Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

November 12, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

SPEAKING SOFTLY....Admiral William Fallon thinks that the war party needs to ratchet down its Iran rhetoric, and today David Ignatius reports that Efraim Halevy, the former head of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, agrees:

Now that he's out in the sunlight, the 72-year-old retired spy chief has some surprisingly contrarian things to say about Iran and Syria. The gist of his message is that rather than constantly ratcheting up the rhetoric of confrontation, the United States and Israel should be looking for ways to establish a creative dialogue with these adversaries.

....Halevy suggests that Israel should stop its jeremiads that Iran poses an existential threat to the Jewish state. The rhetoric is wrong, he contends, and it gets in the way of finding a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear problem.

This is, though hardly a majority view in Israel, not an uncommon one either. There are plenty of people, both there and in the U.S., who understand that bellicose rhetoric is a display of weakness, not strength, a fact that that we recognize easily enough when other people engage in it but not so easily when we do it ourselves.

Ratcheting down the "war of civilizations" talk isn't some magic bullet that will suddenly make the Iranian regime feel secure enough to give up their nuclear program. But it's one step in that direction, and smart foreign policy is all about putting together lots of little steps and pushing on lots of little levers to get what you want. Obviously this isn't George Bush's style — or Dick Cheney's — but they won't be in office forever. The question is: what are they going to do in the time they have left?

Kevin Drum 11:31 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (62)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

This is the biggest fallout from the Iraq invasion. Once we invaded Iraq every nation now knows it is pointless to negotiate with the US. Saddam was more than willing to give the US and the UN almost everything they wanted (that was the point of the "War Vote"), but it was the US who invaded anyway.

The only way for a "Rogue" nation to protect itself is to develop Nuclear Weapons and get a big friend like North Korea.

Posted by: Dervin on November 12, 2007 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

...the "war of civilizations" talk isn't some magic bullet that will suddenly make the Iranian regime feel secure enough to give up their nuclear program.

But it's all BushCo have to swing the elections, and that might be all that can keep them out of the dock.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on November 12, 2007 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

A better question might be:

Does the Commander-in-Chief have legitimate command and control of the US military? We saw the recent example of the Bent Spear incident in August and how they were moved to the base that serves as the major staging base for the Middle East.

Admiral Fallon represents one of the few challenges to the authority of Dick Cheney. Fallon was confirmed in February, and Cheney made a point of talking about Iran on, what else, an aircraft carrier. From his speech aboard the John C Stennis in May 2007 :

Oil seemed to be on Mr. Cheney’s mind yesterday when he told 3,500 to 4,000 members of the Stennis’s crew that Iran would not be permitted to choke off oil shipments.

“With two carrier strike groups in the gulf, we’re sending clear messages to friends and adversaries alike,” he said, according to an official transcript of his remarks. “We’ll keep the sea lanes open. We’ll stand with our friends in opposing extremism and strategic threats. We’ll disrupt attacks on our own forces. We’ll continue bringing relief to those who suffer, and delivering justice to the enemies of freedom. And we’ll stand with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating this region.”

It would appear that Cheney and Fallon have been heading for a collision for quite some time.


Posted by: Pale Rider on November 12, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

The question is: what are they going to do in the time they have left?

I'd guess pretty much the same thing they have been doing.

The only question for me is, will their high-school-macho game of Chicken result in another car crash before the adults take the keys away?

My guess is, IF we avoid a crash, it's only gonna be by inches.

Posted by: bleh on November 12, 2007 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

More anti-Isreal retorrhic from the internet's resident liberal anti-Semite, Kevin Drum.

Let's hear what Olivya Nelson-Hrunjavi has to say about Efraim Halevy, shall we?:

"It is no secret that Mr. Halevy espouses opening dialogue with both Hamas and Iran. Such an ignoble is tantamount to treason, in this country and his native country of Israel, for it admits defeat before an ever-growing Islamist menace which seeks as its end-state a sprawling Caliphate, spreading hatred from Al Andalus (Spain) to the Phillipines. Once again, Vienna and Beijing will have the dirty, slavering Mahommetan throngs assembled on their doorsteps. Once again shall Christendom and the Middle Kingdom brace for their children to be kidnapped into slavery, their women impressed into sexual servitude and their men obliterated without even a hat-tip to humanity. And this is what Efraim Halevy represents. Among the new minarets and Islamic chants among the devastation of every American city, you will see his monument."

Pretty damming stuff, eh. Care to retract your post, Kevin?

Posted by: egbert on November 12, 2007 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

"My guess is, IF we avoid a crash, it's only gonna be by inches."

I wonder if Fallon's comments means we are inches away at this moment.

Posted by: Boronx on November 12, 2007 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

I have a great deal of contempt for people who carelessly and ignorantly throw around such phrases such as "war of civilizations". When have they ever been right about anything?

It is such people who got us into the Vietnam war. It was a joke totally based upon ignorance and the ability of scare mongers to exert influence. Why are they listened to? Because ignorance and bigotry and fear all reinforce each other.

Listen to the people who use such phrases. Where have they ever demonstrated knowledge of other peoples and cultures? When have their predictions and the facts supporting their predictions proved to be correct?

Posted by: little ole jim from red state on November 12, 2007 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

>"Let's hear what Olivya Nelson-Hrunjavi has to say ... slavering throngs at the gates of Vienna"

ROFL. Whatta crack-up.


Posted by: Buford on November 12, 2007 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

ROFL indeed.

If we're bring back the 12th century, can we have 12th-century atmospheric carbon levels while we're at it?

Posted by: Diana on November 12, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

The bond market is pessimistic about the situation in Iraq.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/11/business/worldbusiness/11view.html

But we all know those capitalists hate America and want us to lose.

Posted by: Speed on November 12, 2007 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Kevin, I think egbert's argument is plainly irrefutable. You should really concede defeat in the face of such superior logic.

Posted by: Glenn on November 12, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

"We saw the recent example of the Bent Spear incident in August and how they were moved to the base that serves as the major staging base for the Middle East."
_______________________

Barksdale isn't even in the top ten of APOEs being used for deployment or sustainment of forces to CENTCOM. And the Bent Spear incident had nothing to do with the Middle East. It was a great embarassment to the Air Force for which four colonels have lost their jobs and numerous other ranks have been disciplined.

Posted by: trashhauler on November 12, 2007 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting older post on subject (mine).
October 06, 2006

BAKER FLUMMOXES HANNITY: RIPS BUSH FOREIGN POLICY
.
Oct. 5, 2006, FOX NEWS, Hannity & Colmes, 9:00PM Baker Video Part II (quickly deleted by Fox at the time)

James Baker, the globally accomplished diplomat and former GOP Secretary of State under Reagan totally flummoxed the cartoonish GOP bagman, Sean Hannity.

Point blank, Baker said that given the choice between waging a war or a foreign policy solely restricted to establishing a new democracy in the Mid-east or alternatively pursuing policies of stabilizing the region, policies of stabilization were preferable.

Hannity tried to parry this heretical bashing of Bush's core foreign policy talking point with the usual GOP gobbledygook propaganda such as "this is "World War III" and "this is a fight against Islamo Fascists." Baker seemed uninterested in Sean's offer of GOP red meat talking points and he continued.

Paraphrased as best I can, Baker said, "Given the choice between engaging America's forces based on a principle (i.e. 'democracy') or based on establishing stability, stability is, all things considered, the superior objective.

Not yet finished shredding the inept Bush, Rice, Cheney foreign policy, Baker continued by basically saying that engaging in talks with America's enemies is not appeasement and not engaging in talks is sophomoric (my words). He recounted that he personally visited Syria fifteen times and on his next visit Syria abandoned their twenty-year-old policy towards Israel and agreed to sit with Israel in negotiations, de facto recognizing their existence.

This was political theater of the highest order, especially gratifying to see was Hannity beautifully sandbagged, in my opinion, but Bush 41' had to know that his son was going to get this political ass whumping.

This is an important message. It is the old guard of Bush 41' and Reagan trashing 43's leadership and foreign policy.
It would be nice (ha,ha in hindsight) if this clear message would help America return to some semblance of values, competence, professionalism and honesty in its foreign policy.
--cognitorex--

Baker Iraq Commission Negotiation WWIII

Posted by: cognitorex on November 12, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

What about finding a peaceful solution to the Israeli nuclear problem? Or the American nuclear problem?

Posted by: Brojo on November 12, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

It would have been nice if a few months ago the cooler heads, hoping to prevail, supported efforts to impeach the hot heads out of office. Now we are all hostage to what the lunatics in the White House will do with their time left.

Posted by: HL Mungo on November 12, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Admiral Fallon represents one of the few challenges to the authority of Dick Cheney."
_____________________

How so? Firstly, the chain of command does not run through the Vice President, it goes from the regional commanders to the SECDEF to the President. No one has adequately explained the mechanisms by which the Vice President mysteriously wields such power as is often attributed to him. Mind control, perhaps?

Secondly, Admiral Fallon would not have spoken thus unless it was within policy guidelines. It's not a secret that we haven't any immediate plans to attack Iran.

Posted by: trashhauler on November 12, 2007 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

No one has adequately explained the mechanisms by which the Vice President mysteriously wields such power as is often attributed to him. Mind control, perhaps?

Or perhaps just his ability to dominate and browbeat George W. Bush via superior experience, superior intelligence, and superior ruthlessness? It's no secret he has access no one else has, or that he is probably Bush's closest counselor in many -- maybe most -- matters.

He's also got a very loyal network spread wide and deep throughout the administration. It's also no secret that often representatives of, e.g., opposition movements in some countries are brought first to the VP's office and only later to State.

Posted by: bleh on November 12, 2007 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

It was a great embarassment to the Air Force for which four colonels have lost their jobs and numerous other ranks have been disciplined.

Trashy speaks with some authority on the subject of being an embarrassment to the service.

Posted by: Gregory on November 12, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

How so? Firstly, the chain of command does not run through the Vice President, it goes from the regional commanders to the SECDEF to the President.

So it does does all end up on Cheney's desk...

Pity Queen Elizabeth II and George Bush -- their respective constitutions both say it's their army to command...

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on November 12, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Trashauler can't even lie with a straight face:

Barksdale isn't even in the top ten of APOEs being used for deployment or sustainment of forces to CENTCOM.

From the website of the 8th Air Force, based at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana:

Barksdale Air Force Base, La.
Home to the 2nd Bomb Wing and the Mighty 8th Air Force, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana is situated on over 22,000 acres of land in the NW corner of Louisiana. Barksdale warriors and B-52s have a proud tradition serving both at home and abroad in support of the Global War on Terrorism; they have played vital roles in combat operations supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

2nd Bomb Wing Mission, Vision and Vector Statement:

Air Combat Command is the primary force provider of combat airpower to America's warfighting commands. To support global implementation of national security strategy, ACC operates fighter, bomber, reconnaissance, battle-management and electronic-combat aircraft. It also provides command, control, communications and intelligence systems, and conducts global information operations.

As a force provider, ACC organizes, trains, equips and maintains combat-ready forces for rapid deployment and employment while ensuring strategic air defense forces are ready to meet the challenges of peacetime air sovereignty and wartime air defense. ACC numbered air forces provide the air component to U.S. Central and Southern Commands with Headquarters ACC serving as the air component to U.S. Northern and Joint Forces Commands. ACC also augments forces to U.S. European, Pacific and Strategic Commands.

Jesus Christ, man. Shut the fuck up and quit spreading such easily refutable lies.

I mean, really. Could you get it more wrong than that? Who cares if it's "in the top ten" or whatever. That's such a pathetic caveat to put on something you're obviously lying about.

Posted by: Pale Rider on November 12, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

"What about finding a peaceful solution to the Israeli nuclear problem? Or the American nuclear problem?"
_____________________

What "problem" would that be? How about this: We'll keep our nukes as a deterrent and a threat. That way the murderous, totalitarian goons Brojo would prefer running things in the world won't have a chance to do so.

Posted by: trashhauler on November 12, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

But who are you going to believe? The peripatetic ramblings of "trashhauler" or the mission statement of the Eighth Air Force?

Someone want to help the poor old man off the stage?

I mean, really. All I have is pity for you. There's no point in having a discussion with someone THAT feeble.

Posted by: Pale Rider on November 12, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider wrote:

"Jesus Christ, man. Shut the fuck up and quit spreading such easily refutable lies.

I mean, really. Could you get it more wrong than that?"
_____________________

Quoting from public mission statements doesn't change anything, pale. ACC has numerous bases all around the US, Barksdale only being one. ACC provides the forces for all of our regional commands and JTFs as needed, not just to CENTCOM.

Barksdale is the home of the 2nd Bomb Wing and the 8th Air Force HQ. That's all, one unit and an admin HQ. Elements of the 2BW deploy on regular rotation within the Air Expeditionary Force(AEF) organization. There are nine AEFs, each using elements of units from dozens of bases. And when the 2BW deploys, it doesn't even get its supplies from Barksdale - they come from the DLA and USAF logistics centers and other sources. Those supplies are moved from depots through our Air Mobility Command bases to the forward locations down range.

Hardly a "major" staging base, Pale Rider, except as used by someone unfamiliar with the military in any way except what he reads in antiwar blogs.

Posted by: trashhauler on November 12, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

"But who are you going to believe? The peripatetic ramblings of "trashhauler" or the mission statement of the Eighth Air Force?"
_____________________

Nothing I've stated contradicts the 8th's mission statement, pale. I agree, though, that a discussion about the military with you would be meaningless. You don't know enough to start one.

Posted by: trashhauler on November 12, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK
the chain of command does not run through the Vice President…

What a trite point. Everybody knows the VP is hardly invested with great powers by the constitution. Obviously, there are reasons to believe that Cheney has significant influence.

Cheney and Bush also have a flair for comedy (intentional or not) with their penchant for speaking from aircraft carriers and repeatedly before military audiences.

Admiral Fallon would not have spoken thus unless it was within policy guidelines

I question that statement. Whose policy guidelines? Do you think there are strict policy guidelines for every issue and that an Admiral would never dare to deviate a bit?

Posted by: little ole jim from red state on November 12, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

"Obviously, there are reasons to believe that Cheney has significant influence."

"Do you think there are strict policy guidelines for every issue and that an Admiral would never dare to deviate a bit?"
______________________

There may be reasons to believe the Vice President holds great influence, though they seem to be largely centered around the idea that the President isn't smart enough to do his own thinking for him. Nobody has explained how he can exercise such powers, since he cannot order anything done outside his own office. The Vice President doesn't get to choose - or fire - military officers.

There aren't guidelines for every issue, no. But no four star is going to go far off the reservation on an issue of such delicate political implications. If he were to do so, we'd quickly see a new Commander, USCENTCOM. Admiral Fallon would not say something that he couldn't explain in front of Congress as being consistent with the Administration's position. But don't expect Congress to ask him. Despite public utterances about what a hash the Administration is making in the Middle East, the Congressional leadership is regularly updated on the situation.

Posted by: trashhauler on November 12, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler:

You don't see any problem with 10,600 nuclear warheads? Btw, there has been no drawdown of nuclear forces under Bush II. Drawdowns occured under both Bush I and Clinton.

"Currently we estimate that there are almost 8,000 active/operational nuclear warheads, with nearly 2,700 additional warheads kept in inactive status for a total of over 10,600 warheads in the stockpile (see table)." (2002)

NRDC

Posted by: nepeta on November 12, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

trashhauler: I think the reaction to Clinton’s initiative regarding gays shows the willingness of high ranking military to openly stray from the President’s policy. There are also examples regarding the Iraq war and occupation, but in this case I appreciate the fact that you addressed the substance of my post.

And I thought that the substance of Pale Rider’s post was stated in his first sentence: “Does the Commander-in-Chief have legitimate command and control of the US military?”

There are plenty of us citizens who look upon his appointments and directives, both military and otherwise, with skepticism to put it mildly. Bad leadership filters (I should say flows) down very quickly. That tenet is appreciated by military folks like yourself. I am not interested in whether Pale did or did not exaggerate the significance of a particular staging location.

Posted by: little ole jim from red state on November 12, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

At its heart, right-wing politics is a reactionary movement. As such, it can only truly flourish in the presence of a monolythic and easily caricatured enemy, real and / or perceived, upon which it can properly focus its energy and wrath.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War effectively removed the primary raison d'etre of the far-right's existence for two entire generations.

Thus, the looming spectre of "Islamo-fascism" -- while surely bogus at its core -- must by necessity arise to take Soviet-style communism's place in the right-wing pantheon of evil, if the far-right wing is to remain even tangentially relevant in 21st century American politics.

When the right-wing's argument for the existence of a monolythic world-wide "Islamo-fascist" movement is inevitably exposed for the complete sham it is, a new target will need to be found -- perhaps China or Russia, or even a revitalized European Union led by Germany and France.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 12, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

"How so? Firstly, the chain of command does not run through the Vice President"

Dear heart, you really should pay attention more. Cheney's influence in the Bush administration has been widely cited and confirmed by numerous sources. Your pretense that this influence doesn't exist is rather silly.

Posted by: PaulB on November 12, 2007 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

"That way the murderous, totalitarian goons Brojo would prefer running things in the world won't have a chance to do so."

ROFLMAO.... Wow, talk about an ad hominem attack, and a rather blatantly pathetic one at that. Got anything substantive to say, Trashy?

Posted by: PaulB on November 12, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Barksdale is the home of the 2nd Bomb Wing and the 8th Air Force HQ. That's all, one unit and an admin HQ. Elements of the 2BW deploy on regular rotation within the Air Expeditionary Force(AEF) organization. There are nine AEFs, each using elements of units from dozens of bases. And when the 2BW deploys, it doesn't even get its supplies from Barksdale - they come from the DLA and USAF logistics centers and other sources. Those supplies are moved from depots through our Air Mobility Command bases to the forward locations down range.

What a poor, feeble man. Nuclear weapons were moved to that base. The base itself is home to a unit that would likely support CENTCOM in an attack on Iran. If you backpedal any faster, you'll step on the bottom of your bathrobe and fall down on your ass.

Hardly a "major" staging base, Pale Rider, except as used by someone unfamiliar with the military in any way except what he reads in antiwar blogs.

Having been stationed at Goodfellow, Kelly, Lackland and just outside of Osan, you're right--I don't know anything.

But who are you going to believe? Feeble trashhauler or what it says on the home page of the Eighth Air Force, which proudly states its support for US CENTCOM?

I'll call them up and tell them to take that down.

Posted by: Pale Rider on November 12, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

"There may be reasons to believe the Vice President holds great influence, though they seem to be largely centered around the idea that the President isn't smart enough to do his own thinking for him."

No, dear, they're "largely centered around" the reporting of those who work with both men, but then reality never was your strong suit.

"Nobody has explained how he can exercise such powers"

Um, because Bush lets him? This has been another edition of "short answers to dumb questions."

Posted by: PaulB on November 12, 2007 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Iraqi fighters 'grilled for evidence on Iran'
Interrogator says US military seeks evidence incriminating Tehran

He denied ever being asked to fabricate evidence, adding: 'We're not asked to manufacture information, we're asked to find it. But if a detainee wants to tell me what I want to hear so he can get out of jail... you know what I'm saying.'
Other military intelligence officials in Iraq refused to comment, but one said: 'The message is, "Got to find a link with Iran, got to find a link with Iran." It's sickening.'
And Admiral William Fallon says what?

Posted by: Seth Edenbaum on November 12, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

At a minimum, Bush and Cheney plan to be as psychologically manipulative as they can be toward voters and the members of the media.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on November 12, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

The Vice President doesn't get to choose - or fire - military officers.

Why not? He got to choose himself as Bush's vice president.

Jackass.

Posted by: Gregory on November 12, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Rasputin wasn't part of the formal "chain of command" in the Romanov Tsardom either.

Posted by: ats on November 12, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin's question:The question is: what are they going to do in the time they have left?

The President said,But this -- we got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel. So I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.

Why don't you believe the guy running the show, or GwB for that matter?

Posted by: TJM on November 12, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Admiral Fallon would not say something that he couldn't explain in front of Congress as being consistent with the Administration's position.

Dude, I hope your adult diapers hold out for you. Have you ever gotten anything right in your whole entire life?

General Casey, back from Iraq and nominated by the President to be the Army Chief of Staff, has not changed his analysis. At his February 1st Senate confirmation hearing, General Casey once again disagreed with the President, stating that he had asked for less than half the number of troops that President Bush now wants.

General Casey doesn't stand alone. General John Abizaid, the retiring head of the command that oversees Middle East policy for the military said that he and other leaders agreed that "more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future." Essentially he is saying that additional American troops in Iraq will not provide the Iraqi forces or Iraqi government the incentive or reason to stand on their own.

That's just two statements on one subject--Casey and Abizaid speaking out against the surge of troops into Iraq. How many more do I have to go find?

Clearly, Fallon is speaking out to reassure the American people that there is, in fact, at least one sane adult serving to defend this country and NOT the political viability of the Republican Party.

It's just sad to see someone so wrong take such a beating in public. It's like watching grandpa parallel park his Oldsmobile and having to call the tow truck to pull him out of the lake.

Posted by: Pale Rider on November 12, 2007 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

'Thus, the looming spectre of "Islamo-fascism" -- while surely bogus at its core -- must by necessity arise to take Soviet-style communism's place in the right-wing pantheon of evil, if the far-right wing is to remain even tangentially relevant in 21st century American politics.' - Donald in Hawaii

Not to mention keeping the US military/industrial machine humming.

Posted by: nepeta on November 12, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Even thought Syria and Iran were allies against bin Laden, Syria providing much intelligence before the invasion of Iraq and Iran helping out in Afghanistan against the Taliban, we must put the interests of Israel above those of the U.S.

Posted by: Luther on November 12, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

"The President said,... we got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel." - TJM

Even assuming the President's statement is true, which of course it isn't, why would Iran assume it could survive Israel's devastating nuclear counterattack? MAD still works. For any threat of loosing nukes on the world, all eyes should be directed at Bush, the less than stable, intellectually challenged and paranoid leader of the world's nuclear superpower.

Posted by: nepeta on November 12, 2007 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with most of what you say, but try to keep the context in mind. This is a question asked by KD. The quote is from the 10/17/07 press conference by the GwB.

Ask your question here

The McClatchy backgrounder this:"I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them (Iran) from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon," he said Oct. 17 at a news conference

How about that? They quoted the same thing I did.

Posted by: TJM on November 12, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War effectively removed the primary raison d'etre of the far-right's existence for two entire generations.
=================================================

Right. That's why Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, years after the Cold War ended. The voting public finally realized after 40 years that the Republicans no longer had a reason to exist.

Posted by: Campesino on November 12, 2007 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

1) Who is Olivya Nelson-Hrunjavi? Google brings up nada.

2)if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.

Too late. AQ Khan already provided them that. And no longer is under house arrest, but Pakistan's lawyers are. Must be they threatened Israel or something. Bomb the lawyers! AQ Khan? Not so much.

3) Iran offered to drop its nuke power program completely in April 2003. Bush rejected the offer. It didn't square with his goal, which was to attack Iran to eventually control its oil to ratchet up prices even more.

4) Ratchet down the rhetoric won't be done in pursuit of diplomacy. It'll be done so Iran will be more off-guard when the bombing begins. Without the UK, without the UN, without Congress. The bomb attack on Syria was the final warning. Now, if Russia starts to deliver the fuel rods, it'll happen.

Posted by: Kevin Hayden on November 12, 2007 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War effectively removed the primary raison d'etre of the far-right's existence for two entire generations.

What, after the fall of the Berlin Wall all the colored people sucking up my tax dollars disappeared? Not bloody likely

There'll always be a Republican party , at least until -- paraphrasing Jean Meslier -- the last homosexual is strangled with the guts of the last immigrant.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on November 12, 2007 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously this isn't George Bush's style or Dick Cheney's but they won't be in office forever.

That would come as a surprise to Kim Jung-il or Kaddafi. Both leaders gave up (or are in the process of giving up) their nuclear program as a result of the Bush Administration's "lever pushing".

In both instances, of course, the White House was able - despite protests from the left - to use multi-party talks to get those nations to abandon their nuclear programs. This prevented them from playing one party against another.

The Iranian situation is different since both Russia and China are engaging in appalling behavior that ignores international law re nuclear proliferation in favor of their own economic interests.

The problem here is that after years of "lever pushing", the Iranians are ignoring previous agreements. The West has used your "lever pushing" but it's failing. The Mullahs view their own national interest of acquiring nuclear weapons as more important than any other carrots we may offer them.

Certainly, we must exhaust every peaceful measure to change this. But there has been a broad consensus in this country over 30+ years that we must now allow terroist regimes to get nuclear weapons. It would be a disaster if some allow their own partisan interests to override that consensus.

SMG

Posted by: SteveMG on November 12, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

I wouldn't buy what Fallon is saying. The administration is using him to play good cop to its bad cop, and the administration has a bad habit of betraying its own generals.

Posted by: Guy in Jersey on November 12, 2007 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Actually SMG, I'm starting to think that a nuclear-armed Iran might be the best option of all if it help keep your country - which has too many rabid fuckers like you - in check. The potential of a hyper-nationalist, quasi-democratic U.S. to do harm far, far exceeds that of a middle power like Iran that is ripe for regime-change anyway. And when that happens hope you fuckers won't muck up things like you did with Mohammad Mosaddeq. There'll likely come a day when we'll be working hard to keep China in check too but the most immediate threat to the world is you. Islamicists are like gnats in comparison.

Posted by: snicker-snack on November 12, 2007 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

"That would come as a surprise to Kim Jung-il or Kaddafi."

Actually, no, it wouldn't.

"Both leaders gave up (or are in the process of giving up) their nuclear program as a result of the Bush Administration's 'lever pushing'."

Oh, garbage. What changed in both cases was Bush, not those other leaders. North Korea basically returned to almost exactly the same deal they had negotiated with Clinton. And Libya's deal had been in the works for years, neglected by the Bush administration until Iraq started going sour and he realized that he badly needed a PR boost. Talk about revisionism....

The rest of your post was equally nonsensical and not worth the trouble to respond to.

Posted by: PaulB on November 12, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

"Why don't you believe the guy running the show, or GwB for that matter?"

Well, mostly because Bush's comment was pretty damn stupid, not to mention laughable. They're both playing to their respective crowds. And that's not even counting the translation issue which shows that Ahmadinejad didn't necessarily say what Bush claimed he said.

Posted by: PaulB on November 12, 2007 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

Drum:

...smart foreign policy is all about putting together lots of little steps and pushing on lots of little levers to get what you want.

Waht if all you want is to get elected?

Posted by: Martin Gale on November 12, 2007 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

I find Admiral Fallon credible. He opposed the surge and recognized David Petraeus as someone who advanced his career by sucking up to senior officers and now to the Commander in Chief.

Fallon told Petraeus [in March, 2007] that he considered him to be “an ass-kissing little chickenshit” and added, “I hate people like that." The remark reportedly came after Petraeus began the meeting by making remarks that Fallon interpreted as trying to ingratiate himself with a superior.

Too bad MoveOn.org's ad didn't deliver the same punch.

Posted by: DevilDog on November 13, 2007 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

"You don't see any problem with 10,600 nuclear warheads? Btw, there has been no drawdown of nuclear forces under Bush II."
____________________

I don't see the specific problem between our having 10,600 warheads and 106, no. Generically, I think the use of nuclear weapons would violate the laws of warfare in most instances. But I don't work with nukes and wouldn't want to. As far as drawdown goes, I seem to recall that the nukes mistakenly flown to Barksdale were scheduled to be dismantled. I hadn't heard they were being replaced, if that's happening. But I haven't any special knowledge of plans for our nuclear forces.

Posted by: trashhauler on November 13, 2007 at 4:50 AM | PERMALINK

"Dear heart, you really should pay attention more. Cheney's influence in the Bush administration has been widely cited and confirmed by numerous sources."
____________________

Widely cited, sure. But name the source that says the Vice President has signed executive orders, issued orders of any kind to any agency of the federal government on his own authority, or in any other way usurps the lawful authority of the President. You folks have been pushing crap so long even you believe it.

Is the Vice President a person the President listens to? Certainly. Does he control the President in any real way? No one has any way of knowing that.

Posted by: trashhauler on November 13, 2007 at 5:10 AM | PERMALINK

"Having been stationed at Goodfellow, Kelly, Lackland and just outside of Osan, you're right--I don't know anything.

But who are you going to believe? Feeble trashhauler or what it says on the home page of the Eighth Air Force, which proudly states its support for US CENTCOM?"
_____________________

So, outside of Texas and Korea, your exposure to the military was somewhat less than my children had before they got into high school. You're a poseur, pale rider, who relies on the internet for information. Whatever small experience you might once have had is long since been outdated. You clearly have no concept of logistics, deployment doctrine, or the JOPES system.

As far as what unit home pages say, you might check out a few dozen others. You'll find nearly every base says the same thing. That's because there are no forces permanently assigned to CENTCOM. While there are units identified as going to CENTCOM in war plans, they are all "chopped" from the other commands, as needed, IAW standard doctrine. Under the AEF concept, numerous bases are tapped for units and individuals on a regular rotating basis. So each and every base can be said to be serving a role in support of CENTCOM.

Posted by: trashhauler on November 13, 2007 at 5:42 AM | PERMALINK

"...someone who advanced his career by sucking up to senior officers and now to the Commander in Chief."
_____________________

And how did Admiral Fallon get selected for his jobs? Who put his name before Congress - at least twice?

Posted by: trashhauler on November 13, 2007 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

You're a poseur, pale rider, who relies on the internet for information. Whatever small experience you might once have had is long since been outdated. You clearly have no concept of logistics, deployment doctrine, or the JOPES system.

Actually, I'm trained as an analyst and a researcher, and I find the necessary material to refute your willy-nilly feeble attempts at carrying water for this administration on the Internet. But if I went to the library and humiliated you, would that work? I can go to the library of your choice, anywhere in the DC metro area. If I find the material in a book, which has an ISBN and a reputable publisher, will that suffice?

As far as what unit home pages say, you might check out a few dozen others. You'll find nearly every base says the same thing. That's because there are no forces permanently assigned to CENTCOM. While there are units identified as going to CENTCOM in war plans, they are all "chopped" from the other commands, as needed, IAW standard doctrine. Under the AEF concept, numerous bases are tapped for units and individuals on a regular rotating basis. So each and every base can be said to be serving a role in support of CENTCOM.

So that's radically different than you saying that Barksdale isn't even in the top ten of APOEs being used for deployment or sustainment of forces to CENTCOM.

Why did you use that "top ten" caveat? Because you want to strike down the idea that nuclear weapons would be transferred to the 2nd Bomb Group for deployment to the Middle East. You want to strike down the idea that nuclear weapons were transferred, either by accident or deliberately, to a base where the assets are stationed that could have then transferred them to the Middle East. I think we can readily assume that Barksdale, home of the Eighth Air Force and the 2nd Bomb Group, is a base where weapons and aircraft and personnel who have participated in the CENTCOM AOR have been rotated in and out of. These facts are readily available on the Barksdale home page. There are photos of the planes, personnel and locations where they have operated in the last six years. They've sent planes and people to Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001. They proudly list their support to CENTCOM. And we're not supposed to note the connection?

So how have you refuted anything? You've tried to use a pathetic caveat of "top ten" to try to limit the damage to the credibility of whoever got caught moving those weapons for a possible strike against Iran. Do you think they're telling the truth about that Bent Spear incident? If so, I have a bridge in Brooklyn you can buy and charge people a nickel at a time to cross.

Having now dealt with you in detail, one wonders how much more feeble you're going to be in rationalizing something beyond your grasp.

Posted by: Pale Rider on November 13, 2007 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

"I'm trained as an analyst and a researcher, and I find the necessary material to refute your willy-nilly feeble attempts at carrying water for this administration on the Internet."
____________________

Well, at least we've dispensed with the idea that you might have any competency derived from actual military expertise. I'll settle for that.

You also wrote:

"So that's radically different than you saying that Barksdale isn't even in the top ten of APOEs being used for deployment or sustainment of forces to CENTCOM.

Why did you use that "top ten" caveat? Because you want to strike down the idea that nuclear weapons would be transferred to the 2nd Bomb Group for deployment to the Middle East."
_____________________

For an analyst and a researcher, you've got a pretty poor grasp of the concept of sets and subsets. Any base, anywhere, can be an aerial port of embarkation (APOE), depending on where it is and who is moving. A typical one unit base will be an APOE for that unit, but is unsuited as an APOE for other units or for sustainment. Such is Barksdale. There are scores of bases which have been APOEs at one time or another in the past five years, but bases that are regularly used as APOEs are a mere handful. Thus the caveat about not even being in the top ten is accurate because I can name at least ten more often used bases off the top of my head. As a trained analyst and researcher, you'll note no contradiction between that fact and Barksdale's stated role as a supporter of USCENTCOM.

Movement of nuclear weapons is a classified subject for obvious reasons. Speculate all you want but don't expect specific comment, except that there are dozens of sources for nuclear weapons and as many ways to deploy them.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 13, 2007 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Well, at least we've dispensed with the idea that you might have any competency derived from actual military expertise

Actually, the analysis school I went to was run by the Air Force, and it had a considerable amount of cryptology as part of the curriculum. My average when I graduated was about 92%.

Thus the caveat about not even being in the top ten is accurate because I can name at least ten more often used bases off the top of my head.

How many of those bases have B-52 bombers that are capable of transporting and deploying the type of nuclear weapons that were mistakenly transferred to Barksdale?

From Globalsecurity.org:

Barksdale AFB, LA and Minot AFB, ND serves as B-52 Main Operating Bases (MOB). Training missions are flown from both MOBs. Barksdale AFB and Minot AFB normally supports 57 and 36 aircraft respectively on-station.

So the question is--were they being decommissioned? Was this really an accident?

I guess a feeble old man who carries water for the Bush administration knows something we don't know.

And if this wasn't such a big deal, why were so many officers and airmen relieved and decertified? Was that a signal being sent to everyone else to get with the program? Or was it a purge to clear the way for the next transfer of weapons?

Posted by: Pale Rider on November 13, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

"How many of those bases have B-52 bombers that are capable of transporting and deploying the type of nuclear weapons that were mistakenly transferred to Barksdale?"
__________________

Well, now we've moved from the original question to how important Barksdale is as a nuclear base. Fine, fine, whatever.

Barksdale prominence as a bomber MOB is undeniable (as a "staging base" not so much).

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 13, 2007 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Well, now we've moved from the original question to how important Barksdale is as a nuclear base. Fine, fine, whatever.
Barksdale prominence as a bomber MOB is undeniable (as a "staging base" not so much).

The first step is to admit you have a problem. The next step is to get help for your feebleness...

Buck up, little guy!

Posted by: Pale Rider on November 13, 2007 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly