Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 24, 2006
By: Laura Rozen

IS THE MARKETING campaign against Iran begun? Here was the deputy director of operations for the joint chiefs of staff at the Pentagon yesterday:

The Iranian government is training and equipping much of the Shiite insurgency in Iraq, a senior U.S. general said Wednesday, drawing one of the most direct links by the Pentagon. ...

Brig. Gen. Michael Barbero ...said it is a "policy of the central government in Iran" to destabilize Iraq and increase the violence there.

"I think it's irrefutable that Iran is responsible for training, funding and equipping some of these (Shiite) extremist groups and also providing advanced IED technology to them," Barbero said. "IED" refers to the improvised explosive devices _ roadside bombs _ that have caused much death and destruction in Iraq.

The AP report goes on to note, "Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other U.S. military leaders have talked about Iran's funding of the insurgency, but generally have been reluctant to directly blame the Tehran government." And here was the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence's new report, Recognizing Iran as a Strategic Threat (.pdf), released yesterday:

Iran has conducted a clandestine uranium enrichment program for nearly two decades in violation of its International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards agreement, and despite its claims to the contrary, Iran is seeking nuclear weapons...

Iran likely has an offensive chemical weapons research and development capability.

Iran probably has an offensive biological weapons program.

Iran has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East. The U.S. Intelligence Community has raised the concern that Tehran may integrate nuclear weapons into its ballistic missiles.

Iran provides funding, training, weapons, rockets, and other material support to terrorist groups in Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, and elsewhere.

Elements of the Iranian national security apparatus are actively supporting the insurgency in Iraq.

All released one day after Iran's response of "unconditional talks" to the P5+1 demand that it suspend uranium enrichment before coming to the table. Is the timing of these statements and reports coincidental? Is it coordinated? And if so, by whom?


Laura Rozen 9:22 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (170)

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Comments

Gosh, could an election a few months off have anything to do with all this?

Posted by: K on August 24, 2006 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

given our current situation in Iraq we can't act on Iran. We don't have the capability nor would we have the support unless Iran does something obvious. Its a moot point. They can talk about it all they want, that's all they will do is talk.

Posted by: dee on August 24, 2006 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

These might be good reasons for the Pentagon and Congress to start planning to leave Iraq.

They aren't good reasons for attacking Iran.

Looks like we picked a fight in a bad neighborhood.

Posted by: Eggs Ackley on August 24, 2006 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

The marketing campaign began some time ago.

Posted by: CKR on August 24, 2006 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

"But the Bush administration may not have to worry about the opposition for round two. While Hersh surmises that opposition to Bush's Iran invasion could be carried out with Israeli special operatives, political opposition may never reach the doorsteps of Congress. After all, the Democrats have long agreed that Iran must be dealt with militarily.

Recently, the Democratic Party's rising "progressive" star Barack Obama said he would favor "surgical" missile strikes against Iran"

January 20, 2005
http://www.counterpunch.org/frank01202005.html


"As the Bush Administration ups rhetoric and news reports signal the Pentagon has developed detailed plans for a possible military strike, the opposition partys leading lights have remained silent. Democratic insiders say they dont want to rush to judgment without getting the facts, but the issue has received scant attention from Democrats in Congress.

There is no formal consensus among Democrats on Iran"

Published: Tuesday April 18, 2006
http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Democrats_in_Congress_lay_low_on_0418.html


It certainly is election time and as usual, the Democrats are running for cover. Time to take some polls to find out what the core values are this year for the Democrats.

Posted by: Jay on August 24, 2006 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/754077.html

Comments Slim?

Posted by: klyde on August 24, 2006 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, what if Bush said he was withdrawing troops from Iraq - *to* *Iran*?

And to whom is it news that Iran would seek to undermine the government of Iraq? They've been doing it for decades. Anyone who's surprised by this is too dumb to be in politics, but in *this* Administration, that's a qualification. "Me fail Foreign Policy 101? That's unpossible!"

Posted by: Chris on August 24, 2006 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know what you're thinking of when you refer to "coordination." Are you envisioning some kind of conspiracy between the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence's staff and Iran? Howzabout just figuring that everyone knew Iran was coming out with a counterproposal sometime soon, so the committee tried to put this report out when it would be useful? It doesn't really have to be any deeper than that both parties were thinking about the same ongoing negotiations.

I notice you don't have anything to say about its conclusions, which seem, unfortunately, sensible. That doesn't mean we have to have a war, but we should be honest and recognize that Iran really is a problem, not just a marketing ploy for our military-industrial complex.

Posted by: trilobite on August 24, 2006 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

If we just had another war, then the American people would know we were keeping them safe. Vote Republican!

Posted by: Jon Karak on August 24, 2006 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

"...and as usual, the Democrats are running for cover"

When it comes to mideast policies, the Democrats and Republicans serve the same master.

Follow the money.

Posted by: Buford on August 24, 2006 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

I don't see Iran as a problem you can solve militarily. In fact I think the US is the problem and not Iran. US policy is the problem. WE HAVE TO TALK WITH THESE COUNTRIES. WE CANT JUST INVADE AND BOMB THE SHIT OUT OF THEM. Democrats keep us safe not republicans. Republicans have made us less safe over king bush's reign.

Posted by: dee on August 24, 2006 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

That doesn't mean we have to have a war, but we should be honest and recognize that Iran really is a problem, not just a marketing ploy for our military-industrial complex.

It's a shame that people could be so cynical as to think it is merely a marketing ploy for our military industrial complex, isn't it? I wonder whose fucking fault that is?

Posted by: Baldrick on August 24, 2006 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Like CKR says, this isn't a new effort, it's more of a continued effort. The JCS spokesperson's language is unexpectedly aggressive (considering one might expect to hear that from OSD instead), but the House intel committee's report isn't all bad. I would argue that it has some good points. At the least, it shows that someone in Congress has the intention on directing the executive branch on expectations on intelligence collection. That's better than the farce that occurred in Oct 2002.

Posted by: J. on August 24, 2006 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

"Is the timing of these statements and reports coincidental?"

No.

"Is it coordinated?"

Yes.

"And if so, by whom?"

I would start with Dick Cheney and Elliot Abrams.

Posted by: brewmn on August 24, 2006 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

A long, reasoned argument why it's going to happen here:
http://noquarter.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/08/why_bush_will_c.html#more

Posted by: eCAHNomics on August 24, 2006 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

"As consistently stated -- the strategy of President Bush is to aid the internal opposition in Iran (virtually the entire population) in overthrowing or radically changing the dictatorship advocated by Khamenei or the semi-dictatorship advocated by Khatami.

Howard Dean's strategy consists of engaging the reformists within Iran's adminstration. While his strategy maybe 'heartfelt' nonethless it's politically motivated. What Governor Dean needs to realize is that the reformists aren't supported by the people, as evidenced by the lack of student demonstrations during the latest reformist/hardliner quarrel.

Furthermore, virtually all student groups have distanced themselves from Khatami's reformist movement, and only 12% of Iranians voted in recent elections in Tehran.

The engagement that Dean and the Democrats are calling for is a deathwish to a truly democratic Iran. Any sort of 'engagement' with the Islamic Republic will strongly streghten the regime and will undermine those seeking true democracy in Iran. In recent polls over 70% supported a separation of religion from politics, but even those aligned with Iran's reformist movement are calling for a strong 'Islamic Democracy' where candidates are disqualified based on devotion to Islam. It's unfortunate that some are letting either political agenda, ignorance, or propaganda get in the way."


By Slater Bakhtavar
January 21, 2004
http://www.iranian.com/Opinion/2004/January/Dean/


So Buford, is there more money in Dean's approach or in GW's? Just asking.


Posted by: Jay on August 24, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

We do need a nice viable threat for the public to chew for the upcoming elections.

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on August 24, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

it's about time we focus on the real threats in the world. unlike Iraq, run by a homicidal-cum-comic strongman, Iran is run by a fanatical religious tyranny -- the ayatollah group. The very heart of our current ttle agasint terrorism is the states that sponsor it. Al Qaeda is not related, but Hamas and Hezbollah are. Now the question is, does America have what it takes to take on the real enemy?

Posted by: Chris on August 24, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

"In fact I think the US is the problem and not Iran." - dee

OK I forget, was it the US that was arming Hizbollah?


"US policy is the problem." - dee

Trying to end tyranny and liberate an oppressed people, much like WWII and Germany, has now become a bad thing?


"WE HAVE TO TALK WITH THESE COUNTRIES. WE CANT JUST INVADE AND BOMB THE SHIT OUT OF THEM." - dee

Kind of like how we "talked" with Saddam for twelve years and 17 UN resolutions? Kind of like how Clinton "talked" with NK which lead to their nuclear program? Kind of like how the UN "talked" about disarming Hizbollah?

Maybe it's the way we say things? If they would only like us. Why don't they like us? I just want to be liked.

Posted by: Jay on August 24, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

As Gore Vidal once said, The sweetest words in the English language are I told you so. Seymour Hersh saw this coming in 2005.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on August 24, 2006 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

"Now the question is, does America have what it takes to take on the real enemy?"


Do you plan on enlisting?

Posted by: Terry C on August 24, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Gotta love how they invented the "Shiite insurgency" out of whole cloth. It doesn't exist. Sure, there is a Sunni insurgency that is being fought by Shiites who are funded by Iran -- but these Iran-funded Shiites are acting in concert with Iraqi government forces. How can they be "insurgents" if they play for the government's team?!?

The bottom line is that the US has repeatedly taken steps to install a Shiite-dominated government in Iraq...and Iran has absolutely, positively NO problem with this policy. Heck, the policy of Shiite extremists is to complete the job that America has failed to do; namely, defeat the Sunni insurgency. They are using death squads and ethnic cleansing instead of laser guided bombs, but the goal is the same: crush the Sunni insurgents. The Shiites are "taking off the gloves" just like the neocons always wanted...

It takes some real chutzpuh to blame Iran for ANYTHING happening in Iraq when the single biggest enabler of Shiite extremism is, and always has been, a failed US policy that allowed the Sunni insurgents to thrive. We took out the Sunnis, put the Shiites in charge, and then failed to stop the Sunni thugs in Baghdad and protect Shiite interests. Now Shiites are slaughtering Sunnis. This is a surprise to who, exactly?

Posted by: owenz on August 24, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

"it's about time we focus on the real threats in the world. unlike Iraq, run by a homicidal-cum-comic strongman,......." - chris


um....chris, you might want to ask the people of Iraq how comical Saddam was. Also, I thought Democrats were all about human rights?

"Since the Saddam Hussein regime was overthrown in May, 270 mass graves have been reported. By mid-January, 2004, the number of confirmed sites climbed to fifty-three. Some graves hold a few dozen bodiestheir arms lashed together and the bullet holes in the backs of skulls testimony to their execution. Other graves go on for hundreds of meters, densely packed with thousands of bodies."

http://www.usaid.gov/iraq/legacyofterror.html


Posted by: Jay on August 24, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Iran has more ballistic Missiles than Israel? That surprises me a little.

Posted by: Sam L. on August 24, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

"It's a shame that people could be so cynical as to think it is merely a marketing ploy for our military industrial complex, isn't it? I wonder whose fucking fault that is?"

I agree it is a shame, but hmmm I wonder why? I wonder if being mislead into a Iraq war has anything to do with bearing this cynicism. Its Bush's and his cronies fault jackass. Its a shame we have such an incompetent president and incompetent americans who are scared and vote for him and buy into his shit.

"What Governor Dean needs to realize is that the reformists aren't supported by the people, as evidenced by the lack of student demonstrations during the latest reformist/hardliner quarrel."

I remember a quote a while back where students were saying don't take the president seriously. Students would be killed if they demonstrated, I think America is heading that way also unless changes are made, we can't protest anymore either or we will get arrested. Soon they will just start shooting. Speaking of student demonstrations where are the students in this country? Get the fuck up.

Posted by: dee on August 24, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with Owenz - where the hell did we get a "Shiite insurgency" from? Isn't the, er, government dominated by Shiite extremists? Aren't the Shiite militias working with the government that we installed? We can't let them get away this horseshit.

Posted by: John on August 24, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

"Seymour Hersh saw this coming in 2005." - deflator

EVERYONE saw this coming in 2005, which incidentally is less than a year ago. Just saying that most real events take more time to develop than an episode of Melrose Place.

Got it?

Posted by: Jay on August 24, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

As a former combat engineer, I liked the general's comment about IEDs: ...and also providing advanced IED technology to them,

An IED is an improvised explosive device. If it is premanufactured it is not an IED.

Iraq already has trained combat engineers among the insurgent groups. The hundreds of thousands pounds of explosives that went missing during and after the invasion, because of Rumsfeld's incompetent planning and refusal to guard ammo dumps, are more critical to the IEDs than any support Iran might be providing.

Posted by: Wapiti on August 24, 2006 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

"Trying to end tyranny and liberate an oppressed people, much like WWII and Germany, has now become a bad thing?"

Liberate an oppressed people is working well in Iraq huh? Dick. This is comical. THE WAR ON TERROR IS NOT WWII AND IRAN OR IRAQ DOES NOT HAVE THE MILITARY POWER THAT GERMANY HAD AT THE START OF WWII. You can't even compare the two. But again, in America, stupidity trumps common sense. I don't care if I'm liked or not.

Posted by: dee on August 24, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

What is at stake: 130K US soldiers - not good!

excerpt:

Send in the Neo-Clowns
here

A Security Council veto of UN sanctions or an Iranian withdrawal from the NPT will likely set off a string of Roman candles in Dick Cheney's head, and brother, watch out for what happens then. If Uncle Dick talks young Mister Bush into launching a major air operation on Iran, things will go to Hezbollah in a handbag.

I won't go into the tactical technical details here for reasons I hope are obvious, but Iran can shut down the Strait of Hormuz faster than you can say, well, "the Strait of Hormuz." Whatever portion of the mighty U.S. Navy that happens to be in the Arabian Gulf will be trapped there, and the rest of the U.S. Navy won't be able to get into the Gulf to rescue them. The 130 thousand something ground troops in Iraq will be stranded,...

Posted by: avahome on August 24, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Ur, Jay, last time I checked, it looks like we, along with the UN, had Saddam pretty much contained, despite his mendacious bluster. In short, our "talking" combined with sanctions, um, worked.

Or did you find the missing WMDs somewhere and aren't telling us...

-

Posted by: Hank Essay on August 24, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

This is not a good start Laura...

Who are you trying to please with this question?

Is the timing of these statements and reports coincidental? Is it coordinated? And if so, by whom?

Is the sky blue?

Are you kidding? This is a blog, not a front page newspaper article. Of course no one can say for sure whether this is "coordinated" or "coincidental", but then again no one could say for sure whether there was a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq, or if Israel has nuclear weapons...

Please don't ask meaningless questions, demeaning our intelligence, that you darn well know the answer to, in some pretend effort to be impartial. It doesn't win you any friends on the conservative side, it reinforces the mushy middle meme, and it makes you appear out of the loop to Democrats. In other words, that question gained you nothing and it really doesn't forward the debate at all.

You sound like Judy Miller. You are a much better blogger than that.

We look forward to a much better encore.

Posted by: justmy2 on August 24, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

And Jay, one more thing: take that self-satisfied superior tone of your's and stuff it.

Got it?

Posted by: R. Mutt on August 24, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

No, Iran is not a problem.

Sorry, I'm not buying this "sky is falling" crap again.

Iran is not a problem. It is no more of a problem than about 30 other countries.

Posted by: POed Lib on August 24, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

In short, our "talking" combined with sanctions, um, worked.

But our invasion and occupation, depletion of our military with over 2000 soldiers killed, and ignition of a civil war which we're stuck in while turning the country into a terrorist breeding ground clearly worked much better. The results speak for themselves.

In short, I'm a complete moron. Oh, and don't ask me to fight in Iran either, I'm even older and fatter than before.

Posted by: Jay on August 24, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Where is Brain Dead Al and his valeeee-u-able insights from the Gawd Owful Party on this question?

Posted by: POed Lib on August 24, 2006 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Yea where is Al. I need entertainment

Posted by: dee on August 24, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, waiddamin, Brain Dead Al has been replaced by Brain Dead Jay.

What is it with the endless parade of GOPPER zombies?

Posted by: POed Lib on August 24, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Containment; mass graves. Yeah, that's success alright.

Posted by: Jay on August 24, 2006 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Who is this Jay guy that thinks we're back in 1940? There was only one 1940 situation; every situation since then has been different.

What we need to do is TALK TO IRAN. Has anyone read any reality-based analyses? Take a look at this perceptive reailty-based article in the Foreign Affairs magazine:

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20060701faessay85405/vali-nasr/when-the-shiites-rise.html

Posted by: mardy on August 24, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

See, all of you people have been confused. The problem is not the Baathist dead-enders. It is the Shiite Insurgents. You know, like the ones working for the Interior Ministry. THEY are the ones creating instability, since they are funded by Iran. Did I mention that the Iranians are also Shiites? They're in it together, the Shiite Insurgents in the Interior Ministry and the Iranians. THEY are the enemy. Not the Sunnis, who are actually doing some good things in Iraq.

These Iranian-funded Shiite Insurgents, they use IED's. You know what? IED's kills US soldiers. We used to worry about Sunni insurgents using IED's to kill US soldiers, but here's the thing: the Sunni insurgency is no longer a problem. The REAL problem is the Shiite Insurgents, who work for the Interior Ministry and for murderous thugs like Ayatollah Sistani. These Shiites are the ones creating instability in Iraq, not the

And consider this: if Iran is giving these Shiite insurgents IED's, how long will it be before the Shiites use them against US forces? What America really needs is an alliance with the Sunnis. The Sunnis are the only ones fighting the Shiite Insurgents in the Interior Ministry at this point. Teaming with the Sunni freedom fighters in Baghdad is the ONLY way will be defeat the murderous thugs in the Shiite Insurgency of the Interior Ministry of the Government of Iraq.

These Shiite Insurgents are dead-enders, by the way.

Posted by: owenz on August 24, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

I timed the questioning of the timing.

It was questionable.

Posted by: Birkel on August 24, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Any serious analysis of a strategy for an attack on Iran has to take into account Iran shutting down the Straits of Hormuz. End of story.

200$/bbl oil price shocks?

10$/gallon gas?

If anyone thinks the US economy will stand up to this, I want to know what they've been smoking.

Hello?

Posted by: tzs on August 24, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

"given our current situation in Iraq we can't act on Iran. We don't have the capability nor would we have the support unless Iran does something obvious. Its a moot point. They can talk about it all they want, that's all they will do is talk.

Posted by: dee on August 24, 2006 at 9:30 AM

I am afraid you are wrong. I always expect the worse from that gang and they never disappoint me. They'll go it alone, swaggering all the way. My biggest fear is that they will use nuclear weapons against Iran since the troops are bogged doen in Iraq and Afghanistan and airstrikes would not be effective.

Posted by: Devil's Advocate on August 24, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

I been assured that if we just drop a few bombs on them iranians, the people will rise up and overthrowe there dictators. Then the people will welcome us with open arms and roses and pretty young girls for our marines to chase, and we will have rid the world of evul.

Posted by: George W. Bush on August 24, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I think we need more Aasif Mandvi commentaries.

I think this summaries the Bush/Cheny position quite nicely.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5-4Kes8kws

Until the administration can answer simple questions about the consequences of the war they are advocating and the one they have already waged they get no more crediblitiy to advocate anything.

For example how about this recent Jonathan Schwartz post posing.

http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/001062.html

"Mr. President, the former head of the CIA's bin Laden unit has referred to U.S foreign policy as bin Laden's indispensable ally. I'm sure you don't agree with this characterization, but could you explain for us your understanding of why he says that?"

The rabidity of the comments on this thread advocating the president's as yet formally unstated position makes them quite suspect.

Posted by: patience on August 24, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

How would things be any better with Democrats in power? They are just as likely to get us into stupid wars as Bush and his ilk are. Both parties support the concept of an American Empire (they just disgree over the details), and they know our political-economic system depends on always having an "enemy" out there to focus on (and justify military spending). And it's much easier to distract people with a foreign bad guy than to do anything about our intractable problems at home.

Posted by: Red on August 24, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Is the marketing campaign against Iran begun?

More like the marketing campaign for the 2006 elections: (1) the new new threat is Iran; (2) Iraq would be much better (can't say it's bad) if only Iran would butt out; (3) we need people strong (on defense) to deal with Iran both short term (Iraq) and long term (nukes); (4) Republicans are strong and Democrats are weak on defense; so (4) vote Republican.

Posted by: has407 on August 24, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

"How would things be any better with Democrats in power?"

How would things be any better with Republicans in power? Thank you you have just made my case, if dems are just as likely as repubs to get us into stupid wars then you can't say one is better than the other, therefore both are equally good or bad depending on how you look at it at defending us. good. Dems are good on defense. Vote democrat. Republicans are in denial.

Posted by: dee on August 24, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

"The engagement that Dean and the Democrats are calling for is a deathwish to a truly democratic Iran. Any sort of 'engagement' with the Islamic Republic will strongly streghten the regime and will undermine those seeking true democracy in Iran."

Just as our engagement with the Eastern Bloc cemented it permenantly in communism to this day while our disengagement from Cuba turned it into a democratic utopia.

Posted by: Njorl on August 24, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

To say the current people running the government couldn't strike Iran militarily (or allow Israel to do so) because our military is overextended, or wouldn't because of the stupidity of such a move, are giving these 'persons' far too much credit for sanity.

There are reasons why they might act. But there's still a belief that these people are rational, sober adults, motivated by reason and a moral conscience.

Wrong.

Haven't they already cynically misused 'terror alerts' each time they needed to refresh the level of fear? Haven't they already twisted the law and the Constitution -- possibly farther than we know? Haven't they already lied and pushed for one war that was unnecessary except to a clique of neocons, 'christians', and oil brokers?

There are the midterms, and the possibility that a House of Representatives under Democratic control might hold these people, and the peevish sock puppet who is their mouthpiece, accountable for what they continue to do. It also means that the True Believers, the neocons and 'christians', will be hampered in their attempts to create Empire and/or bring about the End Times.

Our economy -- a housing bubble, linked to The Prime; linked to our currency supported by foreign investment; linked to tax breaks for a business and a private minority; linked to a nearly Nine Trillion Dollar National Public Debt and as much as a $44 Trillion-Dollar Private Debt -- that weave of interconnected, to-hell-with-the-future debt, right now, stands a good chance of unravelling a tad. Perhaps more than that (Not before the first week in November, but the politically blind should begin to read what's on the wall by then).

The military is deeply divided on Iraq. The professional officer corps have (according to Sy Hersh) already staged an "April Revolt" over Cheney's demand for use of tactical nuclear weapons against Iranian targets. But that's as far as they can go, without either resigning their comissions or committing treason. If given the order by even a figurehead president to execute operational plans against Iran, in concert with Israel or not, everyone from the JCS on down will carry out their orders. If you hear of one or more senior military officers retiring at or around the same time, look out.

Finally, there is the self-reinforcing and delusional, circular logic that, since Iraq is a bloody, unnecessary failure, that a strike against Iran would somehow redeem the mistake. It's gambler's logic -- only they're playing The Great Game with our money, and our children's lives. And make no mistake -- only winning is important; they don't care about you, or me, or the Iraqis, Iranians, Israelis, Lebanese, Palestinians...

My point is, there are plentiful reasons for the persons who run the government, and the peevish, limited dullard who is their mouthpiece, to react to all or any one of them through the most serious act of misdirection they've ever attempted.

Counting upon them to be rational, and to look out for the best interests of anyone but themselves would be a terrible mistake.

Posted by: Jemand von Niemand on August 24, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Good news for Iran: China will veto any US sponsored sanctions, the US military lacks ground forces to invade the country, and fear of oil supply disruption nixes any temptation to use air strikes to disable nuclear programs. An Iranian retaliatory strike on the Persian Gulf shipping passages and UAE / Kuwait facilities would send oil to $250 / BBL. China will remind W / Cheney that the US is not the only nuclear power with strategic interest in oil security, and their quasi-client in Pyongyang might be set loose.

Posted by: jkoch on August 24, 2006 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, I see. The real problem isn't that Iran, indisputably one of the biggest sponsors of terrorism worldwide, is trying to get nuclear weapons. The problem is that the U.S. is talking about it. How nuanced of you!

If I recall, several on the left objected to invading Iraq ostensibly on the grounds that Iran was the real threat. So are they a threat no longer? Or was that just another example of small-minded partisans putting party ahead of country, and who would now rather risk the probability that hundreds of thousands die in an instant than have a Republican do something about it.

Even if you think the Iraq is the biggest clusterfark of all time, we still have to do SOMETHING about Iran. Any suggestions besides more talking? That's led nowhere so far, and now the possibility of effective UN-backed sanctions seems to be going nowhere because of Chinese and Russian obstructionism.

So, in all seriousness, what do we do, liberals?

Posted by: T-web on August 24, 2006 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

>I think it's irrefutable that

Sure, it's irrefutable, Barbero, because when we ask for the basis you fuckers tell us it's classified.

Which was pretty much what happened when you bloody-handed pricks assured us, as our jaws dropped to the floor, that Chalabi was just the guy for Iraq. Chalabi, who is pretty much an agent of Iran.

Why the fuck does Iran have to do anything? As pointed out above, Iran of course would support the Shiites. That would be the Shiites that currently run the government backed up by OUR fucking army, General Barbero.

Could anybody have made a bigger mess? This is on every level so fucked up that I'm not sure historians really are going to spend decades looking into it, I think they might just throw up their hands in disgust. There's just too much messed up shit for anybody to try to spend their lives contemplating without falling into suicidal despair.

Got it, Jay?

Posted by: doesn't matter on August 24, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

What do we do? We talk to them and change out dumbass we are better then you policy and see if how we can work together. T-web wants to fight but won't do the fighting himself. I object to Iraq because we were tricked into going there. The do "something" attitude is dumb because for neocons "something" = bombs and death.

Posted by: dee on August 24, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Is there any evidence whatsoever for Iran's involvement in Iraq? Also, statements like Iran likely... and Iran probably... doesn't instill confidence in our intel which has proven completely untrustworthy. I call bullshit.

Posted by: ckelly on August 24, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Sound familiar, kids?

...the New York Times reports that some Bush administration officials and other Republicans are upset with the intelligence community for failing to issue "more ominous warnings" about the threat they think Iran poses to the United States.

http://salon.com/politics/war_room/

Posted by: mister pedantic on August 24, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

They already know where the weapons are.

They are in the area around Tehran, North, South, East and West somewhat.

Posted by: Fides on August 24, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Dee writes:

given our current situation in Iraq we can't act on Iran. We don't have the capability nor would we have the support unless Iran does something obvious. Its a moot point. They can talk about it all they want, that's all they will do is talk.

With all due respect, Dee, you underestimate these people's (the PNAC crowd's) insanity (to say nothing of desperation). All the talk I've heard from them has been about sending the bombers to Iran, not actually invading (i.e. by land) the country with infantry and armor, which - as you correctly point out - we just don't have available in the kind of massive numbers we would need (which would necessitate a draft, and we all know they're not going there).

In sum: they ARE crazy enough to attack Iran, but by air, not by land.

Posted by: chuck on August 24, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Kind of like how we "talked" with Saddam for twelve years and 17 UN resolutions?

Newsflash: Saddam didn't have WMD and wasn't a threat to the US--I guess something worked.

Kind of like how Clinton "talked" with NK which lead to their nuclear program?

Yeah, and the Bush approach has really worked out well.

Kind of like how the UN "talked" about disarming Hizbollah?

Right, and that whole invasion thing really helped.

Bottom line: We are bogged down in Iraq and we don't have the military to go after Iran in a serious way. (and its not Clinton's fault)

Posted by: Stephen on August 24, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Dee,

We've literally been talking about this problem for years. Again, in all seriousness :

Do you really think there is some combination of incentives that can get a group of fanatical theocrats who execute women for being raped to give up their pursuit of these weapons?

Would you admit it's possible that Iran keeps attempting to drag out talks in order to buy time for weapons development?

Is there some point when you will admit that more talk would be fruitless?

How do you square your support for continued talks with Iran's refusal of the UN Security Council proposal and their near simulatneous refusal to allow international weapons inspectors into their nuclear sites? Doesn't that show they have no regard for the very system that (I assume) you belive is best suited to deal with this situation?

Posted by: T-web on August 24, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

The overall level of thinking in response to Laura Rozen's post is a real indication of how easily the public is bamboozled because of their ignorance about a nation, its people, its culture and history. That is especially the case with Iran and Iraq.

The problem central to the question about Iran is Israel. And Israel has the A-bomb. Israel also premptively bombed a nuclear plant in Iraq years ago, thus the history of preemptiveness vis-a-vis its enemies. Perhaps Iran is mindful of this history and the recent history of US invasion of Iraq. Thus, its suspicion of Bush's bellicosity.

Talk between the parties involved is essential. Doing it through the media, alone, is not the way to go, although an honest, underscore honest public debate would help our government make proper decisions. Unfortunately, this government has not shown an ability to be honest with the public, preferring secrecy and lies to get what it wants, which, as we are finding out, is at odds with the majority of Americans. We are sick of war as a policy of "solving" problems. There are far too many people in the Administration and Congress who feel most "American" when they are bombing the hell out of some other country.

Posted by: margaret on August 24, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

So, in all seriousness, what do we do, liberals?

What are the Cons proposing ? Invading with a non-existent military ? Then Dubya could be the only president to lose three wars...

Posted by: Stephen on August 24, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

That doesn't mean we have to have a war, but we should be honest and recognize that Iran really is a problem, not just a marketing ploy for our military-industrial complex.

And why is their nuclear enrichment a problem? Because they have brown skin (remember only white people in power like in the US, UK, France, etc. can be trusted with nukes)? We have thousands of nuclear weapons and are in fact the only country to have used them - does that give other countries the right to conduct a "surgical strike" on us? Why do we always, always impose standards on other countries / peoples that we ourselves are unwilling to live up to. Those people in Iran and elsewhere are not stupid. They know a double standard when they see it and they have made a conscious decision not to play along anymore unless we ourselves live by our own rules. Sounds reasonable to me.

Posted by: chuck on August 24, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

"Do you really think there is some combination of incentives that can get a group of fanatical theocrats who execute women for being raped to give up their pursuit of these weapons?"

Again, confusing a old country like Iran, with the terrorists, mesh it all together, it sounds like a much better case when you don't differentiate. Yes I do, if we had good diplomats, which Bush has failed to find. But the point really is that we don't even attempt to find incentives, we try to bully and tell them how its going to be. Not a good policy. We support the Saudi's but they execute gay people? Why? I'm thinking that might not bother you though. Yes they are trying to buy time. Iraq and N. Korea has taught us that if you have nukes, we won't attack but if you don't we will. Do you blame them for trying to buy time. I don't. You or I would do the same thing in the same situation. We don't attempt to talk, that's the bottom line. We think military action is the answer and it is not. Maybe if we could earn their trust instead of making demands then inspectors could get in there and do there job. Why is it Ok for us to have nukes but not for them? It doesn't make sense. We surround them on all sides at the moment (Iraq and Afghanistan), and not to mention Israel's nuclear weapons, I would want to build up defensive capabilities also.

Posted by: dee on August 24, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Yea, will congress be forced to vote right before the elections, as with Iraq, to show whose strong on fighting terrorism and who wants to coddle terrorists?

Posted by: Shades on August 24, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

"I think it's irrefutable that Iran is responsible for training, funding and equipping some of these (Shiite) extremist groups and also providing advanced IED technology to them," Barbero said.

Wait a minute. Not long ago we thought that Iraq could build nukes.

Now we think they can't build IED's?

Do you think someone is bullshitting us here?

Posted by: Effwit on August 24, 2006 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

This will be good test for the objective media, the unbiased punditry, Congress and the opposition party. Since this is just a rerun of the Iraq PR campaign they cant say they were tricked or lied to. They should know going in that it is all white lies, exaggerations, outright lies, total fabrications and dirty nasty lies. They should know that all the intelligence is vetted by an elite group of ideologues that see what they want to see. We all know that Iran has been on the project-war menu for quite some time (1979). We also know the outcome of all the actions of this stumbling and fumbling crew.

I will say they know how to hijack a decadent political system back at home, but than again the Cheney administration is real a symptom of the disease and not the disease itself.

Posted by: bellumregio on August 24, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Laura.........You missed the note from Kevin to stick in AL comments early!

Posted by: R.L. on August 24, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Chuck's comment brings to mind the Robert Frost quote: "A Liberal is someone who refuses to take his own side in a fight."

You know what's worse than the double standards you complain about Chuck. A country with a history of supporting terror, that regularly proclaims the U.S. as the Great Satan, and whose leaders encourage their people to chant "Death to America" getting nuclear weapons.

This isn't 3rd grade, where something being unfair is the worst thing in the world. A government's job is to protect its people, not to be perfectly fair to its enemies at its own citizens' expense. (I won't even address your post's implied moral equivalence between the U.S. and Iran.)

Stephen: The solution is a prolonged bombing campaign that decapitates the regime and destroys its nuclear research infrastructure. Since that left has turned its back on opposing oppressive regimes and nation-building you would support such a tactic should talks fail, right?

Posted by: t-web on August 24, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

>"So Buford, is there more money in Dean's approach or in GW's? Just asking"...

The money goes to politicians and policies that are meeting the criteria set by AIPAC.

Iraq has been effectively destroyed as far as a nation. It will no longer be a potential military challenge to Israeli power. This makes Iraq a "mission accomplished" as far as the PNAC(neocon) and "Bold New Proposal for Securing the Realm" (Israeli) plans are concerned.

Handling of the Iraq situation from here on out is not a critical part of the plan... they have no army, no air force (etc). The focus has shifted to the next countries on the hit list, Iran and Syria.

If anyone wonders why US policy in the mideast doesn't seem to make sense, remember that US policy is not being set in the interests of the people of the United States.

Posted by: Buford on August 24, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

T-web, the problem is we have no evidence that "a prolonged bombing campaign" would in fact decapitate the regime and destroy the nuclear research infrastructure. We CAN, however, see a very real possibility of $200 bbl oil, getting China pissed off at us (they'll probably grab Taiwan), let alone what will happen in Iraq. You so eager to write off all those soldiers we have there and the US economy?

And given the track record of the bozos in charge, permit me to say they gotta pony up much more evidence before I'm going to sign on.

Posted by: tzs on August 24, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

"A Liberal is someone who refuses to take his own side in a fight"

This quote makes no sense. T-web analyze it for me. Is it the government's job to shit on the constitution? Is is the government's job to create a model of scare tactics and terror in order to "scare" the people into doing what they want? That might work on your feeble mind but not mine. If not scared of terror. The war on terror is a joke let's face it. The bombing campaign of Isreal against Hezbollah really worked didn't it? I havn't turned my back on opposing oppressive regimes, it has to be legit though, and the government cannot be two faced and support some but not others.

Posted by: dee on August 24, 2006 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Why do they need a new war? We bought them one only three years ago. Why can't they play with the old war? There's nothing wrong with it.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on August 24, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

The solution is a prolonged bombing campaign that decapitates the regime and destroys its nuclear research infrastructure.

A prolonged bombing campaign did not decapitate Hezbollah, it will surely not decapitate the much stronger Iranian regime. Also, many experts believe that much of the nuclear infrastructure is in hardened underground bunkers, decentralized and hidden around the country, and would not be seriously damaged by a bombing campaign.

Further, Iran has only to tighten the oil spigots a bit to seriously weaken our already precarious economy.

A country with a history of supporting terror, that regularly proclaims the U.S. as the Great Satan, and whose leaders encourage their people to chant "Death to America" getting nuclear weapons.

Our leaders frequently refer to Iran as "evil" -- isn't that like calling someone a "Satan"? And are you so afraid of being called a name, or of people utilizing free speech? I've had Americans tell me numerous time with much hatred in their voice that we just need to "bomb those fuckin' countries into glass" or "turn them into a parking lot." Should other countries bomb us because of their sentiments? Isn't that just as bad as what the Iranians say, or worse?

Alos, for decades the U.S. has knowingly propped up brutal dictators all over the world who've terrorized their own citizens and kept them in bondage, in order to serve our perceived interests -- including in the Middle East, which is the main reason they call us the Great Satan.

Your sanctimony about our comparative moral rectitude in this matter is unsupported.

Posted by: trex on August 24, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Jemand von Niemand: My point is, there are plentiful reasons for the persons who run the government, and the peevish, limited dullard who is their mouthpiece, to react to all or any one of them through the most serious act of misdirection they've ever attempted.

Counting upon them to be rational, and to look out for the best interests of anyone but themselves would be a terrible mistake.

Absolutely correct.

Posted by: shortstop on August 24, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

If you think Iraq was a massive clusterfuck, wait till the neocons attack Iran.

Iran has SEVEN TIMES the population of Iraq and has not been weakened by a decade of UN sanctions.

I don't know what army they think they can attack Iran with, I don't think it could be done without a million troops.

I think the plan is to drop a few hundred megatons of bombs, then the Iranians will rise up against their elected leaders and install a pro-US regime, in gratitude for the bombing.

If that sounds fucking insane to you, that's because it is.

Posted by: grytpype on August 24, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

t-web: The solution is a prolonged bombing campaign that decapitates the regime and destroys its nuclear research infrastructure.

Dream on zoomie. We tried "a prolonged bombing campaign that decapitates the regime" in Iraq and it didn't work. Israel tried it in Lebanon and it didn't work. Nor could Israel destory the Hezbollah infrastructure--which is not as well defended, as deeply buried, or as widely scattered, as Iran's.

Posted by: has407 on August 24, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK


jay: Also, I thought Democrats were all about human rights?

"How many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? The answer is not that damned many."

-Dick Cheney, 1992

(4 years after Saddam gassed the Kurdish people)

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on August 24, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

So, in all seriousness, what do we do, liberals?

I would suggest that the exact opposite of what the Bush administration proposes would be a good place to start.

Posted by: ckelly on August 24, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK


red: How would things be any better with Democrats in power?

GOP: IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED...VOTE REPUBLICAN!

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on August 24, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

The solution is a prolonged bombing campaign that decapitates the regime and destroys its nuclear research infrastructure.

And I want a shiny pony. You asshat, we tried this in Iraq - where have you been?

Posted by: ckelly on August 24, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

T-web,

We've literally been talking about this problem for years. Again, in all seriousness:

Do you really think there is some combination of incentives that can get a group of fanatical Israelis who shoot, kill, bomb, maim, rob, and steal?

Would you admit it's possible that Israel keeps attempting to drag out talks in order to buy time for expansion?

Is there some point when you will admit that more talk would be fruitless?

How do you square your support for continued talks with Israel's refusal to comply with numerous UN resolutions and their simultaneous refusal to allow international weapons inspectors into their nuclear sites? Doesn't that show they have no regard for the very system that (I assume) you believe is best suited to deal with this situation?"

Posted by: A. Mirror on August 24, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Okay,
So, someone, please tell me with whose military we're going to attack Iran with?
Ours?
Ours is exhausted, worn-out, and those who are in are seeking ways of getting out, and those who are out are seeking ways of staying out.
Unless of course, the Republicans all gear up and do the bombing runs themselves...hell, Bush was a former fighter pilot, let him be the point man on a strike into Iran.
He can have his Wingmen, Dick "shotgun" Cheney, and Karl "Unkle" Rove backing him up as he delivers his "pounds" of goodies, and good O'l Rummy can lead his Waffen SS panzer division of uber-neo-con's in the Republican version of Blitzkrieg against Iran.
The rest of us, can wave good bye from the ports, and hope the timed fuses in the ships go off after they've launched their glorious crusade. Wouldn't want them coming back any time soon, don't you know.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on August 24, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

The reason the US lacks intelligence gathering in this area is because Whitehouse staff chose to out Plame and Brewster-Jennings. Plame and B-J used to do this sort of intelligence gathering. And we don't have it because they wanted to punish Wilson for daring to show the Yellowcake Forgeries as a fraud.

Looks like the chickens are coming home to roost.

Posted by: Peter on August 24, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Woah, this is one seriously creepy-ass thread. Deja-vu all over again.

trex, good comments. You were completely right about the other thing, btw.

Owenz owns this thread. While there's no question that Shi'ite militias have been exploiting government cover to do nasty things to Sunnis, it's a direct result of us fighting a Sunni insurgency and making sure a Shi'ite government gets power in a predominantly Shi'ite country.

Bombing Iran? Are these people serious? Like umm ... bombing Lebanon somehow disloged Hezbollah instead of making them widely supported, even by their former opponents in the Lebanese government?

Do these people ever learn? No.

Learning for them simply isn't the point.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 24, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

The simple question is this:

Would the Bush admin. start a war to win an election?

And the answer of course is yes.

Posted by: RP on August 24, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Do you really think there is some combination of incentives that can get a group of fanatical theocrats who execute women for being raped to give up their pursuit of these weapons?

Yeah, as a matter of fact, I do. A solid security guarantee and a resolution to the Palestinian problem would be a good start.

Would you admit it's possible that Iran keeps attempting to drag out talks in order to buy time for weapons development?

Sure. I also recognize that they're years away from nukes and decades away the ability to threaten us with them (unless they're smuggled to the US in, say, cargo containers. Why again aren't we scanning incoming cargo?).

Is there some point when you will admit that more talk would be fruitless?

Maybe at some point after we actually try that approach.

Posted by: fiend on August 24, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't we ever see GOP, Thomas, and Jay on the same thread...?

Posted by: Disputo on August 24, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, as a matter of fact, I do. A solid security guarantee and a resolution to the Palestinian problem would be a good start.

I agree as to the former, not the latter. Iran might be evil or whatever, but I think they're still basically rational actors and can be swayed by promises of security, etc. But Israel is a red herring. Iran and other Muslim states often trumpet the palestinian problem and complain about Israel, but that's really to rile up their citizens. I doubt the people in charge really care all that much (aside from generally disliking Israel). Resolving the situation with Israel and the Palestinians is not going to affect Iran's overall posture one bit.

Posted by: RP on August 24, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Bush's push for WWIII - if only Bush could start the military draft, something other then the backdoor draft.

The Bushies fading finge supporters and their last, desperate hope for controlling the Mideast oil.

Posted by: Cheryl on August 24, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

RP,

They go hand in hand. Yes, merely resolving the Palestinian issue is not going to affect Iran's attitude much, but security guarantees don't mean shit without it.

Posted by: Disputo on August 24, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Wonder what Sy Hersh will write next.

Posted by: Cheryl on August 24, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

The boys who signed off on the Project for a New American Century believe what it says. And they are still in a position to carry it out. And they have the President ear.

President Bush is a zealot, convinced of his own rightness.

We are going to war in the Middle East. First Syria, then Iran. Just like they planned it.

No point in offering rational reasons against it; this crowd will not hear you. Witness the comment about a bombing campaign.

Posted by: zak822 on August 24, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

The real problem is that the administration needs to make a move on Iran BEFORE the November elections in order to get a rally round the flag vote. This adminisration simply cannot accept oversight by a Democratic congress.

How long til the mid-terms? Missiles fly, bombs drop, or some other action advertised to protect us from an imminent Iranian threat before November.

We can never disprove the "indisputable" as long as the evidence is "secret."

I cannot believe that K. Rove's job is so easy.

Posted by: Out on Bond on August 24, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Last night (8/23) on CNN's Glenn Beck program, he had a guest on who was talking up the 12th Mahdi Armageddon talking point Thomas1 brought up on the 'Iraqi Bloodbath' post.

Many Americans believe in the Christian Armageddon, so pushing a Muslim desire for Armageddon plays on the beliefs of our culture's religion. It is truly scary. Glenn Beck is truly scary the way he pushes Israel's right to kill innocents and they way he demonizes everyone else. The propaganda push to nuke Iran has begun when CNN devotes TV time like this.

Posted by: Hostile on August 24, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

RP:

You can't say that as an absolute certainty. It's been AIPAC propaganda for virtually ever, though.

I'm with Disputo on this. A solution to I / P would take away much of the overt reason for animosity towards Israel. Maybe they'd find *another* reason to hate Israel.

Or maybe they'd be grateful for the genuine progress.

Your guess is as good as mine on that point.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 24, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

The solution is a prolonged bombing campaign that decapitates the regime and destroys its nuclear research infrastructure.

And then what happens ? Iraq part II, A failed
state that is home to terrorists ?

Posted by: Stephen on August 24, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

You can't say that as an absolute certainty. It's been AIPAC propaganda for virtually ever, though.

So what? Just b/c AIPAC says it doesn't mean it's not true. The notion that Israel is at the root of all of the problems in the ME has been Arab/Persian propaganda forever. I know we all hate Bush and assume that the opposite of whatever he says must be true, but lets not fall into the trap of thinking that Iran et al are straight shooters and aren't completely self-interested pricks.

Exactly why do security guarantees for Iran go hand in hand with a resolution to the Palestinian issue?

Posted by: RP on August 24, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.abcnews.go.com/WNT/IraqCoverage/story?id=2344042

campaign for women's equality in Iran. ANSWER, where are you?

No coordinated campaign against Iran is necessary. A simple review of all the facts will suffice.

Posted by: republicrat on August 24, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Endless war, religious tensions and strife, radiation poisoning, slaughter of innocent civilians, starvation and degradation of the environment...

Isn't Bushworld a lovely vision for the future?

We can do better than this, people.

Posted by: The Liberal Avenger on August 24, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

No coordinated campaign against Iran is necessary. A simple review of all the facts will suffice.

The GOP's actions reveal that they disagree.

Posted by: Gregory on August 24, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Check out the Author of the Document "Fred Fleitz"...this cat was responsible for some of the bad info in the runup the the war in Iraq.

Posted by: Brian McC on August 24, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

All of this is old news. But Bush and Co didn't want to admit that they were using Iraq to fight a proxy war with Iran and Sryia.

Posted by: Scott on August 24, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

I was just listening to a local congressional republican primary candidate on the radio.

According to him the end of Saddam's trial is going to be the turning point.

Heh.

The guy seemed superficially ok, but in the end repeated a lot of idiotic talking points where it was clear he knew nothing beyond them. He's going to make the "tough cuts" in spending, but every time a specific program is asked about he wants to spend more or "adapt to changing conditions". Tort reform and "paperwork" are the main problems with medical care because, you know, doctors might do extra tests and uhh have to fill out another form and there are these million dollar lawsuits. Just brain dead blather with no numbers attached.

Very similar to the interview with almost-governer rossi in that election. Lots of talking point blather about how he would cut all sorts of regulations, but when asked he couldn't actually name a single one.

Posted by: jefff on August 24, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Any air attack on Iran would mean curtains for the US troops in Iraq. How can anyone--no matter how big their hardon for greasing the ayatollahs happens to be--seriously advocate attacking Iran's well-fortified and well-dispersed nuclear facilities with "shock and awe" alone when we have 150,000 sitting duck hostages in the Shiite-controlled country next door?

Not to mention that any air attack on Iran would result immediately in iran's closure of the Straits of Hormuz and the sinking of any tankers that could be hit. The impact on the world's economy would be catastrophic. And all for what?

Posted by: Petronius on August 24, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like the Office of Special Plans has been set up again in Pentagon...Oh wait! It's not called that; it's called the Iranian Directorate, staffed similarly to the OSP:

- Abram Shulsky, former director of the Office of Special Plans
- PNAC member Reuel Marc Gerecht
- Ladan Archin, a specialist on Iran
- Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, John Trigilio.

I'd like to credit Laura Rozen providing this information, but the link I found to her May 19th, 2006 article in the LA Times is broken - Page Not Found at the LA Times website.

It's pretty sad that, even if there is a credible threat, I no longer trust the leadership in Washington enough to believe in it. They are approaching Iran in the same manner that they did Iraq; second verse, same as the first...

Posted by: grape_crush on August 24, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, what could Iran be worried about? It's not like the U.S. has invaded and occupied any countries that border Iran.

Posted by: alreadyagainstthenextwar on August 24, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

It basically biols down to two options in the Middle East: either long, protracted negotiations with people we find abhorrent that result in some of the changes that we want in the region, or full-scale, genocidal war that ends up killing tens, possibly hundreds of millions of people.

In a sliver of agreement with the pro-war trolls, option one leaves much to be desired. But if you think option two is justified because you want to come out from under your bed, or you want Israel to have total hegemony over that vast reason, you are sick. And it's terrifying to think that scum that think like you are running my country.

Posted by: brewmn on August 24, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Bernard Lewis is a War Pig. The Iraq occupation has completely discredited his advocacy for military intervention.

The Iran Revolution was in its infancy when the CIA tried to intervene and Carter made the mistake of letting the Shah into the US for surgery. Carter should have sent the Shah back to Iran to face justice.

The people of Iran, for some crazy reason, still like the people of the US, but unless we reach out to them and try to accomodate their needs, that will not last much longer and will completely disappear if we attack their uranium enrichment facilities. Iran is not a threat to the US. Iran is a peaceful country concerned about US military aggression. It is Iran's opposition to US military aggression that drives its nuclear program and pushes its people towards hostility.

Posted by: Hostile on August 24, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

>They released them only, they explained, because they feared that the new president, Ronald Reagan, might approach the problem like a cowboy.

Right. Not that the Reagan administration sold Iran weapons, which the admin then used to fund the contras. Sounds more like a horse-trader to me.

Posted by: bartkid on August 24, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Frederick Fleitz wrote the House Intelligence report on Iran which chides the CIA for failing to provide evidence that Iran directs Hezbollah, is building WMD, is cozy with al Qaeda, or causes most of the mischief in Iraq. He still chides inspectors and the media for failing to find the WMD and weapons labs lying all over Iraq. He is a protege of Bolton and worked with Wurmser in creating the bogus case against Iraq in 2002. He reportedly tipped JB and Cheney off on Plame's ID. He continues to have access to classified files on CIA people and reports. He can "out" or disgrace any who do not step in line with the "talking points." He is a "mole" on the Hill for Cheney, Ledeen, and Kristol.

Posted by: jkoch on August 24, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Petronius,
It is hard to fathom. We are told these men are true believers. We can see that they are true amateurs without much understanding of what they are doing. Rumsfeld has been roundly criticized by the military and Bush and the Texans havent a clue. Maybe they just hope to stir things up.

My guess is that they hope to weaken Iran politically by delegitimizing them and in the conventional military sense. Much like what Israel tried with Hezbollah. A kind of slow bleed with a few hot bloodlettings. Grinding them down to size like they did to Iraq with war and sanctions and war again. Maybe failed state is where they want to get things if invasion and domination is untenable. Of course, the nastiness this unleashes and the insecurity it feeds they probably think plays into their hands as well. You know, any retaliation can be sold as an offensive threat by Karl Rove's noise machine. But it isn't working with Iraq.

Then again they could be crazy, egomaniacal warmongers who see no cost as too great for their cause. Of course, this is easy when others pay the price with their lives. But you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet. Maybe we should think of Iran as a great big omelet in the rough.

Posted by: bellumregio on August 24, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

brewmn wrote: "It basically biols down to two options in the Middle East: either long, protracted negotiations with people we find abhorrent that result in some of the changes that we want in the region, or full-scale, genocidal war that ends up killing tens, possibly hundreds of millions of people."

There is a third option: End our dependence on Middle Eastern oil and stop installing and supporting brutal dictatorships and invading countries and killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians in order to control the oil.

Why should the people of the Middle East have to suffer from dictatorships and war because of the "changes that we want in the region"? All the "changes that we want in the region" have to do with controlling the region's oil and ensuring that it continues flowing to power the grotesquely greedy, wasteful and destructive fossil-fuel-based US lifestyle.

The people of the Middle East are perfectly capable of exercising self-determination and handling their own affairs. What we need to do is end our dependence on their oil, stop making their lives miserable by inflicting war and dictatorships on them in order to possess that oil, and get the hell out of the region. They can take it from there.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 24, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Secular Animist, excellent post.

Posted by: nepeta on August 24, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

The people of the Middle East are perfectly capable of exercising self-determination and handling their own affairs. What we need to do is end our dependence on their oil, stop making their lives miserable by inflicting war and dictatorships on them in order to possess that oil, and get the hell out of the region. They can take it from there.

Well said.

Posted by: Disputo on August 24, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

brewmn: " protracted negotiations with people we find abhorrent"

Uh, I don't find Iranians 'abhorrent.' Do you?

Posted by: nepeta on August 24, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist,
How does Israel fit into the equation? Oil is clearly important but the cheerleaders and many of the architects of the Middle Eastern wars have been associated with AIPAC and other pro-Israel lobbies.

Posted by: bellumregio on August 24, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Having one's enemies convinced that you are toothless peacenik is no way to begin dealing with them.

No, much better to have them convinced you are a blood-blind, mindless, ratfucking mental case that is going to anally rape them no matter what they do. Then they will just surrender peacefully.

Posted by: Baldrick on August 24, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

bellumregio,

I hope Secular Animist is still around to answer your question, but here's my take. Israel is a factor is this equation for the neocons, mostly as a result of its being a benefactor to various militant groups (Hezbollah, e.g.). But I'm quite certain that if Iran, even a nuclear armed Iran, would assault Israel militarily, that the US and EU would bomb Iran into smithereens. I doubt that Iran as a nation state is suicidal.

Posted by: nepeta on August 24, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

"Is the timing of these statements and reports coincidental?"

Purely coincidental. Bwaaahhhh!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: nepeta on August 24, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

I'll add my two-cents:

Even with the oil factor removed from the ME equation, 'merican Zionists (both Jewish and Xian flavors) will certainly continue to support Israel, but I doubt that the rest of the US will put up with continuing to flush money down that toilet, and without US support, Israel will be forced to either 1) make peace with its neighbors, or 2) nuke them, with self-preservation suggesting (1), or as SA said: "The people of the Middle East are perfectly capable of exercising self-determination and handling their own affairs."

Posted by: Disputo on August 24, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

"but I doubt that the rest of the US will put up with continuing to flush money down that toilet"

Disputo, Why do you think this? I don't see even a hint of this happening, either in Congress or in the US public at large.

Posted by: nepeta on August 24, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta, I specified "with the oil factor removed", which of course has not yet been tested.

Posted by: Disputo on August 24, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

"Even with the oil factor removed from the ME equation"

That's one factor that I think is impossible to remove from the ME equation. 'Bringing democracy to the ME' can certainly be permanently excluded as sheer drivel.

Posted by: nepeta on August 24, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo, I understood you. Even without the oil factor, I don't think US support of Israel would evaporate.

Posted by: nepeta on August 24, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Bush justified a preemptive attack on Iraq with the justification that the threat allegedly posed by Iraq was created by a unique set of circumstances. "The world is also uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq whose dictator has already used weapons of mass destruction to kill thousands." - President Bush, 11/23/02. Someone should ask Bush if Iraq was unique, why should we attack Iran? Is Iran also unique? Does Bush even know what the word means? How does Bush define threats? Why should we attack Iran, but not North Korea?

Posted by: Pocket Rocket on August 24, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

That's one factor that I think is impossible to remove from the ME equation.

Well, I have my doubts as well (mostly because, absent massive social reengineering, it relies upon tech which has yet to be discovered), but that is SA's premise.

Posted by: Disputo on August 24, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Pocket Rocket, Well, for one thing, NK already has some nukes it could toss either south or east.
The US has this 'thing' about attacking countries that possess nuclear weapons.

Posted by: nepeta on August 24, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo,

Yeah, there's a lot of irony in the situation viz a viz global warming. We're fighting for access to oil which will probably kill most of us in the end. I guess there's still a shred of hope that technology will come to the rescue, although I don't think there's much of a chance. Tipping points are too near, if not already reached.

Posted by: nepeta on August 24, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

'most of us' = future generations of homo sapiens and most other species.

Posted by: nepeta on August 24, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

In a New York Times article, Newt Gingrich engaged in fantasy by suggesting that Iran may already have or is just about to get nuclear weapons from North Korea, therefore we have to start world war III (I'm sure Newt would like the war to start before the midterm election). As long as Newt is going to fantasize, he might as well go all the way and say Iran has a hundred nuclear weapons secretly stashed all over the world; of course under the logic of that fantasy, negotiation would be far preferable to war.

We engaged in diplomacy with the Soviet Union for 45 years. during the Cold War and it worked reasonably well.

Posted by: Craig on August 24, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

"We engaged in diplomacy with the Soviet Union for 45 years. during the Cold War and it worked reasonably well."

Yes. It's no wonder countries like Iran want nuclear weapons (if in fact they do). Negotiation then becomes possible.

Posted by: nepeta on August 24, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

I don't disagree with you, S.A. However, I do think that engagement is preferable to isolationism, as the forces of globalization are out of our control. As to the oil comments, absolute agreement. Full dependence on alternative energy is at least decades away, however, and I would like to remove the factors that make someone think suicide bombing is an effective policy tool much sooner than that.

And to whoever asked me whether I find Iranians abhorrent, the answer is no. I do, however find theocrats, the oil sheiks and genocidal fanatics abhorrent, and those are who we will be dealing with for the foreseeable future, not the average Iranian, or average Middle Easterner in general.

Posted by: brewmn on August 24, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Middle East expert Bernard Lewis read the memoirs of several of the Iranian radicals who took over the US embassy in Tehran in 1979 and learned something interesting. The original intention of the radicals was to hold the embassy and the hostages for only a few days. When it became clear that the feckless US president at the time, Jimmy Carter, had no intention of employing force, the radicals changed their minds and held the Americans for 444 days. They released them only, they explained, because they feared that the new president, Ronald Reagan, might approach the problem like a cowboy. Having one's enemies convinced that you are toothless peacenik is no way to begin dealing with them.
--mhr

First of all, Dickless, please provide a link to Bernard Lewis reading of these Iranian memoirs. I dont believe you for a second. Sounds like the old my best friends barbers neighbor told me cock and bull story. You are lying. Second, it has been well documented, by Robert Parry, Gary Sick and others, that Reagans1980 campaign committee, most notably, William Casey and George H.W. Bush, sold and/or promised arms to the Muslim radicals who took the Americans hostage in 1979 and asked that they be held until just before Reagans inauguration, to make it appear like Bonzo actually did something noble, when he was really a party to treason by aiding and abetting enemies of the United States.

In other words, the elder Bush and Reagan were slimeball traitors who sold stolen government property (paid for with our tax dollars) to members of the Axis of Evil for purely political reasons, while Jimmy Carter took the moral high road, so that innocent Iranian civilians (and possibly American citizens) would not be killed in a futile rescue attempt. Reagans inauguration party should really have featured George H.W. Bush and Reagan himself being led to the gallows for execution. Why are conservatives so ignorant of history???

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on August 24, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Even without the oil factor, I don't think US support of Israel would evaporate.

Religious zealots like the Not-reverend John Hagee and political charlatans like Bill Kristol have too much at stake economically and poilitcally with their congregations and factions to give up on aid to Israel. The settler icon of the Israelis making hospitable a dangerous land is very similar to the US fake history, which resonates with many and provides political power to those who glorify it. The religious motivation to bring about Armageddon also greatly resonates and brings in lots of cash to those willing to exploit people's beliefs. It will be very hard to stop these two factions from continuing to arm and support Israeli aggression. It would help greatly if the Palestinians would adopt pacifism and civil disobedience, which is a lot for me to ask of people who my country has vilified, but it is probably the only way to change Americans' attitudes towards them and Israel's virtue.

Posted by: Hostile on August 24, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

"And to whoever asked me whether I find Iranians abhorrent, the answer is no. I do, however find theocrats, the oil sheiks and genocidal fanatics abhorrent, and those are who we will be dealing with for the foreseeable future, not the average Iranian, or average Middle Easterner in general."

Well, point by point I guess. Oil sheiks are worse than corporate moguls? Genocidal fanatics aren't to be found in every war? Theocrats aren't found the world over and not 'necessarily' worse than other forms of government. How does Abu Ghraib and Gitmo factor in to a ME view of our society? It's just that if one wants to argue superiority, than one must look at variations in culture and come to an honest evaluation, if that is at all possible given 'blind spots.'

Posted by: nepeta on August 24, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

I do, however find theocrats, the oil sheiks and genocidal fanatics abhorrent

John Hagee, Rod Parsely, Pat Roberston, Jerry Falwell, Meir Kahane, etc.

Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Shell, BP, etc.

Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Simcox, Olmert, etc.

Yes, they are abhorrent.

Posted by: Hostile on August 24, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta: "I guess there's still a shred of hope that technology will come to the rescue, although I don't think there's much of a chance."

The problem is not the technology. The necessary technologies of energy efficiency, and wind and solar electrical generation, already exist and are advancing rapidly. The problem is the entrenched economic interests -- the fossil fuel and nuclear industries -- that control the federal government's energy policies and thus are a powerful political obstacle to the rapid implementation of available technologies.

In a recent article published in the Seattle Post Intelligencer, utility executives Dave Freeman, Jim Harding and Roger Duncan write about "major breakthroughs in reducing the cost of solar electric cells" by teams in South Africa and California. Using "copper-indium-gallium-selenide ... deposited in an extremely thin layer on a flexible surface ... the technology reduces solar cell production costs by a factor of 4-5" which brings the cost of photovoltaic-generated electricity "to or below that of delivered electricity in a large fraction of the world." The California group is part of the company Nanosolar, which has major financial backing "to build a $100 million production facility ... capable of producing 430 megawatts of cells annually ... using a technology it equates to printing newspapers." According to the article, half a dozen competing companies in the US are working along the same lines.

Freeman, Harding and Duncan write that "Inexpensive solar electric cells are, fundamentally, a 'disruptive technology' ... Much like cellular phones have changed the way people communicate, cheap solar cells change the way we produce and distribute electric energy ... the prospect of this technology creates a conundrum for the electric utility industry and Wall Street. Can - or should - any utility, or investor, count on the long-term viability of a coal, nuclear or gas investment? The answer is no."

The thing of it is, that the people who want to sell coal, nuclear or natural gas power plants to utilities or investors want a different answer.

Super-efficient electric vehicles and super-efficient buildings, distributed, inexpensive wind and photovoltaic electricity generation, with a smart grid (an electrical power Internet) to tie it all together, is the way out of the mess we are in.

The problem is to get those who are blocking that way -- the dinosaur fossil fuel and nuclear industries with their committment to soon-to-be-obsolete technologies and centralized mega-powerplants -- and their bought-and-paid for politicians -- out of the way.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 24, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

" It would help greatly if the Palestinians would adopt pacifism and civil disobedience, which is a lot for me to ask of people who my country has vilified, but it is probably the only way to change Americans' attitudes towards them and Israel's virtue."

Hostile,

I think about this all the time (pacifism and civil disobedience by the Palestinians). Maybe you can help me out. Since Palestinians have a separate piece of land on which to live and aren't 'integral' to Israeli society, I can't come up with a civil disobedience route for them to take. Can you come up with a scenario?

Posted by: nepeta on August 24, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Secular Animist,

I agree with you about technology being currently available to make a dent in global warming pollutants here in the US. But I'm pessimistic about the political will (including public apathy) to make big changes quickly enough. There also seems to be an economic factor involved in a complete change in the mode of energy production that I can certainly imagine but can't understand thoroughly from an economic perspective (being clueless in that area). And although the US produces 25% of the world's global warming gases, we don't have control of developing countries' political or economic decisions, e.g., China. So, even if we cleaned up our act, that's not necessarily enough other than to provide a clear conscience.

Posted by: nepeta on August 24, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

-- the dinosaur fossil fuel and nuclear industries with their committment to soon-to-be-obsolete technologies and centralized mega-powerplants --

How ... Soviet.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on August 24, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

-- the dinosaur fossil fuel and nuclear industries with their committment to soon-to-be-obsolete technologies and centralized mega-powerplants --

Shell and BP are major manufacturers of PV cells for home, business, and government use. As they grow their businesses, and as production costs fall, they stand to make a lot of money from the declining supplies of oil.

Look to GE to make money off the manufacture of synfuels, and other companies who will be backed by oil money.

Enron, of course, is the major manufacturer of wind turbines in the US.

Posted by: republicrat on August 24, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

T-Web, at his condescending best, writes:

Chuck's comment brings to mind the Robert Frost quote: "A Liberal is someone who refuses to take his own side in a fight." You know what's worse than the double standards you complain about Chuck. A country with a history of supporting terror, that regularly proclaims the U.S. as the Great Satan, and whose leaders encourage their people to chant "Death to America" getting nuclear weapons. This isn't 3rd grade, where something being unfair is the worst thing in the world. A government's job is to protect its people, not to be perfectly fair to its enemies at its own citizens' expense. (I won't even address your post's implied moral equivalence between the U.S. and Iran.)

At the very least, t-web concedes we are not being fair. That much is obvious, as we in the US would never countenance another country monitoring our nuclear program, demanding we give up nuclear weapons, etc.

However, the implication that we the high and mighty US don't pracice / subsidize terror is contradicted by the facts. What do you call free-fire zones, t-web? Or napalm? Or agent orange? Or the use of white phosphorus against people (as in Fallujah, a fact that was first denied by the military but in the face of incontrovertible evidence later admitted)? Or the support of regimes such as in Saudi Arabia (one of the most repressive in the world), Egypt, etc. etc.

So don't give me any bullshit about the US dealing from a position of moral authority. You can't maintain a double standard and pretend you possess moral authority at the same time. It doesn't work, and again, the people of the world (including the brown ones you fear so much)see right through it.

Finally, as far as your inane comment about liberals is concerned: I'm a citizen of the world before a citizen of any country. I'm not a drone, and I'm not about to follow an idiot like Bush who is driving us off a cliff because you and others like you consider him "Dear Leader."

George Bush's policy is not my policy, thank you very much, so, "t-web," you can take your traitor-baiting, shove it WAY up your ass, and SPIN on it.


Posted by: chuck on August 24, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Well, point by point I guess. Oil sheiks are worse than corporate moguls? Genocidal fanatics aren't to be found in every war? Theocrats aren't found the world over and not 'necessarily' worse than other forms of government. How does Abu Ghraib and Gitmo factor in to a ME view of our society? It's just that if one wants to argue superiority, than one must look at variations in culture and come to an honest evaluation, if that is at all possible given 'blind spots.'"

You seem to be looking for a fight here. Trust me, I was not at all arguing the Bush administration's "superiority" to anyone. Only several hundred years of democratic process keeps them from exercising a brutal form of totalitarianism here, and we see what their outlook and values are doing in the Middle East. But at the same time, let's not pretend that the people currently in control of Saudi Arabia, Syria, or Iran are people whose rule would be benevolent absent American meddling.

Posted by: brewmn on August 24, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

A couple of posters have made the claim that Iran could shut the Straits of Hormuz and hold them closed. Probably not.

Iran hasn't much of a Navy and the Silkworm sites are pretty vulnerable. They tried mining in the late 80s and we effectively countered that. Iran could hinder the movement of oil tankers for about as long as it took us to reflag and escort them.

Someone mentioned that shutting the Straits of Hormuz would put our forces in Iraq in a tight situation. Again, probably not, since our land and air lines of communication would remain intact.

Iran's most effective weapon would be oil, but other countries, members of OPEC, would be just as likely to increase production to compensate.

But let's not get too spun up here. Nobody in government will be advocating an attack on Iran anytime soon, if ever.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 24, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Iran's most effective weapon would be oil, but other countries, members of OPEC, would be just as likely to increase production to compensate.

There is no excess cap available.

All Iran has to do to f-up the global economy is shut off their own spigot.

Posted by: Disputo on August 24, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody in government will be advocating an attack on Iran anytime soon, if ever.

Uh, many already are. If you mean that they won't actually go through with it, well that idea is entertainable.

Posted by: Disputo on August 24, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat wrote: "Enron, of course, is the major manufacturer of wind turbines in the US."

Enron, of course, is no such thing.

According to this May 2005 report from the American Wind Energy Association which lists the top manufacturers' share of installed wind generating capacity in the US for each year from 2000 through 2004, for 2004 the top three were GE, Mitsubishi and Vestas.

Enron is only listed in the top 5 manufacturers in 2001, when it was second to Vestas.

According to The New York Times, General Electric acquired Enron Wind in April 2002 when it "won a bankruptcy auction for the Enron Wind Corporation's wind-turbine manufacturing assets, with a bid of about $358 million."

If by "manufacturer of wind turbines in the US" you mean a US-based manufacturer, rather than a manufacturer whose turbines are deployed in the US, then the major one would be General Electric, since Mitsubishi is of course based in Japan and Vestas is based in Denmark. But in actuality they are all multinational companies.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 24, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta, the lands outside of the 1947 UN Partition ought to be considered Palestinian. Much of that land has been occupied by Israelis, either by the military or by immigrant Zionist settlers. These areas are where the First Intifada took place and they are where civil disobedience can take place. Instead of throwing rocks, molotov cocktails or approaching as suicide bombers, the Palestinians could instead use civil disobedient demonstrations. The many check points or, better yet, the Israeli only roads are prime locations to confront the IDF with passive resistance, hopefully massive in nature. The Israeli bulldozers that destroy Palestinian homes should be blocked with sit-ins. Will some Palestinians be crushed to death like Rachel Corrie was? Yes, that is the point of using passive civil disobedience, but it must be broadcast to the people of Israel and their benefactors, the people of America, in order to create sympathy and support for their cause.

The settlements could be blockaded with sit-ins. The check points could be blockaded with sit-ins. I read a stroy in Harpers on-line about a little girl who was killed by the IDF because she was playing too close to a fortified position. The people of that neighborhood were, of course, outraged, but reacting violently to her murder only created more misery and death. I think the Palestinians should have reacted with a peaceful demonstration. That would have brought attention to the murder and the brutal cruelty of the Israelis, while also creating sympathy for all Palestinians. When Palestinians react violently they lose, despite the emotional logic that would satisfy a violent response from anyone else.

In Gaza when that family on the beach was blown up or when the Israeli tanks were lined up and ready to move in, I thought that was an opportunity to use this type of passive tactic. Had the Palestinians gone to the Israeli border and passivley blocked the roads with their bodies they win the moral high ground, even though some would have been crushed by the tanks. Many more died in the fighting, but the Palestinians won nothing in the way of public support.

Although I do not hold Palestinians responsible for non-state actors who use violence like terrorism or suicide bombers, since they do not represent the nation, they take away that moral high ground vicims like the Palestinians should naturally have. When they act out violence they play right into the militant Israelis plans for dehumanizing them. Sorry for rambling on. I would like to think this through some more. I think there are plenty of ways the Palestinians and even the Shi'a of Southern Lebanon could fight the power of Israel non-violently, which would do a lot to change the perspective of their plight or stop the US press from demonizing them. Of course, if the media do not broadcast the violence used against passive resistance or if Americans see it and are still ambivalent to the suffering and grievances of the Palestinians and Lebanese Shi'a, then they and we have reached one of those moments in history that the European Jews found themselves in during the 1930's. I prefer not to think about that until this kind of resistance is tried first.

Posted by: Hostile on August 24, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

"The solution is a prolonged bombing campaign that decapitates the regime and destroys its nuclear research infrastructure."

Well, that sort of thing worked so well every other time it's been tried-for example, when then Germans bombed the British into surrender, and when the Allies bombed the Axis powers, not to mention Korea, Vietnam, etc, etc. . . Hell, we couldn't even decapitate Iraq with bombing, and you right wingnuts have been making fun of Clinton's attempt to decapitate al Qaeda with cruise missiles for years. But it's all going to work out just fine THIS time, right?

Posted by: rea on August 24, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

rea wrote:

"Hell, we couldn't even decapitate Iraq with bombing, and you right wingnuts have been making fun of Clinton's attempt to decapitate al Qaeda with cruise missiles for years. But it's all going to work out just fine THIS time, right?"
__________________

Strategic bombing can be useful, even essential in some circumstances, but it is correct to say that bombing alone isn't going to topple any regime. We didn't count on it doing so in Iraq and shouldn't count on it for regime change in Iran. While we might be able to deal a severe blow to the Iranian nuclear program, we probably couldn't do so without massive collateral damage. Even then, it might not be enough.

For that matter, sanctions are not likely to be enough, either. The only kind of sanctions that would have a ghost of a prayer would be those that would bring great harm to the Iranian people in general. And we'll just be blamed for that, as well.

I suspect we'll have to learn to live with a nuclear Iran. Perhaps we should concentrate on encouraging the Iranian people's interest in reform and liberalization.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 24, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK
Iran's most effective weapon would be oil, but other countries, members of OPEC, would be just as likely to increase production to compensate.
First, there is no excess capacity in crude oil of any kind at this time.

Second, the last time that Iran turned off their oil exports was 1979, and even though Saudia Arabia was able to pick up most of the slack, world oil prices still doubled.

Third, our second largest oil supplier, Mexico, has stated that the Cantarell field is in decline and is expected to drop 70% from this March's production by the end of 2008. Since Cantarell provides 60% of Mexico's crude oil exports, it looks like the will stop exporting oil sometime in mid to late 2008. Noxal, being a deep resevoir, is all natural gas and no crude at all, and might be able to provide as much as 1/3 of the energy that Cantarell currently provides.

Fourth, oops, BP was too lazy and cheap to perform maintainence on the Alaskan oil pipeline, so 1/4 of Alaskan oil production is shut down until Jan 2007.

Fifth, there are about a dozen incidents of piracy around Singapore each year. That is enough to scare marine insurers into charging wartime premiums (if selling insurance coverage at all) for ships transiting that region. Sinking a couple of ships would send insurance premiums to the point where no one could afford to travel there.

Sixth, there isn't enough tanker capacity to haul the crude oil needed, since tankers can't flush their tanks at sea anymore, and have to spend about 2 weeks in port washing the tanks clean. "Clean" tankers haul refined products like gasolene or kerosene. "Dirty" tankers haul crude oil. Putting refined products into a dirty contaminates the load and it will need to be re-refined.

They tried mining in the late 80s and we effectively countered that. Iran could hinder the movement of oil tankers for about as long as it took us to reflag and escort them.
It was the British that performed all the minesweeping, our own navy has no skill in doing so, since it doesn't involve shooting off sexy missiles, plus we've retired most of those minesweepers in the last 20 years. This time, reflagging all shipping as US ships would turn them all into legitimate military targets.

Posted by: Peter on August 24, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

The US Public Interest Research Group published a report today entitled "Rising to the Challenge: Six Steps to Cut Global Warming Pollution in the United States" in which they lay out a six-point plan by which the USA "can reduce its global warming emissions by as much as 19 percent by 2020 by taking a set of aggressive but achievable steps toward improved energy efficiency and increased use of renewable energy, within the context of mandatory limits on global warming pollution."

While the focus of the USPIRG report is on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, their plan would also have the effect of reducing oil consumption, and thus US dependence on Middle Eastern oil, and thus all of the pernicious effects of that dependence on the region and US policy towards its governments and peoples.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 24, 2006 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

We're not entirely helpless in minesweeping, Peter. We have 14 mine countermeasure ships, about half of them launched since 1990. It was a lesson learned from last time.

The news that we did no minesweeping back during the tanker war would be disconcerting to a couple of surface warfare officer I knew who took part in the effort.

The absence of a US flag didn't seem to be much protection against Iranian mines or gunboats last time. Reflagging was used to enable the US Navy to protect the tankers.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 24, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Secular Animist,

" a six-point plan by which the USA "can reduce its global warming emissions by as much as 19 percent by 2020"

I just don't think that's gonna do it. Climatologists have recently announced that the Greenland ice shelf is melting three times faster than expected. I'm a pessimist by nature, if that makes you feel better...

Posted by: nepeta on August 24, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile,

Thanks for your ideas on Palestinian civil disobedience. It's sure worth a try.

Posted by: nepeta on August 24, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Well, you can see it won't be long now. We'll just bomb the bejeezus out of them, and they will shower us with roses to show their gratitude at having the son of the Shah return to his throne.

Yeah, that'll work.

Posted by: serial catowner on August 24, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile,

If you google 'Palestinian civil disobedience' you come up with almost nothing. I did find a description of one recent endeavor in which a road block was dismantled, stone by stone, by Palestinian villagers and international supporters. It sounds like it was a dismal failure and resulted in Israel disallowing even 'foot traffic' past the road block a few hours later.

http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20060715091924117

Posted by: nepeta on August 24, 2006 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, interesting.

I think civil disobedience has to be practiced by a large group who must also be very persistent. I would suggest that village mass at that checkpoint and slowly inch their way towards their objective everyday for a fortnight. The problem is if no one knows about it, it will not change public attitudes about the way Israel treats Palestinians and occupies their lands. So, it does not help to do it in a vacuum, there must also be mass media coverage. That might be the most difficult part of practicing civil disobedience in Palestine.

Posted by: Hostile on August 24, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile,

But don't you think most members of the US Congress know exactly what's going on? Judging by the massive US congressional support given the recent Israeli 'offensive' in Lebanon, it seems that the US is pro-Israel no matter how unjust Israel's actions. Unfortunately, that includes Dems and Repubs. We the people and what we think simply don't count in this debate.

Posted by: nepeta on August 24, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

The most difficult part of civil disobedience, besides the pain of the beatings and the crushing of the tank tracks, is there is little improvement in the lives of the people putting themselves in danger. The other difficult thing to do is prevent the stone throwing or any kind of violent reaction. The US Civil Rights Movement had workshops before their marches to teach passive response. It is natural to want to hurt others who hurt you, but it must be stifled.

It will take hundreds, maybe thousands, of episodes like the one at Izbet Tabib before any real change takes effect in the attitudes of Israelis and Americans towards their problems, and even then any difference made in their lives will be incremental. I suspect it will take a massacre of passive resisters before world wide attention would be given to such a movement. Civil disobedience is a long, painful, and even deadly slog, but the PLO's practice of violence has been painful too, but fruitless.

I am very proud of those people and hope for their well being. Thanks again for the link.

Posted by: Hostile on August 24, 2006 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta, I know about bipartisan support for Israel in Congress and it makes me sick. The Palestinians and the Southern Lebanese will have a difficult time breaking the iron bond of US economic and military aid and the kickbacks paid from AIPAC and JENSA to Congresspersons. Certainly retaliatory violence and political terror have not succeeded. Even outright victimization like last months aerial bombing of apartment blocks does nothing to change these people's attitudes. Actually, it makes them even more ready to start more conflicts, as the chorus of blame of Iran for the war demonstrated. That is why I would prefer the civil disobedience described be used, not to change Congress' opinion, but to inform and change Americans' opinions. When widespread American attitudes change in favor of Palestine, then Congress will change. I hope.

Posted by: Hostile on August 24, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is to get those who are blocking that way -- the dinosaur fossil fuel and nuclear industries with their committment to soon-to-be-obsolete technologies and centralized mega-powerplants -- and their bought-and-paid for politicians -- out of the way.

The solution is a prolonged bombing campaign that decapitates their dinosaur regime and destroys its fossil fuel and nuclear industries.

Darn multiple cut and paste. Come to think of it, it's got the makings of a winner anyway.

Posted by: Whack a NeoCon for Christ on August 24, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile,

At least we can be happy for the European left and their support of the Palestinian cause, as well as the many brave Israeli liberals who speak out against their own government.

Posted by: nepeta on August 25, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

secular animist: According to The New York Times, General Electric acquired Enron Wind in April 2002 when it "won a bankruptcy auction for the Enron Wind Corporation's wind-turbine manufacturing assets, with a bid of about $358 million."

thanks for the correction. I knew something had happened to change the name, but I didn't want to look it up. I am glad that you listed some of the companies that are currently engaged in manufacturing alternative energy generating plants, as those companies are the companies that will in the end "wean" us from big oil.

On another topic: the PIRG 6 point plan to reduce CO2 emissions is a good complement to the 17 well-known technologies for sequestering CO2; and a complement to the plans for recycling CO2 in biofuels.

Posted by: republicrat on August 25, 2006 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, that includes Dems and Repubs. We the people and what we think simply don't count in this debate

That is why I would prefer the civil disobedience described be used, not to change Congress' opinion, but to inform and change Americans' opinions. When widespread American attitudes change in favor of Palestine, then Congress will change.

You are both nuts. At least hostile recognized Congressional support of Israel REFLECTS the widespread support for Israel by VOTERS. The only hope for the Palestinians is to denounce and actively stop terrorism in the Middle East and around the world. Until then Americans will look at them as cockroaches.

And lets be honest here. That how most of the rest of the Middle East looks at them. Palestinians are treated like dogs in refugee camps thoughout the middle east. Isn't it supremely ironic the Palestinians living within Israel are the freest, happiest and most prosperous Palestinains on the planet? More interesting is that as their counsins live in squalor and grow even poorer the Israeli Palestinians are becoming quite wealthier in the booming Israeli economy.

Posted by: rdw on August 25, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

At least we can be happy for the European left and their support of the Palestinian cause, as well as the many brave Israeli liberals who speak out against their own government.

The European left is a mess. They've been supporting Palestine for 30 years and they're worse off than ever. Lefty icon Gunter Grass has been humiliated while Germany has taken a decidedly more aggressive stance against the middles east. Angela Merkel's decision to sell Israel two more dolphin class sub capable of launching nuclear missles was an incredibly decisive message to both the entire Middle East and France.

The EU of the Clinton years no longer exists. Chirac is a lame duck with polls in the toilet while France has become the most unpopular nation within the EU. Before selling subs Merkel was organizing a bloc with Poland, Italy and the Czech Republic which wrote and passed the EU statement saying Hezbollah has to return the troops and disarm and Israel had a right to defend itself.

Sorry freind. The left in Europe is just as weak and ineffective as the left here.

Posted by: rdw on August 25, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

The EU of the Clinton years no longer exists. Chirac is a lame duck with polls in the toilet while France has become the most unpopular nation within the EU.

The America of the Clinton years no longer exists. Bush is a lame duck with polls in the toilet while America has become one of the most unpopular nations in the world.

Posted by: trex on August 25, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry folks. I've not read most of the comments.

The question seems to be, 'Is it co-ordinated?'

Of course it's coordinated, anyone with eyes to see knows that we've be heading into this war in Iran for the past (at least) year. The dancing around and gravely worded hints are just the softening procedure needed to prepare the American public for what's inevitably to come.

For years Iran has been poking a stick in America's eye.

Frankly, it astonishes me that it is taking as long as it is to get around to this war.

Posted by: radford on August 27, 2006 at 7:41 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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