Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 25, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

CHENEY INSANITY WATCH....Joe Klein thinks that Steve Clemons' report about Dick Cheney's plan to goad Iran into attacking us so that we'll be justified in counter-attacking is probably correct. Today he reports this:

Last December, as Rumsfeld was leaving, President Bush met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in "The Tank," the secure room in the Pentagon where the Joint Chiefs discuss classified matters of national security. Bush asked the Chiefs about the wisdom of a troop "surge" in Iraq. They were unanimously opposed. Then Bush asked about the possibility of a successful attack on Iran's nuclear capability. He was told that the U.S. could launch a devastating air attack on Iran's government and military, wiping out the Iranian air force, the command and control structure and some of the more obvious nuclear facilities. But the Chiefs were — once again — unanimously opposed to taking that course of action.

....Bush apparently took this advice to heart and went to Plan B — a covert destabilization campaign reported earlier this week by ABC News. If Clemons is right, and I'm pretty sure he is, Cheney is still pushing Plan A.

Kevin Drum 2:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (70)

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Comments

Why is Cheney off the reservation?

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 25, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Would Israel even take the bait? They already lost a war to Hezbollah. If things go sour, or in an unpredictable direction, Israel could harm their own interests greatly.

It's also not clear to me that Iran would retaliate against Americans after an Israeli attack. Isn't it possible that Iran could attack at Israel more directly through Hezbollah or some other militia or organization?

Posted by: stm177 on May 25, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

So -- as you've suggested earlier -- just who really DID leak the news of that "destabilization campaign" to ABC, thus presumably ruining any faint chance that it might work? One wonders, my precious.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on May 25, 2007 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

As for STM177's objections: Cheney, lest we forget, is not noted for his strategic genius.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on May 25, 2007 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

War is big business.
(spoken as someone who makes his living at it).

Honestly, I really do hope Cheney gets his war.
Because in 20 years, history and perspective (and Conservative pundit spin) may make Iraq not look as bad as it is.

But if we get tangled up in Iran, and lose a carrier to a submarine missile - Cheney may keep the reputation he deserves.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on May 25, 2007 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

"is not noted for his strategic genius"

Neither was his alter ego, Martin Bormann.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on May 25, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/5/25/14155/1004

Posted by: Uhm... on May 25, 2007 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Goodness. Could it be that even Mr. Bush has learned he should favor the opinions of his generals over those of the ever earnest Mr. Cheney? It seems that Mr. Cheney views military options as if they were features on an à la carte menu and with as much gravity. No doubt the goal is to be full by the end of the meal. He is clearly a madman.

Posted by: bellumregio on May 25, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Who told Klein this? I bet it was someone in a shiny uniform. Not to be trusted, right?

Posted by: Al on May 25, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

I forget where I saw it, but I believe that Fallon, currently head of CENTCOM, said an attack on Iran would be over his dead body.

Posted by: paperpusher on May 25, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Where in the recalling of that meeting is a report of Cheney pushing back against the military's reluctance to attack Iran? His plotting seems to spring forth from nothingness. I started to read your post looking for the genesis of Cheney's plans and I'm still waiting. Bush makes his decision on plan "B" after (or during) the meeting and that's that. Is Cheney only now making his move, 6 months after the military and Bush think the matter is settled?

Posted by: steve duncan on May 25, 2007 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

In other news today, US jets outside of Tampa are practising their fly over with one jet missing routine.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on May 25, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

This is the only administration in my lifetime for which a coup actually doesn't seem so dire.

Posted by: JeffII on May 25, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't we just hear that Bush signed a Presidential Directive authorizing a disinformation campaign against Iran?

All that and the Capitola UFO.

Posted by: Phil on May 25, 2007 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

This is the only administration in my lifetime for which a coup actually doesn't seem so dire.

I'd even welcome Nixon back from the dead.

Posted by: tomeck on May 25, 2007 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

It's a good thing decisions like these are being made by our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington. You see, I'm a commander guy.

Posted by: jrw on May 25, 2007 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Ummmm it is'nt even bigger news that the Joint Chiefs unanimously opposed the surge?

I mean, he justified it by saying the "commanders on the ground" approved the surge, so does that mean he ignores the Generals but listens to the Colonels?

How the militarists still support this CiC who does not understand the chain of command is beyond me.

Posted by: Xenos on May 25, 2007 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

I'd even welcome Nixon back from the dead. Posted by: tomeck

Yeah. He at least wanted out of his war.

Posted by: JeffII on May 25, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Bush's actions during the recent Israeli attack on Lebanon give some credibility to this story. However, the failure of that attack will probably deter any actions for the time being unless it becomes a joint operation, which would be guaranteed to inflame the Arab world.

Posted by: Mike on May 25, 2007 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

What can be gained by a war with Iran. I have heard that applying 19th century theories of empire we might "secure" our oil supply, but in the age of the $50.00 AK-74, and the cell phone do we have any reason to believe 19th century theories of empire have any and I mean any application.

The answer is "no." What Cheney is alledged to be proposing in Iran simply can't work. It is beyond insane. Iran would be ten times worse than Iraq and we can't bring stability to Iraq.

It's far cheaper to simply cut deals with the Iranians for oil, and then to focus all our efforts on alternative fuels. That approach at least has some chance of success.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 25, 2007 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Nacho Libre - Bad Mexican Tag Team Wrestling
act. Again. See, http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/1/10/121241/862

First it was Israel and the US, egging each other on to be the first to pop off a few bunker busters inside Iran. But, a funny thing happened on the way to Natanz. Bush lost the Iraq War. Then, Olmert made the same mistake in Lebanon. Both were proved Paper Tigers, or cheapo wrestling idiots.

The next approach was Bush's "Crazy Nixon" act. You remember, the one that had Dick wandering the halls of the White House residence at night, drunk and crazy, talking to portraits of dead Presidents. That one worked in '73 to keep the Russians out of the Middle East when Israel was on the ropes. Iran didn't bite on the sequel with Shrub talking to Jezbus inside his head about nukin' Tehran.

Now we have Dick "Seven Days in May" Cheney, acting the part of a renegade warlord.

Sorry, Kevin. I'm still not buying this act, even if Steve does.

Posted by: leveymg on May 25, 2007 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

'What Cheney is alledged to be proposing in Iran simply can't work. It is beyond insane. Iran would be ten times worse than Iraq and we can't bring stability to Iraq.'

Its only insane if you look at it from the point of view that you approach war with the purpose of winning and then ending the war. What if the whole point was to be at war?

Posted by: jg on May 25, 2007 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers: What can be gained by a war with Iran?

Turn the question around: What can be lost by allowing Iran to become a nuclear power?

Here are some possibilities:

-- Iran might destroy Israel. That what Ahmadinijad said they would do.

-- Iran might install a puppet government in Lebanon, using their nuclear threat to keep the civilized world at bay.

-- Iran might dominate Iraq and perhaps even Kuwait, thus ocntrolling a huge share of the world's oil. This would give them power over China, Europe and even the US.

-- Iran might give nuclear weapons to terrorists.

-- Iran might use the threat of nukes to force changes in European policy.

-- Iran might behave so badly that we were eventully forced to go to war with them at a time when they could attack Europe or even the US with nuclear weapons.

These awful possibilities are purely speculative. Hopefully none of them will occur. OTOH, once Iran becomes a nuclear power, if any of these developments seems to be likely to occur, it will be too late to put the genie back in the bottle.

Posted by: ex-liberal on May 25, 2007 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

ex-
. . . or, Iran could use all those fancy anti-ship missiles they bought from China and Russia against shipping in the Persian Gulf, through which flows about 40% of the world's oil.

Hell, all they really have to do is choke-up on oil production by 10%, with a plausible excuse, and watch the US economy spiral into a full-on depression.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on May 25, 2007 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK
These awful possibilities are purely speculative.

IOW, there is no rational reason to believe any of them would occur, and it would be as utterly insane to make policy decisions based on the them as it would be to make policy decisions based on the possibility that, if Tony Blair is allowed to leave office, Britain, already a nuclear power, might come to be ruled by a psycopath determined to get revenge on the "colonies" for breaking away, so the US must either guarantee that Blair is installed as dictator-for-life or destroy Britain's capacity to make war in a surprise attack before the threat materializes.

Posted by: cmdicely on May 25, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

The worst thing that would happen if Iran got a nuke would be the death of the fantasy that we will one day knock over their unfriendly regime and get access to their oil fields for our oil companies. It ain't about owning the oil its about who gets to work the fields. US and British comanies are working Saddams fields not the French or Russian firms that would have the contracts if we hadn't removed Saddam, if we had instead lifted the sanctions. Didn't the Iraqi governement just sign an oil contract that gives the majority of the profits to the oil firms for the first 30 years of the contract? And yet the right thinks they win the war-for-oil argument by yelling 'why ain't the prices lower if we went to war for oil, huh, tell me that mr. smarty pants librul?'.

Posted by: jg on May 25, 2007 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: "...if any of these developments seems to be likely to occur, it will be too late to put the genie back in the bottle."

Well, on the strength that surmisal, we really should be invading just about everyone, shouldn't we? Will you lead the charge?

Posted by: Kenji on May 25, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: Iran might destroy Israel. That what Ahmadinijad said they would do.

You're lying again.

But then, "ex-liberal" tips his/her/its hand -- as a neocon, he/she/it advocates the United States sacrifice its blood and treasure to advance the interests of the State of Israel.

Personally, I prefer American lives and treasure be expended, if it must, in the interests of the United States. So once again the question is raised: Why does "ex-liberal" hate America?

Posted by: Gregory on May 25, 2007 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

And, of course, "ex-liberal" completely ignores the fact that there's no reason to believe that Iran would be any less deterred than the Soviet Union, China, India, Pakistan or any other nuclear power.

Nation-states know full well they use nuclear weapons at risk of utter destruction to themselves. And the canard of a nation providing a nuke to terrorists is the bunk -- the Soviet Union could have done so easily, but rightly judged it either risked retaliation or destruction once that genie was really let out of the bottle.

It's true that Bush's fecklessness has left us with a nuclear North Korea, that he's put us in a piss-poor bargaining position regarding Iran, and that his chest-thumping, concede-everything-as-a-precursor-to-negotiating style doesn't work. By ignoring these realities in favor of fearmongering bullshit, "ex-liberal" tacitly concedes these point. One only marvel at "ex-liberal"'s lack of shame and good faith to continue arguing in the face of the rebuttals he/she/it has received on this thread, let alone every other one on which he/she/it posts.

Shame on you, "ex-liberal."

Posted by: Gregory on May 25, 2007 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Kenji: Well, on the strength that surmisal, we really should be invading just about everyone, shouldn't we? Will you lead the charge?

I will leave that honor to Robert Heinlein. His story Solution Unsatisfactory is virtually an essay exploring this very problem. The solution in his story is for the nation that possessess atomic weapons to instantly destroy any other nation that is attempting to create them.

Gregory, here's a cite regarding Ahmidinejad and Israel

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday the solution to the Middle East crisis is to destroy Israel....

Ahmadinejad, who has drawn international condemnation with previous calls for Israel to be wiped off the map, said the Middle East would be better off "without the existence of the Zionist regime."

Israel "is an illegitimate regime, there is no legal basis for its existence," he said.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/03/AR2006080300629.html

Here's another cite:

IRAN SAYS IT WANTS TO DESTROY ISRAEL. WHY IS EVERYONE SHOCKED? http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=w051031&s=karshmiller103105

Posted by: ex-liberal on May 25, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

And here's a quote from some dipshit: "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran."

Which is the biggest a--hole?

Posted by: Aaron on May 25, 2007 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Did they use the Cone of Silence when they were in "The Tank", for fucks sake? Watching this Administration is like going to a David Lynch movie while on LSD - sometimes, its like things are so bizarre you feel like you are losing your sanity.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on May 25, 2007 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Nice try, "ex-liberal." It's telling you cited the 2006 article and nothing after that. But then, you don't comment in good faith, so I'm not surprise.

Toad.

Posted by: Gregory on May 25, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal, Ahmadinejad said Israel will be wiped out of the pages of history "just as the Soviet Union was."

Of course, you remember that full-out nuclear assault that destroyed hundreds of millions and left Russia a mass of glowing rubble, no?

Posted by: MikeN on May 25, 2007 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

Again, even if Iran was making a serious threat -- which is far from established -- as opposed to a poor translation, and even if Iran's threat was meant externally as opposed to for internal consumption (you know, "ex-liberal," like the bellicose Republican rhetoric you slurp up), the fact remains that we have Tehran's address (and so does Israel). A nuclear attack invites massive realiation -- a point you don't address. But then, you don't comment in good faith, so I'm not surprised.

Posted by: Gregory on May 25, 2007 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory: It's telling you cited the 2006 article and nothing after that

Do you have evidence that Iran is feeling more kindly toward Israel than they did last year?

Gregory: Again, even if Iran was making a serious threat -- which is far from established

I agree. We don't know for sure that Iran will bomb Tel Aviv as soon as they get nukes. ut, if you were Israeli, how would you feel about trusting Ahmadinejad's good will?

the fact remains that we have Tehran's address (and so does Israel). A nuclear attack invites massive realiation -- a point you don't address.

I'll be happy to address this point. I don't know if you've studied John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern's mathematical theory of games Game theory says that in a nuclear standoff the crazier party wins.

Of course we could destroy Iran with nuclear weapons. But Iran could hide some of their nukes outside the country. Suppose Iran bombed Tel Aviv while announcing that if American attacked them, their hidden nukes would blow up several large American cities. Would the President and Congress order Iran destroyed? I don't know.

Or, suppose Iran invaded Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, taking over most of the Middle East's oil. Would we fight Iran knowing that they might destroy New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles? I don't know.

Iran has the advantage that they might be crazy enough to bomb the US even if that bombing meant the end of Iran or the end of the world. The saner party will be the one to back down. Iran will win the game of chicken.

Posted by: ex-liberal on May 26, 2007 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

That's about the weakest, most flaccid analysis you have ever offered up current liar, and that's quite an achievement.

Ahmadinejad has no power, he has a mouth he runs, and he is only running it because Bush ran his and made that stupid "axis of evil" crack. The day after Bush leaves office, Mahmood is through.

Do the math - it's going to take longer for Iran to develop nukes than the time remaining on the clock of the Bush maladministration. As soon as Bush is gone, the diplomats will make with what they do.

Of course, this has all been explained to you repeatedly, but you are an intellectually dishonest lyin' sack of neocon shit.

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on May 26, 2007 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

Ex,
If the Iranian president has threatened to destroy Israel, many individuals in positions of authority in this country have threatened to destroy Iran time and time again. Heck, there is actually a policy with a funded program to that end! You might argue that the $75m budget managed by Cheney's daughter at the State Department is only aimed at regime change in Iran and not at killing 70 million Iranians, which maybe true. So let us not be the mouthpiece for the neocons by repeating the Iranian president wants to kill the Israelis. He has talked of the Zionist REGIME being a shame on humanity which must be wiped off the pages of history. Does that mean he wants to kill the Israelis? I think not.
Do you remember the first President Bush in regards to Iran saying “Good will begets good will?” Does that also not mean that radicalism begets radicalism? Which President was it who said “Speak softly, but carry a big stick?” What do you think shout-loudly-and-swing-a-lot-of-big-sticks begets? God, please save us from ourselves.

Posted by: Asad on May 26, 2007 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK

Many insist that the Neocon steamroller has been stopped, and the sane among us would be thrilled if that were so. But, unfortunately, it appears there's still inertia left in the engine, not necessarily because of an inherent sense of momentum. In fact, the Neocons got just about everything wrong. But who's counting?

America's more interested in the new Idol and remains curious about whether Paris is going to endure the slammer without incident. Then, of course, there's the Rosie imbroglio. By the way, how is TomKat's new kid?

Where was the media's vivisection of the Project for the New American Century? Too controversial? Or just too boring for abbreviated attention spans? It's not clear. Regardless, the PNAC's grand aim - a world reshaped by and for "democracy" - is still on the table. Just ask McCain and Fred Thompson - both Neocon players. And, of course, the biggest Neocon goon - Dick Cheney - remains dedicated to the game plan he came to town with, if for no other reason, because the premise goes: Once Iraq and Iran changed regimes, the Middle East would be ripe for Visa cards and Wal-Marts, lucrative oil contracts, and, the End of History.

It would take too much courage, and a fair amount of profound understanding to summarily 86 the PNAC plan. What would be left? Diplomacy? Based on what scheme beneficial to U.S. interests? The ideal plan, which should have been the left wing's equivalent of the PNAC hasn't been drawn up. Why? Because "leaders" like Hillary don't have the vision, and even if they did they certainly don't have the dedication to priniciple over ambition.

No, sorry idealists, Cheney's waving a sword because he and his Neocon ideologues haven't yet
been placed in checkmate. When they boisterously holler about the Clash of Civilizations there's no brilliant antidote, no systematic philosophy to negate the radical means being pursued under its auspices.

It's sad but true and few liberals want to admit it: The Republicans are the ones with the ideas, though grant it, ones that are extremely dangerous. One exception is Biden who, indeed, has a plan, and one that seems inevitable, but he can't attract a following since it's too early to tell if that's the way to go. Once it's clear which way is the way to go (2008?) then the Cover Your Ass (CYA) Democrats will jump on board. In the meantime there's a raving lunatic with a heart problem and a clot in his leg running around with a cleaver and no one has the power to truly stop him.

Iranians beware, a version of Shock and Awe may be coming to a town where you live in the near future.

Posted by: arty kraft on May 26, 2007 at 4:28 AM | PERMALINK

But Iran could hide some of their nukes outside the country.

The conversation goes something like this: "Hey, Syria!. We want to hide some nukes in your country so we can fire them at the US after they nuke us. Cool, huh?"

In order for your scenario to work, Iran has to develop missles capable of reaching the US, not to mention the bombs themselves.

Then they have to build silos in this unnamed country that would be willing to accept nuclear retaliation from the US for allowing Iran to fire missles from their land.

Then they would have to ship the missles to said country without the CIA or US Army doing anything about it.

Then they would have to convince said country not to take over the nukes themselves.

And finally, and most preposterously, they would have to convince the Israelis not to nuke them to cinders after they launched against Tel Aviv.

Go back to Robert Heinlein, idiot. Only this time read Stranger in a Strange Land so you can talk about "groking" things.

Posted by: tomeck on May 26, 2007 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

Matt Taibbi wrote "Amid all the spineless, calculating toadies who road Bush's coattails
to tit Cabinet jobs, Cheney is the one who genuinely believes all of this bullshit...this has been his show all along...his counterpart, the pres., afterall...trapped for all eternity in some unseemingly infantile phase of personality development....it had to be the indominitabile will of a sinister Machiavellian creature like Cheney that made this Iraq disaster happen. Only that kind of personality could be capable of manipulating the intelligence community into signing off on bogus, career-wrecking analyses and orchestrating from afar an absurd dog -and-pony show like the
Hans BLix/UN inspections fiasco. Only a true believer like Cheney could steer this many huge bureaucracies over a cliff....so what will they do now while they really are desperate? In recent weeks Cheney has been publicly casting his hairy eye toward Iran....with Dick Cheney still pacing the sidelines, you can never rule out one last historic Hail Mary, even if everyone else knows the game is long over."

Again--that's Matt Taibbi in the essay "Dick has a Tough Week."

Posted by: consider wisely on May 26, 2007 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Isle of Lucy, it would be wonderful if all our foreign policy problems automatically disappeared as soon as Bush left office. But, Islamic terrorist violence started long before the current President and will likely continue after he's gone. There was the 1983 bombing of the marine barracks in Lebanon, various embassy bombings, two separate WTC attacks, the USS Cole, etc.

Tomeck, I wish I shared your lack of worry You describe one way that a nuclear enemy could bomb an American city. There are other conceivable ways. A nuclear device could be brought into this country by airplane or ship or even in a truck or car driven over the border.

Asad, you might be right that Ahmadinejad's words do not represent a real threat to destroy Israel. But, since the first day of Israel's existance, its neighbors have made several all-out attempts to destroy it. That history makes a difference.

Posted by: ex-liberal on May 26, 2007 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

If Clemons is right, Cheney ought to be arrested.

But he's not crazy: we could wish he were. It is merely the "politique du pire", elevated from a tactic to a principle. The Republican Party has swallowed its own propaganda and really believes that there is no cataclysm too horrible to be somehow turned to factional advantage. Literally no matter what happens--economic collapse, terrorist activity, or outright military defeat--they think they can use it to the benefit of the Party. So the only thing that makes sense is to stir the pot, every pot in sight, harder and harder and harder.

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on May 26, 2007 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

>Ahmadinejad...said the Middle East would be better off "without the existence of the Zionist regime."

>"Israel "is an illegitimate regime, there is no legal basis for its existence," he said."

Those are both simple statements of fact.

Most of the people in the world know the history of modern Palestine and understand that Ahmadinejad is speaking truthfully.

However, as long as the US has a massive arms advantage over the rest of the planet and a population wildly ignorant of world history, the regional problems will continue.

Bummer for most of the people stuck on the planet with 'em.

Posted by: Buford on May 26, 2007 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Iran has no nukes; we have LOTS of nukes. Iran has no ICBMs; we have LOTS of ICBMs. Even if Iran had ICBMs, they've never been tested. Ours work just fine and are VERY accurate. Contrary to neocon rhetoric, Iranians are not complete fucking idiots. We're in the driver's seat and will be for a long time. Both Cheney/neocons and the current crop of mullahs will be wormsmeat long before the Iranians develop a credible threat to us. Just hope diplomacy will be given a chance before this country answers this bunch of fools' call to arms.

Posted by: sparky on May 26, 2007 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: Isle of Lucy, it would be wonderful if all our foreign policy problems automatically disappeared as soon as Bush left office.

Leaving aside "ex-liberal"'s pathetic straw man, at least Bush's fecklessness and incompetence won't be making things worse any more.

Posted by: Gregory on May 26, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: Do you have evidence that Iran is feeling more kindly toward Israel than they did last year?

Dishonest as ever, "ex-liberal." There is evidence that the bit about wiping Israel from the map did not refer to military, let alone nuclear, means. The

I agree. We don't know for sure that Iran will bomb Tel Aviv as soon as they get nukes.

Dishonest again, "ex-liberal". There's no reason whatever to believe that they would, especially given that Israel has its own nuclear arsenal and would surely retaliate no matter what the US did or did not do.

ut, if you were Israeli, how would you feel about trusting Ahmadinejad's good will?

I dunno, "ex-liberal," especially given that Ahmadinejad will likely not be president by the time Iran develops the Bomb, if ever. But again you tip your neocon hand and reveal that this is all about the State of Isreal's interest, not America's.

I'll be happy to address this point.

Dishonestly, of course.

Of course we could destroy Iran with nuclear weapons. But Iran could hide some of their nukes outside the country. Suppose Iran bombed Tel Aviv while announcing that if American attacked them, their hidden nukes would blow up several large American cities. Would the President and Congress order Iran destroyed? I don't know.

This fantasy has already been laughed at, but permit me to join in. I'll only note your dishonesty in implying that the Congress has any role in deploying America's nuclear arsenal (unless, of course, the President and VP were killed and the National Command Authority devolved to the Speaker of the house).

Or, suppose Iran invaded Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, taking over most of the Middle East's oil. Would we fight Iran knowing that they might destroy New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles? I don't know.

Needless to say, bomb or no bomb, Iran has no means to deliver nuclear weapons to these cities, and again, nuking the US would invite the utter destruction of Iran. And, of course, Iran already has the capability to severely disrupt shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, so why would the even need to fight a war of conquest? Indeed, you ignore the fact that Iran has ways of deterring the US as well.

You keep positing these fantasies of Iran acting utterly irrationally and contrary to its own interests. Unfortunately, there's simply no reason to believe your deranged fearmongering, any more than there is to believe you post in good faith.

Iran has the advantage that they might be crazy enough to bomb the US even if that bombing meant the end of Iran or the end of the world. The saner party will be the one to back down. Iran will win the game of chicken.

"ex-liberal," that argument was old and tired when it was used to spread fearmongering about the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Again: Your assertion that Iran is crazy is flimsy indeed, and hardly addresses the point that any nuclear attack by Iran invites that country's utter devastation, and they know it.

But thanks, "ex-liberal," for your tacit admission that as a neocon you're about expending American blood and treasure in the interest of the State of Israel.

Posted by: Gregory on May 26, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

"I mean, he justified it by saying the "commanders on the ground" approved the surge, so does that mean he ignores the Generals but listens to the Colonels?"

There was a special order from the president that all generals jump at the exact moment he made the decision.

Posted by: jefff on May 26, 2007 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory: I'll only note your dishonesty in implying that the Congress has any role in deploying America's nuclear arsenal

Really? Does the President have authority to destroy a country that hasn't attacked us (but had attacked an ally) without Congressional approval?

Gregory, you accuse me of "tipping my neocon hand." It's no secret. The name "ex-liberal" is a synonym for "neocon."

Posted by: ex-liberal on May 26, 2007 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Another way to explain Iran's posturing: many countries across the world, and most every country in that part of the world, have a "designated blowhard" who bellows, denounces, and threatens armegeddon of some sort on a regular basis. Meanwhile, the rest of the country's government goes about the business of resolving issues sanely. Some Designated Blowhards both bellow and negotiate, which is cost-effective if you can stand the hypocrisy.

Beware the country where the Designated Blowhard believes his tirades and actually has influence on policy. As Kaiser Wilhelm was in the German Empire, and as Dick Cheney is in the Bush administration.

Posted by: Berken on May 26, 2007 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

So, current shill, what about the debunked and stigmatized neocon philosophy do you still embrace?

You feel no shame at what has been done in your name?

Pathetic.

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on May 26, 2007 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

The trolls and apologists know that this pre-emptive war was a mistake from the beginning and based on lies that even the unbelievably scot free administration insider Douglas Feith recently came clean on, that forcing "democracy" (which meant a little bit of bogus voting only)was an ill-advised endeavor...and breaking down and dismantling the Iraqi army was a huge error--it cost jobs, status, livelihoods, disenfranchisement...and we will never be in the last throes of insurgency.
Why do they hold on to these irrational beliefs?

Posted by: consider wisely on May 26, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Isle of Lucy, I feel no shame at all standing with Woodrow Wilson and John F. Kennedy in support of the spread of democracy.

Fifty years ago, conservatives like John Foster Dulles often supported dictatorships when it seemed necessary in order to oppose the Soviet Union. That was either ugly realpolitik or just ugly. Today liberals like Jimmy Carter make nice to dictatorships, although I'm damned if I know the reason why.

A question for you, Isle of Lucy> Why would you be happier if the Iraqi people were still ruled by Saddam Hussein?

Posted by: ex-liberal on May 26, 2007 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

1. 3500 dead Americans.

2. 430 Billion dollars

3. The folly of Iraq has pretty much led us to forfeit Afghanistan - where the real terrorists were - until we started making new ones by invading Iraq.

I suppose by your logic we should invade Burma/Myanmar and install the DULY ELECTED president that a military junta has kept from power?

Oh, right - no oil.

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on May 26, 2007 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

A question for you, Isle of Lucy> Why would you be happier if the Iraqi people were still ruled by Saddam Hussein?

Because as bad as that was, the quality of life for Iraqis was unquestionably, inarguably better under Saddam than it is now.

Next.

Posted by: trex on May 26, 2007 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

And for fucks sake - would you neocon war criminals stop claiming our Kennedy? (And if you espouse this philosophy, you are a WAR CRIMINAL. PERIOD.)

But you have already admitted that you have nothing to lose, so being a death-merchant is easy for you.

How do you sleep? Ambien?

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on May 26, 2007 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

I can't stand the idiocy of trolls speaking of life under Saddam's shenanigans being worse than the present, absolutely destroyed/impoverished condition -- with many Iraqi citizens exiled to neighboring nations, dead, or too poor to leave, and scared to death.
The invasion and occupation of Iraq is a direct result of sicko, selfish, self-serving neoconservative think tanks from 1992 presuming they could "democratize the middle east." Megalomaniacs. Narcissistic pantloads.
Those poor Iraqi citizens, grieving, traumatized, displaced, at risk.
Bastard neo-cons.

Posted by: consider wisely on May 27, 2007 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

trex: Because as bad as that was, the quality of life for Iraqis was unquestionably, inarguably better under Saddam than it is now.

The Iraqis don't think so. They prefer today, because they see hope now, while there was no hope under Saddam.

Posted by: ex-liberal on May 27, 2007 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

You need to provide a supporting link to that, LIAR.

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on May 27, 2007 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

The Iraqis don't think so. They prefer today, because they see hope now, while there was no hope under Saddam.

No they don't.

How's that? Did I win?

What's so disingenous about your position by the way -- you miserable worthless turd -- is that none of the war supporters wanted to liberate Iraqis. They wanted to kill the bad scary Saddam and his monstrous army of death drones and nuclear terrorists and bomb the living shit of out Iraq no matter how many people were killed.

You are now essentially lying after the fact about why you really supported the war in order to cover your ass and try and dab some nobility on this debacle. Nice try. Had we wanted to get rid of Saddam there were all sorts of third options that involved setting up a detailed post-war plan for Iraq with immediate handover to a representative government and employing Iraqis for reconstruction that would have been a little lighter on the slaughter.

Instead the troops were directed to guard the Ministry of Oil while weapons caches, utility stations, and museums were looted, Halliburton and Bechtel looted the American treasury at the expense of the starving Iraqi soldier, and Paul Bremer played king for a few years until the pressure from Sistani and Sadr became to great and we had to give in a let the Iraqis have some kind of government.

And I stand by my earlier statement: you are a worthless turd. And what's worse, under your ongoing turdship the Iraqis see no hope.

Posted by: trex on May 27, 2007 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

I am still not talking to the traitor who thinks it's okay to suspend the Constitution and trash the social contract, and I never will again. He's dead to me with that comment. But TREX - you might find the first two paragraphs of Frank Rich's column this morning relevant to this debate:

WHEN all else fails, those pious Americans who conceived and directed the Iraq war fall back on moral self-congratulation: at least we brought liberty and democracy to an oppressed people. But that last-ditch rationalization has now become America’s sorriest self-delusion in this tragedy.


However wholeheartedly we disposed of their horrific dictator, the Iraqis were always pawns on the geopolitical chessboard rather than actual people in the administration’s reckless bet to “transform” the Middle East. From “Stuff happens!” on, nearly every aspect of Washington policy in Iraq exuded contempt for the beneficiaries of our supposed munificence. Now this animus is completely out of the closet. Without Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz to kick around anymore, the war’s dead-enders are pinning the fiasco on the Iraqis themselves. Our government abhors them almost as much as the Lou Dobbs spear carriers loathe those swarming “aliens” from Mexico.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 27, 2007 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

Great cite, Blue Girl: Frank Rich is dead nuts on about the outrageous disingenuousness of the "liberation" argument.

Posted by: trex on May 27, 2007 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, Frank Rich is a marvelous drama critic. His arts columns are sensitive and insightful. His book, "Ghost Light, a Memoir" is charming. Sadly he wastes his talent writing crude political tracts, which are comparable in quality to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

If you and trex and Isle of Lucy want facts about how the Iraqi people feel, here's a recent survey from the Times of London:

March 18, 2007
Iraqis: life is getting better

MOST Iraqis believe life is better for them now than it was under Saddam Hussein, according to a British opinion poll published today.

The survey of more than 5,000 Iraqis found the majority optimistic despite their suffering in sectarian violence since the American-led invasion four years ago this week.

One in four Iraqis has had a family member murdered, says the poll by Opinion Research Business. In Baghdad, the capital, one in four has had a relative kidnapped and one in three said members of their family had fled abroad. But when asked whether they preferred life under Saddam, the dictator who was executed last December, or under Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, most replied that things were better for them today.

Only 27% think there is a civil war in Iraq, compared with 61% who do not, according to the survey carried out last month.
i>

Posted by: ex-liberal on May 27, 2007 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Ok idiot, let's parse that a bit shall we?

First, what else do "most" Iraqis say:

More than half say security will improve after a withdrawal of multinational forces.

So there goes your argument about how we need to stay in Iraq to defeat the terrorists, or that Iraqis want us there? Right? Right?

Also, if "most" Iraqis is slightly more than half, then that means that about half of Iraqis prefer life under Saddam -- which is an abysmal indictment of the invasion and still undercuts your ridiculous posturing.

Further, had a third option ever been pursued, one where the country wasn't mired in horrific violence, then imagine a poll that asked, "Rank your preference: Life under Saddam, daily carnage with no end in sight, or the carefully planned regime change that has brought us to where we are today."

Guess which would be last.

Finally, those polls are meaningless for a very obvious reason. Care to guess what it is? No, I know you're too dim to get it so let me spell it out for you.

The polls aren't capturing two very important groups who have an opinion on this matter: the hundreds of thousands dead and the millions who've fled the country.

Once you count those who've voted with their feet on which system was better. it becomes clear a majority of Iraqis found life under Saddam preferable hands down.

Posted by: trex on May 27, 2007 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

trex, instead of guessing, i followed the link in the article and learned that the preference for Maliki over Saddam was not close:

Yet 49% of those questioned preferred life under Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, to living under Saddam. Only 26% said things had been better in Saddam’s era, while 16% said the two leaders were as bad as each other and the rest did not know or refused to answer.

You say the polls omit the hundreds of thousands dead and the milions who have left the country since Saddam's overthrow. The polls also omit the millions killed and millions who left the country under Saddam's rule.

Many Iraqis returned to Iraq after Saddam's overthrow. I doubt that there were many returnees when Saddam was in power. I would guess that the net migration would indicate that things were even worse under Saddam. Do you have any figures on net migration during the two periods?

Your alternative question shows the flaw in your thinking. It's true that compared to some ideal, the current situation in Iraq stinks. But, compared to the alternative that actually would have existed with no invasion, the situation is an improvement, according to the Iraqi people.

Posted by: ex-liberal on May 27, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

trex, instead of guessing, i followed the link in the article and learned that the preference for Maliki over Saddam was not close:

Yet 49% of those questioned preferred life under Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, to living under Saddam. Only 26% said things had been better in Saddam’s era, while 16% said the two leaders were as bad as each other and the rest did not know or refused to answer.

You say the polls omit the hundreds of thousands dead and the milions who have left the country since Saddam's overthrow. The polls also omit the millions killed and millions who left the country under Saddam's rule.

Many Iraqis returned to Iraq after Saddam's overthrow. I doubt that there were many returnees when Saddam was in power. I would guess that the net migration would indicate that things were even worse under Saddam. Do you have any figures on net migration during the two periods?

Your alternative question shows the flaw in your thinking. It's true that compared to some ideal, the current situation in Iraq stinks. But, compared to the alternative that actually would have existed with no invasion, the situation is an improvement, according to the Iraqi people.

Posted by: ex-liberal on May 27, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

trex, instead of guessing, i followed the link in the article and learned that the preference for Maliki over Saddam was not close:

You're right, it's not even close, particularly when you read this poll:

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Many adults in Iraq believe the coalition effort has been negative, according to a poll by the Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies and the Gulf Research Center. 90 per cent of respondents think the situation in their country was better before the U.S.-led invasion.

NINETY PERCENT!

Hmmm, which poll should we believe? This one actually cites a figure, a source, and a margin of error.

Also, you're reading comprehension is lacking. When you add in the percentage who believe that the current and former situation are as bad and those afraid to answer because they might get their heads blown off -- you have just about 50% of the people saying, "This sucks as bad or worse as before."

But, compared to the alternative that actually would have existed with no invasion, the situation is an improvement, according to the Iraqi people.

Clearly it's not empirically speaking by any measure you can dream up, and clearly it's not according to Iraqis depending on the poll, and clearly it's not if you look at the migration, which counting internal and external displacement is a net negative.

[bSource: Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies / Gulf Research Center
Methodology: Face-to-face interviews with 2,000 Iraqi adults in Baghdad, Anbar and Najaf, conducted in late November 2006. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

Posted by: trex on May 27, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

points to you, trex. I can't explain the enormous difference between the two polls.

Posted by: ex-liberal on May 27, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

points to you, trex. I can't explain the enormous difference between the two polls.

Actually, game, set and match to me.

Your claim that the Iraq people prefer their "liberation" has been debunked by:

Polls: in these two polls 50%-90% of Iraqis say life was better under Saddam.

Migration: While 1.5 million left Iraq under Saddam, 4 million are now displaced internally and externally

Measurable quality of life indicators: with the exception of cellphones and DVD's, every quality of life indicator was better under Saddam, most importantly the rate of violence, but also access to water, food, fuel, electricity, health care et al.

And for bonus points, I pointed out in the poll you cited the Iraqis themselves overwhelmingly opined that the security situation would improve once our forces leave, undercutting 90% of the bullshit you post here.

And don't be fooled by my casual banter: I don't believe for a moment this is some kind of friendly debate. AFAIC you are a morally defective, disgusting, sniveling, loathsome cowardly excuse for an individual who proposes the obscene idea of the casual slaughter of "others" so you can feel safer in your bed at night, lying and dissembling constantly while never acknowledging your near-continuous stream of mistatements and refuted facts.

Posted by: trex on May 27, 2007 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Before this thread is closed,

...liberals like Jimmy Carter make nice to dictatorships, although I'm damned if I know the reason why....ex-lax at 8:48 PM

Carter a liberal? On what planet and to which dictators are you referring? I clearly remember Jeanne Kilpatrick speaking favorably of 'Our dictators' which at the time included Saddam, but Carter was reviled by Republicans for his human rights policies.

Posted by: Mike on May 29, 2007 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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