Third Party & Independents Archives

March 13, 2006

Next War Makes Iraq Piece of Cake

Pres. Bush has drawn the line in the sand with Iran. But, whether he realizes it or not, the line is drawn far wider than most people think. Iran has reached out to Syria, Syria to Iran, and now, Iraq is making overtures to Iran. Engaging Iran will likely result in a simultaneously war with Iran, Iraq, and Syria, with coordination between Iran and Syria and many in Iraq. Iran sits on the Eastern border of Iraq, and Syria on the Western border.

One has to thread the stories of the past week together, but, when knitted, they paint a scenario of death for 100's of thousands with unpredictable global ramifications. The BBC reports of Iranian Revolutionary Guard already aiding efforts against the U.S. in Iraq. It is safe to assume they are involved in Iraq by invitation of forces allied against the U.S. occupation.

Arabic News reports on Feb. 22: Iran's First Vice-President Parviz Davoudi left Tehran for Damascus, Syria, Wednesday morning for an official three-day visit. "Iran attaches special importance to its political, economic and cultural relations with Syria. The two sides have always desired to expand their relations," he said.

So, as Pentagon officials draw up plans for devastating bombing raids backed by submarine-launched ballistic missile attacks against Iran's nuclear sites as a "last resort" to block Teheran's efforts to develop an atomic bomb, Iran, forces within Iraq, and Syria, are also planning to inflict as much retalliatory harm upon the U.S. and its allies in the region as possible.

What started out to be a domino plan for peace and democracy in the Middle East, is rapidly escalating toward an all out Middle Eastern war and chaos which could divide the world along religious lines. The ramifications of such a divided world obviously must include the potential for WWIII. Let's not forget that Pakistan, a Muslim nation with a large population of fundamentalists and nuclear weapons atop ballistic missiles already, is only one bullet away from seeing those nuclear weapons fall into the hands of al-Queda and Taliban backed forces.

While nation's political heads are motivated in part by economic concerns, religious idealists are not, and will not be deterred by economic sanctions or consequences. In all liklihood, negative economic consequences will be used to fuel the war effort's recruitments. The potential for toppling of Western allied regimes in places like Indonesia, the Phillipines, a number of African nations in the event of a global religious war, is very real.

Is it even possible anymore for history to look back on this period and come to any other conclusion other than Pres. Bush sowed the seeds for global unrest in his rush to war in Iraq after 9/11 and his incompetence in conducting that war? Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 devastation in the U.S. It certainly appears as though the consequences of invading Iraq have already outweighed the decision to invade, and the consequential stakes for this action continue to mount ever higher.

Iran is going to make the argument, and not without merit, at some point, that the U.S. invasion of Iraq, necessitated Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. And let's make no mistake here, Iran will reward its allies with the nuclear technology it develops or purchases. The U.S. has much broader support for halting Iran's nuclear development program than it had for invading Iraq. But, as our allies begin to piece this picture of an escalation toward global religious war together, will they be so willing to follow Bush's lead? That is the million dollar question.

The U.S. simply lacks the military manpower to fight Iran, Iraq, and Syria simultaneously. America's own borders are not secure, which could result in the U.S. trying defend itself at home against increasing attacks concurrently with the broadened Middle East war. Reinstating the draft would become inevitable to attain the manpower necessary. Would the American people accede to such a draft to fight a "religious" and culture war in the Middle East?

Will the world allow such a scenario to play out? Will you allow your representatives to promote such a scenario? There is afterall a very clear point of no return to this scenario. It is a U.S. led preemptory strike against Iran. Will you permit your representatives to pursue that course of action, knowing what may follow? The time to prevent war is NOT after it has begun.

Posted by David R. Remer at March 13, 2006 01:05 PM
Comments
Comment #133106

David,

I have to agree, partially, with what you’re saying.

I agree that an Iran, Iraq and Syria alliance would be very bad for our situation over there. I don’t agree that we couldn’t take on their armies in a “two-front” war and win. The problem would be AFTER the armies are defeated…just as it is now.

The worst part would be if we can’t hold Isreal in check as in the 1st Gulf War. If Isreal enters into the conflict (via the Golan Heights) then it really will become a bloodbath. That will give all the other (even moderate) Muslem countries a huge excuse to join in.

Will Europe help us? Doubtful, considering the current state of diplomatic relations (even though Condi has patched a few fences).

Russia? They have their own problems.

If that sort of war breaks out, we’re the ones that will have our butt-cracks hanging out.

A draft to shore up the military? You saw how many people took off to Canada during Viet Nam.

The only way to get our butts out of this sling is through diplomacy. And a concerted effort by the entire free world must be directed at Iran…now…before they deploy nuclear weapons.

If not, how willing are we going to be to go to war once there is a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv?

Posted by: Jim T at March 13, 2006 03:27 PM
Comment #133107

David,
Good article. What concerns me is the potential for an unexpected spark to flair into a conflagration. As I’ve mentioned before, poor leadership from the Bush administration could result in another disaster, only this time much worse. When something unexpected happens, this White House appears absolutely gobsmacked. Longer term problems are denied with phrases such as ‘stay the course,’ or, ‘wait til next year,’ or ‘historians will rate Bush…’ or ‘aliens excavating after the Rapture…’
But you’re right, the time to prevent disaster is now.

Posted by: phx8 at March 13, 2006 03:27 PM
Comment #133111

David; I take your point! It’s a good one.
I believe, after the disaster in Iraq, even Bush will realize the folly of invading Iran without the full support of our newly found allies.
Even if he and Dick and Don don’t get it, I think the congress would prevent another debacle.
I know Condi Rice has been beating the war drums and I thought she was smarter than that.
I know we’re suppose to be on the side of the Israelis, but they never worried about taking land from the Palestinians, so now, when they have another country in the neighborhood making threats, I think we should allow Iran to go ahead with their nuclear plans and watch to see what transpires. Iran is never going to be a major threat to the US unless we make them a threat.
We’ve already made enemies with Syria and Iraq won’t be our friends once we leave them on their own. This country can’t be making the mideast into a beehive of enemies while at the same time clasping India to our bosom after they did the same thing we are accusing Iran of doing.
This has just been a rant and I didn’t want to do that, but this administration drives me nuts!

Posted by: jack p at March 13, 2006 03:46 PM
Comment #133116

My fear is what North Korea will do if we invade Iran (or even a small scale military operation.) N. Korea is extremely paranoid, and if we take on #2 of the axis of evil - they will have to assume that they are next. These guys now are a nuclear power…

Yikes

Posted by: tony at March 13, 2006 04:02 PM
Comment #133121

David:

Iran is going to make the argument, and not without merit, at some point, that the U.S. invasion of Iraq, necessitated Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
I don’t see the merit of that argument. Iran has been pursuing nuclear power for a long time, and has been suspected for years of pursuing nuclear weapons. While it can be argued that perhaps the US policies over the past 4 years have caused Iran to speed up its pursuit, it would be quite incorrect to suggest Iran’s pursuit began in response to US policies over the past 4 years.

Below are several excerpts from articles documenting this fact (note the dates):

“In the late 1980s, a consortium of companies from Argentina, Germany and Spain submitted a proposal to Iran to complete the Bushehr-1 reactor, but huge pressure by the US stopped the deal.”

” After the 1995 agreement was signed by Iran and Russia, the Clinton administration tried, unsuccessfully, to convince Russia to cancel the agreement, but its entreaties were rebuffed by Russia which saw the Bushehr project as an openning for her ailing nuclear industry to get itself into the international market. Having failed in its attempts, the Clinton administration then began charging that the plutonium that the reactors would produce would be used by Iran for making nuclear weapons.”

Saturday, 8 September, 2001, 06:02 GMT 07:02 BBC UK

“A report by the American Central Intelligence Agency has accused Iran of having one of the world’s most active programmes to acquire nuclear weapons…The report says Tehran is trying to develop the capability to build nuclear weapons and delivery systems.”

Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the IAEA, Nobel Peace Prize winner and not someone who would blithely suggest the use of force, said recently that “we are coming to the litmus test in the next few weeks. Diplomacy is not just talking. Diplomacy has to be backed by pressure and, in extreme cases, by force. We have rules. We have to do everything possible to uphold the rules through conviction. If not, then you impose them. Of course, this has to be the last resort, but sometimes you have to do it.”

David, no one wants to be in the position the world is in regarding Iran. Its not solely a US issue, nor one caused by the US. The real question is this: What would you do about it? Iran can be allowed to disregard the IAEA suggestions, or can be held accountable to the rulings. These are rather diametrically opposite positions. So far, Iran has not complied with the IAEA. What would you do?

What would your counsel be on how to address Iran’s stance?

Posted by: joebagodonuts at March 13, 2006 04:41 PM
Comment #133125

David

There are no really good scenarios here.

Invading Iran never would have been easy and it is not possible now. The rest of the world will be of little help if the Iranians call the bluff. UN Sanctions (the hardball option as far as they are concerned) would be as successful with Iran as it was with Saddam. If Iran develops a bomb, they may well use it or share it with those who will.

At the current situation, there is not much the U.S. can do to stop it from becoming worse. It just is not in our hands. The Russians and Chinese have a little more leverage, but they show no sign of wanting to use it for good. The Europeans are a spent force and the Iranians have figured that out.

I think the world is HOPING the Israelis take care of it. Of course they will deplore it and claim it was illegal. This would not be a good thing. I am not even sure the Israelis could pull it off.

This is one of those times when you have to wait for something to happen. The problems, as currently stated, cannot be solved by us or by any reasonable combination of countries we could trust.

The current Iranian government is insane. We usually use that word loosely, but this time it applies clinically. Even the religious leaders are more reasonable and they, in the end, call the shots. We can only hope they see clearly through the haze of their ideology.

In the medium and long term, Iran is a U.S. friend. They live in a really bad neighborhood. Better a powerful country far away than right at your border. But getting over the short term will be a challenge.

Posted by: Jack at March 13, 2006 05:05 PM
Comment #133126

Israel has been developing Nukes since 1960. When John Kennedy sent an inspection team to investigate, Israel cemented the elevator leading down to the Military side of their “civilian” nucleur program.

Ground Floor and above - Civilian Nucleur Power Plant

Basement - Military Nuke Factory

Posted by: Aldous at March 13, 2006 05:10 PM
Comment #133127

Iran must never be allowed to have Nukes. If military strikes or invasion is what it takes, we must do it.

I really don’t know why Jack and Joe are against spreading freedom to Iran. Its not as if they are the ones going in there to fight it out…

Posted by: Aldous at March 13, 2006 05:14 PM
Comment #133128

“David, no one wants to be in the position the world is in regarding Iran. Its not solely a US issue, nor one caused by the US.”

Nice Spin, joebagodonuts. Too bad any objective analysis of the situation will put the blame ENTIRELY with the US and Bush.

Posted by: Aldous at March 13, 2006 05:17 PM
Comment #133129

Anybody else notice how Jack and Joe are trying to pass this off as not being Bush’s fault?

Posted by: Aldous at March 13, 2006 05:21 PM
Comment #133133

Jim T and JBOD, I agree, it is going to be very tough finding other nations to put their militaries in place to back up our line drawn in the sand. Iran however, as I have always contended with both Iran and Iraq, is a regional problem for Europe, Israel, and the Middle East.

Yes, they pose a potential threat in terms of nuclear weapon proliferation to our enemies, but, that is many years off. My advice to Bush would have been to sound the alarm and paint the horrible picture of what a nuclear Iran could do to the region’s economies, their atmosphere, and their infrastructure.

In other words, I would have recommended the President engage in “Let’s you and them fight it out over there” diplomacy that does not directly place the US at the forefront of the effort to halt Iran’s activities.

JBOD, there is little doubt Iran’s nuclear ambitions preceded the invasion in Iraq. But, that is also true of a host of other nations. But, prior to the invasion of Iraq, Iran had the luxury of weighing potential sanctions against the gains of nuclear acquisition. They were under no direct threat from the U.S. and the imperative was not there. Since, the invasion of Iraq, Iran obviously views itself as no longer having a choice nor the luxury of time to weigh pros and cons. Now it is a matter of survival.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 13, 2006 05:43 PM
Comment #133134

phx8, I had very similar concerns while writing the article. The situation is a powder keg awaiting only time and a spark to blow it up.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 13, 2006 05:45 PM
Comment #133141

The possbility of a mistake or miscalculation spreading into a full-fledged war is very real. Bush and the remaining Neocons are pretending Iraq and Iran and the way they want those countries to be. Here is a quote from Bush today, as reported by CNN:

“… The Iraqi people made their choice. They looked into the abyss and did not like what they saw.”

“Iraqis have shown the world that they want a future of peace,” Bush said.

Bush also accused Iran of providing material support to the insurgency in Iraq and vowed to continue to pressure Iraq’s neighbor.

“Such actions, along with Iran’s support for terrorism and its pursuit of nuclear weapons, are increasingly isolating Iran, and America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats.”

It’s just a series of bizarre statements. The Death Squads are Shias from the Interior Ministry, predominantly controlled Hakim & his SCIRI party.

Where does everybody think the Death Squads obtain their training, weapons, & uniforms?

To point the finger at Iran is simply bizarre. These are the Iraqi security forces which we have supposedly been training. They’re very, very busy these days. Since there’s no government and no national military, the country is in open civil war. Of course, some people dislike calling it civil war. They picture soldiers in blue or grey uniforms lining up to shoot muskets at each other. Maybe ‘anarchy’ or chaos’ would be more accurate.

The Bush statement is just bizarre. What on earth is the point of connecting Iran with the carnage in Iraq? The Sunnis have been the source of the insurgency and terrorism. The Shias are just engaging in a little old fashioned payback, courtesy of the training, weaponry of the USA.

Negroponte would have wanted it this way.

This administration is so dissociated from reality, so corrupt, that the Secretary of the Interior can announce she is resigning, and no one even comments on the Abramoff connnections, the Indian Tribes, her ‘personal charity’ that took tens and tens of thousands of dollars…

Bizarro-world.

Posted by: phx8 at March 13, 2006 05:58 PM
Comment #133142

jack p, I was going to post a long list of headlines over the last 3 weeks to demonstrate the concentrated war drum beating toward and from Iran coming with this Administration. But, the article became lengthy enough. All the links below can be found at Poliwatch.

3/13 Bush warns Iran, Syria against meddling in Iraq

3/12 Iran refuses to move nuclear enrichment to Russia

3/12 Iran raises oil as weapon in nukes standoff

3/10 Iran grave security threat, Bush says

3/9 Tehran warns of ‘harm’ if U.S. takes tough line

3/7 Iran forces ‘infiltrating Iraq’
BBC: World: “Iranian revolutionary forces have been crossing the border into Iraq, the US defence secretary says.”The Bush administration continues to make its case for war with Iran.

3/7 Cheney Says Iran Will Face Consequences

3/2 U.S. State Department creates new office for Iran

2/22 Iran offers Hamas financial aid

2/17 Rice urges wary Arabs to threaten to isolate Iran

2/16 Rice Wants Funds for Iran Plan

2/12 US plots Iran blitz

2/8 Rice says Iran and Syria ‘incited violence’

2/4 Iran is world’s top sponsor of terrorism: Rumsfeld

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 13, 2006 06:00 PM
Comment #133145

tony, quite right. Kim Yung Il would be a fool not to take advantage of US widening its war in the Middle East with Iran and or Syria.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 13, 2006 06:03 PM
Comment #133147

Jack, that was a very thoughtful response. Iran offered the US concessions, including even allowing the US to bid on building its nuclear power plant. The window for Iranian and US friendship however, is being slammed shut by both sides at this point.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 13, 2006 06:06 PM
Comment #133153

Aldous

What a narrow and narcissistic view of the world.

Everything is not Bush’s fault. In your view of the world, nobody had free will except George Bush and everyone only can respond to his actions or non-actions.

This is not particularly Bush’s fault. The Iranian government bears most of the responsibility. They are the main actors, after all. You can excuse them, if you want, but you also will be neutering them.

David

I don’t think we have recently had a window of Iranian friendship. We have some tactical tricks.

Posted by: Jack at March 13, 2006 06:21 PM
Comment #133157

“The Russians and Chinese have a little more leverage, but they show no sign of wanting to use it for good.”

last i heard, russia agreed not to interfere if we try to bring iran before the security council, yet they made no guarantee that they would not use their veto once brought there. china has not even promised that much, and i doubt that either russia or china are seriously intending to participate in sanctions against iran, which would undermine the effort anyway.

so much for u.n. intervention?

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 13, 2006 06:27 PM
Comment #133179

Jack:

I never said everything was Bush’s fault. I said YOU won’t acknowledge Bush’s large part in this disaster. Even now, you try to pass off blame to the rest of the world and the UN. A tip: the UN has not changed, AMERICA has changed. We are no longer what we were before Bush. Now we are afraid of shadows, trembling at idiots who live in caves. Willing to sell ourselves for the perception of being safe.

Posted by: Aldous at March 13, 2006 07:35 PM
Comment #133180

“tony, quite right. Kim Yung Il would be a fool not to take advantage of US widening its war in the Middle East with Iran and or Syria.”

I don’t see it as Kim taking advantage of a situation, but him feeling paranoid/forced into a violent reaction. Call it a pre-emptive strike.

Posted by: tony at March 13, 2006 07:37 PM
Comment #133200

Aldous

The Iranians have been going in this direction for about 20 years. President Bush followed the textbook course of mulitlateral diplomacy and working with the UN. Would you advocate the unilateral approach?

And the people most to “blame” for this are the Iranian government. What you are doing in foreign affairs is what many liberals do domestically. Some guy commits aggravated assault and you blame society for not loving him more and the police for not stopping him sooner. I agree these are contributing factor, but the bad guy is the one most responsible.

Posted by: Jack at March 13, 2006 08:57 PM
Comment #133203

You’re right Jack -

I think if people just stopped and gave Iran a little more love, everything would be perfect.

Wow - thanks for the enlightenment. Can we now proceed to Nirvana?

Posted by: tony at March 13, 2006 09:01 PM
Comment #133218

Jack:

Bush gutted the UN when he invaded Iraq. Only a fool would believe International Law would protect a country from invasion by a superpower now. Your Shrub President has proven the uselessness of the Security Council against a unilateral US.

The only real defense is the Nuke Option. As North Korea has shown, you are safe as long as you have nukes.

I therefore advocate an invasion of Iran. Surprised, Jack? Don’t be. It is the only logical move now that you Conservatives have proven the stupidity of the relying on the International Community.

Operation Iranian Freedom!!! The War the GOP are now too gutless to do!!!

Posted by: Aldous at March 13, 2006 09:57 PM
Comment #133221

that’s absolutely right -

why come you vicious liberals always blame bush?
for instance, i’m tired of all this bush bashing for new orleans - it was nature that brought the wrath of katrina, so we should place all the blame on the planet! - hence our fearless leader’s relentless onslaught *on* the planet!

it all makes sense when you abandon any and all semblance of rational thought!

it wasn’t bush’s fault that we erroneously assumed there was a friendly connection between osama and his mortal enemy saddam! it was their own fault for both being… not american!

and, it wasn’t bush’s fault that he and his cronies have broken numerous laws and subverted the constitution - it was… oh wait, i guess even by the twisted neocon reasoning, this was entirely *his* fault. (or do you neocons support the libby take on this isolated case; outdated and overly restrictive laws, the severity of the situation, the harsh and unforgiving global society, all working in tandem to manipulate poor bush into unlawful, unconstitutional action? why, we should all be punished for not providing bush a more amicable and compliant world to reign over.)

p.s. - feingold is the man, liberal or not.

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 13, 2006 10:06 PM
Comment #133225

“It is the only logical move now that you Conservatives have proven the stupidity of the relying on the International Community.”

please do not conflate the conservative label with that of the neocon. neocon is to conservative as neolib is to liberal. neither are legitimate amalgamations.

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 13, 2006 10:11 PM
Comment #133227

Regardless, my argument stands. It is pointless being friends with Russia and China when their veto cannot stop America from invading a country. Why waste time on ineffective methods when you are 100% certain a Nuke will save you?

Posted by: Aldous at March 13, 2006 10:20 PM
Comment #133228

agreed

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 13, 2006 10:22 PM
Comment #133229

well, not altogether *pointless* as i previously mentioned, but if i understand your general point, then i agree with the underlying premise.

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 13, 2006 10:26 PM
Comment #133231

Aldous

Sometimes you sound smart, but you don’t get it. How many invasions did the UN stop before Iraq? And how many conflicts took place when the UN watched? The only times the UN effectively did anything is when the U.S. military did most of the heavy lifting. You could not really believe that only because the U.S. invaded Iraq people have lost faith in the UN ability. Since when did the UN have an ability?

You are right, however, about the deterrent. But Iran is not developing it because they feel newly unsafe. They have been working on this a long time. The Shah would have developed nukes if he thought he could do it and get away with it. It is understandable why they want a bomb. I won’t bother arguing an equity argument here. If we can stop Iran it is because we have the power to do so. This is a fairly naked power equation. We don’ trust the Iranians with such weapons. You remember Thucydides 2500 years ago. It applies to this situation. I think it is good if we win. Iranians disagree. It will be decided by power.

Posted by: Jack at March 13, 2006 10:37 PM
Comment #133235

“You are right, however, about the deterrent. But Iran is not developing it because they feel newly unsafe.”

no, they are developing nukes because they feel that they can get away with it. america doesn’t currently have the military capacity to prevent them, or we would already have done so; see iraq. in fact, this is *because* of iraq, in that, had we not blown our load on iraq, we would be prepared to forcibly stop iran (and thus, they would not be trying).

“The Shah would have developed nukes if he thought he could do it and get away with it.”

exactly (see above)

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 13, 2006 10:54 PM
Comment #133238

Diogenes

You would have advocated an invasion of Iran? Staged from where?

Do you really think we would have had more allies for that? And I suppose you think Saddam would have cooperated and not have taken advantage.

Compared to Iran, Iraq was - what’s the term - a piece of cake.

Posted by: Jack at March 13, 2006 11:09 PM
Comment #133242

Jack:

You are not listening…

We DO advocate an invasion of Iran. It can be staged out of Jordan. There are many who do not wish Shia to have the Bomb. Having allies is irrelevant if the UN signed off on it. The hows are doable.

However, you argue a moot point. Today, the UN Security Council has been proven a dud by your President. As such, a unilateral action by the US is now unavoidable.

Posted by: Aldous at March 13, 2006 11:23 PM
Comment #133243

Jack:

Arguing, or even discussing, with the likes of Aldous is impossible. Its why I don’t respond to his posts. When I’m lucky, I see the name at the bottom before I even read too much, so that I can skip the post. Saves me time.

People like that cannot or will not see the entire equation. They cannot understand that there is more than their tinyfisted hatred of one man. They cannot fathom that world politics is like a chess game—that every move changes the next series of moves. They think the game is one dimensional, when it has multiple dimensions.

I’m sure Aldous will respond to this post. Thankfully, I’ll not need to read it. I will read insightful posts from those who have a point to make. I simply will continue to avert my eyes from the rest, as much as possible.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at March 13, 2006 11:23 PM
Comment #133244

“You would have advocated an invasion of Iran? Staged from where?”

maybe you can point out to me where exactly i said that. because i didn’t. in fact, i did not comment either way on my own advocacy of an invasion of iran.

i did imply that, had we not invaded iraq, we might not have need to invade iran. [had we not blown our load on iraq, we would be prepared to forcibly stop iran ( and thus, they would not be trying). try reading what i write, it might actually make your responses relevant (or not).

“Do you really think we would have had more allies for that? And I suppose you think Saddam would have cooperated and not have taken advantage.”

where do you come up with this nonsensical drivel? i never said (nor even insinuated) any of this. keep trying though. good job.

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 13, 2006 11:25 PM
Comment #133253

Even if we did get China and Russia to come to our aid, and we could face Iran with united world diplomacy, would it work?

This situation is starting to look like a train wreck more and more. Even the best-case scenario is starting to look like disaster.

Is this really what it looks like? or is there a way for the world to get around this thing?

Posted by: Beijing Rob at March 14, 2006 12:42 AM
Comment #133255

Answer: No. Yes. No.

Only solution is unilateral invasion of Iran.

Posted by: Aldous at March 14, 2006 12:46 AM
Comment #133258

Beijing Rob,

Iran’s leadership is split, even excluding the Mullahs. Some in the leadership have offered in just the last two months to allow the U.S. to bid on building their nuclear power plant for energy civilian uses. (Yes, I know, that begs what they would do with it after it is built.) But, the point is there was bargaining room there, and with relative world wide support, the condition could have been made that inspections of use are a mandatory condition of Iran achieving nuclear power. But, the Bush administration has never, ever allowed that possible condition on the table. The Bush administration has insisted all along that there are no conditions under which Iran may produce nuclear energy.

The opportunity to have struck a deal in which violation of the terms would contractually result in immediate military action was closed before it was even explored. Such a contract if struck, would have given the U.S. and its allies legal authority to act if Iran went astray, and allowed for multilateral action. But, that opportunity is gone now, and Bush’s administration never wanted that option on the table.

So, what follows appears, as you and I both surmise, inevitable. A catastrophe of one sort or another given the only options Bush has left on the table. I believe our administration’s goals were in line, but, like their approach to Iraq, they made up their minds what was to happen, and that prevented other possible outcomes, and removed other options from the table. I see history repeating itself here, due to gross negligence and incompetence on this adminstration’s part to first explore and weigh all the options before closing windows of opportunity and doors to alternate outcomes.

It appears to me this adminstration responds out of fear of the Middle Eastern countries, instead of from a position of strength and power which has the potential to guide and lead others to negotiations with positive win-win outcomes. This administration appears to see the Middle East only in terms of we win, they lose - Period! That, to me, is the height of negligence and incompetence in foreign affairs.

As any Bedouin leader knows, it is wise to at least appear as friend to strangers and adversaries, to better learn how best to negotiate with them to advantage, or defeat them if need be. The Bush administration apparently lacks this basic wisdom of good leaders found in all cultures. He seems to act as if we have immense numbers of soldiers we can throw into harm’s way without need for concern, and prove his might will make right for all.

Military might inappropriately applied, can often lead to disaster for a nation as our experience in Viet Nam and Iraq should now amply attest.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 14, 2006 01:07 AM
Comment #133261

David,
It’s hard to see what else the Bush administration could have in mind. They’re either deluded or lying. They’re either lying to us, or lying to themselves, and these lies look an awful lot like the ones about Iraq. The White House keeps up a drumbeat, keeps setting up pretexts for war. Perhpas the decision has been made, and now it’s just a matter of finding something the easily fooled Bush supporters will get behind.

Invading with troops might not be an option, but massive air strikes would achieve some of the same aims. Does this White House harbor the same illusions as the ones with Iraq? Do they imagine a massive strike decapitating the Iranian government will result in some sort of pro-American government?

There are reasonable alternatives, or at least, there used to be choices. Unfortunately, the doors on many options have been closed by the incessant saber rattling and belligerence. And as if Iraq weren’t bad enough, people like Bush & Cheney seem set on inciting another debacle of enormous proportions.

These are the same people who pretend everything in Iraq is going really, really well. They’re either lying to us or lying to themselves. Probably both. It’s hard to underestimate the Bush adminstration. These people are just grossly incompentent. Their philosophical core is wrong, their attitude is that everything is politics, nothing is real, it’s all politics and spin but no governance. One thing about being critical of Bush- the critic gets to be right time after time, even as the situation grows worse and worse.

Posted by: phx8 at March 14, 2006 01:45 AM
Comment #133269

You guys do know that by talking about our inability to send ground forces into Iran, you are giving aid to the mullahs? In this post-9/11 world, we cannot allow America to be perceived as weak to our enemies. By telling the mullahs that a ground invasion is impossible, you are not supporting out troops and have indeed made America vulnerable to the Al Queda linked Mullahs in Iran.

Happy?

Posted by: Aldous at March 14, 2006 03:36 AM
Comment #133275

All
I haven’t posted in a couple weeks on the Iraq situation and I would like now to throw in my two cents.

1.Yesterday the New York Times disclosed that Sadam told his top generals only three weeks before the invasion that he did not have WMD’s.

Three weeks.

The news was devestating to the generals and affected their morale.

All along they asssumed that he had them and was saving them for the Americans.

Saddams actions were to prevent insurgent uprisings in the south,to deter also both the Iranians and then the Americans.

Thus,up until 3 weeks before the invasion,HIS OWN GENERALS THOUGHT IRAQ HAS WMD’s.

They were impressed with powell’s UN presentation at the UN,as they themselbved it to be so.

Thus the intelligence reports were correct….everybody except three people…Saddam and his his two sons (who were the only ones he trusted ) knew the truth.

Thus,Bush did not “lie”.

Rather he acted as he was supposed to have,and had he didn’t,he would have been criminally negligent.

Tommy Franks and Donald Rumsfield screwed up.

They ignored the Sadaam Fayadhem militia,who blended into the population as the Americans raced to Bagdahd.

A military blunder.

On top of an intelligence blunder (WMD’s were a “slam dunk” according to George Tenent)

That being said,there is no civil war I think.I believe that this is the way the Iqaruis negotiate for power…by blowing people up and cutting off heads.

Americans argue in Congress.They kill each other.

Sad but true.

PLUS,Iran is in a big stall game now.Their arms minister said as much.They are hoping that the Security Council will order another round of negotiations for another six months(as they did with North Korea)and that will give them 6 more moths of nuculear capability.

We have played right into their hands now…..Bush’s popularity is at an all time low due in part of the steady drumbeat of “he lied” and “he is incompetent”,and most Americans,oblivious to what is really going on geo-politicially there as they stumble through life,have bought that nonsense hook,line and sinker.

My view:The Iraq security forces will now be a factor in supressing the insurgency because the Ministry of Defense will now conduct joiint patrols with the Interior Ministry sectarian forces;that within a few weeks a deal will be struck on the prime-minister,and that Iraqui Sunnis,in return for more power ther will beegin to root out “by the roots” the foreign fighters.

You see darkness..I see light here.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at March 14, 2006 07:07 AM
Comment #133281

SicEagle, your comments don’t address the article’s topic. We have rehashed your topic to death. He and his administration did lie, about the yellow cake, the biological labs, and other so called evidences of WMD. That has been established. I said Hussein did not have WMD based on a reading of his history and psychological profile. If the Bushies had not been believing their own lies, they too might have come to the same conclusion. Hussein would not keep the very weapons laying around that could unseat him from power - it runs against his entire history and psychological profile as an ass covering survivor.

Try taking the topic back to Iran and Syria, where your conjectures will be at least as credible as others. Your attempts to rewrite historical fact are not going to succeed here.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 14, 2006 08:30 AM
Comment #133294

“You guys do know that by talking about our inability to send ground forces into Iran, you are giving aid to the mullahs? In this post-9/11 world, we cannot allow America to be perceived as weak to our enemies. By telling the mullahs that a ground invasion is impossible, you are not supporting out troops and have indeed made America vulnerable to the Al Queda linked Mullahs in Iran.”

Just imagine - if we hadn’t spent so much time talking (promoting) Al Queda, they’d have no members cause no one would know about them.

Happy? Delirious!

Posted by: tony at March 14, 2006 09:45 AM
Comment #133301

Diogenes

I actually have trouble understanding what you write. Some things you write seem to carry implication that you subsequently deny. We evidently are different personality types and have different rules of evidence and rhetoric. I suspect we also have vastly different levels and types of experience.

Posted by: Jack at March 14, 2006 10:24 AM
Comment #133376

Good article here by Juan Cole:

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20060313_fishing_for_a_pretext_in_iran/

Posted by: phx8 at March 14, 2006 04:19 PM
Comment #133396

phx8, thank you for that link. The article and the commentary attahed to it are very enlightening. Very much appreciated.

I highly recommend other readers here to review the article linked to in phx8’s link in the previous comment.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 14, 2006 05:39 PM
Comment #133407

This may be a crisis in slow-motion. By that I mean that any serious military solution to Iranian nuclear capability must entail some ground forces. US land forces in Iran are simply not possible, with all the other obligations the military has. Air and ballistic missle strikes from subs, well…, but actual assurances that Iranian nuclear capability has been neutralized needs some people on the ground. Without that assurance, it becomes very dicey.

It seems to me the wild card in all this is the Israelis. I don’t know what kind of leash we have on them—assuming we have any at all. If they come to the conclusion that time is against them, they will act.

Some reports say Iranian weapons capability is five-ten years off. Maybe, maybe not. As Jack says, they’ve been working on this awhile. Bush is rapidly narrowing his options. Even if a full-blown military response is on the planning board, I don’t see how it can be done without a draft. Troops need training—you’re talking 1-2 years. Thus my hunch that this may be a slowly unfolding
crisis. If Bush goes to Congress with plans for a draft within 2-3 months, then, and only then, do I see a responsible reaction to a potentially very, very dangerous situation. I just hope the Israelis aren’t getting overly nervous.

Posted by: Tim Crow at March 14, 2006 07:05 PM
Comment #133410

Considering how powerful the Israeli Lobby is, I would think it more accurate to say that Israel has the US on its leash.

Posted by: Aldous at March 14, 2006 07:36 PM
Comment #133439

“I actually have trouble understanding what you write. Some things you write seem to carry implication that you subsequently deny.”

try reading a bit more closely, perhaps? i cannot concern myself with the constant misinterpretations which are so prevalent on this blog. i feel that i spend an ever-increasing amount of my time refuting specious interpretations of my posts, rather than engaging in serious, reasoned, intellectual debate.

i think perhaps you should review the definition of the word ‘imply’.

1. indicate by suggestion rather than explicit reference. 2. (of a fact or occurrence) suggest as a logical consequence.

you seem to be confusing these two definitions.

again, simply because you inferred something from my post does not mean that i implied it (1), nor that it is a valid inference(2). in this instance you speak of implications as though they were “logical consequences” of my post, yet you relayed no implications, merely suppositions about what i believed and/or was advocating.

thus, what you deem to be implied, i consider a (blatant) misconstrual. i hope this helped. for future reference, if there’s something you don’t understand, try asking (instead of assuming).

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 14, 2006 10:06 PM
Comment #133459

diogenes:

I read your earlier post several times, and found it to indicate that you thought the US no longer has the power to militarily go into Iran specifically because of our engagement in Iraq. I wasn’t all that clear on exactly what point you were trying to make though.

Now, you attack others for not being able to understand your points. I’ve found that mature writers take the responsibility on their own shoulders to make their writing clear, rather than blame the audience for not following their points. You’ve blamed your audience, and in a rather egotistic manner. Almost a hint of defensiveness, if you ask me.

I recall a different thread where you accused me of distorting and mischaracterizing your words. The funny part was that I took great care to quote your statements in context exactly from your posts. Its hard for me to understand how someone can mischaracterize quotes taken in context. You were quite irritated then, you seem quite irritated now. Perhaps thats just a normal state of mind.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at March 14, 2006 11:13 PM
Comment #133473

bagodonuts,

if you had simply relayed my quotes to me (on the prior thread), then there would have been no reason for you to post at all. it was in your analysis of my quotes that you mischaracterized my meaning. you know this.

while there is a certain degree of responsibility i must accept for the failure of others to comprehend what i post, it is minimal in the previous and current instances of individuals who intentionally misinterpret my post in order to cause confusion and distort my message - often in order to construct a strawman.

“I read your earlier post several times, and found it to indicate that you thought the US no longer has the power to militarily go into Iran specifically because of our engagement in Iraq. I wasn’t all that clear on exactly what point you were trying to make though.”

you mean the point which i made was so obvious that you couldn’t misconstrue it? you stated the point (less my *actual* implication). i’m sorry if you couldn’t find an unrelated topic to incorrectly claim that i was implying, as jack has done.

…not defensiveness, frustration. if i spent nearly as much time debating as i did stating and restating my arguments ad nauseam, we might all actually stand a chance of learning something from eachother… if you wish to address my argument, do so. otherwise, i do not intend to entertain much more of this unproductive blather, so please desist.

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 15, 2006 12:17 AM
Comment #133478

Diogenes and JBOD, that is quite enough of this “you”, “you” and “you”. The message of this article I don’t believe has a “you” in it. Let’s critque the message, not each other. This should be sufficient warning to you both.

Posted by: Watchblog Managing Editor at March 15, 2006 01:14 AM
Comment #133490

Well… My position is that we need to invade Iran since, unlike Iraq, Iran WILL try to make a bomb.

We have the ground forces on hand. Just build-up to 300,000 men. 50,000 can stay in Iraq while the rest liberate Iran.

I am sure it will turn out ok if we just trust Bush.

Posted by: Aldous at March 15, 2006 04:41 AM
Comment #133497

Editor:

My apologies. I was attempting to critique diogenes’ post, without critiquing him personally. However, its clear that by focusing on how he wrote his post, and that I critiqued the parts of his posts that have nothing to do with the thread, I ended up critiquing him more than the topic.

Thanks for the warning. Sometimes the line becomes blurry—I appreciate you clearing it up for me.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at March 15, 2006 07:13 AM
Comment #133542

As for the allegation Iran is supplying the Iraqi insurgents, Monday General Peter Pace contradicted Rumsfeld and Bush.

http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=topNews&storyid=2006-03-14T193810Z_01_N14358184_RTRUKOC_0_US-IRAQ-USA-IRAN.xml

Since the allegation makes little sense in the first place- why would Iranian Shias arm Sunni insurgents?- one must conclude Pace is telling the truth, and Bush & Rumsfeld are lying again.

By the way, sometimes a cut & paste a source rather than creating a link in order for the reader to see the originator of the article; in this case, Reuters.

Posted by: phx8 at March 15, 2006 11:01 AM
Comment #133543
How many invasions did the UN stop before Iraq? And how many conflicts took place when the UN watched? The only times the UN effectively did anything is when the U.S. military did most of the heavy lifting.

Sounds all logical considering that the one permanent UNSC members that vetoed the most is, you guess it, US.
However, your “anything” is quite radical. There’s several place on the globe where troops are engaged under an UNSC mandate without US guys on the ground.
Anyway, overall, yeah, UNSC is quite broken, mostly because that’s no more representative of today world powers. For example, I think France should hand his permanent seat to UE and, in fact, permanent memberships should be drop, and members should be based on a rotation. Respecting others decisions is the first step to a good, balanced relationship.

You could not really believe that only because the U.S. invaded Iraq people have lost faith in the UN ability. Since when did the UN have an ability?

Since previous Iraq War, aka Gulf War?

It is understandable why they want a bomb. I won’t bother arguing an equity argument here. If we can stop Iran it is because we have the power to do so. This is a fairly naked power equation. We don’ trust the Iranians with such weapons. You remember Thucydides 2500 years ago. It applies to this situation. I think it is good if we win. Iranians disagree. It will be decided by power.

And innocents, again, will die. Hurray for the most powerfull!

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at March 15, 2006 11:02 AM
Comment #133647

Thank you, JBOD.

Posted by: Watchblog Managing Editor at March 15, 2006 05:09 PM
Comment #133676

“Diogenes and JBOD, that is quite enough of this “you”, “you” and “you”. The message of this article I don’t believe has a “you” in it. Let’s critque the message, not each other. This should be sufficient warning to you both.”

agreed. it appears that my frustration got the better of me. thank you for the warning.

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 15, 2006 06:40 PM
Comment #133913

Thank you, Diogenes.

Posted by: Watchblog Managing Editor at March 16, 2006 02:12 PM
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