Sunday, January 15, 2006

Grappling with the ayatollahs

John Keegan lays out what sees are the West's options with respect to Iran.

The pressing question is, indeed, what is to be done when a report to the Security Council fails to bring Iran to desist from nuclear enrichment? ... It is much more doubtful whether sanctions would make Iran change its policy. ...

America and the EU3 must therefore consider other, harsher methods to restrain Iran. The fact that the United States at present deploys a large army in Iraq is a factor that must give the ayatollahs pause. To stage a second war in the Middle East would not be a desirable initiative at present for America and would certainly be highly unpopular at home and among its allies. Moreover, Iran, as the possessor of the second largest oil reserves in the world and occupier of a strategic position athwart the sea routes delivering oil to most of the consuming world, has its own means of retaliation ready to hand.

Nevertheless, the West cannot simply let things drift. Military action by whatever agency cannot be written out, but will be a last resort. ... For if the West is considering military action, so are the ayatollahs. They are the sponsors of much of the insurgency in Iraq and suppliers of the insurgents' weapons. They also have intimate links with most of the world's worst terrorist organisations, including al-Qa'eda and Hezbollah. ... Moreover, while Iran has its own armoury of medium-range missiles suitable for nuclear delivery, the ayatollahs are also known to favour the placing of nuclear warheads in target cities by terrorists travelling by car or public transport. This is a bad and worrying time in world affairs.

Commentary

The most interesting thing about the structure of the standoff between the West and Iran is that what chiefly prevents a regime change in Teheran is not the want of means, but the want of will. The ayatollah's fundamental defense lies in the well-founded belief that the United States has expended too much political capital in deposing Saddam to undertake another regime change operation in Teheran. Safety for the ayatollahs does not consist in the assurance that there aren't enough US ground, air and naval units to smash their regime, but in the calculation that no American President would chance it after three years of political pillorying for OIF.

That means that the ayatollahs are safe for so long as nothing occurs to prevent a sudden stiffening in political will in the West. John Keegan is correct when he says that the ayatollahs have military options. What he does not pursue is what should happen if the ayatollahs actually use them. The Iranian regime operates under the unstated, but nevertheless real constraint that in confronting the West it must take care not to go too far. If Iran were to simply quietly acquire nuclear weapons it would be doubtful whether the United States leadership could muster enough political steam to crush the ayatollahs. However, if the ayatollahs were rash or enraged enough to actually strike the West the equation could change overnight.

Both the regime in Teheran and Washington are like Olympic wrestlers grappling within a narrowly bounded mat. The instant anyone should step or be forced outside the mat the buzzer will sound and a new and deadlier match will begin. Unfortunately the boundaries of the arena are invisible to both sides. How far can America push Iran? How far can Iran push America? Iran has the advantage of knowing that the US will stop short of overt military action against them -- for the time being. But it has the disadvantage of not knowing how far it can let Al Qaeda and Hezbollah go without bringing down the spectators from the stands.

This makes the feint the deadliest weapon in the US arsenal. Sending air wings to exercise in Southwest Asia, for example, is something the Iranians will deeply resent. But should they respond -- even if they could? It was said of Admiral John Jellicoe that he was the only person capable of losing the First World War in an afternoon, because as commander of the British Grand Fleet, he could throw away the foundational power of Britain in a single naval disaster. It may equally be said that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad alone can strip Iran of its invulnerability to military action in a single rash moment. In that sense he is not, as some pundits think, the worst possible leader Iran could have at the moment. On the contrary, this unstable, bellicose man is from another point of view the answer to all his enemy's prayers.

184 Comments:

Blogger Doug said...

Those F-16's:
Here's that R Simon LINK with his update on the F-16 numbers at the bottom.
---
(Global Security)
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Capital Airport Air Guard Station, IL. It would distribute the 183d Fighter Wing’s F-16s to the 122d Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne International Airport Air Guard Station, IN, (15 aircraft). As a result, the 122d Fighter Wing's F-16s (15 aircraft) would retire. DoD also recommended to realign Hulman Regional Airport Air Guard Station, IN. The 181st Fighter Wing’s F-16s would be distributed to the 122d Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne International Airport Air Guard Station, IN (nine aircraft), and retirement (six aircraft).
---
Cool 404 Message:
404u Akbar! Satan! You have made a (faulty) selection. This is what you get for being a shameless kafir.
http://clarityandresolve.com/archives/2006/01/death_row_what_7.ph

Comments from Clarity and Resolve:

The F-16's would be very inadequate for any strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. There load carrying capacity/range is too small to be used in any initial stages of an Iranian attack. We would go in with cruise missiles of various types and B2s, but NOT F16s.
Posted by: Steve at January 12, 2006 05:10 PM

I agree with Steve on this. The f16, even the f16I with conformal fuel tanks, isn't able to carry a big enough load far enough to accomplish the mission. Also I believe they might have a problem with the air defense network of Iran, which I suspect is Russian and Chinese equipment. The most logical solution is the global reach and stealth of the B-2 Spirit bomber...

1/15/2006 04:27:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I forgot to add the point of comment above:
The "Biggest Deployment since..."
could not have consisted of more than about 15 planes!

1/15/2006 04:44:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"They also have intimate links with... al-Qa'eda. ..."

Far be it from me to call Keegan a crackpot on this particular matter, so I'll just ask: Are these like the "intimate links" between Saddam and al Qaeda? You know, the ones that the intel community never identified, hard as it tried?

Wretchard, a regime can be bad, can be dangerous, can be in every way objectionable and worthy of demise, without "intimate links to al Qaeda". That's a fact.

The "intimate links" aren't.

1/15/2006 04:49:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"The ayatollah's fundamental defense lies in the well-founded belief that the United States has expended too much political capital in deposing Saddam to undertake another regime change operation in Teheran. Safety for the ayatollahs does not consist in the assurance that there aren't enough US ground, air and naval units to smash their regime, but in the calculation that no American President would chance it after three years of political pillorying for OIF."

I actually think that even without the current burden of OIF, the appetite (within the administration and the defense community) for Operation Iranian Freedom just wouldn't be there.

Incredible as it may seem, there are some wars we don't want.

Give us another way to skin that cat.

1/15/2006 05:03:00 AM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

More and more frequently I am reminded of being taught as a kid to ignore the attention-grabbing histrionics of the foreground players because the sensibility of seasoned adults was operating somewhere in the background. To some extent I have found this to be true but not nearly as much as my comfort level demands. The emotional immaturity and shallow psychology emerging from leadership within the international community, not simply the regions of the Middle East and not excluding the domestic community, is a devastating indictment of something. Maybe Wretchard is right in suggesting that 'bellicose instability' can be turned into an asset. Only if the Western world is smart enough.

1/15/2006 05:22:00 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

Timely comment, Trish, since the obvious links between Saddam and AlQaeda and terrorism in general (like training 8,000 terrorists) are just now being allowed to be publicized in the media, courtesy of Stephen Hayes. Yep, Saddam never had any ties with terrorists. He would never do something, like, say, pay suicide bombers' families 25,000 dollars or anything like that. And don't start with the "Saddam was a secularist who hated Islam" bit. The Palestinians have been flogging that lie to death for years. Grow up.

1/15/2006 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger Will Rayford said...

Since we now know that Iran will toggle from a non-nuclear to a nuclear armed nation within months, it is time to let the more agressive aerial door-knocking begin. If we wait until the big bomb is in Iran's hands, their leader's "unstable, bellicose" attributes will no longer be such a liability.

1/15/2006 05:57:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"Saddam never had any ties with terrorists."

Did I say that?

No, I did not.

Al Qaeda, robert.

Al Qaeda.

How far do you think Mr. Hayes' 'scoop' will make it with the administration - which couldn't be anything less than extremely interested to learn of evidence it never knew or supposed existed?

1/15/2006 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Victor Davis Hanson
So where do these bad and worse choices leave us? Right where we are now — holding and circling while waiting for a break in the clouds.

The public relations war is critical. Zen-like, the United States must assure the Europeans, Russians, and Arabs that the credit for a peaceful solution would be theirs. The lunacy of the Iranian president should provide the narrative of events, and thus be quoted hourly — as we remain largely silent.

Economically, we should factor in the real possibility that Iranian oil might be off the global market, and prepare — we have been here before with the Iranian embargo of 1979 — for colossal gasoline price hikes. This should also be a reminder that Ahmadinejad, Saddam, Hugo Chavez, and an ascendant and increasingly undemocratic Putin all had in common both petrodollar largess and desperate Western, Chinese, and Indian importers willing to overlook almost anything to slake their thirst. Unless we develop an energy policy that collapses the global oil price, for the next half-century expect every few years something far creepier than the Saudi Royals and Col. Moammar Gadhafi to threaten the world order.

Finally, the public must be warned that dealing with a nuclear Iran is not a matter of a good versus a bad choice, but between a very bad one now and something far, far worse to come.

1/15/2006 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger Will Rayford said...

"Give us another way to skin that cat," Trish? Sounds like waiting for a miracle that you know deep down will never happen - a first cousin to appeasement.

1/15/2006 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Not a miracle, will.

I never rely on miracles.

The challenge of defeating an enemy you don't want to go to war with is not startlingly new to mankind. Or to us.

1/15/2006 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

will.
Where did the months timeline come from?
It is certainly something unconfirmed and not very likely.

The US went from estimating 3 years to the current 10 year window for Iranian nuclear capability this past summer.

The IAEA says months from the start of massive reprocessing, which is, they say, at least 2 or 3 years away.

What is your source for thinking Iran is months away fom nuclear weapons capacity, today.

It is not time to start a overt war of limited scope with Iran. That is what the President there wants.
Air Strikes will provide a War without real costs to Iran, the Iranian Mullahs and the Government will gain Political Benefits if attacked by US. We will not be 'setting them back'. They are not near the Goal of nuclear weapons, but are close to engaging US.
Ask yourself, why would they want that?

1/15/2006 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Butcher with the Terror Ties.
The evidence mounts
President Bush immediately should release papers discussed in the January 9 Newsweek and the January 16 Weekly Standard.
A declassified 2002 Pentagon presentation attained by Newsweek’s Mark Hosenball offers fresh details on a suspected April 8-9, 2001, meeting in Prague between September 11 ringleader Mohamed Atta and Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) station chief Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani. “No other intelligence reporting contradicts that [deleted] report,” the heavily redacted document states. It adds: “During one visit, al-Ani ordered IIS finance officer to issue funds to Atta.” According to one slide, “Atta also reportedly met with Iraqi Charge d’Affaires Hussein Kanaan.” Also: “Several workers at Prague airport identified Atta following 9/11 and remember him traveling with his brother Farhan Atta.” (For excerpts go here.)
A slide headlined “High-Level Contacts, 1990 – 2002” lists numerous meetings and communications among bin Laden, his deputies, and top Iraqi officials. In 1999, the presentation says, “al-Qaida established operational training camp in northern Iraq; also reports of Iraq training terrorists at Salman Pak,” a military base 20 miles south of Baghdad. In 2000, “According to CIA ‘fragmentary reporting points to possible Iraqi involvement’ in bombing USS Cole in October.”
Among the document’s “Findings”: “Some indications of possible Iraqi coordination with al Qaida specifically related to 9/11.”
Is this all fabricated? How much of this presentation is true? Releasing all 60 or so slides for public inspection would help sort this out.
The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes talked to 11 federal officials before concluding that documents U.S. troops captured in Iraq prove that “the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion.”

Meanwhile, Dick Cheney gave Hayes a boost Wednesday. As the vice president told radio host Tony Snow: “Steve Hayes is of the view — and I think he’s correct — that a lot of those documents that were captured over there that have not yet been evaluated offer additional evidence that, in fact, there was a relationship that stretched over many years between Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaeda organization.”

To its enormous detriment, Cheney’s comments notwithstanding, the administration has been nearly silent about Hussein’s decades of collusion with Islamic terrorists. The worry, White House aides tell me, is that revealing these ties would generate media criticism and anti-war catcalls. Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita told Hayes that some reporters might discover exculpatory material among these papers, then “we’d spend a lot of time chasing around after it.”

1/15/2006 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As I've said before doug, not worth the mental bandwidth.
The story has been out there for years, those that want to acknowledge it, do.
Those that do not, will not.

Evidence, more captured files etc, will not convince those that are in denial.

The real tragedy is that so many of the documents are still untranslated. Wgo would have thought that simple Arabic would be a nearly unbreakable 'code'.

Three years in and we still cannot 'read' the enemies documentation. So sad, when jobs are so needed in Dearborn, MI.

1/15/2006 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

Trish,
Google Sir John Keegan's CV then Google yours.
Then reappraise this.

"Far be it from me to call Keegan a crackpot on this particular matter, so I'll just ask: Are these like the "intimate links" between Saddam and al Qaeda? You know, the ones that the intel community never identified, hard as it tried?"

1/15/2006 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"Evidence, more captured files etc, will not convince those that are in denial."

In denial of Saddam's ties to AQ?

That would include the administration, Rat, which, to its credit, has never formally made the case. And never will.

This isn't a first for the Weekly Standard. Can't fault 'em (or a handful of anonymous officials) for trying.

1/15/2006 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Not that the terrorist trained were aQ. I do not know who is in Dr Z's rolladex, not sure that he knows, anymore.

I'm saying that there were TERRORISTS trained in Iraq. That foot soldiers in the Mohammedan Wars processed through the Country.
Some trainees were Iraqis some were foreigners.

Mini Z was in Iraq, after exfiltrating Afghanistan and transiting Iran, working with Iraqis prior to the invasion. He was not an "Offical' aQ man until later, but he was a terrorist through out.

I think you would acknowledge that, I think you have in the past, saying, to paraphrase, "The Bush Admin did not care about mini Z, because many requests had been made to bomb him at his Iraqi installation and they were not approved".

I was more speaking to those that deny Saddam was any kind of a threat, did not support terrorists, etc.

1/15/2006 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger Will Rayford said...

Desert Rat - "..overt war of limited scope"? Heck, we are already in a limited overt war with Iran via the insurgency Iraq. We are just pretending that we are not fighting Iran. No, I'm not at all a proponent of a limited war, overt or otherwise. Rather, once our military is finished with its aerial campaign in Iran I don't want there to be an ayatollah left to pick up the rubble let alone be the recipient of any UN sympathy cards. Where did your source for 2-3 years come from anyway? Oh, who cares. So what if the Iranians are 5 years away from having the bomb. That would be just 5 more years that the UN and our State Department would be sitting on their collective thumbs. A 10% chance of rain is fine. A 3% chance of a nuke being popped off in a major US city is an unacceptable risk. Let's get on with the dirty task at hand.

Trish, maybe we can drop a love bomb on them - kind of like the spores on that old Star Trek episode. Better yet, we could send Jimmy Carter on one more diplomatic mission. Just like North Korea in 1994. Now, that worked out real well, didn't it? How is that for some new cat skinning methods?

1/15/2006 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"Mini Z was in Iraq"

In our No-Fly zone, no less.

Look, Rat, the case for regime change didn't depend upon ties that didn't exist. The admin didn't make that case (if you read carefully the Authorization) and the case wasn't there to be made.

It was ALL about WMD. That's the policy Bush came in with, and it's the policy he went to war with.

1/15/2006 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Q\Will
I would venture to say that during the next 5 years the Pakistani bombs, already in existence, will be a greater threat to World Security than nonexistant Bombs in Iran.

Within 5 years, less most likely, we could topple the Mullahs without killing millions of Persians.

The three year estimate comes from bothe the IAEA and the CIA. The CIA also leaked a 10 year to capability assessment last summer.

Previously the CIA had thought three years, based on trace amounts of plutonium that had been found on machines in Iran. The plutonium had, as the Iranians said, come with the machines from Pakistan.

The Pakistanis did not need to process more plutonium, they had already built their own Mohammedan Nuclear Arsenal.

Where IS aQ based, will?

1/15/2006 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

One can hardly help but listen to an analyst the stature of Keegan when he says, “This is a bad and worrying time in world affairs.”
But at the same time this is not the world of the 1930‘s, with America standing aloof and severing foreign ties through tariffs while debating whether to build more than a dozen B-17’s - and in the midst of massive economic depression while Socialists devise remedies that make things worse.
Neither is it the 50’s and 60’s with the US and USSR launching nuclear armed bombers at each other on a daily basis.
The worrying aspect is that we might very well look back at this as a time of missed opportunities, the same way we look at the plots devised to kill Hitler in the 1930’s. We don’t marvel at their restraint then but rather shake our heads at their naivete. Even so, there is more talk of assassinating the modern Churchill, President Bush, than today’s Hitler, Ahmadinejad.
The problem is that we remember Churchill but emulate Chamberlain. We still thrill to Patton’s spirit but seem more likely to be guided by the example of Petain.
And as Wretchard says, we place our hopes in the vicious actions of a madman.
How many people in the 30’s hoped for Pearl Harbor?
But of the evening of 7 Dec 41 Churchill wrote “I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved.”

1/15/2006 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger the gas guy said...

What is to prevent this from simply becoming another cold war? Treaties with other countries (Israel) that promise that an attack on them is an attack on us and will be responded to as such. This would look to me to fit Keegan's hypothesis that Iran isn't any surer how far to push us than we are them. Stalemate. This doesn't solve the supplying terrorists scenario but it does at least take us one step closer to a solution.

1/15/2006 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

trish,

Totally agree the Authorization is all about the UN, not about Iraq backing terrorists.

Arguing the validity of prior claims and the quality of the intel and it's assessment are all wasted bandwidth.

We went to Iraq and accomplished the Goals of the Authorization, the bulk of our force will be leaving there soon.
There is an attempt, by the Iranians, to engage US.

I have to wonder, why?

1/15/2006 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

It was ALL about WMD...and potential future connections to al Qaeda.

1/15/2006 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

...a regime can be bad, can be dangerous, can be in every way objectionable and worthy of demise, without "intimate links to al Qaeda". That's a fact.

The "intimate links" aren't.


Trish, I agree wholeheartedly with the first point, i.e. that "intimate links to al Qaeda" are not a necessary antecedent to our finding the present Iranian regime objectionable and worthy of demise.

But, you employ logical error in boldly stating that the "intimate links" are not a fact. The fact is, you do not know that to be true. Just because something is hidden is no proof against its existence.

1/15/2006 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"...the bulk of our force will be leaving (Iraq) soon."

How soon?

1/15/2006 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger Will Rayford said...

Desert Rat:

aQ is based primarily in the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, but also in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Germany, the suburbs of Paris, Mexico City, and maybe downtown Detroit. If there were a way that Iranians could have voted for a true democracy instead of the maniacal theocratic dictatorship that they’ve collectively put in place, they should have figured it out and done it within the 25 year grazing period that we’ve given them. The fact is that they didn’t and are unlikely to do so in the future. I’d love to see the good rational people of Iran rise up and take out the loonies. Show me how Desert Rat...., please detail it out for us and I will pipe down. As of yet, I’ve seen no reasonable hope that your peaceful scenario will play itself out. You are absolutely correct about Pakistan, though. That is why we’ve been so soft about hunting down Osama in that region.

1/15/2006 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

Trish,

The West rose to the challenge of defeating the enemy without war in 1936 and '38.

What followed was '39 to '45.

So that was history.

What are you proposing today?

1/15/2006 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"What are you proposing today?"

I'm proposing what the administration is doing.

How's that?

1/15/2006 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Will Rayford said...

Trish,

I'm a big fan of President Bush, but the answer to "what the current administration is doing?" about Iran is a big fat nothing. Oh well. One more lunatic with a nuke. What's the difference?

1/15/2006 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger sammy small said...

As much as I believe in using a big stick, I tend to agree with Trish that a full bombing campaign followed by invasion is probably not going to be the best solution to the Iranian crisis.

However, we should go beyond regime change and take out the foundations of the Islamic threat that exist there, or they will eventually recover.

This involves something we are very familiar with now, an insurgency. Iran infiltrates Shiites into Iraq, we infiltrate back, and use the general population to help. The young populace of Iran seems to desire the same thing we do to some degree.

The U.S. used to be good at fomenting regime change back in the 50's. We need to dust off the plans and go to work. And there are plenty of Iranians here in the Los Angeles area that can provide communication help where needed.

The problem with Iran is not an unstable regime or nuclear weapons, its the combination of the two. Remove one and you can solve the existing threat.

1/15/2006 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I've read, I think, every word John Keegan has written. "Fields of Battle", about how and why great deciding battles are fought over and over throughout history at the same locations, is a favorite, since it deals with familiar geography--the USA Revolutionary War and Civil War as the two conflicts were fought out along similar east coast loci. I highly recommend it, along with "The Face of Battle". The long section on The Somme will change how one looks at WWI, and the people who fought it.

1/15/2006 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger Will Rayford said...

Sammy Small, I like your thinking, I really do. Only one problem. The New York Times, CNN, and George Clooney won't give you permission. You'd never get off the runway. I can almost see the movie trailer now. Evil big oil neocons hatch backroom plan to subvert the will of the good Iranian people. No, unfortunately, the Iranian nuke situation will require the lightning-swift one (or one-two) punch KO. Boy, I wish you were right and I was wrong.

1/15/2006 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger dannyfrommiddletown said...

Seems to me that this is a perfect application for electromagnetic pulse weapons. Perhaps all that would be necessary would be to shut down all the electricity generation in IRAN with a number of pulses. Large industrial operations like uranium enrichment, whether they are underground or not, can not run without massive power, and those power stations will not be underground.

It is also possible, in terms of starting a revolution, that this kind of attack might be good. It wouldn't actually blow anything up, which would enrage the populace, but it sure would keep the place disorganized.

As for the outcome of their nuclear development, keep their electrical grids down until they agree to stop and allow inspections with real teeth.

1/15/2006 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Ray said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/15/2006 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Ray said...

Wretchard closed with "On the contrary, this unstable, bellicose man is from another point of view the answer to all his enemy's prayers." Indeed. One can only hope that Ahmadinejad's sense of urgency to usher in the Hidden Imam will cause him to overplay his hand, just as Saddam overplayed his in 1991. Just think what would have happened had Saddam bided his time for a few more years.

The best psy-op to conduct under the circumstances would be to manufacture "signs and portents" at holy Shiite sites in Iran as signals of the desire of the Mahdi to be among us. This would convice Ahmadinejad that God is calling him to usher in the end time now, and that rash moves will be supported by almighty intervention that will never come.

Messianic strains in Islam will not dissapear soon - it took repeated smashing by Roman legions and the final destruction of the Temple and the exile of the Jews from Judea to purge Messianism as a leading concept from Jewsih political thought and action. To remove from active Islamic political thought and action the primacy of Islam and the duty of Jihad and Dawa as a one-way process of expansion is one of the two the great problems of the 21st Century (the other being the reemergence of China to its normal historical weight).

From a practical standpoint the goal is to prevent the emergence of Islamic states dedicated to apocalyptic eschatology with the means to trigger the End. Ahmadinejad may indeed be our best bet to nip this one in the bud.

1/15/2006 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Will Rayford said...

Dannyfrommiddletown, can the eletromagnetic pulse be used over a specific region? If so, then this less violent approach fits in very well with sammy's program.

1/15/2006 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger sammy small said...

Danny

Unfortunately EMP has only a transient effect. Shielded electronics or underground infrastructure, as you say, are immune. Succeptable electronics fail at their weakest link, often repairable within hours or days, depending upon preparedness. Just how localized the effects would be is a big question as well.

I'm not sure it would yield any great benefits in the long run vis a vis Iran.

1/15/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Keegan correctly notes that the Iranian’s have the ability and the will to disrupt Gulf shipping. This will throw the EU into economic turmoil and they are not likely to be nice about it. At home, many Americans are not prepared to ‘throw-in’ behind anything that this administration does. It makes the Bush administration look like a ‘lame-duck’ administration. Bush seems to have two options, be meek and wither in effectiveness and popularity, or be bold and go-it-alone.

The Iranians are in an excellent position to play the spoilers in Iraq and would be delighted with a good enough reason to do so I think.

People often note that the Iranian people are young, modern, and are most likely to favor ‘regime change’, but that being said, consider that most standing armies are composed or very young recruits, more so during war time.

“…how far it can let Al Qaeda and Hezbollah go without bringing down the spectators from the stands.”

This is the question. Is it our magnanimity that keeps our military ventures few and narrow, or is it an institutional memory of the early to middle 20th century that we are weary that at some tripping point, the spectators will come “down from the stands”?

1/15/2006 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Bush is a moderate Republican and a corporate CEO type personality wise. That is why continuity of government has been so important to him. In 1998, The Clinton administration devised a policy of regime change. That is why the Bush administration set about to implement that strategy, then crystallized that focus after 9-11 and that is the only reason we went to Iraq. That is the only reason necessary, the rest is just window dressing.

It is a well known fact that al Queda operatives work in Iran. A fact. The Iranian regime even admit so, they, however, profess that they are under house arrest. How do you like those apples Trish?

DR,
The Ukraine inherited 5000 nuclear weapons. Some report that some of those found their way to Iran. Iran is not in a position to directly threaten the well being of the US, or are they? Nonetheless, I would suspect that the Iranians would take great pleasure in destroying Tel Aviv than New York.

As far as the 10 year timeline is concerned, please consider that the erudite analysts in the CIA hate the president, are pissed at the organization for taking a ‘worse case’ view on Iraqi WMD, and will do anything to embarrass, or otherwise hamstring the current administration. Stalin would have had them all shot and their families exiled to Siberia.

As far as Pakistan being more dangerous than Iran, perhaps, but right now the nukes are in a safe place and not likely to be covertly transferred to terrorists. When the time comes, they will be obliterated with extreme prejudice. Be sure of that. The Pakistani parliament does not open every session with chants of “death to America”. The Iranians have been hankering for a show-down and they will get one.

1/15/2006 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger sammy small said...

Annoy Mouse

My gut feel is that if any or the former USSR nucs were now or formerly on the black market (or stolen), we would have already had an incident in either Israel or the U.S., or at least some kind of nuclear blackmail. However, this scenario is a wild card that there is little we can do anything about now. However, a buildup to strike or invasion would certainly unleash Ahmad to play the blackmail game against the U.S. if he could.

1/15/2006 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The question we must ask ourselves is what event, if it were to happen soon, could change the perception of the problem so that regime change became obvious and acceptable. More specifically, what event or events would change the present dynamic so that the constraints on our will were removed.

Firstly, we must accept that there is nothing we can say to change the present dynamic. Not only is the messenger tarnished because of recent, well-publicized mistakes, but also rhetoric itself has become cheap, and unpersuasive.

Secondly, OIF has put a political premium on reacting, instead of acting, so we should not expect the US to act preemptively. If no new information enters the system to change its complexion, and its imperatives, we should not expect the US to make the first move. "Making the first move" has become a politically hazardous thing to do.

Now let's say you are the President of the US, and you know this. You know that you are incapable, by yourself, of rallying the political will necessary to take out the Iranian regime. But, as you look at all of your options, you know that regime change is the optimal outcome. What do you do?

You look at the equation, and you change the variables.

There is some point, some eventuality that exists in probability space, where the values of the various variables add up to give you your desired scenario, the scenario that allows you to regime change Iran. There is some state of the system, some specific iteration, that opens that door. All you have to do to get there is to add, or in some cases remove, information.

It's like we are standing before a chasm, a crevice that we cannot cross. On our side is bare rock, and a gun. On the other side of the chasm, on Ahmadinejad's side, there are trees, a saw, and some bullets. We must cross, but the only way we can is to convince Ahmadinejad to cut down a tree, and lay it astride the chasm.

We need a bridge into Iran, and we need someone else to give it to us.

Very soon, now, look for Ahmadinejad to fell some trees.

1/15/2006 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Sometimes you read an article, or an essay, and know what you are reading is important.

That is the feeling I got reading this piece by Niall Ferguson:

Yet the historian is bound to ask whether or not the true significance of the 2007-2011 war was to vindicate the Bush administration's original principle of pre-emption. For, if that principle had been adhered to in 2006, Iran's nuclear bid might have been thwarted at minimal cost. And the Great Gulf War might never have happened.

1/15/2006 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger sammy small said...

Aristides

So your scenario is to wait for "Mad Jad" to provide an opportunity we can't refuse. What if it never comes?

Why don't we start the dominos tumbling somewhere back in the pack to ensure we have a backup alternative?

1/15/2006 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Sammy small said...

"My gut feel is that if any or the former USSR nucs were now or formerly on the black market (or stolen), we would have already had an incident in either Israel or the U.S., or at least some kind of nuclear blackmail."

I'm not an expert in this area but it is my understanding that a modern nuclear weapon has an expiration date, e.g. tritium in the booster exceeds its half life, the chemical explosive surrounding the bomb pit decomposes, the plutonium metal in the pit forms cracks, the fusing electronics goes bad due to radiation damage, etc. Any ex-Soviet nuclear weapon floating around in the Middle East would be 10-20 years old and probably expired. Where an ex-Soviet nuke could be useful is in the opportunity to reverse engineer it to make a new weapon.

1/15/2006 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger david bennett said...

"Al Qaida in Iraq" is routinely butchering Shiites in masive bombings. Much of the Sunni insurgency is ex Saddamite and one of their complaints and that of others, including secular Shia are the close ties between the new Iraqi government and Iran.

Iran declared the recent elections a great success.

Iran is almost certainly involved in Shiite trouble making in the south, but this is low key. It's intelligence may even have ties to some Sunni groups, mid east politics are convolted.

But they are roughly aligned with the new government. SCIRI sheltered there. This is the biggest party in the biggest coalition. It's leader Hakim didn't accuse Iran of supporting terrorists. He accused us.

One of the problems of military activities in Iran is that key supply lines and much of our occupation is vulnerable to Shiite militias.

Any analysis which twists reality and does not document danger is a threat to US troops and interests. We may have to strike in Iran, it is a threat, increasingly aggressive and seemingly determined to be nuclear. It is not a game were you can pretend the people currently attacking us and the new government in Iraq are Iranian agents and that the new government hates Iran as much as we do.

This kind of sillyness almost guarantees serious costs.

1/15/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger sammy small said...

eggplant

Nor am I an expert in nuclear weapons design and maintenance, even though I had a CNWDI clearance in the 70's.

You may be correct in backward engineering, but A.Q. Kahn provided quite a bit from what I have read. Part of the problem of using smuggled weapons would be overcoming the enabling mechanism and safety switching for a functioning blast. If they are like ours, they are quite inhibiting. Without these key inputs, the best use would be some sort of dirty low-order detonation. That could also be the result of a poorly maintained weapon such as you suggest.

1/15/2006 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Tom Paine said...

I take it as axiomatic that Bush will make a pivot and go after the Iranian regime -- when he is ready.

I think his preferred timing would be sometime after the November elections but before the summer of 2007.

Because it will take that long to bring the rest of the world (fascists and moonbats excluded) perceptually "up to steam" on the issue.

The real deadline is the end of Bush's term minus enough months to do something effective, not forgetting (or overestimating) the "lame duck" effect.

Unless the Iranian regime does something that demands an earlier (effectively premature) response. Testing a nuke would probably do the trick.

1/15/2006 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Sammy,

No. It would be irresponsible to just wait and hope. I'm speaking of manufacturing an incident, creating an event, that would change the complexion of the problem and give us our pretext.

We can do this two ways. We can goad Ahmadinejad into a mistake, which I think is highly plausible, or we can spin Iran into chaos.

Our capability is not confined to overt military prowess. We are also clever. Reference Operation Vodka during the Orange Revolution.

Sometimes you must be a bear, sometimes you must be a fox. It's time to be the fox.

1/15/2006 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger hank_F_M said...

To put Keegan’s comments a little differently, we have a nice little game of chicken.

Allowing a regime like Iran’s to have Nukes is dangerous. More to countries in the area, than to the US. If Iran's leaders are willing to use nukes against the Israel they will probably use them to resolve a dispute with other countries in the area, even if they provoked the dispute. They probably do not yet have the ability to insure that a nuke is air burst rather than ground burst and even it they do they would be very likely to choose a ground burst against Israel. (For those who missed the point a ground burst picks up large amounts of surface material as dust, makes it radio active, this is what “falls out.” A ground burst could create a radio active fallout footprint that would impact a large area outside Israel, depending on many variables. Chernobyl could be a minor in comparison.) Every country in that area has a strong desire to see that Iran never uses nukes. The theoretical possibility of fallout patterns covering Western Europe probably explains why the EU 3 started their negoiating process and why it is a major issue for them Secretary Rice's eEuropean visit. Except for Europe collectively, probably Israel, maybe Russia depending on what still works, and the US, no country has the ability to take out the nukes unilaterally. But many countries from India to the EU member’s individually have the ability to make a notable contribution.

Neither the US nor Israel wants to go it alone. The other countries do not want to contribute if they can avoid it. So it is a game of chicken, will the US or Israel jump and go it alone. Or will other counties turn aside from their previous course and sign on to a cooperative effort.

1/15/2006 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Mouse says,
"As far as the 10 year timeline is concerned, please consider that the erudite analysts in the CIA hate the president, are pissed at the organization for taking a ‘worse case’ view on Iraqi WMD, and will do anything to embarrass, or otherwise hamstring the current administration.
Stalin would have had them all shot and their families exiled to Siberia.
"
---
Maybe that Stalin Guy wasn't so bad after all.

1/15/2006 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Sammy small said:

"You may be correct in backward engineering, but A.Q. Kahn provided quite a bit from what I have read."

It's my understanding the Iranians have Russian, Chinese and North Korean technical people working for them (mercenaries?). I've read somewhere the Chinese may(?) have already given the Iranians a working design for a nuclear weapon. This raises the question of whether or not the Iranians have such confidence in their nuclear weapon knowledge base that they don't need to test a design before actual military use.

Ahmadinejad really is a jackass. If he was serious about wiping out Israel, he should have remained quiet about annihilating Israel and maintained plausible denial about Iran's nuclear weapons program (maybe he isn't serious??). If the Iranians are using a proven design for a nuclear weapon, they could have had an untested weapon smuggled into Tel Aviv through their Hizbollah clients and then pleaded innocence after the explosion. As it stands, if any nuclear explosion occurs in the Middle East, the Iranians will be blamed (even if it is an old Soviet, North Korean or Pakistani nuke).

Perhaps President Bush should make it official American doctrine after the Iranian nuclear program is voted on by the Security Council that any unattributed nuclear explosion occurring anywhere in the world will be assumed to have originated in Iran and/or North Korea. The United States would then take this as license to respond with our full military power against both states. In essence by going nuclear, a rogue state's existence will continue only until the first unattributed nuclear explosion and then they're all going to be wiped out in a single response.

1/15/2006 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Ties to Iran/Iraq with AlQaida.Is anyone familiar with the writings of Youssef Boudansky.He is an ex-Senate staffer.He postulates a wide spectrum of middle east countries,both Shia and Sunni involved with training,funding and planning attacks against the west.
Very good chance that Ramzi Yousef,the WTC attacker in 1993 entered American territory under Iraqi control as he had the passport of a man killed in Iraqi occupied Kuwait.
Much speculation of training by Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbolleh to AQ and other Islamists.Theories that Flight 800 over Long Island was downed by sophisticated two phase explosion in the wing seats;also maybe flight 573 over NYC after 9/11.
The issue is not what branch of Islam,what organizational structures
such as AQ.The issue is a radical ideology centered in the middle east that will destroy us if we don't destroy it.

1/15/2006 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

trangbang68

1/15/2006 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

I see several possible triggering events regarding Iran:

1. Successful test of a nuclear weapon,
2. A full-scale insurrection in Iran,
3. A unilateral Israeli strike on nuclear facilities in Iran,
4. A major terrorist event in the US, of equal or greater impact than 9/11, that may or may not have Iranian fingerprints on it,
5. An Iranian attack on Iraq,
6. A closing, or an attempted closing, of the Straits of Hormuz by Iran.

Some of these events would precipitate others in the list, I expect.

It would take the US a long time to effect a buildup in Iraq and elsewhere, such as Kuwait, to prepare for an invasion of Iran. I would guess at least 6 to 8 months, or even longer. Such a buildup would most likely require calling up reserves and guard units on a large scale; these are events in the US that could not go unnoticed for long, even under the cover of a "ME Preparedness Exercise."

My take is that Israel would not attack Iran by air unless they obtain US support, permission to use Iraqi airspace, and refuelling tankers supplied by the US for their fighter-bombers, and covering aircraft, such as an AWACS, plus recovery airfields in Iraq for disabled or out of fuel Israeli aircraft.

This would put us into the attack more or less directly. In which event, the decision to go would lie in our hands, not the Israelis.

The most likely goad that we can use is a buildup, I believe. Aircraft, ships, and troops, with armored units as well, deployed near Iran. No big talk, no threats, just a steady buildup peaking in late 2006 or early 2007.

This would give us the option to attack quickly if we thought it necessary, but a little more time to try to sort things out peacefully. This is the old "Big Stick" approach, which is in my mind the only effective and credible tactic against Islamofascists.

1/15/2006 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The last three years have demonstrated the capabilites -- and limits -- of Western intelligence. It's an organ of seeing, not an organ of sight. It doesn't allow you to see the truth, simply to make sense of what you find as you go along.

We now know lots of things about Iraq that we never knew before, but not everything about the WMDs. We are increasingly better at looking for Zarqawi or Zawahiri, but we haven't found them. So I'll make the assertion that nobody in the West knows for a fact what the nuclear capabilities and intentions of Iran are. That nevertheless, we have to make policy in this environment of imperfect information because that's all we can hope for.

By engaging Iran diplomatically and covertly we force "true" information to bubble up to the surface. This try it and see method is unsatisfactory because the truth may reveal itself in unpleasant ways. But throughout history it has always been necessary to send some unfortunate recon unit forward to see whether intelligence got it right.

That's why I think pre-emption, in the Iranian case, is unlikely to take the Iraqi form, if "pre-emption" is to be considered at all. We have lost confidence in the ability of Western intelligence to get the 'initial picture' right. In it's place we are probably going to get a diplomatic confrontation that may escalate as information comes to hand. We won't have a "cliff" function as was the case in OIF.

That's not necessarily better because the Iranians are also operating under the same "fog of war" as everyone else. They too may misinterpret events.

1/15/2006 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I should add that the US presence in Iraq makes it possible to create a smoother confrontation curve against Iran than was possible against Saddam. Remember the outcome against Iran doesn't have to be -- hopefully is not -- an invasion. It had to be in Saddam's case because, to paraphrase someone I can't remember, no policy options existed between diplomacy and sending in the Marines. It was a cliff function.

With any luck, the ayatollahs will shake themselves to pieces and Iran will have a relatively soft landing? Impossible? That's what happened in the Soviet Union. But it wouldn't have happened without the pressure, on every front, at every level.

1/15/2006 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

The only course of action is to let/force the Euros to continue as the lead actors as they try to bring in the UN and possibly some neighboring ME states. The US absolutely must stay in the background, emerging only now and then to affirm our allies' demands or statements. The allies will punt to the UN but expect nothing there except possibly more talk or mild sanctions.

We must have time for the Euro Leadership to convince their constituents of the urgency and danger of Iran with nuclear weapons so that when the time comes, the US will be able to act with minimal hostility from the European left.

Meanwhile, electronic listening posts in southern Iraq and good old fashioned in-country spying along with political subversion must be the number one priority so tht military action can be taken in the final days before Iran tests nuclear weapons. Needless to say, there will be no margin of error on the Intelligence. This must be a "real slam dunk." The evidence must be incontrovertible because the world (esp Muslim) backlash will be hell.

Time is the key factor here. We need time to make a case for intervention. We need time to bring on board as much public support as possible. We need time to bring the Iranians back from the brink of insanity.

1/15/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger kstagger said...

slightly-OT, I highly recommend Keegan's 'Faces of Battle' and the 'World War II' book.

1/15/2006 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

the brink

1/15/2006 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I think that's right. I think Iran is brittle, and cannot withstand the amount of pressure we will apply.

But that is best case scenario, and rarely are strategic decisions made with an exclusive eye toward the best case.

In game theory, the proper, rational course is the one that avoids all the worst case scenarios, even if by choosing such a course you make the optimal outcome impossible.

I'm afraid we might get to the point where the rational course diverges from the optimal one. I hope we are strong enough to choose it.

1/15/2006 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Great comments Wretchard.
Maybe your little outpost makes it easier for you to see the picture in a less emotionally charged light.
I look back on some of my insights from the year I spent in Korea, and they had more clarity than the ones I formed for the next few decades after going back to college.

1/15/2006 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

Trish,

Doug, Buddy Larson, Vercingetorix and I kicked the what-to-do problem around as it related to DPRK in late 2004 (you'll need to do a Control+F and search 'brilliant' to find the specific posts).

Brilliant Spears.

Wretchard,

Your point re intelligence is well-taken... but what to do?

We can't afford to assume there's nothing there with the current regime intact, unless we have the opportunity to explore every square inch of the country on an ongoing basis... undesirable. Barring that, and even knowing after the fact that all we did was scupper a few legitimate nuclear power stations, I still say we must go forward. Losing legitimate power stations won't injure their economy - they have more than enough oil reserves - but if we leave them with the means to create a nuke, it strains belief that they won't make every effort to detonate the thing in Central Park.

I'd love to see brilliant spears implemented, but in the years since I first read about the concept, I still can't find ANY comments about it via Google. Makes me wonder if something along these lines isn't in preparation for the current Iraniac.

It has the advantages of being GSP-guided, steath-launchable (from the US Midwest via a wing of B-2's), and seeing that it'd look very much like some kind of internal accident without ANY traceable explosive residue, very deniable.

Do it once - it'd change the entire calculus of the region. They'd all know we did something... but there'd be just about no way to ever prove it.

Psychologically, it'd be the equivalent of waking up to find all the furniture in your house (except for the bed in which you just awoke) bolted to the ceiling... and all the doors and windows locked tight as they were when you turned in... it's hard to imagine that the emergency cabinet meeting that followed such an event would begin with the customary "Death to America!" chants.

1/15/2006 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Absent Tiger, Brilliant Agenda:
"(you'll need to do a Control+F and search 'brilliant' to find the specific posts)."
---
That will also conveniently find all mine!
;-)

1/15/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Funny you'd bring up that furniture thing:
That just happened to me this morning!

1/15/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger pete speer said...

The esteemed President of Iran is in no way the true political leader of that country. The Mullahs pull his Chatty Cathy chain and watch for reaction in the West.

For his part, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will continue to formalize his secular support.

The process of diplomacy is not abetted by the pace of daily news feeds.

pete speer

1/15/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Actually, they did it to my bed also, and I awoke being dragged wildly around by the ceiling fan.

1/15/2006 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Speculation, but the Iranian pres may, in his view, have been winning since 1979. So, if he's noy within the Mahdi vision, if he's playing rational hardball behind the nutjob front--as worried Communists used to employ the crazed 50s-60s 'running dogs' rhetoric to convince us to fear their ferocious zeal--then a bombing campaign on his nuclear sites may be exactly what he wants, to galvanize the jihad. The nuclear gamble may be, in fact, intended to provoke our taking a poisoned pawn.

Fits the behavioral evidence--but the next step deeper does, too: the fact that the only feint available is to not-feint, and get away with the bomb-build by making us think he WANTS us to stop him from getting away with the bomb-build.

But hall-of-mirrors aside, the fulminating against Israel has all the earmarks of a ploy--as tho his first goal is to raise a great hatred of the west in the Iranian street--by attracting a bombing campaign.

1/15/2006 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

aristedes said:
I'm afraid we might get to the point where the rational course diverges from the optimal one.
----

I fail to see a course that is either rational or optimal within the contraints we have placed ourselves in.

The blowback for Israeli action, even if it were to be mostly effective, will sink what we are doing in Iraq. The bigger enemy here is not Iran it is the BDS, Bush deranged, left and its EUnuchstanian sycophants. They pulled out the pin believing the grenade was a prop...in their magnificent, but unappreciated, theatre.

1/15/2006 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Arthur Dent is right. History will remember the American left's last two years, nota bene. The pin will not be easily replaced in the grenade.

1/15/2006 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

Hi Doug,

Long time!

If the furniture repositioning is a COMPLEAT job, the ceiling fan will be spinning away... extended up from the hardwood.

1/15/2006 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Magnificent Theater Indeed.

1/15/2006 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Devils in the Details.

1/15/2006 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Just like the Good Old Days,
Welcome back, Tiger!

1/15/2006 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

And in the same light as Wretchard's most recent comments, would anyone care to envision what our options would be vis-a-ve the Mullahs if we had not taken out Saddam's Iraq?
We would have little choice but to once more tilt toward Saddam - and his bribes flowing freely at the U.N., the French government, and various others associated with the OFF program would have further encouraged this. Anyone care to assert that the truth about OFF would have been uncovered if Saddam had not fallen? Go ahead. Then I will sell you some land in Arkansas.
So the Iraqi people would have been sold down the Tigris and Euprates river again, Syria would be in fine shape, Lebanon would still be a slave state, money would be flowing from Iraq to the Infinda and various terrorist groups. Kaddfy would be giving interviews once more on 60 Minutes on how the "U.S. sword is rusty" and pumping more money into his WMD's.
And when the Iranians got their A-bombs working - and many would say "who can blame them with Saddam still there" - they could have nuked Baghdad and seized southern Iraq to create their superstate - and would ave been even more invulnerable for having dispatched an odious dictator and haven taken control of far more of the world's oil - and likely been able to extract concessions from Kuwaitt and Saudi Arabia - one of which would have been "Yankee go home."
So as grim as it looks it could have been a whole lot worse.
And those who would crticize this alternate-universe state of events most severely were also those who opposed OIF. Well, except maybe Jimmy Carter; he would think it all marvelous, for some reason.

1/15/2006 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

If he has old Ukrainian nukes stashed around, what difference should that make? They'll do incalculable damage if they cow us into appeasement, and let him build up even more death-dealing tools. If there are bombs stashed in our cities, they're already ticking anyway. In fact, we'd better bust the status quo even sooner, maybe we can stimulate some turn-coats who know where they are. Get it over with before PRC has a blue-water navy, and the new USSR has energy-extorted Europe into a satellite.

1/15/2006 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Complete Means Complete.
That means that after you do all the required carpentry work,
you invert the friggin house!

1/15/2006 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Triton, you magnificent bastid, I didn't read your book!

1/15/2006 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

Hi Buddy,

I wish I'd written it! Alas, someone smarter came up with it, but Google it and see if you can find anything about it anywhere... it's like the entire internet's been scrubbed clean of it, except for our previous discussion of it in Dec 2004.

Of course, it could have another name... hopefully under the label "President's Eyes Only"

Doug,

Good ole days indeed! Still have only 2 Little Tritons running around, but they are a bit older and get into more mischief... so my posting is limited to lurking... at least until the Iran Thing heats up.

1/15/2006 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

It's an old saw, but still true:
You only have them once.
Life's greatest pleasure.

1/15/2006 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Triton's Polar Tiger,

We have to make it up as we go along. The key is to enter the water, not so far as to get in over our heads, but we have to make the phase transition. Having said that, I will confess that I have no idea whether current US capabilities are up to "feeling our way along". The US military spent about three years adapting before it got the measure and then finally dominated the enemy. But then the US military is an organization which counts and buries it's dead and for whom survival is a great goad towards learning. I don't think Western intelligence has ever been charged with so ambitious a task as taking on a terrorist enabling state on both the intelligence and operations levels. The US military has a track record of dominating the enemy. As near as I can tell, Western intelligence is happy to break even. But what else to do?

1/15/2006 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

...followed verrry closely by life's second greatest pleasure--launching them on there own and sitting back with a long sustained Ahhhhhh...!

1/15/2006 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yeah, but,
Sure would have been nice to have provided the world we got to grow up in.
Ah, well...
Carry On!

1/15/2006 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Way, way off topic, but I think this collection of Arab reaction to the Hajj disaster is, ah, provocative.

It makes one wonder if our most effective weapon is where we choose to direct our attention.

It appears to be a powerful disinfectant, at least.

1/15/2006 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Aristedes,
Our Enemy Within:
" All signs indicate that the main reason for the occasional (CONTINUAL) regrettable and tragic events is the lack of awareness, the non-observance of regulations and the insistence on violations.

This is the trinity that should be dealt with severely by the relevant government departments, because leniency and indifference may (WILL)lead to dangerous and painful results
."

1/15/2006 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

...but you'll have to explain the point to Mr Midget Mind if you want me to get it.

1/15/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Wretchard, you're right--the best shot the west--and the Iranian people--have is to turn the Cray-banks and the service academy high-concept folks loose on the problem.

Oh, horrors, no oversight from the senate, oh no, how will we ever survive?

1/15/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I didn't know we still relied on Cray.
Lock up the Google Boys with their cheap Intel Boxes and DEMAND they do the right thing!

1/15/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Could President Zell get away with it, or would they all abandon ship and join the Peace and Freedom Party?

1/15/2006 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

The issue is not what branch of Islam,what organizational structures
such as AQ.The issue is a radical ideology centered in the middle east that will destroy us if we don't destroy it.


And so with the issue defined, what is the proper mix of military, economic, psychological and social response? The host's memorable phrase 'detonating a bomb in the social structure of Iraq' (much more literate than 'clearing the swamp') suggests a response that includes military aggression as but one component. The West has uncontested military superiority, which emerging nations will do anything to meet. The real card in play is not [exclusively] military but a more sophisticated understanding of - how to express this - the man on the street. This is not a front-end direction in our thinking due to the proximity to Left/Democrat focus on root causes - physical needs leading to radical ideologies or vice versa. In fact, the 'man on the street' whether Tehran or Toledo is subject to common influences that should be put into play as the West organizes a series of 'controlled eruptions' that provide a gradual but accelerated evolution in lieu of a third/fourth world war.

The barking armchair poodle soundbites of hysterical ayatollahs should not be allowed to dictate a seasoned response from veteran defenders of civic and religious freedom.

1/15/2006 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Bob, you mean "un" seasoned response, right?

1/15/2006 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"But hall-of-mirrors aside, the fulminating against Israel has all the earmarks of a ploy--as tho his first goal is to raise a great hatred of the west in the Iranian street--by attracting a bombing campaign."

Only I think the real ploy is to make us think it's a ploy. My sense is that Ahmadinejad is trying to make us think that he set up a deliberate play for confrontation so that we may wish to avoid that course of action which he supposedly wishes us to take. If I was at the table I'd be calling his ploy/bluff. I got 3 kings. What do you have Ahmadinejad?

1/15/2006 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I agree Mika--why half-bluff? the half-bluff is to keep quiet, stay low, and hope you can sneak by. since that ain't gonna happen with nukes on the table, the only thing left that makes any sense is to do exactly what he's doing. Fallback is, if he attracts bombs, well, the Great Satan needs killin' that much more. Didn't the Persians invent chess?

1/15/2006 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Anybody believe THIS?
"Arlen Specter noted in general terms that the hearings may conclude with a criminal prosecution or impeachment."

Mouse's House

1/15/2006 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

The real card in play is not [exclusively] military but a more sophisticated understanding of - how to express this - the man on the street.


yep, as i keep saying... porn and drugs to start, then maybe a terrorist attack against the big black rock...

when koran were "abused" they murdered EACH other in pakistan...

time to be honest.. normalitive islam wants all christians and jews and hindus and all pagans to convert or die...

so, let's give them what they CLAIM we already do...

time to unleash women's rights TALK, porn, pot, humilation..

yes this is an immature concept...

but it aint nuking iran....

it's nuking thier SYMBOLS...

When hamas sends rockets at jewish preschools, cut off all electricity and water to gaza...

When Iran calls for the death of Rushdie the WEST should have stopped all medicine sales to Iran

Folks this islamic movement wants you dead, and your still choking your chicken with these morons...

America can certainly bomb the crap out of iran's nuke sites, our forces in Iraq aint using our AIRFORCE!

What can Iran DO? Cut off oil? DO terrorism?

DONT YA THINK THEY HAVE BEEN FOR 20 years?

Sometimes you have to take murdering facists at face value, they want to destroy america and israel 1st, follow by the east and the west...

1/15/2006 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

That's an inadvertant nod to inscrutability--we're talking bluff, and I bring up the one game with no bluff in it.

1/15/2006 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mika just talks like that 'cause he doesn't want to get Nuked.
Can you believe THAT?

1/15/2006 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Snake Eyes!

1/15/2006 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

(A radiologically damaged snake offspring)

1/15/2006 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

But, but, Doug, I'm in Canada now.

1/15/2006 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

What does that mean?
Another damned Socialist Dentist?
Doug's still in Kansas.

1/15/2006 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Don't bet against the odds!

1/15/2006 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

!!!

1/15/2006 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Senators support penalties against Iran:

The senators also agreed that Iran poses one of the most serious threats to the world since the Cold War.

"I don't think it's a stretch to say that if the Iranians had a nuclear missile that this president might well use it against Israel," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., on "Face the Nation."

Senators Support

1/15/2006 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

(as she was leaving, the Senator was heard to mutter:
"Why couldn't he just finish the damned sentence?!!!")

1/15/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

The F-16s would only be part of a major effort, if there is a major effort.

There is also the possibility of strikes against a non-"nuclear processing target", most likely something military. That would actually make the most sense. It would not make an ultimate strike against the nuclear facilities any harder than it already is, would not affect oil supplies (unless the Iranians chose to let it) and would (perhaps) increase internal dissent.
There is an added bonus to having Bush as President now, with a VP not planning on running, as he doesn't have to worry about action against Iran affecting his personal chances in the next campaign.

1/15/2006 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

I still harken back to the solid polling analysis of Dick Morris, who says that about 40% of Americans are isolationists. In order to move this crowd, there needs to either be an immediate and devastating attack upon the United States far, far bigger than 9/11 was OR it would take a concerted, long-term effort, using the bully pulpit and alternative media, at educating Americans about the realities of the modern world. We would need to do this, in part, because most Americans could care less about a country that will not have ICBM's that could hit us (ignoring the fact that it isn't a long jump for the Iranians to buy that capability)and are blissfully indifferent about the fate of the most immediately threatenned nation: Israel. Most Americans are still hazy about the lessons of the 1930s and completely in the dark about how, from the 7th century onward, Islam was able to conquer so well because its subjugated peoples and nations took its razzias as no threat at all.

For sure, the media has an execrable record of distorting the context and the intelligence about Iraq. This apparent gaffe on the part of the President has been pumped for all it is worth. It will take a decade to debunk the damage already done - and how many people even read Stephen Hayes to begin with?

To get to the point of popular support for dealing with this crisis before doing what needs to be done risks incalculable damage to global stability, let alone the safety and security of our only ally in the Middle East.

1/15/2006 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

ex helo,
What if we just kept turning off the lights with that tin foil weapon or whatever it is?
Lights off until you let the "inspectors" in.
No damage done, just a few more babies.

1/15/2006 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"Speculation, but the Iranian pres may, in his view, have been winning since 1979. So, if he's noy within the Mahdi vision, if he's playing rational hardball behind the nutjob front--as worried Communists used to employ the crazed 50s-60s 'running dogs' rhetoric to convince us to fear their ferocious zeal--then a bombing campaign on his nuclear sites may be exactly what he wants, to galvanize the jihad. The nuclear gamble may be, in fact, intended to provoke our taking a poisoned pawn."

buddy, I've been thinking the same thing.

1/15/2006 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Doug,
That would certainly be a logical choice. But (rightly or wrongly) the leadership (IMO) will try to calculate what would have the least effect economically. And any strike against Iran, even if it doesn't target oil, will certainly spike the prices worldwide.

1/15/2006 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I'd rather ration oil for however long it took than to wait for the alternative.

1/15/2006 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

"I'd rather ration oil for however long it took than to wait for the alternative." Doug

This is exactly how I see it. We have arrived at this juncture because of paralysis. Any further paralysis puts us on a suicidal course, as Thomas Sowell so aptly puts it in a recent column. At some point you have to, as he stated it, get out of the canoe and portage it, else you go over the falls.

1/15/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

fred,
Unfortunately "we" pretend to be occupied by something like that Specter Inanitiy I linked in my 5:57 PM post.

1/15/2006 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

That's another angle--if you had an apple cart and were selling apples for a dime each, but could sell just as many apples for a quarter each if only your customers thought you were a lunatic--well, you might want to act like a lunatic.

Last week, spot crude on the Nymex was way up on Iran worries. I don't know how much the 2005 spike added to their coffers but it would've 30 or 40 billion, 40% of whatever component oil sales are of the GDP.

1/15/2006 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Iran to hold conference on the Holocaust
Iran said Sunday it would sponsor a conference to examine the scientific evidence supporting the Holocaust, an apparent next step in hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's campaign against Israel and a move likely to deepen Tehran's international isolation.
...Maybe Ward Churchill will be a guest speaker.

1/15/2006 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Fred,
I considered myself an isolationist in the past. I truly believe that the US could have provided for itself and continued to grow with a vital economy and an ever increasing standard of living. But the global economic genie is out of the bottle and international corporations are drunk on the power of selling missile secrets to China (Loral) and their will be no putting that genie back in the bottle.

Now that we are all stuck together in this global fete, we need to establish the rules of the game and if they are to be an ever-increasing militarism then, let the first-est (boldest) with the most-est wins. If you don’t like those odds, agitate, organize, and revolt with your fellow America haters. But if pussy footing around will endear us to the Europeans, so that they can go back to dismiss us as naïve, it will mark us as fools to the belligerent regimes of the world.

Perhaps the best solution is to reduce the world’s dependency on oil. Reducing China’s reliance on it would be real easy, stop buy Chinese crap.

In the end, alienating our detractors, Europe, et al, and bombing Iran into smithereens can achieve lasting isolation.

1/15/2006 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Austin Bay takes down Grandfather Moonbat Walter Cronkite, patron saint of the Cut-and-Run crowd:
Walter Cronkite is channeling John Murtha– or worse. According to the AP, Cronkite said regarding Iraq: “It’s my belief that we should get out now,” Cronkite said in a meeting with reporters.” Cronkite is a defeatist and –frankly– he’s out of touch...
- Malkin
---
Has Ace gone over the edge? dept:
Cool Facts About John Bolton's Moustache

1/15/2006 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

It's like George Bush could start acting crazy, and USA GDP would magically go up--without effort--20 or 30%. Lots o' free money to popularize oneself with, across all strata of society. The powers that be might even purposely cause the election of a lunatic nutjob--but hide the red-button from him.

1/15/2006 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

Annoy Mouse

My view on the seriousness of the Iran crisis has nothing to do with my thoughts about oil. Incredible as it may seem, I do not factor oil in. What matters most to me is that a psychopathic regime with a hard on for Israel wants the toys to be able to blackmail Israel out of existence or nuke it out of existence. It matters to me because, taking the long view of history, Islam has no right whatsoever to that land. In the early 7th century, right after Muhammed's death, his successor al Bakr began devastating razzias on the province of Syro-Palestina. All of the inhabitants who did not live in walled towns and cities were either slaughtered or sold into slavery. Having isolated the towns and cities, larger Arabian forces laid seige to them and imposed anihilation or the dhimma upon these Jews and Christians. To me, Iran is but one more example of the historical trend for Islamic warriors to take what is not theirs and then to enslave the non-Muslims or kill them outright. They arrived at this point in history because the conquered peoples were inattentive to the threat, divided as to how to deal with it when some shock of recognition happened, or tried to buy off the warrior emirs and caliphs (a strategy that did not work anyway, which is what the Europeans have been trying to do for the past three decades).

There comes a point in our fourteen hundred years of experience with jihad where inertia and paralysis give the enemy important momentum and advantages which to obviate at a later point only costs more in blood and treasure. These delusional totalitarians have to be disabused of their fantasies of grandeur. We have the ability to do this. We only need to summon the will.

1/15/2006 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

"Bomb detonated in the Social Fabric of the Middle East"... YES!

But we've been non-discussing the elephant sitting on the couch... Ahmadi-nejad AND a vast swath of Muslims (extreme and moderate) BELIEVE that they are God's Chosen People, and therefore HAVE the RIGHT to subdue or kill US non-believers!

An amplifying part of our Social-Fabric bomb COULD BE an end-run around the 'leaders', using Internet, cable, broadcast and leaflets to inform Muslims of the presence and Teachings of The Mahdi!

In Arabic, WE could trigger massive change in Iran and the rest of the Muslim world, BECAUSE their culture has deeply inculcated them to expect His coming (cf. 'Jesus will return') but they've been TOLD that He hasn't yet come, giving US leverage to transform a vast, existent substrate by utilizing a small amount of catalytic energy: "The Promised One has come, May 23, 1260AH! See for yourselves! And He doesn't teach hatred and death! Come into the modern world, courteous and respected, trustworthy and respectable!"

It requires so LITTLE to precipitate SO MUCH!

1/15/2006 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Lots o' free money to popularize oneself with, across all strata of society."
---
You know as well as I do he'd give it to all the rich people and his "Buddies" at Halliburton.
In fact...

1/15/2006 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Cooperation necessary on Iran:

While it may be most difficult to persuade Beijing and Moscow to take tougher action against Iran, both states have strong reasons to oppose nuclear proliferation and buttress international stability.

If Iran were to be faced with a strong united front between major powers, leaders there might be forced to see the futility in prolonging the crisis and become amenable to a compromise solution.

Cooperation Necessary

1/15/2006 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"both states have strong reasons to oppose nuclear proliferation and buttress international stability"
---
Russia's been doin a damn fine job of that!
...maybe time for GWB to check out Pooties Soul again.

1/15/2006 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Fred,
My sediments precisely! We cannot discuss, bribe, plead or engage in dialogue! Period.

"We are not fighting you to get something from you, we are fighting to ELIMINATE you!" al-Qaeda Mouthpiece

And lest the year in my previous post go unnoticed, let us remember that the Christian Holy Book contains MANY coded and direct references to 1,260 in prophesy!

May 23, 1844 WAS the year 1260 AH.

1/15/2006 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

The Iranian president ran on a platform of transforming Iran into "an Islamic Japan." Unemployment currently runs something like 25% and there is the hope or expectation among his supporters that he can improve the bleak economic picture.

1/15/2006 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Eggplant says: I'm not an expert in this area but it is my understanding that a modern nuclear weapon has an expiration date, e.g. tritium in the booster exceeds its half life, the chemical explosive surrounding the bomb pit decomposes, the plutonium metal in the pit forms cracks, the fusing electronics goes bad due to radiation damage, etc. Any ex-Soviet nuclear weapon floating around in the Middle East would be 10-20 years old and probably expired. Where an ex-Soviet nuke could be useful is in the opportunity to reverse engineer it to make a new weapon.

[See: 50% down blog]

While it may be true that ex-soviet nuclear weapons floating around probably could not detonate in their deteriorated state - this is not much comfort.

Most of these weapons are in component modules which could be stripped of the bad components and replaced with good components (or crudely manufactured components). That is a big problem.

As I have stated in the past, Iran could vastly speed up their "Manhattan project" by switching to a "gun" style of weapon like the "Little Boy" dropped on Hiroshima as opposed to spherical weapon like "Fat Man" dropped to Nagasaki. My research indicates that the gun style "Little Boy" has a relatively simple design and the uranium used was only enriched 80%. Although, the uranium enrichment was relatively low for an atomic weapon scientists predicted it had an almost a 100% chance of detonating. So confident were the scientists that they never bothered to test the weapon. When it exploded, only approximately 1.4% of the uranium actually fissiled - but this was enough to cause an enormous explosion and fireball.

One would guess that if the Iranians were to adjust they atomic bomb program to a gun type of weapon they would reach their goal very quickly. Although the gun style weapon is inferior to the spherical "Fat Boy" type of weapon, which was tested at the Trinity testing grounds, the gun style of weapon could be effective.

Sure, it's big and bulky and most likely would have to be delivered in a truck, railcar or sea container. But it surely would present a real threat ports and rail cities.

Hence, that is probably why many intelligence agencies feel that Iran could have a nuke within a relatively short time.

[Satellite picture of Iranian nuclear facility]

Note the "new construction" and the "hidden entrance to underground facilities." The administration's critics have often attacked President Bush for not having a "plan" for Iraq. That was silly; Bush always had a plan, the critics just didn't like it.


see: Power Line

Will Rayford says: Sammy Small, I like your thinking, I really do. Only one problem. The New York Times, CNN, and George Clooney won't give you permission. You'd never get off the runway. I can almost see the movie trailer now. Evil big oil neocons hatch backroom plan to subvert the will of the good Iranian people. No, unfortunately, the Iranian nuke situation will require the lightning-swift one (or one-two) punch KO. Boy, I wish you were right and I was wrong.

[40% down blog]

I have to agree with Will Rayford suggestion that it will take a lightning-swift strike to "KO" Iran's projects.

And, I think it can be done. There considerable discussion of bomb making factories scattered around some three-hundred sites. This may or may not be true. Further, I am sure there critical assembly sights which if neutralized would set back the Iranians nuclear ambitions in terms of years. The strike would have to well planned and executed to be effective - but it could be done.

A more palatable option may be to liquidate the Ahmadinejad junta and hope for a more moderate leadership structure to emerge. But, that is probably not going to happen (not without some outside help). So we are just waiting for something to go boom.

1/15/2006 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Say, the Islamic plan may be to spread nuclear fallout throughout the sphere. Imagine, a burka is pretty much already a radiation suit. Alla would be pleased to see the earths' inhabitants wearing MOP4 gear.

1/15/2006 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Fred,
The problem is not what should be done, but what will our government do. The best thing would be to give the Iranians a short window of opportunity to get rid of their current leadership, and if they didn't, then do whatever it takes to obliterate their nuclear program. That would probably take tactical nuclear weapons. But unfortunately, that is not going to happen.

1/15/2006 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger Immanuel Goldstein said...

Iran, the second largest oil reserves in the world?
I thought Iran was third or fourth, I'll have to check.

Iran's intimate relations: with Hizbullah, certainly. Al-Qa'eda is ideologically divergent way beyond the usual Shi'a/Sunni chasm, therefore far less intimate.

As for Ahmadinejad's fulminations against Israel, I'd rather simply take them as face value, along with the likelyhood that any means of action available to Iran will be used to make them a reality.
As far as means of delivery go, making use of Hizbullah's clout in southern Lebanon and of the drugs-smuggling connections on the Lebanon/Israel "blue line" are indeed more reliable than missiles of any range.

Nevertheless, the Galilee still looks a pleasant place of prospective residence.

1/15/2006 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

American Islamic Leaders Warn Of Anti-Muslim Backlash Following Next Month's Nuking Of Tel Aviv
The idea for this post is cribbed from a commenter over at Tim Blair's place. The post itself is a pallid imitation of the kind of news satire that Rand Simberg and Victor Davis Hanson are geniuses at. Steal from the best, I always say...

Bleurters News Service, (WASHINGTON)

The D.C. Islamic Eternal Justice Endeavor against War and Stereotyping (DIEJEWS) yesterday issued a strongly worded statement condemning a rising backlash against Muslims following next month's nuclear bombing of Tel Aviv, Israel by Iran. The press release warned against an increase in anti-Muslim discrimination, hate crimes, and government harassment following the destruction of the unofficial Israeli capital city next month, as announced by the Iranian government.

"We call on all Americans of goodwill to hold fast to our traditional American values of tolerance and diversity," the statement said in part. "No justification is possible for the heightened tensions and increased suspicions against innocent Muslims following next month's tragic events. The chilling of Islamic-American relations will overshadow the great strides made since 9/11 in rolling back jingoism." The statement stopped short of calling the nuclear bombing of Tel Aviv by the Islamic Republic of Iran a terrorist act, but called for "restraint by both sides" in future crises.

"Next month's nuking of Tel Aviv and the subsequent dancing in the streets by Muslims worldwide have nothing to do with Islam," DIEJEWS spokesperson Marysuellen al-Shahid said in a telephone interview. "We condemn what's going to happen. People claim they are doing it for Islam, but it's really in spite of Islam. The first people to suffer, after the victims, are the Muslim community. There is no justification for such a horrible crime in Islam, any other divine faith or even the court of human conscience, no matter how many sermons have been preached in mosques calling for exactly this. People have to remember that even though the Revolutionary Council of the Islam Republic of Iran has nuclear weapons and will use them, they are only a tiny minority of Muslims, who are peace-loving. In fact, the Arabic word for "peace" means the exact same thing as the English word for peace--but do the news media ever report that? And can you speak up a little? I can't hear the phone so good through this burka."

In a related development, Nevergreen University announced that, in advance of next month's attack and backlash, all students will be required to attend a "sensitivity workshop" on various aspects of Islamic life, beliefs, and customs. Students will "graduate" by coming before a panel from the university's Islamic Studies department and apologizing for the battles of Tours, Malta, Lepanto, Khartoum, and the Gates of Vienna. The panel will grade them on the sincerity of their regret, and grant extra credit for not being able to name the victorious Christian commanders.

"Obviously no one approves of vaporizing a whole city of Jews, no matter how much they deserve it," said university vice-president Batson D. Belfry. "But you never know when the reactionary upbringing of many of our students may impose a simplistic, black and white judgmentalism on quite complex matters. Next month's anti-Muslim backlash is extremely hurtful to our Muslim students, and to all members of the university family. So, we want to get a headstart and try to challenge the students' preconceptions about 'right' and 'wrong', and yes I am making those air quote thingies with my fingers. Minds are like ICBM re-entry vehicles--they function best when properly aimed and programmed."

http://atlantarofters.blogspot.com/2006/01/american-islamic-leaders-warn-of-anti.html

1/15/2006 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger DRJ said...

What would deter Iran from using nuclear weapons?

1. Limited supply? E.G., Could it be that they won't want to "use up" their nukes and leave themselves defenseless? If so, at what point do they reach the tipping point?

2. Threat of retaliation by the US, Israel, et al.? Westerners fear and hate war, particularly nuclear war. Would we be correct in assuming that the Iranian leaders fear war equally as much?

3. Engendering hostility toward Iran for "going nuclear"? Would the Iranians care what others think of them, and would some nations support the Iranians for "standing up" to the US and Israel? (Of course, this assumes that the Iranians didn't deny a nuclear attack, but any national leader who can successfully claim that the Holocaust didn't occur can certainly deny that he launched a nuclear strike.)

OBL was willing to attack the Great Satan to start a war with the West. He may have believed that the West was so impotent that it would not respond, but he had to have known that a strong military response was possible. It could even be plausibly argued that OBL knew the US would respond militarily after 9/11 and that he wanted a strong response in order to mobilize an Islamic response.

Why wouldn't Iranian leaders feel the same way? What better time - from their viewpoint - to be aggressive than when the enemy is weakened in spirit? So I ask again: What would deter Iran from using nuclear weapons?

1/15/2006 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Dubya probably wants to do Desert Fox II sometime "AFTER" the Elections, but events may rule.

1/15/2006 11:26:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

European Stocks May Fall; Carmakers May Slide After Sales Drop:

Crude oil rose as much as 1.1 percent to 42,300 yen a kiloliter in Tokyo after attacks on oil production facilities in Nigeria disrupted supplies and on concern that the dispute over Iran's nuclear program may escalate. Brent crude oil for February rose 19 cents to $62.45 a barrel in after hours trading on the ICE Futures exchange, near its highest since October.

Carmakers may fall. Peugeot and Renault SA led a drop in European new car sales as aging vehicles such as the 206 and the Megane failed to capture new buyers.

European Stocks

1/16/2006 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"So I ask again: What would deter Iran from using nuclear weapons?"
---
Moral Concerns?

1/16/2006 01:20:00 AM  
Blogger Karensky said...

Too lazy to look up the comparison of current events to 1938. What I find unsettling is that in 38 it was the Euros that had their heads in the collective sand while Hitler and Stalin were cutting deals and cutting up the sand gazers. With Churchill out in the woods telling them all that the sky really was falling the Oxford kids decided that nothing was worth fighting for. Today, it is Bush that is out in the woods while the Euros who once again have assumed the position concluding that there is nothing worth fighting for. Meanwhile, in France, they just burned 240 cars over the weekend, oh those kids.

History is coming down the rails and aint going to be pretty.

1/16/2006 04:02:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Yep, history is coming down the rails, and anyone who wants to stay ahead of it, well, the train is leaving the station.

1/16/2006 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"When the train, it left the station, it had two lights on behind...

Well, the blue light was my blues,

and the red light was my mind...

All, all my love's in vain"


"Love in Vain"--as recorded by Robert Johnson, in Dallas, summer of 1937.

1/16/2006 05:24:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Here is something to ponder:
What if Iran fires a Nuke-tipped missile at Israel and we or the Israelis shoots it down?
What then? (Besides a sudden increase of vistors to the Reagan Library memorial to say "Thanks again, boss.")
Do we let the missiles rip in response?
Or would it be like the end of that Tom Clancy novel "You have 24 hours to allow inspectors and destruction teams into the following sites or we will wage war on you with the full and unrestructed capabilities of the United States of America."
Or perhaps a little of both?

1/16/2006 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger sammy small said...

OT previous post

Friday/Saturday discussion of what weapon was used in the Pakistan/Zawahiri attack: This morning I watched a Fox News video clip purported to be the rubble of the building bombed. One Paki was holding up a scrap of something with the code 18876 inked onto it. This is the CAGE or FSCM code of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, the procurement command for the Hellfire missile.

1/16/2006 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

RWE,
UN condemns Israel for setting off another round in the arms race by pursuing Star Wars and upsetting the delicate balance of power in the Middle East.

1/16/2006 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger Ayatollah Ghilmeini said...

Iran is not Iraq. Saddam could not be overthrown internally. We tried and we failed. Iraqis were too afraid to resist; this was the military necessity that made invasion of Iraq the only solution to Saddam. Iran is different- the people hate the leadership and will rise.

But that still does not answer the nuclear question. We cannot wait for Iran to fall; this regime cannot be allowed to get the bomb.

Airstikes and a blockade can and will stop their nuclear program that will buy safety while we wait for the the people to bring down the Iranian regime.

The US army does not need another invasion right now. Our airforce and navy can handle anything we need to do in Iran right now. The price of oil will go up for a while but if you want to see the collapse of civilization, let Iran get the bomb and see what happens if five US cities get nuked. The Iranian leadership is dedicated to the destruction of the US. 1/3 of all us casualties in Iraq are from Iranian sourced IEDs. They support al Qaeda and Hezbollah, they bombed the al Khobar towers in Saudi Arabia and have been killing Americans all over the world since they came to power. We have ample reasons to attack this regime to prevent it from getting WMDs.

1/16/2006 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Goldstein, welcome to Belmont! Watch out for Doug. His methods don't yet include the use of O'Brien's Chinese torture mask, but his "sense of humor" can have a similar devastating effect. He'll have you screaming, "Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia!", in no time. :-)

1/16/2006 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sniff, Sniff,
Nibble, Nibble.

1/16/2006 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Latest Predator Weaponry from the NYTimes:
"Based on my extensive experience in researching military technology, I can verify that this is a 152mm or 155mm artillery shell – unfired – and by the looks of it, fairly old. It also looks like it has a fuse in it, suggesting that the guys in the photo are either ditch-water dumb or have a death-wish."

1/16/2006 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Secondary Explosions, anyone?

"If you live by the munition, you can die by the munition. Especially if you sleep and eat with the munition. "
- AJStrata

1/16/2006 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger fred said...

And what, pray tell, will the Iranian people use to disarm the Revolutionary Guards and the Army and overthrow the government with? Are they going to use spitballs, rubber bands, paper airplanes, or slingshots? It's one thing to hate a government and want to change it; quite another when one lacks the means to effect such change. Over the years I have read the reports of how the Iranian people would rise against the Mullahs. If they could, they would have done so already. Iran is a society that is every bit as terrorized as Iraqi society was. It will take a bigger dog to come and rescue the puppies from the jail.

Right now, I despair of the reality that we lack to political will to do the right and necessary thing, which is primarily to disarm this regime. I am pretty sure a confrontation is in the future, but it will not be of a time of our choosing or of a method of our choosing. The butcher's bill will be awful and there will be recrimminations aplenty. However, the People will have to look only at themselves in the mirror for the answer as to who to blame.

Alas, gentlemen, I am in a despairing mood about the mettle of my own nation, judging by how the public has been ADD about the fight in Iraq. This is not the same country that exercised fortitude sixty + years ago. We are a very different people and a lesser nation on account of the changes. I know that this does not apply to everyone, but it certainly seems that the majority of Americans lack the vision and character and intelligence to assess the world correctly and how to chart its perilous course.

1/16/2006 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

Pork rinds:

Nicely put. In addition, I think we must start describing to the world, the actual impact of Iran's promise...information warfare.

How many will die every week as a result of oil withheld from the market? We need to drum up support from everybody on the planet.

While we're at it, why not ask OPEC some questions. Like why are you keeping oil prices at record levels, when we are fighting to keep you safe? Seems you owe us, starting now.

And, high oil prices subsidize the jihad, directly in Irans' case. Show us that you have the world's interests at heart. We need to know precisely, going down this immensely dangerous path you've put us on.

We need to tell all of the sideliners: We need to know, right now, which side of this conflict you are supporting. And that choosing the wrong side will be the costliset mistake in history.
No waffling allowed.

1/16/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Pork rinds said:

"OBL was willing to attack the Great Satan to start a war with the West. He may have believed that the West was so impotent that it would not respond, but he had to have known that a strong military response was possible. It could even be plausibly argued that OBL knew the US would respond militarily after 9/11 and that he wanted a strong response in order to mobilize an Islamic response."

I think there is no doubt that Osama had an overall strategy. It was clear that we (the US) had earlier shown an unwillingness to effectively respond to al Qaeda's previous actions. Al Qaeda's subsequent reply to our inaction was to launch more aggressive attacks until we were forced to engage in open warfare. Obviously al Qaeda succeeded with 9/11. I believe al Qaeda intended for us to get bogged down in a Soviet style Afghanistan war through bungling such as shown in Mogadishu. I also suspect Osama wanted us to do something stupid in Saudi Arabia, e.g. bomb Mecca, seize oil fields, etc. This would have destabilized the Saudi monarchy and triggered a world-wide Muslim backlash which were also goals of al Qaeda. Our effective use of the Northern Alliance to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan was not properly anticipated (al Qaeda had murdered the leader of the Northern Alliance before 9/11). Also we blind sided al Qaeda by withdrawing from Saudi Arabia and then launching our attack against Iraq. "Arrogance" best sums up al Qaeda's mindset. They seriously thought their strategic planners could out-think America's finest. Perhaps their implicit belief in having Allah on their side was the root of their error.

1/16/2006 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger sammy small said...

Doug

The artillery shell in the photo you linked to is an obvious staged shot with a bogus caption.

However, what I saw in a video clip on Fox showed a scrap of material being held up amid some ruins which was obviously a piece of Hellfire casing. Too bad the NYT just didn't wait another day or two to get the real shot.

1/16/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger DRJ said...

eggplant at 11:20 said that: "Arrogance" best sums up al Qaeda's mindset. They seriously thought their strategic planners could out-think America's finest. Perhaps their implicit belief in having Allah on their side was the root of their error.

If you believe this to be true, and I agree with your statement, doesn't it also suggest that Iran's President and other leaders might be more willing to use their nuclear weapons? I don't see any deterrence once they reach the tipping point, which I define as that point where they have an adequate stockpile to accomplish their immediate goals. And since I think their immediate goals would be to harm Israel and to destabilize the region - thereby forcing other nations to choose between the West and Islam - I fear we are near the tipping point.

1/16/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

In an earlier comment I said...

"They (al Qaeda) seriously thought their strategic planners could out-think America's finest. Perhaps their implicit belief in having Allah on their side was the root of their error."

DRJ responded to this by saying:

"If you believe this to be true, and I agree with your statement, doesn't it also suggest that Iran's President and other leaders might be more willing to use their nuclear weapons? I don't see any deterrence once they reach the tipping point, which I define as that point where they have an adequate stockpile to accomplish their immediate goals."

This of course is what everyone is afraid of, i.e. the Iranians will feel compelled by religious fanaticism to use their newly acquired nuclear weapons against Israel even though doing so would be suicidal.

What makes me a little bit uncomfortable with this conclusion is that Ahmadinejad's basic approach seems to be idiotic. If he simply wanted to destroy Israel, he should have refrained from the anti-semitic rhetoric and paid lip service to Europe's attempts at having Iran comply with the anti-proliferation treaty. By doing so he could have maintained plausible denial during the aftermath of a nuclear attack against Isreal.

Ahmadinejad's behavior is appropriate if all he is doing is simple demagoguery for local consumption. Of course, Ahmadinejad could be trapped by his own demagoguery. One could argue that Hitler's use of demagoguery to seize political power trapped him into a logical sequence that lead to WW-II, the Holocaust and his own suicide.

A big problem in comparing Ahmadinejad to Hitler is that Hitler was evil, intelligent and initially rational while Ahmadinejad is merely evil and a religious fanatic. Who can say what is going through Ahmadinejad's mind? One thing is for sure: We should not allow a screwball like Ahmadinejad to be armed with nuclear weapons.

1/16/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

I have been forced to share this, quite against my will.

Sorry.

Don't click here.

I'm soooo solly...

1/16/2006 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Comment at Verc Link:
Iran Focus-Iran to hang teenage girl attacked by rapists - Women ...
Iran to hang teenage girl attacked by rapists. Sat. 07 Jan 2006.
Iran Focus Tehran, Iran, Jan. 07 – An Iranian court has sentenced a teenage rape victim to ...

1/16/2006 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

The case for war in Iraq did not revolve solely around WMD's no matter how much everyone may wish it so. It was the nexis of Saddam armed with Nukes and terror ties. It is also incorrect to state that the Bush administration did not highlight those ties, President Bush reminded us again and again that we could not allow Saddam to be armed with WMD's given his ties to terror.

The only case that President Bush did not make was that Saddam was tied to 9/11. That was foolish of him since the case could have been made. Not sure we could have presented enough evidence to convict him in a court of law but we certainly had enough evidence to convince the American public of our grave danger should we allow his regime to continue. The Bush administration got caught up believing that we had to make the case in a court of law and that was never the case. He only had to convince the American public and to destroy those inside of the CIA that attempted to thwart that goal.

From Jan 2003 State of Union:
Today, the gravest danger in the war on terror, the gravest danger facing America and the world, is outlaw regimes that seek and possess nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. These regimes could use such weapons for blackmail, terror, and mass murder. They could also give or sell those weapons to terrorist allies, who would use them without the least hesitation.

From 2002 Speech:
The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime's own actions -- its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons, and to stop all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given shelter and support to terrorism, and practices terror against its own people. The entire world has witnessed Iraq's eleven-year history of defiance, deception and bad faith.

We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent history. On September the 11th, 2001, America felt its vulnerability -- even to threats that gather on the other side of the earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat, from any source, that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America.

Members of the Congress of both political parties, and members of the United Nations Security Council, agree that Saddam Hussein is a threat to peace and must disarm. We agree that the Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons. Since we all agree on this goal, the issues is : how can we best achieve it?


From Sept 2002 Speech:
Saddam Hussein's regime continues to support terrorist groups and to oppress its civilian population. It refuses to account for missing Gulf War personnel, or to end illicit trade outside the U.N.'s oil-for-food program. And although the regime agreed in 1991 to destroy and stop developing all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, it has broken every aspect of this fundamental pledge.

Finally his address at the United Nations...to claim as you have Trish that the administration did not connect Iraq to terror is incorrect. He could have made a stronger case no doubt but the connections were made.

And our greatest fear is that terrorists will find a shortcut to their mad ambitions when an outlaw regime supplies them with the technologies to kill on a massive scale.

In one place -- in one regime -- we find all these dangers, in their most lethal and aggressive forms, exactly the kind of aggressive threat the United Nations was born to confront.

Twelve years ago, Iraq invaded Kuwait without provocation. And the regime's forces were poised to continue their march to seize other countries and their resources. Had Saddam Hussein been appeased instead of stopped, he would have endangered the peace and stability of the world. Yet this aggression was stopped -- by the might of coalition forces and the will of the United Nations.


The case was made. I could have wished for more effort but its incorrect to state there was no effort.

The Connections and Collaborations existed and still exist...there was absolutely no reason for the two NOT to collaborate.

Pierre Legrand

1/16/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Russia and China Urge Restraint in Dealing With Iran By ELAINE SCIOLINO and ALAN COWELL 6:38 PM ET
Russia and China continued to resist a call by the U.S. and Europe to put Iran's nuclear activities before the U.N. Security Council

1/16/2006 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

ALL ABOUT WMDs

Congressional Resolution authorizing force in Iraq

1/16/2006 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Vice President Dick Cheney lands in Cairo:

Vice President Dick Cheney began a Mideast visit Monday to confer with the United States' top allies in the region - Saudi Arabia and Egypt - on the political process in Iraq and on the West's standoffs with Syria and Iran.

Cheney, who arrived Monday in the Egyptian capital, meets Tuesday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak before heading to Saudi Arabia for talks with King Abdullah. Cheney added a stop Wednesday in Kuwait to pay his respects after the death of the country's emir, Sheik Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah, over the weekend.

Vice President

1/16/2006 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Iran is the world's No. 4 oil producer and No. 2 oil exporter in Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
http://english.people.com.cn/200601/16/text20060116_235853.html

1/16/2006 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Yep, Geohive says the same. Here's the top 10 producers:

1. Saudi Arabia - 13.1%
2. Russia - 11.9%
3. USA - 8.5%
4. Iran - 5.2%
5. Mexico - 4.9%
6. China - 4.5%
7. Venezuela - 4.0%
8. Norway - 3.9%
9. Canada - 3.8%
10. UAE - 3.3%

Geohive

1/16/2006 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger DRJ said...

eggplant - Thanks for the thoughtful response, including this paragraph:

"What makes me a little bit uncomfortable with this conclusion is that Ahmadinejad's basic approach seems to be idiotic. If he simply wanted to destroy Israel, he should have refrained from the anti-semitic rhetoric and paid lip service to Europe's attempts at having Iran comply with the anti-proliferation treaty. By doing so he could have maintained plausible denial during the aftermath of a nuclear attack against Israel."

What you say makes sense and I agree, but my ultimate perspective is slightly different. It strikes me that Ahmadinejad's ultimate problem is that he is losing the support of his people. He has to firm up his base of committed religious believers - and he does that by focusing on his self-declared enemy Israel and by creating a Holocaust controversy. The more talk about this - for him - the better, because it focuses his base on regligious differences.

It may also help him solidify support among those Iranians who are growing increasingly disenchanted with Iran's theocracy. There must be some part of the population who will support the Iranian government if they feel that Iran as a nation is under attack.

Finally, those who are completely disenchanted with the Mullahs may be encouraged by the circumstances, by a growing concern about the direction of their country, or by outside intervention to challenge Ahmadinejad. Surely he would be delighted at that, for it would enable him to identify the opposition and crush it promptly, thereby protecting his position while sending a message to other democracy wanna-bes.

In other words, while it is certainly a perilous path, I don't see this scenario as certain doom for Ahmadinejad or Iran. Of course, it could be a dreadful scenario, but waiting for civil war can't look much better and that's where I think Ahmadinejad is right now.

1/16/2006 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

"It would take the US a long time to effect a buildup in Iraq and elsewhere, such as Kuwait, to prepare for an invasion of Iran. I would guess at least 6 to 8 months, or even longer. Such a buildup would most likely require calling up reserves.."

I doubt this. Tommy Franks and others' biographies made it quite clear that units can cross the line with just a few day's preparations.

We could borrow a page from Russian doctrine and form an Operational Manuever Group using four to six battalions supported by a bridgehead from a Marine MEU.

Three or four OMGs would unhinge the Iranian regime by attacking and rendering unusable key terrain and internal logistics LOC and generally running roughshod over the Iranian countryside.

Logistics are the real problem for both sides. The smaller the units involved, the less the logistical needs and the greater the manuever opportunities. Iran has zero Armor capability and a very poor maintenance tail.

On the other hand, the Coalition would have to find a way to supply coalition units with up to depot level support 600+ miles across Iran. POL and water are important, but ammunition and maintenance are just as critical.

Iran's achilles heel is its oil fields and oil pumping stations. Remove these from Mullah control and the Mullahs must fall.

Simultaneous siezure of bank accounts and the oil facilities would cause panic and then follow up with the OMGs.

If Iran uses a Nuke at any stage of the game, the game is up.

The short and medium range missiles are a big problem. Centcom forward at Doha is square in the crosshairs as are many other coalition bases throughout the ME. An EMP along with a few airborne laser systems is the best way to go.

The Iranian sapper attacks throughout the ME and the West are even more problematic. Here, a pre-emptive strike would be best. Palmer style raids througout the West and a surging of police presence would be needed.

1/16/2006 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Let's give Iran some of its own medicine
Rather than a sustained bombing campaign to neutralise Iran, Mark Steyn suggests stirring up dissent in the ayatollahs' backyard.

A Teheran preoccupied by internal suppression will find it harder to pull off its pretensions to regional superpower status.
Who else could we stir up? Well, did you see that story in the Sunday Telegraph? Eight of the regime's border guards have been kidnapped and threatened with decapitation by a fanatical Sunni group in Iranian Baluchistan. I'm of the view that the Shia are a much better long-term bet as reformable Muslims, but given that there are six million Sunni in Iran and that they're a majority in some provinces, would it not be possible to give the regime its own Sunni Triangle?

1/16/2006 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

I've been over this with liberal acquaintances who insist that "Bush lied" (and Congress collaborated) in asserting a connection between al Qaeda and the regime of Saddam Hussein. The Authorization itself neither states it nor requires it.

The relevant paragraphs:

Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility
for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests,
including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are
known to be in Iraq;
Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbor other international terrorist
organizations, including organizations that threaten the
lives and safety of United States citizens;
Whereas the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001,
underscored the gravity of the threat posed by the acquisition
of weapons of mass destruction by international terrorist
organizations;

[...]


Whereas Congress has taken steps to pursue vigorously the war
on terrorism through the provision of authorities and funding
requested by the President to take the necessary actions against
international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including
those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized,
committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September
11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations;
Whereas the President and Congress are determined to continue
to take all appropriate actions against international terrorists
and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations,
or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided
the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or
harbored such persons or organizations;

[...]

Nowhere does it say that an operational or other significant relationship existed between AQ and the regime, only that members of AQ "are known to be in Iraq," as they are known to maintain a presence in every country in the ME and more than 60 nations worldwide. Elsewhere the Authorization speaks generally of "international terror organizations" which, in reference to Iraq, pertained chiefly to the Palestinian terror apparatus.

There's a reason why the Authorization is so worded: Collaboration between AQ and the regime, and between the regime and the events of 9/11, could not be established. They have not been established since.

There was the very real fear that a collaborative or other relationship would arise, and that weapons in existence or being developed would be passed by the regime to AQ, or that regime elements would themselves deploy these in terrorist acts against US citzens, property, and/or interests.

As for this, Pierre:

Formally, Bush and Congress both rested the case upon the facts at their disposal, which I respect.

1/16/2006 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

Not as scrupulous or timely as I should be, but yes, Buddy Larsen, to the "unseasoned" correction. [As an aside, it is interesting that context can transmit a message even when syntax fails.]

1/16/2006 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Post should read:

As for this, Pierre:

"The Bush administration got caught up believing that we had to make the case in a court of law and that was never the case. He only had to convince the American public"

Formally, Bush and Congress both rested the case upon the facts at their disposal, which I respect.

1/16/2006 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger dannyfrommiddletown said...

It still seems to me that an EMP pulse attack would be the way to go to stress IRAN in a way that could cause them to stop doing nuclear development without enraging their populace with a lot of explosions.

I have been reading Frank Gaffney's latest book, and they are very worried about someone attacking us with an EMP weapon. It could be fired from an offshore vessel, firing perhaps a scud missle. The EMP is produced by a special kind of nuclear explosion that needs to be done between 40 and 400 miles above the surface. Supposedly it will knock down any electronic or electrical equipment within the line of site of the explosion. In particular for electric generators, circuit breakers take the transmission lines offline instantaneously, and the still spinning generators which take minutes to spin down, have no where to dump their current and they burn out. Very nasty.

It sounds like just a few of these explosions would be required. Probably this would be in combination with aircraft enforcing a 100 mile back zone close to the tanker routes where no missles, no ships, no military equipment of any sort would be permitted. The Iranian armhy would be effectively frozen because they no longer could fuel their vehicles - fuel pumps and pumping no longer work.

Then we would say to the IRANIANs, shut down the nukes and allow intrusive inspections, or we keep your electricity off. It would be the 7th century all over again. Maybe they would like it.

I also think that if Israel attacks, this would be the most sensible type of attack for them.

1/16/2006 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Well now Trish you claimed that the war was all about WMD's, let me quote you, It was ALL about WMD. That's the policy Bush came in with, and it's the policy he went to war with. ...it was not. You have absolutely no evidence to prove that it was all about WMD's.

Whereas Congress has taken steps to pursue vigorously the war on terrorism through the provision of authorities and funding requested by the President to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including
those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized,
committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September
11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations;


If that proves anything it proves that President Bush was gravely concerned about the alliance between Al Qaeda and Saddam. An alliance that the Neo Cons did not dream up since it was being reported even by Newsweek before they decided that joining the Islamofacists was a better bet.

You act as if the Administration does not believe there was a collaboration and that is simply not the case. Your saying so doesn't make it so. Then you deride efforts to show the evidence of collaboration by ridiculing the effort. Though I tend to thank Laurie Mylroie a great deal more than Mr. Hayes they have both done wonders for our understanding of the threat.

Your characterization of the administration not agreeing is also incorrect, unless you don't count Vice President Cheney as Administration. Here is his interview with Tony Snow:

Q Mr. Vice President, you have been spending a lot of time in recent days talking about the war on terror and how important it is to take it seriously. The Weekly Standard over the weekend published a long piece by Steve Hayes, who talked about emerging evidence of longstanding ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. You've heard it said many times there's no linkage between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. You've heard Democrats beat you and the President about the head and shoulders with this. Were there links to -- between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I think Steve Hayes has done an effective job in his article of laying out a lot of those connections. I hark back to testimony by George Tenet when he was Director of the CIA. He went up before the Senate Intel Committee in open session -- this is on public record -- and said there was a relationship there that went back 10 years. What was never established was that there was -- that -- a link between Iraq and the attacks of 9/11.

Q Right, and I've heard you and the President say that many times.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: That's right.

Q And you correct it any time somebody tries to raise it.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: That's right. And so what some people have done is gotten very sloppy and said, well, there was no link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11, and then jumped to the conclusion that there was no relationship at all with respect to al Qaeda.

And the Iraqis -- the fact is we know that Saddam Hussein and Iraq were heavily involved with terror. They were carried as a terror-sponsoring state by our State Department for many, many years. Abu Nidal operated out of there; Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Saddam Hussein was making payments to families of suicide bombers. All of this is very well established. And Steve Hayes is of the view -- and I think he's correct -- that a lot of those documents that were captured over there that have not yet been evaluated offer additional evidence that, in fact, there was a relationship that stretched over many years between Saddam Hussein and the al Qaeda organization.

Looks like those of us who believe there was collaborative effort have a lot more people on our side in the administration than those who don't believe that to be so.

Pierre

1/16/2006 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

As to what to do about Iran. I believe that the longer we wait the graver the danger of their emplacing devices inside of our country to detonate at the appropiate time. We are not dealing with rational actors, we are dealing with lunatics. Expecting rational behavior condemns us to death.

How we attack them is of little concern to me except that we get on with it. That the Iranian people may revolt is their problem...we take out the military and nukes and give them a chance to overthrow their government. If they instead decide to replace their government with other fantasists we continue the campaign.

It is only be some miracle that Saddams WMD's have not found their way over here. Lets not dither around with the United Nations and give the Iranians a chance to succeed where Iraq failed.

If any of you believe that this country would resemble anything we know after a strike hitting five cities with nuclear weapons, I have a bridge to sell you if its still standing.

This isnt the time for cute. This is the time for action and quickly...the Iranian people have had their chance to fix the situation.

Pierre

1/16/2006 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Russia: Avoid 'Sharp' Moves In Iranian Nuclear Dispute:

"Iran and Russia should find a way out of this jointly," the Iranian ambassador said in comments translated and broadcast on Russian state television.

The comments come as the five U.N. Security Council members with veto power met in London with Germany. The U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France joined Germany in calling for Iran to halt its nuclear enrichment efforts.

Russia

1/16/2006 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"...requested by the President to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including
those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized,
committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September
11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations;"

"Including".

Certainly not limited to.

1/16/2006 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

In most scenarios I can think up, we end up having to fight Iran, unless, of course, they roll over and play dead.

"Pressure" on Iran isn't going to be effective unless it has a full military threat behind it. A meaningful military threat is about 250,000 troops and armor near Iran, say in Kuwait, plus the ships and aircraft of the other services.

If you look at Russia, the USSR folded after we applied enormous military pressure in addition to economic and political pressure, but, one wonders how much our pressure contributed versus inherent fault lines in the structure of the USSR that were moved catastrophically.

There is simply no substitute for troop power on the ground to convince a nation that we mean what we say, never mind the insane babbling of our leftists.

1/16/2006 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Clarice Feldman - The American Thinker - on Belmont Club
Missing in Action: The Democrats
Belmont Club describes the growing war between the Sunni insurgents and al Qaeda in Iraq and the coming showdown with Iran.
The author,Wretchard, a keen observer, notes that much of...

1/17/2006 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

In the meantime, Israel has begun practicing to take out Iran’s nuclear facilities through a combination of air strikes and commando raids, according to one report:
IAF pilots have completed their mission training and fighter jets have been prepared for an Israeli attack on Iran,
the British Sunday Times reported.
The article reported that “the elite 69 strategic F-15 I squadron” had been equipped with weapons that will be tested in combat for the first time, and that two missile submarines were on standby: one in the Persian Gulf and the second in Haifa Bay.
The Times also said that special IDF forces would be helicoptered into Iran to take out targets that could not be destroyed in an air strike.
Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to the newspaper report, are widely dispersed at some 40 underground sites throughout Iran, which would make any attack by Israel – or any other nation – exponentially more difficult that Israel’s successful attack on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981.
Col. [res] Ze’ev Raz, the former IAF pilot who led the Osirak mission, was quoted by the Times as saying, “What we now have is a lot of targets, which makes the operation much more difficult.”
Raz believes an aerial assault on Iran’s nuclear facilities is possible.
There are many things that the IAF has done over the past few years that the public is not aware of, and it has made many important advances in mid-air refueling.
Israel can strike the Iranian nuclear program, Raz said on Israel’s Channel 1 TV’s Politika program last week.

1/17/2006 01:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

it’s interesting to note that since the lifting of the sanctions, the Oasis Group (US oil firms ConocoPhillips, Marathon Corporation and Amerada Hess Corporation) walked back into Libya at the fag end of last year to reclaim their exploration and production interests on payment of $1.3 billion, and on terms similar to the ones when their contract was first suspended in 1986, when sanctions were first imposed on Libya—while the concession on these discovered fields, which produce a whopping 350,000 barrels of oil per day, has been extended by 25 years, Indian oil firms are finding it difficult to even get a year’s extension on their work programmes in the oil fields they’re working on to look for oil! Re-entry into Libya will boost Marathon’s output by a whopping 20 per cent, ConocoPhillips’ by 4 per cent, and Hess’ by over 9 per cent.
This US coup, by the way, has to be seen in the context of the fact that Libya is now auctioning new fields, and on increasingly less lucrative terms
India Business Standard

1/17/2006 01:39:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Have We Given Up On Iran?
That's what The Scotsman reports, stating that European and American officials have resigned themselves to a nuclear Iran. After a good cop/bad cop approach by the EU and America, neither group believe sanctions will have any affect and Europe will not support military action as an alternative:
---
MAD only works as a doctrine when both sides have the same stake in survival.
On the plus side, the Scotsman appears to have sourced this story rather thinly. To my best reading of this article, it appears that the entire premise has its basis from a single source in the British Foreign Office -- not exactly a place of great enthusiasm for military adventure, like our own State Department. Let's hope that the Scotsman just got the attention of one particular pessimist on a rainy day, and that our combined diplomatic corps has not gotten to the stage of shrugging their shoulders at a nuclear-armed Iran.
- Capt Ed

1/17/2006 04:18:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Don't Miss this Picture, and Pray Real Hard

1/17/2006 04:21:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

This will spiral into the first nuclear crisis since the October War DEFCON 3 event of 1973. Even that one was short-lived, moderated as it was by the ability of the United States and the Soviet Union to communicate with each other over the Hot Line telex system. The U.S. President and the young Persian Fuhrer have no similar communications.

The Iranians, correctly, have perceived that the Europeans have neither the will nor the way to stop them from obtaining plutonium core weapons. Ahmadhi-Nejad has pledged atomic genocide of the State of Israel, an American ally. His real agenda, however, is to rebuild the empire of Cyrus on the backs of the Arab Leauge before the Arabs have a chance to build their own bomb. Once the Zionists are exterminted the Arabs can be easily cowed and brought under the Persian yoke. It's that simple. I will bet dimes, dollars to doughnuts that Ahmadhi-Nejad has sold the college of Ayatollahs on the argument that the Americans can be driven from the Middle East.

He's making the same mistake that Tojo and Goering made. Yamamoto knew better. The Iranians will make some egregious mistake or overt act.

Or, conversely, we may have to act with the Israelis. Our two nations have two unique assets: the 509th Composite Group has the B-2 Stealth platform and, I'm told, the F-22 Raptor wing is ready. IDF has the F-15E Supers of the 69 Squadron that can carry nukes, among other things.

Whatever happens, we won't be going in alone. It will be a tandem operation of both powers. The Eurotrash are out of it and it's all on us.

1/17/2006 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"the 509th Composite Group has the B-2 Stealth platform and, I'm told, the F-22 Raptor wing is ready. IDF has the F-15E Supers of the 69 Squadron that can carry nukes, among other things."
---
Man, what an Airshow!
...and some IDF ground action too.
Too bad we're talkin Real Nukes.

1/17/2006 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger skip said...

The situation with Iran is getting a lot of attention, as well it should.

Does anybody have an insight into why Iran is making this move now?

1/17/2006 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Skip,
Check out my 4:21 AM picture again.
Worth a thousand words.

1/17/2006 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Iran is doing this now because they feel mortally threatened by our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Any sober strategist interpretting events in Iraq would be an idiot not to attribute unrest there to pissed Sunnis who "believe they are a majority" and jihadis rather than a failure of American military planning. That same strategist would likely conclude that American power is real and could not confidently conclude that such power, even "tied down," could be ultimately containable or predictable, let alone defeated. We must initiate some diplomatic end-game quickly, hopefully not much later than the IAEA's scheduled vote on Feb. 3. Following referral to the Security Council and maybe a day of bickering an attack on their known non-civilian facilities should commence contemporaneously with Bush's announcing it on tv. Enough of this telegraphing our punches crap. Of course there would be fallout, and the hits would come to us, but that - much like "people are dying in Iraq now!" - is mere words, not an answer, and certainly not a refutation. To continually allow mortal, grand-strategic shifts to occur due to rhetorical equivocation, somehow founded upon a fundamental moral concern, is a strategy for fools. Just as the "no war but for invasion" crowd is just farting at the mouth.

Moreover, reading that assessment by the Army only underscores the need to eviscerate the Iranian Revolution now, as soon as possible, and brace ourselves for the backlash. Although the document makes the case that American military intervention would provide Iran the casus belli it is cleverly trying to provoke but not provide, it is more than obvious that continued diplomacy will only result in a nuclear deterrent to military options that will eventually have to be exercised in self-defense. Self-defense is a sucker's game. We're not trying to enslave anyone; no one brought these people over to pick cotton 400 years ago; "Iran" was never even colonized except by the Islamic Revolution.

If the Chinese and Russians are continuing their age-old pain in the ass ways, the time is rapidly approaching that they will have to be dealt with. They cannot - somehow - be allowed to continue their age old practices of arming the barbarians against eachother.

This is a question of mastery in the most ancient sense. If the military truly believes Iran is within 12 months (worst case) of a nuclear weapon, we must act.

The whole purpose of OIF is to finally dismantle the Middle Eastern way, as internal revolution - political, intellectual and social - and external wars have done to the European and Chinese orders over the past century (especially). We cannot have emirs in suits running around with atom bombs in Mercedes-Benzes or Yellow Cabs with visions of the coming Mahdi running around. Period. Even if we must also give up our anti-historical dream of casualty-less wars. So what. It's doomed anyway.

1/17/2006 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Dan,

Doug is reporting that American and European "officials have resigned themselves" to Iran with nuclear weapons. In other words, an attack on Iran is imminent. Iranian radar servicemen have a year to sweat and wonder at what precise moment this year the end will come.

1/17/2006 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger speaker-to-animals said...

this unstable, bellicose man
Sir, doubt it not.
Ahmadinejad has a plan.
He is crafty and subtle, and his rhetoric has a purpose.

1/17/2006 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger speaker-to-animals said...

The lunacy of the Iranian president

et tu, VDH?

Ahmadinejad may look lunatic from our viewpoint, but how how does he look to the ME?

1/17/2006 08:44:00 PM  

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