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Tilting at Windmills

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April 4, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE LATEST ON IRAN....Joseph Cirincione:

For months, I have told interviewers that no senior political or military official was seriously considering a military attack on Iran. In the last few weeks, I have changed my view. In part, this shift was triggered by colleagues with close ties to the Pentagon and the executive branch who have convinced me that some senior officials have already made up their minds: They want to hit Iran.

Apparently senior sources in Britain have been getting the same message. From the Telegraph:

It is believed that an American-led attack, designed to destroy Iran's ability to develop a nuclear bomb, is "inevitable" if Teheran's leaders fail to comply with United Nations demands to freeze their uranium enrichment programme.

....A senior Foreign Office source said...."If Iran makes another strategic mistake, such as ignoring demands by the UN or future resolutions, then the thinking among the chiefs is that military action could be taken to bring an end to the crisis. The belief in some areas of Whitehall is that an attack is now all but inevitable."

There's no question that the administration is already preparing the ground for an air strike on Iran, but it's likely that the real push won't come until late summer when it can be used as a cudgel in the midterm elections. Same song, new verse.

And once more: If Democrats don't start thinking about how they're going to respond to this, they're idiots. We don't always get to pick the issues to run on. Sometimes they're picked for us.

Kevin Drum 5:11 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (276)

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Whatever the administration does, it was right, apparently. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o762HKxYMeA&eurl=

Posted by: Jeremy on April 4, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq = Checkoslovakia?

Posted by: Boronx on April 4, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

When confronted with issues like acts of war, nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and a new anit-Jew holocaust, what is Kevin's first reaction?

"How will it play in the elections. How can I leverage this for political gain?".

It is sick.

Posted by: am on April 4, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

a new anit-Jew holocaust

All holocausts are bad, but I think the new anit-Jew ones are the worst.

Posted by: grh on April 4, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

When confronted with issues like acts of war, nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and a new anit-Jew holocaust...

The only sick thing here is that the U.S. is planning, once again, to make an unprovoked attack on another country. Only this time, we have no military to do it with, and this time, the enemy is a lot stronger.

am, if you want to hit Iran, go down to the nearest recruiting office and sign up. Me, I think one pointless war is too many.

Posted by: Doctor Gonzo on April 4, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

More then likely a tomahawk attack, say 40 THs. The SEALs have already reconed the place. Timed for late summer and the elections, why not.

BTW, in that music vid mentioned above, isn't Karl Rove on drums? He rocks?

Posted by: the fake Fake Al on April 4, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

They have to be talking about an air strike, right? What is the Army going to do, use Iraq as a secure supply base?

But even if we limit ourselves to an air strike, you know what's going to be coming across the Iran/Iraq border. This is seriously foolish and dangerous.

Posted by: tomeck on April 4, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

The SEALS have "reconed" the place? How do you know this?

Posted by: es on April 4, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

You didn't expect spreading freedom to be a rose garden, did you?

Posted by: notbubba on April 4, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

The question is, are the Democrats able to talk about dealing with Iran, without bashing Bush??

The Dems don't seem to be able to address any issue without resorting to childish anti-Bush rants.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on April 4, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

In the event of a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iran, Democrats need to stock up on some items.
Anti-perspirants and tranqulizers for their colleagues across the aisle.
Pitchforks and torches to hand out to the voters who'll be wanting them.
Kevin, I just don't see a lot of public sentiment for starting a new war until we end the old one. Even the mindless belligerence of the American people has its limits.

Posted by: JMG on April 4, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Luckily, the Dems will decide to be "tough" by going along with anything the Republicans dream up. And the Republicans will mop the floor with them again.

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on April 4, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Administration people might be just keeping the idea out there, to make the threat of a strike credible. I think we oughta just leave them alone, but if the US places such a high priority on keeping Iran nuke free, I guess it's okay stretegy.

And if the US does strike, it'll be closer to November, as Kevin says.

Posted by: luci on April 4, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Frequency!

Posted by: Norman on April 4, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

military action could be taken to bring an end to the crisis.

Depends on what you mean by "end the crisis", I suppose. This new attack - will it pay for itself? Will the Iranian opposition greet us as liberators?

Even the mindless belligerence of the American people has its limits.

One would like to think so...

Posted by: craigie on April 4, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "If Democrats don't start thinking about how they're going to respond to this, they're idiots."

I can tell you already, before they "don't start thinking" about a response, they ARE idiots. The Democrats have not shown any sign of life since the Bush Revolution started. They haven't a clue as to proceed in this new age in American politics. They're so inept as to lead me to believe their quiet acceptance of their new role as punching bag to the Republicans is no accident.

Posted by: Taobhan on April 4, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Frequency is on a roll!

Posted by: Apollo 13 on April 4, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

"How will it play in the elections. How can I leverage this for political gain?".

This is some serious projection.

In a sane world, if this course of action were really necessary, it would be held up until after the elections, so that the country could deal with it as a whole.

Instead, it will happen right before the elections, precisely because it (will be seen to) help the Republicans.

So who is sick?

Posted by: craigie on April 4, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems don't seem to be able to address any issue without resorting to childish anti-Bush rants.

Yeah, that sure isn't working, is it? I mean, just look at Bush's approval rating! The Dems cross him at their peril!

Posted by: Alek Hidell on April 4, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Where do I get me some of those cool glasses.Look at how hard the righties are working to make me life better.Look over there at how hard the dems are working to make my miserable.HeH hahahahhahahhahahha

Posted by: Right minded on April 4, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

There's nothing childish about an anti-Bush rant.

But onward: if we must bomb Iran, can we bomb it with hot potatoes? Think of the symbolism, man!

Posted by: craigie on April 4, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Taobhan,
I think you may be right. And although I wasn't very happy with his tactics in 2000 at the time, I'm beginning to think Nader might have been right all along. Tweedle Dee....

Posted by: thug on April 4, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think there will be an invasion, but there may be a strike at their nuke sites. Iran will probably not strike back in the expected manner, but with some other black type op or "terrorism". I don't think they will take it sitting down.

I also think that no other nations beside the brits will support this... Most of them have seen what a mess Iraq has become.

The military industrial complex like war... any war and they are perfectly happy to go high tech with little boots and lots of cruise... and new weapons systems. That's where the cash is.

Look for increased military procurements which the dems can't vote against fearing being branded as weak on national security.

This war, terrorism fear nexus is a no win situation for the dems. They can only win on corruption and social security...

Posted by: DefJef on April 4, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Bush has managed to get his approval down to about 34% without any help from the dems.We don't have to do anything you guys are doing the hard work for us.Cheney 17% repubs. 22% Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Right minded on April 4, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

No doubt the administration will want to play the same song, new verse, but surely they'll have a harder time of it while all or most of our forces in Iraq are still stuck there.

Practically speaking, even if our war plan against Iran amounts to a bunch of air strikes, are we really prepared for whatever will come after that? Where is this confrontation going to lead? What's the endgame? Especially if we're not able to redeploy from Iraq, don't we need to find other forces (which we don't have)?

And is the administration really going to come up with persuasive answers to these questions? Democrats should be out front on the issue now, not denying the problem with Iran, but seriously asking these kinds of questions. That's what most of the public is going to want, given our experiences of the last few years. It's hard to believe many people (beyond a worn-down claque) are truly going to cheer on the next regional war while we're still pinned down fighting the last one.

Posted by: nandrews3 on April 4, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

How stupid is attacking Iran? Extremely stupid.

If we attack Iran, we will almost certainly lose the tacit cooperation of Shi'ite Iraq.

Right now we can't even handle the Sunni insurgency. If we lose the Shi'ites, it's game over in Iraq. As in helicopters lifting the last Americans out of the Green Zone just ahead of the insurgents' moving in.

Our 'enduring bases' ought to hold out a little longer, but mostly because they're away from population centers and have runways for C-130 cargo planes.

But all in all, bombing Iran is pretty damned stupid. And that's if the Iranians themselves do absolutely zilch to retaliate.

Posted by: RT on April 4, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, only Jews are allowed holocausts. Everyone else is a Canaanite.

Freedom Phukher has described the probable Democratic response, unfortunately.

Americans have demonized the Iranians and the Bush regime is going to take advantage of this propagandized platitude by using military aggression. US military aggression will create another knee jerk reaction to support the troops and the war party. If this does occur, I will have very bad thoughts about my nation and its sins.

Posted by: Hostile on April 4, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Where is this confrontation going to lead? What's the endgame?

That's for future presidents to decide.

Posted by: craigie on April 4, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

The SEALS have "reconed" the place? How do you know this?

Not that Al knows his ass from, well, anything, but I assume that this has happened, or will happen.

I have the sinking feeling that the strategic geniuses in the White House have taken this lesson from the Iraq disaster: We sent in GROUND forces, the army. Musn't do that again. We already know that their "judgement" is shit. Just shit. So I think that they may be persuading themselves that the old-time nostrums of "surgical strikes" and special forces are just the ticket. We'll just drop some bombs and send in the commandos, and that will be that.

Now, have they thought about Iran using the Iraqi Shia as Hanoi used the Viet Cong? Have they thought about the economic repercussions if Iran decides to interdict Persian Gulf oil production and commerce? When I ask myself these questions, the only answer I get back is, have the fuckwits thought about ANYTHING?!?

Posted by: sglover on April 4, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Oh goody! Iran can become Bush's Cambodia.

Posted by: Jeff II on April 4, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Ah Democrats,,what will they do with this???

Yawn.

Nothing, they'll do nothing.

They invade for oil as well as any Republican.

Call me when the barrel runs dry...

Posted by: Rootless Cosmopolitan on April 4, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK
And once more: If Democrats don't start thinking about how they're going to respond to this, they're idiots.

Kevin's not a Democrat now?

At any rate, yes, Democratic members of Congress are idiots (as are Republicans) if they haven't figured out that, if they want to have any credibility with the electorate, they'd better not give Bush a long leash on war again; if he seeks an authorization, he better have really bulletproof evidence calling for a declaration of war, and if he attacks without authorization and without a real, clear, immediate threat there ought to be a bill of impeachment on the floor of the House before he finishes the address to the nation announcing the attacks have begun.

For the Democrats, that's good partisan politics, sure; but for all members of Congress, its good government and good politics. Bush is the President, but he has shown in Iraq that he cannot be trusted, and the American people have come to recognize that. There is neither policy nor political upside for membesr to ignore that and allow themselves to be used again.

And that's just as true now as it is closer to the elections, and even after them.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 4, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Hoooraaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy! Fire! Fire! Kill! Kill! Bombs away!!!!!!!!! Viva la Bush!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can't wait for the bombings to start, lets celebrate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: viva la bush on April 4, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

They're so inept as to lead me to believe their quiet acceptance of their new role as punching bag to the Republicans is no accident.

It just occurred to me - the Dems are a fake party, like the team the Harlem Globetrotters used to beat up on every game. And what was that team called?

That's right, the Washington Senators!

Posted by: craigie on April 4, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Oh goody! Iran can become Bush's Cambodia.

Spot on.

Posted by: sglover on April 4, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Frequency Kenneth: I'm disappointed if you think the democrats have responded to Iraq by simply bashing Bush.

However, I think the best way to handle the elections is to ask a very pointed question: do you want the republicans handling Iran? The same guys who pushed the Iraq war so hard and screwed it up so badly? It's a competence issue.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on April 4, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

If this report has any basis then we are watching a game of chicken.

Iran has been acting as if it had a lot of American hostages--U.S. troops stuck between angry Sunni and restive Shia--which effectively deter U.S. or U.S.-sponsored strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities. They have been exploiting the position of U.S. troops to develop a longer-lasting nuclear deterrent.

This has been the great strategic catastrophe from the inept U.S. invasion of Iraq.

So now the U.S. is threatening to go ahead anyway. Is this a real threat, or is it a bluff? I am not sure that the Iranians care all that much. If we blow something up in Iran, Sadr's thugs will be taken entirely off the leash...not to create an Iranian puppet in Iraq (Arab antipathy towards Iran will emerge before that happens) but to create chaos, with American soldiers the witness and evidence of the chaos.

So that is the choice before us: allow the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran, or forestall it, an deal with vengeance visited on our troops in Iraq.

We are so fucked.

Posted by: Marcus Sitz on April 4, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

If we attack Iran, we will almost certainly lose the tacit cooperation of Shi'ite Iraq.

This is correct, and it is the reason I think it will be a political disaster for Bush if he DOES choose to attack Iran.

What good does it do Bush and the Republicans to attack Iran, trying to get Americans to rally around the flag, and then have Iraq collapse into unspeakable and inalterable chaos in its immediate wake -- especially when it's so obvious that there was no URGENT need to attack Iran, and that it could have waited until Iraq was more stable (the hope still held to, and asserted desperately by Bush)?

How incompetent will Bush and the Republicans look at that point?

Posted by: frankly0 on April 4, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

WHEN?

The question is: how many of those underwater missiles does Iran have - and how quickly can they be manufactured, and can the manufacturing facilities be wiped out via airstrikes.

Anyone recall the Falklands, Exocet missile strikes on British naval vessels? There are countermeasures for missiles that travel above the water.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on April 4, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

craigie:

Actually, it was the Washington Generals. The Senators were a (mostly) inept baseball team - "first in war, first in peace, and last in the American League."

Nevertheless, point taken. Sigh.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on April 4, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Craigie, uh, sorry it is the Generals. Maybe just as apt.

And are we prepared for $200 per barrel oil after a tanker is sunk in the Strait of Hormuz and other Iranian diddling with oil markets. That'll play really well with the electorate.

Posted by: natural cynic on April 4, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK
Now, have they thought about Iran using the Iraqi Shia as Hanoi used the Viet Cong? Have they thought about the economic repercussions if Iran decides to interdict Persian Gulf oil production and commerce? When I ask myself these questions, the only answer I get back is, have the fuckwits thought about ANYTHING?!?

They've thought about the history of Bush's poll numbers, and the fact that the interruptions in the downward slide have been when the US has been attacked or has attacked.

So if they've decided to attack Iran, I guess that's the least bad thing we could expect from the all-politics no-policy crowd.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 4, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

No Dems have a plan on Iran, because the situation doesn't mesh with their world view of dialogue and understanding. That is, except for Joe Lieberman, who some bloggers would like to kick out of the party.

Click this link to see the results of my own attempt to get those on the left to outline their own plan for Iran - and feel free to respond.

  • Post on Iran
  • Posted by: K on April 4, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

    Hate to ruin a good joke, but the Globetrotters played the Washington Generals until 1995, and now ritually demolish the New York Nationals.

    Posted by: Viserys on April 4, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

    And once more: If Democrats don't start thinking about how they're going to respond to this, they're idiots.

    They did, Kevin. They thought up a defense plan focused on conquering the Middle East to the exclusion of all else [including say, fighting anybody whose armed forces are stronger than Iraq], and otherwise, they're totally in favor of stomping Iran.

    }:>

    In essence, the Democratic strategy is to say they're Republicans but, you know, nice and the Republican strategy is to say they aren't Republican enough, which, WHOA, they aren't.

    ash
    ['National health care will cure all ills, including stupidity.']

    Posted by: ash on April 4, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

    Here's the question Democrats should press as hard as they can when it comes to attacking Iran:

    WHY NOW?

    Everything about Bush attacking Iran at this point is bad.

    It further destabilizes Iraq, and roils the oil market.

    It does not give diplomacy a chance.

    It is crassly political in its timing.

    Everything that could be accomplished by such an attack could be accomplished at a later date.

    Posted by: frankly0 on April 4, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

    Osama_Ben_Forgotten:

    whether Iran bought a few Shkval from Russia or a former USSR entity, they almost certainly can't make them themselves.

    the Shkval is a cavitating torpedo...thus allowing it to travel pretty darn fast. it is susceptible to antitorpedo countermeasures however.
    in addition, like all torpedoes it has a very limited range...and like all torpedoes the best countermeasure is active ASW so the sub never gets close enough.

    Posted by: Nathan on April 4, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

    Here's an idea -- how about if the Dems ask an obvious question: Why is an Iranian bomb necessarily worse than a Pakistani one? Because as far as I can tell, the nuclear cat got out of the bag via Islamabad and (perhaps) Pyongyang.

    Yeah, yeah, the Dems would face the usual howls of outrage from the usual quarters. Cry me a fucking river. If they persisted, maybe people would actually start to believe that they do take issues of foreign policy and grand strategy seriously. If they didn't turn tail at the first sign of opposition, they might actually be able to set the terms of the debate! Why, that would almost be like, what's it called.... Leadership!

    Posted by: sglover on April 4, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

    K -
    A good Liberal plan on Iran is:

    A. A sane energy policy that reduces dependence on foreign oil.
    B. A sane policy on Israel.
    C. Better international cooperation with the EU to lean on Russia to get them to stop supporting Iran (which is why Iran has any international leverage at all at this point.)

    Unfortunately, by now, 30 years of crap Conservative policy has painted us into a very unpleasant corner. One where we can't go running to the EU for help - because frankly, they're gunning for us as well as Russia - because they're ready to divvy-up the remaining oil supplies in the hemisphere for themselves, and they know that in the future, they're going to have to fight China for them: best get the US out of the way first by propping up Iran as a proxy to further weaken the US. (it worked in Iraq). Once the US is bankrupt, we'll no longer be a threat to EU dominance as the next superpower.

    Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on April 4, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

    The Dem. position on Iran is that containment (and the threat of nuclear attack) worked with the Soviet Union, and that that should be our policy on Iran.

    We should inform Iran and the world that if Iran develops and uses, or provides nuclear weapons to others that we will respond with unrestrained nuclear attack. Period.

    No air attack on Iran's nuclear facilities can prevent them from ultimately gaining nuclear capability, and the prospect of all-out war between Iran and the US (with a halt in oil shipments from Persian Gulf states) is foolhardy.

    We would also be jeopardizing our troops and our people in Iraq and elsewhere in the Islamic world.

    Containment, not attack.

    Posted by: JimPortlandOR on April 4, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

    So the right is pleading with the Dems to give them a plan to get out of Iraq,They also want a plan to deal with Iran.Hey you guys are running the show.Lets see what you got righties where is your plan? That is what I thought.

    Posted by: Right minded on April 4, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

    Jesus fucking Christ Kevin. Do you never learn?

    There is NOTHING a democrat could say that can be painted as way softer than their republican counterparts. Any posturing on this is just going to leave the voters with republican vs. republican-light, which is exactly what fucked us in 2002 and 2004.

    The only answer is to not buy into the hype, and in fact to attack the hype. Iran is a minimum of 5 years away from a nuclear bomb. Nothing needs to be done right now, especially when there is no evidence they are pursuing a bomb. Rattling sabers strengthens the power of the fundementalist theocrats, and weakens the democracy movement.

    If we let this debate slide onto another bullshit threat, we lose. There are at least a score of things that are a bigger threat to this country than Iran, including:

    The Deficit
    The National Debt
    The Theory of Unitary Executive
    The Cost of Medicare
    The Cost of Medical Insurance
    The Cost of Prescription Drugs
    The Dependency on Foreign Oil
    The Dependency on Foreign Labor
    The Decline of Education
    The Lack of Port and Industrial Security.
    Global Warming
    The Decline of Wages
    Natural Disaster Preparedness
    The Disconnection Between Citizens and their Government
    Competing with China and India.
    North Korean Nukes
    Pakistani Nukes

    and I could go on. Every single one of those pose a higher risk to the wellbeing of America and Americans. Iran isn't going to do shit with Nukes, even if they got them. We have years to work out a reasonable solution to the Iranian Nuclear problem.

    If you, Kevin Drum, get sucked into this bullshit again, you fail as a democrat, an american, and frankly as a person. The answer to every hyperboilic argument and shrill raghead/brown person bashing is "There you go again. This is the exact same crap you gave us on Iraq, and no one is buying it. America is stronger than anything any external military attack can bring down. But we have far more threats to our way of life caused by failed right wing policies, and those will harm us in ways Osama Bin Laden could only dream of. This is the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, and its time to start acting like it."

    Don't fall for it again Kevin.

    Posted by: Mysticdog on April 4, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

    You don't roll out a new product in April. September is time to unveil the New, Improved War!

    Posted by: Doofus on April 4, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

    what is Kevin's first reaction?
    "How will it play in the elections. How can I leverage this for political gain?".

    And yet, that's exactly been the Bush administration mo since 9/11/2001. You didn't think it was sick then.

    Posted by: ckelly on April 4, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

    I love the quote "military action could be taken to bring an end to the crisis." Bombing Iran as an "end"? That's the kind of thinking that has us in the mess we are in in Iraq.

    We cannot prevent any sovereign nation that wants nuclear weapons from obtaining/developing them--short of all-out war. I don't know if there is a Democrat courageous enough to make the obvious case. And I don't know if nation that has twice voted for Bush is prepared to hear it.

    Posted by: David on April 4, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

    Yeah, that sure isn't working, is it? I mean, just look at Bush's approval rating! The Dems cross him at their peril!

    Heh! Good one.

    Sure, the Washington Senators may have been inept, but their biggest, bestest fan, who never missed a game on the radio if she couldn't get there in person, was...Bess Truman!

    My head is full of this stuff.

    Posted by: shortstop on April 4, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

    "We should inform Iran and the world that if Iran develops and uses, or provides nuclear weapons to others that we will respond with unrestrained nuclear attack. Period."

    I'm with Jim on this one. As usual, Bush and his fellow geniuses have manuvered the US into yet another no-win situation. Unless they can somehow spirit away tons of Iranian uranium, Iran will be emboldened, not deterred, and thus military action is just going to make things worse.

    This, of course, makes no difference to Bush and Co- making things worse is their specialty. What I am not looking forward to is Lieberman and (Ms.) Clinton (and half of the other Democrats in Congress) running to Bush's side in support when it happens.

    That will be galling. It's already hard to keep from puking when I think about most every congressperson other than Feingold.

    Posted by: pdq on April 4, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

    The cynical side of me says this is nothing but a political play by the administration...

    Play up the Iranian threat, continue beat the war drums, continue to beat up the Democracts on national security through the mid-terms... but do nothing of substance.

    Any other action risks a meltdown in Iraq, and potentially a direct and significant military response from Iran. While that response may do nominal damage to US forces, "nominal" is in the eye of the beholder.

    Iran may not have the greatest military, but is not the ragtag mob it once was; Iran can afford much greater losses than the US forces in the region; can and probably would take the fight to those US forces, and not always in conventional form; while the US options in such a situation are limited.

    Posted by: has407 on April 4, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

    Don't forget the Iranian Magic Secret Weapons of Death!

    Has anyone else been having as much fun following stories like this as I have? Check some of the links to older stories on the sidebar.

    Picture here.

    "Due to its advanced design, no radar at sea or in the air can detect it."

    Bull. If this flying moose is radar proof, with that honking big propeller on top of it, then I'm Lamont Cranston.

    "It can lift out of the water"

    Always a plus in a flying boat.

    This, and the other "weapons," have been the largest load of crap I have ever seen. I'm honestly starting to wonder about the Iranian nuclear program.

    Posted by: tbrosz on April 4, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

    Why is an Iranian bomb necessarily worse than a Pakistani one?

    Because Iran is several hundred miles nearer to Israel (and Saudi Arabia), (within Iranian ballistic missile and/or bomber range) and not otherwise engaged in warfare with a neighboring power (ie. a billion Indians).

    And Pakistan is sitting on far less oil.

    And Pakistan is not strategically situated so that it can easily choke 1/3 of the world's oil supply.

    Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on April 4, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

    This is madness.

    Here's a less-than-rosy scenario. Assume that Iran's new ultra-high-speed torpedo is operational if / when we attack.

    1) They threaten tankers, thereby threatening to close the Gulf of Hormuz. The price of insuring the tankers goes way up, the price oil not far behind. Not good.

    2) They sink a tanker, closing the Gulf. The price of oil goes heavenward, the world economy in the opposite direction. Much worse.

    3) We patrol the Gulf and they sink a warship. Bush flies into a rage--remember Falluja?--and starts laying waste to Iran. This ignites all of Islam, and the world goes up in flames.

    The probability of these actually happening? Unknown, but significantly greater than zero.

    It is madness to risk any of the above, simple madness, and therefore, for this administration, entirely within the realm of possibility.


    Posted by: Martin Richard on April 4, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

    Why is an Iranian bomb necessarily worse than a Pakistani one?

    I don't get this argument.

    Why does an Iranian bomb have to be a bigger threat? Why isn't it sufficient that it's an ADDITIONAL threat?

    Even assuming that either Pakistan OR Iran could be the source of a nuke used by terrorists, why allow the sources to multiply?

    Posted by: frankly0 on April 4, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

    craigie: "It just occurred to me - the Dems are a fake party, like the team the Harlem Globetrotters used to beat up on every game. And what was that team called?"

    If we're looking for a political party to lead us out of the wilderness the Republicans have led us into, my guess is that it won't be the Democrats. I think we have to understand that the DC world which both Republicans and Democrats inhabit is a separate universe disconnected from the rest of us. I'm coming to a realization that the political process we've been so proud of is as much of a sham as one in any banana republic.

    We, the people, actually have little impact in Washington now and maybe we never have had as much as we thought we did. The next three years are crucial with regard to determining how true that may be. Besides, what good will it have done if the Democrats regain control of Congress and the White House and nothing changes but the appearance of things?

    Richard Moore at cyberjournal.org may have seen this much earlier than any of the rest of us.

    Posted by: Taobhan on April 4, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

    If indeed the Bushniks hit Iran, I would expect that the Iranian response would be to attack the American troops that are now bogged down in Iraq.
    Iranian and Iraqi Shiites will unite against the common enemy (that's US, wingnuts.) We could lose a whole lot of troops if a consolidated attack is mounted.

    Posted by: cosmo on April 4, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

    hello, i would just like to add my two cents worth
    regarding any possible future action on Iran by the
    U.s.. it just never ceases to amaze me at how quickly
    people jump on the bandwagon of criticizm and scorn
    towards the United States when it comes to protecting
    it'self and the whole world at large from such a
    bastardly unstable rogue nation as Iran. would those
    who are so cowardly quick to fault the U.S. for
    attempting to terminate a resident evil that fully
    exists within the goverment of Iran; rather they be
    the dominant world power? if the answer to that
    question is indeed yes, then the very same ones who
    are so vocal and critical of the United States and
    other free countries of the world who also subscribe
    to the same doctrine as us, cannot ever hope to enjoy
    the freedoms and way of life that currently exists on
    a world level today, if Iran were to emerge as the
    dominant world player. if you close your eyes to the
    evil ambitions and aggressive stance adopted by Iran,
    and allow your mind to be seduced by the trail of lies
    that they have offered to the world at large over the
    past 20 or so years, then you will surely be the
    victim of your own deception and inablity,to clearly
    see Iran for what she is; a threat of the highest
    level; that if given free rein, could quite
    conceivably bring civilization to it's knees and end
    life as we all know it to be now. if you fail to heed
    the warnings that currently begining to emerge
    worldwide, then you are bound to suffer the absolute
    horrible consequences that are sure to follow. now is
    the time to make your voices heard; to clearly support
    the cause of freedom in attempting to rid the world of
    evil and it's unworthy cause. people, let your voices
    be heard, let freedom ring!

    Posted by: gary hatch on April 4, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

    "We should inform Iran and the world that if Iran develops and uses, or provides nuclear weapons to others that we will respond with unrestrained nuclear attack. Period."

    Is this a credible threat? Let's say they attack just two targets, Tel Aviv and Haifa, killing about 2/3 of the population of Israel. 4 million dead or about to die. How many of you vote for an unrestrained nuclear attack on Iran--population 68 million? You really willing to kill 68 million? I'm not sure I am, and I'm a hawk.

    Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw on April 4, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

    Raw Story has an all-too-believable Iran war scenario,

    http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Armageddon_0402.html

    Posted by: cld on April 4, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

    Sebastian,

    I assume that Israel itself would take care of the retaliation in this case.

    What if the cities hit were, say, NYC and Houston? I think the threat of relatiation is quite credible in this case. Ditto for any other nuclear power.

    So we are really talking about what if Iran decided to use nukes on some non-nuclear power. Somehow I find that scenario very, very hard to believe. Who would they attack, and why?

    Posted by: weichi on April 4, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

    Great...another war to pull Israeli chesnuts out of the fire

    Message to Israel: try just a little to get along with ur neighbors and save us -the US- a lot of money and lives

    I know US policy was outsourced to Tel Aviv a long time ago but does this really mean that we have to keep protecting Israel...the real aggressor in all of this?

    We've already stopped Saddam for u & for what?

    The ENTIRE MUSLIM WORLD still hates u & r still intent on destroying Israel

    Naturally, we're all supposed to blame the backward Muslims for this

    However, some people r starting to think that U -Israelis- r the problem

    That Israel, from the very beginning was a very bad idea that has cost the US far too much in treasure & international reputation

    I mean...that is the reason we're hated all over the world

    We keep backing the snottiest most obnoxious kid on the block...a spoiled rich bastard who deserves to get his ass kicked

    Eventually...it will prove our undoing

    Not that Israel gives a shit about that

    Posted by: JoeMama on April 4, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

    In true Bush and Cheney fashion they will act out with nary a thought on the consequences.

    This will bring about the Armageddon that Bush and Tom Delay and Pat Robertson so desire.

    Too bad so many US troops will be stuck in the middle of the vice..between Iran and Syria and all tossed together with the large portion of Iran friendly Shiites in Iraq.

    The US has had a heck of a run.

    It began with a King George and so it shall end.

    -GSD

    Posted by: GSD on April 4, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

    As usual, this is a course of action which shows that nobody is thinking anything through...for starters, if we attack Iran militarily, we lose the country for at least a generation....even the pro-western Iranians.

    Second, there is not really a logical argument for denying Iran nuclear weapons in the first place. Aside from the rather vague and widely ignored non-proliferation treaty, Iran can argue that since others countries have nukes, why can't they?

    So the real question is whether or not preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons is worth turning the entire country into another hotbed of anti-Americanism. My answer would be no.

    Posted by: MattW on April 4, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

    It's simple: Reid submits a resolution that any new war requires a new war resolution. This means specifically Iran.

    If the country is gonna start another war, it needs to be discussed with Congress, period.

    Posted by: bebimbob on April 4, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

    sebastian, our efforts need to be so that Iran DOES NOT obtain nukes. I don't even want to think about what they may do and what our recourse may have to be if they ever did obtain them. Any one of those choice will not be good ones.

    joemama, Are you saying Israel does not have a right to exist? If so why? They have carved out a fraction of the land available in the middle east to call home and are still willing to concede more land for the Palestinians, yet that is not good enough for the Palestinians. I don't see any of the muslim brotherhood offering land for a Palenstinian state, do you? I don't recall any Israeli suicide bombers going into the west bank and blowing up innocent Palestinians, do you? And you're worried that the Arabs hate us because of this? Who gives a fuck about them. They should be worried that we're beginning to not like them.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

    gary hatch -
    "bastardly unstable rogue nation"?
    Now, Iran under the Shah, post-1954, I can see as worthy of being considered illegitimate having been the foreign-sponsored overthrow of a democratically elected(non-islamist) government.
    I may not like the current regime, or Khomeini's, but I have to admit they were home-grown. (if fertilized by external forces ...)

    Unstable? Where'd you get that from? Ahmedinejad having been elected?(dammit, there's that damn democracy bit again!) Curious how Bush's Axis of Evil rhetoric and policy actions helped the hard-liners in Iran expand their electoral winnings, though, isn't it. Almost seems like shooting ourselves in the foot! But that would put the unstable thing on a different party to the equation, by my reckoning.

    You can spare me the blather about the rogue nation bit - I realized it was bullshit the first time I heard the phrase just after the USSR collapsed. Just another marketing campaign to keep expanding the DoD and NSA budgets. Promoted by the Bush I DoS.

    Posted by: kenga on April 4, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

    Fuck how Democrats respond. How do Americans respond to the cabal that has taken over our country?

    The only response is to call it what it is. Bullshit!

    If anybody falls for Bush's crap once again, they don't deserve to hold office. They don't deserve to have their opinions aired in the media. They can go clear brush down on dubya's farm if they want, but don't expect us to listen to you.

    Look, this is not Bush coming off 90% approvals after 9-11. Bush is in the mid-30s after a disaster in Iraq, Katrina, Dubai ports, corruption scandals, and too many fucking years of total incompetence. The country's had enough. We just hope to make it to January 2009 without WWIII.

    Bush invades Iran and we need to revolt.

    Posted by: JJF on April 4, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

    GSD, that's the kind of optimism that wins elections.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

    It's simple: Reid submits a resolution that any new war requires a new war resolution. This means specifically Iran.


    That is an excellent idea! It commits the Republicans to denying either a new war for Golden Boy as a fait acompli or denying that they're done attacking other countires.

    Posted by: cld on April 4, 2006 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

    I'm with tsbroz:
    methinks Osama_Been_Forgotten and Pale Rider greatly overestimate Iran's capabilities:

    for their naval capabilities see:
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iran/navy.htm

    (though the 3 Kilo subs concern me...it is one of the quietest subs in the world)

    for their army:
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iran/army.htm

    for their "air force":
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iran/airforce.htm

    the only real concern is their surface air defenses...they've made some worrisome purchases in that regard...(of course actually knowing how to operate them is another question altogther)

    effective targeting of their nuclear sites (i.e. determining where they are) is also a concern.
    their reaction within the region (and here) is also a concern.
    but they're not sending some ground assault into Iraq no matter what lurid fantasies Pale Rider may have....

    Posted by: Nathan on April 4, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

    The entire world is united in this cause people, primarily because they saw that the US finally had the courage to do something about Iraq. We need to let Israel, Germany, France and the EU for the most part, lead on the Iran issue. They will if they know we have their back.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

    Here's the real deal. If we hit Iran, it CANNOT be restricted to an airstrike, regardless of what the Whitehouse or Pentagon wants. Iran can and will respond in any number of ways. The most assured response will be to work through their Shia buddies in Iraq to make the place a REAL shithole for our troops.

    Beyond that, the Iranians have completely modern Russian weapons, like supersonic cruise missiles and the modern variant of the Squall supercavitation rocket torpedo (200+ knots underwater). The Aegis is not capable of dealing with the new supersonic variants of the Russkie cruise missiles.

    If push comes to shove, the Iranians CAN hit a carrier or two, depending on how many are within 150 miles of Iran at the time. The Squall can take out subs, destroyers, or carriers and there is no viable defense against it.

    Me thinks the Bushies and the top loons in the Pentagon are stuck on a Iraq mindset that assumes a weak military and poor response. They were right on the Iraq response initially but look how that turned out. We're in shit there NOW. Hitting Iran will make it a huge, steaming, insane pile of shit and really piss off the jihadists all over the ME.Iran isn't a weakling. They haven't been starved for money or supplies for a decade. Hell, they've recently spent a bundle acquiring a big wad of Russian cruise missiles and Squall rocket torpedos. This whole thing will go pearshaped almost immediately.

    We have ourselves an entire Administration that needs to be hauled in front of a war crimes tribunal and charged with violations at Nuremburg.

    Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on April 4, 2006 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

    I feel that we are reaching an inflection point when tbrosz is making fun of the administration's case for war.

    Posted by: craigie on April 4, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

    The conventional wisdom is that attacking Iran would make things worse in Iraq. Has the administration concluded that nothing can be done to save Iraq so they might as well start a new war that would at least help them politically at home over a short period of time?

    Posted by: Carl on April 4, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

    Jay?
    Is "carved out" a synonym for "stole"?
    And "concede" a synonym for "returned stolen property"?

    I just want to be sure I understand your point.

    Posted by: kenga on April 4, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

    I feel that we are reaching an inflection point when tbrosz is making fun of the administration's case for war.

    I felt the same thing, but decided to withhold comment pending a follow-up tbrosz remark calling the Dems' case for invasion, if they wanted to invade, far lamer.

    Posted by: shortstop on April 4, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

    The entire world is united in this cause

    No, the whole world is not united in "this cause". You're believing your own bullshit again, sonny.

    Posted by: SED on April 4, 2006 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

    Praedor:

    I suggest you read my posts above:

    the Schkval cavitation torpedo,like all torpedoes, has extremely limited range. effective asw against Iran's 3 Kilos is the obvious countermeasure.

    as for Aegis not being able to counter supersonic cruise missiles, I'm not sure what you mean.
    Aegis is a radar and fire control system.

    the primary defense against supersonic cruise missiles is jamming of their guidance systems, not letting the launchers within range (like we're going to send a carrier into the Strait of Hormuz) and close point defense systems such as the Rolling Airframe Missile.

    Posted by: Nathan on April 4, 2006 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

    I felt the same thing, but decided to withhold comment pending a follow-up tbrosz remark calling the Dems' case for invasion, if they wanted to invade, far lamer.

    The best jokes are the true ones. Brilliant.

    Posted by: craigie on April 4, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

    Anyone who thinks Iran is a strategic threat to the US has had their genitals in Bush's mouth.

    Iran may be a political threat to US hegemony in the region, but that is no reason to make war. The only reason to make war with Iran is to strengthen Republican's hold on power and enrich Republican constituents: big oil and defense contractors.

    Posted by: Hostile on April 4, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

    No shit-for-brains kengafuck. That land belongs to the Israeli's as much as it belongs to the your freinds the jihadists. By the way, when exactly was the last time Palestine was a state? Never.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

    Any attack on Iran would most likely result in a shutdown of the Strait of Hormuz and a conventional ballistic attack on major Saudi oil fields and refineries. I expect that Iran has told the Saudis as much.

    Posted by: Triskele on April 4, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

    It's not like the U.S. has embraced a policy of autonomous and preemptive attacks against perceived enemies or right wing reactionary religious bigotry. No nation could possibly justify the creation of a deterrent weapon in the face of that reality.

    Oh. Sorry. Forgot the last 5 years happened. Hmmm--where's that moral high ground we had stashed for emergencies?

    Posted by: Sparko on April 4, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

    hey praefuck, interesting how you want to haul the US administration in for war crimes but gave Saddam a pass. That's real fucking brave of you.

    And sed, you may not remember, with your selective recall and outrage, but in one of Chirac's most recent speech's he vociferously stated that Iran should not obtain nukes.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

    I can see it now. The talking heads on the pundit shows will be saying: "Nobody could have predicted that bombing Iran would have resulted in oil at 200 dollars a barrel".

    Good luck and buy calls

    Regards,

    Posted by: qingl78 on April 4, 2006 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

    the Schkval cavitation torpedo,like all torpedoes, has extremely limited range. effective asw against Iran's 3 Kilos is the obvious countermeasure.

    The early Squall was short-range and dumb, no guidance. The recent variants have loiter capability AND homing. They were designed partially as a defensive weapon - a sub launches a torpedo at you, you fire the Squall in the opposite direction, the attacking sub has to take instant action to seek to evade, breaking the guiding wires on their torpedo rendering IT dumb...with the real possibility of a hit by the Squall because NO sub can react well relative to a 200+knot missile.

    I am aware of the Aegis. I am referring the Aegis guided missile destroyers for which the cruise missiles were designed as a counter against. They are not very effective against Mach 2.2+ cruise missiles at 100 meters. In any case, the Iranians are not going to be the "pushovers" the Iraqis were (see how well THAT'S going by the way? Those pushover Iraqis?).

    Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on April 4, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

    shortstop:

    I felt the same thing, but decided to withhold comment pending a follow-up tbrosz remark calling the Dems' case for invasion, if they wanted to invade, far lamer.

    I don't know if you've noticed, but the Democrats, as Kevin has pointed out, have no perceptible policy at all on Iran, much less a case for or against invasion.

    Posted by: tbrosz on April 4, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

    one of Chirac's most recent speech's

    Now you're paraphrasing Chirac? Mon Dieu!

    Posted by: SED on April 4, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

    Praedor:
    I think what you mean is that standard Aegis guided SAMs are unlikely to be effective in stopping the Moskit. Which is correct. (How many the Iranians have and whether they can effectively target them is another matter altogether.) However, the Moskit has a 100-120 mile range. They could launch it from their 10 working patrol boats (if they could get within range)...or conceivably from launchers on land (if we sent ships within range). In actuality, we wouldn't.
    But like I said, if a Moskit is launched within range and targeted correctly, the primary defense is the RAM.

    As for the Schkval, a torpedo is a torpedo...its simply impossible to have a long range underwater...so long as we effectively track the Kilos its not an issue (as I noted above, the Kilos aren't the easiest thing to track...but we'll be using active, not passive, sonar).

    unlike Iraq, I'm going to assume we're not talking about a land invasion.

    Posted by: Nathan on April 4, 2006 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

    Hey it's the only time Chirac made some sense. Give props where props are due.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

    Iran must be attacked. It's the only way we can save Iraq, and the world from imploding itself. I didn't vote for this War President for nothing. He is the only person who can save us, the born again Christian from the evil terrorists.

    Iran must be attacked !!!!
    God saves G. Bush!

    Posted by: Mini Al on April 4, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

    If we hit Iran, it CANNOT be restricted to an airstrike, regardless of what the Whitehouse or Pentagon wants.


    We know that, but I really don't think the Republicans give a rat's ass about what is really best militarily or politically.

    Their primary objective is to create a state of literal corporate feudalism. Their original inspiration may have been Kuomintang China, but for the past few decades they've been working with oily medieval monarchies to transform them bodily into corporate states, and this has plainly left a favorable impression on gop executives.

    Posted by: cld on April 4, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

    "This, and the other "weapons," have been the largest load of crap I have ever seen. I'm honestly starting to wonder about the Iranian nuclear program."

    Well a radar evading 'flying boat' is not a totally ridiculous idea, though probably 40 years out of date. The russians and the US exprimented with 'groud effect' aircraft that could carry heavy loads very fast by flying just above the water. I imagine modern radar systems would have no problem detecting such a craft, however.

    On the other hand I definately think the iranian nuclear program is at least partly a made up threat. We hear these estimates that Iran might be "just two years" away from a nuclear bomb... it took the US about 4 years to build the first atomic bomb on earth 60 years ago. Two years is probably not a completely unreasonable time from a leader in some reasonably prosperous nation (like iran) saying "hey we ought to make a nuclear bomb" to thier first test detonation.

    In other words every nation on earth with moderate technical skill and not currently in economic collapse is surely less than three years from a nuclear bomb so the statement is pretty meaningless.

    Posted by: jefff on April 4, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

    Let Israel and the EU take care of this. The US should not lead on this and that may be the first time I have ever said that.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

    And the only way they can achieve that goal is by destroying the capacity of the central US government to do anything.

    Posted by: cld on April 4, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

    If push comes to shove, the Iranians CAN hit a carrier or two, depending on how many are within 150 miles of Iran at the time.

    Yeah, but they'd have a better time taking out Gulf shipping, terminals, and oil facilities than doing that, and have a lot bigger effect on the US.

    They aren't going to take out our military, so, while they will of course do what they can to defend against it, their most effective means of striking back is to find ways to make it costly for us to fight them, not necessarily to inflict the highest possible "military" cost.

    Posted by: cmdicely on April 4, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

    jefff, Iran is not like "every other nation on earth". When you have a leader outwardly calling for the annihilation of another sovereign country, that pose a problem. Do ya think?

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

    I don't think Iran HAS a 200mph torpedo. The Russians barely have one, and reportedly sunk one of their own subs with an accident with one.

    In any case, the Iranians are not going to be the "pushovers" the Iraqis were (see how well THAT'S going by the way? Those pushover Iraqis?)

    Iraq's conventional military was wiped out in a matter of days. If Iran takes us on using torpedoes, ships, submarines, and aircraft, they're going to go down in even less time.

    More successful techniques would be sabotage attacks on oil tankers, or other insurgent-style attacks. They're not going to beat us, Israel, or anyone else with their regular military, much less mythical missiles, torpedoes, and aircraft.

    I don't think war is the way to go at this point. There's too much information missing.

    Posted by: tbrosz on April 4, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

    >I'm honestly starting to wonder about the Iranian nuclear program.


    Tbrosz takes a step towards coming in from the cold. Here's something you already know, dude: governments lie. All of them. Iraq is lying about it's defensive capability, ours is lying about the threat it poses.

    Sebastian: Nobody's setting off any atomic bombs unless Dick Cheney becomes President. If another one ever goes off 60 million dead will just be a start, so it isn't really a question I need to answer. It won't be a "decision" any sense of the word.

    Gary Hatch: Your meds. USE THEM. And see if you can get your prescription bumped up.

    Posted by: doesn't matter on April 4, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK
    jefff, Iran is not like "every other nation on earth". When you have a leader outwardly calling for the annihilation of another sovereign country, that pose a problem. Do ya think?

    Not really, its the fairly typical rhetoric of impotent autocrats seeking to distract domestic attention from local discontents.

    Posted by: cmdicely on April 4, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

    If push comes to shove, the Iranians CAN hit a carrier or two, depending on how many are within 150 miles of Iran at the time. Yeah, but they'd have a better time taking out Gulf shipping, terminals, and oil facilities than doing that, and have a lot bigger effect on the US.

    I left out the Gulf shipping, which is THE big deal (>$100 barrel oil anyone?) but if they could nail a carrier, that would be big shit. The carriers are the crown jewels of the Navy. The psychological value of damaging or destroying one is worth taking a few shots at one. There's always more missiles left to deal with shipping.

    Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on April 4, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

    tbrosz, I knew you wouldn't let craigie and me down. Attaboy!

    Posted by: shortstop on April 4, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

    One does have to wonder if Ahmadinejad is as bat-shit crazy as we've been led to believe and if they've got all these super cool military weapons that (some posters seem to believe are capable of what Iran's version of Baghdad Bob says they are) can beat American weapons systems why Iran hasn't launched an offensive war against US interests in the Gulf of Oman to spark the $100/barrel oil prices that would decimate the US economy.

    (And yes, I'm comfortable with my run-on sentence, I was trying to encapsulate most of what is above.)

    Any guesses from the Reality Based Community?

    Posted by: Birkel on April 4, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

    The truth is, our good ally Saudi Arabi is actively seeking nuclear weapons---probably trying to purchase them from Pakistan or North Korea.
    The attack on Iran has nothing to do with protecting Jews from a holocaust.. it's all about keeping the Chinese from OUR oil.
    Saudi Arabia is a good ally right now, so we don't care if they get nukes.
    Needless to say, an attack on Iran will be a worse disaster than the Iraq war.
    By the way, if we do attack Iran, it will probably be with nuclear weapons.
    No, i'm not joking.k

    Posted by: marky on April 4, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

    Regular Gas is $2.72/gal today in Portland. Any guesses what it will be the day after the US bombs Iran's nuclear sites?

    Posted by: JimPortlandOR on April 4, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

    tbrosz on April 4, 2006 at 8:15 PM:

    There's too much information missing.

    Not that a lack of information or planning stopped Dubya from going into Iraq...I agree with the rest of your post, however.

    Posted by: grape_crush on April 4, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK
    I left out the Gulf shipping, which is THE big deal (>$100 barrel oil anyone?) but if they could nail a carrier, that would be big shit. The carriers are the crown jewels of the Navy. The psychological value of damaging or destroying one is worth taking a few shots at one. There's always more missiles left to deal with shipping.

    Oh, yeah, if they get a remote chance, they'll probably take shots at any carriers they can -- they're too valuable of targets not to -- but that's not the way they'll most likely inflict the greatest cost to the US.

    Posted by: cmdicely on April 4, 2006 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

    'tbrosz' posted:

    "This, and the other 'weapons,' have been the largest load of crap I have ever seen."

    Your cluelessness is repetitive.

    They aired video of that sucker flying through the air on the evening news tonight.
    .

    Posted by: VJ on April 4, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

    Nice pop video! Anybody else remember the Tom Robinson Band. So this is the anti-TRB resurrection!

    12-odd days ago UK Guardian headline: "Iran months away from bomb, says UK." In the article it turns out that the Foreign Office (Oh, by the way, nice of Condi to call the Minister a secretary!) is saying they haven't even got the technology yet but might have it soon, but an actual bomb "could take Iran several years. . . ."

    Iran, even with the bomb, is no threat to the survival of the US. This administration took 50 years of successful foreign policy, turned it on its head, and, after 5 years of accumulating evidence has no intention of admitting that it has made any real mistakes. Noooo! We are going to have to wait 20 years to find out if GW was right! If we're all here.

    The last time there was this period of disastrous strategic head-in-the-sand think it was called bunker mentality and ended 8th May, 1945. These guys have proven they are totally incompetent on foreign policy, waging war or even responding to a national emergency. (6 months since Katrina and no coordinated recovery plan for N.O. and area yet.)

    Why is it that the Bushies think that if they see anything they don't like they have the right to tell others how to live, and, if they won't comply, it's war? And we are so consistent; China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Pakistan.

    Oh, wait, whoops! We ARE trying to alienate the Pakistanis.

    These guys really are the most dangerous the world has seen since '45. I mean it.

    Posted by: notthere on April 4, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

    Look if Israel makes the strike and is backed up by the EU and the US, Iran will have to think twice about any retaliation.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

    OT, note to ordnance fans (Nathan, cragie):

    • The Iranian Shkval-variant test launch was from a ship, not a sub. It's highly unlikely any are operational in any mode, or will be for some time. It would also be surprising if the Iranians had managed to get hold of the later version that is reported to have terminal homing (no one elas has).
    • The Rolling Airframe Missile ASCM defense system, as of 2001 (block 0-1), had not been tested against SS-N-22-class threats because we didn't have anything to test against. If anyone has info on such tests since then, I'd appreciate a pointer.
    In any case, while Iran is likely to have a few gotchas, they aren't likely to do major damage to US forces in a head-to-head encounter. Then again, they don't need to. Another Sheffield or two, or a few ground units to help stir things up in Iraq or Afghanistan, would be more than sufficient.

    Posted by: has407 on April 4, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

    if they've got all these super cool military weapons that (some posters seem to believe are capable of what Iran's version of Baghdad Bob says they are) can beat American weapons systems

    They are not capable of defeating our military in a face off but they CAN do real harm, especially given that we are WAY overextended in Iraq and WAY overspent economically. The thing is, unlike any enemy we've dealt with in recent history (Iraq and, erm...Iraq), Iran has up-to-date, top-of-the-line Russkie hardware.

    Don't blow off the Russian hardware. Some of it, their newer fighters, for instance, are better than any of our current hardware save the F-22 in the fighter arena. Against F-15s, F-16s, F-14s, and F-18s the new variants of the Migs and Suks well outclass them. The Iranians don't have them but my point is the Russian hardware is GOOD. What Iran DOES have are some SA-10s to go with their aged SA-2s, -3s, -4s, and -6s. The latter are no big deal. Ho-hum. But the SA-10. We have never gone up against one and when I was EWO on the B-52 in the 90s, the SA-10, -11, -12 were some scary shit.

    The Russians have been steadily improving them in all ways. The Iranians have the -10. It is a very very good SAM. The cruise missiles have no analog in our arsenal. Ditto the Squall. The Russians have been steadily working to improve both. They have not just quit.

    Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on April 4, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK
    Look if Israel makes the strike and is backed up by the EU and the US, Iran will have to think twice about any retaliation.

    Well, certainly it makes retaliation against Arab allies of the US, or direct military retaliation against the US less likely.

    Doing everything possible to stir up shit in Iraq, encouraging their terrorist proxies to take up more prominent attacks, etc., no, I don't see that scenario as making any of that kind of retaliation anything but more likely.

    Posted by: cmdicely on April 4, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

    Not really, its the fairly typical rhetoric of impotent autocrats seeking to distract domestic attention from local discontents. Posted by: cmdicely

    Axis of Evil anyone?

    I think the hullabaloo over Iran is about as likely to result in war as it was with N. Korea, who is armed in such a way as to set a good chunk of S. Korea ablaze, as well as at least Sapporo if not Tokyo, too. In fact, they are in many ways much better armed than Iran. Countries and a region nearly as important to us as the oil producing states in the Gulf.

    As a few people have pointed out, Iran's third rate military is not the concern, except for what it could do to the production and shipping of Gulf oil.

    It's interesting how little stomach Americans really have for war anymore, including the people paid to fight them. Vietnam syndrome anyone? Hey friend, can you spare an Exocet missile or two?

    We fought naval battles during WWII where we lost half a dozen ships and thousands of men at one time. Now, though, it seems we're so afraid of really mixing it up with anyone that if we can't do a lot of the job with stealth bombers, cruise missiles or B-52 bombers, were very hesitant to get involved.

    Oh, but what about Iraq, you ask? The very fact we went in there as light as we did shows how little respect we had for what was left of Iraq's military, not even addressing the lies about WMD. And unlike Iraq, the military knows that if we attemtped to invade Iran, we would be fighting block by block in Tehran. They may not have much of a military, and a lot of Iranians may not like or may even loathe their government. But there is a real nation there and a unifying culture that never existed in Iraq. This can be more formidable than hardware.

    Posted by: Jeff II on April 4, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

    The early Squall was short-range and dumb, no guidance. The recent variants have loiter capability AND homing.

    I'd LOVE to see a reference to that. Homing and even steering are both extraordinarily difficult for the thing.

    They were designed partially as a defensive weapon - a sub launches a torpedo at you, you fire the Squall in the opposite direction, the attacking sub has to take instant action to seek to evade, breaking the guiding wires on their torpedo rendering IT dumb...with the real possibility of a hit by the Squall because NO sub can react well relative to a 200+knot missile.

    The torpedo doesn't go dumb at all when the wire breaks. At least our don't. They just go autonomous. Think of them as very, very angry and smart underwater robots.

    Also, most torpedoes swim out, making little noise. You wouldn't know what direction to shoot back at. Nothing like the WWII movies.

    The Shkval is a knife fight weapon, like an AMRAAM or Sparrow in the air. You shoot and hope the enemy can't respond before you plug him. It goes where you point it, and nowhere else.

    Posted by: Red State Mike on April 4, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

    "50 years of successful foreign policy" - notthere

    riiiight.

    Vietnam worked out well.

    Carter handled the Iran Hostage situation well.

    Iran-contra worked out well.

    Somalia was a fine effort.

    And lobbying missles onto an aspirin factory in the Sudan worked out well.

    Carpet bombing Kosovo was another endearing effort.

    And I though it was the Islamic jihadists who were telling people how to live and if they don't comply it's war. Hmmmmmmmmm.........

    I guess I know what's notthere

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

    Red State Mike: "I'd LOVE to see a reference to that. Homing and even steering are both extraordinarily difficult for the thing..."

    The later version is reported to go out of cavitation and into a low-speed conventional search mode at the end of it's programmed trajectory. (But as I said previously, it would very surprising if Iran managed to get hold of those--assuming they exist.)

    Posted by: has407 on April 4, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

    cm, if the EU and Israel lead on Iran, (and there is conflict) any retaliation in Iraq will bring the EU into Iraq more prominently, suddenly giving tremendous support to our troops and convincing the Iraqi people that there is universal support and the job will finished. I believe why the whole turning point in Iraq is so slow in happening is that many there are not convinced that we'll stay and finish the job. I wonder where that getting that from?

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

    (for those without a subscription to Foreign Policy, someone pasted the full article on his blog)

    Fools Rush In Where Angels Fear to Tread
    Fool Me Twice
    By Joseph Cirincione
    http://collect.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=58994522&blogID=104406008

    Posted by: Triskele on April 4, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

    They are not capable of defeating our military in a face off but they CAN do real harm, especially given that we are WAY overextended in Iraq and WAY overspent economically. The thing is, unlike any enemy we've dealt with in recent history (Iraq and, erm...Iraq), Iran has up-to-date, top-of-the-line Russkie hardware.

    Top of the line? Their stuff is mostly crap. And they don't have the training or expertise. And while our Army and Marines have been busy in Iraq, our Navy and Air Force have been idling. It's been a ground war show. In Iran, it's going a sea and air engagement. We won't invade via ground...why would we? (Jeff II we won't fight block by block...we play to our strengths, not theirs)

    I'm not saying we are going to attack. I hope we don't need to. I am saying your reasons not to don't hold. We could open a monstrous can of whoop ass on Iran with impunity. The negatives as brought out are shia in Iraq and the oil shipping in the Gulf, to mention two.

    But it does us no good whatsoever to completely remove a military strike from the table. For this President or the next one.

    Posted by: Red State Mike on April 4, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

    One does have to wonder if Ahmadinejad is as bat-shit crazy as we've been led to believe and if they've got all these super cool military weapons that (some posters seem to believe are capable of what Iran's version of Baghdad Bob says they are) can beat American weapons systems why Iran hasn't launched an offensive war against US interests in the Gulf of Oman to spark the $100/barrel oil prices that would decimate the US economy.
    Any guesses from the Reality Based Community?
    Posted by: Birkel on April 4, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

    My guess is that Ahmadinejad is not as bat-shit crazy as FoxNews would like us to believe. I also guess that he's rattlin' sabres to cement his power-hold on his own right wing. Just like Saddam was when he was playing coy about his WMD programs which he didn't have.

    Don't get me wrong. I don't believe that the new weapons are a threat to an eventual US victory (assuming we're shooting for a victory, rather than an extended conflict designed for war profiteering and nothing more - which is what our Iraq conflict is designed to do). But I do believe that these new torpedoes could cause some very painful damage to the US Navy, as well as the global economy. I seriously doubt that the supersonic cruise missle is a threat to an aegis cruiser, unless nuclear-armed. One word. Goalkeeper. Their seaplane makes me laugh. But the torpedo could be a serious area-denial weapon in a very very critical area.

    Of course, nobody who sells oil is all that sad about the prospect of $100/bbl.

    Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on April 4, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

    The later version is reported to go out of cavitation and into a low-speed conventional search mode at the end of it's programmed trajectory.

    That would be an extraordinarily slick piece of engineering. The cavitator plate in the front, needed for zooming around in its bubble, is very small, so not much room for a sonar array. The propulsion is a rocket at speed. Then they'd need a prop for slow-poking around. Whew...sounds like a myth to me.

    Posted by: Red State Mike on April 4, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

    We fought naval battles during WWII where we lost half a dozen ships and thousands of men at one time. Now, though, it seems we're so afraid of really mixing it up with anyone that if we can't do a lot of the job with stealth bombers, cruise missiles or B-52 bombers, were very hesitant to get involved.

    Heh. You can't be comparing Iraq or Iran to Hitler/Germany and Hirohito/Japan. No way are they even remotely comparable. If you are fighting for something of REAL value and necessity (rather than for oil, a few favored corporations, and for domestic political ends) then we'll see about sacrifice and what sort of battles are worth it. Iraq and Iran are not justification for a handful of US casualties, let alone 2300+.

    Funny you bring up Vietnam. Iraq IS Vietnam all over again. I saw a plaque in a building at Wright Patterson AFB last week dated around the first Gulf War (my war). It talked of how we had finally blown off the dust of Vietnam. As I read that I just had to shake my head in disgust and sorrow because if that were true, the current DEBACLE has reanimated the whole Vietnam thing all over again. Iraq is friggin failure and a mess. It IS Vietnam. Waste of time, waste of resources, waste of lives, and wholly unjustified.

    Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on April 4, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

    Jay:
    I should have been more specific. Can't disagree with you about Vietnam. Think the carpet bombing was in V and Cambodia; Kosovo was targetted, I thought. Iran-contra is in a long list (tradition) of US misguided interference in Central and South America, and elsewhere. Last time we interfered in Iran it blew back on us.

    Was more implying the grand scheme behind policy.
    This administration, from the moment of taking office, turned its back on all treaties and allies and would only cooperate with them in so far as it totally aligned with new US, go-it-alone-if-neccessary policies. It deliberately started a divide and co-opt policy in trade, industry and world affairs generally. This administration had no patience for consensus or building policy.

    Look where we have gone and are going will all prior agreements on nuke policy and proliferation. Look where we are heading with out Islamic policies. We seem to be trying to unite Arabs, Persians, Pakistanis. Next, we'll push the Indonesians into the same simple-think!
    What ARE we trying to achieve?

    Posted by: notthere on April 4, 2006 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

    Is this a credible threat? Let's say they attack just two targets, Tel Aviv and Haifa, killing about 2/3 of the population of Israel. 4 million dead or about to die. How many of you vote for an unrestrained nuclear attack on Iran--population 68 million? You really willing to kill 68 million? I'm not sure I am, and I'm a hawk.

    It's not much different than calculations made during the cold war.

    And let's say they were nuked. What would be the actual response? Israel and perhaps the US would act very quickly to ensure there would be no more attacks. So this is an honest threat, it reflects what would probably happen and is implied in the situation. I'm sure the Iranian government understands, so it apparantly isn't sufficient deterrent to prevent them from building a bomb.

    On the other hand, this threat also give Iranian intelligence incentive to foil any nuclear plots that they may uncover.

    Posted by: Boronx on April 4, 2006 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

    Do neocons really fear that the Iranian government would martyr all their countrymen to blow up Tel Aviv or do they fear that Iran might become a globally integrated, powerful, and stable islamic nation that they can't easily fuck with?

    Personally I fear starting a fight with a non-nuclear Iran while we have 150k in Iraq and a tight petroleum market.

    Posted by: toast on April 4, 2006 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

    Funny you bring up Vietnam. Iraq IS Vietnam all over again.

    ARGGHHHH!

    Call it what you want...a failure I'm sure in your most fervent dreams. But it is nothing like Viet Nam. Not jungle. Not cold war proxy battle against Commies (Russia and China). Not fighting war against another country that had a standing Army (NVA). No POWs. Miniscule casualties compared to Viet Nam. Oil. Islam. Elections. Kurd/Shia/Sunni power politics. Etc, etc., ET CETERA.

    Saying Iraq is Viet Nam is like saying Venus is Mars because it's not the Earth.

    Posted by: Red State Mike on April 4, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

    Vietnam - 8 years; 58,000 dead; nothing accomplished.

    Iraq - 3 years; 2300 dead; a deposed dictator, 11 million voters, three elections, an elected representative body of government, Saddam on trial, and a 200,000+ military and security force.

    Yea, that's comparable. What was your plan again praedor?
    "Real Surrender"

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

    Do neocons really fear that the Iranian government would martyr all their countrymen to blow up Tel Aviv...

    Do you really believe Iran and Ahmanijadimanijad is a completely rational actor? I mean, you have zero problem attributing irrationality to President Bush. why on Earth would you trust the Iranians to belive in MAD?

    Posted by: Red State Mike on April 4, 2006 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

    great point rsm, they have no problem atributing false rhetoric to GW, yet won't take Ahmendijad at his word.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

    But it does us no good whatsoever to completely remove a military strike from the table. For this President or the next one.

    I disagree. Our best strategy is to hamstring Bush then impeach him before the Iranians can build a bomb and after forcing him to appoint a Veep who will not likely lead the world into a nuclear disaster.

    Posted by: Boronx on April 4, 2006 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

    Of course the assholes are going to bomb Iran. Why else would they be testing a 700 pound bomb in Nevada in the next couple of weeks.

    Posted by: Ed on April 4, 2006 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

    We could open a monstrous can of whoop ass on Iran with impunity.
    Posted by: Red State Mike on April 4, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

    Nobody said we should take a strike off the table. But you're making the same mistake that Bush made for Iraq. The mistake that you can just fly air raids and expect to win a war. Nobody disputes that we couldn't bomb Iran back to the stone age. Yes, there's the worry about the odd SA-10. We lose planes in raids. We take out the sites. Then we carpet bomb the whole country. Then what?

    Then we have yet another bombed out third world shithole filled with 100 million people who are pissed off at America for the next 3 generations. And this is going to win our war on terror?

    You need boots on the ground to finish a war. Bombing their cites into piles of rubble will only start the war.

    Sure, if nobody ever had to go back there again, that would be fine. But they have oil. This is not a fight we want to get into. It's not a matter of fortitude, or willingness to back up tough talk. It's a matter of basic logic. There are a lot of rednecks who will mouth off at a bar, walk out into the parking lot, and kick the other redneck's ass. Then later regret how, in the process, they lost enough teeth where they can no longer eat corn on the cob.

    Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on April 4, 2006 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

    Because Ahmadinejad is the equivalent of Baghdad Bob. He is not the commander in chief. He has no power over the military. The people that do seem to act with bit more reserve.

    Posted by: toast on April 4, 2006 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

    BTW -- I speak for myself Jay not "liberal kind"

    Posted by: toast on April 4, 2006 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

    VJ:

    'tbrosz' posted:

    "This, and the other 'weapons,' have been the largest load of crap I have ever seen."

    Your cluelessness is repetitive.

    They aired video of that sucker flying through the air on the evening news tonight.

    Don't teach your grandma how to suck eggs. Sure that thing can fly. But it looks like something you'd see at Oshkosh. As configured in that movie, it would throw back a radar signature the size of a B-52's. Trust me, our military tech people are laughing their asses off at both Iran and the press.

    Posted by: tbrosz on April 4, 2006 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

    Nobody said we should take a strike off the table. But you're making the same mistake that Bush made for Iraq. The mistake that you can just fly air raids and expect to win a war.

    I don't think we will try to win a war. I think we will destroy their nuke capability and call it a day. Quick and fast. Tomahawks and what-not. Ground penetrating weapons. Then sit back and say, "Counterattack and we will destroy your country, not just your nuke capability."

    That's what I'd be talking about. But again, I really, really, really do not want it to come to this. At all. Period. War is politics by other means, and it means hte other means failed.

    I've always thought the Europeans held the key. We have only sticks. They have carrots. they've been happy to let us play "Bad cop". It's their turn.

    Posted by: Red State Mike on April 4, 2006 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

    Do you really believe Iran and Ahmanijadimanijad is a completely rational actor? I mean, you have zero problem attributing irrationality to President Bush. why on Earth would you trust the Iranians to belive in MAD?

    Part of a MAD strategy is not giving your enemy any room for disbelief.

    Posted by: Boronx on April 4, 2006 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

    "It's their turn" - rsm

    Why didn't I think of that.

    This is Israel's and the EU's fight and GW understands that.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

    Iraq - 3 years; 2300 dead; a deposed dictator, 11 million voters, three elections, an elected representative body of government, Saddam on trial, and a 200,000+ military and security force.
    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

    . . . ; sharia law, rule by fascist theocrats, sham constitution, sham elections, de-facto Iranian rule, death squads, daily bombings, $60/bbl oil and rising, no security, no infrastructure, looted national treasures, looted hundreds of tons of high explosives, largest take from criminal enterprise in human history (in addition to the $9 Billion "missing"), lack of domestic response for disasters, lack of credibility of US leadership, trolletariat idiocy. . .

    Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on April 4, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

    Then sit back and say, "Counterattack and we will destroy your country, not just your nuke capability."

    I think that's an empty threat unless their counterattack consists of a human wave attack across the border instead of attacks on shipping in the gulf.

    Posted by: Boronx on April 4, 2006 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

    We have only sticks. They have carrots.

    We have the biggest carrot of all: normalization of relations with the US, including trade relations, and unfreezing of their 25-year-old assets. That's what the Iranians want most. But we refuse to let ourselves think about using this carrot, for mainly domestic political reasons.

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 4, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

    This is Israel's and the EU's fight and GW understands that.
    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

    Good. Can I get my $3 Billion back from Israel now? I mean if this is their fight, why should I be paying for their defense?

    Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on April 4, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

    This is Israel's and the EU's fight and GW understands that.

    Wow, Jay. So if the US does go ahead and strike, you're actually going to admit that - gasp - GWB made a mistake? I know you think he won't do this, but I'm just sayin': if he does, you will actually come out in opposition to something the Godlike Dear Leader did?

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 4, 2006 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

    good job osama, spoken like a true loser. I knew one of you mindless libs would find the negative spin. How's this. Historic low unemployment at 4.7% only means that kids now don't have their parents home all day to read to them.

    BTW, do you suppose the 11 million Iraqi's that risked their life to vote, not once but three times, maybe have a different view than yours on THEIR OWN COUNTRY. But why care about them, I mean maniacal obsession can only be focused in one direction. Guess which direction yours is focused?

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

    The SEALS have "reconed" the place?

    I have some Dutch friends who have checked it out, too. They went there on a tourist visa last year. Said it was lovely.

    For some reason many Americans seem to believe the only way to see other countries is to first bomb them for 48 hours, then either parachute in or charge across the border in main battle tanks and light armored vehicles. It is, however, also possible to fly there using what people in the rest of the world term "airlines".

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 4, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

    Israel wouldn't even exist today had it not been for your generous tax dollars osama. Do you know why? It's because those other guys over there want them dead, you know the people that belong to that peaceful religion that we don't fully understand.

    brooks, if the administration takes the lead, yes I would be critical. They won't.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

    Will there be snacks?

    Posted by: IOKIYAR on April 4, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

    BTW, do you suppose the 11 million Iraqi's that risked their life to vote, not once but three times, maybe have a different view than yours on THEIR OWN COUNTRY.

    USA Today, April 29 2004: "Only a third of the Iraqi people now believe that the American-led occupation of their country is doing more good than harm, and a solid majority support an immediate military pullout even though they fear that could put them in greater danger, according to a new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll."

    The Telegraph (UK), Oct. 10 2005: "Millions of Iraqis believe that suicide attacks against British troops are justified, a secret military poll commissioned by senior officers has revealed. The poll, undertaken for the Ministry of Defence and seen by The Sunday Telegraph, shows that up to 65 per cent of Iraqi citizens support attacks and fewer than one per cent think Allied military involvement is helping to improve security in their country."

    UPI, Feb. 1 2006: "The majority of Iraqis want a timetable set for the withdrawal of United States forces even while believing that the presence of the military in their country is permanent, a new opinion poll shows....The most disturbing finding of the poll deals with terrorism and violence against the U.S. military. Eight-eight percent of Sunnis and 41 percent of Shias said that they approved of insurgent attacks on American forces."

    So there you go.

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 4, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

    'Jay' posted:

    "Look if Israel makes the strike and is backed up by the EU and the US, Iran will have to think twice about any retaliation."

    A) They wouldn't be "backed up" by the EU. Not after the mess the Bushies made in Iraq.

    B) Iran wouldn't even "think twice" about retaliating on our soil. They would do it in a NY minute.

    C) The Iraqi Shia could swamp our troops in Iraq.

    .

    "Somalia was a fine effort."

    That was Colin Powell's mess.

    .

    "And lobbying missles onto an aspirin factory in the Sudan worked out well."

    Gee, never saw an aspirin factory surrounded by military guards. You ?

    .

    "Carpet bombing Kosovo was another endearing effort."

    Most successful air campaign in American history.

    .

    "Iraq - 3 years; 2300 dead; a deposed dictator, 11 million voters, three elections, an elected representative body of government, Saddam on trial, and a 200,000+ military and security force"

    You left out the Bushies LOST the war.
    .

    Posted by: VJ on April 4, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

    'tbrosz' posted:

    "Sure that thing can fly. But it looks like something you'd see at Oshkosh. As configured in that movie, it would throw back a radar signature the size of a B-52's. Trust me, our military tech people are laughing their asses off at both Iran and the press."

    These are the same clowns that claimed we had "Stealth" technology.

    Who's laughing now ?
    .

    Posted by: VJ on April 4, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

    nathan, sorry I am late on this, didn't see your post. What are we trying to achieve? I know this is a tired cliche, but still true. The world changed on 9/11. The cancer that is the jihadists in the middle east can no longer be appeased nor ignored. I would say 50 years of misguided foreign policy got us where we are today. That being turning the other cheek when it came to tyrannical conflict. The vast majority of people worldwide want peace and freedom, unfortunately the people that enjoy that life looked the other way when it came to people that didn't for far too long and now when the madness finally reached our shores, we woke up. Correcting past mistakes will be costly and lengthy, but unless we stand up to the jihadists that belong to the "religion of peace", mayhem is what will become the norm.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

    Israel wouldn't even exist today had it not been for your generous tax dollars osama.

    This is a stinking lie which most Israelis would regard as borderline anti-Semitic. Israel won the 1948 War of Independence without a single penny of help from the US government - indeed, without even much diplomatic support. Israel never received any substantial US aid until AFTER the 1967 6-Day War. Israel exists because of the ingenuity, determination and competence of its own citizens. It is not some kind of artificial outpost propped up by US tax dollars.

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 4, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

    "Bushies lost the war" - VJ. You'd better tell that to Gen. Casey. He seems to think differently.

    "Somalia was a fine effort"
    That was Colin Powell's mess - VJ

    And there you have folks. The true hypocritical Clinton apologist. Clap harder.

    What was in that aspirin factory?, oh yeah aspirin. Clinton Lied.

    brooks, quoting polls from left of center sources are we? I will have to find some polls from right of center sources, for you to scoff at and I will get back to you on that. Here's one though from zogby Nov. 2005, over 70% of Iraqi's feel their country is headed in the right direction.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

    It was a little stretch there brooks, but I thought most people would realize that. In the typical liberal tradition though your selective outrage is touching.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

    "And once more: If Democrats don't start thinking about how they're going to respond to this, they're idiots. We don't always get to pick the issues to run on. Sometimes they're picked for us."

    Kevin, the democrats are "they" now? Are you finally giving up on "those" guys now?

    Posted by: Rick on April 4, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

    The world changed on 9/11.

    No it didn't. The entire period of the Cold War was FAR more dangerous than a few terrorists. Virtually every country of Western Europe experienced terrorist attacks throughout the Cold War and they didn't go nuts. We went through 230 years of history without going nuts, including during two world wars (with some stupid-assed close craziness with the detaining of American citizens with slanty eyes in gulags, that is).

    The ONLY thing that changed on 9/11 was you went from having clean diapers on to having a dirty diaper. I'm not a scared ass wimp. Most people aren't. YOU can cower and whine about those scary terrorists being a threat to the entire universe. The rest of us will go on with our lives.

    Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on April 4, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

    All this talk of grand strategy and military tactics (and ethics for that matter) is good and fine, but we should not forget that Generals Rove and Cheney are in charge. The midterms are coming and don't look too rosy at the moment. The Iraq thing and the facts on the ground might not be very conducive for a strike, but with right timing the effect on the polls and media might still be positive, and the resulting new mess might still be somehow potemkined in time for 2008. If not, well, stuff happens.

    Posted by: jonathan on April 4, 2006 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

    Also VJ you might want to confer with Chirac. He seems pretty adamant that Iran should not obtain the nuke. I never thought that Chirac would have more of a backbone than someone else. Congrats VJ.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

    Here's one though from zogby Nov. 2005, over 70% of Iraqi's feel their country is headed in the right direction.

    From November '05, real convincing.

    Posted by: haha on April 4, 2006 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

    There's a radical Islamist regime that seriously needs whacking...but it's not Iran (not yet, anyway), it's Sudan.

    Which I don't think Bush will go for; he'll simply join the throng of simpering Westerners calling for Something To Be Done (Long As We Don't Get Shot At) while the people of Darfur (and now Chad) continue dying by the tens of thousands.

    Anybody out there for stopping a genocide?

    (crickets)

    Posted by: Brian on April 4, 2006 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

    I never thought that Chirac would have more of a backbone than someone else.

    Said the worthless pussy who's too much of a coward to fight in Iraq. I love it!

    Posted by: haha on April 4, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

    brooks, quoting polls from left of center sources are we?

    Jay...you just make me laugh sometimes. The poll from October 2005 was conducted by the British Ministry of Defence. They're the ones who, you know, invaded the country with us.

    The poll from February 2006, "conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes, the website World Public Opinion and the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland, used data from a nationwide survey of 1,150 Iraqis from all 18 provinces; 150 Arab Sunnis were included as an oversample." I trust you will do your usual careful and unbiased job of determining whether the Center for International and Security Studies has a left-wing or right-wing bias.

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 4, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

    Democrats are thinking, they think towards the future of all and the empowerment of this nation's children. Sadly, this 'war on terror' will only beget more terror on all of us. Every culture has a right to it's own way of thinking and prospering, and in order to get back on track, the United States needs to look forward to the best interests of all, not just of this country. Is that so hard to imagine? Bush did not fail us, the 'system' did not fail us, but we have been forced into a state of fear that grps us by our very throats and refuses to let go. We have been poisoned into hating anything that doesn't agree with some 'moral code' on all ends. If we cannot forgive the past, we cannot affect the future. There are independent voting blocs at work who strive for public accountability and honesty everyday, and if we believe in our civil rights, we must vote accordingly instead of blindly being led by any pat answers. No one is always right, just believe it can get better and perhaps all of us can live together in an ideal world, without so much terror, without so much hate, without so much war. This Iraqi plan was something that was proposed over 25 years ago, so that we could have affect the future of other countries who have helped us in the past. It has worked for them, and it can work in the future. Narrowmindedness kills.

    Posted by: Christina L. Moyer on April 4, 2006 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

    "The rest of us will go on with our lives" - praedor.

    Try telling that to the people in the WTC on 9/11.

    Or to the people on the commuter trains in London and Madrid, or in the nightclubs in Jakarta or the to the innocent muslim that happens to walk by the wrong car, or more importantly, to the kids that went to grade school in Beslan that one morning.

    I am glad you're not my friend.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

    I will cede you the Ministry of Defense. UPI and the Gallup poll? Give me a break!

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

    Anybody out there for stopping a genocide?

    Oh please, the "genocide" in Sudan is no different than the average number of homocides for one weekend in Cleveland.
    Same with U.S. troops killed in Iraq. Until it gets worse than crime in this country, I simply don't care.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

    Jay: " In the typical liberal tradition though"

    My irritation was not liberal but Zionist. I spent part of my childhood in Israel, and your statement offended me. I am certain that rabid right-wing West Bank settlers would have found your comment equally annoying.

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 4, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

    Also, 1,150 sample size for the poll vs 11 million voters in three elections. Guess which "poll" carries more weight?

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

    Don't forget to tell the victims and families of 9/11 why we still haven't caught OBL "dead or alive" after more than four years already.

    Bush=dismal failure and disgrace.

    Posted by: haha on April 4, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

    Oh please, the "genocide" in Sudan is no different than the average number of homocides for one weekend in Cleveland.

    You're a Nazi.

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 4, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

    What price freedom? In order to defend ourselves we destroyed our positions. You can govern by abject fear, but I somehow think that was in the mind of the Founding Fathers who also saw off threats that make this current attack look, well, relatively puny. I, by the way, believe that the leader behind it is still on free foot and unconnected to the former regime in Iraq. I still count some Bush believers as my friends, brains are not always the most important thing, but I do hate those that knowingly are taking us towards the end of the Republic.

    Posted by: jonathan on April 4, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

    Brooks, my heartfelt apologies. Not. If you would actually accept reality, Israel would have been history had it not been for the support of the US. Period.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

    Wasn't my post brooks. It was one of your tolerant liberal friends.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

    Incidentally, 200,000 people have been exterminated in Sudan over the last 3 years.

    The population of the city of Cleveland is under 500,000.

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 4, 2006 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

    Give me liberty or death? No, give me unwarranted searches, wiretaps and torture instead, I mean this is not like there would be a hostile superpower with the means to kill all of us. This is like serious.

    Posted by: jonathan on April 4, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

    haha, remember Eric Rudolph? Took Clinton five years to get him and he never left the state of Georgia.

    Clinton=dismal failure and disgrace (or was it stain)

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

    Iranian threat in context of dollar hegemony as explained by Rep. Ron Paul.

    War is always fought over money. Democracy and freedom are just propaganda terms to convince the poor to risk their lives for the bad investments of the rich.

    Posted by: k_the_c on April 4, 2006 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

    anyone surprised that a Bush-worshipping moronic douchebag like Jay is an anti-semitic Nazi? I would love for him to actually go over to Israel and say that to their faces. But we all know that he's also a cowardly pussy who's too afraid to even leave his parents' house.

    Posted by: haha on April 4, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

    Now I know why you're friends with the other tolerant liberals brooks.

    ROTFLOL at all of the "intellectually superior and tolerant" liberals who can not stand disagreement.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

    Ossama,

    "There are a lot of rednecks who will mouth off at a bar, walk out into the parking lot, and kick the other redneck's ass. Then later regret how, in the process, they lost enough teeth where they can no longer eat corn on the cob."

    This is the funniest shit I've read on this site in quite a while. My hat is off to you.

    Posted by: Dismayed Liberal on April 4, 2006 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

    jonathan, so you voted for McDermott?

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

    haha, I think the people of Israel understand that a lot better than you. But hey thanks for playing and thank you for your efforts in Iraq.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

    LOL, typical moronic douchebag wingnut response Jay. "Clinton!"

    Thanks for the tacit admission that Bush is too impotent to catch the worst terrorist ever.

    Posted by: haha on April 4, 2006 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

    If you would actually accept reality, Israel would have been history had it not been for the support of the US. Period.

    This is laughable. You have nothing - nothing on your side. No historian, even the most radically post-Zionist, has ever suggested this to be the case. You could arguably make a case that US support in the UN in '47 was crucial to getting the initial declaration of partition. But you can't make the case on military support. It's ridiculous. Until the mid-60s, Israel flew French jets. By '67 it also had US Phantoms, but it paid for them. (I don't imagine you're suggested the US could actually have BANNED arms sales to Israel, just that it might have ended military aid.) Large-scale US military aid didn't begin until the Nixon admin, and it was intended as Cold War alliance-building; it wasn't military necessity. In the '72 war the US did rush through emergency spare parts and other supplies, but the idea that Israel might actually have been overrun in that war is ludicrous; the Egyptians never got further than halfway across the Sinai. By the end Sharon had encircled the Egyptian 3rd Army and was poised to destroy it and march to Cairo if the US hadn't brought the Egyptians to the negotiating table.

    The great bulk of US aid has come in the 30+ years since Israel stopped facing any serious threat from Arab armies. Those armies today, having lost their Soviet patrons, are a joke.

    The views I'm expressing here are not revisionist. They are mainstream, accepted, and obvious. Your view is a confused extrapolation of AIPAC propaganda making the case that continued US aid to Israel is crucial to the nation's survival.

    I don't even know who you are, since Jay seems to disavow you, but you're totally wrong.

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 4, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

    Let's see, Israel's existence as a stand alone.

    Israeli population = 6.2 million
    Arab population = 1 billion

    Do the math.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

    my homepage

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

    Every Arab country on the planet understands that a fight with Israel is a fight with the US.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

    Jay: went away for a while. Don't understand all this weapon detail. We have about 50% of the worlds formal defence spending so we'd better be able to kick any body else if we want/need to.

    I'm a little uncomfortable with Jihadist as it very much has a number of different meanings to Arabs, even an internal spiritual struggle. Maybe you'd agree al-Qaeda and ilk.

    When this all started we had one rich Saudi drop-out and his band of brothers who developed a capability to strike at the US mostly because we were "there" in the Islamic countries. Neither Clinton nor Bush took this threat seriously until 11th September.

    Iraq has been on Wolfowitz's screen since 1993? and in the PACN sights since at least '98. This incursion has beena total distraction--$300 billion and God knows what resources and life--from dealing with the actual threat.

    So far, we have been so dumb and played right into the al-Qaeda game. All we've done so far is help them, broaden their support, with some damage to them and quite a bit to the broader us: Bali, Milan, London.

    Time to refocus. Exceptnow we've given ourselves a headache to deal with.

    Posted by: notthere on April 4, 2006 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

    I think the people of Israel understand that a lot better than you.

    They definitely understand it a lot better than you. But by all means, spew that bullshit to an Israeli's face sometime(man or woman), and see what reaction you get. Hopefully someone will be there to take pictures.

    Posted by: haha on April 4, 2006 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

    Depleted of any debating arsenal, haha resorts to personal attacks. He is now qualified to be the DNC chairperson. Well done.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

    Arab population = 1 billion

    You have confused "Muslim" and "Arab", but that's not surprising, given the intellectual level of your posts in general.

    How's this: black population of sub-Saharan Africa in the apartheid years: 600 million

    White population of apartheid South Africa: about 6 million

    Did black African nations pose a serious existential military threat to apartheid South Africa?

    "For we have got the Maxim gun, and they have not." - Kipling

    Note also that the US never provided any aid to the Israeli program to develop nuclear weapons. Given the percentage of Jews among the world's leading nuclear physicists in the early 20th century, what's surprising is not that the Jewish state should have been able to develop nuclear weapons; what's surprising is that the US did it first.

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 4, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

    Depleted of any debating arsenal, haha resorts to personal attacks.

    I raise or lower my discourse to the level of whomever I'm addressing.

    So now I'm down here on the level of you and Tom Delay.

    Posted by: haha on April 4, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

    haha I'm a member of the master race

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

    Yeah, do the math, suckers.

    Posted by: Goran on April 4, 2006 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

    then again, I could use douchebag Jay's tactic, and just scream "Clinton" when confronted with facts--such as Bush's failure to get the person responsible for 9/11.

    Posted by: haha on April 4, 2006 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

    Well a good friend of mine is Jewish and originally from Tel Aviv. He understands it, does that count?

    notthere, I agree that we have not effectively dealt with it, but continuing to treat it as a nuisance or police matter is suicide. Money and technology and the time to develop both, have made the jihadists a serious threat. The problem is that I think we and Israel are still the only countries to truly understand that. 11 million Iraqi's represent the vast majority of that country and they risked their lives to vote for change. The jihadists minority are fighting for their lives and will kill anyone, anywhere to hang onto power.

    I disagree that we have broadened their support, I will agree though that ambivalence and talk of failure encourages them to continue the fight.

    Iraq should have been on everyones radar screen, had we dealt with it then, it would have been much easier. If we don;t deal with it today, tomorrow doesn't look too good.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

    Red State Mike: I don't think we will try to win a war. I think we will destroy their nuke capability and call it a day. Quick and fast.

    We might get away with it, and with minimal casualties and fallout. There will likely be significant fallout in the region, but that might blow over.

    Then sit back and say, "Counterattack and we will destroy your country, not just your nuke capability."

    A massive a post-strike Iranian response may justify wide-scale US retaliation. And it might not. It's not the US public you're going to have to convince, but the people in the region. If Iran might chose to expand the conflict, whether by conventional or unconventional means, there's little we could do to contain it.


    p.s. The Shkval was an extraordinarily slick piece of engineering 30+ years ago when it was developed and first deployed. A terminal homing version today would not be surprising. Multi-stage/segmented designs have been suggested.

    Posted by: has407 on April 4, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

    Exactly who runs South Africa today brooks?

    That's hysterical.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

    The "architect" of 9/11 is in prison. Shaikh Mohammed. Care to try again haha?

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

    Every Arab country on the planet understands that a fight with Israel is a fight with the US.

    Only under Democratic presidents. That's why attacks against israel tripled as soon as Bush took office, and he's stood by and done nothing. No, the Israelis and their enemies are under no illusions about which party bests protects them in their time of need.

    Posted by: Goran on April 4, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

    You know when I woke up this morning the first thing that came to my mind was " What insignificant third world country should be on my radar screen today" You know it's hard work being an american look at all the shit we got to worry about just gives me the flutters.

    Posted by: boy george on April 4, 2006 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

    Poor Jay, him no like facts. OBL is laughing at you.

    Posted by: haha on April 4, 2006 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

    "Dead or alive"--apparently alive until we get a competent president.

    Posted by: haha on April 4, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

    Just demonstrating your selective criticism haha. It's just too easy.

    Posted by: Jay on April 4, 2006 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

    Well a good friend of mine is Jewish

    "Why, some of mah best friends are Negroes"

    Exactly who runs South Africa today

    Sorry - was there a war? I seem to have missed it. The National Party came to the negotiating table with the ANC because of Western economic sanctions and isolation. There was never a military part to the equation - the ANC's terrorist attacks were insubstantial (to its credit), and its "guerrillas" were a pea-shooter. They basically served as an excuse for hard-right racists to maintain power, much as PLO terrorism functioned to benefit Likud.

    What's driving Israeli territorial and political compromise isn't the 500+ million Arabs. They don't do shit to Israel, one way or the other; they've never shown the slightest inclination to stick up for their Palestinian "brethren". What's driving it is the daily resistance (rockets, suicide bombers, rock throwers) of 5 million Palestinians in the Territories, who obviously don't pose any existential threat to Israel itself.

    Israel isn't compromising because it faces any existential threat. Israel is here to stay, US support or no. But Israelis don't want to face suicide bombers in their malls anymore, and they're sick of the whole goddamn argument with the Palestinians. So they're going to pull out of the Territories, build a wall, and let the Palestinians rot. It would have been nice if this situation could have been settled through amicable negotiations for true peace in the '90s, and if Rabin hadn't been assassinated and Arafat hadn't been a corrupt wuss, that might have happened. But now it's too late.

    In any case, US aid to Israel doesn't have much to do with anything at this point, except weird resentment by certain people whose motivations remain inexplicable to me.

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 4, 2006 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

    2 more years think gw will have us finished off by then.

    Posted by: Neo the commissar on April 4, 2006 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK
    cm, if the EU and Israel lead on Iran, (and there is conflict) any retaliation in Iraq will bring the EU into Iraq more prominently

    That assumes quite a lot, and changes the scenario -- which was Israel taking the lead, and the EU merely being supportive.

    Though given the EUs unwillingness to get more involved in Iraq now, I don't see how it getting worse their is going to make them more willing to get involved.

    The EUs leaders would have to be as stupid as ours to do that, and I don't see much evidence of that.

    Of course its more likely that the EU "support" of Israel would amount more to regretting the "overreaction" but saying that Iran's intransigence brought it on, and urging restraint going forward from all parties and blah blah blah, rather than any substance, anyhow.

    Not that Israel shows much sign of looking for an excuse to bomb Iran, anyhow.

    Posted by: cmdicely on April 4, 2006 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

    Where's OBL Jay? When's your hero gonna find him "dead or alive"?

    Funny, I thought Bush was supposed to be such an improvement over Clinton, but apparently Clinton is your gold standard.

    Posted by: haha on April 4, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

    The Irani problem would have been solved long time ago but for the fact that the President's hands were tied by the liberals who would have been hysterical if the President did the right thing and dropped a nuclear device on Iran.

    Posted by: tbrosz on April 4, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

    Do you really believe Iran and Ahmanijadimanijad is a completely rational actor?

    No such thing; then again, MAD doesn't require complete rationality. Indeed, MAD is precisely a means of dealing with the absence of complete rationality, as it proposes such a radically disproportional response to any attack that nothing even approximating complete rationality is needed for it to work.

    If anything its weakness is that MAD is a completely irrational strategy, which relies not on the opponent being completely rational, but the opponent believing you are not.

    Posted by: cmdicely on April 4, 2006 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

    Of course, nobody who sells oil is all that sad about the prospect of $100/bbl.

    But each seller would be sad if $100/bbl was a result of them being unable to get anything to market.

    Posted by: cmdicely on April 4, 2006 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

    ROTFLOL at all of the "intellectually superior and tolerant" liberals

    You can rot and flol all you want, Jay. But you are correct: we are intellectually superior to you, and we are tolerant.

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 4, 2006 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

    a completely rational actor?

    No such thing

    Another cmdicely coup.

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 4, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

    The link below to an article by by Mark Gaffney called:
    Iran: A Bridge too Far?


    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article7147.htm

    is one scary bit of work. More detail about the Sunburn missile than you want to know.
    An excerpt:
    " The Sunburn can deliver a 200-kiloton nuclear payload, or: a 750-pound conventional warhead, within a range of 100 miles, more than twice the range of the Exocet. The Sunburn combines a Mach 2.1 speed (two times the speed of sound) with a flight pattern that hugs the deck and includes violent end maneuvers to elude enemy defenses. The missile was specifically designed to defeat the US Aegis radar defense system. Should a US Navy Phalanx point defense somehow manage to detect an incoming Sunburn missile, the system has only seconds to calculate a fire solution not enough time to take out the intruding missile. The US Phalanx defense employs a six-barreled gun that fires 3,000 depleted-uranium rounds a minute, but the gun must have precise coordinates to destroy an intruder just in time."

    Posted by: Theophilus on April 4, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

    But each seller would be sad if $100/bbl was a result of them being unable to get anything to market.

    Yeah, but if we keep having wolf-crying SCARES about shortages, without any actual interruptions in supplies, which is the way things have been going for the last few years...don't these guys make a killing?

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 4, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

    Jay:
    Well, I agree that we have to finish what we start. Powell: "You break it . . .." But GW has already handed Iraq onto the next administration without making any intellectual leaps to correct the situation.

    Beating al-Qaeda and the enemies of the US has nothing to do with the war in Iraq or starting another with Iran; these are just complicating what started as a relatively simple problem.

    Intelligence comes to my mind as the starting point, hopefully humint soon. I see the UK spy within the IRA got murdered today after outing himself(?) last year. He worked his way to the top level and was there within the IRA 20 years. Throwing bombs and soldiers around the world wherever we see possible threats is NO solution. This is going to be a long war. The enemy need to be isolated and eliminated, not succoured.

    The opposition within Iraq, except for a few visitors who will not be welcome once Iraqis govern themselves in any form, are home grown and will stay there if we leave them a country worth staying in. Or unless we leave them with a grudge towards us.

    Equally, Iran has no direct need to go to war against the US. They have their own population problem coming at them very rapidly and need to sell oil. Hopefully at as low a price as the market bears without disruption.

    'Cos we're still addicted. but that's another story.

    Posted by: notthere on April 4, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

    If anything its weakness is that MAD is a completely irrational strategy, which relies not on the opponent being completely rational, but the opponent believing you are not.

    In Israel's case, massive retaliation would be a lot less irrational than it was in the US/USSR paradigm. And an Iranian first strike would be a lot less rational.

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 4, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

    iran does not currently possess a nuclear weapon. recently comments by people smarter than me say iran can't have a nuke for about 5 years. i know how we can get iran on that fast-track to nukes. it's simple.

    we attack. 14 days of bombing ought to be just enough incentive for tehran to borrow one from the ISI or pyong yong. i'm sure someone out there has copies of dr. a q kahn's rolodex.

    in those same 14 days, iran's army marches west toward iraq. they know the road, been there before when they sent half a million troops to attack saddam's army. at the same time, all the gates in the green zone slam shut. locked from the inside.

    all tanker traffic in the straits of hormuz stops, because it just takes one missile to close the straits for the foreseeable future. how long would it take to salvage a big tanker when the iranian army is shooting at your salvage crew?

    and the sleeper cells in america. hezbollah takes the call from tehran, passes the message to Joe's House of Falafel in NYC. regular customers find a fortune cookie in their order. "call (555) 555-1212, tell whoever answers that the wedding is scheduled for tuesday." seemingly random terror attacks occur across the US. The next few days see martial law imposed in the 50 largest US cities. Hundreds die, thousands are jailed.

    and 10 certifiably-insane old men in Tehran (who have nothing to live for) spend their last two weeks on earth deciding where to put their two nukes. I'm guessing London and Rome. i wouldn't be surprised if the travel arrangements aren't already booked. "yes sir, i have two one-way reservations: mr. fat boy to london, mr. little man to new york. vias or mastercard? i'm sorry, we don't accept fatwa-card. yes, cash will be fine...."

    really, is there any way an attack won't play out like this? do we really trust W and Big Time not to fuck up again? before we let them attack, i want W to sit down and tell us what he expects to happen, week by week in the months following. and when his predictions don't pan out, i'll say "we need someone with a better track record running this show. the vision thing, you know?... go back and work on those projections some more, you're the MBA president, aintcha?"

    but by all means, attack, mr. president. those neocons really want to persuade us that they're the meanest, craziest mothas on earth. anyone left alive will have no doubt that the neocons - and all those brave patriots of the 101st fighting keyboarders - really were crazy.

    Posted by: dopey-o on April 5, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

    The generals are saying that the military option is not wise at this time. Let's listen to the experts this time and not the neocon rabble and amatuers.

    Posted by: bblog on April 5, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

    and the sleeper cells in america.

    There are no sleeper cells in America. They would have woken up a long time ago.

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 5, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

    Theophilus:

    I read that article...linked to through Raw Story. The guy's illiterate when it comes to military affairs and his information is outdated. He didn't even know what the acronym RAM stands for (hint: anything within the Moskit's range (max - 120 miles) is not going to be using the phalanx for close defense, it will be using the RAM). No, we're not putting a carrier battle group within range...there's no need to.
    As for the Schkmal, again, you have to have a launcher (whether surface or sub) within range...how are you going to accomplish that?

    Iran can reap all sorts of havoc in Iraq and even through terrorist acts in the west...but the Raw Story guys are pretty clueless on the military stuff.

    Posted by: Nathan on April 5, 2006 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

    Sure that thing can fly. But it looks like something you'd see at Oshkosh. As configured in that movie, it would throw back a radar signature the size of a B-52's. Trust me, our military tech people are laughing their asses off at both Iran and the press.

    The Iranian torpedo is a propaganda tool. They released the video for public consumption, not to scare the military brass. It follows the same logic as our public test of the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) in 2003, just before the invasion of Iraq. Did we use it? Don't know. Haven't heard about it since.

    Fact is we can beat the Iranians highest tech weapons, even if they work. It's the little stuff that causes all the problems. The box cutters on planes, the garage door openers jerry-rigged to trigger explosives, the homemade bombs and the rabid militias. They won't send a tank formation after our troops, but if you don't think they could cause huge problems in the Gulf you're not paying attention. Sink a few tankers in the Gulf, destroy a few refineries, mobilize al-Sadr's men and they can cause bigger problems than sinking one of our ships.

    Posted by: mike on April 5, 2006 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

    A lot of people write about how Iran's "leader," Ahmadinejad, said that he wanted to wipe "israel off the map." I don't understand why anybody cares what he says. The Iranian President has about enough power to wipe his ass without permission, as former reformist President Khatami showed when he failed to get any reform done. My 30 seconds of research turned up the following from the actual leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, who said the following last november, shortly after Ahmadinejad's comments.

    "We believe, according to our Islamic principles, that neither throwing the Jews into the sea nor putting the Palestinian land on fire is logical and reasonable. Our position is that the Palestinian people should regain their rights. Palestine belongs to Palestinians, and the fate of Palestine should also be determined by the Palestinian people...We have suggested that all native Palestinians, whether they are Muslims, Christians or Jews, should be allowed to take part in a general referendum before the eyes of the world and decide on a Palestinian government."

    Agree or disagree with that stance, but it hardly suggests imminent nuclear warfare or insanity. I don't understand why Iran is considered such a crazy, dangerous state. Yes, they do support Shiite terrorists in Lebanon who fought against Israeli occupation. Yes, the Ayatollahs are tyrannous thugs. But the United States has supported similar terrorist groups and tyrants throughout the world for decades. The Iranians haven't attacked anybody, their only major war was in self-defense against Western-supported Iraq. Given that, I fail to see how Iran threatens the West and why we need to attack to prevent them from possibly acquiring nuclear weapons.

    Posted by: Skyler on April 5, 2006 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

    OSBL destroyed billions of dollars, 2 buildings, 3,000 lives with 3 airplanes he did not even pay for . . .
    Attacking Iran will be a Rapture Christians wet dream . . . a couple flaming Saudi refineries, a sunk tanker or two, a million Muslims hotter than Karl Rove at a Gannon Pole Dance . . . makes for a very unstable world even if no magic missles even TOUCH a US carrier . . .
    Bubble-Boy should be tried per Nuremberg and United Nations for his crimes BEFORE he paints a U2 UN blue and flys 50 feet above an Iranian gun battery . . .

    Posted by: Jess_Wonderin on April 5, 2006 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

    Officials believe this will put an end to the crisis? For a short while perhaps.

    Posted by: Evagrius on April 5, 2006 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK

    "For months, I have told interviewers that no senior political or military official was seriously considering a military attack on Iran. In the last few weeks, I have changed my view. In part, this shift was triggered by colleagues with close ties to the Pentagon and the executive branch who have convinced me that some senior officials have already made up their minds: They want to hit Iran."

    I'm sure some senior officials really do want to hit Iran (and Syria). Shit, I want to rip fat lines of cocaine off Kate Moss' ass, always have, but there exists, sadly, an unbridgable chasm between desire over here and reality over there. The fact that "some officials" want this does not mean it will or can happen. The U.S. military is at a breaking point, especially its air power, which has been called on more frequently to fill the void left by U.S. troops being pulled back into their desert citadels. The massive strain placed on our military apparatus has been documented extensivley.

    Yet maybe he's merely suggesting that some officials advocate a quick surgical strike into the heart of Iran, blow up the reactor and take out some military installations to boot. A scaled down shock and awe, perhaps? But what's the point of that, considering a) Iran is not really a nuclear threat anyways, which our smarter generals must surely understand; b) a limited strike would enrage the Shia of Iraq and the insurgency would explode in our faces; and c) given that most Americans oppose the war and its costs, it's unlikely to produce the same warm and fuzzy feelings of patriotism the past two wars have, thereby diminishing its political utility.

    That said, I believe we will attack Iran, sometime this summer, and the Democratic respone will be the same as it was two years ago: vote for us because we can wage war smarter, stronger, faster, than those bumbling neo-cons...

    Posted by: smedleybutler on April 5, 2006 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

    Save your money cause you'll need it to buy gas after they hit Iran, after Iran hits our ships and after Hormuz closes

    Posted by: anon on April 5, 2006 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

    Or to the people on the commuter trains in London and Madrid

    Was on the jubilee line that morning, Jay.

    Took the next day off work - rode the tube to work again on the monday. As did almost every London commuter.

    Your cowardice only enables the terrorists.

    Posted by: Shinobi on April 5, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

    " 'Bushies lost the war' - VJ. You'd better tell that to Gen. Casey. He seems to think differently."

    He sure does. He claimed the majority of the Americans troops would be out of Iraq by the Fall of 2003.

    .

    " 'Somalia was a fine effort' 'That was Colin Powell's mess - VJ' And there you have folks. The true hypocritical Clinton apologist. Clap harder."

    Ah, you better go back and check Poppy Bush's speeches.

    .

    "What was in that aspirin factory?, oh yeah aspirin. Clinton Lied."

    Nope. You did.

    .

    "brooks, quoting polls from left of center sources are we? I will have to find some polls from right of center sources, for you to scoff at and I will get back to you on that. Here's one though from zogby Nov. 2005, over 70% of Iraqi's feel their country is headed in the right direction."

    You must be channeling someone else, as I never posted anything in regards to Brooks.

    .

    "Also VJ you might want to confer with Chirac. He seems pretty adamant that Iran should not obtain the nuke."

    Has he threatened military force ? I thought not. Chirac backed UN Resolution 1441 against Iraq as well, which did not include the use of military force.

    .

    "Congrats VJ."

    Thanks.

    .

    "The 'architect' of 9/11 is in prison."

    Which one ?

    Every time the Bushies grab some Arab cab driver, they claim he was the "Mastermind of 9/11" or the "Architect of 9/11" or the "Number three guy in al-Qaeda".
    .

    Posted by: VJ on April 5, 2006 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

    One question to those who know more about military capabilities than I do (i.e. just about everyone)

    If Israel attacked the Iranian nuclear programme, would they have to overfly Iraq or could they swing south over Saudi Arabia? Given that the US controls Iraqi airspace, the forst option probably wouldn't go down too well in Iraq, either.

    Posted by: MikeN on April 5, 2006 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

    Oh, and speaking of Chirac, he volunteered to be transferred to Algeria during the War of Independence, and was wounded there.

    Posted by: MikeN on April 5, 2006 at 2:52 AM | PERMALINK

    I've only gotten throught about 1/5 of the comments, but the only things I've seen from a democrat that suggests even the slightest consideration what will actually happen when we finally attack Iran is Marcus Sitz: "If we blow something up in Iran, Sadr's thugs will be taken entirely off the leash...not to create an Iranian puppet in Iraq (Arab antipathy towards Iran will emerge before that happens) but to create chaos, with American soldiers the witness and evidence of the chaos."

    I doubt Sadr types could do much damage beyond making some headline and devastating some innocent families.

    Posted by: aaron on April 5, 2006 at 3:16 AM | PERMALINK

    MikeN -- They could go around, either under through Saudi Arabia, or above through Turkey. (The '81 Osirak raid went partly through Saudi Arabia IIRC.) Regardless of route (over, under or through), very few would believe the US didn't provide at least tacit approval, if not active participation to help hide the flights.

    However, there are many more targets that would likely have to be hit in Iran--very different from the Osirak raid.

    A war game sponsored by The Atlantic* estimated a 5-day operation to "To set back its [Iran's] nuclear program significantly", and included all types of air assets (cruise, stealth, land- and sea-based aircraft). There were 25 targets and 300 aim points identified spread across the country, of which about 20 would require penetrating weapons (e.g., "bunker buster"). However, some CBW targets were included so I'm not sure what a "nuclear only" option would look like.


    * Will Iran Be Next?, James Fallows, The Atlantic Monthly, December 2004. Available here; subscription required.

    Posted by: has407 on April 5, 2006 at 3:31 AM | PERMALINK

    The Democrats should come out right now and say we don't want to go to war against Iran. Period. They should say to Bush, if you think the military option is "on the table", then take it off the table. Say they repudiate the doctrine of "pre-emption". Say the United States should not go around attacking countries that haven't attacked us or our allies, unless there's genocide in progress or something equally urgent.

    At this moment, a substantial majority of Americans would strongly agree with the statement "The United States should not go to war against Iran." Now is the time to start positioning ourselves this way.

    Posted by: brooksfoe on April 5, 2006 at 3:52 AM | PERMALINK

    When do we start talking about Post-America?

    Posted by: Duck of Death on April 5, 2006 at 4:54 AM | PERMALINK

    If the Bush administration is really insane enough to strike at Iran, then our current quagmire in Iraq will look like a picknic compared to the utter chaos and devastation such an insane act would cause. Unlike Saddam Hussein who had to sit and take it when Israel bombed him, Iran has many ways that it can retaliate. For example, they can completely disrupt the flow of petroleum to the West. They will be in a postion to attack our forces in Iraq. They will be able to engage in an air attack against Israel using poison gas. While the Israeli Air Force would shoot MOST of the Iranian planes down, they would most likely not get them all. Israel could then well retaliate for a poison gas attack by nuking Tehran with Pakistan using its nuclear weapons and missles to retaliate against the West (The Mushareff government would not survive under such conditions).
    Only truly insane leaders can really believe that an attack on Iran by the U.S. would improve things, but Bush, Cheney, and Rummy may just be crazy enough to do it.

    Posted by: CaptainVideo on April 5, 2006 at 4:59 AM | PERMALINK

    "A war game sponsored by The Atlantic* estimated a 5-day operation to "To set back its [Iran's] nuclear program significantly",

    Did the war game include the likely Iranian retaliation in determining the outcome?

    Posted by: CaptainVideo on April 5, 2006 at 5:03 AM | PERMALINK

    "The Dems don't seem to be able to address any issue without resorting to childish anti-Bush rants."

    The rants are not childish, they are an objective description of reality.

    George Bush is an inept, clueless little man who is in way over his head. If he had not been born into wealth and priviledge, he would be holding down some low level clerical job in some corporate carrell. Instead he is holding a position he is utterly unqualified for.

    If an incompetent President at least has competent advisors, the damage he will do can be minimized. But people like Cheney, Rummy, Wolfowitz, Feith and similar are all in their own ways as clueless and incompetent as Bush. Therefore the Bush foreign policy has been an absolute disaster.

    "If the blind lead the blind, they will all fall into a ditch."

    Posted by: CaptainVideo on April 5, 2006 at 5:20 AM | PERMALINK

    Excuse me, but why is it that the German press knew in OCtober of 2002 that we were going to invade Iraq in March 2003 -- and why is it that the German press two months ago was reporting that Washington had decided to start an air war against Iran in April/May of 2006...? ANd the American press had no idea? How is that possible?

    Dan in BAltimore

    Posted by: Dan CObb on April 5, 2006 at 7:03 AM | PERMALINK

    Excuse me, but why is it that the German press knew in OCtober of 2002 that we were going to invade Iraq in March 2003 -- and why is it that the German press two months ago was reporting that Washington had decided to start an air war against Iran in April/May of 2006...? ANd the American press had no idea? How is that possible?

    Dan in BAltimore

    Posted by: Dan CObb on April 5, 2006 at 7:04 AM | PERMALINK

    Childish anti-Bush rants?

    That's a good one. Kind of like the "Well, Clinton did it too" defense that every major figure on the Right uses when any Republican does something wrong. Talk about childish...

    Posted by: Aaron on April 5, 2006 at 7:05 AM | PERMALINK

    Honestly, the Democrats should be talking about REAL alternatives--for example, decreasing the size of our footprint in the Middle East altogether, and lessening our fanataical support for Israel. That is what's fueling the terrorism.

    Posted by: JP on April 5, 2006 at 7:33 AM | PERMALINK

    All of the foregoing comments can be summarized in the following fact-based cost/benefit analysis of a US strike on Iran:

    1. The upside for the U.S. of such a strike would be, at best, a delay of 3-5 years in Iranian development of nuclear weapons. Even achieving that kind of delay would require a great deal more than a few cruise missile strikes. Because Iranian nuclear facilities are deeply buried, it would take (at a minimum) a concerted bombing attack consisting of multiple waves lasting at least several days. Given U.S. air strike doctrine, that would mean not only attacking Iran's nuclear sites, but also taking out their air defense systems and their entire air force, which is based all around the country. This would necessarily result in a significant amount of collateral damage to civilian facilities.

    2. The downside for the U.S. of such a strike is essentially incalculable. We do not know, and have no way of knowing, how the Iranians would respond, how the Shiites in Iraq would respond, how other Islamic countries would respond, or how opportunistic opponents like Russia and N. Korea would respond. We do know that whatever those responses were they would not necessarily take place immediately, but could come over a period of years. (For example a 100% Islamic boycott of all American products and services that might last for a decade.)

    3. The range of these possible responses is in principle unlimited: from an oil boycott to a military attack on US forces in Iraq, to terrorist attacks, to a termination of tanker traffic in the Persian Gulf, to who knows what. For most of the nonconventional responses, we have essentially no way to counter-respond.

    4. A U.S. attack on Iran would assist Osama bin Laden in achieving his long-term goal of a clash of civilizations between the Islamic and western worlds, and of a takeover of the former by radical Islamic elements.

    5. On the other hand, if Iran got a nuclear weapon (or 6) that would not be the end of the world. MAD works best when you remove the M. Any Iranian use of nuclear weapons could be followed immediately by the assured destruction of Iran, with zero risk of the destruction of the United States.

    6. The poster who said that Iran's president does not run the country is exactly correct. The mullahs who do run the country (unlike the current president) are not crazy. They are most likely to be driven into approving some "crazy" action (like nuking Tel Aviv) by rage at an American attempt to preempt them from obtaining nuclear weapons, which they regard as their inherent sovereign right. (It is useful to remember that essentially all of Iran's near neighbors already have nuclear weapons. This includes India, Pakistan, Israel, Russia, China, and the U.S. and Britain which have forces in Iraq.)

    7. All of the above suggests that a U.S. preemptive strike against Iran would be both futile and crazy. It is, therefore, very likely to happen, probably just before the November elections.

    8. As for the Democrats, the only way they could do anything productive is by urging restraint now, based on some of the points stated above. Whether they will do that or not remains to be seen.


    Posted by: Bill on April 5, 2006 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

    The Bush administration is not pumping up or promoting a war with Iran in any way. It is worse than being a disingenuous lie to say so, it is being so snarkily facetious as to undermine and defeat your own point.

    The Bush team knows they are up to their armpits in Iraq. They also know that they have engaged the attention of most of the active terrorists in the world, which is not a bad thing. If you create a battlefield that a guerilla enemy can not resist and is drawn to like a moth to a flame, you are doing it right, militarily.

    But nobody on Dubya's staff thinks that a war with Iran would be some type of genius political move that would magically resurrect public support. They don't allow themselves such cheery thoughts because the reality is that such support will never happen.

    The actual whole problem here is that Iran insists on trying to provoke the U.S.A., or Israel, or both, into something rash. There is no other reason to be testing good Russian torpedo-missiles designed to sink large aircraft carriers. The things are expensive and Russian military goods usually hit their modest design specs off the shelf, so why waste an expensive missile?

    To provoke the U.S.A. Kind of the same thing as taking our embassy hostage. Be as outrageous as you can be, all of the time. If they had Buddhist shrines in Iran, the current Tehran government would probably go out and blow them up.

    Posted by: Michael L. Cook on April 5, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

    > Anybody out there for stopping a genocide?

    In the bestseller "Problem from Hell", Power lays out the history of how US has been far more pro-genocide than anti-genocide. After the US refused to sign the anti-genocide treaty for 40 years, Reagan finally was driven to it to divert attention from how much criticism he was receiving for visiting the cemetary with the SS dead (and refusing to visit Holocaust exhibits) -- but still the US only passed it with the caveat that the US didn't have to obey it. And then the first genocide after that, where the US could finally have tried to push charges, was the infamous Anfel (Saddam Hussein genocide against the Kurds) -- but of course, Reagan and the US Republicans were pro-Saddam, and helping to fund his WMD, and that is the time when that infamous picture was taken of Rumsfeld being buddy with Saddam -- so of course they didn't want to discuss the ongoing genocide of their oil-buddy Saddam...

    Posted by: Dodge on April 5, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

    What a horror! I still cant believe anyone would do such an idiotic thing, but I thought that about invading Iraq. If you are right, Kevin, it would be right in Bushs character. He does not think, he believes. Jesus is the only son of God. Unfettered markets will solve every problem. If Jesus and the markets can't fix the problem, draw your guns.

    If he does invade, believing the country will rally around him, I have a strong suspicion there will be no rally. Once the country has lost faith in the leader, it is very hard to get it back. My prediction is military action would boomerang.

    This is one of those areas where the wimpydems should make a clear stand and be the alternative who the country would embrace to get out of the clutches of the mad bombers who are currently in charge.

    When in doubt, take the stand you believe is right. I wish I could tattoo that old saw on the wimpydems' pusillanimous foreheads.

    Posted by: James of DC on April 5, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

    I think a nuclear armed Iran which has threatened the destruction of America and Israel should not be considered a real threat. We should treat them just the way we treated the rantings of a certain Austrian Corporal. Better than starting a war for no reason.

    Posted by: M. Simon on April 5, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

    38% of the country think we are doing ok in Iraq. Of the remaining 62% how many favor more vigorous action? Enough to make 51%?

    I think the Dems are not reading the electorate. Again.

    Damn shame 'cause I rather vote for Lieberman than Bush, or Gore, or Clinton. Oh, well. joe is not very popular in his own party. A shame.

    Posted by: M. Simon on April 5, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

    a couple technical points in response to the posts above:

    not even multiple hits from a cruise missile (the Moskit) or a torpedo (the Schkval) can sink an aircraft carrier.

    smedleybutler is a complete idiot: one of the things we actually have an excess of is airpower. that's not even disputable.

    Iran does not possess planes with the range to hit Israel. (missiles are a separate question).
    Israel barely has the range to hit Iran.

    Posted by: Nathan on April 5, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

    Dodge,

    Isn't it great that we finally corrected our mistake and now Saddam is on trial by the people he wronged.

    Bush is a better man than any of those other Republicans. And quite a few Democrats.

    Posted by: M. Simon on April 5, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

    Praedor Atrebates,

    Quality of troops is more important than quality of hardware.

    Are they loyal to the regime en masse or is it only the elite units?

    If we do Iran we better have a greatly improved post war plan. Elections in 6 months if we can do the security.

    It will be interesting.

    I think it is a done deal. At least that is the way the Iranians are acting.

    BTW a certain Austrian Corporal was very fond of superweapons. He had a much better Army than Iran too. Didn't do him much good. Part of his problem was he got rid of all his Jewish scientists. His loss our gain.

    Posted by: M. Simon on April 5, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

    BTW my mother, a staunch Democrat for 70+ years thinks the Iraq war is a total mistake.

    She is very worried about Iran.

    You Dems are losing your base on this one. A lot of your members still remember the 30s. Munich, etc.

    Posted by: M. Simon on April 5, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

    I cannot believe everyone is playing politics with this and missing the greater point.

    Do you realize what happens if Iran is attacked? You do understand that Iran has the world's second largest oil reserves and the ability to block the Strait of Hormuz, where 25% of all world oil flows through.

    Do you understand what this means? Can you say $200/barrel oil? Ridiculous inflation? Rationing of oil, trucking companies not able to transport their goods, food shortages at supermarkets, etc.

    There is a reason that Iran is acting with such bravado. They see themselves in a position of strength here, and I can't say that they are wrong.

    Posted by: M. Buchannon on April 5, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

    M. Buchannon,

    Ever hear of the Strategic Petrolium Reserve?

    Ours is topped off. I hope the rest of the world has been as prudent.

    BTW your point means that taking their oil fields is the top of our to do list. D'accord.

    Posted by: M. Simon on April 5, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

    Yes...I am saying Israel does not have a right to exist...its just too much trouble...they should all have to move to America and be done with it

    Israel does not have the right to drag the world into a world war just because it insists on being a bunch of pushy asshole murderers

    The Palestinians are righteous victims...don't forget that

    They didn't do anything to deserve this Zionist onslaught that they've endured for about 100 years now -Zionists started moving in late 19th century-

    They were never nice guests who were misunderstood

    They've been complete cocksuckers throughout

    How much money does the US have to GIVE Israel before the taxpayer realizes this is a spoilt brat that won't leave home and stand on its own?

    In a sea of tens of millions of Muslims...we just can't forever give the VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE the shaft...just please a few million Israelis

    And stop with the line about the bad bad Palestinian suicide bombers...this is an act of desperation...Israel flies F-16s over OCCUPIED AREA and levels square blocks...their goon squads regularly run into civilian areas and perform assasinations

    Everywhere the Palestinians have to deal with asshole Israelis telling them how its going to be

    For the US to support this oppression is a sin...and totally unAmerican

    This 'Israel is only defending itself' horseshit isn't cutting it any more

    Israel is the aggressor here and has been throughout...which is why we're having this debate about whether to bomb Iran or not

    U say Iran hates us...but why? I'll bet if we pulled Israel out...they'd hate us a great deal less

    Israel came into this region hostile...they created Nukes with stolen US Uranium...in a sea of Muslims...and have acted like perfect assholes throughout

    That everyone in the region hates them is not an accident

    It has to do with who they are and what they do

    Make no mistake...Israel is by far the bigger killer in this conflict and has been throughout

    And as for making the Arabs afraid of us...why should we do this? They are not OUR natural enemies...this is not our fight


    "joemama, Are you saying Israel does not have a right to exist? If so why? They have carved out a fraction of the land available in the middle east to call home and are still willing to concede more land for the Palestinians, yet that is not good enough for the Palestinians. I don't see any of the muslim brotherhood offering land for a Palenstinian state, do you? I don't recall any Israeli suicide bombers going into the west bank and blowing up innocent Palestinians, do you? And you're worried that the Arabs hate us because of this? Who gives a fuck about them. They should be worried that we're beginning to not like them"

    Posted by: JoeMama on April 5, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

    CaptainVideo: Did the war game include the likely Iranian retaliation in determining the outcome?

    No, although Iranian resistance in various scenarious was considered. The three scenarios examined were: (1) punitive strikes as punishment for meddling in Iraq; (2) strikes sufficient to cause a significant setback to back Iran's nuclear program (the one I mentioned); and (3) a regime change campaign ("Iraq II").

    Posted by: has407 on April 5, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

    I read an article at Antiwar.com (do not remember the author) that said Iran has enough infantry to overrun the US forces in Iraq should the US attempt to strike Iran's nuclear facilities. I hope Iran would not retaliate that way, because since Americans do not think their sins are serious enough to create a retaliatory response, a direct confrontation with Iranian forces, which might inflict serious casualties, would make Americans howl with bloodlust and demand a nuclear response. That would be very bad for the poor people of Iran.

    Posted by: Hostile on April 5, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

    "a direct confrontation with Iranian forces, which might inflict serious casualties, would make Americans howl with bloodlust and demand a nuclear response. That would be very bad for the poor people of Iran."

    Bush has already spread our military too thin between Afghanistan & Iraq.

    I doubt that we would use nukes in a conventional show down with Iran.

    More realistically, we would just send thousands and thousands of our boys over there to die while leveling whole villages of 'hostiles'

    I believe that Iran will prove to be a far more serious adversary than people are giving her credit for.

    This could turn into a giant black eye for America. Endless casualties in Iraq and Iran while REAL threats -like N.Korea, China & yes Russia- sit out and watch us bleed ourselves dry.

    It won't be long before American's 'Howl' to get us all out of yet another war that doesn't concern national interests

    We're over there dillydallying with fanatics. Fanatics who have righteous reasons for hating us.

    And for what?

    Why is this worth it?

    Why was mutually assured destruction a great strategy with the USSR but not with Iran?

    Frankly, I hope Iran does get nukes.

    Perhaps, it'll encourage Israel to treat the Palestinians like human beings.

    Posted by: JoeMama on April 5, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

    I have proposed the US give some nukes to Iran just to difuse the conflict. It would show good will and a desire for peace. I also think the US should invite Iran into Iraq to help protect the people from the civil war and help transition to limited democracy. These proposals are usually met with derision, but if peace is the goal, reaching out to Iran and offering to help them with their national goals and asking them for their help would go a long way towards normalizing relations and making peace in the ME.

    Posted by: Hostile on April 5, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

    Forget the domestic politics of all this -- how about they just address the actual problem of Iran? Granted, it's a bit hopeful to ask politicians to not consider politics in just about everything they do these days.

    But here we are facing an arming Ahmadinejad...and the first question that pops into your mind is "What does this mean for November?"

    Sheesh. We're in worse shape than I thought. I sorely miss the days when America could fight a war as a united people. When we're together and determined, we can quash any threat.

    As the old saying goes "United we stand, divided we fall."

    Posted by: Libertarian Hawk on April 6, 2006 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

    JoeMama wrote: "Frankly, I hope Iran does get nukes."

    Well, there you have it. I have to give you some points for candor, if nothing else.

    But, if I can be equally candid with you, here's why people are so loathe to trust the dovish left in times like these. You should at least know and accept that if you're going to continue holding such odious views.

    Posted by: Libertarian Hawk on April 6, 2006 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

    The Bush team knows they are up to their armpits in Iraq. They also know that they have engaged the attention of most of the active terrorists in the world, which is not a bad thing. If you create a battlefield that a guerilla enemy can not resist and is drawn to like a moth to a flame, you are doing it right, militarily.

    I'm sure there are plenty of train riders in Madrid and subway riders in London who would agree with that.

    Sure.

    Posted by: Chuck Feney on April 6, 2006 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

    "But, if I can be equally candid with you, here's why people are so loathe to trust the dovish left in times like these. You should at least know and accept that if you're going to continue holding such odious views."

    I'm not on the left. I think deterrence works. For 50 freakin years we stared the USSR down and they flinched. Imagine that. The USSR took the Third Reich on the chin & they flinched for 50 years looking down our collective nuclear barrel.

    My point is this. Deterrence works.

    Anyone that ever nukes a US city will be burned to a crisp and then some.

    Everyone knows that.

    The only people that really fear Iran getting Nukes is the Israelis. They don't want to lose their most powerful edge.

    And my point about them was: if u occupy & oppress an entire people for 50 years -something Israelis would never put up with themselves- then u don't deserve to live in peace & security.

    THIS IS NOT A US PROBLEM.

    Fix the occupation & oppression & the heat will lower in this conflict. But no one seems to be addressing this.

    'Israel has a right to defend itself' ?

    Get the fuck outa heeeeee

    Posted by: JoeMama on April 6, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

    Sparky quote:

    "Oh. Sorry. Forgot the last 5 years happened. Hmmm--where's that moral high ground we had stashed for emergencies?"

    Sparky, you spoiled child, the left's 'moral highground' preaching since the end of WWII is the actual reason the U.S. is hated by so many throughout the world.

    Everybody knows there is nobody you'd love to smack more then somebody who is in your face; preaching to you: 'everything you do is wrong'. The truth of the matter is the liberals have been doing that for decades throughout the world. Bush's own preaching is an ingenious political device in that he is using the liberal's own weapons against them. It is rather sadistic though I admit. Is it enjoyable? YES!

    It seems to be the U.S. was a much better place when the preaching was within churches on Sundays and not, as is the case today, out on the street by liberal phoneys. No matter where you turn these leftist wackos are out screaming their histrionics with a self-assured narcissism that turn the stomachs of even the most happy go lucky personality. What's worse is it's all hot air and of no consequence which is the really reason why people all over the world (from Europe to the Middle East to India to Australia) are being driven further and further right and listening less and less to anything from the left.

    The left is morally bankrupt and everybody knows it. That's what happens when you allow a movement to be guided by populism and not by sound policy. Those handouts where nice while they lasted; however, now I welcome you back to reality.

    Posted by: Spanky on April 6, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

    "No matter where you turn these leftist wackos are out screaming their histrionics with a self-assured narcissism that turn the stomachs of even the most happy go lucky personality. What's worse is it's all hot air and of no consequence which is the really reason why people all over the world (from Europe to the Middle East to India to Australia) are being driven further and further right and listening less and less to anything from the left."

    Amen

    Try going to college and taking a liberal arts class...these people are worse than the church...and feminists...are some kinda weird play on being a Nun...sure...they fuck...but they're just as rigid & full of their own righteousness

    Most Liberal Arts degrees are indoctrinations...not educations

    And that's why we have to deal with these whackos

    Posted by: JoeMama on April 6, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

    http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/06/front2453832.0965277776.html

    Ahh yes our good friends in Israel who take our 3 Billion a year in aid & our weapons expertise and then turn around and sell it to our arch enemies the Chinese

    Ingrate fuckers!

    I wonder how much other damage Israel has done to the US over the years

    I'll say it again...Israel does not have the right to exist...if this means the US forever funding their asses...and them forever oppressing a people and bringing us forever into conflicts to protect their sorry asses

    And...forever betraying us by selling the shit we give them

    And here we are about to go to war against Iran...all to protect Israel!

    It makes me sick how much influence has over US policy

    These are not our allies

    No matter what our bought and paid for politicians tell us

    The article at the top is all the evidence I need

    And Jonathan Pollard is yet ANOTHER example

    Bush is a right wing religious whacko who is bankrupting our country while spreading our military too thin

    He is anything but a conservative

    He is bought and paid for...and in this Iranian show down...as in so many other instances...he is just a puppet of Israel

    Posted by: JoeMama on April 6, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK




     

     

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