response to something the administration does. But because that is what they must do to be responsible leaders.

Posted by: larry birnbaum on February 4, 2006 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

"Objective", I notice you've been ducking my questions.

You'd like to dress yourself up as some sort of responsible intellectual, but it didn't take long for you to resort to namecalling.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Does that help?

Posted by: jcricket on February 4, 2006 at 10:06 PM

A lot - thanks!

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 4, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

You are confused as to my plan; this should be a Bosnia type mission.

Right, and the Serbs are just like the Iranians.

Iran controls the flow of the world's oil through the Strait of Hormuz--look it up.

I admit that was probably the best response you could come up with to the FACT that passivism has a long and storied history of encouraging aggression and enabling death of innocents.

Uh huh, and warmongering never killed a soul, eh? What insanity is this--comparing every single modern incident to WWII is the domain of half-wits and blog thread trolls.

As for growing up, well. What an insult.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 4, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

Carl, puleeze.

If every Islamic leader were as centered as King Abdullah II, I'ld say give 'em all nukes. But again, some of them seem to be rather doctrinaire.

Am I dehumanizing some of them? Fuck yes! Some of them have gone a long way dehumanizing themselves.

Don't paint me as evil dehumanizing lout. I am just a regular yellow dog lout

Posted by: Keith G on February 4, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

You all are forgetting about what happens to our troops in Iraq if there's an attack on Iran. Up until now we've lost 2245+ troops with only 20% of the Iraqis (the Sunnis) attacking us (excluding a few isolated incidents with Shiite militants). Moqtada al-Sadr has pledged to attack American troops with everything he's got if the US moves on Iran, and his people control half of Baghdad.

As for Wes Clark, he's now off my list of acceptable Democratic candidates; it seems he's in the same category of cockeyed optimists who thought that the US could win in Vietnam if only they were put in charge.

Posted by: Joe Buck on February 4, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

And two weeks' worth of bombing the snot out of Tehran's WMD facilities no doubt will provoke the usual cries for the blood of infidels from the usual quarters. But so what? What are they going to do about it?

Blow up some tankers and sink them in the Straits of Hormuz. Cut off all oil supplies out of the Middle East, for the foreseeable future.

I get the strong impression the neocon shills are out. If they are getting their marching orders, that's scary.

IAEA has not found evidence that Iran has violated its Safeguards Agreement.

'Rather, it cites "information that had been made available to the Agency" [by the US] that contains "allegations" that the Iranians claim (and can perhaps demonstrate) are "baseless."'

Does this sound familar?

Posted by: Taylor on February 4, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

Carl,

TOH is one of the fake handles Alice/Patton uses after she's read something...

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 4, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Caps Lock is cruise control for cool.

If and when we look headed down the road to Osirak II: Iranian Boogaloo, the Dems best position would be to:

a.) Support the attack. Yes, making a further mess of the Persian Gulf is Very Very Very Bad. However, President Admad has a Bush-like view of international diplomacy, kicking him out of office any time soon isn't likely, and nothing says electoral suicide like saying "well, dadgummit, let the Iranians have nukes then".

b.) HOWEVER, make sure to note quite loudly and firmly that we got to this point because of Bush's foreign misadventures. Weren't we invading Iraq to show the Axis of Evil who's boss? Oops. Now we have to use the Big Stick, and heaven help all of us if President Admad declares all-out war on the Great Satan and Friends. We wouldn't be in this mess in the first place if it wasn't for the Administration's bungling.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on February 4, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats should approve such a request from Bush ONLY IF Bush is forced to complete his National Guard Service and he fights in any other war started by him. He also would have to live with stop/loss so he can't count on getting out when he completed his ervice time.

Posted by: Mazurka on February 4, 2006 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Who else feels the world has gone insane?

Politicians create threats to be dealt with. The country fell for it with Iraq and now the same people--people like Kevin Drum--are falling for the trick again.

Let's say for hypothetical argument Iran is on the brink of acquiring nuclear weapons. So what?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, let's be sure to be real surgical now in our strikes; pinpoint bombing and special-ops. Don't want to hurt anyone no matter how many of our troops it puts a risk.

Can you Regressive-Democrats post from outside your opium dens for a little bit?

How about we put the big hurt on them with as few casualties and and as little expense to ourselves as possible? That is the point, right. Compliance now, deterrence on-going. Firebomb Tehran (or do so to whatever degree and for however long required to have compel compliance) and you won't have to find the nuclear facility needle in the Iranian country-side haystack.

THE OBJECTIVE IS COMPLIANCE BY IRAN, END OF STORY. WE HIT THEM WITH WHATEVER CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS CAUSES THE MOST DAMAGE TO THEM AND RISKS THE LIVES OF OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM LEAST; AND WE DO IT FOR HOWEVER LONG IT TAKES UNTIL THEY COMPLY. IT BEGINS NOW WITH SANCTIONS AND ENDS RAPIDLY WITH EITHER COMPLIANCE ON THEIR PART OR THE PHYSICAL ERADICATION OF THE IRANIAN RULING THEOCRATIC ELITE PLUS WHATEVER UNFORTUNATE COLLATERAL IRANIAN CASUALTIES AND DAMAGE OCCURS. WHETHER IT ENDS SOONER OR IF IT ENDS LATER, EITHER WAY WE DID OURSELVES AND THE IRANIAN PEOPLE AND MANKIND A FAVOR.

If you Regressive-Democrats ran the Union during the Civil War, our African-American countrymen would still be picking cotton upon pain of the whip to this day.

We can do this for $10-20 billion and 50-100 U.S. casualties if do it the right way. If we try invasion, occupation, and nation building, it will mean far greater U.S. military deaths and expense.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 4, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

Wes Clark was my second choice to Feingold before this.

Now, I can't support him either. He was too clever about Iraq always equivocating and hedging.

If he wants to go to war with Iran while we're occupying Iraq he's a fool or a stooge for the Israel lobby.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Regressive Democrats"? Way to be "objective"!

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

A question I have been wondering about is what happens when General Pervez Musharraf finially takes one for the team and the leadership of Pakistan is up for grabs.

Do we have a plan to take out their nukes?

Posted by: Keith G on February 4, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

I know! I know! Have some Democrats secretly meet with the Iranian President with a stack of bibles and a birthday cake and arrange to sell them some modern weapons systems.

No wait, that's been done.

OK -- I know! Overthrow the semi-democratically elected leadership and install an autocratic police state! We'll call it Plan Mossadegh!

No, ait, that's been done too.

OK. Last one. In a fit of national assertiveness, Tony Orlando and Dawn, and yellow ribbons, we'll 'Bomb Iran' to the tune of the Beach Boys' 'Barbara Ann', crash some helicopters into the desert, and tell America to start wearing sweaters. I got my yellow ribbon already! "Bomb bomb bomb, Bomb bomb Iran!"

Do NOT tell me we've done that, too!

Posted by: Phobos Deimos on February 4, 2006 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

TOH is one of the fake handles Alice/Patton uses after she's read something...

I didn't think they gave Sepp access when she was on her meds. And here I was thinking TOH was the ghost of General Buck Turgidson.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on February 4, 2006 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

Bush's 'appeasement' of a corrupt government in Sudan and his 'appeasement' of Kim Jong Il has consigned hundreds of thousands of people to their deaths, so don't even attempt to paint the Dear Leader of the USA as anything other than a puppet of a Permanent Campaign Machine.

The only reason why they're beating the war drums is that 37% approval rating and a non-existent domestic agenda, coupled with being caught breaking various laws.

There's no reason to attack Iran. Pakistan is a bullet away from having exactly the same kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime as Iran.

Now, if that were to happen, when will we be attacking Pakistan? And, trust me, the terrain in Pakistan and Iran isn't quite as favorable as Iraq.

Now, TOH, give us a geography lesson, if you may.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 4, 2006 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Another lunatic conspiracy theory!

TOH had only one or two other alias a few months ago and briefly. He or she is his or her own man or woman. I don't even know Alice or Patton other than to presume they are geniuses based on you having mistaken them for me.

Put that rash conclusion in the same filing cabinet you have with the map pinpoining where in Canton 60,000 Ohio Kerry ballots are buried.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 4, 2006 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

"You are confused by my plan...."

Historian, you call that a plan? It is sheer lunacy. It puts our troops in Iraq in mortal danger. It creates a situation where the nuclear option not only becomes feasible, but could well be considered necessary as the blowback unfolds.

And the result: A nuclear wasteland in the ME, possible economic ruin, and the stage set for a pre-emptive attack on the US by some future well armed, but wisely very wary competitor.

Take your geopolitical ravings back to the local John Birch Soceity chapter meeting, and let grown ups handle this.

Posted by: bobbyp on February 4, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Let's say for hypothetical argument Iran is on the brink of acquiring nuclear weapons. So what?

Try a continued Republican majority, Carl.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on February 4, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Pakistan is a bullet away from having exactly the same kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime as Iran.

This is incorrect. Pakistan is and always has been a much greater threat of cooperating with al Qaeda than Iran is or Iraq was.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Several points about Iran:

1. I may be obtuse in the extreme on these matters, but it seems to me that the whole deterrence angle is being overlooked here. I'm in my 50s. I remember the Cold War vividly. We faced a nuclear armed Soviet Union, one that had the actual ability to inflict damage on the United States, not simply the potential to do so. But we faced the Soviets down (and ultimately prevailed) in part because of our overwhelming deterrent. Why would deterrence NOT work against Iran? I think two Trident submarines in the Indian Ocean, each with 240 warheads aboard, might sober up even the most reckless government.

2. Suppose we do strike Iran by air. Then what? Are we to suppose Iran will miraculously decide they don't need nuclear weapons--or will they redouble their efforts to obtain them?

3. How will the Muslim world react to such a strike? Would Pakistan's government survive in the wave of Muslim hysteria that would follow a massive Western (especially U.S.) air attack on Iran? What if a Muslim fundamentalist government gains control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal?

4. Iran is a nation of more than 630,000 square miles. If an invasion and occupation were to be launched, how long would such an operation take? Are the Westernized elements of Iran that want to see its government overthrown strong enough to assist us in such an endeavor? Would an invasion and occupation of Iraq with the current forces at our disposal even be feasible? Would an occupation drown in an insurrection even more terrible than the one in Iraq?

5. It's easy to hate Iran's loathsome government. I hope for a revolution that will overthrow it. But when we're talking about bombing, invading, conquering or occupying we always have to consider the two most important and often unspoken words:

Then what?

Posted by: Joe on February 4, 2006 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

There's no reason to attack Iran.

You know that. I know that. But will it play in Peoria?

Pakistan is a bullet away from having exactly the same kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime as Iran.

In that case, I'd fear more for the people of Pakistan and India than I would anybody else. Call me a skeptic, but I don't think they have enough nukes to aim them both south and east at the same time.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on February 4, 2006 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

Geez, you people! General Clark is not advocating going to war with Iran!!! Please...He was just giving his opinion that a military strike can be initially successful in some wyas. He's not saying we should do that. Please, read and listen to what the man has to say about the situation and how we should handle it....

Listen to his speech this past week here:
http://securingamerica.com/node/560

Read some of the transcripts or watch some of the files here:
http://securingamerica.com/taxonomy/term/8

Here's a few excerpts of some of his remarks on the situation....

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Depends on what you're going to do about Iran. Now, you can certainly run bombing strikes and Special Forces activities and you can go after those nuclear sites. You could-

Neil Cavuto: You have to know where those nuclear sites are.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I think that's less of a problem. I think the, the greater problem is figuring out what's the end state. Let's say you, you run eight to fourteen days of bombing against Iran. You take out thirty sites, maybe fifteen of them were the nuclear sites. You've taken out some command and control, his missiles, his air bases, some of the stuff that would threaten us along the literal of the Persian Gulf. Okay, and then what? What happens? Does he then say, 'Oh, I give up. I surrender. I'll be your friend."? No, he's not going to say that.

Neil Cavuto: But who cares, if he's less of a threat?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Because what he's going to do is he's going to be a magnet-

Neil Cavuto: I see.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: - pulling in all kinds of anti-American resistance. How do we know A.-

Neil Cavuto: So, it'll actually galvanize Arab-

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: How do we know A.Q. Kahn's not going to replenish that nuclear stock right away.


Neil Cavuto: Yeah.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: So, it's a danger. We've got to think through the thing, not just from the initial strikes, not 'Can we hit the target? Can we penetrate Iranian airspace?' Of course we can do that. It's 'What's the end state- strategically, geopolitically? How do we handle the conflict in this part of the world?'
...........

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: There's not a lot of time, and we should, you know, while we keep the military option on the table, there should be no illusions about the military option. The military option is going to be difficult, there are no guarantees that all of the site are located and there will be enormous consequences for the United States if the military option is used, economic consequences, diplomatic consequences, consequences in the war on terror, and so forth. So this is not an option that can be looked at lightly. It's simply the fact that if Iran is determined to acquire a nuclear weapon, we have to determine ourselves whether that's acceptable..

Brigitte Quinn: Mmm hmm.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: And if it isn't, then all options have to remain on the table, and our leaders have to do everything they can to make those options usable.

Brigitte Quinn: Right. Now, we did have General Moore on just about twenty minutes ago or so saying that, and certainly not saying that it's any decision that anybody would make lightly, but saying it, essentially, it is doable. Would you agree with that?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I think it's possible to construct a military option that could be, could approach adding five to eight years to the development cycle of the Iranian nuclear weapon. In other words, you could set them back.

Brigitte Quinn. Mmm Hmm.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I don't think that you can totally eliminate the possibility, and remember after such a strike, it's very possible that A.Q. Kahn and Pakistan or some other country would come rushing to the aid of Iran.

Brigitte Quinn. Mmm.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Ahmadinejad doesn't-

Brigitte Quinn: But how, how would you set them back- before I let you go General?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: You'll take away a certain number of their facilities. You'll take out their command and control, their missile testing, their missile launching facilities, their aircraft, delivery systems. A whole lot of things will go out along with the nuclear facilities that we know about. This will all be a setback, but it won't necessarily prevent some other nation intervening immediately to feed them the resources they need to, let's say, conduct a terrorist strike back against us with weapons of mass destruction.

...................

I can understand how one can possibly intepret Kevin's account as Gen Clark advocating for a military strike as a viable option but read more closely, look at what else he's said and written...That's not what he was doing here....

Again,t hanks for reading, if anyone is....

Posted by: Carol on February 4, 2006 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

Dustbin,

Not to be insulting, but comments like yours make me feel like Democrats fundamentally see foreign policy through the prism of domestic politics.

But let's play the hypothetical out.

Which is more likely to cut the Democrats off at the knees?

1. Iran acquires a nuclear weapon.
2. The national debate before the 2006 elections is about whether to go to war against Iran.

We pretty well know how option #2 plays out, right?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

but I don't think they have enough nukes to aim them both south and east at the same time.

I think it only takes one, but thanks for playing.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 4, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

The troops in Iraq are either bunkered or removed during the Iranian operation.

The alternative is we let a 21st Century Nazi-esque Party with avowed expansionist intent (like the 20th Century Nazi Party) and a declared hostility to the U.S. build a nuclear arsenal. THAT IS SHEER LUNACY.

We must strike now or suffer greatly later. This is our 1935 Rhineland/Saar moment. We must act and act with overwhelming force. We must snuff out this flickering flame of ambitious agression with TNT upon TNT. Freedom and democracy cannot play the fool here.

Our only arguable mistake in Iraq was that we showed our conquered enemy TOO MUCH MERCY at the expense of too many U.S. lives. We should have established a perimeter around the oil, pinpoint targeted even the most slight sign of terrorist activity and let the Iraqis firhg it out or work it out. Mercy, like pacifism, taken too far is inanity and suicide.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 4, 2006 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

If you Regressive-Democrats ran the Union during the Civil War, our African-American countrymen would still be picking cotton upon pain of the whip to this day.

No, we'd have kicked the South's ass all over again, and that's a fact. It's called having the vast majority of the country's industrial base in the Northeast. Try reading some of that history you claim to be objective about.

We can do this for $10-20 billion and 50-100 U.S. casualties if do it the right way. If we try invasion, occupation, and nation building, it will mean far greater U.S. military deaths and expense.

Does it get any stupider around here?

I thought the Republicans were AGAINST nation building before they were FOR nation building.

Bloodthirst fucks like this are all too ready to spend lives on foolish things. Again, warmongering never killed anyone and appeasement is history's greatest monster.

No, wait. Jimmy Carter is history's greatest monster.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 4, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Bush doesn't need the Dem's permission to do whatever the hell he wants. If he asks congress for anything it will only be to let him spread blame to his opposition when the operation goes south.

Bush forfeited any claim to trust in his starting of wars with his dissembling at the beginning of his Iraq adventure, and also with his spectacular corruption and incompetence in the invasion's aftermath.

For God's sake Dems, for once take a damn stand! Remember that politically, you are betting W will screw up again. This is one of the safest bets anyone could make.

Posted by: jimBOB on February 4, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

And Carl, with all due respect, Gen Clark wasn't equivocating and hedging about Iraq when he gave testimony in front of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees in 2002 arguing against the invasion of Iraq, testimony that both Senator Paul Wellstone and Senator Ted Kennedy referenced in explaining their votes against the IWR. Just FYI.

Posted by: Carol on February 4, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

"Objective", BTW what was your prediction about how much the Iraq War would cost?

Have you ever considered that your WWII analogies might not apply?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

How are you guys italicizing my words? Come on, tell me.

There is a reason to attack Iran. We've made it clear we consider them having nuclear weapons a threat to us and we made it clear we don't want that and we made it clear we might use force to prevent it. And they are doing it anyway.

That is all the reason one should need. Why do they want to defy us? And why should we let them? It is insane to appease them.

Anyway, all our funds to Israel may be worth it if they take out the mullahs in Iran for us. Let's hope they do it.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 4, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

When did Wes Clark say unequivocably that invading Iraq was a really bad idea?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

But when we're talking about bombing, invading, conquering or occupying we always have to consider the two most important and often unspoken words:

Then what?

Control of both Houses of Congress and the White House. Worked in '02, and '04 with Iraq.

Oh, you probably mean "Then what" over there.....

Does it matter?

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on February 4, 2006 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

The troops in Iraq are either bunkered or removed

Actually, they're in aluminum trailers.

This is our 1935 Rhineland/Saar moment.

Uh huh. And the French are always to blame.

Mercy, like pacifism, taken too far is inanity and suicide.

Is that why you're for nation building now all of a sudden? One minute, you seemed to say that nation building was an integral part of your plan to rebuild in Iran, the next you seem to be saying that mercy is a weakness we can't tolerate.

Well, I hope 'mercy' applies to the US/Allied pilots or troops that may or may not be captured by our enemies. Thanks to the 'mercy' of our torture policies, they're in for a rude awakening. But continue feeling safe, thanks to the sacrifice of others.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 4, 2006 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

How are you guys italicizing my words? Come on, tell me.

FACT: Alice is too stupid to use html tags.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 4, 2006 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

Which is more likely to cut the Democrats off at the knees?

1. Iran acquires a nuclear weapon.
2. The national debate before the 2006 elections is about whether to go to war against Iran.

We pretty well know how option #2 plays out, right?

I knew I was venturing into the wrong argument. Let me spell it out this way, Carl. Which is more likely to cut the Democrats off at the knees?

1. GOP pulls out the Persian Boogeyman, Dems say no to bombing, Bush bombs anyways.
2. GOP pulls out the Persian Boogeyman, Dems say Iran is a threat but only because Bush put us in this position to begin with, Bush bombs anyways.

We're the minority party in Washington, we don't have the levers of control. We know what the GOP playbook is going to be. We know what sort of mess this will create in the Persian Gulf. We know that despite that, King George will do whatever the heck he wants. And we know that when Bush invokes Scary Mideasterners, the bedwetters rush to the polls faster than you can say 'al-Zarqawi'.

Do I advocate bombing? No. Do I think its a wise idea? Hell, no. Do we any choice in the matter? With Bush at the helm?

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on February 4, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

No, I thought Iraq would be MORE U.S. dead (10-20,000) and far less expensive. I'm relieved to be wrong.

And, the invasion of Iraq was wise even if it were 10,000-20,000 U.S. dead.

The failure to adjust in terms of realpolitik to the facts on the ground in Iraq was either a failure or an as yet uncapitalized upon (in terms of propaganda) act of nobility and mercy. I still think that a properly funded and executed PR can show the world that the U.S. is acting with more mercy and compassion for a conquered and yet still deadly enemy than perhaps ever in the history of mankind. It's a case we need to make in our national interest and a case our brave soldiers deserve to have made on their behalf.

Yet, I personally think we should have formed a perimeter around Iraq's oil fields soon after it looked like there was going to be a problem with the occupation. From the perimeter we should have monitored the situation for big threats like terrorist camps or bomb/weapons factories, but generally we should have let the Sunnis and Shiite kill each other until they were exhausted.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 4, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

Davis:

I think you and I both know that it does matter, but I'm not sure how many others do.

"Over there" has a way of becoming "Over here".

Posted by: Joe on February 4, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

And, the invasion of Iraq was wise even if it were 10,000-20,000 U.S. dead.

Nice how the wingers are so resolute about spending other people's blood. BTW, pal, it could still come to that. And if it did, we'd be looking at the neighborhood of 100K of wounded, many with life-shattering injuries. All to remove some tinpot dictator with no WMD's.

Posted by: jimBOB on February 4, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

TOH, I haven't been in a war. Maybe you have, maybe you haven't. But the guys I know who HAVE been don't talk about it as casually as you do. Further, your willingness to kill large numbers of Iranians (collateral damage, as you have said) strikes me as both callous and disturbing, even malicious.

Posted by: Joe on February 4, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Why? Because it's in our national security interest to be the sole authority. It was simple enough to answer.

Next question, smartass:

Don't other nations have national security interests as well? Why should the USA be the only nation allowed to pursue its national interests around the globe?

There is a word for those who believe their national interests trump all other concerns of the world's nations. The word is racist.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on February 4, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Dustbin, what if the Dems told the truth?

Iran acquiring nukes isn't especially a threat to U.S. national interests as long as it doesn't transfer them to non-state actors. Therefore our priority should be to get assurances Iran won't transfer nukes to al Qaeda or other non-state actors.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

You Americans, Kevin included, have absolutely no right to tell another nation whether or not it can have nuclear weapons, least of all while still maintaining your own arsenal. An attack on Iran will be just as illegal and immoral as the invasion of Iraq. It will be yet another in a long string of imperialistic rampaging by US administrations, Republic and Democrat, over the years. But at least now the rest of the world can see the limits of US power. If you do attack, though, be prepared to have all hell break loose, in the rest of the Middle East including Israel, and likely in American cities as well.

Posted by: Hellsgate on February 4, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

If they are serious they had better crank up a draft and I mean yesterday at the latest.Freedom Fighter and Frank J. you may get your chance yet.

Posted by: Neo on February 4, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

"Objective" is a liar. S/he only knows one historical analogy and consistently misapplies it.

When asked a question more complicated than "we good; them evil" "Objective" gets confused.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Dems will do what they usually do, follow Europe's lead. (Have sex with Frenchmen)

Posted by: Matt on February 4, 2006 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

The best Democratic response? Have the Democratic leadership on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees come out RIGHT NOW and threaten that we will bomb Iran. The Republicans are standing back and waiting for Bush to take the lead. So far, Bush has been unusually cautious on Iran. Dems have NOTHING to lose by getting very hawkish on Iran. If Bush wants to ignore the Dems then the Dems win by looking tough. If Bush follows throught then the Dems win by "forcing the President's hand". Whatever Democrats may think of this privately, coming out for a strong threat of air strikes is political winner. The alternative is to get painted in a corner again.

Posted by: Elrod on February 4, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

I lived through the zenith of Regressive-Democrat power nationally, state-by-state, and in our cities, i.e., 1964-1981. Objectively, that 18 year period (ending with Reagan's 25% across the board tax cut and termination of detente with the Soviets) was an era of politically generated social, civic, economic, and U.S.-international-position regression.

"Progressive" while it does de facto describes me, is today conventionally a sad, disturbed, narcissistic,-self-delusional, and self-proclaimed moniker for certain default-appeasement, tax-and-spend Democrats who can't or won't read economic statistics or a world history book and whose only hope for gaining power is to use hard working American taxpayers' money to buy votes in a manner that makes these Regressive-Democrats' inane-and-proven-ineffective, anti-social, anti-civility, anti-lawful, anti-poor-people, anti-job production, anti-GDP-growth, anti-school-child, anti-U.S.-realpolitik-foreign-policy-interest policies a non-factor in their constituents' voting decision.

It is objective; or at least as objective as calling oneself "progressive".

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 4, 2006 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

WE NEED TO BOMB THESE SANDNIGGER'S BACK TO THE STONE AGE.
WE NEED TO KILL THESE SANDNIGGER'S BEFORE THEY KILL US.

Posted by: al on February 4, 2006 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

A couple of notes:

--If Israel does the job, there's really no way the Arabs are going to hate them any worse than they did before. The rest of the world will express shock and disapproval, then go back to their rooms and wipe their brows. Just like last time. Frankly, this is probably the way out with the least consequences.

--Pakistan isn't quite the same situation, even if something happens to the current leadership. India is standing right behind them with approximately twice the nukes Pakistan has.

***

Let's say for hypothetical argument Iran is on the brink of acquiring nuclear weapons. So what?

Dustbin:

Try a continued Republican majority, Carl.

Come on, people. Priorities, please.

***

Carl:

Iran acquiring nukes isn't especially a threat to U.S. national interests as long as it doesn't transfer them to non-state actors. Therefore our priority should be to get assurances Iran won't transfer nukes to al Qaeda or other non-state actors.

We going to get that assurance in writing, so we know they won't break it? Maybe with one of those fancy wax seals, or a pinky-swear thrown in.

Have we forgotten that they're already wiping their butts with the Non-Proliferation Treaty?

Posted by: tbrosz on February 4, 2006 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

The Objective Historian has no problem spilling the blood of others just as long as he can sit behind his monitor and advocate the killing and not actually do it. Iran will be no cakewalk even with "just" an air campaign. The Iranians have at their disposal the following retalitaory options: stopping all oil shipments out of the Gulf, a Shiite uprising in Iraq, a possible Iranian invasion of southern Iraq, missile strikes against Saudi oil infrastructure......

Posted by: T2005 on February 4, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Elrod,

How do you think rank-and-file Dem voters will react to the party leadership advocating bombing Iraq?

I will react by working to get Green candidates for U.S. House on the ballot.

How do generic Congressional ballots look if the choice is...?

A. Republican
B. Democrat hawk advocating bombing Iran
C. Green, anti-bombing

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

The Iranians have at their disposal the following retalitaory options: stopping all oil shipments out of the Gulf, a Shiite uprising in Iraq, a possible Iranian invasion of southern Iraq, missile strikes against Saudi oil infrastructure.....
Awesome. I'd like to watch this conflagration on Cnn.

Posted by: al on February 4, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Don't the United States and the other nuclear powers have some obligations under the NPT?

How much progress have we made toward negotiating abolition of nuclear weapons?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 4, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Aaaaaaarrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhh!

YOU PEOPLE DON'T GET IT; ADVOCATE WHAT YOU THINK IS BEST FOR AMERICA REGARDLESS OF HOW IT WORKS FOR YOU IN THE ELECTION!

You are like so many of the heroin addicts who form your constituency. You chase after a political cash dividend today; you chase after a victory in the next election; you react while W. et al. act. I would make a great Regressive-Democrat because I know what is best in you. But all the last few posts I read about taking a position so as to win in '06 is INAPPROPRIATE for foreign policy. If you are against the war in Iran be against it and lose in '06 and '08. Let the Republicans fight it. If you are right, you will win afterwards and gain public trust. Stop being so "jonesin'" and have some of W.'s backbone. He does not care what you or even the polls think and he really did not care all that much in '03 or '04. He took his position and made his case.

Lose or win as it happens; but stop being such losers whether you win or lose elections. Your giving me the willies just thinking about how disturbed you are.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 4, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

"When did Wes Clark say unequivocably that invading Iraq was a really bad idea?"

Well, for one, when he was talking to Gene Lyons at a July 4th party in 2002...

Gene relates the conversation like this:

I do think his concerns are honest. I think his criticisms of Bush are exactly what he believes. One reason that I think that is I have had an opportunity to talk to him in a sort of a semi-private way.

Going all the way back to the summer of 2002, I got a sense of how strong his feelings about Iraq were. Long before it was clear that the administration was really going to sell a war on Iraq, when it was just a kind of a Republican talking point, early in the summer of 2002, Wesley Clark was very strongly opposed to it. He thought it was definitely the wrong move. He conveyed that we'd be opening a Pandora's box that we might never get closed again. And he expressed that feeling to me, in a sort of quasi-public way. It was a Fourth of July party and a lot of journalists were there, and there were people listening to a small group of us talk. There wasn't an audience, there were just several people around. There was no criticism I could make that he didn't sort of see me and raise me in poker terms. Probably because he knew a lot more about it than I did. And his experience is vast, and his concerns were deep.

He was right, too.

http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/03/10/int03221.html

Posted by: Carol on February 4, 2006 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, why are you more concerned about Iran transfering nukes to non-state actors than Pakistan? Or North Korea?

Attacking Iran is disconnected from reality for multiple reasons.

1. Iran can strike back, especially since we're occupying Iraq. (One more way invading Iraq has undermined U.S. security.)
2. Iran isn't even the top proliferation problem. It's just the most convenient country to debate invading.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 5, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Kevin,
I'd say that the thing that just killed the Democrats in 2002 was the support Bush got from the "liberal hawks" and "sensible moderates" on Iraq.
You seem on the edge of repeating the 2002 mistake.

Posted by: marky on February 5, 2006 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

After all, we've got the Ken Pollack book, we've got the referral to the Security Council, we've got the slam dunk intelligence, and we've got the lunatic leader screaming insults at the United States. Remember what happened the last time all the stars aligned like that?

Between 1998 and 2002 lots of Democrats called for military action against Iraq. After the conclusion of the main campaign in Afghanistan, they called for the transfer of attention, and forces, from Afghanistan to an attack on Iraq. When Bush put the proposal to a vote, half of the Democrats voted to approve the invasion of Iraq.

I expect that this time, enunciating a policy recommendation toward Iran is that last thing any Democrats want to do. They are just going to keep demanding that Bush "do something about Iran", without hinting what "something" they might be willing to vote for. Summer is comming soon; then Labor Day, then the Election; you saw what happened in 2002 when some Democrats demanded action and others demanded a vote.

But hey. If Wesley Clark says it can be done, and 15 or so Democratic Senators say it ought to be done, Bush will put it to a vote in October and abide by the resolution of Congress.

Of course, Bush might do the Clinton thing: a massive Tomahawk barrage without prior authorization, and to unknown effect.

Posted by: contentious on February 5, 2006 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

'The Objective Historian' posted:

"IRAQ WAS A TOUGH CALL"

How was illegally invading a country that was not a threat a "tough call" ?

.

"THE INSPECTIONS WERE NOT EFFECTIVE BECAUSE THEY WERE THWARTED"

The Bushies stopped the inspectors, who BTW could not find anything.

.

"IF THE IRANIANS START SOMETHING, I SAY LET'S ROLL."

Where’s your uniform ?
.

Posted by: VJ on February 5, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

If we take out the Iranian nukes this will be a signal to their democratic reform movement that we have their back for revolution.

Posted by: al on February 5, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

"Clark believes that a military strike on Iran could wipe out its nuclear program very effectively indeed."

And how did Clark say he would respond to the retaliatory suicide bombers in our cities ?
.

Posted by: VJ on February 5, 2006 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

Here's your one-word answer, Kevin.

NO.

Let it be known I was on record against the idea of an Iranian strike from the beginning, uncategorically.

The best thing the Democrats can do this time is to BE FUCKING CONSISTENT.

Heh, fat chance.

Who could honestly think of the politics in the face of this kind of massive and completely foreordained foreign policy clusterFUCK is completely beyond me ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

I'm Independent.

Just thanks; thanks for making my point for me. Today's Democrats (and 1860s Democrats, too) were talking surrender in '61 and '62 DESPITE the industrial advantage the North had.

You can cast aspersions as you wish; but even self-reflectively, has there ever been a more despiccable and whorish political party than today's Democrats? Desperate beyond reason for power, but concurrently having no civility, no ideas, no conviction, no hope for victory but self-destruction by the other side; sad.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 5, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

Here's a stance: "Don't screw around with our saftey. If Iran doesn't back down... the program should be terminated with extreme prejudice and the government overthrown. But, we're going to force the American people to to do it properly this time. Congress must vote for and declare a real honest to god full-blown war on Iran."

Or something like that.

Posted by: kfractal on February 5, 2006 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

I'll respond to retalitory suicide bombers in U.S. cities; for every one dead American, 5,000 dead Iranians until the suicide bombing ends. Before you think I'm purposely exaggerating for hyperbolic effect, I'm not. Before you call me irrational, understand that this is the ONLY WAY to stop suicide bombers short of capitulation. Sharon was successful with this statistically, but decided to partially capitulate anyway (which statistically did not effect suicide bombings). Overwhelming net positive casualties for their side is the language they understand that commands "desist"; capitulation is the language the understand that encourages: "more suicide bombings will advance your cause."

We are in the right; there is no shame in killing for the sake of justice and self-preservation. Preventing Iran from having nuclear weapons is in our manifest interest in terms of self-preservation.

Since it is abundantly more in the self-interest of the Israelis, I hope they'll bear the main burden of this operation. I also hope we act from wise reflection and not from consideration of AIPAC lobbying dollars.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 5, 2006 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

Al, safe in your home watching CNN while watching inflation skyrocket: $10/gallon gas and everything that is made from oil or transported using an oil based product (which is everything by the way)suddenly become unaffordable. Sounds like a good time to me....can't wait for the repercussions of a military strike on Iran to hit home which will be immediate. At least I'm safe in my house watching it happen.........good grief.

Posted by: T2005 on February 5, 2006 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

I think people are whistling past the graveyard here. Iraq was not a threat in 2003. That became painfully obvious when the inspectors searched for WMD, found nothing, and then Bush and Powell made up an obviously false presentation to the UN that showed transfer of WMD in mobile bio-labs. Well before the March 21 invasion there was plenty of highly-publicized evidence that much of the Administration's WMD claims were bogus. I opposed the Iraq war from the very beginning because I saw through the BS. Iraq was a militarily destroyed paper tiger suffering under UN sanctions.

Iran is not Iraq. Iran has been trying to develop WMD since the 1970s when the US encouraged the Shah to consider it. And unlike Iraq, the Iranian regime has a long record of supporting terrorism and terrorist organizations. When you couple together Ahmadinejad's comments about wiping Israel off the map and denying the Holocaust with the desire to have nukes, you have a serious threat. Will a nuclear-armed Iran strike Israel? Probably not. But a nuclear-armed Iran will be able to blackmail the rest of the Middle East. Iran has been trying, unsuccessfully, to spread its Shia revolution since 1979. But if Hezbollah in Lebanon, or Shi'ite parties in Syria, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere decide that they can rise up, and nuclear-armed Iran has their back, what will happen? And then, of course, there is the Shi'ite led government in Iraq. Should a government soon to be dominated by Moqtada al-Sadr be fully backed by a nuclear-armed Iran? It's about blackmail, more than anything else. But even then we cannot be sure. Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs that support him (Ahmadinejad does not make Iranian foreign policy) are apocalyptic nutcases. Should we take them at their word? I trust Kim Il-Jung much more than I do the Iranian leaders.

The costs of air strikes would be great. Iraq would probably blow up in flames. And Iran would close the Straits of Hormuz, driving oil prices up to 100 and the world into recession. But that would be temporary, and the world can adjust. Failing to do anything would allow Iran to continue on its merry way. Fortunately, if Wes Clark is to be believed, air strikes will be more effective than previously imagined. A ground invasion is truly impossible and would be much more catastrophic than the Iraq invasion.

And for Mr. Objective Historian, I don't say this simply because it's good for the Democrats. I say this because it's smart policy for America.

Posted by: Elrod on February 5, 2006 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

ANNOUNCEMENT:

ANYONE CLAIMING THE INVASION OF IRAQ WAS "ILLEGAL" IS ALSO ADVOCATING FOR A GLOBAL TEST AND U.N. APPROVAL BEFORE THE U.S. CAN ACT MILITARILY.

Anyone advocating a global test and U.N. approval given the history of incompetence and corruption at the U.N. throughout it's history is a moron.

That the invasion was illegal by U.N. standards is irrelevant; the U.S. never signed any treaty that reliquished it's right to act militarily in it's own defense or agreeing to adhere to U.N. laws. The U.N. is ONLY a forum for collective action to preserve world peace. It is not a global judge, jury, and legislature.

If Regressive-Democrats are for a U.N. approval/global test for U.S. action which is implied in the characterization of the Gulf War II as "illegal", they are naive fools and/or actively interested in undermining our ability to defend ourselves. If they ever mention it in pursuit of the Presidency, they will lose and should lose. The U.N. is full of corruption-based Third World appointees who hate us and large global competitors whose people hate us (thanks to their media) if not their representatives. To act only with their imprimatur is suicidal.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 5, 2006 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

Obviously we'll let israel do this because
1. They're practiced
2. We've had them on a $5 billion a year
retainer for just this sort of thing.

Posted by: lee on February 5, 2006 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO attack on Iranian nuclear (energy) sites. Perhaps I would agree to such a maneuver if the US, Russia, Israel, India, Pakistan, China, North Korea, England, France etc. got rid of every single last nuclear weapon on the globe. The illogic of this just blows my mind. This is still about oil, and as was stated upthread, the dollar. Doesn't anybody get it??? I'm outta here if the American people fall for this only three years after the Iraq debacle.

Posted by: nepeta on February 5, 2006 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

Forget the U.N.; we cooperate with them when we agree with them and we don't when we don't. First, we've never agreed to the U.N.'s right to restrict U.S. military action so Gulf War II cannot be consiered "illegal" but merely unauthorized by the U.N. By these terms even if the U.N. passed a resolution saying Gulf War II was illegal (which they did not), it still would not be illegal because the has no jurisdiction over U.S. military action. But even if they did have jurisdiction, if they were not going to enforce international law against Hussein, then our enforcement of it is was illegal or not as was MLK, Jr. sitting at the all-white lunch counter Alabama. Whatever the semantics, illegal or legal, justice was ours and that is all that matters in this debate.

Iraq was a tough call because it was a serious matter about which to either pursue a course of appeasement or military interdiction. Practially speaking, despite the absurd attempts to rationalize it otherwise, that was the choice.

And to this day and for all time, we will not know the alternative future so any criticism of the current situation relative to that alternatie future is pure speculation.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 5, 2006 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

Elrod, what is the U.S. obligation to fight Israel's enemies?

If Israel refuses to make a just peace, why should the United States be dragged into the conflict?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 5, 2006 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

"Objective", what makes a war illegal under international law?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on February 5, 2006 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

ANYONE CLAIMING THE INVASION OF IRAQ WAS "ILLEGAL" IS ALSO ADVOCATING FOR A GLOBAL TEST AND U.N. APPROVAL BEFORE THE U.S. CAN ACT MILITARILY.

Ladies and gentlemen:

This is the classic Straw Man Argument formula in front of your very eyes. Since the (laughlingly referred to) author cannot argue against the real ideas and thoughts presented by the other posters, the (ha ha) author sets up his/her own substitution -- in this case, a Global Test and UN Approval -- and then begins to tear down the substitution as though it were made of straw.


Now, turning to TOH:

Jesus. Do you trolls pull this stuff out of your ass, or is it spoon fed to you in your daily e-mail distributions?

Posted by: jcricket on February 5, 2006 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

ELrod,
You're pathetic.
While it's true that Iran is a more serious opponent than Iraq was, it does not offering a globe-shattering threat as you imply.
Your argument was a carbon-copy of what I listened to in 2002 and 2003.
Give it up.

Posted by: marky on February 5, 2006 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

LEE, MY MAN.

Exactly right; we've treated Israel; it's time for Israel to go out and earn for us. They are our pitbull near the front yard gate. Get 'em.

Seriously, clearly Israel has a right to attack. Iran has an open declaration of war against Israel, if not formal, informal enough to count. Why let a wartime adversary upgrade their ability to annihilate you?

Even you Regressive-Democrats must agree that Israel, whatever your views of their existence, has an right to attack in self-defense.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 5, 2006 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

'The Objective Historian' posted:

"I'll respond to retalitory suicide bombers in U.S. cities; for every one dead American, 5,000 dead Iranians until the suicide bombing ends."

Where's your uniform ?

Why aren't you in Iraq ?

.

"ANYONE CLAIMING THE INVASION OF IRAQ WAS 'ILLEGAL' IS ALSO ADVOCATING FOR A GLOBAL TEST AND U.N. APPROVAL BEFORE THE U.S. CAN ACT MILITARILY."

Richard Perle said the illegal invasion of Iraq was ILLEGAL.

.

"That the invasion was illegal by U.N. standards is irrelevant"

False.

We are still signatories to the Geneva Conventions.

.

"the U.S. never signed any treaty that reliquished it's right to act militarily in it's own defense"

Iraq never attacked us you twit.
.

Posted by: VJ on February 5, 2006 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

Jcricket:

There is no need for a Straw Man and the ideas ARE the substance of U.S. foreign policy. If you claim the Gulf II War was illegal, then you must believe the U.N. has a right to determine when the U.S. can act. That is the global test and U.N. approval based U.S. foreign policy de facto. That you consider a Straw Man shows how absured the introduction of the "illegality" of Gulf II is. Its irrelevant. I'm ready to debate Gulf II on its own terms because I think it was wise military interdiction; a masterpiece in the execution of military power that if anything erred in being too merciful to our conquered foes. But then, your fellow anti-Gulf-War-II advocates should leave the U.N. out of this debate.

You call it a "Straw Man Argument", yet every Democratic Senator and Congressperson keeps claiming the Bush "illegally" invaded Iraq. It's not a Straw Man, it's the '06 and '08 Democratic election position. But thanks for helping me show how idiotic Democrats are by clinging to the "illegality."

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 5, 2006 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

An argument like this?

If Iran uses nukes against Israel or the US, or if it is even suspected Iran supplied nukes, the question is how long would it be before Iran is turned into glow-in-the-dark glass? 15 minutes or 30 minutes? So Iran would do this because...?

Bush has already scared himself and the public silly over Iraq. They have a habit of running around in panic, and seem to think killing someone is always the best thing to do. We know George Bush, even when he notices a problem, can't manage it. He's been incompetent and dishonest in practically every one of his undertakings.

Look at it: even if a limited strike can take out Iran's plants, what's going to be there after the smoke clears, all over Iraq and the Gulf States, is tens of millions of Shia' who will regard themselves as attacked by us.

Do you honestly believe this gang of incompetents can manage the hurricane of rage that will surround our forces in the region? First, show us you can get the anthrax terrorist, bin Laden, and the others who ordered 9/11. They need to start showing basic competance before they can start new wars we don't need.


Posted by: jim p on February 5, 2006 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

What will the Democratic response be? Probably same as during the first Persian Gulf War when our Democratic leaders were too chicken shit to call for a proper debate until it was way too late and then too half-assed. Or like the current Iraq War, when our leafers were too chicken shit to call for a proper debate until it was way too late and then gave the president the gift of the aumf.

What should they do?

Hold a proper debate and refuse to give any authorization until the administration comes up with believable numbers for costs and troops and troop replacements. Hold the authorization hostage to the administration fessing up the real costs. Walk out of Washington, en masse, if they have to and let the republicans do all of the voting for it.

Posted by: jerry on February 5, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

Let me further go on record to say that if the Democratic Party in any sort of majoritarian way advocates a strike on Iran or votes with Bush on it -- I will not absoutely not vote Democratic in '06 -- including for my own national reps and senator even if they *don't* vote with Bush/advocate a strike. Appeasement? I'll show you how not to appease a Party that has lost all its principles ...

Carl Nyborg is the voice of reason on this thread.

The other people -- with whom I agree on most issues -- seem to have a very poor understanding of the nature of Iranian society.

Iran is destined by demographics to become the most socially progressive country in the mideast in about a decade once the current generation of leadership passes away.

We set that process back, we are just stone fucking fools.

Iran won't launch any goddamed first strike, and people who fear they would have cotton candy between their ears.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

Good post, Jim
Here's a practical question: does the Iranian army have the capacity to overrun our troops in Iraq at their current levels?
Suppose we bomb Iran illegally. What is Iran retaliates against our troops in Iraq? Will we use nukes then?

Posted by: marky on February 5, 2006 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like to hear more about what was said in that hour, Kevin. Did you get the feeling Clark was promoting such an action? His writings in recent weeks suggest that he doesn't think such a thing should be considered without first figuring out what consequences would occur. Did he say nothing of that to you?

Guess I'm trying to figure out if you have a political agenda of your own in the way you phrased this today --- don't want to seem too paranoid, but we Clark fans have seen it all.

Posted by: catherineD on February 5, 2006 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

VietnamVet: Can you just hear Rumsfeld/Cheney saying "and then, and then, and then we'll swing up through the Caucasus and seize Stalingrad. Seizing Stalingrad that's the key to holding onto the oil regions... we'll build a super weapon, we'll use airlifts..."

Seriously, these guys are some of the best third-rate minds of 1947.


Posted by: jim p on February 5, 2006 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

There you go again...."if I claim, then I must..." what a crock of shit. No one ever 'claimed' (your first straw man in the series) and A has never been proven in any argument upthread to equal B (your second strawman in the series)

Now, let's get to the meat of what I am truly thinking:

TOH, after reading your posts, I can honestly say that I have seen greater nuggets of wisdom while scooping the cat's litter box.

There is nothing, let me repeat in caps so you can feel at home with it:

THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN WRITE AT THIS POINT THAT IS OF ANY INTEREST TO ME.

You're a shill, baby. An a damned boring one at that. Changing your handle to TOH doesn't change a thing. But keep taking your meds.


Better living through chemistry, and all that.

Posted by: jcricket on February 5, 2006 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

Assuming Iran is still ten years away from producing a nuke, why would attacking their nuke sites now have much of an effect on future goals? This must still be mostly a drawing board exercise. Enrichment facilities could be easily rebuilt in ten years time. So why now???

Posted by: nepeta on February 5, 2006 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

CatherineD:

Helpful hint: This is not about Wesley Clark.

This is about a Democratic response to the current sabre-rattling against Iran. Clark merely said that a strike to take out all of Iran's nuclear program was feasable with a 14-day bombing campaign. Sounds a little extreme, but I'm no military expert.

Do we push for a strike? Do we oppose it? Do we argue for a legitimate debate and only support it if Bush levels with us on the cost (as jerry helpfully suggested)?

The idea is, to my mind, complete lunacy for a whole host of reasons enumerated throughout this thread.

And if the Dems get behind it -- it will be enough to drive me to the Greens. At least until they pull their heads up out of their posteriors and stop trying to game this stuff out for political gain.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

How do you think rank-and-file Dem voters will react to the party leadership advocating bombing Iraq?

Well, given the fact that polls are showing that 2/3rds of the American public wisely support military action to prevent an Iranian bomb, and given the inevitability that non-trivial numbers of these 2/3rds are likely to be Democrats, I'd say the "reaction" of most rank and file Democrats is likely to be at least cautiously supportive.

Posted by: 99 on February 5, 2006 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

'nepeta' queried:

"So why now???"

A) The RightWing always needs a BoogyMan.

B) Right now, they need a distraction from their foreign policy failures and their economic failures and their criminal failures.

In other words, it's convenient.
.

Posted by: VJ on February 5, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

99:

Only because those mythical "rank-and-file Democrats" know absolutely nothing about Iran.

There is absolutely no rational argument for this.

None.

And you are incapable of making one.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

I repeat, why now? Why not in say, five years, when the damage to the Iranian nuke program would be much greater. Something doesn't quite add up here.

Posted by: nepeta on February 5, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta:

Well, the timing is only the result of a coincidence. 1) Iran's case is going to the Security Council to discuss possible sanctions and 2) Kevin happened to be at a blogger's confab recently where he buttonholed Wes Clark, who had written about the military feasability of an airstrike, which he thinks is doable but doesn't necessarily advocate it as a policy position.

So it's not like we're about to go off and bomb Iran at any time in the immediate future.

It's just a good idea to formulate a Democratic policy on this *before* events come to a head.

And I agree.

No fucking way, end of story. Support Bush on striking Iran and I'm votin' Green, baby.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, it's not that clean or easy. Iran will not take such a strike lying down, and the world economy will suffer greatly as a result. The number of ways Iran could indirectly strike back are important and should be part of any risk assessment. And if we become an aggressor, in attacking Iran unprovoked, not only will we ruin all chances of "winning hearts and minds" in the Arabic and Islamic world, greatly increasing the danger of terrorism, but we will have put the final nail on the coffin for the UN, international law, and the prospect for collective security through liberalism and commitment to human rights and non-aggression.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

Nepeta,
It makes perfect sense---it's about winning the 2006 elections, nothing else.
Bush has committed the crime for which we hanged Nazis in Nurember---waging aggressive war---and he's ready for a second helping.
Are there no decent people left in America?
You don't wage war just because the world is a scary place! Grow UP, people.

Posted by: marky on February 5, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks for answering, VJ. I was starting to feel invisible. I agree with your answers but think that there's a lot more to it. Bush's new found love for switch grass seems a bit sudden. Do you people know about the Iranian oil bourse, starting in March, that will trade oil in euros? Is that just a no-go conspiracy theory? I'm clueless on economics.

Posted by: nepeta on February 5, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

Marky:
Thanks. does the Iranian army have the capacity to overrun our troops in Iraq at their current levels? Suppose we bomb Iran illegally. What if Iran retaliates against our troops in Iraq? Will we use nukes then?

That's gotta be what our Masters are hoping. I read a few months ago that Iranian troops were just across the border. But the Iranians, in my opinion, don't have to do anything militarily for us to get really really hurt. There's basically six roads into and through Iraq. One comes from Iran, another from Turkey, another from Jordan, and three more through the Shia South. I'm betting 15 million pissed Shia can shut down 6 roads. Then it doesn't matter how technologically transformed your army is because they still need food and ammo.

And you might remember before the Attack on Iraq, a US general revealed that he had played Saddam in a war game, and sank the US fleet with primitive means. So yeah, I see Bush on his knees "please lord let me sacrifice American troops and sailors for my greater glory, that I might nuke thine enemy, and cause all to bow to my might and virtue."


Posted by: jim p on February 5, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

Any decision Bush makes on Iran is a bad idea because he's incompetent. The president can't handle a hurricane in New Orleans and we're going to expect him to handle nuculear proliferation in Iran?!? I don't think so.

Posted by: D. on February 5, 2006 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta:

That was mentioned upthread. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss that as a no-go conspiracy theory, although it hardly looks like we'll convey our desires to keep Iranian oil in dollars by bombing their nuclear facilities.

Seems to me that Iran would rather tell us to fuck ourselves on the oil even harder ...

But maybe resentment at this move is playing a role in the strike calculation. It's not like Bush & Co. have made war decisions in moments of perfectly calm rationality ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

And the beat goes on...Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Attack and be attacked. Haven't we grown enough to stop this nonsense yet?

A famous yogi said it right. "Anger begets anger. Violence begets violence. Love begets love." The way you stop this ugly wheel that has been spinning uncontrollably for thousands, no millions, of years is to NOT respond in kind. Time, engagement, diplomacy, human interaction, increasingly pervasive world wide communication are on our side.

Must we learn again the lesson the world has been trying to teach us for millennia? When you let loose the dogs of war, no one can control who they will attack most ferociously.

Posted by: James of DC on February 5, 2006 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

Jim P.
Thanks for the response. I am very worried that Bush is planning to use nuclear weapons in Iran.
As of yet, I have no concrete basis for this fear, except a suspicion that we may not be able to achieve military victory without their use.
Start looking for right wing pundits or websites to start talking up the nuclear option---that will happen if the Bush administration wants to prep America for it.
The citizens of the US have been suborned into evil, one laxed moral at a time. I say no more: we can't descend from cocktail chatter about the virtues of torture into a discussion of the humane uses of nuclear weapons.

Posted by: marky on February 5, 2006 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

Bob:

"So it's not like we're about to go off and bomb Iran at any time in the immediate future."

I'm sorry to say I'm not convinced of that. Rumsfeld has been making noises recently about Iran being the state most active in supporting terrorism. It's like deja vu. I don't think Bust et al would even ask for congressional support of an air strike. Or they might be setting the stage for an Israeli attack.

Marky:

So do you see a US strike on Iran coming? or just tough talk to make the Dems look weak, not that the Dems will put up much of an opposition to the idea.

Posted by: nepeta on February 5, 2006 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

I've got three words for you: arms for hostages. GWB still has his dad's batphone to Iran. Ahmedinejad is our man in Tehran. He will play the menacing dusky skinned madman for the red state trash right up until, oh, September, then will back down and kiss Peace President Bush's feet, who will bask in triumphal glow. Just watch.

Posted by: Jimmy Jazz on February 5, 2006 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmm, let's see: if the US launches aerial attacks against hardened targets in Iran, the USAF will probably use "bunker busters" (nuclear weapons). Iran would then be the second nation the US has used nuclear weapons against. Everybody OK with that?

How about if I add that Iran, which has no nuclear weapons, has signed and so far abided by the NPT while other nations in the region have nuclear weapons but not signed the NPT? Still OK with the first use of nuclear weapons since WWII under those conditions?

How about if I add there is no proof yet that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons program? Is it still OK to destroy facilities geared to the eventual production of nuclear energy, which Iran is legally entitled to do under the terms of the NPT? There will of course be collateral damage as well but, sigh, that's war, isn't it?

And finally, what if the preemptive use of nuclear weapons by the US against hardened targets in Iran precipitates the further launching of nuclear weapons by other nations against other nations in the region? What if that leads to nuclear weapons being launched against the US? Still OK with that?

I suspect the Democrats in Congress will not so quickly step in front of a runaway train; so I believe Mr. Bush will have a free hand to take whatever action he feels appropriate. I hope that doesn't cost some of us our own lives in the bargain.

Posted by: Taobhan on February 5, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

Taobhan: Excellent questions...

Posted by: nepeta on February 5, 2006 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

I am appalled at Mr. Clark's willingness to acknowledge any use of force by the US or anyone else regarding Iran's possible nuclear armament.
Shame on Mr. Clark for allowing even a whiff of Iran warmongering to enter his stump message.

War should be inevitable, not a stick we use to beat our opposition, especially an opposition posing no threat to us, into obedience. The US and Israel both have nuclear and conventional weapons ready to strike Iran right now. It is Iran who is under threat, not us. War in Iran will break the social contract of humanity, as far as I am concerned, condemning America to complete and utter imperialism. Everything used to describe Iran as aggressive to the US will be a lie. What is intriguing from a Clark as war presiden point of view, is that the so-called liberals will be the ones waging nuclear war. By the rood! I will never vote or advocate for this kind of insanity and will accuse anyone who does of possessing inhuman hostility for anything not beneficial to the needs of the American war machine. I condemn General Clark.

The response to Iran's pending nuclear armament should be we admit targeting its strategic assets and immediately stand down with UN verification, next we open all diplomatic channels, i.e. student visas, trade liberalized, and an admission the US wrongfully interfered with Iran's internal affairs before the Shah, during the Shah and after the Shah - all for oil. A public ceremony of absolution, communicating the guilt of the Navy shooting down that Iranian airliner during the first gulf war should be made along with a permanent memorial explaining the remorse of the American people. Would these things not bring about more peace than any war the Republicans or Democrats can imagine?

Anathema, anathema, anathema,
My country has cast me out.
From the community of mankind
I must wander, trapped inside New Jerusalem,
Lost in deepest sorrow by the suggestions of war
From the leaders who represent our last hope.

Posted by: Hostile on February 5, 2006 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

Well, $200/bbl oil would be one way to get electric vehicles with modular service station-rechargable batteries from wind power.

Posted by: JamesP on February 5, 2006 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone see the irony in the fact that the only power to have used nuclear weapons against other people is now contemplating military action against another country who merely wants to (allegedly) acquire them?

Shameful and disgusting.

Posted by: Lyssophobe on February 5, 2006 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

Jimmy Jazz, I hope to hell you are right. If not, we are going to be in a shitload of trouble. If this administration has proven one thing beyond the power of its slime-machine election tactics, it has proven its incompetence in everything else.

Posted by: jcricket on February 5, 2006 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta:

Sadly, I don't think I can rule that out, either -- though I haven't seen the recent noise from Rumsfeld. You have a link or a quote, by all means ...

taobhan:

I think you're wrong here. There was a big to-do about stating up research to *develop* and test bunker-buster nukes, but I don't think we're there yet. Testing them underground would violate an agreement or at least a moratorium of longstanding, so this would definitely make the news if it happened.

The stuff I've read about the logistics of taking out Iran's facilities all mentioned that their stuff was buried deeper than conventional bunker-busters could reach.

Also, a campaign with nukes would hardly take 14 days, so it's doubtful nukes were part of what Clark was evaluating.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

You know, this really is like one of those nightmares where you see the train bearing down on you and can't do anything about it.

Bush will bomb Iran. Because he wants to. 'Nuff said.

The Dems will equivocate and tsk tsk and be completely ineffectual.

Bush will fuck up. No question there: he's fucked up everything else he's ever touched.

Iran will cut off oil supplies and cause a worldwide recession.

Iran will also help set Iraq aflame, and US casualties there will go through the roof.

I have no idea what AQ will do. I have no idea if there are any AQ cells in the US waiting around to strike in event of another attack on another Arab country. They didn't launch any over the war against Iraq, but then Iraq used to be a secularist, anti-theocracy state. Now it's becoming an Islamic theocray, which probably pleases AQ. But Iran is already an Islamic theocracy, so AQ might care more about attacks launched against it. I guess, when Bush bombs Iran, we'll find out.

Let's see: ME in flames, oil embargo, global recession, 'major combat operations' restarted in Iraq... yeah; all we need at that point is a coup in Pakistan - or for Musharref to decide being a "US ally in the WoT" is more liability than it's worth.

Kevin is a good stand-in for the American people. He seems willing to fall in line for another disastrous war, like he originally supported the war in Iraq. Taking Kevin as a model, I predict that Americans will again react fearfully, and vote GOP in 2006. Flat learning curves all 'round.

Short term prediction: the US loses, big time, as our economy stagflates and our government becomes a permanent single Party, characterized by a corrupt authoritarian kleptocracy.

Longer term prediction: The Age of the West passes; the Age of the East begins. Until 2030, when global climate change swamps everyone.

We will be living in truly interesting times. I wonder if this is how the Romans felt, in 3rd Century CE.

Posted by: CaseyL on February 5, 2006 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

You want a Dem response to Bush bombing Iran?

How about this: Say hello to $6.00 a gallon.

Now that's a response every American will appreciate.

Posted by: Night Owl on February 5, 2006 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK

Wes Clark is full of bullshit.

Even if we DID knock out most of its nuclear program, they could still launch plenty of conventoinal missiles against Israel (some possibly loaded with chemical weapons) and of course attack us in Iraq.

As for us fighting back in a conventional war, Iran is twice as big and twice as populous as Iraq, with a populace that would be 100 percent behind its leaders at that point. And let's not forget that it has much more easily defensible terrain... plenty of mountains and rugged plateaus... than Iraq.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on February 5, 2006 at 2:32 AM | PERMALINK

oh for god's sake: until this administration rids itself of the hacks and filthy liars that ginned up the Iraq War, they don't get warmaking privileges any more. THEY CAN'T HANDLE IT.

Posted by: secularhuman on February 5, 2006 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

Plus the fact that a 14-day series of sorties against Iranian targets is virtually all-out war and hardly some kind of surgical operation.

Hell, the march into Baghdad only took three weeks. At the end of a fortnight of continuous bombing, Hezbollah and Hamas would have re-launched an intifada against Israel, all the Shia in Iraq would have joined with the Sunni insurgency, Syria would have re-invaded Lebanon, and the Gulf States princes would have launched a pre-emptive persecution campaign against their Shia while cowering under their beds, while the Shia -- in acts of collaboration undreamed of before -- would be giving intelligence to al Qaeda ...

What a bloody hemhorrage in the office wastebasket.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 2:40 AM | PERMALINK

Here are the latest rumblings from Rumsfeld:

Rumsfeld Urges Unity In Terror Fight

Posted by: nepeta on February 5, 2006 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

gotta agree with you, Bib. The collateral damage from an air campaign on Iran would destroy any hope of bringing the Middle East any closer to U.S. policy goals.

Posted by: D. on February 5, 2006 at 2:47 AM | PERMALINK

My link doesn't seem to work. Copy and paste time:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1152AP_Germany_Rumsfeld.html

Posted by: nepeta on February 5, 2006 at 2:52 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta:

Thanks for the link. Oh man, that is some serious industrial-grade sabre-rattling.

"Our enemies are relentless. Why ... nepata could have traced IPs and found out who I am in real life. And this person could be plotting to sneak to my home and bludgeon me in the eye with an icepick.

Now ... some might call this threat exaggerated. But ... what if they are wrong?"

Oh, indeed.

G-M-A-F-B

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting but very unsettling discussion.

Minor point:

"I have no idea if there are any AQ cells in the US waiting around to strike in event of another attack on another Arab country."

Iran is not Arab, it's Persian. Big difference, with thousands of years of war between the two. Besides, it's an insult to either ethnic group to get them confused. Just something to file away in the back of your head for future reference.

Bill D.

Posted by: Bill D. on February 5, 2006 at 3:28 AM | PERMALINK

I don't really give much of a shit about Israel's security. They can take care of themselves. But I do care about global stability. And I think a nuclear-armed Iran would be a grave threat to global stabilit and security. Wholly admitting that attacking Iran would destablize things in the short run, and with this idiot in the White House, probably over the longer run, how is allowing Iran to become a nuclear power NOT destablizing? Again, Iraq was an obvious paper tiger in 2003. The arguments on Iran and Iraq SOUND alike but they are substantively different. Saddam was a secular two-bit dictator with no influence outside his country, not to mention his minority. His only ties with terrorism were paying suicide bomber families in Israel. Big deal - I bet the Saudis paid a lot more. The Iranian regime has enormous influence within the global Islamist movement - both among Shi'ites and Sunnis. It's the same reason why it would be a catastrophe if Musharraf fell to extremist Islamists in Pakistan (who already have too much power in the ISI).

Posted by: Elrod on February 5, 2006 at 3:32 AM | PERMALINK

This is not so much about nukes as about oil and about Western Civilization. Most of the US and Europe will be either openly or secretly pleased if clearly anti-modern, anti-Western forces lose their control over the oil that is currently the key to modern prosperity.
Much of this will go unspoken. It would be difficult to justify morally. But for most people, if wiping out the Iranian nuclear program - and making it clear that anyone who threatens a lifeline of Western civilization will be treated accordingly - is what it takes to be sure that their children will live in the 21st century and not in the 14th, they will accept that, some with a guilty conscience and some with great glee.
Chirac waving his nukes at terrorists, newspapers across Europe reprinting the cartoons from Denmark in solidarity. After assassinations in Holland, 9/11, the Madrid and London massacres, and the riots in France, Europe has lost patience with violently anti-Western Islam.
This will be very different from the Iraq war.
Also, if the US does attack, they will also try to wipe out the Iranian military's capacity to attack shipping in the Persian Gulf (or they will wait for the first attempt and then wipe it out).
I have extremely complexly mixed feelings about the rightness of all this and to where it will lead farther down the road, but if Bush does manage to eliminate such a declared enemy of the West, anyone who wants to oppose that would be politically wise to have a really, really good reason why.

Posted by: Kevin Rooney on February 5, 2006 at 4:02 AM | PERMALINK
HOW LIKELY IS A MILITARY STRIKE AGAINST IRAN?

If asinine could be considered a degree of probability, that would be my answer.

It still is.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 4:11 AM | PERMALINK
You want a Dem response to Bush bombing Iran?

How about this: Say hello to $6.00 a gallon.

Now that's a response every American will appreciate.

Well put, and excellent frame.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 4:13 AM | PERMALINK

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

Posted by: dubya on February 5, 2006 at 4:24 AM | PERMALINK

But I do care about global stability. And I think a nuclear-armed Iran would be a grave threat to global stabilit and security. Wholly admitting that attacking Iran would destablize things in the short run, and with this idiot in the White House, probably over the longer run, how is allowing Iran to become a nuclear power NOT destablizing?

Um, so in order to forestall upsetting the apple cart, we upset the apple cart preventively, so as to at least feel in control of that occurrence?

We cannot assume that a nuclear Iran would upset global stability, though that is a possible scenario. Preemptively invading Iran and destroying all good will (what's left) towards America in the Islamic and Arabic worlds is sure to upset global stability, not to mention make the whole 1 trillion dollar venture in Iraq to "win hearts and minds" a total waste of time.

If there has ever been two policies totally opposed to each other, it's invading Iraq in order to bring a Shiite theocracy to power, in efforts to liberalize and democratize the Middle East, as part of larger efforts to "win hearts and minds" in the struggle against terrorism, and then following that up with aggression and unprovoked invasion/bombing of Iran (with some predictable results and many unpredictable).

It will not be lost in the Islamic world that this diplomatic and/or military action taken against them seems well-timed to coincide with the opening of the Iranian Bourse (oil exchange driven by euros, not dollars).

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 4:26 AM | PERMALINK

Considering how much leverage Iran now has in Iraq, and therefore with the US, how much did our invasion allow Iran to accelerate their weapons program?

Posted by: Boronx on February 5, 2006 at 4:38 AM | PERMALINK

U.S. strategists are justifiably very concerned about the Iranian Bourse, and its affect on the dollar (questionably "justified" in terms of shedding the blood of innocents, I should point out).

For a libertarian analysis of the importance of the Iranian Bourse, as in issue, go here (worth reading just for the substance and analysis of media coverage).

For IR analysis, see this from Foreign Policy in Focus.b

A dissenting view about the so-called threat of the Iranian Bourse, and its importance to the dollar, may be found here, by a Western energy consultant who has urged and worked with Iran to build such an exchange (for market reasons).

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 4:46 AM | PERMALINK

Jimm:

Excellent FPIF article.

What a bloody nightmare.

Tactical nukes?

Shit, if we do this, I am leaving the country and renouncing my citizenship.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 6:47 AM | PERMALINK

Most of you are assuming Iran would just sit there and take it. That they wouldn't retaliate.

Do you really want to find out what Iran has set up inside the US?

If you do, go ahead and talk about bombing an independent state as if it were some move in a chess game.

This is what got you Yanks into so much trouble with IRaq. You really do believe it's up to YOU to decide who to kill.

Stop now, before the whole world's at war over your stinking SUVs.

Posted by: Southern Skeptik on February 5, 2006 at 6:58 AM | PERMALINK

simply launched an assault without asking Congress

This is the far more likely scenario, don't you think? I mean, the war on Terra has already been approved... surely Bush doesn't need anyone to rubberstamp an air-strike in Iran.

Posted by: E. Nonee Moose on February 5, 2006 at 7:19 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not a pacifist.

BUT this is a great example of when it takes more courage (and intelligence) NOT to fight than to fight.

Keep in mind, attacking Iraq would be to plunge deeper into the so-called "preventive war" abyss, where we tell the world, through our actions, that it's alright to invade a country unilaterally that has not harmed your country in any way.

Posted by: chuck on February 5, 2006 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

In a world of carrots and sticks, coming out and saying there is NO WAY we would attack you is a stupid negotiating position. I think Wesley Clark understands that. Pointing to Iraq and Afghanistan and saying "Believe me, you could be next," is a far better point to negotiate from then, "We are powerless to stop you."

I don't think we'll attack, but Iran needs to seriously respect the threat.

Posted by: red state mike on February 5, 2006 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

It's astonishing to see Democrats advocate that our party should insist on attacking a foreign country because it would make Democrats politically popular.

It's not astonishing but discouraging to see wild war talk from Democrats who imagine that Iran poses some dire threat to us. That's exactly what some Democrats believed about Iraq before the Iraq invasion. Look how woefully wrong they were. They's woefully wrong again.

There is no justification whatever for attacking Iran, a country which has not harmed or even threatened us.

There isn't time to address all of the arguments in favor of attacking Iran that have been posted here. There is one myth that

And one last point: before you indulge in talk of Pearl Harbor and Barbarossa, remember Israel's attack against Saddam. Are you seriously arguing that action wasn't prudent and justified?

The Osirak reactor that Israel bombed could not have been used to help produce nuclear weapons, according to IAEA officials monitoring it at the time. In fact, Iraqi scientist have said that Saddam started his nuclear weapons program in reaction to Israel's attack. See Osirak Revisited.

Posted by: No Preference on February 5, 2006 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

A famous yogi said it right. "Anger begets anger. Violence begets violence. Love begets love." The way you stop this ugly wheel that has been spinning uncontrollably for thousands, no millions, of years is to NOT respond in kind.

Right. We definitely should have let the Japs take the west coast, and Hitler the east.

Posted by: Pacifism: the occult of the intelligentstia on February 5, 2006 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think we'll attack, but Iran needs to seriously respect the threat.

Wake up and smell the coffee.

This administration doesn't do threats.

It just plunges right in, making it up as it goes along.

Posted by: Taylor on February 5, 2006 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

I know this discussion isn't supposed to be exactly about General Clark but some have seemed to make it a reason to condemn him. I believe you folks are reading Kevin's piece incorrectly. Gen Clark is NOT ADVOCATING ATTACKING IRAN. He's just saying, in purely analytical terms, that a military strike would be successful in physically setting their nuclear program back. He's not saying though, that that would necessarily even be a good thing or that that would be a solution. Please read my comments above with more info on the General's views on what we should do about Iran.

Please read this diary at kos about what he said about the whole axis of evil thing:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/2/5/14345/52746

Please know that he will never advocate for miltary option unless there's an actual imminent threat and no other options available. Read what he's said and written.

And thanks for reading...again, if anyone is. I can't help but feel that I'm whistling in the wind here...but I'll keep trying. :)

Peace...

Posted by: Carol on February 5, 2006 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Carol on February 4, 2006 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

Carol, thank you for posting that clarification on Clark's remarks.

Kevin Drum, you owe your readers an apology.

First of all, you've allowed your readers to take the wrong impression of Clark's remarks, which in many cases may have cost Clark political support (supporters thinking he was advocating premature military action).

Second, since it's very likely that this administration will attempt military action against Iran, and will be attempting to bully people into supporting that action, you do the country a disservice by again allowing people to get the wrong impression about Clark's remarks.

Given the stakes, both for domestic politics and more generally for global stability, and given your wide readership, this strikes me as highly irresponsible.

Posted by: Taylor on February 5, 2006 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

In terms of national politics the Democrats have no choice but to support the Republicans drive for intervention in Iran. The United States is simply too nationalistic and the country too conditioned with the meme that Democrats are weak on defense for any politician to embrace a position that would open them up to charges of pacifism. Cheering every bomb will be the place to be politically. In any event there are few Democratic politicians who share the opinions of the Kossacks as we saw with the invasion of Iraq and the nomination of Alito. It is not just a matter of expediency. Democrats are not pacifists or anti-imperialists. They just aren't as ambitious as Republicans.

It is not only that Republicans in power means perpetual culture war it also means perpetual national security threats even if the enemy only has guns and a few plastic explosives. Mere disturbances of the peace will always be cast as a titan struggle for the soul of civilization. We did culture war for the last election so the theme of the upcoming election will be security and provocation of Islamic radicals will be central to that theatre. Remember everything this White House does is on a political calendar. The Democrats weak message of corruption and incompetence will be drowned out by rioting Middle Eastern mobs threatening death to the West and the glorious muscular suppression of this threat (the connection between Syrian mobs and Iran only exists in the editor's montage). After the election the theatre lights will dim and you will hear as much about it as you now hear about that pink spangled threat to the ancient institution of marriage.

Posted by: bellumregio on February 5, 2006 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

A Fundamentalist muslim country in the Middle East that declares that Israel must be wiped off the map cannopt be permitted to have nuclear weapons. Period. I am a Democrat (JFK mold) and I am astonished how many of you would just stand back AGAIN and let the Jews be exterminated. Thats why Israel has nuclear weapons. They dont trust us to defend them. And neither do I.

Posted by: Jason on February 5, 2006 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

With the rare exception of Carol, most of you guys seem to be arguing with your nuts. (No offense intended.)

Destiny, Elrod and 99 are right, TOH (and lots of others) are wrong.

Destiny's take is political: "The Democrats should call for Bush to bomb Iran NOW.
Then if/when Bush does bomb Iran, it'll look like he needed Democrats to get him to take governing seriously.
And that's a story-line WE should be creating..."

and it goes too far. What Clark did was simpler, and smarter:

We DO have a military option, for a defineable and (probably) achieveable objective: building nuclear weapons isn't an exercise in intellectual property. You can't build one just because you have the plans on your hard drive. Clark was simply pointing out that in two weeks of intense and focused bombings, with significant losses (I got family potentially involved in this, spare me the fakery), we could:

1) end Iran's nuke ambitions for the forseeable future, (the Osirak example is pretty telling)

2) cost Iran a LOT in blood and treasure, and

3) demonstrate -- again -- that there are some things the United States will not tolerate.

Those are ALL things that progressives should recognize and speak up for, now and again.

But as Carol keeps pointing out, the ability to denuke Iran doesn't mean it's a good idea. The point is convey to Iran that we CAN do it -- and they don't want us to.

So we want them to figure out is that, for them the smart thing is not to force us to do it.

Progressives gotta get over the reflex to make elaborate rationalizations for surrender, e.g., 'I don't like the idea of a nuclear Iran but it isn't such a big deal and besides there is nothing we can do about it'.

"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat", that ain't.

Still -- an achieveable objective (blowing up everything in Iran that it needs to make nukes) is not the same as a strategy. If we want Iran to realize it wants to be a nearly nuke power more than it wants us to bomb them for two weeks, we need a carrot AND a stick.

But face facts: progressives need to help wave the stick.


Posted by: theAmericanist on February 5, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Thank you both Americanist and Taylor...I feel better knowing at least someone's seeing my comments. :)

Posted by: Carol on February 5, 2006 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

A military strike against Iran would be disasterous. We may be able to bomb them and cripple their nuclear program; assuming we know where their nuclear facilities are and they can actually be reduced with conventional weapons (the possibility that we would actually use nuclear weapons is just too horrible to contemplate), which is a big assumption especially considering how horribly wrong we were on Iraq. But even if we did manage to pull off that not too simple trick we certainly don't have the ground forces to deal with consequences of that little adventure.

If this president was willing to level with the American public and tell them that if we attack Iran, the price of gas will go through the roof and a draft will be absolutely necessary along with massive tax increases to support the increases in defenses that will be required to quell the conflagration that will inevitably result in Iraq and the rest of the middle east, then I would say go for it. But this is going to be sold as a painless, in and out operation, that will of course occur after the election, or at least very close to it, so that the consequences will not be clear until the election results are in the bag.

The Democrats in the Congress (and Kevin Drum) were fooled once in 2002, they should not be so stupid to be fooled again in 2006. They should fall on their swords on this one and point out that as much as we would like to have a military option in Iran, George Bush's mishandling of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan has taken that option away from that. If the American people are too stupid and blind to believe the truth and return the Republicans to the Congress in a landslide, so be it. They will finally learn that you can't get something for nothing.

Posted by: Freder Frederson on February 5, 2006 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

There is another point: several people have brought up the Iranian Bourse that will trade oil in euros instead of dollars in March.

For the US, this may be the beginning of the end of its economic dominance. And surely the end of cheap oil for the US.

But the reason for oil economies to flock to the Euro is all the fault of Bush's reckless fiscal policies, and the yawning US trade deficit.

It would be nice if someone could frame the Bush tax cuts in this light.

But instead, the gutless Democrats will keep their mouths closed and we'll resort to (probably disastrous) military means to try to correct for disastrous economic policies.

Posted by: Taylor on February 5, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Freder Frederson,
Well said. The something for nothing mentality is a sign many world observes, particularly in China, have read as an indicator of the end of the American superpower. One Chinese commentator pointed out not long ago that the US only has the power to pick on weak countries like Iraq and Iran while great nations build their economic strength and pay for these little wars. The hope, no doubt, is that there will be an easy Israeli style bombing raid and perhaps internal agitation that will discipline the Iranians into compliance with American wishes. This is fantasy.

The reliance on petro-dollar reserves is certainly part of this scenario.

Posted by: bellumregio on February 5, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Oh well. It was 53 years ago we overthrew the government of Iran for the first time in modern history. A Republican president O.K.ed it (Eisenhower), because his predecessor, a Democrat, would not. History repeats itself as farce and the downward spiral of violence accomplishing nothing, continues...

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on February 5, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

There are carrot and stick options on Iran? I don't think so. The president has no credibility with our allies in attacking Iran after the debacle in Iraq.
Europe is united in trying to limit Iran's nuclear ambitions through sanctions and diplomacy. As soon as you attack Iran you lose that support from Europe and increase the threat of terrorism throughout the world.

Iran is not a significant military power to offensively threaten the U.S. or Israel. But they can use sabotage and terrorism to attack our troops in Iraq and oil pipelines. This is clear to anyone looking at the long term effects of an attack on Iran. A carrot and stick policy doesn't include a military strike on Iran in this scenario.

Posted by: D. on February 5, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

The US' GOP-Media Complex is spinning the IAEA's remarks on Iran so as to justify Bush's desire for yet another war -- even though he's botched the Iraq war (a war he should never have attempted), and in fact everything he's touched in his five horrific years in office.

That pinko Communist lefty rag in London, the Financial Times (via TruthOut),reports that the IAEA's El-Baradei has handily debunked the "Iran's Gonna Get Ya!" myth.

If I were running the Democrats, I'd use this, and the fact that polls show that most Americans see Bush as a liar AND a failure, to push this theme:

"Even if there WAS a real, immediate danger -- and the IAEA (who should know) says that there isn't -- do you really trust Bush to be able to fix it?

He made 9/11 possible by failing to pay attention when the CIA and FBI were screaming at him, then he botched getting Bin Laden and the other perps at Tora Bora, and now he's wasted over three years, thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars attacking a country that was Bin Laden's biggest enemy, next to the US. And when it's revealed just how badly he's screwed up, his automatic response is not to learn from what he's done, but to attack the people who revealed his screw-ups.

Bottom line: Bush is such an incompetent dork, he couldn't boil water on a stove even with Julia Child helping him out."


Posted by: Phoenix Woman on February 5, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

"If Israel does the job, there's really no way the Arabs are going to hate them any worse than they did before.."

Arabs idiots will burn something, but Arab governments will be mightily pleased indeed.

"How much progress have we made toward negotiating abolition of nuclear weapons?"

Quite a bit, actually, from 20 thousand to a couple of thousand. The problem between Russia and the U.S. is that the warheads are safer if left intact and disabled. Dismantling them just puts more plutonium on the streets. So our arms agreements consist of taking the warheads off the missiles and parking them in the garage.

We need to start another arms control round and include France China and Britan. Then go for a further round, including Pakistan, India and Israel. In other words, work the problem in the reverse order in which is developed.

"And how did Clark say he would respond to the retaliatory suicide bombers in our cities ?"

Require folks to lift their shirt before getting on the bus. We are dealing with ignorant Arabs, after all, who else would be stupid enough to run around America with suicide belts on?

"So it's not like we're about to go off and bomb Iran at any time in the immediate future."

If this is the conventional wisdom, then now is precisely the time to attack, when no one expects it.

"This would probably start a global war."

What global war? Iran will invade Russia? Iran will send funny looking people with sucicide belts to ride around busses in American cities?

"Can Bush (as an US president) strike another country without asking the US Congress for permission?"

Murky constitutional grounds. The military is allowed to strike to prevent an immediate danger to the nation. But Iran is not an immediate danger, and under these situations, the tradition has been to get congressional approval.

The objective historian is right, there is no such thing as an illegal war, it is a contradiction in terms.

"Wasn't Iran getting more progressive a few years ago, and didn't they become more radical in response to Bush administration.."

Yes, but for a different reason. Bush inadvertantly, with Sistini's urging, decided to solve the age old crisis of reconciling the two Islamic fantasies between Shiite and Sunni. Iran is absolutely against this and Iran is reclaiming the position of top anti-western Islamic nation. Iran cooperated on the Iraq invasion, cooperated on buying terrorist arms from Israel and Reagan. This has, over the years, relagated Iran to mostly hot air, and they are trying to change that.

"War on Iraq has never been legally declared. "

Bush got a two thirds resolution of support, good enough to call this a declared war. A rose by any other name....

"Keith G, are you concerned that your stereotypes of Muslims are dehumanizing?"

That is exactly what we want to be doing, right now, make it tough on the Islamics to humanly continue their efforts to conquer and control.

"If the US bombs Iranian sites, the Iranians blockade the Straits of Hormuz."

Maintaining a blockade with an aging, weak fleet against the American navy?

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

The Iranians are in a difficult position. The entire focus of their nation, over the past 1500 years has been to keep marauding Arabs from over-running them. They need to be the bully, the anti-western bully. U.S. meddling in the middle east has always put them down, put them in their place, so to speak.

Their anti-Israel rhetoric is mainly anti-U.S. meddling in the middle east, especially meddling in Sunni affairs. Iran is displeased with the close partnership between the Saudis and the yanks. They are unhappy with being surrounded on three sides by Yank troops. There strategy of forward deplyment of Hezbollah in Lebanon has run afoul of the Lebanese, their ally Bashar Assad is in trouble.

What Iran was willing to bargain for three years ago was a Shiite/American alliance against Sunni extremests. They didn't get that, and they are out in the cold. They have no allies, except the pro-Iranian parties in Iraq, and these too are still dependent on Yank troops. Their nuclear program is dependent on Russia. They are not happy campers right now.

What would I do? Keep the military option on the table, but waht we really want to do is threaten to install a majority Sunni government in Syria. This is what Iran fears the most, they fear this more than they fear an assault on their nukes. Without Syria, they are isolated in the middle east, except for the Shiite Iraqis.

If we toppled Bashar, let the Sunni rule Syria, then this negates the Shiite political power in Iraq, it puts a much more powerful force against the SCIRI/Iranian backed Iraqi government. In other words, we threaten to do what England did a few hundred years ago, empower the Sunni. This is the most fearful thing the Iranians are facing, they could actually care less about the few hundred million dollars in damage to their nuke facilities.

In fact, empowering the Syrian Sunni solves a whole bunch of problems, the most notable, it brings majority rule to Syria.

Iran needs the west (including Russia) to balance against the Arabs, they always have. It is their hidden weak spot, they need to incorporate western civilization and be anti-western at the same time.

Fomenting revolution in Iran does not eliminate the Persian/Arab divide. Any Persian liberal worth his salt will seek a deterrent against the Sunni Arabs, for they have thousands of years of history in dealing with this threat.

Once we topple Assad, the Hezbollah his history, and Iran loses its forward defense in the Levant. I predict that once this is done, Iran will be right back in the non-proliferation treaty, for they will be much more dependent on the west than previously.


Posted by: Matt on February 5, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

LOL -- you guys really need to sorta get comfortable with quantifiable power of our country: we ALWAYS have carrots and sticks.

That doesn't mean they always work. But only fools ignore 'em -- and dumb as many progressive posters are, Iran is NOT run by fools.

A decent paradigm is how the IRA was handled by the Clinton administration. There were folks within the IRA (Gerry Adams was the point man, for Sinn Fein) who argued they could get more from politics than terrorism. But to have credibility (not to mention influence) within the organization, they had to be able to show they could GET something from politics that they could not get, from terror tactics.

We have carrots. It is much better for a nation to be our friend, than our enemy. (Another thing progressives might try saying once in awhile, if only for remembering that we HAVE enemies.)

But what Clark pointed out, was that we also have some mighty big sticks.

Why are you guys so afraid of that simple fact?

Fred sez: "(the possibility that we would actually use nuclear weapons is just too horrible to contemplate)"

No, it's not. He's simply WRONG. Folks contemplate it all the time, and they're not all nuts.

For one thing, every single advance in killing people and destroying things ever invented in the history of humanity HAS been used, including nukes. There have only been two exceptions, and one is minor and the other partial and perpetually incomplete: Japan gave up firearms after the assassination of Takeda Shingen in the 16th century, mostly because by defeating armies with swords, armies with guns would have upset the feudal order.

And no one has actually blown up nukes in wartime since, um, we did.

So neither is not exactly an argument -- that using 'em is "too horrible to contemplate" -- to persuade Iran not to make some. For one thing, blowing up the current world order doesn't necessarily phase the bad guys. For another, lots of folks don't particularly accept our automatic moral license to tell 'em not to build or use nukes: Hiroshima ring a bell?

Democrats ought to be able to repeat, BECAUSE WE MEAN IT, Colin Powell's astute and casual observation about North Korea: any nation that uses nuclear weapons against us, or any of our allies (which includes Israel) will simply cease to exist as an organized state.

Oddly enough, the whole history of humanity strongly supports with lots of evidence the Notion that, even though there are whackos who would welcome that Armageddon scenario, they do not tend to gain or stay in power when the sane people in their societies recognize: we mean it.

My fellow progressives: don't we?

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 5, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Maintaining a blockade with an aging, weak fleet against the American navy?

Iran doesn't need to "maintain" a blockade. All they need to do is blow up one or two supertankers. Oil tankers are operated by private companies that don't like their multi-hundred million dollar investments being sunk. No amount of assurance by the U.S. navy is going to convince them to put them to put their investments at risk. And since they don't fly the U.S. flag anymore we can't force them to run the gauntlet of the straits of Hormuz. Do you really think the Panamanian or Liberian government is going to force them to?

So neither is not exactly an argument -- that using 'em is "too horrible to contemplate" -- to persuade Iran not to make some. For one thing, blowing up the current world order doesn't necessarily phase the bad guys. For another, lots of folks don't particularly accept our automatic moral license to tell 'em not to build or use nukes: Hiroshima ring a bell?

Putting aside the morality of area bombing--and to this day there is a serious debate about the morality of the strategic bombing campaign carried out by the allies in World War II--the use of nuclear weapons to destroy Iran's nuclear program, which afterall we still don't have any definitive proof is aimed at producing a nuclear weapon, is too horrible to contemplate.

First of all, many of Iran's nuclear facilities are in or near heavily populated areas. Any use of nuclear weapons, especially a ground burst weapon, which is by far the "dirtiest" way to detonate a nuclear device, since it irradiates soil and creates all kinds of nasty radioactive ions in the dust it kicks up, will result in massive civilian casulties. Now you may not care about Iranian civilians, but even if you, and most Americans don't, killing a bunch of Muslim civilians with nuclear weapons is hardly the way to make friends in the middle east or elsewhere in the world for that matter. Then there is the little question of when the death of innocent civilians ceases to be an unavoidable consequence of war and starts to be the moral equivalence of terrorism. If there is a single military target in a building of 3000 people can you destroy the entire building to get that one target? If so, why is crashing a plane into the WTC morally wrong?

Posted by: Freder Frederson on February 5, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Since I'm of the camp who thinks that "something" should be done about nuclear proliferation and I'm also in the camp who has no clue what that something should be, I'm not going to start advocating anything particular. My only concern is that the people in charge (Bush) never do anything without first calculating their maximum personal profit. Their calculus of risk and benefit all but guarantees that whatever they do will be horrible for most of us in the long run. And by "long run" I mean the beyond the next election cycle.

We've got those cynical bastards at the minimum for the next 3 years.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 5, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding Wes Clark and Iran:

Listen to the REAL State of the Union address he gave last Monday. He says we CAN win in Iran militarily; we can win all the military battles, no problem. But, then what? We CAN win militarily, just as we did in Iraq. But we'd be big losers in the end.

From the real state of the union (text of the speech is here: http://securingamerica.com/node/560; this part is about 3/4 of the way down):

"But actions on Iran are urgent.

We should join now right now - in opening new talks with Iran, in which we ourselves participate, before pressing for UN action or moving toward the military option. No one should be mistaken: there is a military option.

We can strike hard enough to set back Iran's nuclear quest by many years, and take out much of their military capacity in the process. And we can at the same time protect most of the oil flow from Iran and deny their capacity to block transit through the Straits of Hormuz. But we also must recognize the possible consequences of this action: an embittered, vengeful Iran, seeking further destabilization of the region. Far better to pursue dialogue now, whatever the precedents, and save the military option for truly last resort. Understand: unlike others you may hear, I know when and how to determine our course with Iran."

He says we COULD win militarily but that we SHOULDN'T. It would be a huge mistake.

Posted by: icantbelieve on February 5, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Considering how much leverage Iran now has in Iraq, and therefore with the US, how much did our invasion allow Iran to accelerate their weapons program?

Boronx: Your question highlights the gravity of Bushs error. Its hard to exaggerate how badly his invasion of Iraq has hurt the United States. Everybody knows (now) that Iran is the big winner in the wake of Bushs invasion and that we have helped the hard-liners in every way.

Since Bush has been reelected, we need to make him a lame duck as far as possible. His party needs to lose the 2006 elections. We need to take away his ability to make unilateral decisions. We need to let the world know that he is not in charge anymore and that his worldview does not represent the worldview of the United States.

Its not just a matter of disliking him politically or personally. His competence and honesty cannot be relied upon. We need to disengage from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan in a strategic way. We need to help broker an Israeli/Palestinian solution. Bush and the republicans are not the people to do it.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on February 5, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Fred: strive to read for comprehension. No one that I know of (including Clark) talks about nuking Iran for building nukes.

The idea is that perhaps we might let Iran know that we would do something Very Bad to them if they USED nukes.

Is that distinction lost on you?

Folks are pointing that if Iran was to get some, and nuke us, or any of our allies (including Israel), they would have done a Very Bad Thing.

(patiently) Still with me?

Many people go on to point that one way to affect Iran's calculations about the wisdom of getting, much less using nuclear weapons, is to consider what would happen if they did use 'em, once they got 'em. This is considered a reasonable connection to make. I commend the use of reasonable connections to you.

For example, an Iranian leader has noted that in his opinion, relatiation for the nuclear obliteration of Israel would only 'damage' the world's Muslims, but that Israel itself would be gone.

(Try to read that a second time, just to be sure you understand, Fred. We can wait.)

So it is entirely a sensible position for Americans, including progressives, to be quite sure that Iran knows that should they use nuclear weapons against us, or any of our allies: Iran will cease to exist as an organized state.

Whether the historic Persian civilization, or for that matter, the Shi'a faith, would survive such a catastrophe is another set of issues, but well worth contemplating for folks who might otherwise assume (much as you do, Fred) that speaking stupidly has no consequences.

This isn't about "a serious debate" over the wholesale murder of civilians by Bomber Harris, etc., Fred. (Something you're not quite competent to hang with, anyway: that reading comprehension thing.)

It's about 1) the distinct possibility that Iran will get nukes, 2) that Israel will attack 'em to prevent that, 3) that Israel has a damned good reason, and 4) so we oughta help persuade Iran that this whole approach is a Bad Idea.

You're not helping, Fred. Perhaps a remedial course in reading comprehension before you say anything else?

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 5, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

The US can't bomb Iran until our soldiers are out of Iraq... period. We'd be fighting the Badr Brigades, Ministry of Interior forces, and most of the Iraqi Army within hours... on top of Sunni insurgents and Al Queda types.

Iran and Shiite Iraq are so closely connected you can't do something to one without anticipating a substantial, and bloody, response from the other.

Iran can't build nukes with oil and gas revenues. An embargo on Iranian oil and gas would hit where it's most vulnerable. Iran is betting that it's major customers... especially China... can't afford the loss of Iranian oil and gas. Any strategy to deal with Iran has to begin with other suppliers of fuels increasing production to make up for lost Iranian supplies and China being willing to accept fuels from other suppliers.

So in dealing with Iran:

1) An agreement with other fuel producing countries that they will increase supply to meet worldwide demand;

2) Embargo Iranian oil and gas as was done with Iraq. We know Iraq cheated but it wasn't enough to help it's economy or it's capacity to make WMD.

The difference between Iran and North Korea is that Iran actually has something the world wants, but also on which it is dependent... which makes it vulnerable.

3) US forces in Iraq have to be prepared for the repercussions of on a UN embargo. Also they would have ensure that the Shiite Iraqi government woudn't help the Iranians cheat by allowing Iranian oil and gas into and through the Iraq.

Posted by: Chuck Miller on February 5, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Above I said: Iran can't build nukes with oil and gas revenues.

I meant: Iran can't build nukes WITHOUT oil and gas revenues.

I was never good at copyediting.

Posted by: Chuck Miller on February 5, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

After reading some of the comments here, as well as a totally unrelated post by ReddHedd over at Firedoglake, I've changed my mind.

Not on the repercussions of an attack on Iran on the situation in Iraq, where we've got 138,000 troops, because that's not changing. Nor is the reality that Iran can strike back at us with an oil embargo that will send gas prices to the moon, Alice.

But what I'm reminded of (and don't ask me how I forgot; I can't explain it myself) is the Bush Administration's capability of making a total hash of anything they do. (Outside of their three areas of expertise, that is: shoveling money at them that already have plenty, grabbing more power, and bashing their political enemies, of course.)

This is especially true when it comes to the big things - Iraq, Katrina, the Medicare drug benefit - and an attack on Iran could go massively wrong.

So the Dem position should be:
1) Maybe we need to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities, and maybe we can't.
2) But we can't rely on GWB to tell us the truth about any part of the situation - how far along they are, the chances of success, the repercussions of failure. They lie. We know it. There's no reason why we should trust them now.
3) And even if it's what we need to do, we can count on this Administration to fuck it up. Who would trust this crew with so much as a box of crayons anymore?
So:
4) We're against any attack on Iran.
5) But if Bush feels he must attack Iran, let him do it SOON - like in the next three months - so the electorate can have a fair chance to judge for themselves just how badly the Bushies messed it up, before November 2006 rolls around.

Posted by: RT on February 5, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

The costs of air strikes would be great. Iraq would probably blow up in flames.

maybe, but the Arabs of Iran do not like being governed by the Persian Mullahs. If the Mullahs even have the support of a majority of Iranians, which doesn't seem likely, they do not have the support of the Arabs who inhabit the oil-producing region of Iran. No one knows what a majority of the Iranians believe about their government; the opponents are at least a large minority, and may in fact be a majority.

Posted by: contentious on February 5, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

If I'm wrong then I ask this.

If, after WWI and the Treaty of Versaille, Hitler, given his rhetoric and record, wanted to build a nuclear arsenal in 1935-1938, should we have allowed him to do it?

Answer?

No.

Iran is a carbon copy of Nazi Germany, seeking to conquer the world on behalf of Allah. Link? Every word out of the Iranian president's mouth.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 5, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think you understand what a carbon copy is.
Else you'd cease insisting that Iran 2006 is just like Germany 1933.

Posted by: kenga on February 5, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Fred: strive to read for comprehension. No one that I know of (including Clark) talks about nuking Iran for building nukes.

You know I expect these kinds of insults over at rightwingnews or redstate, not here. Obviously, you are the one with reading comprehension problems. I originally brought nuclear weapons as a first strike weapon to take out hardened nuclear facilities, not as a retaliation for an Iranian strike against Israel or us. That would change the equation somewhat (although not necessarily the morality of MAD). The pentagon is seriously discussing first strike bunker busting nuclear weapons. This is an extremely dangerous road to go down. Any first use strategy of nuclear weapons is sheer insanity.

We in the west, as we scold other countries for violating the NPT, seem to forget, that we have never even seriously sought to live up to our responsibilities under the treaty. And while we whine and gripe about Iran, we won't even acknowledge that one country in the middle east has a stockpile of nuclear weapons that probably exceeds that of every other country in the world except the U.S., Russia and possibly France.

Posted by: Freder Frederson on February 5, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

'Matt' posted:

"Require folks to lift their shirt before getting on the bus. We are dealing with ignorant Arabs, after all, who else would be stupid enough to run around America with suicide belts on?"

I was referring to suicide TRUCK BOMBS, not tiny little belts.

.

"Bush got a two thirds resolution of support, good enough to call this a declared war. A rose by any other name...."

Nope.

A use of force resolution is not a "Declaration of War". Check with the Supreme Court.

.

"The Iranians are in a difficult position."

The Bushies are in a difficult position. All of their own making.
.

Posted by: VJ on February 5, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

The bottom line is that unless we intend to put ground troops in Iran, bunker busters, tac nukes, pick yer favorites, will ultimately all lead us to the path we were at with Saddam. Not quite sure, and led around by the nose by those who have alterior motives for seeing our men and women be put in harms way in Iran.

Problem is we have umpteen million Shia currently surrounding most of our ground forces in another country.

Those US citizens who have no problem with mass murder of innocents abroad don't see a problem here. Full speed ahead.... and right off the cliff.

When our government is led by the christian values network, how can we be sure our national security won't be trumped by their desire for ethnic cleansing?

Posted by: Ten in Tenn on February 5, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

The question of whether or not the "military option" (euphemism for Bombing) would work is not a difficult one: of course it would.

If we bombed long enough and comprehensively enough their nuclear program would cease to exist. Unfortunately, so would most of their economy. This is not a good option, of course. But it might be the best option.

What Clark appears to be saying (and he flaps his mouth a lot) is that we could do it with minimal losses -- otherwise the statement would be too banal to even consider. But my bet is that he has no clue how difficult it would be and/or how disbursed the facilities are. He hasn't been in govt for a long time. And I doubt even the intelligence agencies (here or elsewhere) know.

With the referral to the UNSC being just the first in a series of events, my bet is that the Iranians are royally screwed.

Posted by: cecce on February 5, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

A carbon copy is what my great hero, my grandmother, used to use to make copies by putting the original on top of a sheet of carbon paper and putting a blank form underneath. She would write on the top sheet and thus make two copies with one writing.

1933 Germany is the "original".

[TIME is the figurative carbon paper.]

2006 Iran is the "carbon copy", figuratively speaking.

Naturally the words are not the same, but the IMPORTANT CONCEPTS are exactly the same; the themes are carbon copies of the themes of 1933.

---

Here's what I think.

I think if it's a choice of history-ignorant and foolish anti-long-term-peace appeasement or wisdom and military interdiction, you'll choose the former. Luckily, your impotence outweighs your ignorance, so I ancicipate what you choose will prove irrelevant. Again.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 5, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus. This truly is the face of collective hysteria.

First, tactical nukes are indeed on the table. Read Jimm's link to FPIF posted above.

Secondly, nobody's made a coherent argument that Iran, were it to get nukes, would commit national suicide by using them.

Third, nobody's made a coherent argument that Iran would have any interest turning Israel to uninhabitable scorched earth and in the process destroy the dream of a Palestinian homeland.

Fourth, people seem to conflate Iran with Sunni extremism. This is based on Rumsfeld calling Iran the principle sponsor of state terrorism, but read his remarks and the evidence he presents is that the Iranian military is helping supply the Iraqi nationalist insurgency with sophisticaded IEDs. Not precisely the same thing. Iran's links to Hezbollah supported terrorism against Israel, but Hezbollah has sinse moderated its behavior since it joined the political process in Lebanon. Iran's dream of a "Shi'ite crescent" stretching through Iraq to Syria pits it against the nations that tacitly support al Qaeda-style Sunni terrorism.

Fifth, sabre-rattling is going to have the reverse effect. It has already unified Iranian society at all levels in support of their nuclear program, if today's NYT story is to be believed. Threaten them and they won't back down, they'll simply become more intransigent.

Sixth, Iran is acting with perfect rationality. Its neighbor is harboring the armies of its enemy; it has every reason in the world to feel under threat and develop a deterrent against being invaded. And non-proliferation arguments have no noral teeth as long as its implacable foe Israel has them. Even the US recognized this in an IAEA resolution we were backed into supporting that called for the eventual nuclear disarmament of the entire region -- specifically including Israel. But as we all know, no world body would ever get Israel to relinquish its nukes.

Seventh -- and perhaps most importantly -- we are at the verge of pushing Iranian society back into the arms of its crumbling religious hierarchy. Ahmadinejad is playing this card to increase his hold on the country; he was elected as a populist with support of Iran's poor and less educated, and his fire-breathing rhetoric is primarily for domestic consumption. He is checked strongly by the conservative forces in Iran -- the business community and the Guardian Council. But he still hasn't removed the social reforms of his predecessor, and Iran is probably the most socially liberal country in that entire region. There's a huge baby-boom generation born after the Iran/Iraq war that is Western-leaning and despises the mullahs. Western sabre-rattling plays into the president's hands by turning this potential dissent into support for the nation's perogatives.

This is not a moral argument -- based on the idea that unprovoked warfare is simply wrong. This is not a consequentialist argument -- looking into a crystal ball and concluding that Bush will muck it all up and gas prices will hit the roof. This is not -- least of all -- a political argument. Partisan politics don't belong in an issue of overwhelming national importance.

It is an argument based on the here and now, to dissuade anyone -- in particular Americanist -- from the belief that what we're doing here amounts to a useful threat.

If we rattle this sabre -- by our own implacable logic we will have no choice but to use it. Iran will simply not be deterred from its nuclear ambitions.

And we make this choice at the entire world's peril.

We must choose wisely.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Fred, I realize it's a large assumption, but I sorta figured you can read what YOU wrote for the meaning in it.

I was observing that you don't seem to be able to read what I, and a number of others, have written for, ya know, the actual meaning of the words we used.

Neither Clark, nor I, nor pretty much anybody in the thread BUT you, suggested nuking Iran for building nukes. (That's a tactical consideration beyond my ken.)

You admitted as much. Next time you're caught in an error, try to apply some grace to the admission. It's unlikely you made just ONE mistake, and more likely (as in fact is true) taht you made 'em in bunches, and somebody took pity on you and only pointed to one.

There's a tactical issue of just how much boom you need to get x destruction at so many feet underground with thus and such reinforced concrete, etc., but that sorta calculation intelligent folks leave to professionals. At least, I try not to inform my opinions about such stuff from folks who post on blogs.

LOL -- so if you don't want to be whacked for being dumb, Fred: don't say stooopid stuff.

Kenga raises a peculiar misuse of an archaic image: "I don't think you understand what a carbon copy is.
Else you'd cease insisting that Iran 2006 is just like Germany 1933."

I'm old enough that I remember carbon copies -- you simply rolled a couple special sheets and another plain sheet of paper into the typewriter behind the original you were typing on: the impact of the key through the ribbon left an imprinted ink character on the original, and (when struck hard enough, which took some force with the ol' Underwood, especially with the 'q a z' and the question and quotation marks) would leave an identical mark through the inked-on-one-side carbon paper. Presto, an original copy -- sometimes more accurate, in fact, because it recorded strikeovers.

Kenga, you seem to be thinking of photostats, which (IIRC) predated Xerox and Kodak copying, and were negative images of documents: a black letter on white paper would become a white letter on a black background.

Beware of the Metaphor Police.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 5, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Let me just add that this is where it really hurts having an Asshat for a President....


Now figure out which country I'm referring to.

Posted by: Ten in Tenn on February 5, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Bob (typically) is confused: Saying that it would be bad idea for Iran to build nuclear weapons because if they used them, it would be Bad, is not the same as saying that if we will nuke Iran if they get nukes.

The objective here is to persuade Iran that it is better to be a nearly nuke nation, than to be bombed by Americans for two weeks.

Sensible folks recognize the best way to achieve that objective is to show some small carrots and a couple really big sticks.

That's why I cited the IRA in the Clinton years. A friend of mine brokered the ceasefire, which was basically achieved with carrots: the U.S. showed IRA hardliners that they could get more from Sinn Fein's politics than their own bombings. (The IRA and the Brits had been pounding each other with sticks for some time; it was the carrot's turn.)

Sure, Ahmadinejad is mostly listening to Iranians, and talking AT the Israelis and the Americans for the benefit of the Iranian equivalent of Buncombe, but so what? It makes no difference.

By reminding folks that if Iran uses nukes against us or our allies, it will cease to exist as an organized state, IS precisely a useful threat.

It serves to remind people that there are things America will not tolerate, so that they must not do them, or even imagine that they COULD. God does not want 'em to do these things -- as sensible Muslims would be happy to remind the loons when we'd communicated effectively.

Not incidentally, it might help progressives gain some credibility on what would, or would not, be a serious threat from a Democratic President when we finally elect one again.

But, Lordy! Bob: stating a fact (nuke us and die) isn't a limb for US to climb out on. What on earth would make you think THAT?

It's pointing to the limb Iran is thinking about climbing out on -- and reminding 'em that we have the world's biggest chainsaw.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 5, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Bush's strategy is to take all non-military options off the table by his diplomatic "mistakes". There's no mistake: he wants a two-step: First, you agree that the threat from Iran must be met; second, you make sure that diplomacy fails. Sound familiar?
If you do the first step and balk at the second,
then a vicious PR campaign starts against you.

Posted by: marky on February 5, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

If the US does attack, I think we can assume that there is only one superpower in the world: Israel.

If we attack, the world economic house of cards will collapse. If it has to be done, look the other way and let Israel do it. Are we worried that the muslims really wont like Israel if they do it?

If we do it and the cards come tumbling down, at least we can thank our lucky stars that we have a president who has the heroic fortitude necessary to build camps for the housing of the hundreds of thousands, or more likely millions, of disgruntled unpatriotic, cowardly hippy liberals who will not be willing to quietly watch their lifetimes work evaporate in the scorching Iranian sun.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on February 5, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist,
I follow your posts. I don't think you are considering Bush's plans.
The lesson of Iraq was that Bush was planning to attack Iraq all along---there never was any doubt. In that case, what was the point of the charade of inspections and UN meetings? As I said, it was to eliminate other options.
If you want to talk sensible about Iran and the US, start with the premise that Bush is planning to attack Iran. Given that premise, if you start talking about possible military options, you give him support. It's the "liberal hawk" idiot MarkII model.

Posted by: marky on February 5, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Ooops, meant to write that I *don't* follow your posts, Americanist.

Posted by: marky on February 5, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Not sure anyone's reading anyone else's posts so one more time, here's the FACTS on General Clark's position on Iran - which he's stated many many times.

Yes, there IS a military option - there is ALWAYS a military option. FACT.

He has ALWAYS said military force should always, always, always be the LAST resort. FACT.

Any transcript, any speech, any article where Clark mentions the ME has always been the same. We should be talking to them. That has never changed.

Today's transcript from his appearance on Fox should be up soon at the securingamerica.com website, where he said the same thing. Again.


from The Real State of the Union 2006:

...Today, Syria presents an historic opportunity for the United States. Rather than just threatening Syria, we should talk directly to Bashir Assad, encouraging him to lay the foundations for economic and political opening and gradual transformation, cut off insurgent access through Syria into Iraq, and end the sponsorship of Iranian-backed terrorist institutions, in return for stabilizing his administration during the ongoing UN investigations.


And this in turn, will give us greater traction against Iran's steady march toward nuclear weaponry.


But actions on Iran are urgent.


We should join now right now - in opening new talks with Iran, in which we ourselves participate, before pressing for UN action or moving toward the military option. No one should be mistaken: there is a military option.


We can strike hard enough to set back Iran's nuclear quest by many years, and take out much of their military capacity in the process. And we can at the same time protect most of the oil flow from Iran and deny their capacity to block transit through the Straits of Hormuz. But we also must recognize the possible consequences of this action: an embittered, vengeful Iran, seeking further destabilization of the region. Far better to pursue dialogue now, whatever the precedents, and save the military option for truly last resort. Understand: unlike others you may hear, I know when and how to determine our course with Iran...

http://securingamerica.com/

Posted by: jen on February 5, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I see that Sam William Marshall is posting as TOH - Remember, Polat Alemdar is looking very hard for you.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 5, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

> Bob (typically) is confused:

And Americanist (typically) is an arrogant asshat with such
deep-seated masculinity issues that he feels the need to
turn every principled disagreement into a personal attack.

Which might help explain why he seems so preoccupied
with weilding a ... *ahem* ... "big stick" :)

> Saying that it would be bad idea for Iran to build nuclear
> weapons because if they used them, it would be Bad,

Well, this doesn't parse logically. Everybody who has nukes lives
under a more-or-less formalized deterrence doctrine. We have nukes
and if we used them against a nuclear power, it would also be Bad.

But it didn't stop us from acquiring them. Nor did it stop any
of the other members of the nuclear club. Why? Because nukes
are the quintessential deterrent against an existential threat.

> is not the same as saying that if we
> will nuke Iran if they get nukes.

Don't take this up with me. Read the Foriegn Policy In Focus
article that Jimm posted in this thread at around 4am. Apparently,
we could invoke a '02 collective security agreement to use tactical
bunker-buster nukes in the sorties to take out Iran's nuclear
facilities. I don't know if this was part of the plan Clark
considered. Frankly, 14 days of nuking doesn't sound quite right.

> The objective here is to persuade Iran that it is better to be a
> nearly nuke nation, than to be bombed by Americans for two weeks.

And we won't attain that objective. We certainly didn't with
Saddam while the US Army was massing in Kuwait. Ahmadinejad
will make the typically Islamic (and Shi'ite martyr-glorifying)
calculation that his country can survive whatever pounding we give
it, sucking America into another tar baby in the Muslim world.

> Sensible folks recognize the best way to achieve that objective
> is to show some small carrots and a couple really big sticks.

Sensible people don't advocate "big
sticks" because they have a tiny penis :)

> That's why I cited the IRA in the Clinton years. A friend
> of mine brokered the ceasefire, which was basically achieved
> with carrots: the U.S. showed IRA hardliners that they could
> get more from Sinn Fein's politics than their own bombings.
> (The IRA and the Brits had been pounding each other with
> sticks for some time; it was the carrot's turn.)

The IRA analogy parses more with Hamas. It doesn't parse at all
with a functional, modern state with a high degree of social cohesion
that our threatening only serves to reinforce, again, due to the
Shi'ite propensity to revel in the role of the besieged underdog.

> Sure, Ahmadinejad is mostly listening to Iranians, and talking
> AT the Israelis and the Americans for the benefit of the Iranian
> equivalent of Buncombe, but so what? It makes no difference.

It makes all the difference in the world. Didn't you hear Merkel
with Rumsfeld yesterday? The raison d'etre we're presenting
that it is intolerable that Iran gets nukes flows directly from
Ahmadinejad's loose-lipped bluster about wiping Israel off the map.

It's either real -- or it's Buncombe for domestic consumption.
Whatever Ahmadinejad's true motives, again, he's checked
powerfully by the deeply conservative forces in Iran who
value the status quo and their own survival above all.

> By reminding folks that if Iran uses nukes
> against us or our allies, it will cease to exist
> as an organized state, IS precisely a useful threat.

But it also says nothing new; again, this is standard-
issue deterrence doctrine, no different for India,
Pakistan, North Korea or France, for that matter.

> It serves to remind people that there are things America
> will not tolerate, so that they must not do them, or
> even imagine that they COULD. God does not want 'em to
> do these things -- as sensible Muslims would be happy
> to remind the loons when we'd communicated effectively.

Things that America won't tolerate. Right. Like
a nascent Shi'ite theocracy in Our Friend Iraq :)

It won't work. Shi'ites are too enamored of playing the beseiged
underdog card. Ahmadinejad will play the bullied innocent, the
Iranian people will support him, the entire country will deny that
Iran wants to acquire nuclear weapons (and we have only inferential
evidence that they do), and they'll hunker down for the kind of
relentless pounding they took under Saddam's Soviet tanks.

And then the world -- once again -- will endure the blowback.

> Not incidentally, it might help progressives gain some
> credibility on what would, or would not, be a serious threat
> from a Democratic President when we finally elect one again.

Analyzed rationally, Iran having nukes is not any
more of a serious threat than Pakistan or North Korea
having them. They will not use them against Israel,
or for any other reason than to deter an invasion.

> But, Lordy! Bob: stating a fact (nuke us and die) isn't a limb
> for US to climb out on. What on earth would make you think THAT?

I never said that (reading comprehension issues?). I said
that we may invoke a treaty to use bunker-buster nukes to
take out their facilities. And if we do that -- launch a
nuclear first strike against a country that hasn't attacked
or is planning to attack anyone -- the *ahem* fallout will
destroy every last remaining tattered shred of American
credibility or pretense to the moral high ground extant.

> It's pointing to the limb Iran is thinking
> about climbing out on -- and reminding 'em
> that we have the world's biggest chainsaw.

The Iranians saw the world's biggest chainsaw in use next door.

They are, umm, snickering.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding whether or not the president can order a strike without congressional authorization, the War Powers Resolution of '73 gives the president 60 days after the start of hostilities before he must withdraw troops in the absense of a formal declaration or authorization from congress.

Whether or not the law is consitutional is up for grabs, but since it was passed, every president has followed it.

But yes, the president can attack anyone he wants without permission. At least for 60 days.

Posted by: Royko on February 5, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

The US should offer to arm Iran with the same nuclear technology we gave Israel.

Posted by: Hostile on February 5, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

The US should offer to arm Iran with the same nuclear technology we gave Israel.

No, the typical liberal that you're trying to skewer would demand that the US give Iran a specific piece of ballistic missile technology so that the Iranians can defend themselves against American gangster hegemony.

But keep trying...

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 5, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

That's why I cited the IRA in the Clinton years. A friend of mine brokered the ceasefire, which was basically achieved with carrots: the U.S. showed IRA hardliners that they could get more from Sinn Fein's politics than their own bombings. (The IRA and the Brits had been pounding each other with sticks for some time; it was the carrot's turn.)

Nice cease fire they have there. Too bad it doesn't include the cessation of the IRA's well known and document organized crime activities in Belfast and Derry. I'm sure the typical shopowner in the Catholic neighborhoods sure is glad there's a cease fire so the local IRA can shake him down for protection money and steal everything that isn't nailed down.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 5, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

"Apparently,
we could invoke a '02 collective security agreement to use tactical
bunker-buster nukes in the sorties to take out Iran's nuclear
facilities. I don't know if this was part of the plan Clark
considered. Frankly, 14 days of nuking doesn't sound quite right."

Maybe that's because it's idiotic. Noone seriously involved in setting policy has suggested using nuclear weapons to destroy Iran's weapons program, whatever some looney-tunes poster upthread said.

Posted by: cecce on February 5, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

As for the politics here, Kevin says that Clark did not say military action against Iran "was a good idea", only that it was feasible.

Well, duh. It's never a good idea, until it becomes necessary. The whole reason for Clark to go into the question of how specifically to take out the Iranian nukes program (in lots of detail, supposedly) must have been that Clark sees what half the people here does not see: that Ayatollahs (not even to mention president Ahmacrazyorwhat) with nukes is totally unacceptable. If all else (diplomacy, sanctions, the typical UN route) fails, bombing it is. That's a useful clarkification.

Posted by: cecce on February 5, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

For the record, that was not meant to be a lame pun. I meant clarification. It is good to see that there are serious democrats that are committed to preventing Iran from getting nuclear warheads.

Posted by: cecce on February 5, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

As to the political fallout, this was Drummy's whole point in the post: that Dems would be better off having some kind of a policy here. Quite especially a policy that was workable, would not concede the Ayatollahs point right from the start that they are entitled to nukes, and would be a policy the party could be united around. Reading upthread, I say dream on.

Posted by: cecce on February 5, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

There is no relation between Hitler's Germany and Iran. Hitler was invading countries left and right in pursuit of world domination. Who has Iran invaded?

The "carbon copy" thing needs to stop now too. I've used carbon copies, and it's a pass through reproduction, upon the initial pressing, so temporally it was a terrible metaphor to begin with, though this really isn't as important as how off-base the intended meaning was (the so-called similarity of Nazi Germany and Iran).

And theAmericanist, tone down your wildly arrogant and mocking attitude. There is nothing in the substance you bring to these threads that justifies this tone, and in the process you're giving "Donnelly" a bad name.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Objective Historian, you also have no justification for your attitude either. You may find your mocking and arrogant tone deserved, because of your genuis or self-righteousness, but in reality it's a dead giveaway to a long-held insecurity, and will only bring you contempt.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

It may be what Americans think about Iran's nuke program is irrelevant. The one country this will pose an existential threat to is Israel, and when they feel that threat has been realized, they will take action to remove it.

Posted by: bob h on February 5, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

And, if you are so confident about the worth of your ideas and arguments, you should be sure not to distract from their compelling nature by inviting contempt from readers for mocking others unjustifiably, or for rampant abuse of rhetorically deceptive devices.

In other words, state your points, and make your arguments, sans ad hominem, straw men, and other rhetorical devices/fallacies that are primarily utilized to mask a weak argument (through distraction, emotional priming, etc.).

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Jimm, get over yourself. You're not the hall monitor anymore.

Posted by: bobnweave on February 5, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

cecce:

> "we could invoke a '02 collective security agreement
> to use tactical bunker-buster nukes in the sorties
> to take out Iran's nuclear facilities. I don't know
> if this was part of the plan Clark considered.
> Frankly, 14 days of nuking doesn't sound quite right."

> Maybe that's because it's idiotic. Noone seriously
> involved in setting policy has suggested using nuclear
> weapons to destroy Iran's weapons program, whatever
> some looney-tunes poster upthread said.

Well, cecce, I hope you're correct. I sincerely hope the person
who wrote this piece in Foreign Policy In Focus that Jimm linked
to last night is just some wild-eyed antiwar campus leftist.

Doesn't sound like it, though. Sounds like a fairly serious-minded
analysis, and I tend to agree strongly with it. Here's the link:

http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/3089

And here's the salient quote:

"The United States could do it easily, using either
carried launcher planes, B-2 stealth bombers armed with
bunker busters, or Tomahawk cruise missiles. The United
States might even invoke the 2002 Doctrine for Joint
Nuclear Operations and use tactical nuclear weapons."

Read the whole piece and judge for yourself.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Maupertuis: The Man Who Tried to Flatten Leibniz

Lesson: Don't prostitute yourself to power.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Bob - the piece you're referring to is from the FPIF, a leftie think tank. Now, how are they "seriously involved in setting policy"???

They are of course not involved at all. Have nothing do do with it. Nada.

I'm sorry, what was your point?

Posted by: cecce on February 5, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Jimm, get over yourself. You're not the hall monitor anymore.

I don't intend to be, and don't really remember acting as one. The other night (at 3am) it sounded like a good idea...but it should be obvious I never followed it up. I just prefer to read and consider dueling arguments without having "prima donna" written all over many of them.

prima donna

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

This article from a "lecturer in journalism" at UC Santa Cruz (granola county, in case anyone doesn't know the place) does not cite one single source in the US government that says nukes might be used against Iran in destroying their nuclear weapons design and production programs.

I think we can safely ignore it as "serious analysis".

Cecce - Kevin's question is in fact a very good one. Clark clearly sees Iran getting nukes as something he would not accept. And he has clearly put thought into the details of how to destroy their nukes program. Why can't more democrats do that? This ought to be a major debate.

Posted by: lab on February 5, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

cecce:

FPIF is discussing options. You have a reason to believe that a tactical nuke option is somehow *not* on the table -- aside from, you know, rank ideological prejudice because it comes from a think tank on the wrong side of the aisle -- perhaps you'd like to share it.

Dismiss it if you like. But it's hardly an unserious evaluation.

I mean, who do *you* trust on this? Rumsfeld?

I'll believe we won't use nukes precisely at such time that we don't.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

An American-led war against Iran? When we're already bleeding from 1,000 small cuts in Iraq? This is nuts. Absolutely, positively, utterly nuts. It's bad enough that Bush and his neocon nutjobs are pushing it, but now, even Hillary Clinton is beating the war drums. (Yo, earth to Hillary-- time to look for jobs as a TV pundit because you are never, ever getting anywhere close to the nomination, let alone the General, in 2008.)

I like to think of it this way. We are now nearing a $9 trillion national debt, and Iraq is a central contributor to that. Oh, it's not just the almost $half trillion military outlays alone-- no, there's also all the cost involved in treating all those sick and wounded soldiers getting maimed by the roadside bombs and ambushes in Fallouja and Baghdad, extra costs of recruiting in a tough environment, all of which add up to almost $1.2 trillion in commitments *already*, as an NYT analysis recently showed. So in short, we're going bankrupt.

Why haven't we already declared a default, thus crashing our economy for the next decade? Because China's been bailing our sorry asses out, buying up our T-bills. But they're not doing it out of altruism. China likes having the US as its wage slave, paying hundreds of billions in interest on that mountain of debt and continuing to buy up China's cheap goods with, of course, money we don't have-- but which the Federal Reserve is happy to keep printing. (What's the US's biggest export these days? You guessed it-- currency paper.) China does this only so long as it's in their interest, which is decreasingly so every day, since China is rapidly developing its own domestic market and increasing the share of its trade with Japan, India, the EU, Russia and South America.

If we're truly stupid enough to invade or even launch air strikes against Iran, we're looking at perhaps another trillion dollar military commitment, plus an increase in the cost of the Iraq War since then, all the Badr Brigades and other Shiite militias will go ape-s**t and attack Coalition troops in southern Iraq with a vengeance. China is not going to bankroll that war for us-- they're already exchanging their stack of dollars for more reliable euros, precious metals, infrastructure boosts in the domestic economy and, of course, oil. If we hit Iran, China will just dump their remaining stash like a bad habit. It won't hurt them all that much-- in a panic, you'd best be the first one out the door, which China would be, plus China now has many other trading partners and its own consumers to pick up much of the slack. At that point, the US currency will become more valuable as toilet paper.

I'm actually beginning to seriously wonder if all these variations of "Blue State secession" proposals from the US might actually have a very good point. The culture of the Blue States is just radically, radically different from the cultures of the Red States. The people in the Blue States, as a whole, are into professionalism, high culture, achievement, tolerance and a strong economy (which is why we are net contributors to the US treasury). The Red States are into warped and warmongering perversions of Christianity, those Christian Zionists' infamous obsession with ethnic cleansing the Palestinians out of "Biblical Israel," a civilizational war against the Muslim Middle East (with American blood, of course, even though millions of them are too chicken-s**t themselves to go and fight-- much better to get some poor black soul to get killed for you), environmental destruction for the sake of it (it'll bring about Armageddon a bit faster, ya see), and economic parasitism-- the Red States, after all, take far more from the feds than they contribute. Thus, preposterously, the sweat and hard work of all us Blue Staters, is being used to fund the religious Crusader Wars and moves toward Armageddon of the Red Staters. This is taxation without representation, and it's time for us Blue Staters to call bullshit.

Maybe it really is time for us to go our separate ways. We can still trade with each other as separate, sovereign nations, but at least as separate countries, the Blue Staters won't be forced to subsidize the Red Staters religious wars. (I'm Jewish myself, BTW, and I think the worst thing for Israel and the Jewish people is this idiotic, shortsighted alliance with the Christian Zionists, the Dispensationalists, in the USA. My fellow friends-- these arch-conservatives only feign friendship with you, they're merely using you as tools, and you're striking a Faustian bargain by allying with them. Witness, for example, Pat Robertson's recent hatred against Prime Minister Sharon.)

There are many different ways that the Blue States could secede, but the best IMHO is to give Latinos the SW, their Spanish-speaking "Aztlan" in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and southern Texas (plus southern Florida)-- hey, we stole it from them 150 years ago, anyway. Then, the Blue States on the East Coast, the Upper Midwest, and the Pacific Northwest join up as a new nation. Please, let's stop entertaining notions of joining with Canada-- even without Quebec, the Canadian provinces are way different from even the Blue States in their culture and history, and they're not going to join with us. Let's just have Aztlan in the SW, the Blue Staters across the northern band stretching from Maine to Washington and dipping into Illinois, and then let the Red Staters have their little theocracy in the rest of the rump, but without access to all the weapons and resources that we Blue Staters are currently bankrolling. It may be the one way to save civilization, especially our own, from crumbling as a result of the religious fanatics who currently run our nation.

Posted by: Eli on February 5, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

lab:

One of the reasons this is not a major is because nobody on your side of the issue feels it's worthy to examine your fundamental premises.

Aside from the idealist (and irrelevant) nonproliferation argument, just what exactly is wrong with Iran having nukes?

I'm waiting. Froth away :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

major = major debate

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

cecce,

Congress Authorizes Study of Nuclear Bunker Buster (2002)

U.S. Weights Tactical Nuclear Strike On Iraq

More on some of the policies being pushed by the Bush Administration as regards tactical nukes

Pentagon May Have Doubts On Preemptive Nuclear Moves (Washington Post, 9/2005)

The Limits of Limited Nuclear War

In recent years, the Bush administration has put forward policy documents that seem to suggest that nuclear weapons can be used as limited war-fighting tools, such as for bunker-busting missions. As policymakers grapple with whether such a strategy is possible or necessary, they might contemplate the Nixon administrations internal policy discussions on nuclear weapons use more than three decades ago. While President Richard Nixon and his national security advisor, Henry Kissinger, presided over a quest for limited nuclear options, others raised searching questions about the value or relevance of that approach.

Personally, though I linked to the FPIF article, which is a good one, I do not think we would use nuclear weapons in any capacity against Iran as far as this particular crisis we are getting into.

We would have a hard enough time getting some of the world on board...if we were to use tactical nukes, we would lose the whole world. So Bob...don't worry about renewing your passport yet, and if it ever comes to that, I may be on that plane with you. :)

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Other than that, though, Eli, you're pretty optimistic as to how things stand, right?

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever, Bob. I thought when you cited that article that it had some kind of, you know, evidence. Anything at all to support your assertions. Instead all you've got is "I'll believe it until I see otherwise." If that's your opinion, why bother citing articles as support? Or for that matter, reading them?

Posted by: cecce on February 5, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, that Santa Cruz greater area, though a liberal paradise, very true, is also a hotbed for some serious IR and IP study and think tanks.

MIIS

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

cecce:

That was, of course, nothing more than a deeply cynical and demoralized assertion of my opinion.

I tend to agree with Jimm that the, umm, fallout would be too severe to use them in this particular misadventure. And surely it wasn't anything Clark was reviewing, again for the reason that 14 days' worth is one helluva lot of nukes. You could probably destroy the world in that amount of time in an all-out nuclear war.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

The point of reading that analysis and opinion was to for the analysis and opinion, not as a fact reference. Just as we all are stating our opinions and analysis here, I pointed to a similar considered effort appearing in FPIF, where they make it their business to think about these matters...full-time.

If you actually go back to where I dropped that link, it was accompanied by about 6 other links to other analysis and opinions, including a libertarian analysis.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

My last comment is referring to cecce.

Whatever, Bob. I thought when you cited that article that it had some kind of, you know, evidence. Anything at all to support your assertions. Instead all you've got is "I'll believe it until I see otherwise." If that's your opinion, why bother citing articles as support? Or for that matter, reading them?

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Bob - "I'll believe we won't use nukes precisely at such time that we don't."

cecce - "Instead all you've got is "I'll believe it until I see otherwise.""

Bob - "That was, of course, nothing more than a deeply cynical and demoralized assertion of my opinion."

Sigh. Why bother?

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

cecce:

The article otherwise gives a very good overview of the internal dynamics of Iran and refutes the assertions being made by the Administration that Iranian policy is driven by the overheated announcements of its populist, play-to-the-people president.

The conventional wisdom on Iran is deeply wrong. Iran is poised in about a decade or so to become the most socially progressive country in the mideast.

If we set that effort back a decade or so by provoking a rally-around-the-flag effect on steroids by bombing them -- pushing even the pro-Western students to fully support the government -- then we would have just unleashed another mother of all misbegotten clusterfucks into that sad and benighted region of the world.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

If nothing else, I think this thread illustrates the problems with answering the question "what would be the Democratic response?"

Posted by: tbrosz on February 5, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Auntie Jimm, your googling skills are clearly top notch. Reading comprehension, not so much.

Posted by: bobnweave on February 5, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz - ouch! It is interesting, isn't it, that if you read this entire thread, there is pretty much not one single post that might have potential as a policy for the democratic party. Which was Kevin's whole point. Clark and other smart democrats have clearly thought about it and have ideas, but are they a small minority? I would bet they are.

Posted by: cecce on February 5, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz:

The Democratic response should be very clear:

Oppose attacking Iraq to take out a not-yet-existent bombmaking program.

Any questions? I'll walk you through it step-by-step if you like.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

cecce:

That's nonsense. I have a clear idea.

You just have a bunch of unstated premises.

Please explain in clear, concise terms what's so horrible about Iran having nukes?

This should be interesting ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Just, again, to clarify Clark's position on attacking Iran, he appeared on Fox News this AM and had this to say:

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, there are military options at least in terms of setting back Irans nuclear program. Whether you can completely end it the way the Israelis did at Osiraq in 1981, I dont really think so because its not concentrated in a single place. Its spread out but we know where most of those places are, we can get at those places. We can use stealth bombers, we can use earth-penetrating munitions, we can use um, tomahawk land-attack missiles, we can put special forces in. We can do a lot of different things and the Iranians cant be at all confident that we cant set this program back by a dozen years.

Eric Shawn: Now, you say setting it back by a dozen years, that still means, though, that they could still pursue it and no matter what we do they could still be on that track to try to get a nuke bomb.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well thats the problem with the military option, Eric. Its that once we take action, Ahmedinejad probably becomes stronger domestically. Theres no assurance that you can get regime change and the historical record of countries that have been bombed suggests that when you bomb a country, normally people rally around the leader. In this case, it would be most unfortunate, but it could happen. And after we had set back their nuclear program by taking out a number of sites, theres no reason to think that AQ Khan in Pakistan and his cohort couldnt provide them the additional information, that some other nation might not have an incentive to smuggle in highly enriched uranium. They could be back where we started much sooner than if they rebuilt the program entirely on their own. So thats the risk of the military option - leaving an embittered, angered Iran which is determined to seek revenge and get it.

........

And, this from another blogger who attended the session, hekebolos from www.hekebolos.com:

"He said that of course the military option is never off the table, but striking Iran would be exactly what Ahmedinejad and the mullahs want. They're trying to goad us into it. He explained from a logistical point of view how such a strike would likely be conducted, but only if there is 100% absolutely no remaining alternative."

And thanks, Kevin, for updating the original post.

Posted by: Carol on February 5, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

I'll add that this whole debate on Iran is driven by suspicion, not facts.

Further, noone should passively allow the GOP to set the terms and content of debate.

Since the facts are not in support of attacking Iran, or that they will soon have nuclear weapons, we certainly should clean up our other affairs, especially in Iraq, and exhaust all diplomatic options before even contemplating taking preventive military action against Iran.

The preceding would be my recommendation for Democratic policy, even though I am strictly independent (though definitely lean Democratic right now, when having to choose between the two).

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

I don't want to waste my time answering your questions, Bob, since the question here was: "What should we do to prevent crazy ayatollahs from getting nukes and what should the dem position be." Your answer is we should do nothing because there's no reason to worry. It is never very interesting to discuss a question with someone who rejects the entire premise the question is based on. It's just a waste of time.

Posted by: cecce on February 5, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Sheesh, *enough* with the freakin' Clark groupies, already ...

Nobody's under the impression anymore that Clark is advocating military action.

And a few of us believe that, contrary to opinion in some quarters, that if the guy tried to walk on water, he'd sink.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

The $6 dollar a gallon retort was good too.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Auntie Jimm, your googling skills are clearly top notch. Reading comprehension, not so much.

Please educate me...what did you expect me to come up with...concrete plans to nuke Iran I don't think exist?

I bow before your superior learning and cogency in posting.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

cecce - clearly Clark also thinks that bombing, while a last resort, may become the only remaining policy option at some point (once all else has failed).

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Carol:

My apologies for that previous rash comment.

Clark makes precisely my point. The military option is feasable, but it appears to be an exceedingly bad one for all the reasons I argued above.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Challenging the premises forwarded by the GOP is the most effective response to insane proposals.

Otherwise, you just get taken for a crazy ride.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

At least Clark doesn't fail the most basic test: would you be willing to allow the Iranians to get nukes? He clearly would do something to stop it and is willing to consider any means. First negotiations, then whatever escalating series of steps (sanctions etc). Hopefully this can be done without bombing, but if not, it is promising (for a democrat) that he has considered the military options. It's also interesting that he considers the bombing option to be feasible.

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Not looking good for the Seahawks...Hasselbeck looks a little wild. For any of you who may have forgotten, the Super Bowl just started.

Peace.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, Peanut, but he might be very alone in his party in this. That's what I fear. Tbrosz's comment above was right on.

Posted by: cecce on February 5, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I think Clark is way too optimistic if he thinks the lame-o UN can solve this. 50 bucks says there won't even be sanctions.

And time is not on our side. It becomes harder to do the longer we wait. I say give the UN 3-6 months to try before we start bombing. If Clark is right that we can set their program back by a dozen years (!) by a 14 day bombing campaign, I frankly don't see why we even wait.

Posted by: cranky on February 5, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

I say attack Iran when and only when we have a competent President and administration. If we are going to attack, we need someone who can do it right.

Posted by: cq on February 5, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

I yield to noone in displaying contempt for the incompetence of the current admin, but we don't have the time. Cranky's right, we ought to begin bombing in a matter of months. Besides, there's not so much these dolts can screw up with a bombing campaign. No invasion, no soldiers on the ground, not so much room for their mistakes. Kind of like military action with training wheels.

Persia Delenda Est

Posted by: DBG on February 5, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Bob...I don't mean to go overboard. I just found the comments this morning interesting in light of the discussion here.

And, cranky, Clark doesn't think the UN can solve this...he thinks the US needs to be talking to Iran directly....

As for me, I don't know what to think, except the whole situation scares the hell out of me, especially with the Bush Administration and a pretty wimpy Congress in power.

Posted by: Carol on February 5, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

cecce:

> I don't want to waste my time answering your questions, Bob,

Translation: You have no cogent reason why Iran having the
bomb is some kind of qualitative leap in danger to the US
above any of the other countries in that reagion having
nukes. You'd rather just leave that premise unexamined.

> since the question here was: "What should we do to
> prevent crazy ayatollahs

This illustrates the fundamental ignorance among the knee-jerk crowd.

Ahmadinejad might appear "crazy" in some of his rhetoric, but he's
no ayatollah, nor any kind of cleric. He was a civil engineer.
The ayatollahs who sit on the Guardian Council aren't given to
making wide-eyed pronouncements about Israel or, in fact, saying
anything provocative. They are not radicals, but rather deeply
conservative and concerned about preserving the status quo.

And since the president of Iran has to have all his
proposals vetted through them, because the Guardian Council
retains veto power, this serves as a check on the kind
of adventurism that Rumsfeld and the like are trying
to scare us into believing that Iran might undertake.

Helps to know a little something about
the country you're considering bombing.

> from getting nukes and what should the dem position be."

And once again -- why should that be such a significant
goal of US policy that we risk jeopardizing so many of
our other goals in the Mideast by carrying it out?

You think Hamas and Hezbollah would sit still for that?

> Your answer is we should do nothing because
> there's no reason to worry.

Not that there's "no reason" to worry. Nuclear proliferation is
a serious problem. But we'd have much more moral authority if
we worked equally to disarm Pakistan and Israel alongside Iran.

Otherwise the region just thinks we're playing favorites.
And if we are -- on what grounds do we justify that?

> It is never very interesting to discuss
> a question with someone who rejects the
> entire premise the question is based on.

Not reject -- challenge. I'm interested in a cogent defense.

> It's just a waste of time.

It's never a waste of time to be fully confident
of the soundness of the premises of one's arguments.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the info Carol. Maybe direct negotiations outside of the UN could help. But I bet the chances are pretty slim for any and all of the negotiations & sanctions tactics. And then what's left?

Posted by: cranky on February 5, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

cranky and/or peanut:

Can you please explain why Iran shouldn't have the bomb?

Thanks.

Curiously,

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

What can you say when this is the Dem position? What are the chances that democrats will ever again be taken seriously as possible stewards of our foreign policy:

"The ayatollahs who sit on the Guardian Council aren't given to making wide-eyed pronouncements about Israel or, in fact, saying anything provocative. They are not radicals, but rather deeply conservative and concerned about preserving the status quo."


Posted by: lab on February 5, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

lab:

Nice non-sequiur.

You've got nothing, bro. Not a goddamned thing but attempts to argue by intimidation.

How *dare* anyone ask you to examine your premises.

I'd rather be out of power than a clueless idiot.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

non-sequiur = non-sequitur

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Bob, why don't you educate yourself a little the country we're debating here. Otherwise why bother:

TEHRAN, Iran (Reuters) -- Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Friday for the destruction of Israel, describing it as a "cancerous tumor" in the Middle East.

"Iran's stance has always been clear on this ugly phenomenon (Israel). We have repeatedly said that this cancerous tumor of a state should be removed from the region," Khamenei told thousands of Muslim worshippers in Tehran.

http://edition.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/12/15/mideast.iran.reut/

Nothing to see here, folks, move alons, no "wide eyed" comments here...

Posted by: lab on February 5, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Heh. This Khamenei guy seems really conservative. Just the kind of guy you want to have nukes. Your status quo kinda guy, basically.

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz's comment still characterizes the entire thread: "this thread illustrates the problems with answering the question "what would be the Democratic response?"" Mostly what we get from the lefties here are evasions and denial.

Posted by: cecce on February 5, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

lab:

Nice that you obscured the date. That was in 2000, during Sharon's election season and at the height of the second intifada.

Standard boilerplate rhetoric that you'd hear in any mideast capital at the time. Khameni didn't, like Ahmadinejad, call for "wiping Israel off the map," which strongly implies a military solution unmentioned in his words, which cited the standard-issue demands that Israel get out of Palestine.

Times have changed. 9/11 happend. Iraq was invaded. The intifada's over.

BTW, did you know that on 9/12, a candelight vigil was held for the victims of 9/11 in Terhan?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

cecce:

I am evading and denying nothing. I have a very clear position which I've laid out.

You still haven't answered the question as to why Iran getting nukes would vastly change the nature of the threat from the Mideast.

You just take it as a given, and mock anyone who tries to disagree with you.

And that's an evasive rhetorical tactic.

I'm waiting. What's Iran going to do if it gets a nuke? Nuke Israel and commit national suicide?

Let's hear it. Show us what you got.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK
One year ago, the administration completed a classified Nuclear Posture Review that said nuclear weapons should be considered against targets able to withstand conventional attack; in retaliation for an attack with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons; or "in the event of surprising military developments." And it identified seven countries -- China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria -- as possible targets.

The same report called on the government to develop smaller nuclear weapons for possible use in some battlefield situations. The United States and Russia have stockpiles of such tactical weapons, which are often small enough to be carried by one or two people yet can exceed the power of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Japan.

Nuclear Posture Review

Iran's Nuclear Development Is a Challenge

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK
So what needs to be done to ensure that Iran doesnt become another member of the nuclear club?

The United States has to provide security guarantees, and make Iran confident that it will not suffer the fate of two of its neighbors.

Plus, all the five established nuclear powers have to seriously undertake their commitment under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and take concrete steps to get rid of their nuclear arsenals.

The nuclear hypocrisy of the five established powers has been one of the major reasons that Irans nuclear program has widespread support among its populace.

Even Nobel Peace Prize-winner Shirin Ebadi, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing two years ago for The Progressive, has in a recent interview been reluctant to outright condemn Irans nuclear ambitions.

The Iranian public will become less enthusiastic about the bomb only when countries like the United States stop possessingand flauntingnuclear weapons as a symbol of national strength.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Mostly what we get from the lefties here are evasions and denial.

Rich.

Very rich.

And from a passionate defender of Tbrosz, the ultimate obfuscator, no less.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, lab. There's also one of their main guys, Rafsanjani (one of the so-called moderates) who said that a nuclear exchange with Israel might be worth it, even if it wipes out Iran, because Israel would be gone and the Muslim world would only lose a fraction of its people. But it won't matter to these guys. They don't care about facts.

Drum's original question, what dems should do or propose doing about Iran is still a good one. Clark clearly has a good sense of what might be feasible in terms of bombing. What do you think?

Posted by: cecce on February 5, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Actually cecce, that comment by Rafsanjani was made in the context of Israel starting a nuclear war with Iran, not the other way around. There was no hint he was suggesting initiating a nuclear war with Israel.

Mostly what we get from the lefties here are evasions and denial.

Care to defend this statement, especially after you so blatantly violated it just now?

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

I think Clark is outlining the "least harm" option that would still curtail quite effectively the Iranian program. I am amazed that he can be so sure that just a fortnight of bombing can set the Iranians back a dozen years. If that's true I would say go for it. That sounds like a fantastic bargain to me. Without nukes they're basically not a strategic threat (although they might still fund terror groups etc).

Posted by: lab on February 5, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

How am I doing Master Guru (and aptly titled) bobnweave?

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

These answers make me laugh and cry.
Heres my analysis:
1. Dont do something which has even 25% chance to make the world even worse
2. Dont kill except in self-defense
3. Remember : humans love revenge
4. Its wrong for Ahmadinejad to say that Israel should be eliminated, but bad talk is less bad than killing
5. If Iran had 25 nukes in five years, they wouldnt attack Israel (has hundreds) or the US (has thousands).
6. We can make a bad situation worse. The pump has been primed.

US troops in Iran often tell journalists Welcome to Indian country- they see an analogy to 19th century Indian wars. Suppose that the European invasion had been limited to Massachusetts where a modern high tech, nuclear armed country arose, surrounded by the other 47 states filled with hatred for the invaders. Then Florida (Pakistan) developed nuclear weapons and built over 100, with an unstable government and backward society. Now Pennsylvania is playing with nuclear facilities. Its more educated than Florida but ruled by religious fanatics. Would bombing the Pennsylvania nuclear facilities make life safer for Massachusetts (Israel) or Europe?

I say no. Millions of Muslims would be roused from anger to attack mode. Wahhabism and jihad mentality were much less widespread in 1981 when Israelis bombed the Iraqi Osirak reactor with help from US intelligence. Also few Iraqis died in the Osirak raid. Our support of the mujahadin in Afghanistan followed by our invasion of Iraq cocked the trigger. Do you want all out war in the Middle East and millions of Muslim suicide bombers? You cant win 4th generation wars with nuclear weapons. I think that theyd get Floridas nukes. Canada has no right to bomb Iran and neither do we.

Posted by: Malvolvo on February 5, 2006 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

I agree. But even if it takes more than that, it would still be worth it. The cost to us will almost certainly be relatively minor.

I have also said before elsewhere that "holding back" some of the fire in the first round might make sense too, to see their reaction. What Clark is outlining seems to fit with that idea really neatly.

Posted by: cecce on February 5, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

I am amazed that he can be so sure that just a fortnight of bombing can set the Iranians back a dozen years. If that's true I would say go for it. That sounds like a fantastic bargain to me.

Of course, this is ignoring the diplomatic, political, and economic fallout, as well as the chaos that would ensue in Iraq.

Sure, just analyzing the military options in a vacuum may yield a real bargain, but not in the real world, where there are always connections and relationships to other valuation and people.

If we knock out Iran's decade-away nuclear program and this year throw collective security, international law, and the global economy into chaos and possibly ruins, I fail to see how that would be a "fantastic bargain", rather than a fatal mistake (or at least deadly risk taking) on so many levels.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

That's interesting, cecce. Basically, we might do what Clark is suggesting as a feasible option. If it works as well as he suggests with costs as low as he suggests, fantastic! However, it almost certainly will set the Iranians back a bit. This will buy us more time, no matter what. I honestly don't see that much of a downside. Then, we could make it clear to them that if they accept not having a nuke program anymore there is no more bombing. If they lash out in Iraq or Israel, bombing sorties start again and don't end until MUCH more serious damage has been done.

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Also, none of this can be analyzed without reference to oil, and how it fuels the economy and our prosperity, and Clark seems to be very optimistic about being able to keep the oil flowing (much more so than I am optimistic about that in the event of a strike on Iran).

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Exactly, peanut. If nothing else, it would test the theory that the ayatollahs are so "sane" -- if they lash out after having been warned that the damage would be enormous, clearly they're not very smart.

Posted by: cecce on February 5, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Basically, there is very little they can do to us in the short term. And without nukes almost nothing at all. We need to reduce our (and world) dependence on oil anyway -- and low oil prices in the short term will tend to work against that goal. High oil prices now are a good spur towards r&d for example on ethanol and other alternatives.

So the downside for us is not that great. However, the downside potentially to waiting is huge. There is always the chance that Iranians get nukes before schedule. That's not unheard of (that our intelligence estimates are, shall we say, off a bit). Also, the longer time we wait, the more reactors etc come on line. There is more of a risk of fallout if we attack later. I say we do it in the next 3-6 months.

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

If nothing else, it would test the theory that the ayatollahs are so "sane" -- if they lash out after having been warned that the damage would be enormous, clearly they're not very smart.

It our leaders are so "sane", we will honor the same metric. I've yet to hear anyone in support of bombing Iran rationalize the economic fallout, or the likely impact on oil supplies, and thus the likely high spike in price, and thus the very high effective tax (surcharge) on nearly all economic activity underpinned by oil (energy).

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Good thinking from both of you, cecce and peanut. Let the "head in the sand" crowd debate among themselves.

Posted by: lab on February 5, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Good thinking from both of you, cecce and peanut. Let the "head in the sand" crowd debate among themselves.

Actually, it sounds like the three of you are debating (or more appropriately put, concurring or back-slapping) amongst yourselves, and ignoring all contrary arguments (or belittling and/or mischaracterizing them).

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

cecce & peanut:

What a pair of moral degenerates you two are. Talking about bombing the shit out of a country like it was the Super Bowl, totally indifferent to the human costs, and too fucking arrogant to even think anyone is entitled to a rational explanation of the threat this is supposedly eliminating.

I really feel like a liberal Protestant in Germany circa 1932.

You want to know why America is so hated in the world?

The attitudes of people like you.

Q fucking ED

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

It our leaders are so "sane", we will honor the same metric. I've yet to hear anyone in support of bombing Iran rationalize the economic fallout, or the likely impact on oil supplies, and thus the likely high spike in price, and thus the very high effective tax (surcharge) on nearly all economic activity underpinned by oil (energy).

Actually, peanut gets one in right before I post that. Very sophisticated analysis peanut. I have to wonder if there's an easier way to make the wise move to increase alternative energy R&D, through higher price market incentives, perhaps by easing the price of oil up, rather than precipitating a possible oil crisis and steep price hike that drives the governments of free nations out of power in the resulting populist rage.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

And you, too, lab.

Another piece of subhuman warmongering filth.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

In other words, increasing alternative energy R&D should not be part of the war plan. If we want to provide market incentives for greater investment and R&D in alternative energy (as we should have been doing for some time now), we should do so gradually and through legislation, i.e. taxation and/or graduated surcharges, that can try and anticipate the negative impacts this may have on citizens (especially those less well off and able to help themselves) and stakeholders.

It should not be part of the war plan or rationalization.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

There's a pretty good number of options also for dealing with Iran that does not involve direct bombing sorties, or which could be combined with bombing. For example, cecce, the ayatollahs could be told after a phase I series of strikes along the line of what Wes Clark is suggesting, that any phase II would not only involve more strikes but also no-fly zones. Those worked well for Iraqi Kurdistan.

Posted by: lab on February 5, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Jimm:

Why are you even bothering to *address* that issue with them? Do you think that was anything more than the cheesiest wishful-thinking tacked-on after-the-fact feel-good rationalization?

We're dealing with *animals* here. Beings who have clearly and arrogantly demonstrated that they are beyond the need to reason.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

I just like to keep a clear documentary record Bob. Anyone reading down through this should be able to find rebuttals (and sometimes reframing) even for the worst rationalizations, which will inevitably pop back up again.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

Dead on, lab and peanut. I would add, lab, that it's not just Iranian Kurdistan that might benefit (to the point of independence) from a no-fly zone. There's loads of other ethnic minorities in Iran too, that are not all that happy about being ruled by Persians.

Just as a good example, the Shia Arabs of Khuzestan (oil rich region in the south) are not at all happy about being ruled by Persians. There's already a bit of separatist action there now, just wait until the Iranian/Persian airforce is banned from Khuzestan airspace.

Posted by: cranky on February 5, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

lab:

You apparently know as much about the Iranian air force and their sophisticated antiaircraft installations as you do about their system of government.

Iraqi Kurdistan, indeed.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

Heh. Poor Bob. He was so eager to "debate" all of his "cogent" thoughts and rationalizations with us before, but now that we're ignoring him, we're scum and animals.

Loser.

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

After the Iraq situation got out of hand, I'm not taking any chances this time. And the platform for real-time communication (and debunking) is also greatly improved from 2002-2003.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

peanut:

Please explain the consequences to the Mideast if Iran gets nuclear weapons.

Thank you,

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

It's funny how those who refuse to address Bob's argument, and instead ignore his challenges to their own, come to the conclusion he's a "loser".

:)

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

Good thinking, cranky. You're not as cranky as you usually are. So, basically, we could tell the ayatollahs after, say, the initial 14 days that Clark has outlined, that not only is there more to come if they counterattack, but also their entire country could fall apart Iraq-style. After they've been fomenting separatism in Iraq. Wouldn't that be ironic? ;)

Posted by: cecce on February 5, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

How in an event as important as the Super Bowl, in terms of money spent on preparations, can ABC manage to screw up the audio through the first couple minutes of the Rolling Stones?

Amazing.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

What I like about this, lab and cranky, is that it could also lead to more freedom for ethnic minorities in what is now Iran (and might in the future become a bunch of smaller statelets). Especially for the Kurds, who are good allies of us.

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

You're right Bob...it's time to let the trolls discuss amongst themselves the brilliance of their ideas.

I'm out.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

First of all, I've had a reason to suspect from sevaral previous threads that peanut and cranky are the same person. No hard proof of course, but dollars to donuts they're sock puppets.

Second of all, you're talking about the Balkanization of Iran -- breaking the country apart -- while Iraq is on the verge of collapsing into civil war.

Forget learning from history, these armchair generals playing Doom with human lives don't even learn for current events.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

On a final note, it is an innovative argument for trolling...not to pick fights, but to just run parallel discussions on threads totally ignoring any and all opposition they are insecure about engaging.

Back to the Super Bowl...and the Stones! What are they guys...like 65? Are any of these guys on Social Security yet?

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

sevaral = several

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

I hear you Bob, and I'm on my way out for today. I have little doubt that peanut and cranky are the same, and cecce harbors very similar grammar too. But I don't know, and it doesn't matter anyway.

I hope someone gets some food for thought from my contributions (and from Bob's), even though I should not that we are not the same person, or even making the same arguments (though a few are similar).

Peace out.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Just two quick things, Jimm. First, it would be much harder to screw up a bombing campaign, especially something like what Clark is outlining (or like Operation Desert Fox) than a situation with 100,000+ soldiers on the ground. Second, the price mechanism will ultimately dictate move to alternative fuels not just here and internationally (e.g., china and india). Low oil prices right now and for the next half-dozen years are not good for our strides towards energy independence.

Posted by: cranky on February 5, 2006 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Later, Jimm ... good contributions as always.

You can tell I'm not Jimm because I hate pro football and have never been all that fond of the Stones, either -- even when they were in their prime :)

Okay, time to test the Sock Puppet Theory.

I'll just sit back and lurk and see if they keep posting.

Have fun, you subhuman warmongering filth :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

I really don't care one way or the other on ethnic minorities in Iran. Just sayin' it would be interesting if the nation could be chipped apart a bit.

Posted by: lab on February 5, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

What is this "Super" bowl of which you speak?

Posted by: DBG on February 5, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

lab:

I think it would be interesting if we could chip your skull open a little bit.

Just sayin' ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

TEHRAN 14 Dec. (IPS) One of Irans most influential ruling cleric called Friday on the Muslim states to use nuclear weapon against Israel, assuring them that while such an attack would annihilate Israel, it would cost them "damages only".

"If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave any thing in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world", Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani told the crowd at the traditional Friday prayers in Tehran.

Analysts said not only Mr. Hashemi-Rafsanjanis speech was the strongest against Israel, but also this is the first time that a prominent leader of the Islamic Republic openly suggests the use of nuclear weapon against the Jewish State.

"It seems that Mr. Hashemi-Rafsanjani is forgetting that due to the present intertwinement of Israel and Palestine, the destruction of the Jewish State would also means the mass killing of Palestinian population as well", observed one Iranian commentator.

While Israel is believed to possess between 100 to 200 nuclear war heads, the Islamic Republic and Iraq are known to be working hard to produce their own atomic weapons with help from Russia and North Korea, Pakistan, also a Muslim state, has already a certain number of nuclear bomb.

In a lengthy speech to mark the so-called "International Qods (Jerusalem) Day" celebrated in Iran only, Mr. Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who, as the Chairman of the Assembly to Discern the Interests of the State, is the Islamic Republics number two man after Ayatollah Ali Khamenehi, said since Israel was an emanation of Western colonialism therefore "in future it will be the interests of colonialism that will determine existence or non-existence of Israel".

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

This is a good one, too, guys. It really tells you who we are dealing with:

Nuclear Weapons Can Solve the Israel Problem
Rafsanjani said that Muslims must surround colonialism and force them [the colonialists] to see whether Israel is beneficial to them or not. If one day, he said, the world of Islam comes to possess the weapons currently in Israel's possession [meaning nuclear weapons] - on that day this method of global arrogance would come to a dead end. This, he said, is because the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam.

http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=countries&Area=iran&ID=SP32502

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I have found MEMRI to be an invaluable source for info on what is really going on in the ME. The big problem with so many of these guys is that they save their real intentions for when they are a little bit below the radar screen. Arafat, for example, would consistently say one thing to the western media in English and then the opposite to his own people in Arabic.

Posted by: cranky on February 5, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Don't you think we have more time before using the military options? I read somewhere that Iran has a decade to go before they get nuclear bombs.

Posted by: sledgehammer on February 5, 2006 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Well, cranky, you would because you have no discernment and a clear agenda.

MEMRI was formed by ex-Mossad agents and they cherry pick the thousands of published materials in the Arabic-speaking world each day and traslate the most most inflammatory, in the interest of painting the Arabic world in the ugliest light possible.

MEMRI has an agenda. Any sermon on peace or reconcilliation you can best be sure it winds up down the MEMRI-hole and forgotten.

Which is probably why you find it so invaluable :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

sledgehammer:

That's correct. The US government estimates vary between 5 to 10 years.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

hammer - remember, intel estimates are so often wrong. They could be one year, two years, or ten years away and how the hell would we know?

Posted by: GBH on February 5, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

GBH:

Five to ten years sounds like a reasonable window, given the proceedures that we know concretely Iran is attempting to start up.

If they haven't ran a successful centrifuge cascade yet, you can be pretty certain the time frame won't be shorter than that -- just based on the physics of the thing.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

MEMRI is great because it gives you info you cannot get elsewhere. It is not the whole story but it should be read together with other sourcs. Why have less information rather than more?

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

And you would know this how, exactly? Because you're a nuclear scientist?

Posted by: GBH on February 5, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

Just realized: people posted on this upthread. I agree it dont matter anyway cuz the sooner the US gets this done the less the fallout.

Posted by: GBH on February 5, 2006 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

peanut/cranky (you really are the same person, aren't you?):

Because it reinforces your pre-existing agenda to see the Arabic world in the worst light possible.

If I want to read something translated from a terrorist organization, I use the SITE Institute.

It's a bit more serious of an organization. It doesn't do politics, only real-McCoy terrorist groups.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

GBH:

Because I read carefully and because I know a few physicists and we've discussed it.

Can you elaborate on your reasoning? Why do we need to get it done at all?

My jaw will, of course, hit the floor if you honestly attempt to answer that question.

It would also prove that you aren't just another sock puppet in the cranky/peanut/cecce/lou fine family of trolls :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

5 years, 10 years; already the appeasement schedule. How about no appeasement for even 1 year, however long it take them to get up and running in terms of the nuclear weapons.

We have to use the acquaintance rape standard with Iran: "No!" means "No!". If the proceed we must do a Tokyo-style/Dresden-style firebombing of Tehran . . . to start. But essentially, we must err towards killing more innocent Iranians than risking U.S. soldiers. It is the best way for all concerned including them, long term, because it will end their Islamofascist regime quickly and decisively; none of this slow-bleeding and quasi-victory as in Iraq.

We all are going to die anyway; better them sooner than us and this will unequivocably help long-term global peace.

Be strong, men, women; on this important matter, we must strike if defied; and we must strike to kill.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 5, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

This one is a doozy too http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=countries&Area=iran&ID=SP107206

This is from Iranian TV

Political analyst Dr. Majid Safataj: "The Institute for Historical Review was founded in 1978. As mentioned by Mr. Goudarzi, there was a Jew among the leaders and founders of this institute. He was followed by people like Max [sic] Weber, Mr. Roger Garaudy, Mr. Frederick Tben, Mr. Robert Faurisson, and Mr. Hoffman. Even recently, a letter presented to Mr. Ahmadinejad by some revisionists included some Jews and Israelis. One of them is a man called Israel Shamir."

[...]

"It should be noted that if the Zionists had actually found anyone who had survived the gas chambers and the so-called crematoria of the Nazis, I'm sure they would have interviewed him extensively, and would have produced many programs. But they couldn't find a single person to interview face to face, in order to present a historical documentary to the world. It should be noted that the Zionist film industry has produced many films on the basis of these supposedly historical claims. These are hollow claims.

"One such person, whose book about the Holocaust won many awards, and who received Zionist encouragement, is a man called Jerzy Kosinski. He wrote a book titled The Painted Bird. The book was published in Polish and English, but was not translated into Farsi. It was encouraged by the Jews. Interestingly, after he won several awards, some revisionists looked into his origins - because he claimed he was Jewish and had been in the Nazis' labor camps, and had witnessed such massacres. They examined his origins, and found out that, first of all he wasn't Jewish, and secondly, that during World War II, he was actually in a place with a nice climate called Sweden, where he was having a good time."

[...]

Posted by: cranky on February 5, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

TOH:

You deserve to get hit by a truck.

Speaking of, you know, refusing to appease terrorists.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

These ayatollahs sure seem like moderates and conservatives to me:

April 22, 2005 No.897

Ayatollah Nouri-Hamedani: Fight the Jews and Vanquish Them so as to Hasten the Coming of the Hidden Imam

The official Iranian news agency Fars, which is close to the conservative circles in Iran, recently published a statement by Ayatollah Hossein Nouri-Hamedani, one of the Iranian regime's leading religious authorities, in which he advocates fighting the Jews in order to prepare the ground and to hasten the advent of the Hidden Imam, the Messiah according to Shiite belief.


http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=countries&Area=iran&ID=SP89705

Posted by: cranky on February 5, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

TOH:

No ... on second thought ... I think *I'll* volunteer to kill you.

For humanity's greater good, of course :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

Just got to this thread, where Kevin Drum asks what the Democrat policy should be on Iran and here is the first post:

1. If Bush launches a strike without consent of Congress-immediately introduce an impeachment resolution and when it fails, walk out until the election.

Waaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh, imagonna take my ball and bat and go home. Why are we so pathetic? why can't we as a party come up with a policy that would be muscular, would absolutely deny these crazy fucks atomic bombs?

Posted by: sledgehammer on February 5, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

I'm getting the queasy feeling that cranky/peanut is our old friend Cheney, and he's going to proceed now to destroy this thread with MEMRI spam.

Let's all watch and see if I'm right ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

sledgehammer:

Because it's not possible. We can only set them back a number of years and harden their determination to build one or get one on the black market.

Read Clark's comments upthread.

A strike would be an unmitigated foreign policy disaster.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Don't worry about old Bob, TOH. He likes to sulk in the corner and throw out the occasional insult at people who know the issues better than him.

(just FYI, if he wants to "debate" why the democratic response to Iran should be to do nothing, just ignore him - it's no use anyway, since he has the reading comprehension of an 8 year old)

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

Oh man, you people are idiots. In 1935, Hitler had not invaded a foreign country either; he rearmed the Reichswehr and re-occupied parts of Germany that were forbidden to his armed forces (kind of olden days no fly zone violation). But idiots like you were rationalizing his non-threat just like you are now. Only Churchill was vigilant but alas, like me in this opium den forum, disregarded. But like Churchill, I am right.

1935 Germany and 2006 Iran are historical parallels just as Andrea Merkel, the new German Chancellor, said yesterday (via Reuters):

http://swissinfo.org/sen/swissinfo.html?siteSect=143&sid=6439490&cKey=1139056514000

You guys are writing inanities and casting aspersions on a blog while I'm explaining what competent world leaders and otherwise historically informed people understand.

How we are keeping this country going with you people to tolerate and manage is always amazing to me.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 5, 2006 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Clark suggest tey could be set back by a dozen years. Sounds good to me.

Posted by: sledgehammer on February 5, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

TOH, good point on the historical analogy - I saw "Angie"s comments earlier today. Good for her!

(Btw, Bob also likes to throw out death threats against posters here. But don't worry. He has to change his diapers too often to be a real threat).

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

I basically agree with Jimm and the others here. The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran genuinely makes me shiver. But then again, we in the US are compounding our problems with what appears, to the world, to be blatant hypocrisy-- we retain thousands of our own nukes and haven't even renounced a first-strike doctrine. Sorry, but this doesn't wash. Say what you want about the Middle East-- the people there have pretty decent bullshit detectors, and they have little sympathy with the idea of forsaking Iranian nukes while the US brandishes thousands of nukes of our own in their face.

The solution? Sharply reduce our own nuclear stockpile to a few dozen nuclear weapons, like what Britain has, so that our stash can be used only in defense, not offensively. (Obviously this would be done bilaterally with Russia.) Same with Israel-- in my heart of hearts I can understand why they have a nuclear defense of their own, but the truth is, we need to give Iran some sort of security guarantee. An Israel with at most a few dozen nukes (ditto for the US), can defend itself against any invasion, but will be unable to use its weapons offensively.

Besides, our nukes are costing us upwards of about $150 billion annually, not even including other elements of the defense budget, when we're already in debt up to our eyeballs. As some other people have been noticing here, if the Chinese bond-buyers' delegation gets caught in a heavy snowstorm and misses a treasury auction, our economy tanks overnight. So maybe it's best for us to whittle down our nuclear arsenal to something purely defensive, since it's all but useless to us otherwise.

Posted by: Brady on February 5, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

TOH:

You're clinically delusional. You see everything through the prism of WW2, which is simply not sane when the circumstances are so radically different.

The only time the WW2 analogy applied was in arguing for Operation Desert Storm to push Saddam out of Kuwait. At that time, we were dealing with a dictator on the march.

You guys have beaten that analogy to within an inch of its life since then. It worked once, so you keep trotting it out and trotting it out.

It's really kind of pathetic to watch, truthfully ...

peanut:

Once again -- please explain the thinking that would cause Iran to commit national suicide by using a nuclear weapon?

Helpful Hint: Screeds against Israel by people not currently in the government don't count. Gods forbid what American foreign policy would look like to the world as articulated by Bill O'Reilly :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Brady:

Basically agreed, though I think our government would consider it a non-starter.

But as a matter of objective practicality -- absolutely. Whittle it all down through multilateral agreements until our nuke arsenals look purely defensive to everybody else.

That's the only way we'd get the moral authority to break Iran's balls over having nukes.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Btw, here's Angie's comments on why we have to stop Iran from getting nukes:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/05/international/europe/05munich.html

McCain:

"Every option must remain on the table," he added. "There is only one thing worse than military action. That is a nuclear armed Iran. The regime must understand it can't win a showdown with the world."

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Thank god for the straight-talk man. God, I wish he was a democrat.

Posted by: sledgehammer on February 5, 2006 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

Heh. The reps don't call him rino for nothing.

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Peanut, you scare me.
We should NOT consider "any means" to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
Use your head, man!
I can't believe how crazy this country has become.

Posted by: marky on February 5, 2006 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

Brady - yea yea yea we're hypocrites. So what? Obviously the same rules cannot apply to democracies as to a bunch of insaneo-freaks.

You want a reason for forcing the ayatollahs to dismantle their nukes program? How about cuz we can?

Posted by: GBH on February 5, 2006 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

sledgehammer:

Well, if you read the rest of his comments that he said on Fox today (always good not to take a thinker like Clark out of context), you would have seen that he is fully aware of the likelihood that we'll only unite the population firmly behind the regime and increase their efforts to get the bomb, by hook or by crook -- including from AQ Khan if need be.

So we run the risk of taking a country with a large youth cohort which hates the mullahs and is West-leaning and driving them back into the 13th century as they rally around their flag in an attack.

Worst thing you could possibly do to a country that, if we only wait it out until their current ayatollahs start dying off (most of them are ancient), will trend towards the west naturally and may well wind up the most socially progressive country in the mideast.

Why set this process back?

None of the bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran types on this thread have dared to address this question.

Hmmm ... I wonder why?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

The Objective Historian, in the midst of performing indecent acts with his blow-up doll, blurted out the following in ecstasy:

"We have to use the acquaintance rape standard with Iran: "No!" means "No!". If the proceed we must do a Tokyo-style/Dresden-style firebombing of Tehran . . . to start. But essentially, we must err towards killing more innocent Iranians than risking U.S. soldiers."

Yes, Objective Historian, such a wonderful idea. In fact, we here at Political Animal do solemnly volunteer... you, to be the first paratrooper on the ground in Iran, fighting those dastardly Persians to the death. Yes, you'll probably wind up with your intestines wrapped around your neck before the day's over, but hey, that's what courage and sacrifice for a worthy cause are about, right?

That you'd even suggest idiocy like this (when Iran hasn't even attacked anybody) demonstrates how blatantly you've allowed yourself to be rim-jobbed by the LGF propagandists on this issue. Furthermore, the fact that you'd suggest Dresden as a model makes you eminently deserving of a hot poker (representing wisdom) straight up your ass. Dresden is recognized today, even by WWII celebrants, as a war crime-- most of the victims were Eastern European refugees fleeing both the Red Army and the Nazis, and Arthur "Bomber" Harris was infamous for firebombing and committing genocide against tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians during the British occupation of Mesopotamia in the 1920s. He's despised now even in Britain, and with good reason. He cried at the end of the war when he was denied his medals despite the heavy losses of Bomber Command, but the bombers who targeted civilians (and this includes the Luftwaffe, for that matter) were cowards. Anyone who would suggest bombing Iranian civilians off the bat like this, especially to spare well-armed American soldiers a fight, is also a coward. That means you, Objective Historian.

Tell ya what, since you're so ra-ra about the fighting in the Middle East, why don't you head down to your nearest recruiting office, and sign your sorry ass up? If you're too old to pick up a gun yourself, encourage your sons, daughters, nephews and nieces to sign up in your stead. After all, we're desperately short of troops in Iraq, so short that we're on the brink of defeat at the hands of the Iraqi guerrillas. Obviously, our war effort would be helped enormously by brave volunteers like yourself, going in to fight for our country. If you refuse to volunteer, even as you bay for Iraqi and Iranian blood on this forum, then you're a hypocrite. And a coward.

Posted by: Your Personal Beelzebub on February 5, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1:

Have you not been listening to the Ahmadinejad's speeches since his election; he has all of Hitler's diabolical and grandiose ambitions, but none of his stealth. HE SPOKE AT THE U.N. in his debut about his eagerness to initiate the Apocalypse so as to clear the way for the Islamic Messiah. He's stated that his foreign policy aim is to wipe Israel off the planet and establish Allah's dominance worldwide. The President of Iran counts as someone in office, no? This blogger found the quotes; scroll down for all of them.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=20924

":)" Appropriate notation for an uninformed delusional clown whose unawareness of the topic causes him to go into full-jackass mode by calling someone actually informed delusional and then being FACED in his challenge to site statements by government officials.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 5, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

GBH (Can I call you grievous bodily harm? :):

How 'bout I come to your house and smash your head open with a sledgehammer?

You know ... cuz I can :)

*rolling eyes*

Fucking troglydite.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

TOH:

You're not informed, bro. You're a ranting, foaming, frothing at the mouth Islamophobic freak.

No ... I take that back. You're half-informed. You prove the adage that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Read up on the Guardian Council and get back to us, k, Sunshine?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Your Personal Belzebub:

Can you not read? Paratrooper? What for? Firebombing does not require paratrooping. Stop thinking like a loser and start thinking like a victor. World peace depends on it. As Patton said (roughly), "the object of war is not to die for you country, but to make the poor enemy son-of-a-bitch die for his country."

"Paratrooper." Stupid. Let me guess, your retired from the Army after planning the Somalia mission? Bay of Pigs? Frankly, Iraq, too. What are we doing; lets either stay home or kill and compel and be done with it.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 5, 2006 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

Listen to rmck1; must be a blue stater.

Sure, stop by GBH's house; come on closer; don't worry about that glittering reflection in the window; just GBH's (or mine if he'd like my help) First Amendment guarantee reflecting the sunlight.

BANG!

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 5, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Bob has convinced me. If we bomb, the Iranians will just have a grudge against us forever.

That's why the bombing has to be so much more comprehensive:

1. Taking out the whole nuclear program (the Clark proposal)
2. Destroying their entire military infrastructure: airfields, airports, artillery, tanks, everything on the ground we can take out from the air.
3. Take out research facilities and technical universities where they even teach nuclear science.
4. Bomb the houses of their top nuclear scientists. We know where they live.
5. Not just no-fly zones but also totally demillitarized zones whereever ethnic minorities are in the majority. Destroy any military formation seen on the ground from the air for the next decade or so or until local minorities like the Kurds, the Arabs, etc, take control over their own areas.

This should yield an Iran that is (a) much smaller in area and population than today and (b) is in no shape to be a threat to anyone anywhere.

Actually, ethnic Persians are only 50-odd some percent of the population. There's huge ethnic minorities that do not want to be ruled by Persians from Teheran. We'd be doing them a huge favor.

Also, ironically, most of the oil is in non-Persian areas. So after picking the country apart, they wouldn't even have much of an oil economy left.

Any suggestions for adding even further to this list?

Posted by: lab on February 5, 2006 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

WOW. Awesome suggestion, lab. Now, Bob has convinced me too. I am so glad we are having this discussion.

Posted by: GBH on February 5, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, lordy; I did refresh my knowledge of the Guardian Council. rmck1 thinks the clerical heirs to Khomeni are the voice of reason in Iran.

And then he writes "k, Sunshine". Well, good have the down to earth, calm, tantamount-to-unelected Guardian Council around. I feel so much better with the thought of them having nuclear weapons. Where do you think Ahmadinejad comes by his dream-world reality-fantasy delusions of the Apocalypse?

Listen, rmck1, you and your sledgehammer keep having a good time together; we, the men of strong mind and body, will take care of running America.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 5, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

This is truly what it's like to watch your country sink slowly, frog-in-the-boiling-water, into fascism, inch by inch ...

The first thing that develops is military hubris -- and the requisite desentization to carnage and cold-blooded murder that requires.

I'm watching my fellow citizens turn into bloodthirsty raving berserker barbarians before my eyes ...

How many other good liberal Germans are there out there tonight, as the clock gets set back to 1932, one wonders ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Cool. You can feel the vibes are very good here... people comin together... you can learn from anyone, even with an old coot in Depends like bobby

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

"1930s passivism killed 60 million people from 1939-1945; the policy of peace does not mean there will be no bloodshed."

No, Objective Historian, it wasn't "1930s passivism" at all, it was the rank and peevishly vindictive stupidity of the Versailles Treaty which, when coupled with the Depression, enabled a nut like Hitler to get power in the first place, riding on the backs of bitter resentment of the people. (And even then Hitler wasn't so popular-- the Nazis were never able to muster more than about 30% of the popular vote, even when they toned down their rhetoric, Hitler was just very skilled at tricking the more established politicians into giving into his schemes, thinking they could keep a lid on him.) It was that idiot Woodrow Wilson, above all others, who was responsible for paving the way to the horrors of WWII, and his mistake was an unneeded intervention (which prevented a status quo armistice), not the lack thereof.

Ahmadinejad makes even this very embittered, war-wary Vietnam veteran suspicious, but not to the point of launching a preemptive invasion. Furthermore, from your statements you show a very clear ignorance of what offensive war actually entails. Do you really think it would be so easy to go into a country the size of Iran and "smash things up," as you suggest? The Iranians would fight back tooth and nail, shoot down our bombers (they've got pretty decent technology) and probably torture and kill whoever they captured. It would not be pretty.

As a few others have written here, the best idea would be some sort of reciprocal nuclear partial disarmament. So long as the US holds thousands of nukes ready to launch, we will never, ever have credibility in telling other nations not to build up their own arsenals. If we allow for significant reductions in our own nuke stocks, then we'll indeed be able to go to Iran and say, "See? Now we, Israel and Europe have only defensive stocks. So cut your aggressive finger-wagging-- we're having none of it." But until that happens, we have almost nil credibility in telling other nations not to go nuclear. Hypocrisy makes it awfully tough to sell bitter medicine.

As I said, you seem quite the jingoist. If you really believe in the ideals you're spouting here, you would sign up immediately to actually go and fight in Iraq, since our failure to recruit soldiers for the war is responsible, in large part, for our worsening defeat in that country. If you fail to do this, you're a coward and a hypocrite.

Posted by: Your Personal Beelzebub on February 5, 2006 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

Replay of the rejection of the night:

rmck1:

"Helpful Hint: Screeds against Israel by people not currently in the government don't count. Gods forbid what American foreign policy would look like to the world as articulated by Bill O'Reilly :)."

TOH:

Extensive quotes right from the President of Iran directly on point, er, uh, "someone currently in the government" to say the least.

FACE-JOB! Makes the 2006 Political Animal highlights thanks to rmck1's ":)".

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 5, 2006 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

I was told real soldiers do not flaunt their military service; I guess you and John Kerry did not learn that.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 5, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Adding to your list, lab: why not also destroy all of their refineries, oil-burning power plants, too,etc.

That way, they will have zero domestic uses for oil and the only way to have any use of it at all will be to export it. Presto: no oil "weapon"

Posted by: sledgehammer on February 5, 2006 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

Your personal butt-boy: "it was the rank and peevishly vindictive stupidity of the Versailles Treaty"

Great, now these assholes are making excusese for the Germans, too.

Posted by: GBH on February 5, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

dude, great suggestion, sledge

Posted by: lab on February 5, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

YPB:

Rock on.

Let me add that Ahmadinejad makes me uneasy as well -- especially that Shi'ite eschatology stuff. Wringing in the Twelth Imam isn't any more defensible than planning on the Rapture. He's made a number of quite delusional statements (the white light emanating from him in the UN) that do bug me more than a little.

But I also can't help wondering how much of this is for public consumption. He got elected as a populist, and has the support of the rural and less educated. The Guardian Council serves as a check on anything he propose doing, and there is no question that these guys value their survival above any beloved Islamist end-of-the-world fantasy.

But absolutely -- in order to meet this threat, we have to get our own house in order first. Defensive nuclear stocks, a massive drawdown -- then go to the USNC and press the case against Iran.

Does anyone honestly think, though, that Israel would ever give up a single nuke? I don't, I'm afraid ... I wish I could say otherwise.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

More sane democrats. We need more like these, guys:

Calling it "one of the most serious foreign policy challenges that we face", Senator Clinton also spoke out about the threat, for Israel and the world, of a nuclear-armed Iran. "Let me be clear: a nuclear armed Iran is unacceptable," the Senator said.

http://clinton.senate.gov/~clinton/news/2005/2005524C18.html

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

A Treasonous Camarilla:
AIPAC espionage case points to larger spy scandal

"Phase two" of the investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence into how we got it wrong on Iraq has been delayed for quite some time, initially because of Sen. Pat Roberts' outright blocking tactics, and now, apparently, due to a Pentagon internal investigation into the activities of former Deputy Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith, who oversaw a key albeit little-known and highly secretive intelligence-gathering unit, the "Office of Special Plans." A central figure in Washington's neoconservative network, Feith resigned a year ago, just as suspicion was falling on him and his subordinates in a string of interconnected scandals: the WMD "intelligence" flap, Ahmed Chalabi's connections to Iranian intelligence, and the AIPAC spy case.

Last May, I speculated that these matters might have something to do with Feith's sudden resignation, and now it looks like I was right. Raw Story is reporting that "phase two" of the SSCI investigation is being held up by the Pentagon's self-probe, while the senators await

"A report from the Pentagon inspector general as to Feith's alleged role in manipulating prewar intelligence to support a case for war. Feith, who is also being probed by the FBI for his role in an Israeli spy case, resigned in January 2005. One former intelligence source points to 'a bigger can of worms' that a Feith investigation may unravel, pointing to the Israeli spy case in which Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin passed classified information to a pro-Israeli lobby and to the Defense Department's own inability to address security breaches."

Feith is one of the more ideological neocons, with connections to the far-right wing of Israel's Likud Party and the settler movement. He presided over a newly created team of intelligence analysts the Office of Special Plans (OSP) whose job it was to think up the War Party's talking points. According to Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired Air Force officer and Pentagon analyst, Feith's Office of Special Plans was created from a narrow range of neoconservative think tanks most notably the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a think tank founded by AIPAC officials and long associated with Israel's Washington lobby. Among the neocon activists who worked with the Near East and South Asia (NESA) bureau, we have one David Schenker, previously a WINEP research fellow, and Churchill expert Michael Makovsky, younger brother of senior WINEP fellow David Makovsky, formerly executive editor of the Jerusalem Post.

More content and links here.

Maybe the Democrats should start asking very public question about the Iranian spy who deceived us into the war in Iraq, before we start taking seriously that Iran is a real threat demanding action immediately.

Posted by: balancing factor on February 5, 2006 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

And the connection, bf, here is what exactly?

Posted by: GBH on February 5, 2006 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

Note that Sen Clinton above is not doing any of the leftie moral equivalence crap. No "we (and Israel) have to disarm first"

Good to see. Warms the heart. There are some patriotic dems left.

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Kevin, for amending your post. Thanks, Carol, for actually posting some of what Clark actually said cautioning against the military option.

I assume that what Kevin wanted us to do was think, as Democrats, about the fallout of any position we might take, and also to see where our moral convictions allow/don't allow us to go.

So we need to imagine the scenarios.

1. We wake up one morning and the Cheney team is bombing. Is there a unified reaction that Dems and our leaders should have? What is that? Outrage that this has been done behind our back? Or rallying behind our president now that we are in the midst of battle?

How will the Dems be portrayed by the media if we're supportive? If we're against it? If we're a mixed bag?

Given that we're unlikely to all be supportive, let's say we agree to pretty much all be against it. The basis for our being against it, in that case, would be that Congress wasn't informed and all diplomatic options wouldn't have been exhausted.

Consequences? If it really only takes 14 days for us to "win," then the Republicans are back to boasting about how strong on defense they are and how we're wimps against terrorism. And even if we start hearing about greater anti-Americanism in the middle east as a result, and even are subject to another terrorist attack, they're likely to still convince people of that.

So that's a lousy position for us to be in.

2. Okay, same situation, but this time we're all behind the Bush Administration.

Consequences? Republicans still get to claim that it proves how good they are against terrorism and on defense and if Dems begin changing their minds, they're wishy washy. The situation with Iraq, in fact. Of course, if everything goes as smoothly as projected, then any Dem candidate who supported the action can at least say that they're just as strong on defense, since they supported the action. The nuanced view of this would be serious rumblings about the executive branch acting unconstitutionally, but making clear our patriotism and hope for a successful conclusion during the course of it.

3. Congress is consulted first and agrees to it. This is the most likely way, I would think, for the Admin to go. A Republican congress will naturally agree to it. The Dems will say, "yes, but only as a last resort." And then he'll do it. And they'll look stronger again, even if that's only a fake perception.

I think that's what we'll see happen. And the Republicans will have bolstered their image with many Americans. Long-term consequences aren't important with these people -- it could be enough to win them the next election.

Posted by: catherineD on February 5, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

TOH:

Well, once again, you're blinded by your WW2 analogy fetish. Ahmadinejad is not a dictator; the President of Iran has far less power than in most parliamentary systems because everything that comes out of the legislature has to pass through the Guardian Council and can be vetoed.

While his speeches are disturbing, they don't amount to threatening action (save, of course, on the uranium reprocessing front -- and you can certainly read that as a defensive response), no military buildup, no oil embargo.

And there's certainly nothing here that would justify an unprovoked attack. Nothing.

All you have are your fantasies of the past, oh how we could have stopped Hitler if only we acted in time.

There's a psychological term for that.

It's called projection.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. catherineD picks up Kevin's question. Personally, I think that he was not just concerned about the politics of it but also the policy: do we want our kids to inherit a world where the Ayatollahs of Iran have nuclear bombs and (likely) missiles to deliver them to our shores? I vote no.

With all due respect, I disagree with the below:

"3. Congress is consulted first and agrees to it. This is the most likely way, I would think, for the Admin to go. A Republican congress will naturally agree to it. The Dems will say, "yes, but only as a last resort." And then he'll do it. And they'll look stronger again, even if that's only a fake perception."


I think it's most likely they attack without warning. The surprise element will likely be key here.

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Who will tell the children that there was an Iranian spy sitting next to Laura Bush, in President Bush's first State of the Union address, who acting as a double or triple agent helped deceive the American poeple into a war in Iraq that has cost over 2,000 American lives, and tens of thousands of serious casualties, while also costing above 1 trillion dollars when it's all said and done?

And, by tricking us into this war, actually limited our options against Iran?

Polygraph Tests in Chalabi Probe

A small number of civilian Pentagon employees are being given lie detector tests in an effort to determine who told Iraqi leader Amhad Chalabi that the U.S. had broken secret codes used by Iran, according to the New York Times.

CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart reports FBI counter-intelligence agents are focusing on the highest levels of the Pentagon in the probe. The code break was a closely held secret known only to small group of key officials.

Sources have told CBS News that Chalabi tipped Iran to the fact that the codes have been broken, saying he had gotten the information from an unidentified American.

Also, Chronology of Israel-Pentagon Spy Case

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

And now ol' Bob's a psychiatrist too. A minute ago he was a nuclear scientist. Talented guy.

Posted by: GBH on February 5, 2006 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Can you not read? Paratrooper? What for? Firebombing does not require paratrooping."

This is your problem, Objective Historian, you've obviously learned your war strategy from war-themed video games, which you apparently also played while jerking off with your other hand since you obviously didn't even pay much attention to the strategic exigencies in the games themselves. You can't just go in and firebomb a place like Iran while hoping for a victory-- they'll hit you and hit you back very, very hard. This bombing from the air is considered to be especially cowardly, and pisses people off so much that it unifies them against you.

It's because the Brits tried to firebomb the Iraqi Kurds from the air in the 1920s, that previously disunited factions banded together to kick the Brits out by the 1930s. (Note that the Brits' firebombing of Iraq preceded Guernica by over a decade.) Dresden accomplished absolutely nothing, in part because the 15-20,000 people killed were, above all, Eastern European refugees fleeing to Allied countries, but also because it rather pissed off the Germans on the ground even more. The V-1/V-2 program was winding down at that point, but after Dresden, almost out of pique, quite a few more devastating attacks were launched against British soil as retaliation, which had an effect. Remember, after the World Wars it was Britain that wound up the biggest loser-- before 1914, Britain was master of 1/4 of the Earth's surface, yet by 1950, the British were forced to watch their Empire, built up since the mid-1700s, destroyed as the UK lurched into bankruptcy. This is in part because the Brits had a propensity to rely too much on aerial bombing of civilians by the 1920s, a fatal infatuation that only succeeded in spurring ever more ferocious resistance movements in the colonized countries than had been present before. (Ref the Aden Emergency, the Indonesia Crisis in 1945 as other examples.)

Even more importantly, viz Dresden, there were many, many Germans who were bitterly opposed to Hitler throughout the war, which is why there had been such a profusion of resistance movements since the war's early days in 1939. Even though Hitler killed tens of thousands of his opponents in the concentration camps in the 1930s, there were still a wide variety of resisters from many factions (Stauffenburg, Popitz, Muhlenberg, the White Rose society and other students resisters, to name a very few) who sought to oust Hitler, and they constantly worked against the Nazi authorities. However, acts like Dresden and Hamburg only made it much harder for such Nazi opponents to operate. Indiscriminate bombing of civilians has a way of unifying a people against you. Herein lies a lesson for us in Iran. There are millions of Iranians who detest the mullahs and have no particular fondness for Ahmedinejad. But if we indiscriminately bomb civilians, they'll all rally behind him, increasing Iran's defenses against us.

The US, like Britain in earlier wars, learned this lesson the hard way in Vietnam. Remember that in Vietnam, we dropped more bombs from the air than had been dropped in all previous wars combined. The levels of bombing in WWII didn't even come close-- we killed millions of Vietnamese (and Cambodians and Laotians), literally, from the air. As interviews with Viet Cong and NVA soldiers later confirmed, this is one reason that the Vietnamese officers were inclined to treat shot-down US and Australian pilots with such cruelty.

To the NVA, the bombing from the air (which they had difficulty retaliating against) was a collection of cheap shots that were often directed against civilians (napalm, of course). Which, frankly, it sort of was. To us Vietnam vets on the ground, we were admittedly thankful when a well-placed air strike saved us from a VC ambush. However, many air strikes were not so well-placed, and when they deliberately targeted civilians (which they sometimes did), it was the GI's on the ground who felt the brunt of the iron fist of vengeance. We lost many Vietnamese who might otherwise have been allied with us.

Ditto would apply to Iran, as I noted above. We'd just unify the population against us, and magnify the cruelty they'd mete out to our POW's. You can't ever win a war just by firebombing civilians-- you just piss off the people against you even more, and unify them. Iran has pretty decent anti-aircraft technology, and we'd lose quite a few pilots in a strike against them. If our pilots are seen, not as honorable soldiers but as genociders killing innocent civilians deliberately, I don't even want to imagine the cruelties they'll suffer if captured by the Iranians. (Best to have some cyanide pills.)

We would eventually have to send in ground troops because, frankly, there are a million things in any war that you have to do with infantry, which any good soldier knows. Technology from the air can only substitute for this so far, and can even make things worse. Especially if we hope to replace the theocratic government, to effect a change in Tehran, we'd need ground troops for that.

Again, Objective Historian, your ignorance of war and a soldier's duties shows through. To remedy this, you should volunteer yourself to fight in Iraq, at once. Short of this, you are a coward and a hypocrite, and you only compound your ignorance of what war actually involves. Get an education-- go sign up at your local recruiter's office.

Posted by: Your Personal Beelzebub on February 5, 2006 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK
A funny thing happened, early in May [2004], when President Bush met with Jordan's King Abdullah II in Washington. According to news accounts, the Jordanian ruler provided the President with a dossier, revealing that Ahmed Chalabi--the head of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) and the darling of the neo-cons in the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney, the civilian apparatus at the Pentagon, and such Beltway think tanks as the American Enterprise Institute and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)--was passing top secret U.S. government material to the most radical ayatollahs in Iran.

It is no secret that the Jordanian government has had deep misgivings about Chalabi's prominent role in the postwar Iraq occupation government. Chalabi has a 22-year jail sentence awaiting him in Jordan, as the result of massive fraud at his Petra Bank in the 1990s. The Jordanian Ambassador in Washington and King Abdullah II have both publicly accused Chalabi, and his INC, of being behind the bombing of the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad in August 2003.

The King's dossier bolstered intelligence already in the hands of the CIA and the National Security Agency, indicating, among other things, that Chalabi's so-called Free Iraqi Force was heavily penetrated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. National Security Agency (NSA) intercepts had revealed much deeper ties between Chalabi and radical factions within the Islamic Republic than had been known to American officials previously.

The dossier, provided by King Abdullah, checked out, and, as a result, the White House ordered Coalition Provisional Authority boss Paul Bremer to raid Chalabi's home, and the INC offices. That raid occurred on May 20, catching both Chalabi, and some of his neo-con allies in Washington, flatfooted.

I'll let y'all figure out on your own the relationship between this item and the debate in this thread.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever. Change the subject, Jill.

Posted by: GBH on February 5, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

YPB:

Incredible post. Nothing I could possibly add to that.

As bad as the regime is, aerial bombardment will unite the people behind it -- just as our aerial bombardments impeded the internal resistance movements to Hitler.

You thoroughly flayed TOH's WW2 analogy alive and shoved its bloody corpse up his ass.

Well done. True American patriots salute you.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, our two antagonists TOH and Beetlejuice are off talking about firebombing. WTF? What does that have to do with the precision bombing that Wes Clark outlined that we might do against Iranian nuclear facilities. Any excuse for these wankers to get all worked up over nothing, I guess.

Posted by: lab on February 5, 2006 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

The subject is Iran, our options based upon the reality of the current occupation and mission in Iraq, and the overt influence of Israel in both of these calculations, as well as an antagonist of Iran. It's all very relevant, especially in terms of special interests, cronyism, corruption, and (in)competence.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

lab:

Weren't you the chicken choker who was just talking about bombing Iran's entire military and oil infrastructure into the stone age a couple posts ago?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

Bob saves us all the trouble: "I'd rather be out of power than a clueless idiot."

Fortunately for our country, you're both.

This ain't THAT complicated, folks.

As Americans, we want to convey to Iran that getting, much less using nukes, is a Very Bad Idea. Anybody disagree?

That is, we want 'em to conclude that being a nearly nuke power is better than being bombed by the U.S. for two weeks.

Would we bomb 'em for two weeks, if they got nukes? Maybe -- maybe not.

Would Israel? Most likely.

Get a FUCKING clue, willya? Sensible nations, like sensible people, like to have more options, rather than fewer.

If Iran gets nukes, they will have... fewer options.

And we -- will have more.

They don't want us to have more options. (Israel will have none. Sensible people do not want Israel to have no options.)

As progressives (most of us Democrats), this is the kind of issue that doesn't take a lot of mental heavy lifting: we do not want Iran to have nuclear weapons, nor do we want to bomb them, much less to have Israel bomb them.

So we'd rather persuade them that being a nearly nuke nation is better.

How do we do that?

We stay away from threats like "if you build 'em, we will come... with cruise missiles".

But we DO draw a line: use 'em, lose everything.

Ya gotta remember, the debate in every nation that has ever acquired nukes (including us) has always been: "what for?"

We got 'em to end WW2. The Soviets got 'em to fight us. The Chinese (partly cuz we pissed off a scientist training in the U.S., which is how they got the H-bomb AND ballistic missiles) to deter us, and later, the Soviets. Britain, etc., as our allies.

India, to fight Pakistan. Pakistan, to deter India.

North Korea, cuz they're nuts. Israel, cuz they're not.

Iran is not nuts. It's Xundze 101, folks: leave your enemy a way out.

Give the political folks within Iran the option of saying: 'Fuck you, America, we will SO build nukes in the future, ANYTIME we want...' because that means THEY DON'T HAVE THEM NOW, and this is precisely how they will tell us they ain't gonna build any, anytime soon.

(shaking head) Or, you can listen to Bob.


.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 5, 2006 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

So, back to what to do. Here's my original list:

1. Taking out the whole nuclear program (the Clark proposal)
2. Destroying their entire military infrastructure: airfields, airports, artillery, tanks, everything on the ground we can take out from the air.
3. Take out research facilities and technical universities where they even teach nuclear science.
4. Bomb the houses of their top nuclear scientists. We know where they live.
5. Not just no-fly zones but also totally demillitarized zones whereever ethnic minorities are in the majority. Destroy any military formation seen on the ground from the air for the next decade or so or until local minorities like the Kurds, the Arabs, etc, take control over their own areas.

To this, someone added eliminating facilities that are major uses for crude oil within Iran, thus forcing them to sell the oil (if they were ever to get any benefit from it) and eliminating the oil weapon.

But if the shit really hits the fan, there's way more we could do, including taking apart the civilian infrastructure piece by piece. That way, if Iran retaliates in even the slightest bit, they will know there's always worse to come.

That way, we will always have a deterrent against the Ayatollahs retaliating against Israel or us at every point in time.

Lots of whining here about how striking Iran will "inflame" them against us and make us enemies. Balls. Their government already hates us, and the people have no say. Plus we have it in our power to eliminate their capacity to strike against us even in minor ways. So who cares how inflamed they are?

Posted by: lab on February 5, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Note that Sen Clinton above is not doing any of the leftie moral equivalence crap. No "we (and Israel) have to disarm first"

Good to see. Warms the heart. There are some patriotic dems left."

No, Peanut, but there are warmongering idiots who assert the rather obvious hypocrisy that only we (i.e., "the good guys") can have nukes, not you evil madmen. Sorry, but that just ain't just gonna wash. Clark, Clinton, Lieberman, the whole lot are now pushing for this Iran war thing, and they'd better tread carefully.

Nobody's saying that the US and Israel should disarm. However, it makes it a little difficult to convince the world of the rightness of the US/Israeli cause, when together we have about 5,000 nukes, while Iran still has a goose egg in this category. Sorry, but bullshit stinks like bullshit no matter how much you try to dress it up.

Fact is, there are a good number of fruitcakes in the US who would want to attack Iran in a premeditated manner, with nukes, which is one reason why Iran wants them for security. As a couple other posters have written, the US if full of these whackjob Christian Zionist fanatics who, really and truly, want to start WWIII in the Middle East since they think it would fulfill Biblical Prophecy. You cannot reason with these people, cannot dissuade them, and they could very well make the world a very ugly, nasty place for the rest of us (hence the "Blue-State secession" talk that another Blogger mentioned above-- most people in the Blue States, and I suspect the Red Staters do, don't want their tax dollars used to underwrite religious wars in the Middle East). Many of these American Christian fanatics have made Iran into Public Enemy #1 (mirror images of Ahmedinejad himself, oddly enough).

Anyway, there are cooler heads in the Iranian government actually with their hands on the lever of power, and Iran saw that (a) Iraq was attacked, invaded, occupied and humiliated resulting in a guerrilla war (exhibit A: Saddam, no nukes!), while (b) North Korea, with its even more repugnant leader, Kim Jong-Il, has been left alone (surprise! he's got nukes). So Iran's leaders, going back to 3rd-grade logic class, realized that the *lack* of nukes and a strong defense would make them vulnerable to attack, while the possession of said arsenal would reduce the chances of an offensive assault. Now, why would they think something like that? It's yet another example of how Bush and the neocons have shot our country in the foot with the foolish, losing Iraq campaign.

Posted by: Your Personal Beelzebub on February 5, 2006 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

Sure bob, why don't you and Beetlejuice go stroke each other while you write another 10 page essay on World War 2?

Posted by: lab on February 5, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

Has a nuclear power ever been attacked by another nuclear power?

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

Yawn. More moral equivalency from beteljuice. Oh yeah. The US is just like Iran. Ayatollahs? We've got neo-cons, man! Just as bad. (eyes rolling)

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Not one person whose comments I have read has touched on the crux of the matter, which is that Bush will do whatever he wants, regardless of what the Dems or international community says.

Posted by: marky on February 5, 2006 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

He's been listening an awful lot to the EU lately, on Iran, though, Marky. Too much if you ask me.

Posted by: sledgehammer on February 5, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

Has a nuclear power ever been attacked by another nuclear power?

India and Pakistan.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 5, 2006 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, it's our leadership that appears to be "irrational", and Iran seems to be think it's the ideal time for them to provoke us, as we are tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan, in order to weaken us as far as our allies. I hope they're not right about that, but I'm exaggerating a bit too, since it's really Israeli intelligence and propaganda operations that have suddenly delivered provocative (and often misstated in terms of context) quotes from Iranian leaders to Western media outlets (IPS and MEMRI being the two main violators/instigators).

They (the Iranians) have been talking like this for a long time, as far as demogoguing for domestic consumption (to particular consituents), but now there's a market for this information in the West by certain folks who want to drum up a war.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:
I'm trying, in good faith, to follow your argument.

It seems to boil down to standard-issue deterrence. Use nuclear weapons and we'll turn your country to glass.

Okay fine. All nuclear nations MOL live under that regime. Certainly nations like Pakistan and North Korea more than the more well-armed nuclear powers, but the principle is the same for the entire nuclear club.

It also goes for countries attacked with nukes who may not have nuclear weapons themselves. There may be a formal defense treaty, or we may just decide to waste the nuker out of principle. Again -- no big change from the way it's always been.

What I don't seem to get is how you propose deterring Iran from building nukes, if you're ruling out "if you build 'em we'll cruise missile ya?"

Isn't that precisely what Clark's plan is about? Or are what you saying merely to give Iran warning enough so that it can make a face-saving gesture and avoid getting bombed, while retaining the rhetorical ability to claim that it will build nukes sometime in the future -- for the sake of domestic consumption?

If that's the case -- then how do we make the threat credible?

And I'm not being rhetorical, I'm genuinely asking.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

"Lots of whining here about how striking Iran will "inflame" them against us and make us enemies. Balls. Their government already hates us, and the people have no say. Plus we have it in our power to eliminate their capacity to strike against us even in minor ways. So who cares how inflamed they are?"

Once again, lab, you're as clueless as so many other wannabe soldiers who've never served in a war. We can't just strike at their civilian infrastructure like this, without infuriating those who might otherwise be disposed to us. Striking at civilians never, ever works, as those of us who served in Vietnam learned the hard way. You only unify the civilians against you, when with a smarter strategy, they could be your allies.

You very clearly harbor wet-dream fantasies about what we could actually do to Iran and their civilian population if they fight back. Do you think they'd just stand by and let us continue to attack? We have the world's most powerful military, but it's been designed chiefly for a big Eurasian tank war with the Russians. It's not designed for the desert terrain in Iran, and mass firebombing from the air is not a viable option, for reasons I discussed above. Iran has one of the strongest anti-air defenses in the world, and even a surprisingly decent air force for a Middle Eastern country, and they'd hit us very, very hard if we tried an air-only attack, while siccing the Shiite militias against us in Iraq.

If we're seen to be targeting their civilians there deliberately, they'd unleash pure hell against our fleets in the Persian Gulf, against our soldiers in Iraq, possibly even against our troops in Afghanistan, while driving up the price of oil past three figures. There are a million ways that Iran could hurt us. They're likely to act with some restraint at first, as most such armies are, but if we go intentionally hitting their civilians, they'll strike back at us with a vengeance.

There's another factor here, which a poster above pointed out, that deserves attention. Right now, our economy is hanging by a slender, delicate thread, aka "Chinese bankers." They are not likely to approve of a massive US air attack against Iranian civilians, especially since this would likely lead to Iranian retaliation in the Strait of Hormuz which would drive up the price of oil. China is basically bankrolling us in Iraq, to much consternation, and if we were to try anything like an anti-civilian attack against Iran, China would almost certainly pull the plug on our T-bills to put a halt to it immediately, before the region became too inflamed and oil shot up too high. The dollar would dive in a day, the US economy would be ruined-- it would get very ugly fast, and since the Chinese have now been diversifying their trading partners pretty feverishly, they could ride out the global economic recession that would result.

I suggested this to Objective, lab, so I'll suggest it to you too-- if you're so serious about the war in the Middle East, then go and sign up with your local recruiter. Now. You need to learn what war is actually about, and besides, you'll be providing crucial manpower to the US military in the region when we need it most. Short of this, you're a damn hypocrite.

Posted by: Your Personal Beelzebub on February 5, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK
Has a nuclear power ever been attacked by another nuclear power?

India and Pakistan.

I don't mean minor border skirmishes, and I don't recall any serious armed conflicts between India and Pakistan since they both had nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Sledgehammer,
Whether Bush "appears to listen" to the EU or any other power is irrelevant. We saw the same thing with Iraq. Today we know that was a total charade.
I don't know if the Democrats will get anywhere yelling "liar, liar pants on fire", but they have to operate under the assumption that talk is unrelated to action for Bush.

Posted by: marky on February 5, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Jimm:

Very good point about Mossad instigation. Remember the leak in the London Times about a month ago of an Israeli strike plan? Just, you know, floating a trial balloon, seeing what they could see ...

And yes ... MEMRI and IPS are being ginned up by the useful idiot brigade (led by TOH) to dump out-of-context "insanity" from the Iranian regime just in time to scare the piss out of us -- when they've been saying that crap since 1979.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

"We can't just strike at their civilian infrastructure like this, without infuriating those who might otherwise be disposed to us."

My point was that we don't have to much care how "infuriated" they are if they have nothing to strike back with. So, you just repeat that they will be very very cross with us. Is there an argument there?


" Striking at civilians never, ever works, as those of us who served in Vietnam learned the hard way. You only unify the civilians against you, when with a smarter strategy, they could be your allies. "

Same waaah waaaah waaaah they'll be mad at us. So what?

"You very clearly harbor wet-dream fantasies about what we could actually do to Iran and their civilian population if they fight back. Do you think they'd just stand by and let us continue to attack?"

Pretty much what the Iraqis did during Operation Desert Fox. What was your point?


" We have the world's most powerful military, but it's been designed chiefly for a big Eurasian tank war with the Russians. It's not designed for the desert terrain in Iran,"

Tell it to Saddam's generals.

" and mass firebombing from the air is not a viable option, for reasons I discussed above."

WTF does this have to do with "firebombing"??? Are you stuck in some kind of Vietnam timewarp? What does this have to do with modern weapons, like JDAMs?

" Iran has one of the strongest anti-air defenses in the world, and even a surprisingly decent air force for a Middle Eastern country, and they'd hit us very, very hard if we tried an air-only attack,"

Ask President Hussein about the efficacy of a strong anti-air defense and your average ME airforce against the USAF. You might learn something. Strike back? Don't be ridiculous.

" while siccing the Shiite militias against us in Iraq. "

They already did, with Moqtada. Didn't work.

"If we're seen to be targeting their civilians there deliberately,"

Who the hell talked about targeting civilians. Except nuclear scientists and other high-value targets, of course. And again, what will happen if we do this: You guessed it - they will get angry again:

" they'd unleash pure hell against our fleets in the Persian Gulf,"

With what??? Pure hell? What could they possibly have that could take on the US Navy? This is idiotic.

The truth is they have not much that can threaten us now. And, after a few weeks of bombing they will have absolutely nothing.

Posted by: lab on February 5, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

Beteljuice, how do you feel after lab wiped the floor with you. Nice and clean?

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

lab, you just don't realize what you're getting yourself into...oh, let me correct that, what you're getting the men and women in uniform into.

oh, and what you're getting American motorists into...

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

Iran can close the Straits of Hormuz, right?

Posted by: marky on February 5, 2006 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

Or what you're getting American jobs into...or should I say American citizens out of (their jobs as the economy goes into turmoil as oil prices make everything a lot more expensive)?

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

No responsibility. No foresight. No wisdom. No facts.

Just suspicion, paranoia, hubris and grandiosity.

Posted by: Jimm on February 5, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

For those of you who haven't had enough! A brief explanation of reserve currency and how it will affect the states when the dollar falls out of favor. I believe it's been mentioned upthread Iran is converting to the Euro [Petro] in March. Iraq was going to do it also.

http://www.feasta.org/documents/papers/oil1.htm

Posted by: Neo on February 5, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Just suspicion, paranoia, hubris and grandiosity."

But enough of the positive points, do you have any criticisms?

Posted by: GBH on February 5, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

Marky - I don't know if the Democrats will get anywhere yelling "liar, liar pants on fire",

You don't? When that brilliant strategy has done so well before?

Posted by: GBH on February 5, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Jimm:

And a grotesque and immoral contempt for human life.

These scumbags are Nazis in all but name. I say we give 'em a little reeducation in the camps, gas 'em and make 'em into lampshades.

Nahhh .... too merciful.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Great Big pile of stinking Horseshit (GBH) stuck his hand way up his ass to pull out the following verbal excrement: "Your personal butt-boy: "it was the rank and peevishly vindictive stupidity of the Versailles Treaty"

Great, now these assholes are making excusese for the Germans, too. "

No, idiot, not excusese [sic] but recognitions, as just about every historian of merit has noted, that Versailles was a poorly thought-out, vindictive, idiotic piece of sh** document that made WWII all but inevitable. Not the particular, especially awful Hitler-led WWII that we got, but some version thereof. Instead of having a Lincoln proclaiming "with malice toward none," we got Versailles. The problem was that WWI was precipitated by military mobilizations on the part of both the Allies and the Central Powers (with the Black Hand playing a big role itself in setting off the spark), and in a case like this, when getting to the *resolution* stage of the war, it's best to accept the fact that each side had some culpability and go for a status quo ante armistice.

This happened all the time in European Wars of the 1600s-1800s-- there really wasn't a major shift of power, no knockout punch or anything of the sort, just an armistice that stopped the fighting, proclaimed mutual respect and stopped short of imposing humiliating terms in the Treaty itself. This was one way that Europe-- outside of exceptions like the 30 Years' War-- managed to attain a relative semblance of peace and stability. Many an armistice in this style in fact was under proposal by quite a few people on both sides as early as 1915, but was repeatedly thwarted especially by British ideologues and arms providers who would lose much of their investment with a "premature" armistice that didn't extract concessions, and later by the fool Woodrow Wilson. Without Wilson, by 1917 the war would have wound down, since neither side could score a knockout punch against the other, and the armies would have collapsed-- exhausted and hard-hit, no doubt, but without any particular side scoring even the facade of a victory. Nothing convinces people about the futility of war so much as a long, drawn-out conflict without a winner, and this is pretty much where Europe was headed by 1917. This was an essential corrective to all the foolish misconceptions that had been floating around in 1914.

Instead, Wilson tried to give the Allies a "knock-out" punch that they didn't quite get (no invasion of Germany proper), but which allowed the blockade to continue and the humiliating terms of Versailles in 1918 to be imposed. Note that Versailles *also* allowed the British and French to go around carving up the Middle East among them, including Iraq for the Brits, which is the direct reason for the mess we're facing in that region today. Had Wilson not stuck his dick in the mess, not only would the fiasco of Versailles have been avoided (with all sides crawling back, frustrated but without the sorts of grievances that Versailles enabled), but the British and French would have been actually compelled to honor their promises to the Arabs of the Mideast and grant them the freedom that they had offered in the first place. Instead, Britain carved up what's now Iraq, France did the same to Syria, and we have to deal with the f***ed up consequences. Remember, bin Laden casts al-Qaida as an *anti-colonialist* movement akin to those that kicked the British out of Iraq, Egypt and Yemen, and the French out of Syria and Algeria. He has any support at all because the people of the region have bitter memories of Anglo-French colonialism after WWI, with good reason.

You, GBH, are clearly a jingoist who has fallen madly, passionately in love with the Iraq War. How touching-- we all wish you and your fellow warmongers a nice honeymoon in Hell together. If you really are so passionate about the Iraq War, then why aren't you actually in the desert fighting for our side? We have a nasty manpower shortage after all, and we're facing defeat in Iraq largely because of it. Maybe you really don't believe in the war as much as you claim to do. Or maybe you really are just a stinking hypocrite, unwilling to fight for what you claim to believe in.

Posted by: Your Personal Beelzebub on February 5, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'm really starting to like her more and more:

_________________________

Hillary Clinton Says White House Has Mishandled Iran

By JOHN O'NEIL
Published: January 19, 2006
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton last night criticized the Bush administration for its response to Iran's nuclear program, saying it had chosen to "downplay" the crisis over the past several years.

In a speech at Princeton University, Mrs. Clinton, a New York Democrat, joined the Bush administration's call for sanctions against Iran, and also said that the threat of military action against nuclear sites should not be ruled out.

But she was critical of the administration for letting European nations take the lead in negotiations over the last several years.

"I believe that we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations," Ms. Clinton said, according to a transcript of the speech published by The Daily Princetonian.

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

YPB:

Great Big pile of stinking Horseshit is good, but I prefer Grievous Bodily Harm :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever, Beetlejuice. Why don't you go write us another 10 page essay on WW2. The last one was sooooo entertaining.

Your Vietnam reminiscences are really interesting too, and so relevant to the Iran situation.

Don't ever change.

Posted by: GBH on February 5, 2006 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

catherineD on February 5, 2006 at 10:16 PM

Pretty good. See above where I compared 2006 to 2002.

I expect that the Democrats will be divided. Some will favor an attack on Iran, and some will visit Iran and tell us what a swell peace-loving place it is. Some will call for a much stronger diplomatic effort backed by a strong threat of force, and others will complain that the Iraq campaigns have left us helpless.

Republicans are in no better shape but they can control what measures are brought to a vote, and force everybody to vote on the record just before the 2006 elections if they think it will work to Republican interest.

If I were Bush and Rove, I'd wait until at least a third of Democrats had called for precision airstrikes like Clinton did agaonst Iraq in 1998, then I would ask for a vote in Congress. I doubt that Bush feels he needs a vote, but making your political adversaries vote does have its advantages.

Posted by: contentious on February 5, 2006 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

Um, Great big Dump, or whatever your name is,
Democrats did NOT call Bush a liar before the war.
They didn't question anything he said about Iraq---nada.

Posted by: marky on February 5, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Sense from Sen Clinton. Good to see. Too bad she shares a party with the whining pussies on this thread. This is why the party is in such a fix, which Kevin has alluded to (and that was pretty much the point of the post that started all of this, and which catherineD is the only one to really get into). The more sensible dems, like Clinton, Lieberman, and Wes Clark are going to have to straddle from their own solid positions to the wuz-gallery here. That will make for some fancy gymnastics.

Posted by: sledgehammer on February 5, 2006 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

And a grotesque and immoral contempt for human life.

These scumbags are Nazis in all but name. I say we give 'em a little reeducation in the camps, gas 'em and make 'em into lampshades.

Nahhh .... too merciful.

Bob


Bob - you should be ashamed of yourself. I had relatives myself who were victims of the camps. It is not something for you to make fun of. This is really juvenile and I am ashamed that you are a democrat.

Posted by: lydia on February 5, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

Your Personal Beelzebub:

You're a fucking god, bro. I don't think I've ever enjoyed posts so much on what was becoming a thoroughly demoralizing thread with a bunch of sock-puppet trolls (cranky, peanut, lab and GBH smell suspiciously like the same person) spewing out brainless jingoism.

Nice historical refresher course. I always knew Versailles was a disaster, but hadn't considered the point about Wilson and the armament manufacturers. Nor had I considered the consequences of a stalement to the dividing up of the Ottoman Empire afterward by the so-called victors.

Wraps your points up in a nice synoptic bow.

Fucking kudos, man. Keep hammering these craven thanatophiles, it's a joy to watch.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Lydia. I don't think the word for Bob is juvenile. He's more like a shut-in in his 70s.

Posted by: peanut on February 5, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

"With what??? Pure hell? What could they possibly have that could take on the US Navy? This is idiotic.

The truth is they have not much that can threaten us now. And, after a few weeks of bombing they will have absolutely nothing. "

Lab, my buddy, my pal, go back to your illustrious career as a heroin-shooter and an, uh, "service provider" for three-time convicts sharing your jail cell, b/c you obviously haven't the slightest clue about the way a war actually plays out. One of the first things Iran would do in retaliation for a US attack, would be to close off the Strait of Hormuz. If this happens, we're compelled to respond rapidly, since this shuts off the oil spigot. In doing this, we have to bring in the brunt of our navy and air force to confront the Iranian threat. This is where Iran sets its trap, and there's no way to escape it w/o significant casualties.

Go look at a map of the Strait. Notice that it's a *chokepoint*, which Iran now largely controls since Iraq has been weakened so much for so long, and is now if anything allied with Iran. Which means that Iran can block ingress and egress from the straits on four sides. You can't dislodge this with limited strikes-- you need to have a full-bore air-sea-ground attack, and rapidly, to free up the straits again, which means a significant commitment of ships and air forces for which Iran will be ready with its anti-aircraft artillery and anti-ship mines, tankers, land-based artillery, and so on and so forth. We would eventually be able to clear the area, of course, but you vastly overestimate our technological capabilities if you think that we could do this casualty-free. In a real war, as those of us in Vietnam learned, your technology helps you to see more clearly and act faster, but when the enemy is that entrenched, you can't dislodge them without moving in quickly and exposing yourself to attack. That's because in a real war, time and knowledge are precious, limited quantities in a full engagement. Besides this, Iran can use much of its air force and tactical artillery to strike at our ships offshore. Much of our heaviest firepower would be concentrated on these ships, and any attack from Iraqi soil would be difficult-- our troops would be getting harassed on a daily basis by Iraqi Shiite militias.

Speaking of, Iraq would become the 8th circle of Hell for us. There's no way the Shiite militias would stand idly by. We can't handle the minority Sunni Arab insurgents as it is, much less a countrywide Shiite insurgency as well.

The Iranians aren't stupid. They've been suspecting a US attack for a long time, especially since Bush's Axis of Evil speech, and they've been buying up very advanced weaponry from the Russians like brownies at a high-school bake sale. Whatever the Russians' flaws in other areas, they're technical wizards, and their anti-aircraft munitions, high-resolution scopes, and anti-ship ordnance actually works, and works pretty damn well. Plus, Iran would have the advantage of fighting to defend its home soil. Think of how you would fight if sent to a distant country, away from your family, on a ship. Now think of how you'd fight if an enemy were landing troops or bombing you from the air in Indiana, threatening your family there. Now try to guess who's going to be more motivated.

As I said, you lack much credibility unless you're actually willing to take up arms yourself and fight in Iraq. Since we're steadily losing ground to the insurgency, especially because of the lack of boots on the ground, your pro-war stance loses every shred of credibility unless you're actually willing to act on your beliefs when it's important. Put up or shut up.

Posted by: Your Personal Beelzebub on February 5, 2006 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

"This is where Iran sets its trap"

You really must stop reading the books in the two-dollar bin, Beteljuice.

Posted by: peanut on February 6, 2006 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

Lydia:

Well I'm sorry that you were offended; that of course wasn't my intention.

I have a very dark sense of humor, but an extremely keen sense of morality. And I'm sorry -- when I see people go on gleefully about bombing Iran as if Iranian life doesn't matter at all, this is the sort of desensitized, grotesquely arrogant and militaristic mindset that slid a progressive, humane country like Germany into the abbatoir of Fascism.

As Hannah Arendt concluded in Eichmann in Jerusalem, evil of this sort is ultimately banal.

So I figured I'd rip the face mask off all this mindless jingoism to reveal what's underneath.

If my use of imagery was too stark in the light of your family's experiences, once again I personally apologize to you and assure you that my intent is to do all I can in whatever small way to prevent a nightmare like that from ever happening again.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

"I'm really starting to like her more and more:

_________________________

HRC Says White House Has Mishandled Iran "

Hah, well peanut-dick, about the only reason that I'm still considering a vote for HRC, is that she has a knack for dragging you wingers along, only to bitterly disappoint you in the end when it comes time for action. She's not one of your warmongering neocons, no matter how many wet dreams you may muster to pretend otherwise, and ain't gonna go for the Big Bad War machine thing.

My own reasons for vigorously opposing her candidacy right now have much more to do with the lame pander-ass-act of supporting that flag-burning amendment, among other anti-libertarian, anti-free speech stances she's taken lately. But when it comes to war, all the major Dems (including Clark and Lieberman) are just gleefully dragging you along for the ride like losers thinking the prom queen actually likes you, only to drop you like a sack of old potatoes and break your heart when decision time actually comes in. Enjoy the fantasy while you can.

Posted by: Your Personal Beelzebub on February 6, 2006 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

Bob likes to threaten killing random people on internet discussion boards. If you counted all the ways he's threatened to kill someone JUST TODAY -- Tarantino has nothing on this guy.

Of course, this would be a bit difficult for him to do, since he's shut into his apartment and is running seriously low on Depends...

Posted by: GBH on February 6, 2006 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

""This is where Iran sets its trap"

You really must stop reading the books in the two-dollar bin, Beteljuice. "

And you need to move away from your war assessments based on little more than the trail of excrement you leave on a daily basis in your mama's basement. People who've actually picked up a gun and fought in wars, know that it's hell, pure and unadulterated hell, no matter how you try to dress it up or replace soldiers with technology. Its bloody effects cannot ever be mitigated by oh-so-cool technologies or blustery perceptions of military superiority. To think otherwise is to commit the same mistake that warmongers from time immemorial have committed repeatedly, with horrible consequences.

Iran is not a place to be underestimated, especially not on their own soil, and especially since they've been accumulating very nasty weapons from Russia in abundance for over four years now. Our experience in Iraq in 2003 wasn't anywhere close, and even there, we're staring defeat in the face while facing an insurgency constituting maybe 20% of the people. The most patriotic citizen is one who steps in to warn his country about the consequences of a poorly-thought-out war. Iran is not an adversary to be taken lightly. As I said, sign up to fight the war in Iraq, to get a taste of it yourself-- consider it an educational opportunity.

Posted by: Your Personal Beelzebub on February 6, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

"Hah, well peanut-dick, about the only reason that I'm still considering a vote for HRC, is that she has a knack for dragging you wingers along, only to bitterly disappoint you in the end when it comes time for action."

Like she did when she voted for the Iraq war. Yeah, a real bundle of disappointment, this one.

Posted by: GBH on February 6, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

Grievous Bod:

You realize that peanut (or was it cranky?) used that line upthread, right?

But *of course* you do ... right :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

"Iran is not a place to be underestimated, especially not on their own soil, and especially since they've been accumulating very nasty weapons from Russia in abundance for over four years now. "

Ooooh Russian weapons. Scary stuff. They always perform well.

Posted by: GBH on February 6, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

"Like she did when she voted for the Iraq war. Yeah, a real bundle of disappointment, this one."

Now now, Great Big Heifer-Humper, nearly all the prominent Dems voted in favor of the IWR. After all, they knew that Bush was going to go in regardless, so why not at least register a vote in favor then on the basis of the supposedly veracious pre-war intelligence... so that all of them (Kerry, HRC, Edwards, Bayh) could register their righteous indignation at Bush and the neocons when all that supposed intelligence turned out later to be finely packaged hot air? The IWR in 2002 wasn't all that controversial since we had big, bad Colin Powell, with his big, bad credible persona, get up in front of the UN and give evidence about all those mobile bioweapons labs. Big bad Colin wouldn't knowingly go up there if the evidence was shaky or unsupported, risking his entire career and reputation, now would he?

Whatever your fantasies, GBH, none of the Dems are in your corner. Some of them may pretend to be, and they may even drag you out for a while, but eventually they return to our fold, stabbing you in the back at the first opportunity. Why? Because like any other good politician, they have to answer to their constituencies, who will just turn to someone else willing to take their place if they stray too far. Clark especially is aware of this, which is why he's hedging his bets.

Posted by: Your Personal Beelzebub on February 6, 2006 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

Here are just a sample of the wit that is Bob. And just from one thread one a single day!

_____________


- I think it would be interesting if we could chip your skull open a little bit.

- You deserve to get hit by a truck.

- No ... on second thought ... I think *I'll* volunteer to kill you.

- How 'bout I come to your house and s- mash your head open with a sledgehammer?


This much charm and a liberal democrat too! Ladies, don't wait too long. This is one bachelor who won't be on the market much longer...

Posted by: sledgehammer on February 6, 2006 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

GBH:

Why just ask our infantrymen about the AK-47.

Real dog of a weapon, that one :)

Beelzebub:

Truthfully, there *were* at least a few Dems who saw through the bullshit (Feingold, my senator Corzine, Bob Graham, etc) and didn't vote for the IWR -- and Kerry's equivocations on it in response to the Dean groundswell were painful and cost him a lot of enthusiasm, if ultimately not support, in the general election.

I was a Howard Dean man in the primaries. I do think there's something to truth-telling, even though I appreciate your argument about HRC's political acumen.

Personally, I'm not going anywhere near her in a primary. She not only lost my vote on civil liberties, but I just can't stomach the disingenuousness on foreign policy, politically savvy or not.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

"Ooooh Russian weapons. Scary stuff. They always perform well."

They're performing pretty damn well in Iraq. Where do you think all those RPG's, or AK-47s, or the artillery and mortar shells for the roadside bombs come from? They're originally from Russia, by far Saddam's largest supplier, and Russian manufacturers continue to supply weapons on the black market which make their way to Iraq.

They're able to turn a local, backward insurgency of 20% of Iraq's population into a force capable of defying and humiliating the mighty United States. As I said, if you yourself would actually volunteer to fight in Iraq, you'd learn some of these things firsthand, as a soldier does.

Posted by: Your Personal Beelzebub on February 6, 2006 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with GBH. You can tell Bob is really old by all the pretentious 5-dollar words. You can tell he gets them from, like, the "word of the day" program at the senior rec center. And he almost but not quite knows what they mean.

Posted by: sledgehammer on February 6, 2006 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

sledgehammer:

Ahhh ... another member of the peanut/cranky/lab/ceece/GBH fine family of sock puppet trolls!

Same rhetoric. Same *cough* sense of humor. Same politics. Same insults. Same post lengths. Same spelling mistakes.

I mean ... why argue in a vaccuum when nobody agrees with you when you can have Rosy Palm and her five sisters to help you out a little? Nice post, peanut! Thanks cranky -- and you, too lab!

Sheesh ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmm. AKs and RPGs against supersonic planes. What will we do?

Posted by: GBH on February 6, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

What bob, you're not going to kill sledgehammer too?

Posted by: GBH on February 6, 2006 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Bob. It's all a conspiracy against *you*!!! Don't forget to line the windows with tinfoil tonight.

Posted by: GBH on February 6, 2006 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

January 5, 2006 No.39

Iranian Leaders: Statements and Positions (Part I)

Ayatollah Jannati: "The Spirit of Man Requires Sustenance... Martyrdom is a Kind of Such Nourishment;" "Non-Muslims are Like Animals Who Chew Their Cud"

Ayatollah Meshkini: "America and England are Two Cancerous Growths [Which] Will Destroy Any Country Whose Body They Enter"

Ayatollah Mesbah-e Yazdi: "We Need 5,000 Propagators of the Religion to Serve the Iranians Living in the U.S."


Posted by: jsklm2 on February 6, 2006 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

Grievous Bod:

Nahh, I'm not going to kill any of you actually. I'm sort of growing fond of y'all. You're like an ... unruly Cub Scout troop or something :)

Just way too immature to really take seriously in a debate, but sort of amusing to observe once one gets past the initial pestering annoyance.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

Iranian President at Tehran Conference: 'Very Soon, This Stain of Disgrace [i.e. Israel] Will Be Purged From the Center of the Islamic World and This is Attainable'

In advance of Iran's Jerusalem Day, which was established by Ayatollah Khomeini and is marked annually on the fourth Friday of the month of Ramadan, the "World without Zionism" conference was held in Tehran.

At the conference, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke to the representatives of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, members of the Society for the Defense of the Palestinian Nation, and members of the Islamic Students Union, and an audience of hundreds of students.

In his speech, he described his vision of an age-old confrontation between the world of Islam and the "World of Arrogance," i.e. the West; he portrayed Israel and Zionism as the spearhead of the West against the Islamic nation; and he emphasized the need to eliminate Israel which, he claimed, was a goal that was attainable.

Speeches were also delivered by representatives of Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Hamas leader Khaled Mash'al.

The Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), published the full text of Ahmadinejad's speech. The following is a translation of excerpts from ISNA's report and from the speech. [1]


"Prior to his statement, Ahmadinejad said that if you plan to chant the slogan 'Death to Israel,' say it in the right and complete way.

"The president warned the leaders of the Islamic world that they should be wary of Fitna [civil strife]: 'If someone is under the pressure of hegemonic power [i.e. the West] and misunderstands something is wrong, or he is nave, or he is an egotist and his hedonism leads him to recognize the Zionist regime he should know that he will burn in the fire of the Islamic Ummah [nation]'

"Ahmadinejad articulated the real meaning of Zionism: '...We must see what the real story of Palestine is... The establishment of the regime that is occupying Jerusalem was a very grave move by the hegemonic and arrogant system [i.e. the West] against the Islamic world. We are in the process of an historical war between the World of Arrogance [i.e. the West] and the Islamic world, and this war has been going on for hundreds of years.

"'In this historical war, the situation at the fronts has changed many times. During some periods, the Muslims were the victors and were very active, and looked forward, and the World of Arrogance was in retreat.

"'Unfortunately, in the past 300 years, the Islamic world has been in retreat vis--vis the World of Arrogance During the period of the last 100 years, the [walls of the] world of Islam were destroyed and the World of Arrogance turned the regime occupying Jerusalem into a bridge for its dominance over the Islamic world...

"'This occupying country [i.e. Israel] is in fact a front of the World of Arrogance in the heart of the Islamic world. They have in fact built a bastion [Israel] from which they can expand their rule to the entire Islamic world... This means that the current war in Palestine is the front line of the Islamic world against the World of Arrogance, and will determine the fate of Palestine for centuries to come.

"'Today the Palestinian nation stands against the hegemonic system as the representative of the Islamic Ummah [nation]. Thanks to God, since the Palestinian people adopted the Islamic war and the Islamic goals, and since their struggle has become Islamic in its attitude and orientation, we have been witnessing the progress and success of the Palestinian people.'

"Ahmadinejad said: 'The issue of this [World without Zionism] conference is very valuable. In this very grave war, many people are trying to scatter grains of desperation and hopelessness regarding the struggle between the Islamic world and the front of the infidels, and in their hearts they want to empty the Islamic world.

"'... They [ask]: 'Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism?' But you had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved

"'When the dear Imam [Khomeini] said that [the Shah's] regime must go, and that we demand a world without dependent governments, many people who claimed to have political and other knowledge [asked], 'Is it possible [that the Shahs regime can be toppled]?'

"'That day, when Imam [Khomeini] began his movement, all the powers supported [the Shah's] corrupt regime and said it was not possible. However, our nation stood firm, and by now we have, for 27 years, been living without a government dependent on America. Imam [Khomeni] said: 'The rule of the East [U.S.S.R.] and of the West [U.S.] should be ended.' But the weak people who saw only the tiny world near them did not believe it.

"'Nobody believed that we would one day witness the collapse of the Eastern Imperialism [i.e. the U.S.S.R], and said it was an iron regime. But in our short lifetime we have witnessed how this regime collapsed in such a way that we must look for it in libraries, and we can find no literature about it.

"'Imam [Khomeini] said that Saddam [Hussein] must go, and that he would be humiliated in a way that was unprecedented. And what do you see today? A man who, 10 years ago, spoke as proudly as if he would live for eternity is today chained by the feet, and is now being tried in his own country...

"'Imam [Khomeini] said: 'This regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history.' This sentence is very wise. The issue of Palestine is not an issue on which we can compromise.

"'Is it possible that an [Islamic] front allows another front [i.e. country] to arise in its [own] heart? This means defeat, and he who accepts the existence of this regime [i.e. Israel] in fact signs the defeat of the Islamic world.

"'In his battle against the World of Arrogance, our dear Imam [Khomeini] set the regime occupying Qods [Jerusalem] as the target of his fight.

"'I do not doubt that the new wave which has begun in our dear Palestine and which today we are also witnessing in the Islamic world is a wave of morality which has spread all over the Islamic world. Very soon, this stain of disgrace [i.e. Israel] will be purged from the center of the Islamic world and this is attainable.

"'But we must be wary of Fitna. For more than 50 years, the World of Arrogance has tried to give recognition to the existence of this falsified regime [Israel]. With its first steps, and then with further steps, it has tried hard in this direction to stabilize it.

"'Regrettably, 27 or 28 years ago... one of the countries of the first line [i.e. Egypt] made this failure [of recognizing Israel] and we still hope that they will correct it.

"'Lately we have new Fitna underway With the forced evacuation [of Gaza] that was imposed by the Palestinian people, they [the Israelis] evacuated only a corner. [Israel] declared this as the final victory and, on the pretext of evacuating Gaza and establishing a Palestinian government, tried to put an end to the hopes of the Palestinians.

"'Today, [Israel] seeks, satanically and deceitfully, to gain control of the front of war. It is trying to influence the Palestinian groups in Palestine so as to preoccupy them with political issues and jobs so that they relinquish the Palestinian cause that determines their destiny, and come into conflict with each other.

"'On the pretext of goodwill, they [Israel] intended, by evacuating the Gaza strip, to gain recognition of its corrupt regime by some Islamic states. I very much hope, and ask God, that the Palestinian people and the dear Palestinian groups will be wary of this Fitna.

"'The issue of Palestine is by no means over, and will end only when all of Palestine will have a government belonging to the Palestinian people. The refugees must return to their homes, and there must be a government that has come to power by the will of the [Palestinian] people. And, of course those [i.e. the Jews] who came to this country from far away to plunder it have no right to decide anything for the [Palestinian] people.

"'I hope that the Palestinians will maintain their wariness and intelligence, much as they have pursued their battles in the past 10 years. This will be a short period, and if we pass through it successfully, the process of the elimination of the Zionist regime will be smooth and simple.

"'I warn all the leaders of the Islamic world to be wary of Fitna: If someone is under the pressure of hegemonic power [i.e. the West] and understands that something is wrong, or he is nave, or he is an egotist and his hedonism leads him to recognize the Zionist regime he should know that he will burn in the fire of the Islamic Ummah [nation]

"'The people who sit in closed rooms cannot decide on this matter. The Islamic people cannot allow this historical enemy to exist in the heart of the Islamic world.

"'Oh dear people, look at this global arena. By whom are we confronted? We have to understand the depth of the disgrace of the enemy, until our holy hatred expands continuously and strikes like a wave.'"

Posted by: jsklm2 on February 6, 2006 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

jsklm2:

Let me guess ... more selective scare quotes from the MEMRI service, no?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

jsklm2:

Enough with the spam, okay? Use links if you want to post that crap.

Thanks.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

"I believe that we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations.." Clinton

Can anyone tell me what HRC means by losing critical time??? If most intelligence is correct, Iran is TEN years away from making one bomb. All the Iranians are asserting now is that they have the right to reprocess uranium for their nuclear power plants. And in fact the NPT does allow that. I dislike HRC more with each passing day, not that I was ever a big fan.

El Baradei says there is no 'evidence' that Iran has started developing a bomb. Certainly having plans on how to build a bomb is not a bomb. I'm sure Khan managed to sell quite a few 'directions' to assorted countries. Or are the 'plans' that were found in Iran the ones the CIA slipped to Iran with well-hidden errors? That trick seemed notoriously stupid to me.

I was called 'naive' to think before the Iraq invasion that Saddam did not have a nuclear weapons program or any other WMD stockpiles. That wasn't just an 'opinion' of mine but was the result of much time-consuming work reading all I could find on all sides of the issue. I am more likely to believe that Iran does indeed plan to develop a nuclear bomb. But I haven't researched the issue on a 'truth' basis at all yet. I can certainly understand why they might want one.
I haven't quite figured out the US/EU game yet either. Again, I would guess it has something to do with peak oil or economics.

Let me finish by saying that I find the outrageous nationalistic bravado of various posters above (you know who you are) abhorrent and enormously disillusioning.

Posted by: nepeta on February 6, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

I don't care how dangerous Iran is, or may become. I just want to oppose Bush at all costs. Even if Isreal is wiped out (along with millions of arabs), that's a small price to pay.

P.S.: arabs don't deserve to be free or happy. That's why I opposed the liberation of Iraq, and oppose supporting the new democratic government. Only Americans and maybe a few europeans really deserve this.

Posted by: Democrat Bob on February 6, 2006 at 4:28 AM | PERMALINK

"I was called 'naive' to think before the Iraq invasion that Saddam did not have a nuclear weapons program or any other WMD stockpiles. That wasn't just an 'opinion' of mine but was the result of much time-consuming work reading all I could find on all sides of the issue."

And yet, all those hard-working experts in Germany and France also disagreed with your "opinion", instead believing that Saddam did have WMD's. Perhaps this was because he had in fact possessed and used them in the past, and was spending millions to rebuild those programs at the time of his removal.

Posted by: DemBob on February 6, 2006 at 4:33 AM | PERMALINK

Bob asks, not understanding what rhetoric is FOR: "how do we make the threat credible?"

We mean it.

Look, not to get the whole Iraq thing out nearly 500 posts in, what I said before the Iraq war (in more public fora than this), is still good: 1) when a President -- any President -- says something like "Saddam has to go", he does. I want bad guys to BELIEVE American Presidents when they say thingsl ike that. and

2) Wars are easier to start than to finish.

That's why it makes sense to observe, as Clark did, that we can take our Iran's capacity to build nukes.

It also makes sense to note that if Iran nukes us or our allies, poof!

Those observations might cause Iran to think on the wisdom of the two points I noted about Iraq, above.

And IMNSHO, that'll lead 'em to the entirely rational conclusion that it's better to be a nearly nuke nation, than to be bombed for two weeks.


Posted by: theAmericanist on February 6, 2006 at 7:20 AM | PERMALINK

Something for everyone to read (as if the thread needs more text...)

By William S. Lind

Wars, most wars at least, run not evenly but in fits and starts, settling down into sputtering Sitzkrieg for long intervals, then suddenly shooting out wildly in wholly unpredicted directions. The war in Iraq has fallen into a set pattern for long enough that we should be expecting something new. I can identify three factors there may be more which could lead to some dramatic changes, soon.

Osama bin Laden's latest message.

Most observers, including the White House, seem to have missed its significance. In it, bin Laden offered us a truce (an offer we should have accepted, if only to attempt to seize the moral high ground). The Koran requires Moslems to offer such a truce before they attack. The fact that bin Laden himself made the offer, after a long silence, suggests al Qaeda attaches high importance to it.

Why?

My guess is because they plan a major new attack in the U.S. soon. I would be surprised if the plan were for something smaller than 9/11, because that could send the message that al Qaeda's capabilities had diminished. Could this be "the big one," the suitcase nuke that most counter-terrorism experts expect somewhere, sometime? That would certainly justify, perhaps require, a truce offer from Osama himself. Of course, al Qaeda's plan may fail, and it may be for an action less powerful than setting off a nuke on American soil. But the fact that Osama made a truce offer should have set off alarm bells in Washington. So far, from what I can see, it hasn't.

In Iraq, Shiite country is turning nasty.

The Brits are finding themselves up against Shiite militias around Basra. Muqtada al Sadr has made it clear he is spoiling for another go at the Americans, saying his militia would respond to any attack on Iran. In Baghdad, the Shiites who run things are finding American interference increasingly inconvenient. We are now talking to at least some Sunni insurgents, as we should be, but that means our utility to the Shiites as unpaid Hessians is diminishing. Put it all together and it suggests the improbable Yankee-Shiite honeymoon may soon end. When it does, our lines of supply and communication through southern Iraq to Kuwait will be up for grabs.

We are moving towards war with Iran.

Our diplomatic efforts on the question of Iranian nuclear research and reprocessing are obviously designed to fail, in order to clear the boards for military action. It will probably come in the form of Israeli air strikes on Iran, which, as the Iranians well know, cannot be carried out without American approval and support.

In Israel, it was Sharon who repeatedly refused the Israeli generals' requests for air strikes; he is now out of the picture. His replacement, Olmert, is weak. The victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections gave Olmert's main opponent, Likud's Netanyahu, a big boost. How could Olmert best show the Israeli electorate he is as tough as Netanyahu? Obviously, by hitting Iran before Israel's elections in late March.

In Washington, the same brilliant crowd who said invading Iraq would be a cakewalk is still in power. While a few prominent neo-cons have left the limelight, others remain highly influential behind the scenes. For them, the question is not whether to attack Iran (and Syria), but when. Their answer will be the same as Israel's.

Washington will assume Iran will respond with some air and missile strikes of its own. Those may occur, but Iran has far more effective ways of replying. It can shut down its own oil exports and, with mining and naval action, those of Kuwait and the Gulf States as well. It can ramp up the guerilla wars both in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

It could also do something that would come as a total surprise to Washington and cross the Iran-Iraq border with four to six divisions, simply rolling up the American army of occupation in Iraq. Syria might well join in, knowing that it is only a question of time before it is attacked anyway. We have no field army in Iraq at this point; our troops are dispersed fighting insurgents. A couple dozen Scuds on the Green Zone would decapitate our leadership (possibly to our benefit). Yes, our air power would be a problem, but only until the Iranians got in close. Bad weather could provide enough cover for that. So could the Iranian and Syrian air forces, so long as they were willing to expend themselves. Our Air Force can be counted on to fight the air battle first.

As I said, when a war has been stuck in a rut for a long time, thoughtful observers should expect some dramatic change or changes. Any one of these possibilities would deliver that; together, they could give us a whole different situation, one in which our current slow defeat would accelerate sharply.

Beware the ides of March.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

"I don't care how dangerous Iran is, or may become. I just want to oppose Bush at all costs. Even if Isreal is wiped out (along with millions of arabs), that's a small price to pay. "

Spoken like a true dimmocrat.

Posted by: cecce on February 6, 2006 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

But I haven't researched the issue on a 'truth' basis at all yet. I can certainly understand why they might want one. I haven't quite figured out the US/EU game yet either. Posted by: nepeta

Just wait until she researches it on a "truth" basis and figures it out. Just wait.

Oh, the stupid shit people here write.

Posted by: clock on February 6, 2006 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

Libruls (like bob) are cute when they get angry.

Posted by: bobnweave on February 6, 2006 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

None of you, with a couple of exceptions are answering the question: what should Democrats do?

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

what should Democrats do?

The exact opposite of Bush would work just nicely.

I mean, he's got quite a track record of doing the wrong thing successfully.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Im sorry PR, but that doesnt give me a lot of hope for my party. Cant we do better than were the not-Bush party? I really see this as a pretty tricky situation: no matter what Bush does, we are likely to be split. Some dems will go the Clinton, Clark, and Lieberman route and support limited airstrikes, others will scream and run. I guess Im in the middle, but I wish the split wasnt quite as wide.

Just being the un-Bush doesnt really excite me to go out and work politically.

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

were the not-Bush party?

I think you're falling into the trap of having to have a proven plan that is impervious to failure laid out in front of everyone on every issue.

Nope.

When you're not in power, you have an obligation to put out what you're for and what you're against and why you wouldn't screw up like the ones in power. The Democratic Party is tied up in knots right now because they won't follow the simple example of Newt Gingrich.

Which was, don't worry about governing. Just throw bombs.

The Democrats just need to keep throwing bombs. We'll worry about leading and governing once we have the actual power to do something about it.

And then the Republicans will go back to being bomb throwers themselves, try to split people along racial lines and religious lines, and we'll do it all over again.

Sorry, but that's the cycle. It's worked for a good long while.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

If you think that the Reps took over congress just because Gingrich was so good at throwing bombs then you're sadly deluded I think. Ever hear of the Contract With America? Whatever we think about that, those things worked. Also, those guys rode a wave which is not available for us today: specifically that extremely conservative southerners had been voting democrat out of habit, not conviction. They were finally convinced to turn over, en masse. But there is no seismic pressures like that building today. So then what? How will we get to have the actual power to do something about it before we present a viable plan on at least some major issues. Something that might have a chance of convincing someone. It doesnt get more major than war and peace.

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

No, the typical liberal that you're trying to skewer would demand that the US give Iran a specific piece of ballistic missile technology so that the Iranians can defend themselves against American gangster hegemony.

Fuck off.

Posted by: Hostile on February 6, 2006 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Don't get snippy, Hostile.

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Pale is right, though (I do not want to believe Lind is right, God I hope not): The best thing an Opposition party can do, is oppose.

Too many of us fall into the traphabit (I just coined that word, I want royalties, including for trap-habit)of thinking that since Bush wants to do x, like threaten Iran, then we must oppose that.

We should INDEPENDENTLY say stuff, as noted above: that's what gives us bitching rights, not to mention credibility, when Bush screws it up.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 6, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Ever hear of the Contract With America?

Yep, and every aspect of it has been repealed by the Delay/Hastert wing of their party. It was a marketing gimmick and they have never governed under it.

Fuck off.

Poor Hostile. Did you see a US soldier drinking the blood of an Iraqi freedom fighter today? Did it leave a salty taste in your mouth?

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

OK, Americanist, but in a situation where there is a myriad of different courses of action available, many of which might or might not work under different circumstances, just opposing is not very impressive. If you have options A through Z available, and your answer is only we reject whatever the other guy chooses then what kind of leadership is that? If Bush says we choose option C, how does it even help the voters to know that our choice is not-C?

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Scrolling through the comments above. Seems like the liberals here present a choice for the Democrat party of becoming either "the mommy party" or the "punk-ass bitch party" (Bob et al).

Posted by: nuff on February 6, 2006 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

HERE'S THE FACE OF THE ENEMY BY THE WAY:

The controversy took an unusual turn with a Belgian-Dutch Islamic political organisation posting anti-Jew cartoons on its website on Saturday. The Arab European League's site carried a disclaimer saying the images were used as part of an exercise in free speech rather than to endorse their content. One showed an image of Anne Frank in bed with Hitler. Dyab Abou Jahjah, the party's founder, defended the action on Dutch television, saying: "Europe has its sacred cows, even if they're not religious sacred cows."

- he Guardian(UK).

DONT TELL ME Y'ALL DONT WANT TO PUT A LITTLE BOMB DOWN THESE GUYS CHIMNEYS. JUST FOR FUN.

Posted by: nuff on February 6, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Seems like the liberals here present a choice for the Democrat party of becoming either "the mommy party" or the "punk-ass bitch party" (

Nice try. We're the party that has saved America's ass every time the Republican Party has bankrupted the country, ruined the military, and left us in the lurch.

Enjoy your delusions--they'll be of comfort to you in your old age when Social Security, Medicare and the like keep you from starving to death in the poor house.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

This is just going from bad to worse. Forget about nuff, PR. What about answering my question: when there are more than two options available what is the value of just opposing?

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

when there are more than two options available what is the value of just opposing?

For starters, the nature of our democracy demands opposing parties. Not to get into tactics too far, but you have to appeal to voters and understand what it is they want you to do without revealing that you have your own agenda.

Republicans have been pretty good at this--contrary to popular belief, they are not unbeatable.

Look at Governor Tim Kaine in Virginia. It's an uphill fight to replace a sitting governor from the same party that you're from. How did Kaine do it? He appealed to voters and delivered his message.

In America, you contest a small percentage of the voters to win. Each party has a solid 35%. Of the remaining 30% that's left over, ten will probably go each way if you don't screw up your message. Now, you only have to win 6 out of every 10 undecideds to win. That's a small percentage of people who pick who leads us.

If you're a Democrat, you get in there and show what a mistake it was to vote for the other guy, and you do so by making your case. The worst thing you can do is lay out your agenda a year in advance--it gives your opponent the opportunity to do opposition research.

The Contract With America was a gimmick, but it worked. The Democrats need to find something that will appeal to a small number of voters to turn the tide and seize power.

Then, the only way they'll stay in power is to govern responsibly and not give the Republicans something to run against. Once you have power, use it wisely and responsibly or you'll leave yourself vulnerable. Govern wisely--that's the rule of thumb.

You wouldn't have our current situation if it wasn't for Delay's tactics and the lobbying scandal. That's the mistake the GOP made by not throwing Delay to the wolves last year. They should have closed ranks, repudiated him, and moved on.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

500 comments, huh? so i'm writing to myself ... anyway, here goes:

in advance of any action by the administration, we should be actively getting out threee messages. First, the ill-advised invasion of Iraq has really tied our hands - we have fewer rather than more options to deal with this crisis, since we've got roughly 150,000 potential hostages in Iraq, sitting on top of an already perilously unstable situation. That's not just a Bush-bash, it's a fundamental constraint that i think is getting scant attention in the press right now. We can't have a useful debate about this if we're not honest about our capabilities, vulnerabilities & readiness for the contingencies.

Second, far be it for me to second-guess Wes Clark on military matters, but i can't believe that an air campaign would do more than set their program back a few years - while rallying the country behind its most radical & dangerous factions, and ensuring that they'll redouble their efforts to get nukes in the future. Bottom line, an air campaign won't end the crisis, it will escalate it. There may come a point at which we have to take that chance, but we're not there yet.

Third, we DO need to think much harder about the steps we'd be willing to take short of war to get the Iranians to change course. Sanctions and other traditional measures like that will get plenty of discussion, but let's also start talking about some of the things that we might be forced to do within the region to offest the threat of an Iran with nuclear weapons and an asserive, hegemonic, radically anti-Western orientation.

There's a whole laundry list of things that even the most radical members of Iran's ruling class would have to fear & loathe, that we could say would all be on the table if Iran goes nuclear - and which we'd be willing to explicitly foreclose as part of a negotiated, enforceable accord. These would include things like increasing our support for Israel's nuclear weapons program; giving the green light to Israel to re-occupy Gaza, push all of the Palestinians out of the West Bank, whatever they think they need to do; giving nukes to countries within the region that would have reason to fear Iranian aggression, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt; installing permananent military bases in Iraq, Saudi, Afghanistan, etc.

Put all of these scenarios on the table (many of which radical islamists believe we want to do anyway), make it clear that they will all come to pass if Iran goes nuclear & could all go away if they don't - and put the onus for the whole kit & kaboodle on Iran. They can avoid their nightmare scenario, and claim a propaganda victory, by standing down; or bring on a shift in the regional balance of power that they really can't live with (and which i suspect they fear more than a military strike), by nuclearizing. This is something that the Dems, as the party outside of power, might be freer to pursue than the GOP, and might even be more credible to the Iranians because of its Nixon-goes-to-China quality.

So having done that, what's the response in Kevin's two scenarios?

1) if Bush acts unilaterally w/o seeking Congress's approval - in the absence of an imminent threat and without the support of the UN Security Council - there's not much we can do about it but beat 'em up after the fact, right? i can't help but feel (fear?) that the more worked up we get, the more Bush will be able to use it against us - yet at the same time, i can't really think of a response that would really rise up to the level of hubris it would take for him to do it. Really, what could we do that wouldn't either be too divisive to contemplate in the middle of a national emergency, or too mild to be conscionable in light of the offense? Honestly, i'm stumped.

2) if he asks permission (and in light of the above, i think it's actually less likely that he will ask than that he'll just go ahead & do it), and he hasn't pursued or exhausted all of the options above, vote not to authorize force.

Either way, i'm afraid the only thing that will ultimately stop him is the prospect of failure. We need to talk loudly, clearly and often about the risks, make it crystal clear that a pre-emptive attack now would be collosally risky & gamble with the lives of our troops in Iraq, and hope that all of that talks him out of it. If it doesn't, the only consolation will be that the failure will be all his & maybe, just maybe, the public backlash will be enough to get these hot-heads out of office in 2008.

Posted by: TW on February 6, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

PR - The Contract With America was a gimmick, but it worked. The Democrats need to find something that will appeal to a small number of voters to turn the tide and seize power.

me - I'm all ears. Finding "something" sounds like a good idea. What?

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

TW - As to your first three points:

1. Agree. Agree. Agree. Iraq was stupid. That should definitely be part of our message and it's a winning one. If it is the entire message, however, we lose.

2. But airstrikes did not escalate the crisis with Iraq, did it? It nicely set back Saddams programs (in fact, to the point that he abandoned them).

3. If you have ideas-short-of-war that would work, I really really want to hear them.

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: Suggestion for the Democrats: Look at any Bush policy on this on its own merits, rather than seeing what Bush does and setting yourself automatically on the opposite side.

Suggestion for tbrosz and other conservative lemmings: Look at any Bush policy on this on its own merits, rather than simply seeing what Bush does and setting yourself automatically on the same side.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 6, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

most surprising insight from having to really think about the scenarios Kevin presents: it really doesn't make sense for Bush to ask permission. why put the GOP members of Congress on the spot in an election year? just do it; goad the Dems into ineffective, overheated rhetoric; and let the GOPers running for office just keep repeating "I stand with the President and our troops." in 2002, they pushed for a vote because they were sure they'd be able to blackmail/bully enough Dems into supporting them that they'd get bipartisan support. this time, they'd have to actually risk something (the embarassment of a unified Democratic slap-down) by letting it come to a vote - so why risk it?

Posted by: TW on February 6, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Pale rules. (for the moment)

Look, unarmed: I posted something like a half dozen iterations for what progressives ought to be FOR regarding Iran, and Kevin started the thread with Clark's observation that we really could take out Iran's capacity to build nukes in a fortnight of bombing.

THAT's how you oppose:

1) you say that something is unacceptable, and what you'll do about it (Iran: nuke us or our allies, you vanish);

2) you note that you have options other than nuking 'em, if they proceed with this dumbass idea, (which is by far the best stick, and there are carrots also) and

3) you note that Bush doesn't do nuance well. He's the President, we back him in protecting our country: but it's HIS responsibility, and his track record ain't good.

By stating the obvious (#1), you take the primary Republican partisan tool away from Bush. He can't claim that we're soft, when we're harder than he is. (Making folks BELIEVE that has been the primary theme of the thread: the fact is, there are many reasons IN the thread, to doubt us.)

By making a blunt statement of fact that does NOT make a commitment, as Clark did, you clarify the options.

Bush may want sanctions, he may want a blockade, hell, he may even want to send tanks in Syria AND Iran simultaneously -- but the point of being an Opposition isn't to argue with him about actions for which he doesn't need, nor want our support.

The point of being an Opposition is to state what we ALL want, and hold Bush to that standard.

Supposing Iran announces that it HAS nukes, what's gonna change about Bush's response, if more Democrats followed Clark's lead?

What, he's doing to come to us and say: I take you at your word, we can take 'em out... and (tellingly) now I want your support, so all Americans are united?

Isn't that a GOOD thing, unarmed? Consider the alternative.

Wouldn't it give the electorate a good long look at how this guy managed to fail in PREVENTING the situation in the first place? Can't blame us for that: we're the Opposition, and we haven't just said we didn't want 'em to get nukes in the first place, we pointed out that we could have blown 'em up already: BUSH is the commander in chief, why didn't he protect us? Did he learn NOTHING from 9-11? Evidently not.

That's why the pre-emptive surrender approach is bad politically, as well as substantively: THINK, already.


Posted by: theAmericanist on February 6, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist, you clearly care a lot about this (perhaps too much?). But pointing out that Bush doesn't do nuance well has been done. See Kerry, John.

TW, I really enjoy your posts and there's a lot of good thinking there but are you so sure about this: "most surprising insight from having to really think about the scenarios Kevin presents: it really doesn't make sense for Bush to ask permission. why put the GOP members of Congress on the spot in an election year? ... this time, they'd have to actually risk something (the embarassment of a unified Democratic slap-down) by letting it come to a vote - so why risk it?"

How do you know we will be all that unified this time around? Clinton, Clark, Lieberman, others(?) are already making noises that sound distinctly disunified.

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Here's what I'm for:

Draw all US troops out of Iraq--let the Iraqis decide what kind of country they want to have.

Fix what is broken with our military--reorganize, re-equip and rebuild the force to match 21st Century expectations and design it to be able to fight a Fourth Generation campaign against terrorists all over the world.

Stand with our European allies and Israel against Iran--Iran must not acquire the capability to weaponize either uranium or plutonium. The best way to do this--fire Rumsfeld. Let the Europeans know we are serious about becoming partners with them in disarming Iran by removing the architect of the 'old Europe' mentality.

Allow the UN to run its course but do NOT subject US interests to the whims of the UN security council. An armed Iran in unacceptable and the US should not tolerate it.

Finally, begin enlarging the US Navy to at least 500 ships (we currently have less than 300.) This will boost jobs and temporarily enlarge the deficit--move funds for plane programs to shipbuilding programs. We currently own the sky but we have too few ships in our Navy to extend our influence around the world.

That's what I'm for. There's nothing in there about letting someone else clean up our mess or cutting and running or weakening our defense. Although, if I was a wingnut, that's all I would see.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, PR, I agree with most of that. Except maybe:

Stand with our European allies and Israel against Iran--Iran must not acquire the capability to weaponize either uranium or plutonium.

At least we have to have a pretty good idea what it means we have to be willing to do to prevent the "unacceptable" from happening.

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Stand with our European allies and Israel against Iran

Oh, no worries. The reality is, we have lost the initiative and we have already allowed Europe to get ahead of us on this issue. Something about being tied down for the last three years in Iraq...

The United States should never be in a position where it has to play catch-up with its allies on an issue. We should have been leading and we should be in the midst of serious negotiations with the Iranians.

Instead, we get bluster and 'who could have known...' explanations from Rice and her ilk.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Stand with our European allies and Israel against Iran--Iran must not acquire the capability to weaponize either uranium or plutonium.

Your parody of a militant Democrat is wearing thin. Just join up with the Republican war party if you want to kill Iranians.

Posted by: Hositle on February 6, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Just join up with the Republican war party if you want to kill Iranians.

My view is that we should not attack Iran--there's enough conflict in the region. I think I pointed out that we should bring our forces home and let Iraqis decide their own future.

If pulling our troops out of Iraq and standing with our allies against Iran makes me a militant who wants to kill Iranians, I think you and your faint heart should refrain from reading what the wingnuts on this thread want to do.

Kisses, Hostile. Smooch smooch!

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

A good indication "Hostile" is a freeper troll would be the misspelling of "Hostile" on the handle line...

Posted by: Hositle on February 6, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

That was not a mistake made by 'Hostile' earlier today:

Posted by: Hostile on February 6, 2006 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

So...how is it that you jacked up your handle? Too busy switching it around? Make a little slip-up somewhere?

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile is having an identity crisis. That makes her angry.

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

This commenter, who does not speak for liberals, but only herself, made a typo.

Why should not the US, with its European allies, insist on disarming Israel? Iran does not have a bomb and Israel is pointing theirs at them. Does that not give Iran the incentive to arm itself with nuclear weapons (not to mention the US arsenal aimed at Iran, also)? I think so.

Americans, to difuse the situation, should offer to give Iran enough nuclear weapons to deter Israel from launching an attack or use the UN to bring sacntions against Israel that some want to bring against Iran. I think if the US sought to bring UN sanctions against Israel for their nukes, it would send a powerful message to the Iranians of fair play. Of course, this will never happen, as it is too liberal for most, many, a lot of Americans to understand.

Give me candy.
Give me cake.
Half the chicks are overweight!

Posted by: Hostile on February 6, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Give me candy.
Give me cake.
Half the chicks are overweight!

Do you need your pills, honey? You seem to have lost your ever-loving mind.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist betrays some of the errors of thinking, and morality/rights doctrine, in some of his latest, though I do give him credit for toning down the arrogance and personal venom directed at other posters:

That's why [to make a threat credible] it makes sense to observe, as Clark did, that we can take our Iran's capacity to build nukes.

Yes, in one limited sense, and no, in another. We are not living up to our own agreements in the non-proliferation agreement, in fact the Republicans want to trash them, so it's hard to make such a belligerent threat as this with any foundation at all other than "we're the good guys, and badder than you, so do what we say, and agree to economic apartheid, or we will destroy a lot more than your nuclear infrastructure in a 2-week bombing orgy". Of course, if we do bomb we likely won't limit the bombing to just nuclear facilities, and instead "err high" and make an example by destroying much more than that. This would be criminal behavior under the UN system.

It also makes sense to note that if Iran nukes us or our allies, poof!

Iran already knows this, as do Pakistan, Russia, etc.

Those observations might cause Iran to think on the wisdom of the two points I noted about Iraq, above.

Iran has already thought this through, and since they are still supposedly 10 years out on the nuclear capability, one can only surmise that they may be luring us to take some action (for some undisclosed reason). Why would we risk everything we risk, the approbation and chaos around the world, to take the criminal action (without a smoking gun or any legal credibility) of bombing nuclear facilities when Iran isn't that far along. To Iran, they're probably thinking they may as well call our bluff right now, because they're not that far along anyway on the nuclear thing, and they can take advantage (especially public opinion wise, especially domestically) of a limited military strike on them in other political ways, without really losing anything. For them, the calculus is much better to get bombed now than later on, since losing less commitment and investment, while also being able to capitalize on that politically at a time when the United States is less popular than ever.

And IMNSHO, that'll lead 'em to the entirely rational conclusion that it's better to be a nearly nuke nation, than to be bombed for two weeks.

Notice, there is no "smoking gun", no evidence for a legal action, just "suspicion" that leads to attacking Iran, to bombing them, to killing civilians, under the moral prism of "good guys" and "bad guys". Thus, we would be bombing and attacking Iran, i.e. exercising violence, without any cause other than to force political changes. This is a standard definition of "terrorism".

Iraq was one thing, but if we have no evidence of Iran building a bomb, if there is no "smoking gun" that actually passes a smell and credibility test, then we are essentially left with two options: justify attacking them because of their prior terrorist activities (even though we actually started aggressions with them in the 50s), justify attacking them to "keep them down" in a system of economic apartheid, which would be not far removed from all traditional and standard definitions of "terrorism", which at its core is seeking political changes and concessions through violence and/or fear.

Let there be no doubt that this argument is entirely "rational", and that Iranian leadership will bark this to their united people after being attacked, for they will ask what laws they have broken, if these laws are being equally applied, if they are not the victims of state-sponsored terrorist violence, and their people will likely agree. There will be no legal or rational basis for such an attack, and if such an attack occurs outside the UN, then rightfully the UN you should just dissolve, because its principles of collective security and international law/right will no longer be respected, especially since its original sponsor so obviously has rejected all of its pretensions.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

The reality of the whole thing is that non-violent pressure on Iran is the legal and moral route to compelling them to accept conditions under which they will not develop a bomb. This is what the Europeans have tried to do, with economic and political carrots and sticks.

The primary problem with this approach, so far, has been Iran's motherlode of oil and gas, which puts them in a very strong negotiating position. The U.S. wants to introduce violence as a way to increase negotiating strength, but this very threat, if not justifiable in legal or moral terms (which it is not), actually just throws us back to state anarchy prior to the UN, with the UN just becoming a vehicle for dialogue and negotiations but no longer binding in terms of state aggression (might makes right).

In order for this to work without resort to violence, or the threat of violence, would be to get everyone on board who can pressure Iran, so that Iran agrees to Russia doing the uranium enrichment (a creative solution). The bottom line, however, is that Iran is weighing a number of things, some of which are that there is no rational or legal basis, in a regime of non-aggression, for them to put arbitrary limits on their own activities that are not equally accepted by others.

Here, we come back to the great power hypocrisy in regards to the non-proliferation regime, and other areas, which has set quite an example for Iran to contemplate about our penchant for unequal application of law, principles, etc. It's hard to see a self-respecting player accepting this "secondary" status, which in essence is an economic apartheid system, since the great powers are pushing nuclear energy as a way to power the world, and power/energy is the very root of economic strength.

So, since Iran is wavering on this, as a rational actor under the UN system likely should, the U.S. has decided once again to forget about the UN system, to in essence defy it, and start making threats of violence in order to influence Iran's decision making in negotiations (still ostensibly within the UN process, since these threats are informally made outside). We start treading very dangerous ground here, however, since there at this stage really is no basis legally or morally for attacking Iran, and we still do have the UN system (instead of might makes right, big guy holds down little guy, large wars result).

So Iran has to ask themselves what the end of the UN would mean, if they defied the U.S. and the faux UN negotiations and forced illegal violence once again to take place outside it. Does it benefit them long-term, or hurt them? If they decide the UN system works for their long-term interests, or that an attack on them might be able to be legally wiggled, before all is said and done, then they'll adjust their negotiation strategy accordingly, but at this point it's impossibe to determine what their rational action would be, since we don't have this kind of intimate knowledge of their long-term interests, strategy, or process to determine these in the event of a showdown.

Personally, I have great doubt that we could ever legally justify attacking Iran, and would myself consider an attack on Iran a very good reason to question the continuing farce that is the UN. And I am a very big supporter of the UN, human rights, international law, non-aggression, and collective security. But there would be no point in the UN refusing to take action against the US if we continually break from it to do whatever we want, and for less than compelling reasons. Of course, the UN taking action against the US would end up possibly in the US withdrawing support for the UN, and defunding its contribution, but that's the stakes you have to take if your going to meaningful and relevant. Indeed, it would be just best to stand up or fall apart, rather than become a "stamp" for American power under false pretenses.

I love America, and I love America because we stood up and fought for our rights, for our human and civil rights, a few centuries ago against power and oppression. Today, we are really on the wrong course. After the Soviet Union dissolved, and especially after 9-11, we could have made a credible effort before the world to solify some of the promises in the UN charter, and to announce we would honor international human rights conventions, and international law, as an American example on how we feel the world should be.

Instead, we talked about democracy, and freedom, but we refused it every step of the way, since the essence of freedom is a shared contract, a shared limitation taken upon all parties, to treat each other equally and respectfully. We are refusing and failing in this regard in a huge way, and I only hope folks start pulling their heads out of the sand, or their asses, soon enough to see that fear is not and should not be our primary value and currency, as fear is foe of freedom.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't read the thread yet, but wanted to get to this first:

Americanist:

> Bob asks, not understanding what rhetoric is FOR:

And Americanist continues to be an arrogant asshat in
response to my civil inquiry asked in good faith, and
*still* doesn't adequately address the question:

> "how do we make the threat credible?"

> We mean it.

Duh. Nobody -- least of all the world hegemon -- gives
an ultimatum without wanting it to be taken seriously.

> Look, not to get the whole Iraq thing out nearly 500 posts in,
> what I said before the Iraq war (in more public fora than this),

Where, on Fox News? Heh, that would certainly explain
your execrable demeanor here. I do hope so -- it
would make insulting you that much more enjoyable :)

> is still good: 1) when a President -- any President -- says
> something like "Saddam has to go", he does. I want bad guys to
> BELIEVE American Presidents when they say thingsl ike that. and

Well that's just a standard principle of diplomacy. I don't think
it has much to do with an Iranian belief that we're bluffing.
Israel floated (leaked) a bombing plan in the London Times last
month. The IAEA just passed a resolution with only 3 dissents.

What I think you're missing, thougb, is both the Iranian cult
of martyrdom (and that's not code for suicide bombing but
rather a cult of being the underdog) which is producing, I'm
certain, a tactical calculation that they can play rope-a-dope
with our air force the way they did with Saddam's Soviet tanks.

> 2) Wars are easier to start than to finish.

Exactly. And that works to Iran's advantage. What are they seeing
next door in the consequences of Bush's famous resolve? Our military
bogged down, our treasury looted, our credibility in tatters -- and
Iran's hegemonic objectives for that country on the verge of enactment
(a MOL SCIRI-controlled majority government) with the support of the
Americans! Jesus, with outcomes like *that*, maybe we should just
nuke Tehran and make the whole process that much quicker for them :)

Helpful hint: That last comment was entirely facetious.

I give Clark credit for anticipating much of this.
As he said, air campaigns tend to unite people
behind even the most obnoxious leadership.

> That's why it makes sense to observe, as Clark did,
> that we can take our Iran's capacity to build nukes.

I don't think Clark was "observing" this as some sort of tacit
mouthpiece for Bush's war cabinet. I think he was taking a hard-eyed
squint at the objective from a strictly military POV, taking note that
military objectives are not the same thing as political objectives.

> Those observations might cause Iran to think on the
> wisdom of the two points I noted about Iraq, above.

And this is where I think you're dead wrong and playing right into
Iran's hands. Ahmadinejad may be quite beloved by the urban and
rural poor for whom he speaks, but he's not exactly trusted by the
business class, and I'd doubt by many in the clerical hierarchy.
Unlike most parliamentary systems, the executive branch in Iran
does not command the military, the Supreme Leader does. So looking
at the guy's anti-semitic rhetoric (mostly boilerplate we've been
hearing from Iran since '79) as the second coming of Hitler (thanks,
Angie) is misplaced. The real ruling powers in Iran are conservative.

But Ahmadinejad is exceedingly useful to TPTB, because he's managed
to fire up an Iranian zeal that had been missing from the last few
reformist governments, with their flirtations with liberalization.
Start liberalizing a country and you create the opportunities for
self-doubt. This is why Mr. A's little game of chicken with the West
is so salutary. The Iranian establishment knows that support for the
Revolution is waning, especially in a large youth cohort. This is
precisely how you bolster a government that's losing legitimacy with
the people -- a mirror image of how Bush/Rove is planning to use the
Iranian situation as fodder for '06. And it would be foolish to think
that they don't believe that Bush would go through with an airstrike.

> And IMNSHO,

You? Not so humble? Nahhhh ....

> that'll lead 'em to the entirely rational conclusion that it's
> better to be a nearly nuke nation, than to be bombed for two weeks.

The conclusion isn't going to be made "rationally," because these
things have a dynamic of their own which are propelled by rhetoric
and perceived slights to national pride as much as they are by
a closed room full of suits and turbans calculating the costs to
Iran's future. National pride is a powerfully irrational force in
America, let alone in shame-based tribalistic cultures. Add a hefty
dash of self-perception as history's most righteous underdogs, and
it's easy to see a calculation that says let America waste our entire
high-tech infrastructure in the name of standing firm against the
Great Satan (or the World of Arrogance, in a MEMRI-translated Quds
Day speech by Rasfamjani [sp?] upthread). This *is*, after all,
the country that sent waves of 14-year-olds against Iraqi tanks.

There's also a growing sense in the Bush war cabinet, according to
the NYT today, that Iran is going to eventually get nukes, later if
not sooner, and there's not much we can do about it. We can bomb
the shit out of their infrastructure and set them back a decade or so
-- but they'll come back with a vengance: A resentful, sullen Iran,
pushed that much further back into Islamism, now completely determined
to get the bomb by hook or by crook, including on the black market.
Taking out Osirak surely didn't deter Saddam's nuclear ambitions.

That's why there's an element of Kabuki theater about this whole
pas de deux. Bush is not unaware of these consequences -- that's
why he's tries to make appeals to the Iranian people over the heads
of their leaders. I don't even think even Bush is blind to how much
a 14-day bombing campaign would set back what is at the moment the
most socially liberalized country in the entire Muslim Mideast.

And this is apparent in your posts, too. You don't want an airstrike;
you want a credible threat. My point is that the threat is already
credible and already noted -- and the most Islamicized elements of
Iran (the doddering and decrepit mullahs) would welcome an opportunity
to show their martyrdom to the world -- and help further trash
America's face with Muslims in the bargain. This would be, after all,
an unprovoked military attack against a wholly theoretical threat.

The Democrat's response? Simple.

Oppose a strike.

End of story.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

I have noticed many in this thread basically agreeing with a strategy of bullying and intimidating our negotiating partner (Iran) through the threat of violence, and solely because we can, because might makes right, because we're the good guys and they the bad guys, and if negotiations don't go as we like, then we'll introduce the threat of violence in order to put a little fear in those negotiations.

If so, there are not good-faith negotiations, and are instead the opposite of good-faith negotiations. I'll let other try to torturously try and explain how these negotiating tactics are not akin to the terrorism we claim to be fighting around the world, at least in method.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds to me to be a whole hell of a lot like the mob "shaking down" somebody, i.e. extortion and racketeering through the threat of violence.

Maybe we should elect Tony Soprano to be president.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

In a right wingnut thread, I could understand this kind of argumentation. In a progressive thread, and argued by so-called "progressives", I do not understand it all.

No real progressive would endorse violence and aggression outside the UN system, which was created to protect everything progressives hold dear, unless the threat was imminent and clear. They certainly would not endorse informal threats made outside the system, in the midst of so-called "good faith" negotiations, to influence the outcome of these negotiations.

In the end, we'll see who the real liberals and progressives are, and who are not.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

"No real progressive would endorse violence and aggression outside the UN system...."

Oh, byallthingsGodly.... THIS is why we have a problem being trusted with our national security: "Somebody wants to kill millions of Americans? Quick, let's hide behind the French!"

Bob: You obviously don't deserve much respect. Nobody is talking about an ultimatum.

An ultimatum would be along the lines of "Iran must open the following facilities by February 15, or we will consider that a state of war exists ..."

That we could take out Iran's nuclear sites in a couple weeks of bombing is an observation, not an ultimatum.

Governments generally don't talk to each other in ultimate statements, it gets in the way of actual, ya know, communication.

It's stuff like this that provokes me to make fun of you: you take your opinions far more seriously than any serious person would.

We WANT Iran to decide that being a nearly nuke nation is better than getting bombed by the U.S. for a couple weeks.

Why do you resist this common sense?

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 6, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

You seem to have lost your ever-loving mind.

Is it my appeal to treat Iran fairly or my bad punk poetry (circa 1983) that makes you suspect my sanity?


Posted by: Hostile on February 6, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

You missed the point Americanist, as usual, and you are no progressive, so stop pretending to be. Nothing you write seems to speak progressive at all.

To my knowledge, the Democratic Party is not the Progressive Party. The Democrats can do whatever they feel is politically expedient, in deciding on a platform and strategy, that does not mean that progressives must change their ideals and opinions accordingly.

Each electoral competitor comes up with his/her appeal, and we (the voters) decide. Those of us who are progressives, generally do (in almost every case) vote Democratic, because of the nature of our political system, and the rot of the GOP (we should change the system from the current duoploly, which violate all market and democratic principles).

Let the Democratic candidates and party come up with a strategy, and leave progressives out of it. If the Democratic Party really wanted to let the progressives run the show, they'd actually probably win handily, and we wouldn't be talking about fear, war and aggression, especially framed by the fear-mongering Republican Party and certain right-wing Israeli propaganda/special interests, but instead making true the promise of the UN and international law.

The path we are currently on is so wildly off progressive course, in terms of the current political reality and subjects (frames), that the primary political strategy should be changing these subjects and frames in an effective manner, rather than conceding before the Iran thing has really even taken flight, and justifying actions that cannot be justified either through the lens of classical liberalism or American progressivism.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

> Oh, byallthingsGodly.... THIS is why we have a problem being
> trusted with our national security: "Somebody wants to kill
> millions of Americans?

Millions of Americans, huh. This is why Bush got us into
the worst foreign policy clusterfuck in our nation's history:

Playing on fear and xeonophobia by hyping vague threats into
the Apocalypse. And you're just dying to be *just like* Bush
in that regard -- because Americans will only elect sociopaths.

> Quick, let's hide behind the French!"

Thank you, Bob Ney. "The French," of course, being
a code-word for the postwar international order.
Jimm is exactly right: Your slobbering me-too contempt
for the UN makes you no better than a Republican.

Some of us just *don't want* Tony Soprano for
president as an "alternative" to George Bush.

> Bob: You obviously don't deserve much respect.

I deserve (and receive) a lot more respect around here here than
you do, bro. I can dish it back (in spades), but I don't start
threads with gratuitous insults because I disagree with the poster.

> Nobody is talking about an ultimatum.

Here are your own words:

> 1) when a President -- any President -- says something like
> "Saddam has to go", he does. I want bad guys to BELIEVE
> American Presidents when they say thingsl ike that. and

Which is, of course, an ultimatum.

> An ultimatum would be along the lines of "Iran must
> open the following facilities by February 15, or we
> will consider that a state of war exists ..."

Which is precisely what we did in the UN charade during
the lead-up to the Iraq war. Ultimatums don't have to
be dated; they can be any absolute stand that implies
grave consequences if such-and-such criteria aren't met.

> That we could take out Iran's nuclear sites in a couple
> weeks of bombing is an observation, not an ultimatum.

No one said it was. It was a military analysis by an
Air Force general, speaking on his own -- and keeping
military objectives separate from political objectives.
It was hardly an endorsement of a particular policy.

> Governments generally don't talk to each other in ultimate
> statements, it gets in the way of actual, ya know, communication.

Tell that to George Bush. Tell it to John McCain
and Hillary Clinton, who have both made statements
that a nuclear armed Iran is unacceptable.

This, of course, backs them into a corner if Iran ever does
acquire nuclear weapons, which seems at this point to be
inevitable short of bombing their entire country back
into the stone age. It limits, not expands, our options.

> It's stuff like this that provokes me to make fun of you:

In a very ham-fisted and leaden way. Bullies
aren't generally noted for their senses of humor.

> you take your opinions far more
> seriously than any serious person would.

And you think that your opinions are god's gift to "progressives" --
even as you demonstrate an authoritarianism that no progressive I
know would advocate or live by. Progressive people discuss and
debate, they don't browbeat and insult when met with disagreement.

> We WANT Iran to decide that being a nearly nuke nation is
> better than getting bombed by the U.S. for a couple weeks.

And, as I have argued, there is no way we can make that case to
Iranians. They're not going to simply cry "uncle" when faced with
a threat of force. The best hope we have is the Russian proposal
to do processing for them, which the humiliation of being called
on the carpet by the UNSC might get them to reconsider.

But that's being humiliated in the eyes of the world,
by governments the respect of which the Iranians value
(you know, that Francophile UN system you so despise?)
Threats by the Great Satan, OTOH, work in the opposite
direction and bolster the worst elements in Iranian society.

Disproportionate military threats just play to Iranian
patrotism and the Shi'ite cult of the besieged underdog.

> Why do you resist this common sense?

Because common sense in a contextual vaccuum is meaningless.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, instead of saying "leave the progressives out of it", invite them in, but don't expect to be able to bully and intimidate them into actually promoting policies that are not progressive. If the Democratic Party finds it necessary to be a belligerent on the world scene, in the end, so be it, but progressives will not be involved in that aspect, as far as the Democratic coalition goes, unless there is clear and compelling legal and/or moral cause to do so.

Meanwhile, if this is going to be the case (that the Democratic Party will not ask for real progressive input into foreign policy), then by all means at least invite and adopt a progressive platform domestically.

Whatever you do, don't start calling stuff "progressive" that is not "progressive", as a means to make it "progressive". Progressives know what we are for, and what we are not, and we are certainly not for unprovoked international aggression, or illegal war and/or military action for purposes of self-interest, whether this be political, economic, or what have you. As Camus put it so brilliantly, murder is murder, and the number one challenge of humanity is not to commit murder, and not to capitulate to murder.

Otherwise, any claimed "liberal order" exists only in your imagination.

Thanks.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Jimm:

Amen.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry for butting in but it seems like the thread went off the rails again now, with long pointless philosophical discussions. The question is really quite simple: what do we do as Democrats? Just saying oppose airstrikes misses the point entirely, since there will never be anything near unanimity in our party (not even in Congress) for that policy. If the policy is to try for some other method that could achieve the objective, then that would be saleable, but what would that policy be? Trying to sell the idea that Iran should have access to nuclear weapons for some reason related to equity or because we believe they can be trusted with such weapons is not saleable: not to the country, not even within the democratic caucus in Congress.

As I said above, when a myriad of solutions from A through Z are all possible, just saying we oppose X doesnt answer the question.

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Also, Americanist greatly mischaracterized the meaning of my statement with the infamous "...", as I said "[n]o real progressive would endorse violence and aggression outside the UN system, which was created to protect everything progressives hold dear, unless the threat was imminent and clear."

Further, I stated that no real progressive would condone "bad faith" negotiations under the UN system of non-aggression.

These aren't partisan political statements, but statement of principle. And, I take Americanist's blatant deception of my argument to also be in "bad faith".

He also seems to have no response to the more detailed arguments that preceded the statement in question that led to the obvious conclusion.

Let my arguments, Unarmed Liberal, not be denigrated for being principled or "philosophical" (which is the basis of determining progressive ideals), or be criticized for being off-topic, but instead be in answer to a parallel question: what do we do as progressives?

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, if my recent arguments are "long" and "pointless", so is "liberal order and rights doctrine", so is the UN Charter, and so is the Declaration of Independence, which certainly contains more words than my "short" arguments (a little "long" for this blogosphere forum, perhaps, but hardly so in actual debates of political principle and policy).

If not even progressives stand up for the UN, it won't be too hard for the likes of Bush and Bolton to destroy it.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

As a rejoinder that was a bit weak I think. The Declaration of Independence might be good for a great many things but it doesnt belong in every discussion. The UN charter is likewise swell but doesnt answer the "what do we do now" and "what policies might be saleable to the country" questions.

I was hoping for more like what Pale Rider did above - a specific statement of what he is for.

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Bob: You obviously don't deserve much respect.

You have to love this "good faith" reasoning and debate from Americanist.

Bob deserves plenty of respect, if only because he is willing to stand up and state his beliefs and opinions, for or against the tide, and in the face of contempt, ridicule, and resistance. Respect is not just or primarily about content, but also conviction and courage (and lots of other things, like consistency, etc.).

Bob, much respect.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Unarmed Liberal:

I'm beginning to wonder if you're arguing in any better faith than Americanist, truthfully. You ask a question -- then spend your entire post arguing why some of the answers presented are the wrong ones.

Are you really interested in the answer -- or are you just trying to push us along to a foreordained conclusion? If you have a conclusion in mind -- why don't you just straightforwardly advocate for it, instead of trying to start a faux Socratic dialogue that you aren't interested in pursuing?

I can't tell you what the Democrats "should" do. The Democratic Party is not the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. Obviously, Democrats will advocate different positions based on their own calculations and consciences.

I can tell you what some Democrats *will* do, though, I think Hillary, Schumer and Rahm Emmanuel will try to run to Bush's right on this, and attack Bush for letting the threat get out in front of us. I consider this totally disingenuous, because we have no other option outside of the current UN course than to threaten Iran militarily. Are they saying that Bush should do that now, and openly -- if so, they should say so. Otherwise, this is not a position, this is just anti-Bush bluster, cynically and costlessly calculated to make Democrats look "strong."

I can tell you my own conscience on the matter, and I have. I laid out why I think an airstrike would be totally counterproductive to our larger goals in the Mideast -- and won't ultimately prevent the Iranians from acquring nukes in the long run, besides.

And I don't frankly care if you consider this position "salable" or not.

It is both morally and strategically appropriate.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

I was hoping for more like what Pale Rider did above - a specific statement of what he is for.

Fair enough, but that is going to be "long", and I've dropped some of it in other threads. The next time Kevin brings it up, I'll have a cogent "what we should do" prepared. The essence of it can be deduced from my emphasis in this thread - "good faith", "fair play", honoring our commitments like the NPT, resisting all the way any "frame" that Iran is a "grave" threat to anyone, resisting the inordinate influence of special interests in determining security policy and frames (in this case, the Israeli right wing propaganda), etc.

As for the Declaration of Independence, the only point in mentioning it is that it's considered a very "short" document, concise and to the point, and is much longer than any of my posts in this thread. I was teasing the notion that my posts were "long", by any measure except shallow blogosphere snark and political soundbitery.

Still, it is an important document, obviously, of principles, as is the UN Charter, which is under "grave" threat right now, and likely doomed if progressives get suckered into jumping off its ship, as the UN Charter is nothing if not a "progressive" charter.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

"I can't tell you what the Democrats "should" do."

OK. But that was the question of Kevin's that started this whole thing.

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, reviewing all my posts, I have given a number of reasons why we should not attack Iran, whether unilaterally or not, and especially in regards to the immediate future, most of them in very short and concise posts. Others have done the same.

It's a "false dilemma" to assume if someone presents a course of action, one must either say "yea" or "nay", or that if the Republicans concoct a political case to bomb Iran, that Democrats must have their own plan to bomb Iran. This kind of concession is actually what gets the Democratic Party in trouble, because they are far less likely to credibly make such a threat, especially since the means to do so embraces principles that will offend signifigant portions of the coalition "base", so there will not be a united front in almost every case, and often there will be wishy-washiness (pandering to conflicted base).

Also, my foreign policy solution is not relevant to the current leadership, at least in its current configuration. It is almost directly in opposition to it.

Last, if the Republicans effectively hoodwink everyone into not only thinking Iran is a "grave" threat, but that it is also a top issue come election time, than I would continually monitor my position in terms of the facts (is the threat actually "grave", "clear", and "compelling").

And, with that in mind, I would make very clear my position as regards grave, clear, and compelling threats, no matter what the source, and the actions I would take defending against them. Then I would make very clear that anyone who seeks to deceive me or us about the nature of these threats would be a "grave" threat in their own right, because our credibility is non-negotiable. Finally, I would not lie or distort the nature of the Iranian "threat", but pursue leads and negotiations to their end, and if and when that time comes to define Iran as a "grave", "clear", and "compelling" threat, the course of action will also be clear.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Unarmed Liberal:

Then it is, strictly defined, a meaningless question if you simply rule my suggestion out of the ballpark from the getgo.

I am not interested in gaming this out. There's too much at stake here.

And maybe if more Democrats thought like this, there'd be more Democrats in Congress and the White House.

Democrats need to grow a backbone and stand up for what's right and what's wrong.

And Jimm is absolutely on-point. We're seeing the UN Charter in the process of being shredded through our bully-boy unilateralism.

Democrats play into that at the peril of losing all their ideals -- even if it does play well in Peoria at this particular moment.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

- It's a "false dilemma" to assume if someone presents a course of action, one must either say "yea" or "nay", or that if the Republicans concoct a political case to bomb Iran, that Democrats must have their own plan to bomb Iran.

Sigh. This is what I actually said: "when a myriad of solutions from A through Z are all possible, just saying we oppose X doesnt answer the question.

I specifically said we do NOT need to say yea or nay, that there is a whole range of options. But solutions are nevertheless needed.

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

I think the response to Iran's pending nuclear armament should be we admit targeting its strategic assets and immediately stand down with UN verification. Next we open all diplomatic channels and admit the US wrongfully interfered with Iran's internal affairs before the Shah, during the Shah and after the Shah - all for oil. A public ceremony of absolution, communicating the guilt of the Navy shooting down that Iranian airliner during the first gulf war should be made along with a permanent memorial displaying the remorse of the American people. This should be the response of the US, Democrat or Republican, but a lot, many, most, a majority of Americans do not like to sue for peace by admitting their faults and sins.

Posted by: Hostile on February 6, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

And if there's lots (even, "too much") at stake here, then I guess finding some kind of a solution would be the order of the day.

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

What would be the Democratic response if (a) Bush asked for an authorization of force against Iran or (b) simply launched an assault without asking Congress?

Notice the question is "would", not "should", which complicates answering it.

If Bush asks for an "authorization of force" against Iran, the Democrats should oppose it tooth and nail, pointing out the Iraq debacle, our current overstretched position, and most of all the unclear, uncompelling, and ungrave nature of the Iran at the moment. Of course, they should always be promoting other subjects, one of which would be the Bush Administration's incompetence, crookedness, cronyism, and corruption. Iraq and Katrina are salient examples.

If #b, the Democrats obviously must reserve criticism during the initial airstrikes, unless they are scheduled to drag on for some time. The Democrats should make clear before any aistrikes or attacks (starting now) that unilateral action against Iran is unacceptable and a great risk and threat to our economy and to winning "hearts and minds" in the Islamic World (i.e. winning the war on terra), unless there is a very clear, compelling, and grave threat, which cannot be fictionalized as with Iraq.

If Bush goes ahead and does it, without having showing this nature of threat, then the Democrats have no choice but to question Bush's fitness for the presidency, as well as the Republican fitness for Congressional leadership. Then, you have a big showdown, and stop pulling any punches, and just bring in the whole reckless and incompetent enterprise that is the Bush Administration, including reference to his past as a failure, as well as the Republican past as lawbreakers and fear/warmongeres (Iran-Contra, etc.).

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Fair enough, Unarmed Liberal, I agree that "not-X" is usually not a good policy position. My approach would involve a whole lot of abcdefghijk (etc.).

Still, in some cases, there are good reasons for "not-X", like if an attack on Iran would bring down the global economy. If this were a plausible assessment of the results of such an attack, then "not-X", when "X" = "attacking Iran", is a reasonable policy position (obviously implying other approaches to "get around" this problem of neither "X" and "not X" being reasonable courses of action.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

What would be the Democratic response if (a) Bush asked for an authorization of force against Iran or (b) simply launched an assault without asking Congress?

There's no need to split hairs here about what Kevin meant or not - if you read the post as a whole, he was clearly looking for ideas, meaning ideas on what to do.

And such ideas, to work, would have to be doable for the party as a united party. There is zero chance to unite the party around the "stop worrying and learn to love Iranians and their nukes" idea. Too many (e.g., Clinton, Lieberman, Clark, among many) are already NOW on record saying Iranian nukes cannot be tolerated. Many more will of course arrive at the same position the closer we get to taking action. So your solution simply would never work.


Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Unarmed Liberal:

Well, it would be nice to find a solution to genocide in Darfur and AIDS in Africa, too.

Some problems are fairly intractible and must be managed rather than solved.

There just aren't any easy solutions here. Iran is a bellicose regime that is going to do what it wants to do and fuck the world community. Our only option to stop them from doing this is to bomb the crap out of them -- the more we destroy of their high-tech infrastructure, the better.

Well, why not? Because Iran is *also*, paradoxically enough, the most socially advanced Mideast Muslim state, and its large youth generation hates the mullahs and leans towards the West. If we alienate these kids and drive them into the arms of their government by bombing the country, we would have set back the cause of mideast democracy by a decade or more.

That's what you call a Hobson's dilemma.

Pulling simplistic solutions out of our butts to sell to the American public in an election year is just flat-out irresponsible.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Still, in some cases, there are good reasons for "not-X", like if an attack on Iran would bring down the global economy. If this were a plausible assessment of the results of such an attack, then "not-X", when "X" = "attacking Iran", is a reasonable policy position (obviously implying other approaches to "get around" this problem of neither "X" and "not X" being reasonable courses of action.

Meaning, of course, that "not X" can be reasonable in context of "X", but that neither course is ultimately reasonable, since the threat that spurred "X" in the first place may well exist, and "not X" only addresses a reasonable reason not to do "X", and does not directly address the actual threat.

In this case, and in the real world these cases predominate, "reasonable" consideration involves both of these elements - affirmative suggestions for course of action ("X"), and negative rebuttals of these suggestions on their merits.

Thus, the distinction between "rational" and "wise" actors, going all the way back to ancient times, whether East or West, whether the lessons of The Art of War, or the lessons of The Peloponnesian Wars.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK


From the look of things here it seems that any approach cooked up by jimm would involve a whooooole lotta talking.

Diagnosis: keyboard diarrhea.

Posted by: Advocate on February 6, 2006 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

hey unarmed tread lightly around bob i see upthread that he likes bragging about how much he likes killin' people and stuff

Posted by: Advocate on February 6, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

So, Bob, you're saying that the problem of Democrat indecisiveness is like Darfur, "fairly intractible and must be managed rather than solved."???

Way to give us hope. With friends like that...

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Too many (e.g., Clinton, Lieberman, Clark, among many) are already NOW on record saying Iranian nukes cannot be tolerated. Many more will of course arrive at the same position the closer we get to taking action. So your solution simply would never work.

This doesn't conflict with my solution at all.

I've said that our position on "grave", "clear", and "compelling" threats, regardless of the specifics of any particular threat, should be public, well-stated, and promoted.

Democrats can say all they like that Iranian nuclear weapons meets this threat level - it does not suggest immediate action, since expert opinion has Iran a decade out on nuclear weapons. That time should be used to credibly negotiate with Iran by renewing and increasing our own commitment to the NPT, so that Iran is not faced with threats that themselves violate the NPT while we are accusing them of breaking the NPT (and to defend a party, Israel, that refuses to sign the NPT).

The statement that "Iran nukes are unacceptable" does not equal, at the moment, a "grave", "clear", and "compelling" threat, because "Iran does not have nukes", and "Iran is not expected to have nukes for at least another 5-10 years". Obviously, we should be able to get through this election cycle without attacking Iran, or even seriously broaching it.

In the meantime, throw in how such an attack could backfire - on the efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, on the efforts to "win hearts and minds", on oil prices and the global economy, on internal liberal and democratic reform in Iran, etc.

Finally, express great doubt that the current administration and president have any clue.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Unarmed Liberal:

Well, it's getting clearer with every post that you aren't willing to have an honest discussion.

You have a foreordained conclusion, and what you're *really* doing is arguing -- in a rather annoyingly indirect way -- that the Democratic Party has no choice but to get behind the Dems who have endorsed the Clinton/Liberman position.

I wish you'd just come out and *say* that, sheesh.

Well, sorry. Ain't gonna happen. Too much of the base just won't swallow the idea of being bent over and hosed by Israel once again. If Israel's so freaked, let *them* bomb Iran and let *them* pay the consequences of the Muslim world's ire.

The constructive solution I'd offer would be to do all we can to get Iran to accept Russia's deal of reprocessing the uranium for them, so they can have an advanced nuclear program without learning how to build weapons. Khamenei has said that nukes are un-Islamic. Let's hold him to it by doing all we can to help Iran have an advanced nuclear generating capacity without showing them how to build bombs.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

We need a whole lot of forgiveness.

Posted by: Hostile on February 6, 2006 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

From the look of things here it seems that any approach cooked up by jimm would involve a whooooole lotta talking.

Clarifying issues, principles, threats, and risks is the essence of rational, wise action, especially in a liberal, democratic, inclusive approach requiring informed consent of the people (not manipulations of their hopes and fears).

You could take all my posts in this thread and maybe get 10 pages in a magazine. I sure hope that it isn't too verbose for rational and timely consideration of critical political issues, as well as deciding whether to start a war.

As we will soon see with the Bush Administration, soundbites are great for politics, but make terrible legal defenses.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I like what Dianne Feinstein has to say. At least, it's a start:

http://feinstein.senate.gov/03Releases/r-iran1.htm

"With the fall of the Hussein regime in Iraq, attention has turned to the threat posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran and the recent revelations about its nuclear program. I am increasingly concerned that Tehran is determined to develop nuclear weapons and substantially alter the balance of power in the Middle East."

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Unarmed Liberal:

You used Democrat as an adjective. Only people who hate the *cough* Democrat Party do that.

So I guess we'll just have to call it a typo, huh :)

It's the indecisiveness of the entire country. To call it "Democrat indecisiveness" strikes me a fairly malicious characterization.

Jimm:

I'm going to have to chide you a bit for buying into the Republican frame on Iran having nukes.

Nobody has yet seemed to make a compelling argument about why Iran having nukes would be any qualitatively worse than Pakistan or North Korea having them. The Iranian government might be belligerent, but it's hardly insane. It would know the country of Iran would cease to exist if it ever tried to use them in an offensive way.

I am still waiting for *somebody* to explain, without the usual shrieking Islamo-paranoia, why Iran having the bomb represents an existential threat to world security.

After all ... maybe I'm wrong :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Not impressive, Bob. I did not say "Democrat party" - and in any case Kevin's post was aimed at figuring out a way to solve the indecisiveness (and someone else might use stronger terms) of Democrats. And no the indecisiveness is not evenly spread across the country as you imply - at least not now with a Rep president. You could say with another president the Democratic party might be more united. That and about 5 bucks will buy you a cup of coffee here in New York.

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Unarmed Liberal:

That press release is over two years old.

The issues is going before the UNSC. Best we can hope for is a revival of the Russian proposal, which as I have argued upthread, Iran might be shamed into taking up again.

No country likes to be called on the carpet in by the UNSC as a threat to world security. Iran has based much of its diplomacy on trying to win respect (and business contracts) with the world community.

This is the strongest kind of leverage we can hope for -- and every Democrat should support these efforts.

Doubtless Feinstein is fully behind them.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Unarmed Liberal:

On Darfur? -- you've got to be kidding me.

My position is certainly not indecisive.

Airstrikes are a non-starter. Threatening airstrikes is simply counterproductive, as this would only cause Iran to dig in its heels and hunker down.

UN diplomacy is our only hope -- along with back-channel negotiations with Russia that might produce a breakthrough.

What could be more clear than that?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

I'm going to have to chide you a bit for buying into the Republican frame on Iran having nukes.

Fair enough, but I was just addressing how Democrats could believe that such is unacceptable and credibly resist rushing to war with or military action against Iran (since they currently have no weapons, and are not expected to have them for several election cycles).

Personally, I've stated in prior threads that Iranian nukes may not be as dangerous as people presume, and even mentioned that in this thread early on. But, though I don't think Iran would commit national suicide, and would not necessarily be a grave threat with nukes, at the same time I consider all nukes to be dangerous, especially in the hands of repressive governments we are committed to undermining and having overthrown in a democratic revolution (instability not a good state of affairs with nukes).

So, my position is very clear on this matter...Iran should not have nukes, and neither should anyone else. Obviously, this is easier said than done, so in the meantime we should renew and increase our commitments to and under the NPT, while employing that commitment in negotiations persuading Iran to forego pursuing nuclear weapons.

This means we greatly reduce our nuclear weapons, and end any speculation or consideration of using them strategically. Rather, we will reduce our nuclear weapons in concert with other nuclear nations, with full transparency and inspections, until the arsenals that remain are only defensive. In the meantime, all nations forswearing nuclear weapons will get security guarantees.

The next stage will be after this happens, so I won't go further than that.

The downside to this, at least to neocons, is that security guarantees must be made to illiberal nations, or we must forget about non-proliferation. We likely can't have both - belligerence and agitation towards illiberal nations, and serious non-proliferation agreements, since there will be no credible security guarantees for illiberal and repressive governments to sign on.

It's hard to figure out what else to do, unless you want to sign on to double-standards and institutionalized apartheid.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

It's hard to figure out what else to do, unless you want to sign on to double-standards and institutionalized apartheid.

Or war. And lots of it.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I'm for bombing. Jimm, if you agree that the threat is "grave", "clear", and "compelling" except not quite imminent yet, then it sounds like you would approve of action at some point, only not right now.

I just don't see what we would gain by waiting.

Posted by: jkstf5 on February 6, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

One could suggest that we bring in all democratic nations, no matter how liberal, which includes Iran, into an expanded NPT with unbreakable security guarantees, and then isolate and target all undemocratic nations that remain, and such a suggestion has a certain elegance to it, but unfortunately the world is not that elegant, and China is not a democracy, and would constitute a very noticeable exception, unless we actually isolated and targeted them too, which is not likely.

So, in the interests of peace and reducing the risks of nuclear devastation, at the moment I favor an expanded NPT, with our increased commitment to it, as the primary solution of the moment, and we put to bed neocon fantasies of liberal regime change around the globe in order to be able to give credible security guarantees.

I'll await other well-considered solutions, which airstrikes on Iran is not.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

BOB - Well, why not? Because Iran is *also*, paradoxically enough, the most socially advanced Mideast Muslim state, and its large youth generation hates the mullahs and leans towards the West. If we alienate these kids and drive them into the arms of their government by bombing the country, we would have set back the cause of mideast democracy by a decade or more.

That's what you call a Hobson's dilemma.

______

No, idiot.

The term btw is "Hobson's choice" - it means an apparently free choice that is not a choice at all.

The word for a choice between several outcomes, all of which are bad or have negative sides to them is just plain a "dilemma".

The cure for such malappropisms is to limit yourself to one cliche per sentence.

Posted by: advocate on February 6, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I'm for bombing. Jimm, if you agree that the threat is "grave", "clear", and "compelling" except not quite imminent yet, then it sounds like you would approve of action at some point, only not right now.

First, I don't think the threat is "grave", "clear", or "compelling", but respect that others may feel that way, including Democratic politicians.

Let's assume I do, for the sake of argument.

Second, I believe that Iran will eventually agree to a negotiated settlement, so that the recourse to war will not be necessary. This is what more time buys.

Third, the best solution is equal and increased commitment to the NPT, so that it applies equally and fairly to all parties, including rock solid security guarantees for those who forego nuclear weapons. This approach does not call for aggression, violence, or war, but instead the opposite - respect and equality under the law.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

I'm out. But there's a lot of wisdom here on this thread - if bloviating endlessly is the "essence of rational, wise action" then Jimm is truly the wisest among wise.

Posted by: advocate on February 6, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not claiming to be wise, or the wisest of the wise, but merely to be following what I understand to be the path of right and wise action.

That does not include soundbites and snark, and if you can't read a few paragraphs without getting tired, then leave this debate to those who can.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Golly, you guys are pitiful.

What should Democrats do?

They should state what they are FOR.

Bob, Jimm, et al: don't.

More sensible folks been real clewar: We are for Iran concluding that it is better to be a nearly nuke power, than to be bombed for a couple weeks by the U.S.

Read that again, since evidently most folks here have comprehension issues.

(Psst, Bob: Iran and Iraq are, like, two completely different countries. I noted that nobody was talking about an ultimatum -- and you protested that Bush had said "Saddam must go." Even technically speaking, that's not an ultimatum -- which is a contingent statement, do this or else, do that and BAM! -- but it's probably more important for to concentrate really hard on remembering that IraN is not IraQ, cuz nobody wants to overburden you. Just try to keep up, it's okay: the Internet, the Special Olympics of debate.)

It's not okay to say (cuz it doesn't answer the question) that Democrats (or progressives, if you like) are FOR the UN doing this, that, or the other thing.

If you don't want Iran to get nukes (never mind if you can stop 'em), the key is to say just HOW that could be avoided. At best, the UN is secondary -- a means to the end, not the end itself.

One option would be to bomb 'em. We can do that -- as Clark noted.

By FAR the better option is for Iran to decide: ya know what? We like having the option. But we don't need to ACTUALLY develop nukes -- yet -- cuz that could precipitate a series of events, e.g., an Israeli attack, that we can't predict, much less control.

Whether that is something the UN can do (it worked so well with Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea) is secondary.

So -- the smart thing for the U.S., is to show Iran that's their best option.

Which means the smart thing for Democrats, as the Opposition, would be to stake out that position as OURS.

That's what I and others did above.

Bob, Jimm, et. al, seem to think that foreign policy and our national security is like a dorm room debate about justice and abstract Notions of how the world ought to work.

Not even close.

But it's the sheer POLITICAL ignorance that entertains me in these threads: Hey, Iran won't get nukes for at least "several more election cycles" -- so why should Democrats actually, ya know, think about how we would defend the country?

Besides, you guys keep saying, the country REALLY agrees with "us" -- ya know, the guys who post here who think it's kewl for Democrats to lose a lot of elections until we're finally "honest" in presenting REAL alternatives.

Get a fucking clue: Just as it is better to say "we can take 'em out" about nuclear weapons facilities, than it is to say "we will, if", it is MUCH better to say "use 'em, lose all", than "gee, a nuclear Iran isn't a real threat to us."

That anybody even has to argue this with you guys is proof you're simply not fucking ready for serious discussion, much less for actual authority.


.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 6, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

jkstf5, for more on options for bombing now, see what someone wrote further up there...

So, back to what to do. Here's my original list:

1. Taking out the whole nuclear program (the Clark proposal)
2. Destroying their entire military infrastructure: airfields, airports, artillery, tanks, everything on the ground we can take out from the air.
3. Take out research facilities and technical universities where they even teach nuclear science.
4. Bomb the houses of their top nuclear scientists. We know where they live.
5. Not just no-fly zones but also totally demillitarized zones whereever ethnic minorities are in the majority. Destroy any military formation seen on the ground from the air for the next decade or so or until local minorities like the Kurds, the Arabs, etc, take control over their own areas.

To this, someone added eliminating facilities that are major uses for crude oil within Iran, thus forcing them to sell the oil (if they were ever to get any benefit from it) and eliminating the oil weapon.

But if the shit really hits the fan, there's way more we could do, including taking apart the civilian infrastructure piece by piece. That way, if Iran retaliates in even the slightest bit, they will know there's always worse to come.

That way, we will always have a deterrent against the Ayatollahs retaliating against Israel or us at every point in time.

Lots of whining here about how striking Iran will "inflame" them against us and make us enemies. Balls. Their government already hates us, and the people have no say. Plus we have it in our power to eliminate their capacity to strike against us even in minor ways. So who cares how inflamed they are?

Posted by: mike on February 6, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

right on, americanist!!!

Posted by: mike on February 6, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

It must be really gratifying to your ego to have the support of all the puny little jingoist trolls on this blog, whereas the people who actually make arguments send you into a tizzy of ad-hominem invective :)

Really good indication that yer tawkin' sense, that.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

Bob, Jimm, et. al, seem to think that foreign policy and our national security is like a dorm room debate about justice and abstract Notions of how the world ought to work. - Americanist.

Exactly. Bob and Jimm in the dorm room, smoking weed and going on and on and on and on and on and on.......................................................................

What an image. LOL

Posted by: mike on February 6, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats (or progressives, if you like)

Not the same. Next.

But it's the sheer POLITICAL ignorance that entertains me in these threads: Hey, Iran won't get nukes for at least "several more election cycles" -- so why should Democrats actually, ya know, think about how we would defend the country?

Americanist, what's with the mischaracterizations and straw men? I said "several more election cycles" in response to the question whether Democrats should support attacking Iran out of political expediency if the Republicans promote doing so. I don't think we should be suggesting such bombing now for a few reasons: Iran is not currently a threat, and there are ways to avoid political and electoral damage as well if the GOP insists on promoting bombing Iran now.

Wes Clark is not suggesting we bomb Iran either - he just mentioned that we could do so effectively and knock out the nuclear capability, setting it back a long ways. He does seem to be aware how bad and unpredictable a solution this would be, however, and doesn't seem to endorse it all, or suggest it will ever be necessary.

Get a fucking clue: Just as it is better to say "we can take 'em out" about nuclear weapons facilities, than it is to say "we will, if", it is MUCH better to say "use 'em, lose all", than "gee, a nuclear Iran isn't a real threat to us."

To say we "can" take out Iran's nuclear capability is just validating that course of action as "not pie in the sky". If we couldn't actually do it, there'd be no point in bringing it up. Once we determine we can do it, then there comes the issue of if and when we would do it - i.e. under what conditions. It is these conditions I'm addressing, as well as related fallout and side effects that would likely result from such airstrikes counseling against such action unless as an absolute last resort, which I'm discussing in this thread.

Go ahead and talk tough like a mob boss Americanist, if it makes you feel virile. Such talk and posturing will not likely solve the crisis, but instead complicate and amplify it through eventually having to act on that posturing when your bluff is called.

You really should calm down Americanist are start discussing your disagreements with other respectfully, and not with your "holier than thou" namecalling, ridicule, and what not. It would likely prevent you from stating such ludicrious things as this:

We are for Iran concluding that it is better to be a nearly nuke power, than to be bombed for a couple weeks by the U.S.

As I've mentioned throughout the thread, it's not this simple, the resort to bombing opens a can of worms and crisis worse than what was intended to be solved, in terms of affects on Iraq, Afghanistan, hearts and minds, war on terror, global economy, American jobs, gas prices, etc.

Iran may rationally decide, especially for their own domestic political self-interest, to defy the U.S. now, call our bluff, and, if we bite, lose their nuclear investments now, while still at a premature stage, and at a time of historic unpopularity around the world for America and our brand.

As for Israel, I can't imagine that Iranian leadership would consider such an attack a blessing.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

As for Israel, I can't imagine that Iranian leadership would consider such an attack a blessing.

Misspoke there. I mean that Iranian leaders may consider it a blessing in disguise for their political aspirations and agenda if Israel attacks them. Such a possibility should be dismissed out of hand by Israel's friends, of which we are the first and most influential.

As for us bombing Iran, it's not necessarily something they will fear, if it's targeted only on suspected nuclear facilities, since the other affects of such a raid, on their domestic political prospects and fallout/blowback on the U.S., might be worth the risk for them.

If we bombed more than nuclear facilities, this might work against them, but then we would face even more serious fallout and criticism around the world for a wanton destruction of much more than Iran's nuclear aspirations, and this would be the beginning of the end of the UN, as it would be a clearly criminal action to target more than Iran's nuclear facilities, all the while choosing a course of action that will undoubtedly murder more innocent Iranian civilians in the crossfire.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

The funniest thing is that Americanist is more concerned with trying to dismiss and ridicule me (and Bob, though we are saying separate things) than the ignorant trolls and right wingnuts that I'm primarily rebutting.

I sense this is occurring because Americanist has no real rebuttal to my few rebuttals to him, since his response to them has amounted to about 1 paragraph (full of deceptive rhetorical devices), and he's not used to people calling him on his mocking, arrogant BS, which only serves to undermine his own argument, and bring contempt, rather than highlight them.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, I'm beginning to think that Americanist has never actually debated with a real progressive, while all the while claiming to be one.

He also seems to have a serious problem engaging in reasonable and respectful discussion with those who disagree with him, which is also not progressive.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

> Golly, you guys are pitiful.

Hey, but at least we're intellectually honest.

> What should Democrats do?

Democrats, as individuals, will do what their consciences and
constitutents dictate. If you think you're going to bullhorn
Russ Feingold and Hillary Clinton into the same boat, then you're
... well ... a lot of things. An honest voice of the party, sadly,
isn't one of them, because you don't respect diversity of opinion.

> They should state what they are FOR.

I have. I oppose an airstrike campaign, I oppose blustering
about an airstrike campaign which Democrats at the end of the
day won't support, and I support a UNSC process with countries
that Iran actually, you know, listens to and respects.

> Bob, Jimm, et al: don't.

Anything you say, Massa.

> More sensible folks been real clewar:

Many sensible folks on this blog don't believe you're even
a Democrat or have the party's best interests at heart.

> We are for Iran concluding that it is better to be a nearly
> nuke power, than to be bombed for a couple weeks by the U.S.

NEWS FLASH: They are never going to conclude that.

UPDATE BULLETIN: Military threats by the Great
Satan will make the doddering mullahs on the
Guardian Council leave wet spots on their seats.

> Read that again, since evidently most
> folks here have comprehension issues.

Translation: Most folks think you're an insufferable ass.

> (Psst, Bob: Iran and Iraq are, like ...

Oh go fuck yourself. I've danced the semantics dance with you
before, Mr. I'm Not Man Enough To Admit When I've Been Called Out.

> It's not okay to say (cuz it doesn't answer the question)
> that Democrats (or progressives, if you like) are
> FOR the UN doing this, that, or the other thing.

It is certainly part of the answer to strongly support the UN
process as an alternative to a military threat that the mullahs
will answer with the Farsi equivalent of "Bring 'em on!"

> If you don't want Iran to get nukes (never mind if you can stop 'em),

What do you mean "never mind"? That's the crux of the issue.

> the key is to say just HOW that could be avoided.

SCREEN CRAWL: The most conservative elements in the regime
*want* us to bomb them to help bring on the Twelfth Imam.

> At best, the UN is secondary -- a means
> to the end, not the end itself.

International law exists to override ends-justified moral reasoning.

> One option would be to bomb 'em. We can do that -- as Clark noted.

Which will never happen. Democrats won't vote for a pre-emptive
strike. Bush is not going to launch a pre-emptive strike, not with
Hamas at the helm of Palestine, not with Muslims on the edge of
murder over cartoons, not with US troops in a sea of increasingly
angrier Shi'ites whose Hessians we've become, not with China
ready to dump our T-bills in an oil crunch. EMAIL ALERT: This
is all just *bluster*, Paul. That's why your calculus falls apart.
We're waving an empty scrotum in Ahmadinejad's face and he knows it.

> By FAR the better option is for Iran to decide: ya know what?
> We like having the option. But we don't need to ACTUALLY develop
> nukes -- yet -- cuz that could precipitate a series of events,
> e.g., an Israeli attack, that we can't predict, much less control.

And dollars to donuts Iran is more than willing to say
"bring 'em on!" to Israel, too. If you don't understand
this, you sure as fuck don't understand Shi'ite psychology
and Iranian behavior and rhetoric since the Revolution.

> Whether that is something the UN can do (it worked so well
> with Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea) is secondary.

The difference with Iran here (and indeed, it may not work,
either, though there's a chance) is that Iran has been trying
for decades to rebuild credibility and prestige on the world
stage. Persians are extremely proud people, with a civilization
that stretches back to earliest times, and they want respect.
They also want foreign investment. These are levers that are
much more powerful than some cowardly American aerial campaign
that they can just wait out (while Ahmadinejad's approval ratings
hit 96% -- all hail the Islamic Revolution!) This is why I think
there's a real chance that the Russian proposal to process their
uranium for them has a real hope for revival. That -- and *hardly*
US bombs -- would be the functioning deterrent to a weapons program.

> So -- the smart thing for the U.S., is
> to show Iran that's their best option.

It's not up to us to "show" Iran how to calculate its best interests.

> Which means the smart thing for Democrats, as the
> Opposition, would be to stake out that position as OURS.

It's not a position. It's a reiteration of the deterrence
doctrine if they get nukes (and who in their right mind
disagrees with that?) and empty saber-rattling otherwise. Which,
if the Iranians take the threat seriously, we'd have to carry
it out, all the while the mullahs are screaming "More! More!
Ohh, that's good! Hit that building over there! Praise Allah,
there goes another chunk of infrastruture!" from the minarets.

If you don't understand this, you don't understand buttfuck-crazy
Shi'ites. Or less facetiously, their beseiged underdog complex
and eschatological desire for chaos to bring back their Messiah.

> That's what I and others did above.

And you and others are wrong. But thanks for playing !

> But it's the sheer POLITICAL ignorance that entertains me
> in these threads: Hey, Iran won't get nukes for at least
> "several more election cycles" -- so why should Democrats
> actually, ya know, think about how we would defend the country?

This has nothing whatsoever to do with defending the country.
Deterrence doctrine does that just fine. This has to do with
taking apart (whoops, I was about to write "deconstruct" :)
asswipe Republicanoid bedwetter premises and false choices.

Fuck boogiemen. Fuck straw men. And double fuck the way you argue.

Maybe it's just that some Democrats just aren't
*all* that concerned about the size of their dicks :)

> Besides, you guys keep saying, the country REALLY agrees
> with "us" -- ya know, the guys who post here who think
> it's kewl for Democrats to lose a lot of elections until
> we're finally "honest" in presenting REAL alternatives.

We do indeed. And we have presented real alternatives.

Just say NO to Rovian straw man arguments.

> Get a fucking clue: Just as it is better to say "we can
> take 'em out" about nuclear weapons facilities, than it
> is to say "we will, if", it is MUCH better to say "use 'em,
> lose all", than "gee, a nuclear Iran isn't a real threat to us."

You know, you keep repeating this and I can't for the life
of me figure out why. Why would you think that anybody who's
taken a no airstrike position would argue against deterrence
doctrine? Iran uses a nuke -- then Islamic becomes atomic.
I have no problem with this. I don't think Jimm, would, either.
(Hostile and SecularAnimist, well, you'd have to ask them).
That's true for North Korea and Pakistan. Certainly one
shakily-fired missile with a Hiroshima-sized nuke won't
destroy Israel, while multiple retalitory strikes from
Israel will wipe Iran "off the map," as the saying goes.

You want me to, like, lift up my right hand (I'm left-handed, btw)
and take a pledge that I support this? Okay, consider it done.

> That anybody even has to argue this with you
> guys is proof you're simply not fucking ready for
> serious discussion, much less for actual authority.

Oh the pain-in-the-ass of having to confront opposing opinions.

The refrain of insecure authoritarians everywhere.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

Jimm, it works like this: you note that you were responding to the question "whether Democrats should support attacking Iran out of political expediency..."

Which essentially confirms what I noted above: you're a fucking idiot.

Look, asshole: I have family who could be involved in such a move. They could die. I'm not happy at the prospect.

So EVEN FUCKING TALKING ABOUT IT AS IF IT COULD EVER BE DISCUSSED SOLELY AS POLITICALLY EXPEDIENT offends me.

Did you get it that time? Read it again, we can wait.

Sensible people talk about such things simply because: they might be true.

It is not impossible that there might come a time when Americans might have to be sent into harm's way on such a mission.

So the question now (were we in power) would be how to avoid the eventuality and (since we are not in power) what Democrats (or progressives, if you like) should support, and be saying about such stuff.

About which you have had almost literally nothing to day: you confuse TALKING about power with actually persuading folks you can be trusted with it. You can't. (No, this is not another opportunity for you to talk about what an asshole Bush is. I'm talking to YOU, about you.)

And, Bob: get a fucking clue. "Progressives" aren't some crowd obliged by political ideology or culture to listen respectfully to every stupid idea that anybody can scrape thirty unrelated concepts and mis-used words over. That means you, bub.)

"Progressives", back when people used words for a purpose, meant folks who recognize that we can make good things happen, and keep bad things from happening, by working together.

To do that, you have to not only make sense (which, among other things, means knowing the difference between an ultimatum and an observation), but also how to persuade folks: and in politics, that often means stomping up and down on folks who advocate that stoooopid stuff is worthy of respect and courtesy.

Ya gotta know shit from sunshine: so far, you're not convincing anybody you do.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 6, 2006 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

pop - "The most conservative elements in the regime *want* us to bomb them to help bring on the Twelfth Imam.

This is the same nitwit who is falling over himself upthread to "prove" that said "elements" can be easily deterred since they're, you know, so sane.

No point arguing with these idiots. I'm out.

Posted by: cecce on February 6, 2006 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

cecce:

Don't let the door hit ya ...

Hint 1: There are more than one element which make up the Iranian regime.

Hint 2: There's quite a large different between having one's nuke infrastructure bombed -- which Iran as a country would easily survive -- and having one's entire country turned into glass in a nuclear retaliation after a first strike.

No contradiction.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

unrelated concepts and mis-used words

that's our old pal bob in a nutshell, Americanist. (you should read some of the bob posts further up - masterpieces of unintentional hilarity)

Posted by: mike on February 6, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see. I leave you kids alone for three long hours and what have you come up with? Sigh.

Here's Jimm: "Still, in some cases, there are good reasons for "not-X", like if an attack on Iran would bring down the global economy. If this were a plausible assessment of the results of such an attack, then "not-X", when "X" = "attacking Iran", is a reasonable policy position (obviously implying other approaches to "get around" this problem of neither "X" and "not X" being reasonable courses of action. Meaning, of course, that "not X" can be reasonable in context of "X", but that neither course is ultimately reasonable, since the threat that spurred "X" in the first place may well exist, and "not X" only addresses a reasonable reason not to do "X", and does not directly address the actual threat. "

I am sorry you got so confused by the arithmetic there, Jimm. I was simply trying to explain to you that saying you disagree (in advance!) with whatever decision the Bushies make is not really a policy position. Saying you disagree with Bush and here is another alternative that would work would be a policy position. The challenge, in case you forgot, was to find one that could work politically too. I.e., be at least moderately appealing to a majority of people and be compatible with unity within the party.

Americanist - I for one do not doubt your goodwill or party affiliation. But i am not sure this idea of yours would work. Constantly keeping Iran "close to" having nuclear weapons and yet deterred effectively from actually putting them together and deploying them - wouldn't that require us to have a lot better intelligence than we do?

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Thus, the distinction between "rational" and "wise" actors, going all the way back to ancient times, whether East or West, whether the lessons of The Art of War, or the lessons of The Peloponnesian Wars. Posted by: Jimm

Didya actually think that was a sentence, fuckwit? Think for a sec before hitting post willya?

Posted by: mike on February 6, 2006 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

> Which essentially confirms what I noted above:
> you're a fucking idiot.

Jimm's no idiot, Paul. And while you're doubtless intelligent and
well-educated, one really wonders just what you think you're doing
on this blog. Nobody agrees with you. The only support you have
are from trolls (cecce and mike are likely the same person). Most
of the time people just ignore your posts. Most importantly, I
have never seen you have a civil exchange with a single person here.

So ... what are you doing? Do you think you're helping your cause
by sending people unwanted emails which one person called abusive?
Do you think calling people fucking idiots is going to make other
people see the wisdom of your posts, and they're just not responding
because, well, you've said all there is to say on the subject?

Dude, there's a lot of personal pain coming through your posts. I
don't know what your issues are, but it's obvious that you're hurting.

> Look, asshole: I have family who could be involved in
> such a move. They could die. I'm not happy at the prospect.

Paul ... why should we care?

Respect is as respect does, my friend.

> So EVEN FUCKING TALKING ABOUT IT AS IF IT COULD EVER
> BE DISCUSSED SOLELY AS POLITICALLY EXPEDIENT

Then don't discuss it solely as if it was politically expedient.

> offends me.

Your posts are brutally offensive, bro.
No credibility on that one. Suffer with it.

> Did you get it that time? Read it again, we can wait.

Follow your own advice.

> Sensible people talk about such
> things simply because: they might be true.

Who are these mythical "sensible people"
you keep bringing up? Cecce? Mike?

> It is not impossible that there might come a time when Americans
> might have to be sent into harm's way on such a mission.

Which mission is this, exactly?

> So the question now (were we in power)

Careful with that "we," Paleface.

> would be how to avoid the eventuality and (since we are
> not in power) what Democrats (or progressives, if you
> like) should support, and be saying about such stuff.

Which part of Americans should not support a strike against Iran
for being 10 years out from getting the bomb don't you understand?

> About which you have had almost literally nothing to day:
> you confuse TALKING about power with actually persuading
> folks you can be trusted with it. You can't. (No, this
> is not another opportunity for you to talk about what
> an asshole Bush is. I'm talking to YOU, about you.)

Look in the mirror before you deign lecture others here.

> And, Bob: get a fucking clue. "Progressives" aren't some crowd
> obliged by political ideology or culture to listen respectfully
> to every stupid idea that anybody can scrape thirty unrelated
> concepts and mis-used words over. That means you, bub.)

No it means you, bro. I've seen you hurl the most vicious,
exasperated, bulging neck vein invective every time you attempt
to exchange views with people here. Whereas, my general mode is
civil discourse, even with people with whom I strongly disagree.

You have issues, Paul. Serious issues. I think you need to be
doing other things with your life right now aside from calling
people who'd ordinarily be in your corner fucking idiots on a blog.

> "Progressives", back when people used words for a purpose,
> meant folks who recognize that we can make good things happen,
> and keep bad things from happening, by working together.

And what a Hallmark generality *that* is. You could apply
that equally to the Nazis or the Communists. *Everybody*
believes that their particular ideas make things better, Jesus.

> To do that, you have to not only make sense (which,
> among other things, means knowing the difference
> between an ultimatum and an observation),

Paul, you're not a gentleman. You have no grace. You find it
impossible to admit when you're wrong and senselessly dispute.
You've forgotten what I wrote about Clark's proposal, if you even
read it to begin with. This is either not intellectually honest,
or it's reflective of something pathological in your personality.

Seriously.

> but also how to persuade folks:

Paul, you have less than no idea how to persuade folks.

> and in politics, that often means stomping up and down on folks
> who advocate that stoooopid stuff is worthy of respect and courtesy.

Why, just ask Karl Rove :)

> Ya gotta know shit from sunshine: so far,
> you're not convincing anybody you do.

And you're in an afternoon-long pissing contest on a blog
when you should be writing articles for publication.

You need a time out, bro.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

The next time Kevin brings it up, I'll have a cogent "what we should do" prepared. -jimm

Asshole's been going on and on and on and on about nothing for two days here. And NOW he's telling us he might come around to answering the question "next time Kevin brings it up". Somebody upthread said keyboard diarrhea. Sounds about right to me.

Posted by: mike on February 6, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Jimm, it works like this: you note that you were responding to the question "whether Democrats should support attacking Iran out of political expediency..."

Yes, but only when I made that particular remark. It was in the context of the thread, in reference to another poster's remark.

Which essentially confirms what I noted above: you're a fucking idiot.

Again, the namecalling. This is not persuasive, and only undermines your credibility, especially when you continually mischaracterize arguments because you are not careful in your reading.

Look, asshole: I have family who could be involved in such a move. They could die. I'm not happy at the prospect.

A troll is a troll is one who resorts to namecalling when left without anything else to say. Inevitably you know capital letters can't be far away...

So EVEN FUCKING TALKING ABOUT IT AS IF IT COULD EVER BE DISCUSSED SOLELY AS POLITICALLY EXPEDIENT offends me.

Lo and behold theAmericanist has officially lost it, and totally destroyed his credibility (whatever he might have had). FULL CAPS entries, and complete evasion of my arguments, which I certainly don't think are infallibe or unchallengeable. After all, I'm really just riffing in this thread.

By the way, not one of my entries betrays any sense of doing anything for political expediency, aside from this one remark I made in reference to someone else bringing up political expediency (which is what Karl Rove does in case you are not aware) and merely taking one sentence to shoot that down that notion too. If the Republicans want this war, and bring it up in time for the election, we can shoot it down - i.e. do not have to go along.

Sensible people talk about such things simply because: they might be true.

It is not impossible that there might come a time when Americans might have to be sent into harm's way on such a mission.

No kidding. I refuse to condone any deception or ruse that puts Americans - our family members, friends, loved ones - into harm's way without due cause, without due consideration, and primarily because of hubris and fear (which just about sums up Iraq, which has resulted in over 2,000 dead Americans, and tens of thousands seriously injured).

So the question now (were we in power) would be how to avoid the eventuality and (since we are not in power) what Democrats (or progressives, if you like) should support, and be saying about such stuff.

You are not in power, and hopefully never will be, since your style and mannerisms in discussion best approximates a fascist authoritarian, and not a representative of the people.

Again, Democrats are not progressives (though can be), and progressives do not support so many aspects of our foreign policy, many of which because of being off course are now colliding into this current crisis, that there is little point in stating such policies in reference to the Bush Administration at all. No progressive would let the Bush Administration and Karl Rove control the frame of any issue, let alone war mongering around election time. If progressives won, we would overturn and/or change course just about everything Bush and the neocons have done.

About which you have had almost literally nothing to day: you confuse TALKING about power with actually persuading folks you can be trusted with it. You can't. (No, this is not another opportunity for you to talk about what an asshole Bush is. I'm talking to YOU, about you.)

I'm not trying to persuade anyone to give me power...I'm discussing the wisest course of action, on many levels.

I have not mentioned in this entire thread that Bush is an asshole, and generally refrain from talking about Bush personally at all (instead preferring to criticize the Bush Administration...if I say Bush, I mean the Bush/Cheney administration in almost every case). I am not and have never been a knee-jerk Bush hater, and neither do I make evaluations and decisions based upon what Bush (administration) is doing (or not doing).

"Progressives", back when people used words for a purpose, meant folks who recognize that we can make good things happen, and keep bad things from happening, by working together.

(laughing) nice platitudes. maybe you should try that approach in discussing issues with people, especially those you disagree with.

To do that, you have to not only make sense (which, among other things, means knowing the difference between an ultimatum and an observation), but also how to persuade folks: and in politics, that often means stomping up and down on folks who advocate that stoooopid stuff is worthy of respect and courtesy.

You are not a persuader in any sense of the word Americanist. You are literally destroying any and all credibility you may have ever had in this thread, except with the right wingnuts and trolls. After a quick search through the blogosphere, it seems you pick fights just about wherever you go, while also acting like you know it all and treating people like their fools for not having your same understanding of the world (and power).

Ya gotta know shit from sunshine: so far, you're not convincing anybody you do.

Indeed, and there's no light in your arguments or mannerisms. You're just an arrogant, mocking primadonna who has almost nothing novel or interesting to say, at least as can be ascertained from this thread.

And, you have not directly addressed any of my arguments, except for one which was an aside in reference to someone else's argument (the "political expediency" thing). And that explains you in a nutshell...as that was a very insignifigant part of my arguments, and yet it's what you chose to go into a faux rage about.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Whereas, my general mode is civil discourse, even with people with whom I strongly disagree." - bub

Hil-frickin-larious.

Posted by: mike on February 6, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

Mike:

When I'm not being stone-ass facetious :)

But of course, it'd be way too much to ask a microcephalic troll to be able to tell the difference between black humor and blind rage :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

I am sorry you got so confused by the arithmetic there, Jimm. I was simply trying to explain to you that saying you disagree (in advance!) with whatever decision the Bushies make is not really a policy position. Saying you disagree with Bush and here is another alternative that would work would be a policy position. The challenge, in case you forgot, was to find one that could work politically too. I.e., be at least moderately appealing to a majority of people and be compatible with unity within the party.

I didn't get confused with the arithmetic, I was having fun with it while leading to a larger point (which you seem to have missed since emphasizing this). I don't and have never suggested any opinion or policy be adopted in reference to the Bush Administration, whether the same or opposite to their position. I prefer to consider the issue on my own while reflecting on other's ideas and opinions.

Others in the thread have joked about just doing the opposite of what Bush is doing, which makes sense and is kind of funny in a snarky way, but noone is seriously suggesting it, especially me. Some will also suggest that the Democrats advocate the opposite of Bush because he is so incompetent the opposite result is bound to occur, thus making the Democrats look good. This is another joke.

As for a politically appealing solution, I'm already quite certain that my position is consistent with mainstream progressive thought and advocacy. Of course, mainstream progressive thought and advocacy is not usually mainstream American thought and advocacy, especially with the idiots in charge, and is not usually mainstream Democratic Party thought and advocacy either, as evidenced by the progressive revolt in 2000.

If the Democrats want to champion progressive ideas and advocacy, I think it would be successful, and the Democrats shouldn't let others like Nader steal those ideas anyway. Take a stand against corruption, special interests, and undue corporate influence on politics and society, and stop pandering to your own special interests and corporations.

The Democrats can win elections, but need an edge to overcome the slight disadvantage they seem to have in the last several elections. Being true to progressive ideas, which are hardly radical by any measure, at least much less so than neoconservative ideas, is the answer, and when it comes to foreign policy, it means standing up for the UN, nonaggression, collective security, international human rights covenants (we have not passed), and respect for international law (which after all is just supposed to ensure a level playing field and respect for equality, rights, and law).

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

Mike:

microcephalic = tiny skulled

Just thought you might need a helping hand there, li'l buddy :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

Asshole's been going on and on and on and on about nothing for two days here. And NOW he's telling us he might come around to answering the question "next time Kevin brings it up". Somebody upthread said keyboard diarrhea. Sounds about right to me.

Mike, the thread is 2 days old, and if you care to look, the first day I didn't post that much, and when I did it was short.

The second day is a different story, as after the troll interlude about halfway through, people started challenging us to say what we were FOR, rather than AGAINST. That takes more words and argument.

By the way, what's with the namecalling? You're as bad a primadonna as Americanist, and, if you don't like the thread, for God sakes it's over two days old just leave it alone.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and for the record, rather than waiting for the next thread, and concocting a "cogent" argument in regards to what we should do, I just decided to wing it and lay it out, bit by bit.

You can still read everything I've written in this thread in less than 5 minutes.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

This thread is still going? Whaaaa???

Serious polling question. Based on overall suckitude, which of the two prize bitches here, Bob and Jimm, do you guys think is the, err, "pitcher"?

Posted by: bobnweave on February 6, 2006 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

bobweave = troll.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

it's comical that some folks keep coming back to a two day old thread and complain that it's still going. did they just find themselves here by accident?

in my mind, it's just a matter of tying up loose ends, rebutting americanist's lack of good sense, and witnessing him going into thread breakdown.

it's been very entertaining, as I'm sure Bob will agree. and, engaging in these threads once in awhile helps focus one's own ideas and positions, especially since people insist on coming back and mischaracterizing these posts, which requires another round of clarification, often leading to some fresh stuff to throw out.

I love it!

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

And we have a Wiener...

Jimm clearly takes in the ass.

And he loves it!

Posted by: bobnweave on February 6, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Master Guru bobnweave!

I love winning prizes!

How's that homophobia condition working out?

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Jimm:

No doubt bobnweave and mike are the same person, as well as that entity with the keyboard diarrhea comment upthread. The styles are virtually identical. Cecce, too.

Unarmed Liberal:

Two points. First, Kevin's post here isn't about the Democratic policy on Iran generally -- although that plays into it. Kevin's question is how do Democrats respond to 14 days of airstrikes against Iran, whether we know about them in advance or not. A much more specific question.

My view is that if this happens, the Dems will never get a chance to comment on it, because Bush will invoke Article II and won't put it to a vote. If it were put to a vote, it would fail. There's just not enough by way of casus belli to justify it -- and way too many arguments about backlash potential with all our troops in the region.

This is why Democrats should stand together and oppose a series of airstrikes. I think we'd pay zero penalty for it, and we'd gain credit for standing firm on something that simply has no justification.

As for your point to Americanist: Well, that's what happens when the IAEA refers Iran to the UNSC -- they get to kick out the nuke inspectors. That will have a huge impact on our intelligence of their programs. But bear in mind that we know for a concrete fact that the first time Iran tried to run a centrifuge cascade, it was a disaster -- stuff in the lab blew up, parts flew apart. And they need to get that process up and running, and running smoothly for months if not years, before they have anywhere near enough enriched uranium to make a bomb.

So five years out earliest is something we can reasonably count on.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 6, 2006 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the man in charge of hoodwinking the Western powers about Iran's now 18-year-old secret nuclear program believes the apocalypse will happen in his own lifetime. He'll be 50 in October.
Ahmadinejad's Shi'ite creed has convinced him lesser mortals can not only influence but hasten the awaited return of the 12th Imam, known as the Mahdi. Iran's dominant "Twelver" sect holds this will be Muhammad ibn Hasan, the righteous descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. He is said to have gone into "occlusion" in the 9th century, at age 5. His return will be preceded by cosmic chaos, war, bloodshed and pestilence. After this cataclysmic confrontation between the forces of good and evil, the Mahdi will lead the world to an era of universal peace.
"The ultimate promise of all Divine religions," says Ahmadinejad, "will be fulfilled with the emergence of a perfect human being, the 12th Imam, who is heir to all prophets. He will lead the world to justice and absolute peace. Oh mighty Lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the promised one." He reckons the return of the Imam, AWOL for 11 centuries, is only two years away.
Mr. Ahmadinejad is close to the messianic Hojjatieh Society, which is governed by the conviction the 12th Imam's return will be hastened by "the creation of chaos on Earth." He has fired Iran's most experienced diplomats and scores of other officials, presumably those who don't share his belief in apocalyptic conflagration.
When he became Iran's sixth president since the 1979 revolution last summer, Mr. Ahmadinejad decided to donate $20 million to the Jamkaran mosque, a popular pilgrimage site where the faithful can drop their missives to the "Hidden Imam" in a holy well. Tehran's working-class faithful are convinced the new president and his Cabinet signed a "compact" pledging themselves to precipitate the return of the Mahdi -- and dropped it down Jamkaran's well with the Mahdi's zip code.

Posted by: jsklm2 on February 6, 2006 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

An Iranian Spy In The House of Bush

It sure is going to be interesting come election time when Bush is pushing for a big war with Iran and we bring up the Iranian spy sitting behind Laura Bush at the State of the Union.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

It's late in New York and there's nothing here even worth responding to. Oh well.

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 6, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Unarmed liberal:

You just responded :)

Why do you think I'm wrong, then?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 7, 2006 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

In some way, the "head in the sand" guys might be unwittingly on to something. Say Iran gets nukes. They will not be unable to send any our way on missiles for a long time. But they can hit Paris pretty much whenever.

Wouldn't it be fun to see the euroweenies come asking for missile defence protection?

Posted by: mike on February 7, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

mike:

France is not nor ever has been an enemy of Iran. France is where the Ayatollah Khomenei hung out in coffee shops and read Sartre and Fanon while in exile.

It's either the Great Satan or the Little Satan for their targeting. Nothing else will do.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 7, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

Tell the French that, bub. I am sure they will be really relieved to hear your analysis.

Chirac recently threatened to attack any state that sponsors terrorism against France with nukes. I say they're gettin worried.

Posted by: mike on February 7, 2006 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

Tell the French that, bub. I am sure they will be really relieved to hear your analysis.

Chirac recently threatened to attack any state that sponsors terrorism against France with nukes. I say they're gettin worried.

Posted by: mike on February 7, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

mike:

No, it's Chirac who's worried, having lost lots of credibility after the car-b-cues last summer. He's a right-winger and it's his way of talking tough, showing he's in control. Because otherwise the French feel pretty powerless against the unassimilated Muslims in their housing projects.

But if attacked by terrorists, France isn't going to nuke any country anymore than we nuked Afghanistan.

Terrorism is a stateless phenomenon. It isn't for nothing that OBL and Zawahiri are suspected of hiding out in the wild frontier of Waziristan.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 7, 2006 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

Unarmed asks if "keeping" Iran a nearly nuke nation wouldn't require better intelligence than we are likely to have?

Nations go nuclear for a purpose. The 'do they or don't they' calculus is often part of that purpose, especially for a new nuclear power. It's generally in the open secret category -- nobody tries to get Trinidad to confirm or deny their nuclear intentions.

Folks on the left would do well to recognize what REAL choices look like.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 7, 2006 at 7:45 AM | PERMALINK

The point is bigger than just one gathering at a liberal organization. In the years since September 11, many liberals seem to have concluded that you're not really opposing Bush's means unless you also scorn his stated ends. That's too bad. Liberals have no chance of winning the national security debate if they dismiss its premises. I think most liberals recognize this, but some are so disgusted with the current administration that they feel compelled to oppose--and to mock--anything with Bush's name on it. And any Democrats, like Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, who oppose the Bush administration yet decline to scoff at the notion that America ought to stand for the spread of human freedom are liable to be labeled weak, neoconservative, or traitorous to their own cause.

http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=w060206&s=groopman020706

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 7, 2006 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

It's generally in the open secret category -- nobody tries to get Trinidad to confirm or deny their nuclear intentions.

Yes, but this is not about Trinidad, is it?

What if some power decides to get nukes and NOT make it an open secret? Saying that it "generally" is won't do - you have to be more specific than that.

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 7, 2006 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

So, think about it -- like an IRANIAN.

"Okay, Massoud: we can reliably build a nuclear device that will blow up. All we have to do is..."

"But we can't test it, Ahmed."

"why not?"

"The Israelis will attack if we even assemble it."

"How will they know?"

"Do you want to risk it, Ahmed? For what?"

"The Americans won't let them."

"I hear the Americans might do it FOR them."

[This is the context in which progressives and Democrats ought to be saying precisely what Clark said: we CAN take out Iran's capacity to build nukes.]

"We will shoot them down, Massoud."

"No, we can't. You saw what they did to Iraq -- TWICE. Their first strike with cruise missiles will blind our air defenses, and the second will destroy all of our surface facilities. Then they can smash us at will, for as long as they choose, with minimum loss to themselves. They do not need to invade us to leave us naked to our enemies. The only planes we will shoot down will be unlucky, or mechanical failures -- and their air forces are better than ours, not to mention experienced. Any fighters we put in the air will be blind and lonely, without electronic support. An American attack won't simply set back our capacity to build nuclear weapons one day, we will be ten years recovering from the destruction to our conventional air forces. What will Iraq want to do, ten years from now? If they are American puppets, they will be able do worse than Saddam did. Do you believe the Americans haven't thought of this?"

"But I thought you wanted nuclear weapons to prevent this?"

"The weapons themselves don't prevent it. We cannot use them -- who could we use nuclear weapons AGAINST, which would not call God's wrath down on us? "There is no God but God, and Muhammed is his Prophet" -- his ONLY Prophet, Ahmed. False Mahdis have risen up time and again, and their lies are clear. We must not let one murder Persia through blasphemy and folly."

"I do not understand: do we build the weapons, or not?"

"Having the ability to build nuclear weapons, letting Israel and America wonder if we may not already have them, and yet letting them KNOW -- because they are not tested, even if we do have them -- that we do not have our fingers on the nuclear trigger, gives us far more to work with than actually building them, much less using them. So that must be God's will, and we must submit to it."

It's Xundze 101: always leave your enemy a way out.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 7, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Lame, Americanist. If they already have several warheads, and tests one of them, it's too late. At that point, noone in their right minds would attack.

This is the reason North Korea is immune now. They have nothing to worry about - they already have their nuclear life insurance policy.

If we are ever going to do anything about it, it would have to be before the Iranians actually put one together. Afterwards, it's all too late.

Posted by: Unarmed Liberal on February 7, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Not so. Osirak ring a bell?

If Iran gets close to a bomb, Israel will attack. They know it, and we know it.

Iran probably figures they can assemble one, and have sufficient ballistic tech that they can hit something as big as a country, pretty reliably.

So the question they face is: what for?

The menu goes like this:

1) They stop short of a bomb, but they have all the pieces sorta disassembled, so to speak (that is, they're a nearly nuke nation). Israel probably wouldn't attack, or at least, there would be no precipitating step.

2) They assemble a bomb, but don't admit it. Israel would almost surely hit 'em as soon as they were sure enough.

3) They somehow manage to put a bomb together secretly, and announce it: "Nyah, nyah!" That would be betting not only that Israel could be fooled, but would also fail to destroy the thing instantly -- AND not respond ferociously, even in kind, if Iran nuked 'em, responding to a conventional attack that failed to get the Iranian bomb.

4) I suppose, they could announce they have a bomb, but NOT have one. Then Israel whacks 'em, announces they've destroyed it, and Iran, bloody but unbowed, says: No, you didn't, but we're too nice to nuke you.

Only #s 1 and 2 make any sense. (Most nations DO make sense, yanno.) The second one is what you'er worried about.

The fear is that, having assembled a bomb, Iran is in a use it or lose it mode.

In the old language of nuclear deterrence, without testing for accuracy, they would have only countervalue capacity, while facing a counterforce enemy. That is, Iran could take out Tel Aviv (I don't think they'd nuke the Dome of the Rock) but Israel would first try to tear the heart out of Iran's nuclear capacity AND, if it failed and was nuked, Israel would utterly obliterate its population centers.

And. so. would. we.

So if it came to real brinksmanship, Iran has only the handgrenade that is taped to its chest: the whole nation would be a suicide bomber.

I doubt the Persian Shi'a is eager to do the Arab Sunnis that big a favor.

For domestic consumption, waving martyrdom against the Jews like a bloody shirt has a certain appeal, but it's trumped by the realities of deterrence: there is NO good reason for Iran to get or use nuclear weapons, except to somehow become equal to Israel... which, of course, is what would precipitate an Israeli strike.

Personally, I'd pointedly notice how eager the Saudis are, to see Iran make such a wonderful sacrifice for... them.

That's why it makes such eminent sense for American progressives, as the OPPOSITION, to see Clark's wisdom: 1) we can take out Iran's nuclear capacity in a couple weeks of bombing: we're just saying', and 2) If Iran nukes us or an ally, they cease to exist.

What's troubling, politically, is that stuff which is so freaking obvious gets so thoroughly dissed around here, from the Left. I challenged Bob -- I know, it's like picking a fight with a chew toy -- just why he doesn't instantly recognize that our goal here, is to get Iran to understand that it is better to be a nearly nuke power, than to be bombed by Americans for a couple weeks.

For that, I get personal abuse (I have a thick skin, and I dish it out, but generally it's by actually engaging folks, e.g., "You're stoopid when you say..."), without anybody even bothering to note, um, what I said IS what all Americans want.

So why not bloody SAY so?


Posted by: theAmericanist on February 7, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

Well, that's a nice movie scene (oud strumming in the background), and we'd certainly like to believe that the Iranians think that way (it's certainly rational), but I think you're missing too many factors for this scenario to be something we can rely on.

First, there's the likelihood that Iranians would welcome an armed conflict with America. The brief is to destroy Iraqi's nuclear facilities, which is something that they can easily withstand despite the damage to their air force, air defenses and navy. If we exceed that brief, we risk once again destroying our support in the world community that's been built to call for doing something about Iran's nukes -- and exceeding it would be likely given a 14-day bombing campaign.

The Iranians would weigh the damage to their military against a huge gain in domestic support and solidarity, setting back the reformists increasingly eager to chuck sharia by years. Secondly, the Muslim Mideast is a tinderbox right now; consider Hezbollah's and Hamas's response. Consider the Shi'ites in Iraq. Consider the havoc Iran would play with the Straits of Hormuz, and consider China's response in our treasuries markets if oil was cut off even temporarily.

I've seen arguments which address each of these points, but the question is -- what would the Iranians think? And if you consider that some in the leadership (like some in our leadership believing in the Rapture) endorse a radical reading of what it takes to bring back the Twelfth Imam -- world chaos -- and there may well be voices in the regime who'd view an American airstrike as gift from Allah.

Consider also recent history. The Iranians fought the much better armed Iraqis for eight brutal years to a gruelling stalemate, sending waves of 14-year-olds against Iraqi tanks. Is this a country that really puts a heavy stock on cold-eyed military calculations?

So when Iranians weigh it all, what do they lose? Some of their air force and navy, which can be rebuilt. The physical plant for their nuclear ambitions -- but as somebody noted upthread, the *knowledge* they've already gained about it fits on a couple of floppy discs. They are set back technologically -- but their regime is newly united, the West-leaning among their population now infused with a bitter grudge against whoever undertook this attack (us or Israel). But no threat of regime change, which would take a ground invasion which we're simply not capable of mounting atm. And a renewed turn to the god of the martyred Shi'ites -- and Muslim solidarity around the world.

This is why sabre-rattling about an airstrike is not a viable option for Democrats. If it's a choice between your vision of how they'd react to a credible threat and mine, I think mine is more likely given all the factors in play. If you disagree, you need to get beyond movie scenes to refute each specific factor I mentioned.

I don't think the Democrats would pay a political price for opposing an airstrike, either -- because I don't think even Bush is imprudent enough to carry one out. There is just no remotely credible casus belli. This is all bluster, the intent of which is to get the Iranians to come to your conclusion -- but the problem is that I agree with you on one thing:

If our president says a thing must not stand, he had better be willing to carry that out.

And if he does -- commits an airstrike -- then we would have been suckered into Iran's game. The net effect is to trash our image in the world, bolster pan-Islamic calls for jihad, jeopardize our economy, unite Shia and Sunni insurgents in Iraq and possibly provide the goad for a third intifada.

We can't win this one. Our gain -- setting Iran back a decade in building a bomb -- at the very best only removes a theoretical threat.

Our losses would be large and concrete.

That's why Democrats need to call this bluff. Our hope lies with the countries in the UNSC whose support and respect Iran is courting, not from threats by the Great Satan, which Iraq is honored to defy.

Democrats need to call that bluff pre-emptively before it becomes a needless distraction and sets us on another disastrous course in the Mideast.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 7, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Correction:

... not from threats from the Great Satan, which IraN is honored to defy.

Posted by: rmck1 on February 7, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

See Lind's article at antiwar.com, where he says Iranian troops could overurn US forces in occupied Iraq. Bush, the neo-conmen and the militant Democrats better know what they are wishing for when they fuck with Iran.

Posted by: Hostile on February 7, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

I am not a chew toy. I'm a human being.

You are the abusive one. I respond in kind.

Keep it civil and I'll have no problem considering your ideas.

And don't try to project your own needless aggression onto others -- the record speaks for itself and is easily referenced.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 7, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- Bob, face it: you ARE a chew toy. There's no point in engaging you on any of these issues, your gears don't mesh.

We WANT Iran to conclude that it is better to be a nearly nuke nation, than to be bombed for two weeks.

Read that again. Repeat as necessary.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 7, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

> LOL -- Bob, face it: you ARE a chew toy. There's no point in
> engaging you on any of these issues, your gears don't mesh.

I'll take this then for an admission that you have no rebuttal to
the idea than an airstrike would be not only counterproductive,
but deeply wished for by elements of the Iranian regime.

> We WANT Iran to conclude that it is better to be
> a nearly nuke nation, than to be bombed for two weeks.

Sure. And your daughter wants a pony.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 7, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Bob, I'm gonna use short words again, okay?

You. Are. Not. the. Iranian. (okay this is a bigger word) Government.

What YOU think they will do isn't all that significant.

I said what WE want, is for Iran to conclude that they're better off as a nearly nuke power, than to be bombed for two weeks.

I've said this, what, 9 times? And you STILL haven't recognized that, er, um, ah... that's right?

The way this sorta thing works, chewtoy, is WE decide what WE want, and then aim at getting it.

You're starting at the pitcher's mound with a baseball bat, and you can't understand why you're not hitting your free throws.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 7, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

> For domestic consumption, waving martyrdom against the
> Jews like a bloody shirt has a certain appeal, but it's
> trumped by the realities of deterrence: there is NO good
> reason for Iran to get or use nuclear weapons, except to
> somehow become equal to Israel... which, of course,
> is what would precipitate an Israeli strike.

Your view is self-contradictory. On the one hand, you preach
classical deterrence: Use a nuke, get nuked. Nobody objects
to this. And it's especially true for a nation with partially
tested weapon and a marginal delivery system vs a country with
hundreds of nukes and satellite-guided missiles. Iran would
certainly get the worst of any nuclear exchange with Israel --
and we'd doubtless join in to finish the job if necessary.

The only leftists I know who'd object to this are hardcore peaceniks.

On the other hand you say that there's no good reason to get a nuke.
Why not? It makes invading Iran prohibitively expensive, even if
Iran would get the worst in any exchange. Under this logic, there's
no reason for Pakistan, North Korea or India to have nukes -- as
the West's payload and targeting are orders of magnitude superior.

If Israel considers a nuclear-armed Iran an intolerable existential
threat -- then let Israel bear the brunt of Muslim reaction to an
airstrike against their facilities -- and let Israel drop the hints.

A nuclear-armed Iran is not an existential threat to the US.

> Personally, I'd pointedly notice how eager the Saudis are,
> to see Iran make such a wonderful sacrifice for... them.

Naturally.

> That's why it makes such eminent sense for American
> progressives, as the OPPOSITION, to see Clark's wisdom:
> 1) we can take out Iran's nuclear capacity in a
> couple weeks of bombing: we're just saying', and 2)
> If Iran nukes us or an ally, they cease to exist.

> What's troubling, politically, is that stuff which is so freaking
> obvious gets so thoroughly dissed around here, from the Left.

Well, this is an obstinate miunderstanding which you've been
repeating now for the past several posts, but it's not an accurate
view of the controversy. Early on in the thread people were
giving Clark grief (I was not one of them) because they thought he
was advocating a strike, when ineed, he was only "just sayin'".

Nobody objects to this. Clark has every right to game out a
military strike and speculate on the political fallout from it.

Clark's fundamental premise, though, contradicts your view
of Iran rationally submitting to the logic of deterrence.
Countries don't have nukes to threaten their use. They have
nukes to get their adversaries to think twice before aggressing
against them. Nukes are the quintessential defensive weapon.

It's high time America stops being Israel's bitch.

> I challenged Bob

Childish forms of rhetorical intimidation don't
equate to a challenge worthy of the name, Paul.

> -- I know, it's like picking a fight with a chew toy --

Grrrrr :)

> just why he doesn't instantly recognize that our goal here,
> is to get Iran to understand that it is better to be a nearly
> nuke power, than to be bombed by Americans for a couple weeks.

It's a fine goal. I think Iran would welcome being bombed
by America for a couple of weeks. What they lose in their
technical and military infrastructure they gain in domestic
and world solidarity. If you don't agree, you could always
offer a competing set of reasons to the ones I posted above.

> For that, I get personal abuse (I have a thick skin,
> and I dish it out, but generally it's by actually
> engaging folks, e.g., "You're stoopid when you say..."),

You're conceited enough to believe that your views are self-evident.

They're not. No point in getting petulant about it.

> without anybody even bothering to note,
> um, what I said IS what all Americans want.

Why should all Americans want a nuclear-unarmed Iran if you're so
certain that their leaders would never opt for national suicide?

It's a reasonable question. You can disagree if you like.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 7, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Bob FINALLY blunders into admitting the truth of his position, cuz (imagine) somebody was so rude as to treat him with the contempt he deserves: "if Israel considers a nuclear-armed Iran an intolerable existential threat -- then let Israel bear the brunt of Muslim reaction..."

Shorter version: Fuck Israel, and who needs peace?

Ya see, Bob, this is why I note that your gears don't mesh: whether Israel attacks Iran is up to Israel.

Whether that is good for US, is up to... US.

Try to keep up: most folks understood this from the beginning.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 7, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

> Bob, I'm gonna use short words again, okay?

Sure. Neck vein starting to bulge again?

> You. Are. Not. the. Iranian. (okay this is a bigger word) Government.

Of course not; I'm merely speculating based on what I know of the
Iranian government and the history of the way they reacted in the
Iran/Iraq war, as well as some things about Shi'ite psychology.

Just as Wes Clark speculated on what the political
fallout might be after a 14-day air campaign.

I mean, if you'd like to disagree with my points, by all means,
Paul, make an argument; I'm more than willing to listen.

> What YOU think they will do isn't all that significant.

But having a reasonable idea of how they might be thinking
is part of the toolkit of anyone who deals with an adversary.

> I said what WE want, is for Iran to conclude that they're better
> off as a nearly nuke power, than to be bombed for two weeks.

Sure. And I said that I'm sure your daughter
would want a pony for Christmas or her birthday :)

> I've said this, what, 9 times? And you STILL haven't
> recognized that, er, um, ah... that's right?

Oh I recognize it fine. I just don't think we can force Iran to
necessarily draw that conclusion. They might, of course. But then
they might think that conversely, a strike would be to their benefit.

> The way this sorta thing works, chewtoy, is WE
> decide what WE want, and then aim at getting it.

And it's working *so well* here, Paul, isn't it. And I'm not
even a Shi'ite with an eschatological predisposition to chaos :)

> You're starting at the pitcher's mound with a baseball bat, and
> you can't understand why you're not hitting your free throws.

And you're becoming exasperated, barely holding your anger
in check, because you can't force me to agree with you.

Oh well ... there's always, you know, persuasion :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 7, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

> Ah, Bob FINALLY blunders into admitting the truth
> of his position, cuz (imagine) somebody was so
> rude as to treat him with the contempt he deserves:

Nobody deserves contempt for disagreeing. And when you treat
someone with contempt -- don't be surprised when you're met
with contempt in return. The subplot of your slowly boiling
rage here is really kind of fascinating, because it speaks
directly to why I disagree with you on the issue: You can't
force Iran to draw a preferred conclusion by implied "just
sayin'" threats anymore than you you can force me to a
preferred conclusion by employing forms of verbal intimidation.

I mean, the only conclusion you'll wind up forcing me to draw
this way is that ... you're an asshole, Paul. Do you want that?

And on a side note: My mom died of alcoholism. I recognize an
abusive personality all too well. I see exactly what you're doing
here after you were called out in a way that evidently embarrassed
you a little. You start off rationally, making asides to other
posters that you're actually taking abuse and only responding in
kind. Then you're on to me, making a great show of holding yourself
in check (I, of course, should be grateful for this) ... and gradully
you start to unravel ... the insults pop off again ... it's kind of
like building to a sexual climax, isn't it? You're a rageaholic, bro.

You need anger management classes at the very least.

> "if Israel considers a nuclear-armed Iran an
> intolerable existential threat -- then let
> Israel bear the brunt of Muslim reaction..."

> Shorter version: Fuck Israel,

Not "fuck Israel;" merely a rational acknowledgment
that Israel is perfectly capable of taking care of itself.

> and who needs peace?

That's a non-sequitur, of course. Support for Israel-right-or-wrong
hardly leads to peace, necessarily. Nor do I think Israelis think
so, either; they're primarily concerned with their own security, and
perhaps rightly so (at least from their POV). But we've had how many
Likud governments now, and democracy in the OT led straight to Hamas.

> Ya see, Bob, this is why I note that your gears don't mesh:

No, you noted that because your anger
problem makes you inarticulate.

> whether Israel attacks Iran is up to Israel.

Indeed.

> Whether that is good for US, is up to... US.

It's better than if we do it. It's hard to imagine Iraqi Shi'ites
finding much sympathy for a 14-day bombing campaign against Iran.

> Try to keep up: most folks understood this from the beginning.

Which folks are those, Paul?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 7, 2006 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Every literate person who reads this.

"I'm more than willing to listen."

But, ya see, you're not CAPABLE of it.

One last time, the simplest way I know: Democrats are the Opposition. We're not in power. We're politically vulnerable on national security issues.

So when we look at the possibility of Iran getting nukes, WE SHOULD STOP REFLEXIVELY TALKING LIKE WE HAVE POWER OR THAT EVERYBODY THINKS WE CAN DEFEND THE COUNTRY.

Instead, we should say simple truths -- like we COULD take Iran's capacity to build nukes, away.

And that if Iran did nuke us or our friends, BANG.

If you knew a goddam thing about history or politics, Bob, you'd know this is how people who DO have power (or who have a prayer of getting it), actually talk to each other.

You don't make ultimatums -- not that you'd know one if it kicked your balls out your ears.

You state facts, and let governments draw conclusions. You give them the chance to do that -- and you leave them a way out.

You give 'em time to sort out their options without pre-emptively surrendering. (Go read Thirteen Days, already.)

Double-clutching on what Iran might do or say because of what the OPPOSITION in the U.S. might say is so fucking stupid I can't believe I've treated you with even this much respect.

Bob, you don't know shit about Islam, or Shi'ism, or Iranian politics, either: give it a rest, willya? (What's a Mahdi, dude?) You respond to blunt and accurate characterizations of your own opinions with insults -- and then you claim that nobody has addressed your arguments.

A clue: every single post I have made that refers to you, answers your arguments, such as they are.

I merely refrain from pretending that simply that you've made 'em qualifies 'em as worthy of respect.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 7, 2006 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

> Every literate person who reads this.

Paul, you are literally delusional. Every single person I
have seen you have an exchange with here, you've given them
the same treatment. You've attacked cmdicely -- one of the
most well-respected posters on this blog -- in precisely the
same terms as you've attacked me. You claimed that Pale Rider
-- an infantryman and veteran -- was insulting Jessica Lynch.

And Jimm did the google thing and found your spoor on other blogs.

You're a serial flame artist, Paul. This ain't my issue --
it's yours. I like to spar and toss insults in the right
spirit, but I don't get into serial flamewars with people.

You relentlessly mischaracterize every debate you ever get into.
If people don't happen to see your point, you attack them viciously.

> "I'm more than willing to listen."

> But, ya see, you're not CAPABLE of it.

It can't be that I have a different view than you. No,
of course not. It's because I'm a defective human being.

And I will continue to be a defective human being until
I cry uncle and see that you're right and I'm wrong.

> One last time, the simplest way I know: Democrats are the Opposition.

This has nothing to do with simplicity, or subtlety of thought,
or intelligence, or knowledge. It has to do only with seeing the
issue the way you see the issue. You can't handle it otherwise.

Which is, in my opinion, indicative of mental
illness. Gods only know what your love life
must be like. Lotta restraining orders I'll bet.

> We're not in power. We're politically
> vulnerable on national security issues.

Bring that up to the DNC or the DLC. Go harangue Howard Dean
or Al From. I'm addressing Kevin's post, which is how Democrats
should respond if Clark's bombing scenario is either proposed or
becomes a reality and we have to react to it after the fact.

And believe it or not, I'm entitled to my opinion.

> So when we look at the possibility of Iran getting
> nukes, WE SHOULD STOP REFLEXIVELY TALKING LIKE WE HAVE
> POWER OR THAT EVERYBODY THINKS WE CAN DEFEND THE COUNTRY.

And I think you should stop shrieking in caps. Wouldn't
want anyone to think you're a troll or anything.

> Instead, we should say simple truths -- like we
> COULD take Iran's capacity to build nukes, away.

But only for a decade at most, at least according to the NYT
yesterday. Which is why "just sayin'" talk about airstrikes
won't give the Iranian much reason to change their tune.

> And that if Iran did nuke us or our friends, BANG.

Standard-issue deterrence doctrine. You keep repeating
that point. I keep acknowedging it. You repeat it anyway.

You have serious trouble listening to people, Paul.

> If you knew a goddam thing about history or politics, Bob,

More personal attacks in lieu of an argument, since you apparently
can't refute me as to why Iran might be bolstered by an airstrike.

> you'd know this is how people who DO have power (or who
> have a prayer of getting it), actually talk to each other.

Iran won't be deterred by "just sayin'" airstrike talk. And --
obviously -- they don't want a nuke (if they want nukes at all,
which is still only an inference albeit a good one) to use them.
They want nukes because they feel it's their right to have them,
and for the deterrence value they have against a potential invader.

And if Israel finds that unacceptible, let them handle it.

> You don't make ultimatums -- not that you'd
> know one if it kicked your balls out your ears.

You referenced an ultimatum originally. Presidents have to mean what
they say, to back up their words with actions. And that we Democrats
have to define what is unacceptible -- in this case, Iranian nukes.

Don't call it an ultimatum if you have a fetish for splitting hairs
(which you obviously do). Call them lines in the sand. Whatever.

> You state facts, and let governments draw conclusions.

And what happens if Iran doesn't arrive at the conclusion you've
stated over and over and over again -- that they'd rather be a
almost-nuclear nation than bombed by us for 2 weeks? Well, we
bomb them for 2 weeks, right? And what happens if Iran loves it?

Because I think they have at least as much chance loving
it as they do submitting to our mighty American will.

You, of course, haven't uttered Word One to refute this.

> You give them the chance to do that

And if that's a timeframe, it amounts to an ultimatum, doesn't it.

> -- and you leave them a way out.

Which they might not take, preferring to wave the bloody
shirt at a moment in history where support for the US is
at an all time low and Muslims could use some martyr cred.

> You give 'em time to sort out their options without pre-
> emptively surrendering. (Go read Thirteen Days, already.)

Except if they don't get a nuke as a response to what we and/or
Israel might do, it amounts to pre-emptive surrender regardless.

> Double-clutching on what Iran might do or say because
> of what the OPPOSITION in the U.S. might say

I'm advocating my position because I think it's right, Paul.

What was it you were saying yesterday about being
offended when you hear this military stuff being
spoken of solely in terms of political expediency?

Were you being sincere there, or just, you know,
grasping at another excuse to fly off the handle?

> is so fucking stupid I can't believe I've
> treated you with even this much respect.

Paul, you don't treat me with respect because you have a mental
illness. You're a rageaholic. It has nothing to do with me; I'm
only providing you an excuse to do something you need to do anyway.

> Bob, you don't know shit about Islam, or Shi'ism,
> or Iranian politics, either: give it a rest, willya?

More personal disparagement in lieu of
being able to dispute my contentions.

> (What's a Mahdi, dude?)

Farsi word for the Shi'ite Messiah. Twelver Shi'ites (the majority
sect in Iran) believe that the Twelfth Imam disappeared when he was
6 years old in the 9th century, and has been "occluded" ever since.
He'll return to usher in a Shi'ite Milliennium of universal peace.

Or was that a stupid-ass pun on "what's a matter"? :)

> You respond to blunt and accurate characterizations
> of your own opinions with insults

Blunt? That's one way of putting it. Accurate?
Not likely, but I'll submit to the judgment of my
peers on this blog (I'd love to see you do the same.)

Have you ever wondered why it's only the trolls who defend you?

Insults? Well, when I say you have a mental illness, I
suppose you can call that insulting. But I mean it literally.
I think you need to get help -- you're not winning friends and
influencing people with serial flamewars on Political Animal.

> -- and then you claim that nobody has addressed your arguments.

You haven't, Paul. You have only obsessively adressed your own.

> A clue: every single post I have made that refers
> to you, answers your arguments, such as they are.

It references my reaction to *your* argument. You're too
narcissistic to allow discussions to organically develop.
If your points aren't confirmed, you'll browbeat the person
until either they see your wisdom or stop talking to you.

Which is not, you know, how liberal-minded people talk to each other.

> I merely refrain from pretending that simply that
> you've made 'em qualifies 'em as worthy of respect.

People are worthy of respect.

If you cherish a supposed right to disagree while
being disagreeable, once again, I suggest you're
displacing a considerable load of psychic pain.

Stop dumping. Get help.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 7, 2006 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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