Monday, May 15, 2006

Talkng to Ahmadinejad

After Iranian President sent President Bush an 18 page letter which can only be described as rambling, Matthew Yglesias wrote that "it'd be dumb to just take the Iranian government at its word, but there's no denying that they're trying to open a discussion and, frankly, it would be insane of us not to give this path a shot. ... Refusing -- repeatedly -- to explore this opportunity just suggests to me a positive desire for war. There's no downside whatsoever to talking unless your real fear is that talks might be successful and eliminate the chance for a good international crisis."

Mark Steyn on the other hand, believes that real harm can come from negotiating with someone who may have no intention of doing a deal at all. In an interview with Hugh Hewitt, Steyn said:

HH: Now in today's AP bulletin from Indonesia, Ahmadinejead is again calling Israel, "a tyrannical regime that will one day be destroyed," and going on about it. But meanwhile, over at Politecompany, Council On Foreign Affairs company, Greg Djerejian, who writes at the Belgravia Dispatch, I quote, "at some point, I'm hard pressed to see how we avoid talking with the Iranians, period. Bottom line, the Iranians have become players. And chiming on about just bombing them into submission isn't going to get us anywhere, save maybe on the Hugh Hewitt Show." I think he's talking specifically about you, Mark Steyn, earlier in that paragraph. What do you think about Polite Company refusing...the Council On Foreign Affairs refusing to deal with this problem?

MS: Well, I do think you risk the danger simply by agreeing to enter into discussions with someone like that. You do risk treading down the Neville Chamberlain path, that I have here a piece of paper signed by the president of Iran. He's a man we can do business with, and all the rest of it. And I don't think that's true. I think the lesson we learn from these things is that Iran treats with contempt all the forms of international decorum, and always has done. And that includes whether it's respecting people's embassies, which obviously it didn't do the United States, to respecting territorial jurisdiction, which it's never done. And so I think the thing about Iran is that there is really no point to talking to them. No one has talked to them more than the Europeans over the last three years. They've been shuffling to Tehran back and forth doing the...every time they mention the Prophet Mohammed, doing the peace be upon him thing, as Jack Straw, the former British Foreign Secretary does like a sort of nervous tick five times a sentence when he's there. Even the Americans, the Americans in the period after September 11th, talked to the Iranians more than they had since the fall of the Shah. And the administration in Washington thought it had reached a kind of modus vivendi with Tehran. It turns out not to be the case. We've been talking to them for years. The idea that we need to start talking to them is ludicrous. And he should know better. He's a smart guy, the Belgravia Dispatch.

Yglesias seem to make the unassailable point that since talk precludes nothing the US and Iran can always resort to fighting if they can't do a deal; so why not talk? But Mark Steyn is apparently worried that talk, rather than precluding nothing, will in fact preclude other forms of action by reposing faith in a dealmaking process without the prospect of a deal.

Even the Americans, the Americans in the period after September 11th, talked to the Iranians more than they had since the fall of the Shah. And the administration in Washington thought it had reached a kind of modus vivendi with Tehran. It turns out not to be the case. We've been talking to them for years. The idea that we need to start talking to them is ludicrous.

To a certain extent neither argument meets the other head on. It's hard to assert that the United States and Iran haven't been talking. They have been. Over the last three years both countries been hard at work exchanging a multitude of signals through the UN or the EU-3 -- via covert warfare on both sides of the Iraq-Iran border -- and probably through a variety of backchannels. Both States have been asserting their claims and demonstrating their resolve through these means. By now both sides have a pretty fair idea what the other wants and some sense as to how far each is willing and able to go to achieve it. So it's not true that the Bush administration has been operating under emissions control, neither sending or receiving signals as it steers towards Iran. But on the other hand, it's not entirely true that one risks "danger simply by agreeing to enter into discussions with someone like that", given that some discussion is already taking place through the various channels already mentioned. What is true is that there is a potential risk in subordinating all the other extant forms of interaction to a direct exchange between the two Presidents.

This subordination, or at least complementation, is hinted at by the Belgravia Dispatch when it argues that:

Getting real means talking with the Iranians. To prepare for such discussions, we need to approach the Euro-3. We need to say, listen: we'll open up a U.S.-Iranian bilateral track, in tandem with the multilateral one, but if it fails, you (yes even Dominique de Villepin's government and such camembert-munching appeasers) have to promise you'll vote for sanctions if we fail in extracting concessions from the Iranians after pursuing a good faith dialogue with them. We need to have multi-party talks, but with bilateral break-outs. The multilateral talks should continue to focus on the nuclear issue. The bilaterals should focus on key issues of mutual U.S.-Iranian concern ... And by not trying utopically for some "Grand Bargain", on the one hand, or merely piece-meal progress on too strictly demarcated issues on the other (just Zalmay and Iraq, say), we offer room and a venue for realistic forward movement on a package of issues that are more often than not inter-linked in practice and so better addressed together.

The addition of a bilateral track means re-weighing the other tracks in relation to it. A negotiation strategy not only means adding more bandwidth but far importantly it means shaping the bandwidth. Certain channels are going to be assigned particular tasks; some routes are going to be emphasized while others are going to be comparatively denigrated. Not only will bilateral negotiations affect the EU-3 track it will also affect other forms of signaling because one of the first things negotiators typically demand are what are called "confidence building measures" which is a euphemism for "call off your dogs" while we talk. But by that time the bilateral negotiations may have become a desirable political quantity in themselves and the threat to call them off a sanction in itself.

Does any of this mean that 'under no circumstances should we hold bilateral talks' with the Iranians? No. But neither does it follow that under all circumstances should the US seek bilateral negotiations with Teheran. From the vantage of the US the correct move will depend entirely on the empirical effect of bilateral negotiations upon the total package of interaction with Teheran. Part of the problem facing outsiders looking in is that we don't know what the total package of interaction is. Some of it is open to public view but the covert and backchannel operations are shrouded in secrecy. To what extent these should be made subordinate or be complemented by bilateral negotiations is unclear. Without that knowledge, one can only guess whether it is propitious to open bilateral negotiations with Teheran or not.

However, if one takes the Ahmadinejad letter as an Iranian effort to "reach out" to the United States the natural question must be what motivated them to do so. Is it possible that they are "feeling the heat" and are eager to strike a deal. If so, then does that not argue against subsuming the very channels which have successfully compelled Teheran into crying "Uncle" into the framework of bilateral negotiations? Or is it the case that America has been defeated in the Middle East, especially in Iraq; that in consequences it is time to talk to Iran to get what terms one can before Teheran extracts its pound of flesh from a floundering and desperate George Bush? Or is it something in between? There is no answer based on theory. There is only a judgment based on an appreciation of the state of play. And while everyone has his private scorecard many of the cards are still face down.

171 Comments:

Blogger 2164th said...

No question the the US bargaining position is worse than it would have been without the US Army being fragged daily in Iraq. Bush support is at an all time low and heading south. The Iranians have played it well. The best strategy is to let the EU stay in the lead until the US does a Carter/Reagan. Bush deserves the role. He earned it and as an old baseball man, he needs to hug the plate and take one for the team. He needs to do what he can to stop the bleeding in Iraq and prepare the way for a new US administrtion to deal with the Iranians.

5/15/2006 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

Mr. A. is at best a figurehead, effectively appointed by the powers-behind-the-throne. There's no reason for a publicly visible conversation with a figurehead. And the Europeans deserve no relief (as their interests are immediately at risk, no different than WW2). We can continue to state our reluctance to engage while repeating our minimum demand, reminding the rest of the world that when we or Israel are forced to act they will regret not making every effort.

If we want to break-the-mold, I suggest we highlight this difference between posturing and reality, and address Iran's ruling tyrants directly by asking a religious leader represent the free world in these discussions, e.g. a Pope Benedict, a Mr. Sistani, perhaps the Patriarch.

5/15/2006 06:25:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Part of the problem with talking to Ahmadinejad is that the discussion he wants to have includes things like "a final solution to the problem of the Jews".

I think there's some pretty substantial downside to that discussion.

5/15/2006 06:26:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The letter which arrived in Washington is an interesting document. What it is, exactly, is not even clear.
Some refer to it as an "opening", an invitation to dialog.

Others believe it is nothing of the kind. I have seen convincing arguments that the letter itself is the equivilent of a "Declaration of War". Much like the Decalaration of Independence was toward England and the King.

It does list a series of grievences the Iranians have with US. It requests the US change it's attitudes and policies towards Iran. It suggests Mr Bush should find God and return to the Jesus principles of "Peace at any price", cheek turning and the like.

The Iranians sent a similar letter to the Soviets, causing in the Mullahs minds, it's rumored, the collapse of the Soviet Union. By the grace of allah, etc...

Until exactly what the letter "is" is adequately determined the reaction to it should be muted and low key.
If it is a "Peace Offering" the EU3 can carry the water for another few months while we continue to negotiate behind the scenes.

There is a new tribute package on the table, another attempt to "buy off" the Iranians. If it is rejected out of hand....

If the letter is a "Declaration of War" we should not be discussing much of anything with the Iranians, but the terms of Surrender.

Only question being, who is going to be the one that surrenders.

5/15/2006 06:37:00 AM  
Blogger John Schulien said...

What about the theory, as put forth by Charles Johnson and others, that this letter was actually an Islamic declaration of war -- that Ahmadinejad was performing the religiously required obligation of inviting his enemies to surrender to Islam prior to waging war against them?

Would he even perform such a step if he did not already possess nuclear weapons?

5/15/2006 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I simply do not see what cards Iran has to hold, even if they are face down. Any more than Saddam had any cards in *his* hand when he was bluffing his way to where he is now.

Additionally, Mr. A. is a lunatic with a proven track-record of holding Americans hostage and torturing us. Why would we pay attention to him, even if he's groveling all over the place?

Finally, from his letter it appears that a big part of his pitch is trying to convince Mr. Bush and America to convert to Islam. I *hate* being preached to about someone else's god, especially if that god also has a proven track record of killing and torturing Americans.

I don't understand in this case why "talk talk" is considered to be a viable option at all, when it seems to me that "boom boom" nuclear cauterization would neatly solve a raft of problems both in Iran and throughout that barren hell-hole. Remind me again what the downside of frying Mr. A and his mullah's would be?

5/15/2006 06:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Economic collapse of the West, through a series of Oil infrastructure attacks around the World.

That is the possible "down side", nahncee.
Unlike Saddam the Iranians have been prepping for this confrontation for almost thirty years. They are much better prepped for a Terror Campaign, in the US, South America, Africa and Europe, than Saddam ever dreamed of.

5/15/2006 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Wretchard,

I don't know if your choice of closing metaphor was conscious:

There is only a judgment based on an appreciation of the state of play. And while everyone has his private scorecard many of the cards are still face down...

When I was at Yale a friend of mine played poker with GWB. Bush was said to be very good at it.

This Thomas Lifson article from The American Thinker touches on Bush's poker skills while he was at Harvard getting his MBA.

By reputation, the President was a very avid and skillful poker player when he was an MBA student. One of the secrets of a successful poker player is to encourage your opponent to bet a lot of chips on a losing hand. This is a pattern of behavior one sees repeatedly in George W. Bush’s political career. He is not one to loudly proclaim his strengths at the beginning of a campaign. Instead, he bides his time, does not respond forcefully, a least at first, to critiques from his enemies, no matter how loud and annoying they get. If anything, this apparent passivity only goads them into making their case more emphatically.

I have no idea what the state of play is, of course. And to rely on the president's poker-playing skills does not exactly fill me with confidence.

But one does wonder whether this letter is evidence that Ahmadinejad has beeen "goaded into making [his] case more emphatically."


Jamie Irons

5/15/2006 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"He needs to do what he can to stop the bleeding in Iraq and prepare the way for a new US administrtion to deal with the Iranians."

He could give us a decent five-year Iran plan right now. He could give us a decent plan yesterday, for that matter. Get the ball rolling. Don't play dead dog floating downstream.

Stopping the bleeding, well, that's another thing. If the administration works its way out of the corner in Iraq, the drinks are on me.

5/15/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger Goesh said...

Bribe a bully, it works every time, just ask hitler ....and of course with Iraq, it should have been like fast food, over and done with fast, cheap and everyone having it their way and satisfied.

5/15/2006 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"...and of course with Iraq, it should have been like fast food, over and done with fast, cheap and everyone having it their way and satisfied."

Somewhere between fast food and a running sore would be satisfactory.

No joy.

5/15/2006 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

Obviously the US success in Afghanistan and Iraq has the 12th-Imam types worried. Otherwise they wouldn't be trying to open negotiations. Reply, but only by slapping them down, hard. Let them know who's the most powerful nation on the face of the earth - and that it ain't Iran.

5/15/2006 07:35:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Naifs like Yglesias assume in the Iranians a willingness to enter into sincere discussions, instead of the usual con artistry we get from charlatans out to game the West's timid leadership class.

When European 'diplomats' start cooing the language of morality and diplomacy because they've been bribed to do so, earnest Americans accustomed to taking people at their word get snookered over and over.

When the Chinese stamp their feet over some slight, they're following a well-worn script:

1. Feign grievance and injury.

2. Demand apologies, concession and compensation; return nothing in kind.

3. Threaten 'consequences' if demands are not met.

Then, set back and watch the West engage in a ritual of self-flagellation, pandering and reaching into the wallets of their taxpayers.

The people getting hoodwinked now are the same folks, in kind, who insisted on minimizing the threats posed by global totalitarianism during the last century.

Why should we listen to them?

5/15/2006 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

VDH was also interviewed by Hugh Hewitt. VDH's take was simple. Iran is engaging in a one step back two steps forward approach.

they wish to appear as legitimate partners to negotiation all the while knowing that they mean none of what they say.

another way to look at this is to seperate foreign and domestic productions.

To an extent both mr A and President bush are playing to "domestic" audiences. bush must go through the motions with the Iranians, walking the stations of the cross that include the UN and NATO and so on.

Mr A must attempt to secure his support domestically as well. Using his resources to beat the Iranians into submission means far less for contending with an impending allied assault.

As for betting on Bush's poker playing skills, well I'm reminded of the out cry when Reagan walked away from Helsiniki. Calling a bluff takes steely nerve but if Bush's assesment of the Iranians is accurate, it may be just the right move.

finally I see that some posters here have resorted to the falacious "dire consequences" argument. Failing to take action because of concern for dire consequences will NOT work here. We're facing a set of dire consequences no matter what options are selected.

5/15/2006 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Rat --

We've made a fetish out of worrying what our enemies will do, fretting more about being well-liked than doing the right thing, and handwringing endlessly over 'sending the right signals.'

The tables should be turned here. But a weak-kneed political class has allowed itself to be hobbled by it shrillest critics, while the rest of us buy gold and worry about the impact on our portfolios of standing our ground.

My grandparents told me WWII was quite a disruption . . .

5/15/2006 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/15/2006 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

iran is currently surrounded by US bases and support.

Iran has oil & terrorism, that is it.

personally i think they are overplaying their hand, if oil was at 10 dollars a barrel the shock of 70 dollar a barrel would be amazing, however at 70 dollars a barrel, a price based on fears, not actual supply issues, a war with iran might drive the price to 100 a barrel, big deal!

the real shock will be towards the 3rd world, which is struggling to pay higher gas prices and to china when consumer goods sales slow due to higher energy costs. China will feel that amazing feeling of their 10% growth per quarter, slow to normal levels. This will cause layoffs and over expansion and ultimately recession. whether china, india or the arab world wants to understand the issue, if we the USA are accused of using 15% of the world's resources and the world thinks this unfair, what happens when we STOP buying 15% of the world's resources?

the USA consumer drives the worlds economy, f*ck with us and everyone gets spit in their face...

5/15/2006 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

"Going it alone" against Iran would be a bad thing. If war with Iran should come it would be very nice to have a bunch of allies to be on our side. Bilateral breakout talks may be helpful but the best approach, in my view, would be for the US to join in with all the major stakeholders and engage in negotiations. If Iran continues to be intransigent and all the stakeholders are negotiating then a unified alliance may be possible to forge to confront Iran. The current approach of the US refusing to negotiate while rattling its’ saber dooms the current talks to failure (how could they possibly succeed when one of the most important players doesn't play?) and increases the probability that if war comes the US will be fighting on its own.

5/15/2006 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

want to solve north korea and iran in a short period of time?

boycott chinese goods.....

5/15/2006 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

cosmo.
I quite agree.
But that agreement does not change the reality of the situation.

The Iranians have been at War with US for quite a while now. We have never accepted it, still do not.

The reason to contemplate the Enemies response is to be ready for it. The francofada, May Day marches and the like have been the Iranians "ante" into the Game.

One should always be like a Boy Scout, prepared.

Belief in US omnipotence is not preparedness, but arrogance. Which before the end could be quite costly.

5/15/2006 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger Westhawk said...

The U.S. should opt for no bilateral talks with Iran because the U.S. should not over-extend or over-commit its prestige on the Iran issue. The U.S. will be the last in time to be threatened by Iran's future nuclear weapons. The U.S. will be the last to come into Iranian missile range and the hardest target for Iranian infiltrators to get into (compared to targets in Europe, Russia, the Arab world, or even China). The U.S. should cooperate with the EU-3/UN/IAEA efforts. But the U.S. should commit itself and its prestige only to the same degree that the others mentioned above do, as they will come under Iranian threat first.

For the next ten years, the American focus should be on protecting and reassuring its Arab allies over the growing Iranian threat. That is the most immediate American interest. Talking with Iran has nothing to do with accomplishing this.

Finally, those who reject a military campaign to remove the Iranian nuclear threat instead, by default, choose a three-sided (Israel, Saudi Arabia-Egypt, Iran) missile and nuclear arms race. The outcome of this highly unstable race would likely be more catastrophic than air strikes on Iran. For more on this, please read

The worst place on Earth for an arms race.

There are no easy choices. And doing nothing and just watching isn't a safe choice either.

Westhawk

5/15/2006 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger John Samford said...

There is nothing to talk about. Iran wants Nukes and the USA doesn't want Iran to have nukes. Neither party is going to give up on their main point, so talking is just a waste of time, unless you are trying to build nukes, in which case talking is the best way to gain time. AS long as we are just talking, Iran is winning.
The USA should start a bombing campaign. That will put some urgancy into the talks. After the AD is knocked out, the next targets should be the power grid and OIL production facalities. Let the Chinese know that if they won't back us in the UN, NOBODY will get any OIL out of Iran because America will destroy the Iranian means of production and shipping. If the Mad Mullahs don't want to talk after the Power Grid is down, fine. It's imposssible to pruduce fissile material without LOTS of Electrical power. Knock out the power grid and seal off their under ground nuclear sites so no raw materials go in and no finished produts come out and then WE can drag out the negoiations, since time will then be on our side. Then the question becomes do they get tired of being bombed before we get tired of bombing them? As long as we don't do a massive, OIF type invasion, we will out last them. It will be very discouraging to have American bombers flying over blow shit up without the turbins being able to do anything about it. Major loss of face for the Mullahs. Perhaps enough to get them shown the door. I doubt it but keeping them to busy to work on nukes is a victory in and of itself.

5/15/2006 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"But the U.S. should commit itself and its prestige only to the same degree that the others mentioned above do, as they will come under Iranian threat first."

Buckley, I read your article, you brilliant son of a bitch!

5/15/2006 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

wi"o"

Oil at @ $200 bbl, perhaps more.
Supply shortages that could shut down the Global economy.

Here are the choke points that can and will be attacked

You are right, China will feel the Oil shock first, to save themselves, from revolution, the ChiComs will, most likely, instigate a War.

With the US tied down in Iraq & Iran, Taiwan across the Formosa Straits would be the most likely Chinese target.

The economic, political & military dominos could begin to cascade out of control, which is not the US Goal, at all.

5/15/2006 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Rat -

Your thoughtful caveats are accepted, and would certainly have made my post less wild-eyed.

5/15/2006 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It is, however, the Iranians.

5/15/2006 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

I'm still of the opinion that Rafi 'the smelly' Eitan may have it right and that Iran already has a nuke or three--or the quick fixings for some. I think this is a really bad situation--and what to do? Don't know. Maybe put the options up to a random number generating machine is as sensible as anything. Thinking of random number generating machines, I am keeping my eye on the Princeton eggs. They are reputed to give at least a three hour warning if something big is up. ;)

5/15/2006 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger cathyf said...

Ahmadinejad was performing the religiously required obligation of inviting his enemies to surrender to Islam prior to waging war against them?

If this is what is going on, then there is great strategic value to avoiding straightforward negotiations. Sort of like when you see the process server on your front porch and you dive out the back door to avoid him. (In the US the subpeona has to be physically placed in your physical custody in order for it to be considered "served" and in order for you to be obligated to obey it.)

As long as we manage to avoid hearing the entirety of the offer, the mulluhs who want to argue against declaring war on the US, Israel, europe, and the rest of the infidel world will be able to argue, quite rightly, that Ahmadinejad has not properly fulfilled all of the Prophet's predicates to declaring war against infidels. Sitting down with the Iranians and saying in no uncertain terms that no, we will not convert to Islam just cuts the knees right out from under any anti-war mulluhs there might be.

5/15/2006 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Which get's US back to destabilizing the Mullahs, internally.
The best way to do that is to instigate an Insurrection within Iran.
The figurehead for that action, the Son of Shah

5/15/2006 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger John Samford said...

2164th, you have that exactly backwards. The Air bases in Iraq will be critical to an air campaign over Iran. Turn around time for sorties will be reduced from 20 hours for the air force to about 2 hours. That means 10x the targets serviced, plus more loiter time for CAS, if that is needed. Plus just in case the golden BB comes home to roost, having a big airstrip a few minutes away could be a lifsaver.
From a strictly military POV, the major reason for invading Iraq was to provide staging areas for invading Iran.
And for whoever thinks that the Iranians need an ICBM to get a nuke on target, get out of your box. Remember Iran was the originator of the Suicide bomber concept (I don't catagorize suicide bombers as Kamakizis). So stop thinking ICBM and start thinking motor boat or Winnebago with a homocide bomber behind the wheel. Think, the "Mother of all Truck Bombs". I think they will use a boat. Between Key West and Bar Harbor there are over a million small craft that could physically carry a primative nuclear weapon.
Most 1st generation nukes weigh a couple of tons, more if it's a gun device. That is a LOT of weight for a ground vehicle other then a commercial truck, but it's nothing for a small boat. I wouldn't want to put that much weight in a 20 foot Ski boat, but it wouldn't be impossible. You couldn't get up on plane, no freeboard and it wouldn't turn very well, but if you took it slow and esy, you could get from a few miles off shore where the device was off loaded from that small steamer into harbor. Say New York, Boston, Baltimore, or any one of a dozen other places. Give me a 28 foot fisherman or cabin cruiser and I could go out past the 12 mile limit to pick it up. This sort of attack would be almost impossible to stop without intelligence on when and where it was coming from. Just too many small craft and not enough Coast guard or Navy. ANY Major port, with the possible exception of Norfolk and San Diego are open to this kind of attack.
BTW, you can buy a servicable boat for about 1200$ to 1500$ a foot, used. That is a LOT cheaper then an ICBM.

5/15/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger putnam said...

The situation in Iran is similar to how difficult it has become to win in Iraq when the domestic opposition is willing to side with the enemy for selfish political gain.

If we cannot be certain that the EU-3 to will provide unfettered support, then we should not seriously negotiate, just send back an even more insulting letter talking about all of the Mulla's transgressions.

However there might have been a chance to use this letter to our advantage: tell the eu-3 that we will seriously negotiate when they play the bad cop so we can play the good cop. If the eu was willing to enforce official sanctions, or even unoffical trade stoppages, and we then played the sincere negotiators, then I think a serious reply would have merit, and also a good chance of success.

But thats like asking the democrats to stop back stabbing our military.

5/15/2006 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Well, I quess it certainly wouldn't hurt to try with Son of Shah--can't think of much downside there, though there is usually a downside to everything--my hunch is that way is a lost cause, but one never knows unless it's tried.

5/15/2006 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"The figurehead for that action, the Son of Shah"

You're kidding, right?

Tell me you are.

We can march down the same dead-end road twice in a mere handful of years, if you really want.

5/15/2006 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

If the Iranians really want to talk to us we first need a gesture. They need to apologize for holding our people hostage and offer compensation to them. A gesture like this would indicate that the Iranians were serious about discussions.

5/15/2006 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

The best path forward with Iran is unclear to me.

Christopher Hitchens indicates that the worse thing we could do to the Iranian mullahs (our best tactic) is to be "nice" to them. The Shah's son Reza Pahlavi says that attacking the Iranians would be the worse thing we could do and this would play into the hands of the mullahs. The language and behavior of the mullahs indicates that they're doing a "Brer Rabbit" and trying to provoke us into attacking them in order to strengthen their own hold on political power.

Unfortunately the moonbats are also saying that we should not attack Iran. My gut tells me if the moonbats say we should not attack Iran then our best course of action is to do the exact opposite. However the moonbats are cowards and they would oppose war even if they secretly believed in it.

The ultimate argument trumps all other considerations, i.e. it is unacceptable for the mullahs to have nuclear weapons.

Again the Iranian issue confuses me. My rule-of-thumb is if I don't know what to do then I wait until I have better information. We should continue to gather information about the Iranian nuclear program. We should continue in the diplomacy charade and let the Europeans play that out to their satisfaction. When it becomes clear that the Iranians are about to achieve real nuclear capability is when we'll have no option but to attack. Let's hope there is a regime change before then (not likely).

5/15/2006 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

DRat you are probably right about $200/BBL oil, Chinese war with Taiwan, world wide depression and any other side effects you can think of. But..., what of it? If you like you can trade a couple of major American cities a few years down the line and avoid the evil efects you mention... for a while. Might almost be worthwhile if you could pick the cities but that is not in the cards. The folks who want to take out their air power then follow up with taking out the electrical infrastructure of Iran are right but it has to be a permanent takeout with Europeans prohibited from rebuilding it. We should stay out of a ground war, these people can do their own regime change, after the last mullah is hung, it may be possible to deal with them. Iranians are actually not insane fanatics,except for the wacko Mullahs, but most of them are very shrewd traders who believe in cheating the West out of anything they can, we can probably handle that.

European military allies would only be a detriment, when push comes to shove the USA will have to do it alone (far easier).

5/15/2006 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

trish,
where did we try to replace Islamists with a deposed Royal family?
In the past few years.

While we did utilize the King in Afghanistan, he was old and feeble and only served as an initial "figurehead" until Mr Karzai took the wheel.

Iraq certainly does not qualify.
While we instigated a revolution, in Iraq, when it came we abandoned the revolutionaries. This happened 15 years ago, in Iraq, when we encouraged the Shia to "stand up".
They did and were "mowed down", while we watched from across the Border.

If we stood by our friends, we'd do much better.

Either the Iranians solve their own problems, internally, or a real World War could ensue.
It seems preferable to help the Iranians help themselves, before we have to kill 'em and a few million others, world wide.

The Insurrection in Iraq has cost the Iranians and the Wahabbists little, but US a lot. The same type "Action Plan" could be used against the Iranians.

If not that, then what?

Invasion, strategic bombings or wait and watch?
The downside risk to each of those options is greater than supporting Revolution or a Coup.

5/15/2006 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

A few threads back I posted the text of the letters Mohammed sent to the Byzantines and the Sassinids. In them he stated that peace is only for the followers of Islam. With the Byzantines, he brought up the central place of Jesus Christ (PBUH) in Islamic lore and made a call to the Emperor to lead his people away from the Polytheism of the Trinity and towards the Monotheism of Allah. He told both leaders that the future depends on their theological choice, that they bear the responsibility for whatever is to follow.

Ahmadinejad copied this format for a reason: it is the Islamic precedent for the proper declaration of war. I think we have to start considering that Ahmadinejad really believes what he says, really has a belief that the Mahdi will pop out of his well, really thinks this will happen if the world sees enough bloodshed. We received a 7th century document from a true believer. I see no reason to doubt that 7th century action will follow.

In a way I hope it comes to that. It would greatly clarify the issue for us if Ahmadinejad were to attack something.

5/15/2006 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

dave h--'Might almost be worthwhile if you could pick the cities...':) Quess we all might have our wish list! Probably the city where we filed bankruptcy, or filed for divorce, or lost our girlfriend to neon lights, or lost at craps. Vegas? Ah man, what a revolting situation!

5/15/2006 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger servius said...

If oil hit $200 a barrel it would actually not affect China that much.

China has such a huge trade surplus, prices that high would shrink its trade balance to break even. Of course if they added an oil surcharge to their exports they would be able to maintain a healthy trade balance.

The U.S., though, has such a huge trade deficit that an oil price that high would cause the deficit to explode even higher and/or collapse the dollar.

So I think the U.S. has a lot more to fear from an exploding oil price than China.

5/15/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I also tire of the response-debate. Should we engage Iran? Yes. This is how:

The President should call out Ahmadinejad and say the letter he sent is an Islamic declaration of war. Bush should lay out the case, explaining why he has come to that conclusion, and he should put the emphasis on Ahmadinejad to explain why it is not, in fact, an Islamic declaration of war.

The Iranians coast on the the world not taking them seriously. We need to change that, first and foremost. We need to make the Iranians own or eat their silly threats and innuendos, thereby forcing the Europeans to see exactly what we are dealing with.

"Sir, are you making threats to my people?"

That is what Bush's response needs to be.

5/15/2006 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

OK, I'll bite. I believe in the Constitution of the US of America, and that's about all. I don't know if I believe in God, though I have become convinced of late that there may well be some kind of life after death. I believe in the doves outside my window that are working over last years sunflower seeds. The Mullahs threaten all this that is good in our life. If I was President, I would nuke them now, even knowing we might lose some cities. I would put an end to Islam. I might end up in the Netherlands as a war criminal, but I would have preserved the Constitution and the ability of free men and women to live their lives by their own lights, long as they don't harm anyone else. I think I would die at peace with my decision.

5/15/2006 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Again, let me say this clearly. Ahmadinejad's letter fashioned after Mohammed's 7th century missive.

Ahmadinejad copied this format for a reason: it is the Islamic precedent for the proper declaration of war.

Every other comment about the letter is beside and under the point.

The import of the letter is clear: Iran has now formally threatened America with war. Any further diplomacy must take this into account, or we are setting ourselves up for one hell of a classification error.

5/15/2006 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

We were, of course, in the middle of discussions with Japan on 7 Dec 1941. Just how much our lack of alertness can be blamed on that I don't know, but it surely was a factor.

Certainly in this country and the West in general the fact that talks were under way would be used as an arguement for not pre-positioning military units. And given the kind of leaks we have seen, even classified discussions about military options would have their hazards.

But the biggest problem with formal talks with the Iranians is that a movie about the process would have to be named "Groundhog Day II." It will just go on and on and on, featuring the diplomatic equivalent of both candlelit dinners and snowball fights, until....

5/15/2006 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger John Samford said...

DR, a giant astroid could wipe us all out tommorrow. The chance of that is MUCH greater then the chance of the PRC crossing the Straits. ROC's are tough. Dunnigan and Dupry both rate them right behind Singapore.
Meanwhile the Chinese are basically inept. They havn't won a war in several centuries and that doesn't look to change. How do you say 'paper dragon' in Chinese? Why would China want to invade Tiawan? Their problem would be a lack of OIL. Does Tiawan have any OIL?
No, China is pragmatic and will seek OIL where it is to be gotten. Iran.
Why would China want a fight with America that doesn't get them OIL, but does get them a lot of dead people? Not that China cares that much about dead chinamen, but like any tyranny, they need their troops to keep the population firmly under control.
If China wants to fight for OIL, why not fight where the OIL is? Iran.
China doesn't have the lift to get more then about 80,000 soldiers to Tiawan. Half of them would defect, they are conscripts, NOT volunteers.
Meanwhile America could easly transport 100,000 Chinese soldiers a month to Iraq. In 3 months we could get enough chinese equipment and men to Iran to overrun the place if that is what was wanted. Then the new government could cut a deal with China for OIL.
That makes a lot more sense then fighting over Tiawan, which will eventually reunite with the Mainland. Why fight for what you will get for free just by waiting? You have to be stupid as a Mullah to do that.
Next time somebody brings on the doom and gloom about America standing alone, laugh at them. Like a Hyena.
Like which nation on this planet, given a choice of Allies, would choose Iran over the USA? Gimme a break. Bad things happen to Nations that get crossways with America. It's called hegemony. Venezuela has lost 60% of it's OIL production capacity. It seems the bits and pieces one needs to run a refinery are mostly made in the USA. Russia needs those same bits and pieces even worse. Russian OIL Wells are old and pretty much pumped out. They are kept in production by AMERICAN Technology. The Russians could develop that tech, but it will take them years. Meanwhile the wells stop producing and the Russian economy goes into the crapper. Just ask France how that works.

5/15/2006 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

So I think the U.S. has a lot more to fear from an exploding oil price than China.


not if the american consumer started to boycott all un-important crap from china.....

5/15/2006 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I've heard quite a few opinions from folks I respect, that have studied the issue and come to the same conclusion as Aristides:

Take the man at his word.
Seems that was also appropriate advice more than half a century ago.

5/15/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Senate Bill Would Allow 100 Million New Legal Immigrants Over Next Twenty Years

5/15/2006 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

john samford,

Interesting thoughts. What role might Cuba play?

5/15/2006 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

aristides,

Your 9:57 AM - 7th Century

It just seems that try as they will the Iranian regime cannot convince the West of its uncompromising religious fervor. It must be the stark lack of sophistry, the hallmark of modern diplomacy, that's the cause. No matter how many punches administered to pompous Western snouts by Iran, the nonplused diplomatists daintily wipe away the blood and phlegm and continue chattering.

I suspect the Iranians are hoping that we make the first move in order to justify some of the possible scenarios outlined by DR. For example, without sufficient cause Iran tampering with the Bosphorus would bring in the Turks instantly.

TigerHawk has up a good post addressing some of the concerns expressed here – “Iran: The "war generation" comes to power” - http://www.tigerhawk.blogspot.com/

5/15/2006 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

MONOXIDE Thumbs a Ride: Drowsy while driving? Make sure carbon monoxide isn't poisoning you at the wheel. A checkup may save a life. Carbon monoxide is a hitchhiker. We all know that this odorless gas, generated by an automobile at the rate of about a cubic foot a minute, will quickly turn a closed garage into a death chamber, but we apt to overlook the fact that it rides along each time we drive out on the highway. Its handiwork shows up in traffic accident news more frequently than most persons realize. The police report may say that the driver 'apparently fell asleep,' or perhaps a big question mark appears in the space where the cause of the accident should have been recorded, since no one remains alive to tell about it. Some of these accidents, it is true, result from lack of sleep or just plain weariness after long hours of driving, but there seems to be no doubt that a good percentage occur when carbon monoxide, stealing a ride in the car, dulls the senses of the driver.

5/15/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

john samford wrote:

"Next time somebody brings on the doom and gloom about America standing alone, laugh at them. Like a Hyena."

hmmmm, and why are you laughing about the fun we are having in Iraq? We aren't even standing totally alone there and it isn't a very funny situation.

5/15/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

Aristedes,

Sometimes it doesn't even help to scream....

Have you heard any rumblings from any government entity that backs what you/we believe?

5/15/2006 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

doug,

Your 10:49 AM - 100,000,000

The longer this business goes on and the larger the numbers and consequent problems become the more intrigued I become with reversing the trend. Instead of Mexico coming to the US, let the US go to Mexico. Isn't homogenization what's coming eventually anyway? And I have no problem with that as long as we put an end to the ad hoc current method. Get a jump on it and get it organized, I say.

5/15/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Westhawk said...
"The U.S. should opt for no bilateral talks with Iran because the U.S. should not over-extend or over-commit its prestige on the Iran issue. The U.S. will be the last in time to be threatened by Iran's future nuclear weapons. The U.S. will be the last to come into Iranian missile range and the hardest target for Iranian infiltrators to get into (compared to targets in Europe, Russia, the Arab world, or even China). The U.S. should cooperate with the EU-3/UN/IAEA efforts. But the U.S. should commit itself and its prestige only to the same degree that the others mentioned above do, as they will come under Iranian threat first."

This is a most sensible recommendation. It is a well thought out response and will accomplish more than anything else in taking the spotlight off this
A-mad-jihad. Clear smart thinking.

5/15/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

2164th,
"He needs to do what he can to stop the bleeding in Iraq and prepare the way for a new US administrtion to deal with the Iranians."

If the US cannot handle Iraq,weakened as it was by Gulf WarI and sanctions,then it cannot handle Iran.

5/15/2006 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger servius said...

The U.S. will be the last to come into Iranian missile range and the hardest target for Iranian infiltrators to get into (compared to targets in Europe, Russia, the Arab world, or even China).

Of course, since Russia and China are helping Iran to become nuclear they may have a different view of the 'threat.'

5/15/2006 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

Well, I agree with westhawk, but Ash won't like that at all.

another possibility is to make the US a problem for the Iranians. A pet theory of mine, offered here for constructive critique (I said constructive Ash) is that there is a relationship between progress in Iraq and Iran's level of involvement.

A while ago we launched a photo op called Swarmers. Now we're seeing reports of Iran increasing its provision of arms to the Iraqi insurgents.

Iraq the model has a posting about Russian AA showing up in Iraq.

My contention is that Iran cannot afford a stable situation in Iraq because then we'll have much more time to consider how best to confront the growing threat of the mullahcracy

As Iraq improves, Iran must ratchet up. The down side for Iran is a more or less stable country with a significant garrison of US military resources. So the Iranians are focused on causing trouble in Iraq, they don't have a choice.

5/15/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"Iraq certainly does not qualify."

It certainly does, if what you have in mind is a takeover by long-time ex-pats with little-to-no constinuency within the country.

It's the nearly endless dream of the quick fix. Quicker than this administration will end. Am I wrong?

5/15/2006 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

250,000 Persian Warriors at the border. With 40,000 Martyrs waiting to emerge from the shadows and turn this 'democracy' into a *&^%$ Phantom. Bring it on!

5/15/2006 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

What is there, really, to talk about with the Iranians? Fundamentally, they want Islam - and by extension, themselves or people like themselves - to rule the world. They are religious fanatics who actually believe God wants them to rule the world. Our desire to be free and non-muslim is fundamentally, completely incompatible with that. They will go ahead and pursue nuclear weapons despite sanctions or anything else we do short of actual invasion. We are not willing to invade Iran so there is no way to stop them from doing what they are going to do. (Perhaps you could slow it through sanctions or diplomacy, but not stop it). So I can't see that there is anything to talk about.

As I see it, we should isolate them and leave them to fester in their 7th century culture until, like the former Soviet Union, they collapse internally. And if they attack us, strike them with overwhelming, brutal force designed to kill off their leadership without permanently occupying their country.

There's just nothing meaningful to talk to them about.

5/15/2006 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ash, 11:15 AM He meant a Hyena on Monoxide:
They want doom and gloom, give em the spectacle of a dead Hyena trying to force a smile on it's face.

5/15/2006 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

"in my view, would be for the US to join in with all the major stakeholders and engage in negotiations. If Iran continues to be intransigent and all the stakeholders are negotiating then a unified alliance may be possible to forge to confront Iran."

Apart from those who were excused boots on sick parade,any bets as to who they will be?

5/15/2006 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

What ash is attempting to do here is define the set of acceptable circumstances under which America can deal with Iran.

This is essentially the same ploy the left used in the run up to the Iraq war.

the if-then-else statement goes like this: if every country in the world except Iran agrees to fight, then America is permitted to fight, else, America cannot act in its own best interest.

this places our foreign policy in the hands of governments that might appear to be putative allies but are in fact rivals or worse.

I believe that this is designed to set up the administration for "failure" and establish the left as the moral arbiter of America's actions.

so in Ash's view, if France won't go along, then no American action is acceptable. Ash just gave everyone a veto card.

5/15/2006 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

dr. zaius,

Your 11:57 AM - "Persian warriors"

That's an oxymoron, right?

5/15/2006 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

peter uk
said...
“If the US cannot handle Iraq, weakened as it was by Gulf War I and sanctions ,then it cannot handle Iran.”

The problem is not that the US is militarily weak. The US can bomb and destroy the moon if it wants to but this administration has made a shambles of US diplomatic power and is hanging by a thread on the domestic political side. All wars are eventually ended and settled by diplomacy. Diplomacy is not credible without the military. None of it is possible without political support.

5/15/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

All you weak *&^%$ spineless shill chicken hawks are going to feel the wrath of the $*&^% Bitch! Hell hath no fury like a Woman Scorned!

5/15/2006 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Mark, your comment about letting them wallow in the 7th Century is on target, first we have to send them there. Unfortunately, there is a piper to pay.

Question: Why are unilateral sanctions not feasible? I think we could say. "OK folks, you can do all the business you like with Iran, sell them, whatever you please, only if you do you don't do business in the United States, not through third parties or any other way. Think about it, take your choice".

No doubt there is some grave flaw with this, I would like some more sophisticated type to point it out to me.

5/15/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Utopia and aristides offer something useful:

1. Rather than be taken in by another fruitless play-for-time scam, have Iran demonstrate its earnestness with an act of contrition for the sacking of the the U.S. emabassy in 1979. (Of course, since I don't believe Iran is at all sincere, bending a knee like this would likely prove impossible for them.)

After all, our antagonists not only routinely demand such righting of past 'wrongs,' but our pandering politicians criss-cross the globe offering unsolicited apologies.

2. Asking Ahmadinejad for clarification of his apparent threat would accomplish something quite rare -- that is, putting a U.S. antagonist on the spot.

Let's seize 'the power to ask the questions' -- the same power global media uses to keep the U.S. in the dock during its non-stop showtrial of America.

5/15/2006 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

"250,000 Persian Warriors ",Yes that is what they told Alexander of Macedonia.

5/15/2006 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

skipsailing,

Your 11:48 AM - "Russian AA showing up in Iraq."

If we choose, the Iranian fingerprints on these and other hardware, as well as infiltration, could allow us to escalate with targeted retaliatory strikes inside Iran via the Kurds, for example - just enough to aggrevate. Turn about is fair play.

5/15/2006 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Coyle said...

Rat,

Thirty years of prep? You would of thought they would of built a oil refinery and didn't have to export oil and import gas, diesel, jet fuel and such.

But, I bow to you, the expert de mundo.

5/15/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

My spine is fine. I have felt the wrath of the occasional bitch, mostly deserved and if I end up in hell, it will be to eternal regret.

5/15/2006 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

How 'bout some targeted retaliatory strikes on the Russian AA Factories? ;-)

5/15/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

2164th.
Nobody said the US military is weak,your society is,there is a significant portion of your nation utterly opposed to everything the military do in Iraq. The opposition party just views Iraq as a useful lever to gain political power,your media is trying to recreate Vietnam.
I needn't enumerate those involved,you know,but the same forces will be arrayed against in any attack on Iran.
If you can not bear some 2400 casualties over three years,many inflicted by Iran,then you can not stand what is the likely outcome of an invasion Iran.
It is a judgement of what your civil society will support,so far powerful elements have been talking up a defeat in Iraq.When terrorist groups and the Loyal Opposition share all the major talking points,what chance when Iran enters the equation?

5/15/2006 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

cosmo,

Your 12:50 PM - "fruitless play-for-time scam"

Exactly so!

How fallible is human memory. Don't we recall that six months ago this same Iranian regime was clapping its hands in delight at having fooled the EU negotiators, while it used the time to continue its weapons program? And, why exactly, should the US fare any better?

If the EU wishes to dizzily stumble about in a danse macabre, let them, wishing them well, of course. We should reinforce and await that one precious mistake from the Iranians and, then, strike with full fury.

Will the Iranians hurt us as DR envisions? Probably. We should, however, take heart; dead men have no capacity to savor revenge.

Good post.

5/15/2006 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

allen,

It is possible to negotiate a deal where all nuclear development is to be peacefully oriented and all development transparent. If the parties were willing to cut a deal war could be averted. A deal can not be cut if the major players refuse to talk to each other.

5/15/2006 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

"It is possible to negotiate a deal where all nuclear development is to be peacefully oriented and all development transparent."

Indeed it is Ash,indeed it is,impossible to enforce though.

5/15/2006 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

why do you say that it is impossible to enforce Peter? An inspection regime could be established which ensured the transparency.

5/15/2006 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"If not that, then what?"

Gear up the information warfare campaign in Iran, Rat. It's not happening now. And whether the war fought ends up being ours or theirs, it's a good deal.

The only IR at the moment is meant for us.

5/15/2006 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

allen, I believe that such incursions are an on going part of the border skirmishes.

Last week there was discussion here about the Iranians engaging in hot pursuit. Clearly some Kurds were causing trouble in Iran and slipping back across the border to northern Iraq.

As for a unilateral sanction approach, Jim Hoagland had an excellent article on Sunday. he dealt with "assymetrical diplomacy" and using our vast ability to influence international banking seemed like a real option.

5/15/2006 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

The only *IW* at the moment is meant for us.

5/15/2006 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

And sanctions, Rat, skipping the UN if need be.

What DO the Iranians need?

5/15/2006 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

Ash said -

"An inspection regime could be established which ensured the transparency."

After Iraq? I think the masses would "throw the bums out", Republican or Democrat. There are some that would approve of this, but they aren't in power- even, I hope, in their own party. Those that would support another Iraq-like inspection regimen are not sincere in their beliefs. To believe that this solution resolves anything is disengenuous at best. Paid to think this at worst.

A loyal opposition is hard to find these days. PeterUK's 1:05 P.M. post states it extremely well. To think that our lives are political fodder, well, there are special places in hell for those that believe in that sort of thing. For those that don't - history isn't kind to them. At least the history that I read..

5/15/2006 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

danmyers,

How does Iraq figure into it? If all the major stakeholders were able to negotiate a deal with Iran where all their nuclear development was for peaceful purposes with comprehensive inspections insuring transparency what then would be the problem?

5/15/2006 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

Ash,

I assumed that the inspection would be undertaken by the IAEA/UN. Iraq was their pre-war balliwick and were played for fools. That is the most recent "inspection regimen" that I recall and have seen nothing that would alter the outcome.

To have anyone other than the UN attempt this would marginalize the United Nations. Hey, I think maybe I like that... :-)

5/15/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

An inspections regime?

One intrusive enough to be effective, when the IAEA can't obtain cooperation?

One transparent enough not be gamed, like in Iraq?

One Iran would agree to, after years of cajoling, admonishments and carrots (i.e.: talk) from the 'international community,' the UN the EU3 and the US?

Unlikely.

As for "negotiat(ing) a deal with Iran where all their nuclear development was for peaceful purposes with comprehensive inspections insuring transparency what then would be the problem?"

Nothing, of course.

Except that not only has the IAEA been serially unsuccessful at achieving this after years of effort, but Iran has no interest in such an agreement, however much we might desire this as a solution.

5/15/2006 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

"An inspection regime could be established which ensured the transparency."

So what is to be done to countries like North Korea and Iran which say shove your inspection regime.
Send a UN force in?

5/15/2006 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

The IAEA found no new WMD sites in Iraq. The subsequent invasion turned up nothing beyond that. Inspections were working.

In the case of Iran we are not talking about trying to hide a vial of anthrax but rather large industrial centrifuge systems and reactors. The alternative to a negotiated settlement is war and war does not appear to be a good option.

5/15/2006 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

PeterUK, I am advocating that the US sit down with the other stakeholders and attempt to reach a negotiated settlement with Iran. If a negotiated settlement is not reached then we have likely allies if we should then choose to go to war with Iran. If we don't negotiate then either we captitulate or we go to war, most likely alone.

5/15/2006 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

Knew that was coming Ash..... Bull.

I'm not going there. Except to say this - The fact that they didn't find anything proves their incompetence.

5/15/2006 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

Ash,

Perhaps you've forgotten: sometimes the threat warrants standing up. And, that's an American trait, and that's a good thing.
Clearly, in a struggle to the death, there must come a point when compassion-like virtues are eliminated, or at least suspended. Like when any other approach, becomes obviously suicidal.

So, much as we'd like the allies' support, there may be none to be had, on reasonable terms and a timely basis.

Soon your well-reasoned discussion will center on the US handles enemy agents already in-country. There could be 10,000 splodydopes hiding in plain PC sight. What are the rules against profiling again? Maybe we're closing gitmo too quickly.

Or, would you argue we should unleash these homicidal manaics on the extant prison population? (60% of whom are incacerated for pot-related offenses.)

5/15/2006 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Peter UK said...

"Nobody said the US military is weak,your society is,there is a significant portion of your nation utterly opposed to everything the military do in Iraq. The opposition party just views Iraq as a useful lever to gain political power,your media is trying to recreate Vietnam."

Of course, Peter UK is absolutely correct. If the Iranian mullahs are stupid enough to provide the United States with a casus belli, it is vital that Congress draft some sort of war declaration with language activating Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution, i.e. the Iranians, al Qaeda and islamic fascists are named explicitly as "enemies" who have "levied" war against the United States. There would have to be some sort of constitutionally valid legal process in place to deal with sedition from the MSM, LLL and disgruntled spooks. We must not repeat this idiotic process of quarreling amongst ourselves while trying to fight a foreign war against terrorists.

5/15/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/15/2006 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

Actually Ash when Hans Blix headed up the IAEA,they gave a pass to Iraq,subsequently the Israeli airforce had to bomb the nuclear facilities at Osirak.

If you remeber the inspections followed the decimation of the Iraqi army in Gulf WarI.There were no fly zones,in 1998 Operation Desert Fox,an intensive bombing campaign to destroy WMD and tripleA capabilities.Iraq had been obstructing weapons inspectors.
So in reality your peaceful inspections were the Iron Fist in the Velvet Glove.

5/15/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Well while we're standing around waiting for a plan to present itself, why don't we send Mr A some cartoons to keep him amused?

5/15/2006 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

President Ahmadinejad is not the highest ranked executive official in Iran. "Ayatollah" Khamanei is. So, it would be inappropriate for our highest ranked executive official (President Bush) to respond in any manner to President Ahmadinejad.

Secondly, the United States has avoided war by not recognizing the government of Iran. If the United States were to take Iran's rhetoric seriously (which would be a prerequisite for diplomacy), we would first need to remind ourselves that Iran has been in a state of war against the United States since 1979.

Yes, President Ahmadinejad's letter is, functionally speaking, a declaration of war. However, this is nothing new coming from the Iran's clerical state.

Finally, it is not unexpected, but it is abundantly clear that President Ahmadinejad is taking God's name in vain. That is, I tend to assume that God the creator of heaven and earth, not the exclusive mouthpiece of the Iranian state. Considering how Muslims get so uptight about "blasphemy", it is altogether interesting to see how President Ahmadinejad acts as if God were his national mascot and yet fails to perceive the irony. It is possible for pious people to believe in the same deity while having different opinions on various issues -- this is a point that nobody within the Iranian government appears to understand.

It is a basic point of piety that one should not equate one's whims with the will of God. And ever since 1979, the government of Iran has clearly proclaimed its governmental policy as divine. From my point of view, it is the secular states that have been truly pious, especially in comparison to the institutionalized impiety of the Iranian state.

5/15/2006 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

"Inspections were working."

A conclusion that could not be made with confidence when Blix returned after his final tour complaining of Iraqi obstructionism. A conclusion that could only be made following OIF. Easy in hindsight to claim the risk was worth taking.

I suspect a similarly risky cloud of uncertainty would surround any Iranian inspections regime.

5/15/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

PeterUK

Yes, Iraq involved a fair amount of coericion to facilitate the inspections. If Iran agrees to the inspection regime in a negotiated settlement then things need not be like Iraq with the continued iron fist waving about.

dan, what does that say about the competence of the Bush admin as well?

5/15/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

"I am advocating that the US sit down with the other stakeholders and attempt to reach a negotiated settlement with Iran."

Ash, please explain the difference between your admirable aspiration and the past several years of shuttle diplomacy and prostration by the EU3 (encouraged and supported by the U.S.), the near weekly begging and pleading of Mohammed Baradei of the IAEA, and the parade of ideas and offers (bribes, really) made by the 'international community,' including the U.S.

5/15/2006 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

"dan, what does that say about the competence of the Bush admin as well?"

On that point,not much Ash.. We do agree on some things.. :-)

5/15/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

cosmos, the US has not been sitting at the table.

5/15/2006 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

IF Ash, IF?

Iran has publically and emphatically stated that it is going to have nulear weapons.Considering the highly masculist, respect and honour culture that obtains in Iran,how on earth are they going to do that without losing face?
This isn't a Bay Area PTA, it is a Nation which strings up little girls for adultery,hangs homosexuals from cranes,beats, tortures,imprisons and murders political opposition.
IF?

5/15/2006 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

ash,

Your 1:17 PM - "major players refuse to talk to each other."

Is there something about the word "NO" you do not understand. The Iranians have been quite clear, the will be no agreement that limits there use of nuclear technology. Again, you just cannot accept that sometimes and some people mean precisely what they say. Moreover, had the Iranians not taken the ever willing Europeans for a ride, we would not be having this conversation.

For those who "feel" it possible to do a meaningful deal with Iran and have never been to New York, I have a nice bridge for sale there, cheap.

5/15/2006 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

Ash,
"the US has not been sitting at the table."

Do you know what diplomacy and negotiations are,it is horse trading,it isn't sitting round like a mother's meeting and coming to a concensus,Iran will want something,so far it has got what it wants.
The bottom line is that Iran wishes to be a regional superpower with nuclear weapons.All you have to do is come up with something that they will accept instead,I doubt if they will be satisfied with the propeller beanie.

5/15/2006 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

And which table would that be, Ash? The one at the UN not good enough anymore? Endorsement and support of EU3 initiatives too multilateral?

Again, continuing to negotiate with an opponent uninterested in a settlement and who perceives negotiations as a way simply of gaining advantage is a sucker's game.

5/15/2006 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

Hmm...

As I recall, the first shots in the OIF were targeted assassination attempts. If we'd of killed Sadam, things would have gone differently.

Years ago, Tom Clancy wrote about it, too. One-shot-one-mullah.

5/15/2006 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

"things need not be like Iraq with the continued iron fist waving about"

Right, no need to have any actual consequences to enforce compliance . . .

It was the credible threat of an iron fist -- enforcement of no fly zones, etc. -- that had any moderating effect on Hussein's behavior as it was. Sanctions certainly didn't have much of an impact -- except upon the nation he was busy looting along with his bought-and-paid-for European diplomats.

Unfortunate, yes.

5/15/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"If we'd of killed Sadam, things would have gone differently."

Oh, bullshit.

5/15/2006 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

Allen,

What do they call the Gulf of Tonkin in Iran. B^)

5/15/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/15/2006 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

Ash,

Iranians rejected exactly this just recently, from their erstwhile supplier, Russia.

5/15/2006 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

"what does that say about the competence of the Bush admin as well?"

After decades of fecklessness on the part of the West's entire ruling class, George Bush has to his credit an attempt at putting meaning back into the words "never again."

That our exploration of the uncharted territory in which we now find ourselves cannot be choreographed like a ballet or dinner party makes it no different -- and no messier -- than other hinge moment in history.

5/15/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

skipsailing,

Your 1:46 PM - "Kurds were causing trouble in Iran"

Yes, I am aware of this. What I'm thinking is larger, harder, and sustained incursions - something that would draw in substantial Iranian assets. Iranian mistakes, then, might be anticpated. A significant error could give cover for the dropping of the hammer. If not, it will disipate Iran.

And, yes, I am suggesting purposefully baiting the Iranians. Bad I know, but less immoral than the present hypocritical diplomacy.

5/15/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

It is no use folks "They don't like us," sniff,"They really don't like us".

5/15/2006 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

My 3:03 PM

"there" and "their"

5/15/2006 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

The probability is that whilst Iran has not made any incursions into Iraq with large numbers,mainly supplying "insurgents" things are hotting up.It will be left to the Iraqi Army to do the butchery when Iran does move troops over the frontier.

5/15/2006 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

PeterUK said -

"It will be left to the Iraqi Army to do the butchery when Iran does move troops over the frontier."

You think? If push comes to shove, Iraqi forces would instigate it...hmmm.

5/15/2006 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

geoffgo,

Your 3:23 PM - "Tonkin"

I'm not sure your point. As for me, had the North Vietnamese presented the same threat as Iran, so be it.

Look, we can argue this until we are all blue in the face. Personally, I would just get it done and stop wasting time trying to placate the sensitivities of those who will remain opposed no matter what Iran does. This is surreal.

Iran is going to get what it wants or the US is going to get what it wants. We are just waiting for someone to throw a punch. If that can be expedited to the advantage of my country, I can live with the guilt and make no apology. If history is unkind, at least there will be history, not guaranteed if Iran goes nuclear.

5/15/2006 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

danmyers,
Plausible deniability.

5/15/2006 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

I agree with you, Allen, but we are running out of time. If we are going we should have gone yesterday. We should use all the ordinance in our arsensal--no boots on the ground. I too can live with the guilt.

5/15/2006 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

PeterUK,

Exactly.

BTW, Powerline has extracts of GWB's speech tonight. (Doug, DR)

5/15/2006 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

And really I don't think the concept guilt comes into it.Where is the guilt in defending a sane way of life? For all the peoples in the US, EU, elsewhere.

5/15/2006 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

bobalharb,

Your 4:04 PM - "guilt"

I use the word for the sake of good manners.

After the unavenged murder of my Marines in Lebanon, I assure you, "quarter" for Iran is not a personal preference. Marines NEVER forget, as the Iranians may learn to their sorrow. Any moderation I may demonstrate in future will be the matter of efficiency and utility. No doubt, Dr. Rice would disagree, but I pride myself on being quintessentially American.

5/15/2006 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

It will be left to the Iraqi Army to do the butchery when Iran does move troops over the frontier.

It will be a cold day in hell when that happens.

Babble on...

5/15/2006 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Dr. Sanity,

Help me, please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The comments to Wretchard’s thread have made me understand that I am afflicted.

It is an innocent enough thread, which asks the question, “Should the US negotiate bilaterally with Iran?” But as I read the posts, each one overwhelms me with terrible, persistent feelings of dread and betrayal. Worse, I feel that my very best friends in the whole, wide-world are out to get me. Here’s what’s happening.

I know I’m delusional, but I keep thinking about the “Oil for Food Program”. For whatever reason, I imagine that the UN, the EU (France & Germany), the Russians, and the Chinese, and a score of faceless potentates violated that Resolution, betraying my country and the people of Iraq.

Again, thoughts rush over me of the year-long negotiations undertaken by Mr. Bush at the UN, at the insistence of the EU, Russia and China, prior to the US going to war. Once more the voices in my head tell me that my friends at the UN, in the EU (France & Germany), Russia, and China took that opportunity to undermine my country’s efforts, making handsome profits in the process. Goofy, I KNOW! But the imaginary memories just won’t go away.

Now, with all this talk about bilateral negotiations with Iran, with the ebullient recommendation of the UN, EU (France & Germany), Russia, and China I just have this unreasonable feeling that I will be betrayed. Friends don’t let friends get nuked, but I can’t make the accusatory voices go away!

Woe is me. What is wrong with me? What can I do? Is there a new drug?

5/15/2006 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

The problem here is,we have been waging war against Iran for the last three years,a low level,nasty dirty covert war,but one that can be denied.
It was obvious after the innitial invasion of Iraq that the public would not countenance another military expedition.
On the other hand,the negotiated route was opted for,this required the pretence that we were dealing with a local insurgency,this despite concrete evidence that Iran had set up a network of agents and was supplying munitions and money.Seven British soldiers killed in the Basra area in one week is an indication that Iran is upping the ante.They have said that we will be made to suffer if we impede their nuclear ambitions,they are just flexing their muscles.
However,deniabilty allows negotiations to go forth,satisfying world opinion ,ameliorate the antiwar sector.For the US,this prevent the Loyal oppostion from calling the administration war mongering neo-cons.

5/15/2006 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

dr zaius,

Bugger off!

5/15/2006 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"Friends don’t let friends get nuked"

What do the Israelis fucking own them for, allen?

5/15/2006 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

Allen channeling Huey Lewis. What a thread!

5/15/2006 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

I'd like to think the stage is being set for action. Our military on the boarder of Mexico, General Hayden being put in charge of the CIA, arms ban on venezuela. Perhaps these are some ot the actions to prepare for iranian reprisals after we try to take out the thier nuke facilities? One could only hope because I shudder to think of the other.

5/15/2006 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Huey Lewis? Quess I am getting to old for this type or work. Who is Huey Lewis? I remember 'Free Huey'--Huey's ass was finally freed, but then he died on the streets of Oakland, a common criminal.

5/15/2006 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

too old for this type of work, and that is the truth

5/15/2006 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

Iran has already signed and violated terms of previous agreements.

However, this time they mean to keep their promises.

You have to believe.

Neville Chamberlain Was A Man of Peace.

He had the papers to prove it too!

If only Bush was a man of peace.

5/15/2006 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

trish,

Your 4:49 PM - "What do the Israelis fucking own them for, allen?"

Initially, I pondered playing coy, with the argument that no one can prove the Israelis have such weapons, but why insult everyone here.

The short answer:

___the fall of Saigon
___the Yom Kippur War
___the abandonment of Lebanon
___the betrayal of the Shah
___the betrayal of the Iraqi Shi'a and Kurds

I think I'll stop now.

PS: "Fuck the Jews!" - Mr. James A. Baker III, former Secretary of State of the United States

5/15/2006 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

Sorry Bobalharb- 80's top 40 Rock Band - Huey Lewis and the News. One of their top ones was titled - "I Want A New Drug"


C. Hayes / H. Lewis

I want a new drug
One that won't make me sick
One that won' make me crash my car
Or make me feel three feet thick

I want a new drug
One that won't hurt my head
One that won't make my mouth too dry
Or make my eyes too red

One that won't make me nervous
Wondering what to do
One that makes me feel like I feel when I'm with you
When I'm alone with you

I want a new drug
One that won't spill
One that don't cost too much
Or come in a pill

I want a new drug
One that won't go away
One that won't keep me up all night
One that won't make me sleep all day

One that won't make me nervous
Wondering what to do
One that makes me feel like I feel when I'm with you
When I'm alone with you
I'm alone with you baby

I want a new drug
One that does what it should
One that won't make me feel too bad
One that won't make me feel too good

I want a new drug
One with no doubt
One that won't make me talk too much
Or make my face break out

One that won't make me nervous
Wondering what to do
One that makes me feel like I feel when I'm with you
When I'm alone with you

5/15/2006 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Dan--Do I need to get a prescription, or can I order on line?

5/15/2006 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

Yep, there's the rub.... There ain't no new drug...

5/15/2006 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Dang, it's back to milk and cheese. And sleep. Good night and take care.

5/15/2006 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

I never liked that television anyway. Yeah, it did not survive the President's immigration speech. Seems that Michelle Malkin is not impressed.

"SAME OLD, SAME OLD" - http://www.michellemalkin.com/

5/15/2006 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Peter, have you ever seen war? Do you know what the face of war looks like?

How many of you so called 'conservative' Neocons posting here have actually seen the face of war?

5/15/2006 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...


Dick Durbin


This is the kind of treachery you have to contend with

5/15/2006 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

dr zaius,
Yes.

5/15/2006 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Chicken Hawk. It's *&^%$ easy for you to sit there from your leather Exec chair and order the *((&^ troops into battle.

5/15/2006 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Do you thibk of Israel as a US defense dependent, allen?

5/15/2006 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

6:16 PM Is he still calling for the Smiling Dead Hyena?

5/15/2006 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
Tom Delay: did not serve.
Roy Blunt: did not serve.
Bill Frist: did not serve.
Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
Rick Santorum: did not serve.
Trent Lott: did not serve
Dick Cheney: did not serve.
John Ashcroft: did not serve.
Jeb Bush: did not serve.
Karl Rove: did not serve.
Saxby Chambliss: did not serve.
Vin Weber: did not serve.
Richard Perle: did not serve.
Douglas Feith: did not serve.
Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
Richard Shelby: did not serve.
Jon Kyl: did not serve.
Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
Christopher Cox: did not serve.
Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
Phil Gramm: did not serve
Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
John M. McHugh: did not serve.
J C Watts: did not serve.
Jack Kemp: did not serve.
Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
George Pataki: did not serve.
Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
John Engler: did not serve.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: actually served, but then went AWOL from Austrian army base.
Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
Clarence Thomas: did not serve.

PUNDITS & PREACHERS

Sean Hannity: did not serve.
Rush Limbaugh: did not serve
Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
Michael Savage: did not serve.
George Will: did not serve.
Paul Gigot: did not serve.
Bill Bennett: did not serve.
Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
John Wayne: did not serve.
Bill Kristol: did not serve.
Kenneth Starr: did n ot serve.
Ralph Reed: did not serve.
Michael Medved: did not serve.
Charlie Daniels: did not serve.
Ted Nugent: did not serve.

5/15/2006 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Just heard O'Reilly say something stupid: "We need a compromise on immigration" to take care of the 12 million aliens already here. He, of course, did not use that terrible word "illegal."

It would give me such pleasure to learn that 12 aliens had broken into Mr. O'Reilly's house and when discovered insisted on compromise. Yeah, they get the entire second floor, with use of the pool every-other day. The kitchen's use is not a problem; the "guest workers" will roast goats in the Jacuzzi.

O'Reilly and Barnes - what a pair. Surprising that Snow was chosen.

5/15/2006 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

trish,

Your 6:22 PM - Israeli dependency

Yes.

As you are aware, the US has become quite dependent on Israeli IT and R&D. One day we may all thank our lucky stars that Israel was the means by which the US got around the SALTs.

In any lengthy struggle, Israel would need American lift and logistic support, although less than in the past, it is claimed.

Israel suffers the same ennui as most of the West. It would seem that fluoridation has sapped out precious bodily fluids. A nuke here and a nuke there may break the cycle. Obviously, all it will take in the case of Israel is one nuke – something being given close attention it is presumed.

5/15/2006 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

dr. zaius,

Your 6:27 PM - desideratum

Have you ever served in the Congress of the United States?

Have you ever served in an executive role in an oil company?

Have you ever had sex with a goat?

If your answers are "No", by what authority do you dare give an opinion on American Federal governance, gas prices, or bestiality?

5/15/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

6:27 PM,
How bout Bill and Hillary?
Soros?
Howie Dean?
The Fat Movie Guy?

5/15/2006 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

FDR?

5/15/2006 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Dr. Zaius--Well, I am still up, getting older and cannot sleep--I may be wrong but I don't think Abe Lincoln served--though he may have had a small position in the guard growing up--the guy I am voting for here in Idaho--Robert Vasquez--served twice--a Marine and a recent immigrant--what is the point about all this not serving?--in a nation of 300 millions and a lean mean military very few these days are going to serve.I read a statistic several years ago that said that farmers like myself have a higher death rate than cops, or the military. Does that make my opinion more important than others, or should my opinion stand on its own like all the others?

5/15/2006 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Dr. Rice's "deprived" Palestinians have repaid her silliness with the contempt it deserves.

"We won't remain idle in the face of the siege imposed on the Palestinian people by Israel, the US and other countries," and
"We will strike at the economic and civilian interests of these countries, here and abroad." C/o The Aksa Martyrs Brigades

On the other hand, the Israelis seem to be on to something that just might work with Mr. Ahmadinejad - "One Islamic Jihad operative was reported killed and three others wounded Monday evening after an IAF missile hit the car"

http://clarityandresolve.com/

5/15/2006 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Lincoln served as a captain in the Black Hawk War.

5/15/2006 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

dr. zaius,

Your 6:27 PM cont'd

As a stickler for prior military service as a prerequisite to military decision making, you may appreciate the extraordinary rise of just such a leader, in recent memory. The man was a highly decorated, patriotic NCO, who went on to lead his country in the greatest war in history. Yes, Adolph Hitler had just the kind of credentials you so vociferously demand. Nice thought, hey?

As to the horrors of war you spoke of earlier, many people here have some personal experience. In fact, so have many of Iran's present leadership (see TigerHawk). It does not seem to have had the pacific influence on them you project; then, they weren't killed or disabled. We will have to teach them this lesson.

5/15/2006 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

'Comrade Wolf' and the mullahs
Posted: May 12, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern

Pat Buchanan


In the 27 years since the Iranian Revolution, the United States has launched air strikes on Libya, invaded Grenada, put Marines in Lebanon and run air strikes in the Bekaa Valley and Chouf Mountains in retaliation for the Beirut bombing.

We invaded Panama, launched Desert Storm to liberate Kuwait and put troops into Somalia. Under Clinton, we occupied Haiti, fired cruise missiles into Sudan, intervened in Bosnia, conducted bombing strikes on Iraq and launched a 78-day bombing campaign against Serbia, a nation that never attacked us. Then, we put troops into Kosovo.



After the Soviet Union stood down in Eastern Europe, we moved NATO into Poland and the Baltic states and established U.S. bases in former provinces of Russia's in Central Asia.

Under Bush II, we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, though it appears Saddam neither had weapons of mass destruction nor played a role in 9-11.

Yet, in this same quarter century when the U.S. military has been so busy it is said to be overstretched and exhausted, Iran has invaded not one neighbor and fought but one war: an 8-year war with Iraq where she was the victim of aggression. And in that war of aggression against Iran, we supported the aggressor.

Hence, when Iran says that even as we have grievances against her, she has grievances against us, does Iran not have at least a small point? And when Russian President Putin calls Bush's America "Comrade Wolf," does he not have at least a small patch of ground on which to stand?

5/15/2006 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger Phatcoder said...

We are in a race against time. Talks will only give Iran time to develop the bomb. I can't believe that option wasn't discussed here. The only people I hear that are opposed to, or think Iraq is going poorly, are people who watch television or read the mass production newspapers. To think the U.S. is weak right now is sillyness. It's as if the "still small voice" that is guiding the thought that Iraq is somehow going poorly is linked to television and coorporate newspapers(NYT, LA Times, Etc..). A waste of time is definately what talking with Iran will produce. We can't afford to invest our time that poorly.

5/15/2006 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"I read a statistic several years ago that said that farmers like myself have a higher death rate than cops, or the military."
bobal,
I came a lot closer to dying on a farm than I did in the Military.
When I was growing up, they were still using a lot of the old 3 wheel Farmall's in the San Juaquin Valley.
Those things were always crushing farmers or drowning them in an irrigation ditch.
We still had one for our apple orchard in 79!
I thought things had changed by now and that you guys just drove around in Air Conditioned Comfort guided by GPS! No?

5/15/2006 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I was going to use Lincoln too, but knew I'd have to research it!
...laziness comes to those who wait.tm

5/15/2006 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Phatcoder,
Desert Rat's concern is that the wrong folks, like Mookie Sadr are gaining control of the country.
Comment on that?

5/15/2006 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

I think we'd all like to see the President respond to this declaration of war with something along these lines:

"Thank you for your letter.

"Our concerns are that under your leadership Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons in order to terrorize other countries, that your government is in the habit of murdering its own citizens in order to stifle free speech, and that your government sponsors terrorist murder gangs such as Hizbollah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and Al Qaeda.

"Your actions have brought the time for pretty words to an end. Our demands, following from these concerns, are as follows:

"1. Iran must immediately cease nuclear weapon development. This will be verified by our chosen troops. You may freely develop nuclear energy, but nuclear weapons are off the table.

"2. If any nuclear, biological or dirty radiological weapon goes off anywhere in the world, then we will treat it as an act of war and mass murder by your government. In such a case, your regime, your nuclear weapons, and your oil fields will not survive 30 days. Any other act of war, such as mining the Straight of Hormuz, will be punished the same way.

"3. Stop funding, arming, hosting, and supporting terrorist murder gangs everywhere in the world. Turn over all members of Al Qaeda, including Osama Bin Laden's immediate family, who you are currently hosting, to our chosen forces. The Jihad from Iran must end now.

"If Iran fulfils these very reasonable demands, then we of the USA will be happy to assist with the construction and development of safe nuclear energy in Iran, and to welcome Persia once again to the family of civilized nations in the world."

But of course that won't happen because that isn't poker.

5/15/2006 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

If I were Ahmadinejad, my response would be:

Smash the Chinese mafia and Yakuza syndicates that: bankroll this war, bankroll the Islamic charities, launder money for Afganistan opium and global narcotics traffic, and literally OWN the United States.

Bush's response would be:

I'm sorry I cannot do that Mr. Ahmadinejad, the Chinese mafia and the Yakuza have me by the *&^$£, and besides, I'm the leader of the WASP Corleone Family.

I mean, come on? Where is everybody living here? Mayberry RFD?

5/15/2006 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

I'm not in a good mood tonight Allen. The Chinese Triads have me by the (*&%$@.

Yes, Adolph Hitler had just the kind of credentials you so vociferously demand. Nice thought, hey?

I love it when the Israeli Lobby invokes the name of Adolf Schickelgruber. If you, like your favorite Aryan villain, launch and support an illegal war of aggression, then I'm sure you and your Zionazi buddies will join Der Führer in one big kosher vegetarian Hawaiian barbeque in Hell. Arial 'Butcher of Beirut' Sharon will be big kahuna grill meister and Richard Perle will be at the piano bar singing the ‘Holocaust Industries’ version of ‘Feelings…nothing more than…feelings…’

5/15/2006 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Oh, yes that's right. If I use that word, I must be one of them. The bad men in black.
Here's a good ol' fashion lefty media link for you. Only the best...they hate Democrats too.

5/15/2006 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

Dr Zaius has just got to be someone taking the piss,where's Doug?

5/16/2006 04:11:00 AM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

Allan,

"dr. zaius,

Your 6:27 PM - desideratum

Have you ever served in the Congress of the United States?"

I think you should insert "knowingly served"

5/16/2006 04:23:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

peter UK,

Your 4:23 AM

After the "Schickelgruber" tirade, your point is VERY well taken. I make no claim to infallibility, however. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

5/16/2006 04:41:00 AM  
Blogger Phatcoder said...

Doug,
If Iraq were to fail to become a democracy, I would admit failure. My hopes are high that it'll become a democracy however. The U.S. has several extremely vocal politicians who seem to fly in the face of the U.S. constitution from many perspectives. They are a part of the democratic process of today. Sadr seems to be a "Arab" politician. One that beats his chest like most of the arabs I know and has some teeth. I believe he'll help define Iraq, but don't believe he'll take control of it.

5/16/2006 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Psalm69:

'A mind is a terrible thing to taste.'

:X

5/16/2006 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/22/2006 11:31:00 PM  

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