Democrats & Liberals Archives

Fool Me Once

President George Bush once attempted to say “Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.” Lies and fabrications greased public support of a preemptive invasion of Iraq. Now, the rhetoric on Iran sounds hauntingly familiar.

The other night, CNN replayed a report they had done in August of 2005 called "Dead Wrong" on the "intelligence" used to take the US into Iraq. It was a timely rebroadcast given the current rhetoric.

The transcript of "Dead Wrong" is telling.

Rumsfeld set up a special unit inside the Pentagon to provide an "alternative intelligence analysis, focusing on a possible link between Saddam and al Qaeda." Not surprisingly, "The Pentagon unit is not mentioned by the president's commission."

"LARRY JOHNSON, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: They even briefed their findings to the community and the community would come back and say, wait a second, you don't know what you're talking about. That's garbage. That's misleading, that misrepresents."

Meanwhile, starting in the summer of 2002:

"... the White House Iraq Group, WHIG, had quietly begun a campaign to build support for war. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Karl Rove and Karen Hughes and the chiefs of staff to both the president and the vice president planned strategy in weekly meetings."

And the crew started the propaganda with the unquestioning megaphone of the "mainstream" media.

"CHENEY: The Iraq regime has, in fact, been very busy enhancing its capabilities in the field of chemical and biological agents and they continue to pursue the nuclear program they began so many years ago.

This declaration was the statement of "no doubt" Saddam has weapons of mass destruction; aluminum tubes and yellow cake uranium from Niger; Iraq being close to nuclear weapons; ability to launch biochemical weapons in 45 minutes; support for al Qaeda; and the infamous "smoking guns" being "mushroom clouds." Hussein is painted as the brutal dictator who used chemical weapons on his own people (with chemicals provided by the U.S.).

According to "Dead Wrong," it was Rumsfeld's special intelligence office that started pushing the Hussein - terrorist link. The CIA had nothing "credible" to support such a leap. The significant doubts of both the State department and Intelligence community were relegated to footnotes in the supposed NIE.

The drum beat of threat goes on. The UN Security Council is clearly not going to authorize an invasion - in spite of Powell's poignant public testimony. So Bush preempts the UN and launches a failed strike to assassinate Hussein, and the promised "shock and awe" begins ... and it continues to this day.

Now a new nation is in the crosshairs - Iran.

As with North Korea, the Bush administration refuses to talk with Iran regarding its nuclear program. It leaves the talking to others while building the threat of a nuclear Iran. Ahmadinejad seems to have as much hot air and unwillingness to compromise as George W. Bush. They sound remarkably similar in so many ways. He plays to a crowd with threat and invective while Bush does the same in the US. Iran says they will continue to pursue their nuclear program, while Bush refuses to take preemptive nuclear strikes on Iran off the table. Watching the headlines is as frightening as they are familiar - of Iraq.

Seymour Hersh wrote extensively on The Iran Plans in which he details a number of events and discussions that indicate that the U.S. is actively moving towards striking Iran. The administration has denied that the military plans being made for attacking Iran are no different than any other plan. A statement which given the current administration opens frightening possibilities. What is clear, is that the talking points and rhetoric are remarkably similar to what we saw in generating support to invade Iraq.

Typical of the headlines are US in warning to 'defiant' Iran. Meanwhile, Shimon Peres predicts Iran's leader will meet Saddam's fate.

Fuel is added to the fire with more legitimations for invasion including accusations that Iran is attempting to illegally procure U.S. weapons technology.

Once again, the mainstream media seems reluctant to step back from the rhetoric. Once more they dutifully help build the case for a preemptive invasion of another nation. Israeli papers also fan the rhetoric which makes its way to the "news" program circuit of the United States. One example is claims that Iran has suicide squads defending nuclear facilities, and The Times of London reports that Iran has 40,000 suicide bombers waiting to strike.

The plan to invade Iran is not new and the plot thickens on how far in advance the planning began. With the ongoing investigation of Scooter Libby in perjury involving lying about who ordered the leaking of Valerie Plame Wilson's name, yet another brick is placed. While leaking Plame's name to attempt to discredit Joe Wilson's revelations of the Niger uranium hoax seems like pure bar room politics, Plame and her cover company - Brewster Jennings & Associates - were actually in Iran. In fact they were the covert operation monitoring Iran's nuclear activities. With the outing of Plame, Brewster Jennings left Iran - and any ability to keep a covert eye on nuclear activities left with them. This was revealed in the Raw Story article of February 13, 2006 "Outed CIA officer was working on Iran, intelligence sources say.

This is similar to the forced withdrawal of weapons inspectors from Iraq, or the removal of Arabic speaking forces from Afghanistan. Create an intelligence vacuum, and you can speculate anything you want that "might" be going on inside a nation.

It seems clear that there is a desire on the part of the Bush administration to attack Iran. There are the new nukes to be tested and a regime to "change." I think that Hersh's report that Bush feels he has nothing to lose in this endeavor is likely accurate. Bush definitely sees himself as a man with a mission. The larger concern is that his mission seems to involve the application of the full force and destructive power of the US arsenal.

Many were fooled by the rhetoric and propaganda that allowed the "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq. Hopefully, people will not be fooled again.

Posted by Rowan Wolf at April 18, 2006 9:28 PM
Comments
Comment #141571

Okay

I know that Bush invaded Iraq to enrich Halliburton. Why does he want to invade Iran?

And the Iranians are claiming to enrich uranium, why?

Posted by: Jack at April 18, 2006 10:04 PM
Comment #141573

I believe an attack on Iran is needed. Regardless of any difficulty, we have no choice except attack Iran.

Posted by: Aldous at April 18, 2006 10:16 PM
Comment #141574

Jack:

Silly Jack.

Iran is enriching uranium in order to develop nukes. They are developing nukes to ward off the US. Iran needs nukes to protect itself.

Simple.

Posted by: Aldous at April 18, 2006 10:18 PM
Comment #141575

OK, Jack, back to planet Earth, Fox free.
(A)Why Iraq?
1 - BushCo is a NeoCon
2 - NeoCons believe(d?) that collapsing a MidEast dictator would be like the “Domino Theory” the Military Industrial complex sold us on in the 60’s. Except, of course, it would be their dominoes.
3 - NeoCons don’t waste the opportunity to make money.
They didn’t go to war to make money, but they didn’t pass up the chance to do so. Too bad Bush is so stupid we’ll never know if the theory would have worked.
(B)Why Iran?
Have you looked at a map lately? On one side is Afghanistan. On the other side is Iraq. Both these countries are occupied by America’s Army of Satan. In the middle? Friggin Iran! Hmmm, why would they want nukes? Can’t imagine.

Posted by: Dave at April 18, 2006 10:26 PM
Comment #141577

Dave

So the neocons invaded Iraq because they thought it would create a domino effect which would bring democracy and stability to the Middle East, but they were wrong in the practice?

And with American armies all around them, I understand why the Iranians might feel nervous but there still are a few questions.

1. Why would the President want to invade Iran? I know giving him the benefit of the doubt that he feels it is a threat is not an option.

2. If the Iranians are really developing a bomb, but don’t yet have one, why do they go around trying to provoke the U.S. by claiming they already can enrich uranium? Are they so sure that the U.S. and the world community have no ability to counter them? Or do they have some other kind of game?

THe first question is mostly rhetorical. Answer if you can, but the second is legit. If anyone has an idea, I would like to know

Posted by: Jack at April 18, 2006 10:48 PM
Comment #141578

Rowan, excellent article. Thanks for the links.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 18, 2006 10:51 PM
Comment #141579

I see dead women and childrens bodys burning up after a nuclear blast.Bush is out of his freaking mind.We need to get Chucklenuts out of the White House.

Posted by: phillipk at April 18, 2006 10:52 PM
Comment #141580

Jack:

Bush wants to invade Iran because of his idiotic Us vs Them mentality. Regardless, I support military action against Iran right now.

The Iranians announced they can enrich uranium because it cannot be hidden effectively. Enriched Uranium leaves traces that can be detected and confirmed. It would only be a matter of time before the UN/IAEA would have found out about it. Therefore, declaring that they can do it is the safest course. It also shields the military enrichment program behind the civilian one. Any traces found can now be brushed off as part of the civilian nuclear program.

Posted by: Aldous at April 18, 2006 10:58 PM
Comment #141584
So the neocons invaded Iraq because they thought it would create a domino effect which would bring democracy and stability to the Middle East, but they were wrong in the practice?
They absolutely screwed up the application. Do you believe otherwise? My personal opinion is the theory was crap too, but we’ll never know.

for (2). I think they’re freakin’ insane. But not stupid. Their game is to taunt and look strong in front of the bully, make us do something stupid (I think they think, and I think, we would never use nukes first, so I don’t know what that “stupid thing” is), and all the while they continue to amass third world hatred of the new axis of evil, bUSh. They also know we know that they don’t have nukes. They also know that it makes no difference to Bush if they do or don’t; see his Iraq rationale.
Lastly, I think Aldous is wrong about the confounding aspect. Ratios of elements and other signatures uniquely identify sources.

Posted by: Dave at April 18, 2006 11:11 PM
Comment #141585

An attack on Iran now or at any time in the future would be disastrous. Much like Bush’s promises of spreading democracy in Iraq have failed, going into Iran would only breed more animosity toward the U.S. from the international community, cost more money that we cannot afford, and countless more lives that will be lost unnecesarily. Regardless of mistakes already made, the Bush administration needs to use the rest of their time in office focusing on cleaning up the mess we have made of Iraq and putting our country back on track, not planning an attack on another nation who is trying to use their sovereign rights to build up nuclear weapons.

Posted by: tyla at April 18, 2006 11:20 PM
Comment #141586

Regardless of the motivation for the press release, the fact remains that Iran is now capable of enriching uranium.

I say we should attack Iran now without waiting for UN Approval. A clean strike will finish the nuclear threat. We will deal with the payback afterwards.

Posted by: Aldous at April 18, 2006 11:20 PM
Comment #141587

We don’t need to rely on Bush, etal to see that Iran is a clear and present danger. All we need to do is listen to that nut Ahmadiwhatever.
He’s made it plain that he would like to destroy us and Israel.
Peaceful purposes? HAH! You don’t really expect him to admit out loud what he wants enriched uranium for, do you? His rhetoric makes it plain enough.
As soon as possible he’ll build a couple of bombs and detonate them in his favorite targets.
We don’t need to invade to stop him. Destroying Iran’s nuke facilities with precision munitions will do the trick.
I’m sure there has been a plan to invade Iran since 1980. I think it would be stupid to carry it out at this time but those fanatics must be stopped. Better Iranian bodies burning than American.

Posted by: traveller at April 18, 2006 11:29 PM
Comment #141589

traveller is essentially correct. Paying the price now is cheaper than later. We must attack Iran to keep the peace. Right now Iran is busy spreading the Technology around and reinforcing known fixed sites. We need to hit them while we still can.

Posted by: Aldous at April 18, 2006 11:37 PM
Comment #141592

I think you are all out of your collective minds.

If we go into Iran now we will be there into the next century.
While we may win a war of attrition we will get our asses handed to us in the short term.

Unlike Saddam, these guys have had 40, or 50 years to hate America, and I predict they will make the most of it.

Especially if Rumsfeld thinks that he can fight the same fight that we put up in Iraq.

Posted by: Rocky at April 19, 2006 12:00 AM
Comment #141601

Like I said, we don’t need to invade Iran. Just take out their nuke facilities and the threat ends. It certainly won’t make them hate us any more than they do now.
My personal preference is for Israel to make the strike.

Posted by: traveller at April 19, 2006 12:24 AM
Comment #141604

Agreed.

Posted by: Rocky at April 19, 2006 12:39 AM
Comment #141605

I hear a lot of talk about precision bombing as a solution to this problem but what happens after that? How will our new lean and mean military be able to hold up for a lenghty war in Iran. Seems were getting back to old school cold war type fighting. Are we ready for that? Is Rumsfeld the right secretary of defense for this job, he hasn’t exactly received rave reviews for Iraq. While now may seem to be the time to strike to some we are dealing with some serious negatives with the current administration.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 19, 2006 12:40 AM
Comment #141610

Hoping for the best will not make the problem go away. The thing is Iran believes it NEEDS nukes to survive. This is not some macho nationalistic crap for Iran. Logic dictates that a nuke is the only thing that can keep the US at bay. Ergo, diplomacy is pointless and war is inevitable.

I say we go in now before Iran is fully prepared to fight.

Posted by: Aldous at April 19, 2006 1:20 AM
Comment #141613

btw… Israel is not going to bomb Iran, ever. The Israeli Lobby in Washington will make sure the US will take the bullet meant for Israel.

Posted by: Aldous at April 19, 2006 1:24 AM
Comment #141615

Why Iran? There are numerous reasons that come to mind … oil, gas, pipeline, oil transport … The same reasons that we went to all the effort to put Reza Shah in power (and then the revolt) - you know the one that turned Iran into an Islamic controlled government.

Of course now there is both China and Russia with tight energy contracts with Iran as well, and we are in an energy competition with them. The current government is unlikely to form energy agreements with the U.S. Don’t you think?

Then of course, why would Iran be so provocative about nukes? Perhaps because of the way that the US has responded to North Korean nukes? Perhaps because China and Russia (both nuclear powers) are more interested in maintaining relations with Iran than cozying up to the US?

Posted by: Rowan Wolf at April 19, 2006 1:26 AM
Comment #141617

There is that Axis of evil thing.

Bush hasn’t been the most diplomatic of Presidents.
He does have a way with words.

Posted by: Rocky at April 19, 2006 1:31 AM
Comment #141618

You’re looking for a reason the NeoCons would want to invade and/or bomb Iran? How about disrupting Iran’s plan to open an oil market based on the Euro? That’s the best reason I’ve heard so far…or at least the best one looking at it from the NeoCon mentality.

Posted by: Charles Wager at April 19, 2006 2:22 AM
Comment #141625

Meet the new boss, same as the old Boss…


Jack, you know this is Dick’s and Jeb’sG.W.’s Energy Plan for us.

Is everyone ready for the Draft? Unless your a Pioneer, of course.

Posted by: gergle at April 19, 2006 3:23 AM
Comment #141628

“Unlike Saddam, these guys have had 40, or 50 years to hate America, and I predict they will make the most of it”.

Got any idea as to why they have hated us for so long?

It’s the oil stupid!

Posted by: expatUSA_Indonesia at April 19, 2006 4:09 AM
Comment #141629

I think the CIA murdered their democratically elected President and replaced him with a brutal abusive Dictator.

The CIA must have been more Republican then…

Posted by: Aldous at April 19, 2006 4:27 AM
Comment #141630

America invade Iran…. LMAO… you guys will get your ass kicked again like vietnam and iraq…you guys couldn’t organize sex at a brothel.

Posted by: the world at April 19, 2006 4:46 AM
Comment #141635

If we go to Iran, I predict revolt at home by the American public and major desertion by an already worn down and distrusting military.

Posted by: Scott Burgoyne at April 19, 2006 5:53 AM
Comment #141639

Curious. Many people argue against War with Iran due to economic and political fallout but NONE of them has tried to deny Iran’s attempt to acquire nukes.

Iran is a clear and present danger to the US. We must stop Iran before its too late.

Posted by: AAldous at April 19, 2006 7:00 AM
Comment #141640

j2t2,
After the bombing campaign destroys Iran’s nuke facilities we sit back and watch the spectacle of wailing and breast-beating that clown in Iran will put on. We don’t invade or enter into a lengthy war, except for the one they declared on us in 1980. We leave them alone except when they make it necessary to slap them down, like now.

Posted by: traveller at April 19, 2006 7:13 AM
Comment #141642

@AAldous at April 19, 2006 07:00 AM
Why is Iran dangerous to the U.S.? Maybe to Israel, but not to the U.S. Iran is a (rather big) shithole in the Middle East. What do they want to do? Drive their tanks to North Korea and ship them to the U.S. to invade America like the Americans did in France in 1944?

And why is the U.S. accepting India and Pakistan (Pakistan is a dictatorship) as nuclear powers? Aren’t they a threat? There are a lot of dangerous people with very dangerous ideas in India and Pakistan. And in India every idiot can become president, as long as he/she has enough support of the sickminded (wow, this also happened in the U.S. What a coincidence). Don’t talk shit and go back to redneck-country.

Posted by: Ouwe at April 19, 2006 7:34 AM
Comment #141652

traveller:

Wow. I must have imagined the US Embassy in Lebanon being attacked and the 200+ dead Marines from the bombed Barracks was just a dream.

Posted by: Aldous at April 19, 2006 8:57 AM
Comment #141654

Aldous,
If Bush does start the bombing, we will eagerly await your kudos to the neocons.

Posted by: Schwamp at April 19, 2006 9:10 AM
Comment #141656

I don’t like Bush but even a broken clock is right once a day.

Bomb Iran. Its the right thing to do.

Posted by: Aldous at April 19, 2006 9:20 AM
Comment #141660

Jask-Asked (reasonably enough):

I know that Bush invaded Iraq to enrich Halliburton. Why does he want to invade Iran?

To enrich Bechtel and Exxon.

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 19, 2006 9:36 AM
Comment #141661

aldous,
I don’t know what you’re getting at. How does that tie in with this thread?

Ouwe,
They don’t want to invade us, they want to destroy us. With nukes they will have that capability. Their hatred of us is second only to their hatred of Israel. If Iran gets nukes they WILL use them against us.
India and Pakistan are dangerous, but not to us-right now. We need to keep a close eye on them and be prepared to hit them if they make it necessary.

Posted by: traveller at April 19, 2006 9:38 AM
Comment #141668

traveller,
You are aware of the fact that as soon as Iran nukes Israel they nuke themselves? The fall out of the explosion will be that great that even the smallest bomb will hurt their whole economy and way of life and the region will be a second Tsjernobyl.

And how crazy the Iranian leaders may be, they’ll never attack the U.S. Even considered how much they hate them (beware, the Bush administration is master in blowing things up).

Posted by: Ouwe at April 19, 2006 9:56 AM
Comment #141670
If we go into Iran now we will be there into the next century.

Personally, I think that’s the whole point. The right has been attempting to establish another generation long conflict. Once the “Cold War” ended, they lost the ability to say “who do you trust to protect you, the Republicans or the tree hugging liberals?”

Despite the fact that terrorism has been around for, well, probably forever in one form or another, they latched on to 9/11 and turned it into the “Long War”. Now Americans are starting to see the light and are pushing to get out of Iraq so they have to create a new dire threat.

Aren’t the news reports these days reminisent of those fear-mongering reports leading up to Iraq? Fox news had this thing recently where they showed the effects of a nuclear blast on Manhattan, complete with the casualty estimates. Monica Crowley and the Neocon Kool-Aid. They had live shots of LA, Chicago, etc… as if you could see a missle coming in at any moment. Monica says “And in fact, the hypothetical scenario that you just laid out, that hypothetic ground zero is just a few blocks from where I am sitting here tonight. So, it is an incredibly frightening scenario and absolutely within the realm of possibility given the nature of the regime we‘re talking about.”. So why is she still in Manhattan?

The longer they can keep the US fearful, the longer they can stay in control. That’s what this is all about.

Posted by: Grant at April 19, 2006 9:58 AM
Comment #141678

If Iran had nuclear weapons today, they would not be an immediate threat to the U.S. I’m not sure, but they may have missles capable of reaching Israel. Would they attack Israel? Possibly,if they wanted to commit national suicide.
A preemptive strike on their nuclear facilities might or might not set them back. But, what it will do is cause them to have to retaliate to save face. This would mean $150 to $250 a barrel for oil and devastate our economy. Because the Iranians are fully capable of destroying the oil facilities of both Iraq and Saudi Arabia with their conventional weaponry.

Posted by: jlwilliams at April 19, 2006 10:44 AM
Comment #141679

Rocky put it very nicely…we are already stuck in Iraq for the conceivable future, why why why would we want to do essentially the same in Iran?! Just because they make empty threats toward us and Israel? For all of you who are so quick to say bomb Iran or go into Iran….what is the long term plan? That was exactly the problem with Bush and his administration before going into Iraq, they didn’t even have a plan! They come up with this holier than thou rhetoric that they will just bow down to us and let us mold their country into a mini America, when really we obviously don’t have the power or intelligence to do so.

Posted by: tyla at April 19, 2006 10:45 AM
Comment #141685

Bush “said” Iraq’s oil would pay for the war….why are we and our granfkids paying for it? No one brings up that LIE !!! Iran is getting fired up because of what Bush is doing next door. This war had no strategy…only an agenda. Mothers of boys age 8 to 18 enjoy them now…because if this pychotic administration keeps at it there WILL be a draft. We don’t even have our borders covered here on our own soil. How many Al Queda have come across the Rio Grande, easily?????? Too many…….what are we as a nation???????cattle?????? GET PISSED !!!!!!!!!!!!! Bush is getting close to killing more AMERICANS than Al Queda

Posted by: chris brown at April 19, 2006 11:01 AM
Comment #141691

Ouwe,
Are you willing to bet millions of American lives and our entire society that you’re right? I’m not.
Butterflies and unicorns won’t keep a bunch of irrational, suicidal fanatics from doing exactly what they’ve said they want to do.

Posted by: traveller at April 19, 2006 11:33 AM
Comment #141693
Are you willing to bet millions of American lives and our entire society that you’re right? I’m not.

There’s that wonderful perpetual fear again. Hey, we better nuke Jamaica. You never know, right? Are you willing to bet American lives that a bunch of overbaked pot heads won’t attack us?

Posted by: Grant at April 19, 2006 11:45 AM
Comment #141708

and traveller…are you willing to risk starting world war 3 with the arab nations all because Iran is doing EXACTLY what we and many other nations are doing by building up our nuclear weapons? This argument is absolutely ridiculous…we cannot live in fear and attack every nation that hates us! we are alienating the rest of the world by acting that we are superior and going into Iran would only be more proof of that.

Posted by: tyla at April 19, 2006 1:44 PM
Comment #141710

Yea, let’s nuke Iran. Then we can nuke the mountains of Afghanistan to get Bin Laden, go to North Korea and nuke them into commie heaven, and go south to Venezuela and drop a couple of nukes before Chavez becomes a bigger pain in the ass. Now, this all will probably piss off France, so we better drop a couple there to let them know who’s boss.

Posted by: Tim in NY at April 19, 2006 1:48 PM
Comment #141712

Don’t foget Cuba. better drop a couple there. And of course there’s Mexico. Now they don’t hate us, but it would solve the immigration issue. Two birds with one stone.

Posted by: Grant at April 19, 2006 1:52 PM
Comment #141717

Grant,
That was mindless drool.
Here are a couple of salient points you may wish to consider.
1) Iran made a formal declaration of war against the US in 1980 and has never rescinded it.
2) Iran has repeatedly expressed a desire to destroy the US.
3) Iran’s leaders are fanatical adherents of a violent, brutish religion that teaches that martyrdom in holy war is their highest calling.
The martyrdom of millions would be glorious.

Try pulling you head out of wherever you stuck it and look around once in a while.

Posted by: traveller at April 19, 2006 1:59 PM
Comment #141719

traveller,

“1) Iran made a formal declaration of war against the US in 1980 and has never rescinded it.”

I will just start here and leave it at that.

Do you remember why, and OBTW, why haven’t we addressed this issue?


Posted by: Rocky at April 19, 2006 2:12 PM
Comment #141730

Rocky,
Yes, I remember why and at this point it’s irrelevent. We have to face the fact that Iran considers itself at war with us and will inflict as much damage as possible whenever it can.
Since a state of war exists, we have the right and duty to destroy their warmaking capability.
This is not fear-mongering or even war-mongering. It is facing up to an ugly and unpleasant reality.
It is what it is and cowering in fear and playing the blame game won’t change it.

Posted by: traveller at April 19, 2006 2:44 PM
Comment #141731

traveller,

“It is what it is and cowering in fear and playing the blame game won’t change it.”

Yet we haven’t addressed the problem, and you feel that going to war will solve everything?

Their being pissed at America was, and is valid. I am not asking that we bow and scrape and kowtow to Iran.
They have issues and threatening them with the possibility of nuclear war doesn’t sem to be working.

There has to be a better way to deal with this than sending an already stretched military to fight and die.

Blowing up Iran’s nuclear facilities isn’t going to fix anything, unless we are going to follow up with boots on the ground, and we have seen how well that is working in Iraq.

Posted by: Rocky at April 19, 2006 2:59 PM
Comment #141744

I must say that it troubles me that so many people seem 1) willing to go to war with someone - as if that is the first and best solution; and 2) that so many think that “nuking” is a good idea. Nuclear material doesn’t either disappear, not does it stay put. The explode material floats into the atmosphere and “goes places” (for example, the Pacific Northwest got the fallout from Chernobyl, and Britain got fallout from the shock and awe bombing of Iraq with “depleted” uranium munitions). Nuclear material is radioactive. It causes cancer and birth defects (among other minor problems). That is why there is a nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

Of course, “nuking” Iran would impact those in Iran most significantly. Almost 70% of their population is under 30 (many of them children), but that does not seem to be a consideration.

Of course, there is always the assumption that the US could engage in this type of preemptive war with absolutely no consequence. Personally, that is an assumption that seems highly optimistic to me.

For those who are in the bomb, nuke em, grind them into the dust crew, I have to wonder how you resolve your personal conflicts. My guess is that you don’t “blow away” everyone you see as a “threat” to you. Nor do you likely beat the tar out of everyone you disagree with. Why then would doing this on a national scale seem so appropriate and attractive? The logic escapes me.

The guys from Columbine took that approach. They had a conflict, they perceived a threat. They “took out” the trouble makers (and any innocents that happened to get in the way). So they died. Maybe if they had bigger guns and more people armed they could have taken down the whole town and gotten away clean.

I’m sure there are those who would say that I am making comparisons that are not comparable. I beg to differ. What if the police had big guns and the boys had not killed themselves. What if the police decided to just blow up the place to eliminate the problem. After all, we don’t negotiate with terrorists. If the policy is that it is worth killing a few innocents to get the “bad guys” then “collateral damage” is not an issue. If generations after that suffer and die from the poisons left behind, then that is just the way it is. After all “life isn’t fair.”

Might does not make right, and just because one has might, that does not mean it is the first and best solution.

Posted by: Rowan at April 19, 2006 3:38 PM
Comment #141749

I’m not saying they don’t have good reason to hate us; they do. I’m saying that at this point in history it doesn’t matter. We have to proceed from where we are. Wishing the past was different won’t change anything. They’ll kill us if they can and we have a right and a duty to prevent it.
I want to prevent nuclear war and the only way to do that is to eliminate Iran’s ability to start one.
Blowing up Iran’s nuke facilities (with conventional munitions, not nukes) won’t fix anything, as you say, but it will keep them from nuking us. I think an invasion is unnecessary and stupid. Once we destroy their nuke capability we can go back to the way things have been for 26 years. They can hate us all they want but there is very little they can do to us.
These are religious fanatics waging a holy war and they have long memories and hold grudges over generations. Even with my very rudimentary understanding of their culture it’s clear that they will never accept anything other than our defeat and subjugation. One thing the koran teaches is to lie to your enemies. Even if the Iranians agree to peace they will be looking for a way to sucker punch us.

Posted by: traveller at April 19, 2006 3:52 PM
Comment #141753

WOLF we will kick ass in iran and we will kick ass all over the world untill the job is complete.Get used to it all of your crying is not going to change anything.real men are in charge now.Real men do real work cryers just cry!!!!!

Posted by: saying at April 19, 2006 4:04 PM
Comment #141757

saying,

“WOLF we will kick ass in iran and we will kick ass all over the world untill the job is complete.Get used to it all of your crying is not going to change anything.real men are in charge now.Real men do real work cryers just cry!!!!!”

So you would have America become the totalitarian state that we have fought against.

Great.

Posted by: Rocky at April 19, 2006 4:29 PM
Comment #141758

I apologize for the outburst. I’m overcompensating for being called a sissy in high school, I suppose…

Posted by: saying at April 19, 2006 4:31 PM
Comment #141762

traveller,

“These are religious fanatics waging a holy war and they have long memories and hold grudges over generations. Even with my very rudimentary understanding of their culture it’s clear that they will never accept anything other than our defeat and subjugation. One thing the koran teaches is to lie to your enemies. Even if the Iranians agree to peace they will be looking for a way to sucker punch us.”

I cannot accept that we want to start a world wide campaign against the Muslim religion.

We can’t kill them all, and we will eventually have to deal with that fact.

Posted by: Rocky at April 19, 2006 4:39 PM
Comment #141763

since every bodys apolgizing im going to fess up im gay!!!!

Posted by: rocky at April 19, 2006 4:40 PM
Comment #141764

saying,

“since every bodys apolgizing im going to fess up im gay!!!!”

Just like your previous rant, saying it doesn’t make it true.

Posted by: Rocky at April 19, 2006 4:45 PM
Comment #141765

o.k im gay too.

Posted by: wolf at April 19, 2006 4:47 PM
Comment #141780

“2. If the Iranians are really developing a bomb, but don’t yet have one, why do they go around trying to provoke the U.S. by claiming they already can enrich uranium? Are they so sure that the U.S. and the world community have no ability to counter them? Or do they have some other kind of game?”

Iran has achieved 3.5pct enrichment of uranium. This is the level needed to generate power. The less power generated with oil and the more power generated other ways, the less oil needed for Iran’s economy and thus the more foreign currency coming to Iran via imports.

Why make a big deal out of it? Under the Nuclear Non-profliferation Treaty, Iran has the absolute right as a signatory, to enrich Uranium to the levels necessary to produce power. As a signatory to the same treaty, the US and all signatories are *supposed* to legally recognize the right of all signatories to uranium enrichment.

This same scenario has played in the past. In the 1970s Brazil decided after the oil embargo that Brazil needed to become 100pct energy independent. Along those lines, they decided to develop fuel enrichment and a breeder reactor. The US opposed Brazil on this and attempted to isolate Brazil diplomatically on the premise that Brazil could build nuclear weapons.

Today, Brazil generates nuclear power as a part of its energy portfolio and is independent of foreign oil and thus of oil prices, OPEC and the rest.

On the one hand, the current Iranian leader did not start Iran’s nuclear program. This program has been going on for 20+ years and Iran has sought to develop nuclear power as an alternative to oil because they fully realize that once their oil stocks are depleted from sales to other countries that they, themselves need to have some other form of energy production domestically.

And, as stated, their goal is to maximize the export of oil in order to maximize the profits thereof. Since Iran doesn’t have vast irrigation and fertile land that lends itself to growing corn and using ethanol as an alternative and since Iran does not have significant known coal supplies, this pretty much leaves geothermal, nuclear, solar or having to import oil and natural gas themselves at some point to power their country.

Of these, nuclear power is the most predictable and works out to be less expensive than solar (solar energy currently runs 24-25 cents per kilowatt hour based upon current solar cell technology - the costs are well documented for the various solar energy company stocks that I pay attent to, nuclear runs around 8 cents per kilowatt hour) and more easy to exploit than geothermal or wind, for instance.

Thus, what appears to be happening is the confluence of Iran’s long term goal to maximize oil exports by using alternative energy sources themselves with a radical leader that likes to say threatening things.

On the other hand, 3.5 pct enrichment is useless for nuclear weapons development. The enrichment level needs to reach 90 pct to be of weapons grade. Thus, Iran would have to invest in orders of magnitude more centrifuges as well as R&D to get to weapons grade enrichment.

Frankly, the solution to this problem ought to be the same as it was in Europe. The United States could put up a “nuclear umbrella” over Israel with the guarantee that a nuclear attack on Israel, the US, or any US ally, of any kind, would result in a counter-attack with the full range of nuclear weapons at the US’s disposal.

The reason the cold war stayed “cold” was that if shooting broke out, the war could be over with very quickly as well as most of mankind.

Iran is a state, not a hard to find organization hiding in mountain caves. The US doesn’t have to stop Iran from uranium enrichment. The US ultimately needs to stop Iran from threatening US interests. Simply laying out a policy in which the US will strike and making it clear that the US has the resolve to do so in a definitive and permanent way resulting in the complete elimination of Iran from the face of the globe would pretty much settle matters. With a strong and resolute policy, it wouldn’t matter what the leader of Iran said. The only thing that would matter would be what the nation of Iran did.

One of the real problems I see with the Bush administration is that the real “cold warriors” that helped shape policy during the cold war have been replaced by people who don’t understand the power of policy and only see solutions that involve immediate action with a naieve believe that military solutions are quicker and more efficient - sort of like a CEO cutting through the buracracy and “getting down to business.”

Yet, we have faced precisely this sort of threat before. The US sat by while the Soviet Union developed nuclear weapons and did not threaten a war to stop them from enrichment or weapons development even though the US government was fully aware that the SU’s nuclear weapons would undoubtably be pointed at the US and Europe. Despite this fact, clear headed policy makers came up with a series of diplomatic agreements, coalitions and policies that contained the threat of nuclear war for 40 years.

Yet somehow, with a two bit second world nation like Iran, the US is somehow being forced into attacking by what is being said by a crazed radical Islamist without really knowing what is being done by the government in reality.

So what if Iran enriches uranium? If Iran strikes and kills thousands or tens of thousands, the consequence should be that they suffer millions of deaths and the total destruction of their government and erradication of their nation from the face of the earth.

Likewise, the administration specifically embarked upon a missile defense program of roughly 400 *billion* dollars specifically to counter the threat from “rogue states.”

If we’re going to pre-emptively strike, we don’t need missile defense. If we’re going to build missile defense and maintain the largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world, then a country like Iran cannot rationally pose a meaningful threat to American interest and if it did, the costs should simply be such that the Iranian people and political system cannot afford a madman that would put Iran at the risk of annihilation.

By playing to the Iranian leader’s crazed rhetoric, the US legitimizes Iran as a focus of diplomacy and this probably helps unite Iranians behind someone they would otherwise get rid of because he’s mentally unstable.

Therefore, the real problem I see is that the Bush adminstration lacks the ability to put a clear policy on the table that states action and consequence as US presidents have done throughout our history, and instead, launches into escalating rhetoric that becomes a self-fulfilling headlong rush into near term military action.

Just ask yourself this question. If US policy is to nuke Iran off the face of the earth if they ever use any type of nuclear weapon (dirty bomb even) against a US ally, do we really have to spend further effort on them? It worked with the Soviet super power and it can work with a 2nd rate country like Iran.

Having no real policy as a guise for talking your way into another war is counter to US interests and shows a lack of basic competence in developing policies to protect the US.

Bush ought to listen to his father and ought to be replacing his current cabinet with people from the Reagan adminstration rather than filling it with neo-cons that have grand visions of nation building and projecting US power throughout the Middle East.

It is the Bush administation’s lack of clear resolve and secretive ways that exacerbate this situation moreso than the feeble efforts of Iran’s nuclear development and the random rantings of its leader.

If nothing else, the Bush administration could come clean by clearly stating that by a certain date all nuclear activities must be disclosed to the IAEA and put under international monitoring and that failure to do so or future interference with monitoring will result in an immediate and thorough attack destroying all of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure as well as air defenses and untold civilian casualities as an unfortunate side effect .

Instead, the Bush administration simply escalates the rhetoric mumbling about “dire consequences” and “options on tables” to which the Iranian leader responds back “dire consequences to back at you” and “hands cut off”

The current handling of the Iran issue seems juvenile for a nation that has the world’s largest economy, most powerful land forces, largest navy and deadliest nuclear forces in the world.

Posted by: cbp at April 19, 2006 6:08 PM
Comment #141782

amazingly well said cbp

Posted by: Grant at April 19, 2006 6:24 PM
Comment #141803

Their hatred of us is second only to their hatred of Israel.

Posted by: traveller at April 19, 2006 09:38 AM

Ever bothered to try thinking beyond the ten foot square in front of a television?

Posted by: expatUSA_Indonesia at April 19, 2006 8:16 PM
Comment #141811

Rocky,
I’m not advocating a worldwide campaign against Islam. I’m advocating action to remove the threat posed by:
1) A country that declared war on the US,
2) has repeatedly declared the desire to see us destroyed and
3) is working to develop the means to do so.

cbp,
Your argument is well reasoned and articulate. I agree with almost everything you said. The flaw is that you are projecting reason and western values onto irrational people with different cultural values. These fanatics have a value system that is foreign to western modes of thought. In their worldview life has little value and martyrdom is glorious.
Threatening to wipe them out won’t work because they don’t believe we’ll do it. Besides, they’d be martyrs if we did.
In the cold war our adversaries, for all their evil, were rational. Sadly, that isn’t the case now.
The threat isn’t a strike with a nuclear tipped missile. The threat comes from dirty bombs, (3.5% enrichment is plenty) or bombs in shipping containers. Radiation sniffers are useless against a bomb detonated in a harbor before the ship docks. With but a little thought other scenarios become evident.
Brazil is a bad example to equate with Iran. They didn’t declare war on us.
I, too, view the neocons with distaste. I long for the leadership of someone of the caliber of Ronald Reagan. Unfortunately, we have what we have.

Posted by: traveller at April 19, 2006 8:50 PM
Comment #141816

expatUSA_Indonesia,
I have better things to do than sit in front of an idiot box. I don’t own one.
If you don’t think my statement is valid, please refute it-if you can get outside that ten foot square.

Posted by: traveller at April 19, 2006 8:59 PM
Comment #141822
I long for the leadership of someone of the caliber of Ronald Reagan.

Are we talking about the same Ronald Reagan who traded weapons for hostages with this same Iran? What in the WORLD would he give Iran to prevent them from developing Nuclear Weapons?

traveller, you declare the muslim fanatics’ value system “is foreign to western modes of thought”… that they are not rational. Make no mistake about it, contriving reasons to invade a comparably defenseless nation is foreign to the vast majority of most western modes of thought. Creating a breeding ground for Civil War through negligence and incompetence is considered by MOST westerners to be irrational. YOU may speak for a percentage of AMERICANS, but don’t make yourself out to speak on behalf of WESTERN MODE OF THOUGHT.

Posted by: Thom Houts at April 19, 2006 9:13 PM
Comment #141831

Thom Houts,
I don’t claim to speak for anyone but myself.
I’ve been enjoying a lively debate with several people who’ve presented some good arguments for their positions. Well, a couple have been kind of “out there” but it’s been fun.
You don’t have to agree with Reagan’s policies to accept the fact that he was a leader of a rare breed. He did much that I strongly disagree with but through strength of will and an exemplary character he lead America out of the hole that Carter put us un. That old “arms for hostages” canard is a leftist fantasy. The truth is that when Reagan found out what a group of subordinates were doing behind his back he immediately ordered his chief of staff to go public with it and “let the chips fall where they may”.
None of my arguments have been contrived nor have I advocated invasion and Iran is far from defenseless.
Muslim values ARE foreign to western modes of thought but that isn’t why they’re irrational.
Theirs is a value system that is brutal, merciless, misogynist and suicidal. That’s why I think they’re irrational.
Disagree with me all you want. I welcome the debate. But please present a logical argument.

Posted by: traveller at April 19, 2006 9:44 PM
Comment #141870

“Your argument is well reasoned and articulate. I agree with almost everything you said. The flaw is that you are projecting reason and western values onto irrational people with different cultural values.”

Not at all. I am a West Point graduate and former Army Captain and I simply applied the same basic analysis that I was taught to apply many years ago.

” These fanatics have a value system that is foreign to western modes of thought.”

On the contrary, they have a democracy, albeit with a supreme religious council in the mix, however, time has shown that both Iran and its leaders can moderate their views.

The current bump in the road is just that. It is, contrary to what you suggest here, quite *irrational* to suggest that the millions of people of Iran are all radicals wanting to be blown up in the name of Allah.

Under the Shah, Iran modernized and started educating its populace. Under the mullas, Iran continued to educate its populace, grow its middle class and develop its economy. Iran has college and secondary education and its populace is more western in its standard of living than any other nation bordering it.

“In their worldview life has little value and martyrdom is glorious.”

The people that hold these views are in the minority - even Bush agrees on this point. Given the choice between peace and pointless annihilation, even Iran will have many, many people who wake up each day to a family and don’t want to see their small children vaporized in a mushroom cloud and will take action to prevent this from happening.

“Threatening to wipe them out won’t work because they don’t believe we’ll do it. “

We dropped the bomb on Japan, and in my experience having served overseas, in my experience the only people in the world I’ve met that *don’t* think we would use nuclear weapons again seem to be we the people of America.

Therefore, any country that *says* the US lacks the resolve to wage war is simply uttering rhetoric.

What they, and in this case the Iranians, probably think is that we’re less likely to attack them if they have nuclear weapons.

In any event, guessing oneself into having no meaningful policy to speak of and no clear guidelines involving cause and effect is not a solution to the problem - it’s a dodge that solves nothing, imho.


If the US publicly states that attacking Iran is “wild speculation” and then does so, this simply becomes not having a policy or hiding our policy and springing it on everyone. This isn’t a very smart way of doing business.

If the US is contemplating military action, our policy should state as much as well as clear conditions that would force us to take action.

It would be really smart, and Reagan-like, btw, to actually discuss this privately with our allies before setting the policy in place. Likewise, it would give the EU and Russia better leverage in negotiating with Iran, since we for some reason decided to leave all the negotiations up to them.


“Besides, they’d be martyrs if we did.
In the cold war our adversaries, for all their evil, were rational. Sadly, that isn’t the case now.”

What you attempt to assert is that an iconoclastic culture of matrydom exists in Iran and this simply isn’t and never has been the case. Bad people can achieve power in any government, but this is not sufficient to conclude that an adversary’s people and culture are lacking in any form of human compassion or care for their own well being or survival en masse.

It is one thing to talk of a hand full of people or a single charismatic and evil leader such as Lenin, Mao, Mussolini or Hitler. It is quite another to conclude that all Russians, Chinese, Italians and Germans are inherently absent basic human instincts such as self preservation and the desire to preseve their family.

The #1 mistake that one can make in estimating how to react to a confrontation with an adversary is to start by erecting a strawman consisting of mythical supermen or sub-humans and forming policy around a mirage based upon the rhetoric of a few.

Moreover, if, as you would propose, what we’re really dealing with is an entire crazed subspecies of humans who will all happily see their children vaporized for some ideology or belief, then it is even more important to put in place specific policies with consequences that clearly show that this crazed portion of humanity cannot hope to achieve its goals - if everyone is dead, that doesn’t leave much for future operations.

This is all quite straight forward. The US has successfully dealt with agression and adversaries through clear and distinct policies driven through diplomacy and clearly dileneated guidelines of action and consequence, political, economic and military in multiple dimensions. This is a big part of why America has succeeded in the world in the past and what it needs to start doing again to succeed in the future.

Posted by: cbp at April 20, 2006 1:00 AM
Comment #141879
That old “arms for hostages” canard is a leftist fantasy. The truth is that when Reagan found out what a group of subordinates were doing behind his back he immediately ordered his chief of staff to go public with it and “let the chips fall where they may”.

And THERE you have the inevitable republican canard: “I didn’t know what my underlings were doing behind my back.” I realize you are obligated to buy that crap (because Reagan wasn’t clumsy enough to leave a trail of tape behind and his underlings never ratted him out).


And yes, traveler, when you define ‘western mode of thought’ you DO presume to speak for it otherwise you would have said “These fanatics have a value system that is foreign to ME.” The will to kill and be killed for God and Country is certainly, in my humble opinion, fanatical to be sure, but where in the world would the United States be without the brave men and women of our Armed Services who possess the will to kill and be killed for God and Country?

YOU say, “Theirs is a value system that is brutal, merciless, misogynist and suicidal.”

MORE brutal than a western nation that has announced detailed plans for a nation that poses very little threat (and yeah Iran IS defenseless compared to the might of the greatest military in the history of the world… only the plodding incompetence of the Bush regime makes it seem otherwise)? More merciless than a western nation that HAS ALREADY USED the nuclear option… TWICE?? MORE misogynistic than a western nation on the verge of forcing it’s women to bear children against their will? MORE suicidal than a western nation that manufactures weapons faster than it does medicine?

Please spare me Judeo-Christian moral superiority… it’s a self-righteous facade that offers hope only to the blind.
For every Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the middle east, there is an equally insane George W. Bush back home. For every Ayatollah Khamenei in Iran there is a Pat Robertson in the US.

Posted by: Thom Houts at April 20, 2006 4:40 AM
Comment #141884

cbp,
I don’t believe, and didn’t state, that all Iranians are crazed radicals who want to be blown up in the name of Allah. Ordinary Iranians are just that-ordinary. They want to live as prosperously as they can, raise their children and live in peace. But they don’t run the country, Islamists do. That’s who I’ve been calling fanatics.
I also haven’t advocated the use of nukes. In fact, I stated that the threat should be eliminated using conventional, not nuclear, munitions to destroy nuke facilities, not the whole country. Throughout this thread there has been a presumption that any attack on Iran would be nuclear. If they ever hit us with a nuke the retaliation would most likely be nuclear. Preventing that is what’s desired.

Thom Houts,
Reagan’s underlings never ratted him out because there was nothing to rat out. He was an honorable man of high moral character who strongly disapproved of what was done and exposed it. Without his order to Howard Baker to go to the press it likely would never have seen the light of day.
Every culture has a mode of thought unique to it. Referencing that fact doesn’t make one a spokesman for it. I speak only for myself.
Your hatred of America and Christianity comes through loud and clear.

Posted by: traveller at April 20, 2006 7:20 AM
Comment #141897

Oil prices are skyrocketing…….my question is; Hasn’t enough red American blood splattered the Iraqi landscape for US to reap the benefits of the rich, black oil fields of this war-torn country?

Posted by: Mark Torge at April 20, 2006 9:06 AM
Comment #141904
Your hatred of America and Christianity comes through loud and clear.

What a surprise?
“Pat Robertson is every bit as hateful as any Ayatollah.”
“You hate christianity!”
“Ronald Reagan traded weapons for hostages with terrorists”
“You hate America!”

The conservative koolaid is SOOOOO predictabe.

Disagree with me all you want. I welcome the debate.

My eye!!!

Posted by: Thom Houts at April 20, 2006 10:08 AM
Comment #141909

>>So the neocons invaded Iraq because they thought it would create a domino effect which would bring democracy and stability to the Middle East, but they were wrong in the practice?

Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack…

Did you forget…Cheney/Bush invaded Iraq because it was a direct threat to our security, via…WMD and al Qaida training camps…

As to the domino effect…with world wide sales of Afghani poppy nectar at all new highs (no pun intended) and civil war in Iraq, I hope the domino that falls in Iran does us a little better…


Posted by: Marysdude at April 20, 2006 10:49 AM
Comment #141929

“I don’t believe, and didn’t state, that all Iranians are crazed radicals who want to be blown up in the name of Allah. Ordinary Iranians are just that-ordinary. They want to live as prosperously as they can, raise their children and live in peace. But they don’t run the country, Islamists do. That’s who I’ve been calling fanatics.”

Then it stands to reason that a moderate like the previous president Khatami will get elected at some point and Iran’s government will moderate over time as their middle class grows and they continue to educate their populace. Contrarily, it also seems likely that military hostilities will tend to unite the populace around their government and thereby strengthen those same crazed radicals.

A smart policy therefore would be to use time and patience to our advantage rather than running ahead of the clock with a secretive military policy to attack a country that we *think* in five years *might* have a nuclear weapons capability.

It took 42 years to take down the Soviet Union this way - but we didn’t have to have a world war to achieve victory. Further, the sanctions on Iraq worked - we know this because there was no WMD and there were no programs either, as we now know.

Therefore, with Iran, we can operate in the same fashion to achieve our goals.

But let’s assume we have a “quick fix” military strike option - which probably won’t work in the first place btw - if they have to use nukes then it tends to indicate that the Pentagon doesn’t think it can succeed at all in the mission goals they’ve been assigned, but assume that we do. My personal guess is that the Pentagon put nukes on the table as a way of saying “can’t be done” and are now faced with an administration that won’t accept “can’t be done” even when it can’t. In any event, what we do know is that short of nukes, Iran’s hardened facilities can’t be taken out with conventional weaponry alone.

Therefore, let us look at the alternative scenario of calling a strike “wild speculation” and later doing exactly that.

The likely reprecussions include:

1) Cessation of some or all of Iran’s 4.09 million barrels of oil a day (Iran is the #4 oil producer after the United States) with the 3d largest reserves (125.8 billion barrels) - OPEC is at max production and world demand exceeds supply with production at 100pct barring meaning supply/demand pressures get worse, period, with or without anything happening in Iran - so we can expect a concurrent further rise in oil prices even if #2 doesn’t happen
2) Iran may follow through on their threat to attack shipping in the Strait of Hormuz with conventional and terrorist attacks

Between #1 and #2 we then come to roughly 1/2 of the world’s oil exports being interrupted or stopped - in such a scenario, the top price of oil is unknowable but $100/barrel or a rise of around 30pct from current levels seems conservative. Higher levels seem likely and $5-$10/gallon gas seems almost inevitable (fastest growing gasoline and oil users - China - the US *cannot* conserve enough fuel to make up the difference in China’s growth - higher gas and oil prices are inevitable).

3) Hezbollah targets the US and US interests - Hezbollah is not Al Qaida - Hezbollah faced down the Israeli army and *won*. Likewise, they murdered more than 300 marines and Reagan decided that it was smarter to withdraw the troops and go home rather than get further embroiled. In fact, Hezbollah has 3 countries of residence and operation - Lebanon, where they have power in the government, Syria and, of course, Iran. So to go after Hezbollah after they begin operations against the US, we would need to proceed to invade and try to control all three if we are to stop Hezbollah

So, #1, even without #2, gives us a sudden acceleration in energy prices which would in turn at the very least slow down or stop growth in China and the emerging world, in turn causing additional inflation in the US. With #2 occuring we are almost certainly guaranteed to see a recession in the US, which is possible with #1 alone, and thus concurrent weakening of the dollar leading to higher borrowing costs and thus a hard dollar limit on our ability to *afford* to project power around the world.

Moreover, we have not been chasing Hezbollah. We and they agreed to leave each other alone in the 1980s. We gave arms to Iran and Hezbollah gave us back our hostages and each side agreed to focus on other things. Therefore, since we have been focused elsewhere it is *imminently* likely that Hezbollah has large numbers of agents/potential terrorists in the US - after all, they fund raise in the US as well as the Middle East.

Therefore, while it’s currently unknowable, it seems only prudent to assume that Hezbollah will be able to execute attacks in the US as a part of retaliation.

Thus, the “clean up” of hostilities with Iran are likely to include further terrorist attacks inside the US and fighting them “over there so we don’t have to fight them over here” will entail invading *three* additional countries within a world energy situation that likely guarantees we will have fewer financial resources to prosecute an expanded terrorist conflict both abroad and at home.

I have left out the likely international implications to the US - certainly we can expect China and Russia to become closer still (they started performing joint military exercises 2 years ago). We can already see the EU and Russia becoming closer as Russia re-establishes itself as a european country - a Russia goal since Catherine the Great that the Europeans have started to warm to in recent years.

The net net is a decline in US political power overseas is inevitable, but it can happen more quickly and ominously as the US proceeds on unilateral military actions as our former allies stand by. Britain has already signaled that they aren’t interested in expanding the current conflict to Iran and their foreign secretary has called such action “unthinkable,” “unacceptable” and so forth just in the last week’s time. So we can count the rest of the world out, including Britain, as we proceed down this route.

Therefore, since we are faced with a very dicey scenario going forward, it behoves the US government to be “open” in its policy, clear about using military force in terms of circumstances such that, at the very least, we the people understand the policy, the threat and the risks.

But let’s look at the threat - we *think* that they would *like* to build nuclear weapons. We *thought* the same thing about Hussein, and I have no doubt that the wanted to build chemical and biological weapons. However, by working with the world community to put economic and political sanctions in place, Hussein was _not_ able to build replacement WMD *or* have programs.

Therefore, we have seen that the undeniable fact of US history is that by having strong policies combined with economic and political sanctions combined with diplomacy that Iraq was thwarted from having WMD and the Soviet Union was defeated.

I am not saying that a military option should be ruled out. What I am saying is that the US has more tools at its command than bombing a country and that we have been very successful using the combined means at our disposal to deal with adversaries in the past and need to start doing so again.

Finally, military options need to be a matter of US policy - hiding your intentions towards an adversary almost *guarantees* that your intentions will be miscalculated. If you think that the Iranians will disregard a policy of first strike, then how likely are they to believe in the possibility when we call it “wild speculation” before hand?

Posted by: cbp at April 20, 2006 1:43 PM
Comment #141949

Thom Houts,
You’ll have to come up with something better than a figurative “Oh, Yeah!?”

cbp,
I know that the law of unintended consequences will be strongly in force no matter what we do. I also believe most, if not all, of your argument will come to pass in the near future whether we hit Iran or not. It’s good food for thought, though.

Posted by: traveller at April 20, 2006 3:06 PM
Comment #142150

I’m sure glad “saying” has finally come out of the closet and admitted his homosexuality. (Of course, I knew it all along: his writing sucks so much he had to have had lots of practice!) It’s okay, “saying,” this is the Blue Zone: you are welcome here and we won’t even stone you or tie you to a barb-wire fence and leave you to die!

Now, if only you can get Tom Cruise and John Travolta to come out of that Closet…

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 21, 2006 2:49 PM
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