Saturday, December 08, 2007

Footnote

Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard notes that Major General John Batiste, a general who spoke out against Donald Rumsfeld, and who, until recently, was a Board Member of VoteVets.org now thinks the Surge is working.

the counterinsurgency campaign led by Gen. David Petraeus is the correct approach in Iraq. It is showing promise of success and, if continued, will provide the Iraqi government the opportunities it desperately needs to stabilize its country.

It should be natural for a person to change his mind with the passage of time or the emergence of new information. All of us do it all the time. The tendency to regard the changes in position of General Sanchez, for example, or General Bastite in this case as "conversions" treats empirical questions as if they were articles of faith. They are not.



In the case of Iraq I think the Surge organically grew out of collective developments in the ground forces. It wasn't some plant taken from an alien garden and grafted onto the Army and the Marines. Without detracting a whit from the unique contributions of General Petraeus and his staff, I believe historians will find that the Surge was the expression of the ground force's developing doctrine and not some kind of Castor Oil that had to be poured reluctantly down its throat by a revolutionary leadership.

Without the changes and leadership associated with the Surge Iraq might well have been lost. It was not as if nothing new had happened. But the Surge was also built on a lot that was old; the Iraqi political structure which, however imperfect, was nevertheless elected by a population who showed (though it now chic to deride their purple fingers) great courage. It was founded on Iraqi Security Forces who were already being trained by US trainors. It was built on intelligence networks which, as everyone knows, take years to build. It was built most of all, I think, on the collective experience of US officers and NCOs, many of whom were on their second and some on their third tours. The previous tours were not valueless. They were infinitely valuable in providing experience, cultural knowledge, language fluency.

In other words, it's possible that the Surge could come only when it did. Might it have come earlier with better leadership? Perhaps. Might it never have come at all? Certainly. It's an open question whether another General other than Petraeus may have come upon an equivalent or even better strategy. However it is a certainty that the Surge would never have come at all if proposals, so numerous at the end of 2006, to withdraw US forces precipitately, had been adopted. There are often many paths to victory; but surrender is infallibly the certain path to defeat.

I think it will also be shown that the season of al-Qaeda's greatest "victories" -- the months when it was detonating two or three carbombs a week and when the Mahdi Army was countering with its retail reprisals -- was really the season of its downfall. That's when al-Qaeda, to use a current term, "jumped the shark". Terrorist forces use fear to maintain control of the population. The fact that al-Qaeda was practically hosing down Iraqi society with blood will be regarded in retrospect, I think, not as a sign that they were winning, but as an indicator that they were losing control.

But to return to the earlier theme of treating battlefield situations not as articles of religion but as empirical situations, we must always remember that change is relentless. Just as the pre-Surge situation was not a "defeat" set in stone, the Surge itself is not a victory foreordained. We are in the driver's seat right now but we can still throw it away. Nothing prevents -- or should prevent -- Generals Batiste or Sanchez from flipping yet again. What we should think about Iraq "depends"; and it always depends on the situation.

80 Comments:

Blogger Tarnsman said...

I for one am thankful that Rumsfeld was SoD. Granted his some of his decisions left much to be desired, he nevertheless dragged the Pentagon kicking and screaming into thinking outside the box and to accepting that the old rules had to been changed to meet the new threat. That he stepped on a lot of toes in the process and hurt people's "feelings" is what created enemies for him. That the President threw him under the bus after the '06 election is a black mark against Mr. Bush in my book.

As far as people changing the minds in view of new facts goes, that should be viewed as a favorable result. Better than being a denier of reality by clinging to a world view long revealed to be false. Sort of like the Left is doing in regards to Iraq right now.

12/08/2007 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger The Duck said...

You give Batista and Sanchez far more credit than they deserve.

12/08/2007 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

There are often many paths to victory; but surrender is infallibly the certain path to defeat.

Unless you're a democrat, then defeat in Iraq represents a victory.

As to the Surge, I think it is very telling that imposition of greater force and toughening the rules of engagement produced improved results. There is little doubt that this also will prove to be the case wherever we go in the Islamic world.

Islam's doctrine is all stick. To approach it—carrot in hand—is a fool's errand at best. "Soft Power" has proven itself to be exactly that, flaccid at best. The only carrot that should be presented to our Islamic foes is the opportunity of not dying. If that is not incentive enough, then there isn't much reason to keep such uninterested individuals around so that they can later detonate themselves in our midst.

tarnsman: That the President threw him [Rumsfeld] under the bus after the '06 election is a black mark against Mr. Bush in my book.

More than anything, it seemed to demonstrate an almost rudderless overall strategy. Rumsfeld's unpopularity—regardless of whether it was merited or not—definitely hurt the republican cause during the 2006 elections. Why Bush kept on board such a political drag only to jettison him post-election makes little to no sense.

Far more intelligent and humane would've been to have Rumsfeld "resign" before election season so that his office could be "rehabilitated" before the ballots were cast. In this age of poll-driven and concensus-based decision making, I have come to realize a grudging admiration for people like Bolton and Rumsfeld who could give a damn about popularity when it comes to steering this nation to safety.

That Bolton, especially, has fallen so far out of favor is a strong indicator of just how badly needed his sort of character has become, regardless of his political bent. The near-endemic spinelessness and unblushing pursuit of self-interests exhibited by our current crop of politicians—from both sides of the aisle—is simply abhorent.

12/08/2007 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger D. B. Light said...

Wretchard makes several very good points. He is absolutely right that the preconditions for a successful surge were not in place before this year and that al Qaeda's bloodbath was badly misinterpreted in this country. But that campaign of terror was not irrational. Al Qaeda knew that their only hope for victory was to win the political war in the US. Outrageous acts of terror were designed with that end in mind. Tarnsman is right to praise Rummy. My brother worked with Rumsfeld and considers him to be one of the greatest SoD's ever. You misunderstand Bush's role, though. In wartime the President's primary job is to hold together a political coalition capable of sustaining the war effort. Before the 2006 elections he could afford to keep Rumsfeld and did, but when the Democrats took charge of Congress Bush had to make concessions -- letting Rummy go was one of those. All in all Bush has played the political side of the war effort masterfully. Future historians, at least some of them, will recognize that and give him due credit.

12/08/2007 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger buck smith said...

Intel Dump blog is a good blog but the majority of the commenters are very certain of our ulitmate defeat in Iraq. It will be sweet indeed if the next couple of years are not kind to them...

12/08/2007 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger TigerHawk said...

But that campaign of terror was not irrational. Al Qaeda knew that their only hope for victory was to win the political war in the US.

I don't think al Qaeda originally knew that winning the political war in the U.S. was their "only hope." They came to that knowledge over time. Originally, they expected they could drive the United States from Iraq in alliance with Sunni rejectionists, but American soldiers proved to be a much harder targets than they imagined, even after the limited experience of Afghanistan (which did not involve many American ground troops), and George Bush was more intransigent than anyone imagined. That forced them to change their tactics to indiscriminate attacks on civilians. Whatever harm this did to the battle for "hearts and minds," the use of random attacks meant that the payoff for cooperating with al Qaeda diminished, because you might die from a car bomb even if you cooperated.

12/08/2007 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger bansheewailer said...

If alQaeda and their ilk feel defeated in Iraq, expect an upsurge of terrorism in Israel, Europe, and perhaps the USA.The aim will be restoring aQ's 'honor' and cowing those governments to permit milking them of any remaining democratic values.
The Islamists have a long view, based in their Koranic beliefs and expressed in their ~800 year history of expansion and domination of other supposedly more advanced civilizations.
Our biggest problem is not ignorance or stupidity -- it's our internal rot and cowardice.

12/08/2007 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger ESMcHugh said...

"In other words, it's possible that the Surge could come only when it did"

"It's an open question whether another General other than Petraeus may have come upon an equivalent or even better strategy."

You seem to be synthesizing the two scientific historical approaches: the personalistic (the person was right for the time) and the naturalistic (the time was right for the person).

I would like to make a more general observation (no puns intended):

In Iraq, we are seeing competing causes or movements. No cause can sustain itself itself unless it produces something of value. The values we bring are security, health, welfare, etc while the AQ and the Mahdis bring only dis-value like fear, death, etc.

Given all this, victory for us should be a matter of running out the clock on our enemies.

12/09/2007 05:40:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

What we should think about Iraq "depends"; and it always depends on the situation.

Depends on what the Fifth Columnists in our Public Intelligence Services tell us about the situation? I think not.

Here is what I think Americans should think: the exact opposite of whatever al Sahab, al Jazeerah, AP, Reuters, CNN, Defeatocrats, and the NYT 90% of the time want you to think.

How much of the despair and pessimism about the outcome of the Iraqi Campaign is based on sober, objective assessment of facts on the ground and how much is based on wildly successful enemy psychological operations?

I mean, talk about a direct IV into the vein of your national will.

12/09/2007 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger D. B. Light said...

Tigerhawk is quite right to note that al Qaeda's bloodbath policy evolved out of the failure of their early expectations regarding Bush and the American military. I worry about what they might decide to do once Bush is gone. It is likely that the next president will not show the same resolve.

12/09/2007 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

esmchugh: Given all this, victory for us should be a matter of running out the clock on our enemies.

When they can take out a $4.35 million dollar M1 Abrams tank with a surplus artillery shell buried in the ground and rigged to a Genie garage door opener, our strategy ought not be one of waiting out the insurgents. Eight billion dollars a month for this Democracy Project? Would that we could have gotten the USSR to spend that kind of dough, the cold war would have ended under Nixon.

12/09/2007 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Cannoneer #4: Depends on what the Fifth Columnists in our Public Intelligence Services tell us about the situation? I think not.

Was this Fifth Column in place when they published the October 2002 NIE that resulted in the US going to war in Iraq to take out their nonexistent WMDs? Or did the Fifth Column start taking over during the Iraq War and finally gain enough power to publish the December 2007 NIE that put the brakes on the rush to war in Iran to take out their nonexistent WMDs? One wonders how Clinton got his cronies into the CIA and the various defense intelligence agencies during Bush's term of office.

12/09/2007 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

d.b.light: I worry about what they might decide to do once Bush is gone. It is likely that the next president will not show the same resolve.

The Democratic candidates all indicate they will pursue a less muscular and more cerebral approach to terrorism. Mitt Romney wants to double the size of Gitmo. The American people will choose in November.

12/09/2007 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Bansheewailer: Our biggest problem is not ignorance or stupidity -- it's our internal rot and cowardice.

I'll grant you the internal rot on the liberal side, but the cowardice seems to be all on the conservative side. We are asked to sign away our rights against warrantless searches in order to let the government keep us safe and snug. The President talks about our enemies starting World War III. We got 85 year old Grandma Doris taking off her shoes at the airport in case she's a shoe bomber and being asked to leave her lipstick and hand lotion behind, for fear that she might be an operative in a jihadist sleeper cell. What happened to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave? Cowards intimidated by 9-11, that's what.

12/09/2007 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Terestia: The President talks about our enemies starting World War III. We got 85 year old Grandma Doris taking off her shoes at the airport in case she's a shoe bomber and being asked to leave her lipstick and hand lotion behind, for fear that she might be an operative in a jihadist sleeper cell. What happened to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave? Cowards intimidated by 9-11, that's what.

You're a confused girl. It's not Bush that wants to give your grandma and anal exam before each flight, it's the liberals who won't tolerate profiling for likely terrorists that are responsible. It's also the liberal "more cerebral approach to terrorism" that demands that more defensive approach to terrorism. That's all nonsense anyway. If Bush didn't invade Iraq, Kerry and the Democrats would have run to the right of him in 04 and blamed him for being soft on terrorism. Their words to that effect are on record, and they didn't commit to the other side until the fall of 02, Hillery even later. In fact she was slamming Bush in a paper published last month for not being tough enough with Iran and their nuclear ambitions. So much for "a more cerebral approach to" Bush's rush to war. Funny how Iran was just judged to have put their nuclear bomb project on ice in 2003. Hmmm, what happened in 2003. Was that a year of "a more cerebral approach to terrorism" or something else?

12/09/2007 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

I've been waiting for an Israeli response about the recent NIE based treachery concerning the Iranian nuclear weapons program.

Caroline Glick is among Israel's best journalists. She recently wrote an article titled "The Abandonment of the Jews". I should mention that the title "The Abandonment of the Jews" usually refers to the notion that the World War-II allies made no significant effort to prevent the Holocaust.

Glick understands as many of us do that the NIE was a contrived political document intended to prevent President Bush from taking any military action against the Iranians. Glick's analysis is perceptive and she repeated most of the arguments made here at Belmont Club (I wonder if she lurks here?). Her closing paragraph is important:

"The NIE's message to Israel and world Jewry is clear. Again we are alone in our moment of peril."

The Israelis now have two options:

1) Wait for Tel Aviv or Haifa to get nuked, then invoke the Samson Option and exterminate several million Iranians.
2) Attempt to take out the Iranian nuclear capability on their own.

The hard truth is the Israelis are screwed.

Option 1) is really mutual assured destruction which won't work against suicidal religious fanatics.

Option 2) probably won't work because Israel lacks the necessary air power. If Israel were to try anyway, they would probably fail and then be blamed for the resultant economic consequences of Iran's response.

There are some people within the US intelligence community who are feeling pretty smug right now after having torpedoed Bush's Iran policy. The hard truth is these clever bastards have probably murdered several million innocent people.

12/09/2007 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

You know, it just occurred to me, the Israelis have no choice: Waiting to get nuked is a non-option. The Israelis have nuclear tipped cruise missiles with GPS guidance systems. They could collapse the Iranian underground facilities by popping off two or three nukes in successive low altitude bursts. Given the US is now out of the picture and diplomacy has failed, the only remaining issue is when the Israelis launch their attack.

You read it first here at Belmont Club.

12/09/2007 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

eggplant: Option 1) is really mutual assured destruction which won't work against suicidal religious fanatics.

It is true that suicidal fanatics cannot be deterred by the threat of being killed, but it is also true that we find the leaders of these suicidal fanatics hiding for fear of their lives in mosques, hospitals, spider holes, and caves. We cannot invoke MAD against the individual bombers they brainwash to offer up their lives for Allah, but MAD works very well against the assholes who send them and then hide behind the burquas of their women.

12/09/2007 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

...that al Qaeda's bloodbath was badly misinterpreted in this country. But that campaign of terror was not irrational.

Actually, I think the bloodbath was quite logical and historically and philosophically the right thing to do. After all, they were dealing with a population that Saddam has been systematically grinding up and spitting out for decades, so if it worked for Saddam, why shouldn't it work for Al-Q?

And initially, it *did* work, and the Iraqi's rolled over and played possum just like they had done to survive Saddam.

The joker card in the deck was the American soldiers shooting back and Bush refusing to pull out, but as for "winning the hearts and minds" of the Iraqi's themselves, Al-Queda's bloodbath was exactly the right way to go.

12/09/2007 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Teresita said:

"We cannot invoke MAD against the individual bombers they brainwash to offer up their lives for Allah, but MAD works very well against the assholes who send them and then hide behind the burquas of their women."

Go to Wikipedia and read the history of the Iran-Iraq war. Over a million people died in a war based upon obsolete World War I trench warfare tactics. Iraq made extensive use of chemical weapons while the Iranians used children to clear mine fields.

These people are completely nuts.

MAD only works if your opponent is sane. Israel will not survive if these people have nuclear weapons.

12/09/2007 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Eggplant wrote:
You know, it just occurred to me, the Israelis have no choice: Waiting to get nuked is a non-option. ... Given the US is now out of the picture and diplomacy has failed, the only remaining issue is when the Israelis launch their attack.

I am not sure that the US is out of the picture. There is so much here that we don't know -- witness the IDF attack on whatever in Syria that no-one want to discuss.

At their best, the Israelis were stupendous in the past. I am sure there are some very creative people thinking about survival right now.

Everyone talks about how easy it would be for Hamas to drive an Iranian nuke in a pick-up truck into Israel. But isn't the reverse also true? With the Kurdish situation, Iran is probably even more wide open than Israel to low-tech delivery options for nukes. Without fignerprints.

And the targets would not be well-protected weapons sites; the logical target would be the Iranian leadership. Decapitate the Iranian regime, and the world can get on with its business.

12/09/2007 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Kinuachdrach said:

"Everyone talks about how easy it would be for Hamas to drive an Iranian nuke in a pick-up truck into Israel. But isn't the reverse also true? ... the logical target would be the Iranian leadership. Decapitate the Iranian regime, and the world can get on with its business."

You're right! This is a reasonable tactic. If the Iranian leadership suddenly disappeared due to a nuke on a truck bomb, no one would know for sure that the Israelis did it. Of course, the Iranians would claim that the Israelis did whether they did or not.

Of course, sneaking a nuclear weapon into Iran would be tricky. Come to think of it, the Israelis could still use a sub launched cruise missile if they made it a single point decapitating attack and used a fission warhead (Israeli cruise missiles are probably equiped with thermonuclear warheads).

The Israelis would have to do some black propaganda before hand, e.g. start circulating some rumors that a rogue Iranian-Sunni group wants to take out the Iranian leadership with a former Pakistani nuke delivered by a truck.

Obviously the situation has become much more unstable as a consequence of that "clever" NIE trick. Taking diplomacy off the table will force Israel's hand.

12/09/2007 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Israel WILL be nuked off the map unless they destroy Iran's ability to make nukes.

That is very clear.

Israel with limited strikes even including nuclear ones will only postpone not eliminate the ability of an Iranian regime to exterminate Israelis. This is also clear. Remove the Iranian leadership and others in the IRGC will simply step in. Anyone counting on students and such to seize power is a lunatic -- men with guns rule Iran and there are plenty to replace Mullahs and Ahmadnutjob.

Israel's choice is to sit by and be wiped off the map, around 5 million Jews exterminated by Iran and the Iranian people, or wipe the Iranian people mostly out. This means destroying nuclear facilities and the people used to construct them. Can Israel wipe out 70 million or so? Perhaps. Will they do this to survive? They will have to in order to do so and I do not think suburban, Westernized people have that in them.

I think it highly likely that Iran will nuke Israel out of existence, and then turn it's attention to the Great Satan.

12/09/2007 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

eggplant said:

"There are some people within the US intelligence community who are feeling pretty smug right now after having torpedoed Bush's Iran policy. The hard truth is these clever bastards have probably murdered several million innocent people."

Agreed. Hopefully, God (I refer to Jehovah, of course) is taking notes and cranking up Hell's thermostat. "...these clever bastards" deserve no less.

12/09/2007 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Whiskey 199: I think it highly likely that Iran will nuke Israel out of existence, and then turn it's attention to the Great Satan.

There won't be anyone left in Iran to turn their attention to anybody. Even setting aside Israel's three submarines, the USA will retaliate with a full nuclear response.

12/09/2007 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

teresita, elements of the the Fifth Column have been in place in the American main stream media since at least1932.

12/09/2007 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Eggplant wrote:
The Israelis would have to do some black propaganda before hand, e.g. start circulating some rumors that a rogue Iranian-Sunni group wants to take out the Iranian leadership with a former Pakistani nuke delivered by a truck.

Now you're thinking! Since Iran has separate (possibly antagonistic?) military and Islamic forces, and has significant ethnic minorities (almost half the population), maybe it does not even need nukes. A few anonymous explosions in the right places (allied with appropriate black propaganda) and the Iranians might start knocking lumps out of each other.

In fact, the NIE Report & associated leaks with its references to inside informtion and surveillance may already have started to sow the seeds of distrust within Iran. Maybe the New York Times is being played for a fool (again)?

12/09/2007 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Short Sale Real Estate said...

I believe Michael gets a bad rap here, but I'm sure I'm in teh minority. :(

Someone had to defend him.

12/09/2007 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, we see the results of the British "kindlier, gentler approach".

From Reuters:
After coming under sustained Taliban attacks, British troops pulled out of Musa Qala in October last year in a truce criticized by U.S. commanders that handed control of the town to tribal elders. The Taliban then seized Musa Qala in February.

Fortunately things are looking brighter today as the Taliban stronghold is coming under assault:
Musa Qala, in the southern province of Helmand, is symbolic for both sides in the conflict in Afghanistan as the only sizeable Afghan town controlled by the Taliban.

"If you think of it like a house, the house is surrounded, the Afghan army is waiting outside. We are in the process of kicking the door in, then the Afghan army is going through it," said British army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Richard Eaton.

On the downside, the new Brit PM appears to be preparing to cut-and-run in Iraq:
GORDON Brown yesterday delivered a stirring festive message to Our Boys in Iraq: “Happy Christmas – war is over.”

The PM was cheered as he praised UK troops and revealed combat operations in Basra will end “within two weeks”.

Iraqi forces will take over as the 4,500-strong British force switches from front-line duties to a training role.

By early next year, our contingent in Southern Iraq will be cut to 2,500 – and may be withdrawn completely in March.

The PM broke the good news in a flying visit to Iraq.

12/09/2007 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, we see the results of the British "kindlier, gentler approach".

From Reuters:
After coming under sustained Taliban attacks, British troops pulled out of Musa Qala in October last year in a truce criticized by U.S. commanders that handed control of the town to tribal elders. The Taliban then seized Musa Qala in February.

Fortunately things are looking brighter today as the Taliban stronghold is coming under assault:
Musa Qala, in the southern province of Helmand, is symbolic for both sides in the conflict in Afghanistan as the only sizeable Afghan town controlled by the Taliban.

"If you think of it like a house, the house is surrounded, the Afghan army is waiting outside. We are in the process of kicking the door in, then the Afghan army is going through it," said British army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Richard Eaton.

On the downside, the new Brit PM appears to be preparing to cut-and-run in Iraq:
GORDON Brown yesterday delivered a stirring festive message to Our Boys in Iraq: “Happy Christmas – war is over.”

The PM was cheered as he praised UK troops and revealed combat operations in Basra will end “within two weeks”.

Iraqi forces will take over as the 4,500-strong British force switches from front-line duties to a training role.

By early next year, our contingent in Southern Iraq will be cut to 2,500 – and may be withdrawn completely in March.

The PM broke the good news in a flying visit to Iraq.

12/09/2007 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Kinuachdrach: Iran is probably even more wide open than Israel to low-tech delivery options for nukes. Without fingerprints.

I would suggest that you read my last post in the "Sources and Methods" thread. While Israel has not complied with IAEA mandates, it would be a fair certainty that—were a nuke lit off in Iran— Pakistan and any other scapegoat regimes being fingered by any "black propaganda" would cheerfully submit samples of their fissile materials for isotopic analysis.

To simplify matters, I'll crosspost an excerpt from my much longer submission in the other thread:
-------------------------
America goes to great lengths in harvesting specimens of isotopic material from every nuclear-capable nation in this entire world. Most nuclear-armed countries voluntarily submit such samples but special efforts have been made to acquire microscopic amounts of enriched material from even the most uncooperative regimes. This is subjected to extensive spectroscopic chemical analysis in order to derive an isotopic signature. Every single breeder reactor and enriching facility has a distinctly unique signature of extraneous actinides like Americium and Californium. By examining this micro-contaminant fingerprint we can determine exactly which reactor on earth the fissile material came from. This allows us to deter even nuclear attack by proxy.
-------------------------

Even though Israel has never surrendered samples for signature analysis, through a process of exclusion it quickly could be deduced exactly who had or had not infiltrated a nuclear device.

All of that said, once again whiskey_199 is right on the money. While catastrophic disassembly of Iran's nuclear R&D effort—preferrably during a period of peak occupancy—is important, it is regime change that is vital. Israel simply does not have sufficient resources to destroy all of the different IRGC and other military centers needed to neuter Iran's burgeoning population of thugs. Only America has that capability.

For many years now I have advocated lobbing a dozen cruise missiles into a full session of Iran's majlis (parliament). This action should be accompanied by complete neutralization of their nuclear R&D as well. Better yet would be addressing the 2,400 aim points mentioned by our own analysts. Again, this is something that only America can do.

Another important point: I'm hoping that all of you would please reconsider any first use of nuclear weapons in the MME (Muslim Middle East). While Israel may not have any alternative in this respect, America most certainly does. We have numerous conventional ordnance options that preclude the need to use nuclear weapons.

It is vital for America to retain the moral high ground in using atomic weapons. To prematurely bring them into play would literally demand terrorist nuclear retaliation on American soil. This must be avoided at all costs. Far better would be to hold the threat of massive nuclear retaliation in abeyance as our hole card to deter a terrorist nuclear attack on our own turf.

Also, I would suggest that any of you who are unfamiliar with Israel's Samson Option read up on it. It is the reason why other Islamic countries—like Bahrain and Qatar—are becoming increasingly jittery about Iran's nuclear program. So much so that they have even openly criticized Iran's deception about pursuing nuclear weapons. Normally, such internecine strife would be confined to back channels due to overarching concerns for Muslim solidarity. Especially with regard to the glory of Islamic nuclear weapons.

Israel's Samson Option leaves such a notion in shambles. The Jews will not go quietly into the night. They've seen this movie before and have every intention to making the entire MME pay for the sins of even one nuclear aggressor. Israel will most likely annihilate every single MME country from Lybia to Pakistan if they take even a single fission-based nuclear hit.

This is why the House of Saud et al are having kittens. They know damn well that all them are going to be glassed and Windexed if Iran even tries to deliver a nuke against Israel, even by proxy.

Finally, this is why the burden rests largely upon America's shoulders. Our own economy—not to mention the entire world's—simply cannot suddenly afford to be deprived of the oil patch all because some Ayatollah just had to push his non-existent luck.

This is why Iran must be taken down. Cast aside all of the monstrous moral implications of another genocide and still the repercussions of even a single nuclear strike against Israel would echo for decades. In no way can I blame Israel if they immolated the entire MME in response to a nuclear attack against them. Islam's fixation upon re-enacting the Holocaust must bear a terrible price tag. Israel's scientists and military are well-prepared to ensure that. Who can blame them?

12/09/2007 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Teresita -- I am puzzled as to why you would think that the US would do anything in response to Israel being nuked?

Clearly the Left and Dems believe that Israel is a racist state deserving annihilation. That "the Jews" control US foreign policy and Israel should be "wiped off the map." Israeli ministers have charged that US policy makers have acted just like they did on the news of the Holocaust and Auschwitz.

I do disagree with Zenster's assessment of the Samson Option. Israel has only 200 odd nuclear weapons. So as a practical matter they cannot wipe out most other nations. More to the point, a "sneak attack" from Lebanon can take out most Israeli nuke facilities leaving what, about 25 nukes at most on diesel (vulnerable) submarines. Once Iran has nukes they can strike first, confident that at most, 25 Iranian cities can be destroyed but the countryside and population there intact. A nation of 70 million or so continues.

By contrast, the horrible irony for Israel is that they MUST destroy the Iranian people before they are destroyed. The Samson option gives them nothing but 25 dead cities. It's still victory for 70 million Iranians and 300 odd million Arabs. Which will only guarantee btw the nuking of US cities since it would have been so successful with Israel.

Israel's nukes are only useful in a first strike, one that wipes out the Iranian people so there are no possibilities of rebuilding Iran's nuke program (of course then Israel must quickly rebuild it's nuke program).

For this reason I think that GWB was correct, we are looking at global nuclear war. But at least Dems/Leftist will get their fondest wish: wiping out Israel. [I am quite serious about this -- look at Daily Kos, Moveon, and you'll see most posters who represent the Dem Party's heart would be delighted to see Israel wiped out.]

[If Israel *wanted* to strike it would have to quickly gain more warheads to replace the ones it has -- which would mean a year at least to create replacement weapons.]

12/09/2007 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Zenster, your most recent comment has much wisdom. Thanks especially for the wonderful phrase "catastrophic disassembly" and for your acute description of the microassay efforts in identifying sources of weapons and their residues.

One point where I would think your reasoning is off is in your cautioning about use of nuclear weapons in decapitating Iran's Islamic Militant Majlis government. You suggest nuclear weapons would "demand" a nuclear response by terrorists.

My expectation is that the Jihadist fanatics are already set on that course, and the fine points of any particular technology we might use to oppose them is beside the point. They intend to use nuclear weapons (I believe) regardless of whether the West fights them with nukes, conventional HE, small arms, forks, or slingshots.

This by some will be taken as proof that we should immediately lay down our arms and submit.

Others will reason that we might as well go ahead and hit them first, with everything we've got.

12/09/2007 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Whiskey_199: Teresita -- I am puzzled as to why you would think that the US would do anything in response to Israel being nuked?

To maintain the deterrent effect of America's nuclear umbrella. We let Iran nuke Israel without returning the favor, next thing you know China will nuke Taiwan and stuff.

12/09/2007 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

This thread is starting to sound like the scene from Mars Attacks!

"What's this?"

"Oh, that's your executive order authorizing full use our nuclear deterrent, sir"

"Are you out of your mind? I'm not going to start a war."

"We're already at war, sir! We have to nuke 'em. We have to nuke them NOW!"

12/09/2007 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Whiskey_199:
Israel's nukes are only useful in a first strike, one that wipes out the Iranian people so there are no possibilities of rebuilding Iran's nuke program...look at Daily Kos, Moveon, and you'll see most posters who represent the Dem Party's heart would be delighted to see Israel wiped out.]


No wonder they want to see Israel wiped out! It is because Israel's nukes are only useful in a first strike, one that wipes out the Iranian people.

12/09/2007 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

OK -- so let's imagine that things discussed here have run their course. Iran/Hamas have accomplished a successful nuclear attack on Israel, and freelance Palestinian looters have basically finished the place off. Israel's submarine-launched second-strike missiles have made a mess of Qom, Teheran and a few other places. Not many Israelis left, but still about 60 million Iranians & most of their leadership.

The US could push a button and finish off Iran in response. But what's the hurry? Maybe there would be time for a UN meeting at which all of the nuclear powers would be invited to take part in a global punishment of Iran for wiping a UN member off the map. Once the Jews are gone, left-wingers may feel quite well disposed towards their memory. It would be a Kumbaya moment, having the whole world take responsibility for the dissolution of Iran.

12/09/2007 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Whiskey_199: I do disagree with Zenster's assessment of the Samson Option. Israel has only 200 odd nuclear weapons. So as a practical matter they cannot wipe out most other nations.

Please permit me to point out a few things.

A.) Egypt is pretty much toast with a single nuke hitting the High Aswan Dam. Let's pad the count with two devices for an insurance policy. That's a whopping 1% of Israel's total arsenal.

As an aside, I'd also bet that Israel's warhead production facilities have been milking their existing fissile material inventory like the last cow on the farm.

B.) A vast majority of other MME (Muslim Middle East) countries would be thrown into nearly complete turmoil by a single thermonuclear hit on their respective capitols. A conspicuous lack of well-coordinated C3 (Command-Control-Communication) networks assures this.

C.) Lybia, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Yemen, Pakistan ... that's little more than a baker's dozen worth of targets.

D.) Light off the Ghawar oilfield plus a few others along with the Kharg Island complex and a whole lotta MME oil patch real estate goes off line in a hurry.

Finally, just how much of the MME's Sunni population is willing to idly sit by and let Shi'ite Iran push this entire shooting match over the precipice? While the Ayatollahs may be betting the farm on their wunnerful 12th Imam, there's a whole buncha Sunnis who don't buy that crap for a New York Minute™.

Whiskey_199: More to the point, a "sneak attack" from Lebanon can take out most Israeli nuke facilities leaving what, about 25 nukes at most on diesel (vulnerable) submarines.

With all due respect, Whiskey_199, using what armaments and a "sneak attack" by whom? Seriously, Hezbollah's Iranian-furnished missiles do not have proper guidance systems and it's a lead pipe cinch that Israel has significantly hardened any and all nuclear weapons magazines within SRBM distance of Lebanon, Syria or Jordan. How are these incompetent Muslim thugs suddenly supposed to manage a decapitating strike against Israel's nuclear arsenal when they couldn't win the Seven Day War?

My bets are for the Arab world bailing on these Persian nutjobs faster than the devil can get his shoes on. The more that Iran rattles its nuclear sabre, the faster Arab nations are going to run for cover under America's nuclear umbrella. The sole alternative is the entire MME trying to go nuclear all at once and Wretchard has more than amply covered that little vingette in his superb "Three Conjectures".

The only question is just how close to the edge things will have to get. This is what's not in Islam's favor. Muslims have a near-congenital predisposition to brinksmanship. None of which bodes well for the MME's survival. Yet one more reason why I continue to predict a Muslim holocaust.

12/09/2007 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

mad fiddler: Zenster, your most recent comment has much wisdom. Thanks especially for the wonderful phrase "catastrophic disassembly" and for your acute description of the microassay efforts in identifying sources of weapons and their residues.

A pleasure on my part. Thank you for your appreciation of it.

For grins, the term "catastrophic disassembly" comes from the naval nuclear submarine handbook which describes a shipboard reactor meltdown as "spontaneous catastrophic disassembly".

One point where I would think your reasoning is off is in your cautioning about use of nuclear weapons in decapitating Iran's Islamic Militant Majlis government. You suggest nuclear weapons would "demand" a nuclear response by terrorists.

Please pardon my wording. Allow me to substitute, "justify".

My expectation is that the Jihadist fanatics are already set on that course, and the fine points of any particular technology we might use to oppose them is beside the point. They intend to use nuclear weapons (I believe) regardless of whether the West fights them with nukes, conventional HE, small arms, forks, or slingshots.

This by some will be taken as proof that we should immediately lay down our arms and submit.

Others will reason that we might as well go ahead and hit them first, with everything we've got.


Here, you are absolutely right. I have no argument save that first use of nuclear weapons eliminates a hole card that we need not yet put in play. Please rest assured that my own personal frustration is seriously eroding all opposition to first use in the MME (Muslim Middle East), but that I still cannot entertain America forfeiting its moral high ground so readily.

Otherwise, you and I are in violent agreement.

12/09/2007 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Teresita -- since most Dems/Leftists want to get rid of US nukes unilaterally as a "good example" I fail to buy the argument that preservation of the US Nuclear Umbrella (which pointedly does NOT extend to Israel) would result in US retaliation.

If the Iranians nuked Israel most Dems/Leftists would celebrate in the streets. After all, Durban's conference on Racism has marked Israel (and the US) as a "racist state" and on 9/11 most of the intelligentsia inside the US celebrated 9/11. Dems focused on "why they hate us" and promised apologies.

And you can't rebut the substance of my arguments: that the strategic reality of nukes means Israel has only one choice to prevent it's destruction: a first strike on Iran that kills most of it's people.

Can Iranian nukes positioned in Lebanon and Syria wipe out Israel's non-diesel submarine based nukes in a first strike? Yes.

It was this first-strike capability that led JFK to threaten nuclear war with the USSR because it would have let the Soviets "win" a nuclear war with only a few cities destroyed but most of America's nukes destroyed. The principle is the same: ultra-short flight times means whoever "shoots first" wins.

Half-measures will only postpone the efforts of Iran to create nukes.

And of course you can't rebut the words of "moderate" Rafsanjani who argued that on the day that Iran possessed nukes, Israel would be destroyed since a few nukes would only damage Iran but destroy Israel.

In any event I think it probable that Israel will simply persuade itself that it can survive determined people who want to wipe them out to the last man/woman/child (like the last time) by temporizing, bargaining, etc. Much like Jews persuaded themselves 1933-39 that there was no "real" danger from Hitler. Modern middle class people are so optimized for cooperation and non-violence that even in survival situations they tend to do stupid things that get them killed.

Iran wiping out Israel of course will let it threaten others. The Dems of course are more than willing to let Taiwan and other countries be gobbled up by China, given that most of them especially Hillary/Bill are on Chinese payrolls or payola lists ala Hsu/Trie/etc. As aggressive as Iran and it's enablers in Beijing and Moscow is, it's been encouraged by Dem's embrace of modern self-loathing, hatred of America, and idiot luxuries such as Miranda Rights for terrorists, helping our sworn enemies (Osama, Tehran, etc.)

But one thing will come out of Israel being wiped off the map (again with the jubilation of the Left/Dems). Which will be launch on warning against dangerous regimes. It's as likely that the US will see itself largely in survival mode and pre-emptively strike. Not in a GWB democracy building way but to kill large portions of the world's 1 billion Muslims. Wiping Israel out (Iran's stated goal, as much about being the Muslim world's leader as anything else) pretty much guarantees a war of the people's with the advantages of "shoot first" being seen by everyone.

In that sense the NIE pretty much enhances global nuclear war.

12/09/2007 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

It is true that Al-Qaeda counted on swaying the American public to be able to survive in Iraq - and elsewhere. That should be fairly obvious to anyone listening to Al Zahawri's reminder to the Democrats last December. But Al-Qaeda was also counting on the House loons (Pelosi, Reid, etc.) to force Bush's hand, which they could not. Bush held his ground, defeating both the loons and Al-Qaeda. History will note with favor the heavy lifting Bush has done.

The simple-minded like to deride Bush's carrier landing declaring "mission accomplished". But thinking people now realize that war is dynamic and not at all like an episode of "the unit". Bush understands. Al-Qaeda understands. But the loons don't get it.

Now the real question is: can Bush's heavy lifting safeguard the Whitehouse from Hillary and Obama?

12/09/2007 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

You folks are starting to freak me out. I just finished reading through this thread, assumed the fetal position and began whimpering.

Moving right along...

Zenster said:

"D.) Light off the Ghawar oilfield plus a few others along with the Kharg Island complex and a whole lotta MME oil patch real estate goes off line in a hurry."

You know of course, that's about half the world's remaining petroleum supply. Once that's gone, we (the surviving un-nuked ones) are immediately knocked back to the 19th century. So, should I invest in some Krugerands, MREs and a geiger counter? What's a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home going for in Christchurch, New Zealand?

12/09/2007 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

An Israeli military attack on Iran should focus mainly on Iran's economic assets using conventional tipped missiles. Israel no longer has any reason to delay, and the sooner Israel proceeds with such military action the better.

12/09/2007 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

whiskey_199: Can Iranian nukes positioned in Lebanon and Syria wipe out Israel's non-diesel submarine based nukes in a first strike? Yes.

Your statement presumes a number of things:

1.) That Iran already has nuclear weapons.

This is not borne out by any reasonable intelligence assessments. While that in no way ameliorates the need for pre-empting Iran's ability to manufacture these devices, it's pretty reasonable to assume they are not there, yet.

2.) Not at all clear is how these Lebanese or Syrian proxies are supposedly able to deliver their nuclear payloads within killing distance of Israel's nuclear bunkers.

Given that the typical ICBM silo requires a direct hit of less than 100 meters with a thermonuclear device in order to disable it, there seems adequate reason to presume that Israel has similarly hardened its nuclear magazines as well.

Absent the ability to make pinpoint attacks upon these facilities, be it using easily intercepted truck bombs or notoriously ill-guided Iranian missiles, there still remains significant questions as to any chances of success for such decapitating strikes.

Finally—and where I believe our own viewpoints converge—the need for pre-emption of Iran's attempts to acquire nuclear weapons reigns supreme.

Absent any such concerted effort—be it by Israel or America—all bets are off. As I have mentioned elsewhere:

A nuclear armed Iran will go down as the single greatest strategic military blunder of this new century.

12/09/2007 09:24:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

eggplant: Zenster - "D.) Light off the Ghawar oilfield plus a few others along with the Kharg Island complex and a whole lotta MME oil patch real estate goes off line in a hurry."

You know of course, that's about half the world's remaining petroleum supply. Once that's gone, we (the surviving un-nuked ones) are immediately knocked back to the 19th century.

Absitively posilutely, my Aubergine chap. This is why there's no margin for error in constructing an effective response to Iran's nuclear weapons program. Despite what our over-compensated and too well-fed diplomatic corps would have us think.

I look forward to the day when individuals like Mohamed ElBaradei and anyone else who portrayed negotiations with MME (Muslim Middle East) countries as having even the remotest possibility of a productive outcome are subsequently executed as Islamic collaborators.

12/09/2007 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

You know of course, that's about half the world's remaining petroleum supply. Once that's gone, we (the surviving un-nuked ones) are immediately knocked back to the 19th century.

I was wondering the same thing. Is it pie-in-the-sky fantasizing to think that we could do surgical strikes will these flying nuclear bombs, to preserve the capability of being able to suck oil out of the sand afterwards?

Are all nuclear bombs still the radioactive type that would make the whole Middle East uninhabitable for decades?

Are the newer bunker buster-type bombs that burrow down before exploding radioactive? My impression was that they are not.

Of course, if we allow the Arabs the first strike and they take out Israel, that pretty much means that all bets are off ... doesn't it? Do we have to annihilate the oil fields in order to annihilate the people who are hiding behind them?

12/09/2007 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

Nahncee, Daniel Pipes does not think that Israel would suffer from a nuclear exchange to the same degree as any hypothetical attacker.

12/09/2007 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

NahnCee said:

"I was wondering the same thing. Is it pie-in-the-sky fantasizing to think that we could do surgical strikes will these flying nuclear bombs, to preserve the capability of being able to suck oil out of the sand afterwards?"

When Saddam was kicked out of Kuwait, he made a point of dynamiting all of the Kuwaiti oil well heads. If Saudi Arabia got creamed in a nuclear assault, you can be sure the survivors would make sure the remaining oil fields were in flames. Ditto that for Iran. When the nukes start flying, you can kiss off all of the Middle Eastern oil supply (Russia with its Siberian oil will be smiling like the cat who ate the canary). Obviously, we (the US) need to get our alternative energy supply (nuclear energy and coal) up and running pronto (unfortunately, the moonbats won't let that happen because it isn't "green").

People have no clue how near we are to a major change in our whole way of life. This is going to be much bigger than anything our parents or grandparents ever experienced (once again, I feel like crawling under the desk and assuming the fetal position).

12/09/2007 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

nahncee: Is it pie-in-the-sky fantasizing to think that we could do surgical strikes will these flying nuclear bombs, to preserve the capability of being able to suck oil out of the sand afterwards?

Welcome to one more reason for eschewing the first use of nuclear weapons. We can do all the damage we need using conventional ordnance. Yes, it will require more expense and potential losses, but the end results will suit our own long-term goals far more better.

Are all nuclear bombs still the radioactive type that would make the whole Middle East uninhabitable for decades?

As they stand? Yes, for the most part. Could we quickly refit most of our nuclear arsenal over to enhanced-radiation (read: Neutron Bombs) type weapons. Answer: In a heartbeat.

Are the newer bunker buster-type bombs that burrow down before exploding radioactive? My impression was that they are not.

Some are and some are not. Witness the attempted "Divine Strake" test in Nevada. Although intending to use a massive ANFO (Ammonium Nitrate-Fuel Oil) charge that would simulate a burrowing low-yield nuclear weapon as part of the HDBTD (Hard and Deeply Buried Target Defeat) program, this is a good approximation of what we might be able to do with non-nuclear weapons.

Of course, if we allow the Arabs the first strike and they take out Israel, that pretty much means that all bets are off ... doesn't it?

Yup. Everything goes south in a hurry after that.

Do we have to annihilate the oil fields in order to annihilate the people who are hiding behind them?

Nope, we just need to overcome our squeamishness about pre-emptively using neutron bombs against those who would launch them against us without blinking. Can't you just hear the liberals braying themselves hoarse already?

12/09/2007 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

eggplant: Obviously, we (the US) need to get our alternative energy supply (nuclear energy and coal) up and running pronto (unfortunately, the moonbats won't let that happen because it isn't "green").

Hey, things are changing. Even Patrick Moore, the founder of Greenpeace, finally had to admit that nuclear power was the best way to fight global warmening.

12/09/2007 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Zenster said:

"Hey, things are changing. Even Patrick Moore, the founder of Greenpeace, finally had to admit that nuclear power was the best way to fight global warming."

It's nice that Moore "found religion" even if it was for the wrong reasons (reminds me of Christopher Hitchens). Unfortunately it won't help much for this up coming crisis (it takes years to build a nuclear power plant).

I'm sure that strategic planners in Israel are going through (or have gone through) the same thought process that we just went through for this thread (some of the Israeli strategic planners are probably reading this thread). The logical conclusions that we just constructed seem inescapable. The only real uncertainty is the timing. The Israeli planners will have some reliable sources inside the Iranian inner political circles and nuclear facilities. Those reliable sources will drive the timing. The Israeli preemptive attack could be anytime from tomorrow to 5 years from now.

12/09/2007 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Forsooth, a single middle-eastern oil-field representing ONE-HALF of the known reserves for the entire planet???? That seems to disregard the estimates I've seen for just the Alaskan North Slope, and the more recent discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico, 5-8 billion barrel fields off the southeastern coast of Brazil, the Jidong Nanbao Oil Field near Bohai Bay, China estimated to range from some 2 billion barrels to 7.5 billion barrels...

Seems like there are lots of smaller (i.e., less than a billion barrels) fields being discovered all over the place, like the Covenant Oil Field of Central Utah --- small but indicative of a much larger regional potential --- and the Chinguetti/Tiof/Banda oil reservoirs below the seafloor of Mauritania. They add up.

It has been noted, YES, that the rate of new oil field discoveries has fallen recently. BUT, in addition to new reserves being discovered, older reserves that have previously been unprofitable to develop (i.e., shale oil) can be expected to provide increasing petroleum supplies as new technologies are worked out to optimize extraction, refining, distribution, and uses. Our use of fossil fuels becomes more efficient year-by-year: vehicles with higher mileage, more efficient manufacture and recycling of polymer products, etc.

12/09/2007 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Pay attention class. There will be questions later. Like:

What are you prepared to sacrifice to preserve the Westphalian nation-state known in 2007 Anno Domini as the United States of America?

Are you sure it is worthy of survival?

How many Muslim deaths is the restoration of your sense of security worth?

Are you sure your country is a force for good in this world?

How much suffering are you prepared to endure, and see your loved ones endure, before you submit to sharia, and convert or pay the jizya?

Do you consider these questions preposterous and unworthy of your consideration?

12/10/2007 01:11:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Cannoneer #4: How many Muslim deaths is the restoration of your sense of security worth?

Zero. Muslims are human beings. No emotion in the world, even a sense of security, is worth the life of a single human being.

12/10/2007 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I'm sure that strategic planners in Israel are going through (or have gone through) the same thought process that we just went through for this thread (some of the Israeli strategic planners are probably reading this thread). The logical conclusions that we just constructed seem inescapable.

Two questions:

1. Are the Israeli's more worried about America's oil supply than they are about their own survival?

2. Do the Israeli's have neutron bombs, too, or just the old-fashioned radioactive kind?

12/10/2007 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Cannoneer #4:Are you sure your country is a force for good in this world?

That is what got Communism in trouble. They thought they were good, and sought to impose that good by force. Why not just be good and inspire others to emulate you?

12/10/2007 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

From the 19 Nov 2007 issue of Aviation Week:
“Israeli officials want Washington to understand that Cold War deterrence doctrine doesn’t work in their neck of the woods. ‘ What does the concept of second strike mean for a small country like Israel?’ says a senior, Jerusalem-based official. “The models of Cold War deterrence are built on rational decision-making.’ An Iranian bomb test would ‘energize every Islamic extremist from Malaysia to Europe,’ and might set off multilateral proliferation in the region. ‘ The only real threat to this country comes from Iran with the combination of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile delivery systems’”

12/10/2007 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Nahncee asked:
"Are all nuclear bombs still the radioactive type that would make the whole Middle East uninhabitable for decades?"

The energy from any nuclear weapon is released as subatomic particles and electromagnetic radiation. The "radioactivity" which the Beautiful People fret about usually refers to the later radioactive decay of long-lived daughter products.

But look at reality. Hiroshima was nuked. The next year, the survivors were growing water-melons. Hiroshima today has about four times the population as when it was bombed.

The people who pump out the idea that a nuclear explosion will leave behind a wasteland for centuries are trying to misinform us.

12/10/2007 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 12/10/2007 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

12/10/2007 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Elijah said...

Prominent among the operational expressions of the Revolution in Military Affairs are new capabilities for information warfare including electronic and computer/cyber warfare.

Information warfare capabilities directly engage an adversary's will and political power. This involves attacking strategic infrastructure, communication, and industrial targets. For example, Iranian industrial targets might include its four main oil terminals: Kharg Island, Lavan Island, Sirri Island and Ras Bahregan.

One of the troubling issues with network (electronic/network)warfare is that it is hard for the target to know if they have been attacked - or merely suffered a network failure. Even if they are sure they are being attacked, they can't always tell who is attacking or prove it to the world.

For this reason, Israel's apparent attack on 6 September appears to herald a new era of irregular warfare doctrine, and a cause for Iranian concern.

12/10/2007 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Mad Fiddler said:

"Forsooth, a single middle-eastern oil-field representing ONE-HALF of the known reserves for the entire planet???? That seems to disregard the estimates I've seen for just the Alaskan North Slope, and the more recent discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico, 5-8 billion barrel fields off the southeastern coast of Brazil..."

This gets us onto the topic of "Peak Oil". Unfortunately this thread has almost expired so there isn't much point in writing about this. I need to mention that the Ghawar oilfield was unique in terms of size and economic accessibility. For a petroleum deposit to be of economic value, the energy required to extract the petroleum must be less than the energy contained in the extracted quantity. For example, there is still plenty of petroleum in Southern California and West Texas but this oil will never leave the ground because the cost of extraction is too high (people sometimes incorrectly refer to this unusable petroleum as an economic asset). Most of these super large petroleum deposits recently described by the MSM are in the same catagory and have little or no economic value because they are extremely deep under the ocean and the Earth's crust. The world's easily extractable petroleum was half depleted about a year ago (we are now past Peak Oil).

I refer the reader to http://www.theoildrum.com for more details about Peak Oil. The Oil Drum's readership is a mixed bag of petroleum engineers, business men, actuaries, conservatives, doomers, lunatic greens, Che Guevara wannabes, etc. You take from The Oil Drum what you want and ignore the rest.

12/10/2007 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

On Nahncee's question: "Are all nuclear bombs still the radioactive type that would make the whole Middle East uninhabitable for decades?"

Here is a

Map of Nuclear Weapons Test Sites


The UK, China and France all did atmospheric testing from about 1945-63, but the US and USSR did the vast majority, hundreds of tests in the atmosphere, some in the megaton range. The five of us did a total of 528 tests in the open atmosphere, not counting the underground ones. The largest American blast, at 15 megatons, Castle BRAVO was the one that created Godzilla. Or it might have been Castle Romeo, which yielded 11 megatons from a barge in the Bravo crater.

As you can see from the map, North America, Eurasia, Australia and most of the Pacific should now be uninhabitable ... but they're not.



Based on this chart, the whole world should have died in 1962.
It should have been almost as bad as Global Warming itself.

12/10/2007 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

cannoneer no. 4: What are you prepared to sacrifice to preserve the Westphalian nation-state known in 2007 Anno Domini as the United States of America?

Everything. To quote the immortal Patrick Henry:

"Give me liberty or give me death."

Are you sure it is worthy of survival?

More worthy than any nation on earth. No other country has made such sacrifices for the sake of this world's freedom and taken so little war-gains in return. All of Japan, the Philippines and parts of Europe could be American suzerains today but they are not because of this country's steadfast dedication to the concept of liberty.

Additionally, no nation on earth has brought forward the understanding of our universe and advanced the utilization of technology in so many life-improving ways. Show me one other country that has been able to land an astronaut on the moon.

How many Muslim deaths is the restoration of your sense of security worth?

All of them, if necessary. Islam seeks to utterly destroy the Western world and all of the gains it has made over the last dozen centuries.

Islam's ascendency guarantees that HALF THE WORLD'S POPULATION WOULD PERISH. Women, no longer able to see male doctors, would die of treatable illnesses. Political prisoners and prisoners of conscience would be summarily executed. Every homosexual would be stoned to death. All Jews and Catholics would be murdered. Returned to 7th century levels of subsistence, massive portions of this planet's population would perish miserably. Need I continue?

Put another way: Some 20% of this world's people wants to impose by force its death cult beliefs upon 100% of the planet's population. There is a tipping point. It will come when living with Muslims is more trouble than living without Muslims. Singlehandedly, Muslims are aggressively pushing Western civilization to that tipping point.

Even if we did nothing at all, Islam would still continue to race towards that fatal intersection of their predation with Western nuclear might. Islam, with its obsession over martyrdom and pseudo-religious slavery, occupies the "coffin corner" of doctrinal creeds. We are in no way obliged to give it a shred of respect, much less seek to preserve it out of any misplaced sense of compassion.

Islam must voluntarily clean its own house of violent jihadists. Despite every best intention, the West cannot possibly do this for them. Should moderate Islam fail in this vital task, the Muslim baby had better be prepared to find itself thrown out with the jihadist bathwater.

Free people are not obliged to endure vicious assaults by those who are perpetually aggrieved because they have chosen to live as skinless people in a sandpaper world.

Are you sure your country is a force for good in this world?

More sure than you can ever imagine. Otherwise large parts of this planet would be speaking German and Japanese right now. They aren't specifically because of the good that America, its democratic system and capitalist free-market economy all embody.

How much suffering are you prepared to endure, and see your loved ones endure, before you submit to sharia, and convert or pay the jizya?

Whatever it takes to make sure that Islam is hurled upon history's scrap heap of tyrannous doctrines. Shari'a is one massive violation of human rights and little else. Jizya is an undisguised poll tax and worthy of only scorn from all free people.

Do you consider these questions preposterous and unworthy of your consideration?

That your questions are not utterly preposterous is solely due to the immense ignorance and intentional disinformation being disseminated about Islam. This misinformation is spread by both the Muslims and multiculturalist traitors in our midst.

Due to the widespread ignorace concerning the threat we face, your questions are quite worthy of consideration by those who have not done so already.

12/10/2007 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Kinuawhatever: Take a look at the constantly revised casualty figures from the Hiroshima bomb and you will see that within 20 or 30 years from now virtually everyone who was alive in Hiroshima on 6 Aug 1945 will have died!

Furthermore, by that time even everyone who manned the B-29's will have died also! Paul Tibbets himself passed away just a few weeks back, yet another victim of The Bomb. And this deadly process EVEN AFFECTS THE GROUNDCREW ON BACK ON SAIPAN!

The same is true for the Nagasaki attack.

Those attacks were far more deadly than anyone could have imagined!

And Nahncee: Today the nukes we have are cleaner, not using such older features as Uranium casings for Hydrogen weapons, which added an extra kick but also added considerably to the fallout.

12/10/2007 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Elijah, you sound like you're ready for the Dawn of the Cognetic Age

Hard CYOP, the development and implementation of ways to not just affect attitudes and behaviors, but to shut down the brain via some means—frequencies, chemicals, or some other method, especially those of the non-lethal variety, will revolutionize IO. “Psycho viruses,” algorithms that would put
suggestive influences into human heads via words or sound are on the way.

12/10/2007 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Traitors, like the President of the United States, aye?

"Some of the comments that have been uttered about Islam do not reflect the sentiments of my government or the sentiments of most Americans.
Islam, as practiced by the vast majority of people, is a peaceful religion, a religion that respects others.
Ours is a country based upon tolerance and we welcome people of all faiths in America."

President George W. Bush
in a statement to reporters during a meeting with U.N. Secretary General


Those that consistently oppose the strategic foreign policies of the constitutional authorities of the United States are the traitors.

If there are traitors amonst US

12/10/2007 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

zenster,

I commend your refreshing certitude. What percentage of your fellow Americans share your views?

12/10/2007 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

Get it right, rat.

12/10/2007 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Eggplant, your reply is thankfully specific, and deserves proper consideration because it frames the value of known oil reserves in relation to their KNOWN costs of extraction.

New technologies, methods, and even external factors can render those previously KNOWN costs irrelevant. We have seen this before in a number of issues, most famously in the hysterical predictions of "The Population Bomb" and other dire predictions that human birth rates compared to food supplies would result in world-wide famine, well before the year 2000. Of course, no such famine occurred (except for local famines caused by political turmoil and even intentional denial of resources by tyrants.)

Commercial exploitation-for-profit of the oil fields clearly requires that the cost of extraction be substantially less than the return. Sadly, that equation varies with the DEMAND for the recovered fuel and chemicals, and we have seen that rising per-barrel costs have not discouraged demand, but stimulated revisions in consumer expectations for mileage, accommodations to rising prices in travel choices, and efficiencies in manufacturing by the industries using petroleum as a source for polymer plastics.

All of that is reduced to utter insignificance by the looming threat of fanatical Islamic Jihadi assault on the rest of the world. I advise everyone to look up the history of the life of the Prophet Mohammed. Look at several sources, please.

It is especially illuminating to learn from stories of his life that he personally captained military assaults on communities that defied him, and personally ordered the executions of captives from those battles, and the distribution of their widows and daughters among his followers as prizes. Various histories indicate that he also sanctioned and praised the murder of his critics in Medina after the brutal attack he had organized and lead against a merchant caravan in the year 623 prompted revulsion among other Arabs.

Consider that the leadership of the new faith changed hands several times in the first DECADE after the death of its founder, by a series of assassinations.

Look at how quickly Islam was spread from the Saudi Peninsula in the first century after the death of Mohammed, mostly by military assault on countries populated by Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Animists, etc. Islamic armies crossed the Straits of Gibraltar, established Islamic rule over the Iberian Peninsula, and were finally stopped at Tours (Poitiers) France by Frankish forces led by Charles Martel in 738 A.D. (Mohammed had died in 632 A.D.)

Consider how the great majority of the most extremely violent terrorist acts in the last three decades have been carried out by Muslim fanatics. They slaughter their own co-religionists even more relentlessly than they murder not-Muslims, in order to encourage submission to the fanatic's rule. Though there are many in the West that like to blame current Islamic violence on the arrogance of BusHitler or even less conservative western leaders, the world of Islam has been in continuous armed conflict with its neighbors for fourteen centuries. The periods of relative calm have merely been periods in which newly-conquered territories are consolidated and new assaults are prepared.

Look up explanations of the terms "Dar-al-Islam" and "Dar-al-Harb" and "Taqqiyah and Hudnah."

Doubtless there are tens of millions of devout Muslims that wish to live in peace with their non-Muslim neighbors. But it is also true that there are MILLIONS of fanatical Islamic fanatics who are using the Qur'an's exhortations to Jihad as justification for brutalizing, tormenting, and murdering any who oppose them.

12/10/2007 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I do have it right, cannoneer.

Mr Bush says that Islam is a religion of peace, no constitutional authority, Congress or the Courts disagree.

That's a fact. A cornerstone of US foreign policy. To constantly advocate that Islam is other than peaceful is to dispute US foreign policy beyond the shoreline.

Giving aid and comfort to the jihadists by lumping 1 billion people in the world with them.

Opposing US policies in Indonesia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and across the Islamic Arc.

We are not at war Islam, to advocate that we are, traitorous, in that it aids the jihadists in the propaganda war.

Support the President and his strategic positions, the US needs the help.

12/10/2007 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Tony said:

"The UK, China and France all did atmospheric testing from about 1945-63, but the US and USSR did the vast majority, hundreds of tests in the atmosphere... As you can see from the map, North America, Eurasia, Australia and most of the Pacific should now be uninhabitable ... but they're not.."

We should not be too cavalier about the danger of popping off nukes in the atmosphere. The main motivation for the atmospheric test ban treaty was the level of plutonium in the atmosphere growing to dangerously high levels. Anyone who grew up then probably still has a few plutonium atoms in their lungs.

In previous discussions I mentioned the Tsar Bomba (world's biggest nuke). The Soviet leadership originally wanted the Tsar Bomba demonstrated at full strength (100 megatons) but the fallout from the test would have killed thousands of Soviet citizens. So its designers changed the U-238 tamp to a lead tamp. That cut the weapon's yield in half but made it very clean burning with greatly reduced fallout. A single Tsar Bomba with a U-238 tamp and cobalt jacket could kill off a significant fraction of the world's population.

12/10/2007 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

cannoneer no. 4: I commend your refreshing certitude. What percentage of your fellow Americans share your views?

A percentage that is so small as to endanger America's political will along with its very survival. Our corrupt politicians are vigorously ushering us towards the one event that will finally militate public opinion solidly against Islam. Namely, a terrorist nuclear attack upon a major American city.

I can only hope that lamp posts await those who so earnestly are eventuating this horrific and needless event.

mad fiddler: Doubtless there are tens of millions of devout Muslims that wish to live in peace with their non-Muslim neighbors. But it is also true that there are MILLIONS of fanatical Islamic fanatics who are using the Qur'an's exhortations to Jihad as justification for brutalizing, tormenting, and murdering any who oppose them.

I would advise those "tens of millions of devout Muslims that wish to live in peace with their non-Muslim neighbors" to start acting like it.

Instead, we are treated to deafening silence by Muslims over the issue of global terrorism. Even Muslims in the most free parts of the world (i.e., America and Europe) remain conspicuously mute on this topic.

I'll repeat the words of a Spanish journalist that I have quoted elsewhere here:

"After a while, silence is no longer consent. Silence becomes a lie."

Those millions of Muslims living outside of MME (Muslim Middle East) tyrannies have done squat to protest Islamic terrorism. This silence is no longer just consent, it has become a lie to believe that they are peaceful people.

So-called "moderate" Muslims are merely tacit or clandestine supporters of terrorism. They continue to await the emergence of a strong horse—be it Islam or the West—and as they malinger in their dithering, their hands are increasingly bloodied. It is incumbent upon all decent people to decry and rally against terrorism, especially so when it is being done in the name of your own creed.

Nothing remotely approaching this is happening and it damns this world's Muslim population beyond redemption. Shari'a law must be banned in all Western nations. Eventually, "reverse immigration" in the form of repatriating all Muslims to their countries of origin or, alternatively, interning them to confine their seditious acts will likely become necessary.

This world's Muslim population needs to be confined to the MME and barricaded with threat of death for those who try to leave, make weapons of mass destruction or attempt any military incursion outside existing boundaries.

Barring these harsh measures, the West is confronted with simple nuclear annihilation of the entire MME. All of these outcomes are repugnant to any thinking being. Sadly, the prospect of Western civilization being returned to the 7th century simply is not an option and if extermination of this world's Muslim population is the only way of averting Islam's sworn goal of doing this, then so be it.

Islam is making the choice for us. It is up to us to act upon the options—or option—we are being given.

12/10/2007 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The United States has aided in the formation of two Islamic Republics in the last six years, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obviously then, Islam is not the enemy.

As Mr Bush has consistently stated.

12/10/2007 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We have armed and trained over 300,000 Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are selling BILLIONS of dollars of state of the art military equipment to Islamists in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia.

Obviously Muslims are our friends.
The US Governemt in a bi-partisan manner is aiding and comforting Muslims as a matter of policy.

12/10/2007 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Mad Fiddler said:

"Eggplant, your reply is thankfully specific, and deserves proper consideration because it frames the value of known oil reserves in relation to their KNOWN costs of extraction. New technologies, methods, and even external factors can render those previously KNOWN costs irrelevant... Commercial exploitation-for-profit of the oil fields clearly requires that the cost of extraction be substantially less than the return. Sadly, that equation varies with the DEMAND for the recovered fuel and chemicals, and we have seen that rising per-barrel costs have not discouraged demand..."

Again with the specific case of petroleum economics there are two parameters of merit, i.e. monetary cost/profit (dollars) and energy cost/yield (joules). Assuming that petroleum costs $1000/barrel, it might still make no sense to pump the petroleum out of the ground if the energy required to do so was greater than the energy contained in the petroleum. For this hypothetical case, one might find it cheaper to produce the oil synthetically from coal and water using power from a nuclear reactor for the process. I actually see this specific scenario as the future for energy, i.e. that nuclear power will be the base energy source and coal will provide the raw ingredients for synthetic petroleum (energy supply in liquid form for use in vehicles).

Mad Fiddler also said:

"All of that is reduced to utter insignificance by the looming threat of fanatical Islamic Jihadi assault on the rest of the world."

Regrettable but true. It doesn't make much sense worrying about Peak Oil or global warming if you're about to be vaporized into an incandescent gas courtesy of an Iranian nuke.

12/10/2007 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Eggplant mentioned:
"The Soviet leadership originally wanted the Tsar Bomba demonstrated at full strength (100 megatons) ... A single Tsar Bomba with a U-238 tamp and cobalt jacket could kill off a significant fraction of the world's population."

I am certainly not an expert, Eggplant, but I wonder about that conclusion.

Yes, fallout would be a problem -- but it is unlikely that the fallout would be distributed perfectly in order to kill off a signficant fraction of the world's population. Again, the field trials of nuclear weapons tend to indicate that the usual suspects exaggerated the problem (or focused on the absolute worst possible case scenario).

Having said that, nuclear war anywhere would be very nasty -- and in the Middle East would inevitably lead to at least short-term shortages of oil worldwide. Which would put severe strains on food & water in many places. Not good. But then, there are no good options when faced with something like Iran.

12/10/2007 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Egg,

Don't scare the kiddies, all our weapons have been dial-a-yield over the past few decades, so commanders in the field could dial down the blast effect.

Don't take me back to the nuns running us through our duck'n'cover drills, as I looked out walls of windows at the skyline dotted with the burn-off towers of the Sunoco, Mobil and Atlantic Richfield refineries. We always knew we were at the top of the list of targets. As a kid with a penchant for science, I knew the glass blast would very quickly follow the white flash. That was scary.

What is scary today is not a huge bomb, just a small bomb. Hiroshima was mercifully lit off at about 500 metres in the air, 15 kilotons. Even at that height, not enough radiation to salt the earth and make it unlive-able.

At ground level, where a terrorist nuke will be, local radiation and fallout will be much worse, I'll grant you that point.

Especially in a hyperchondriac society where a couple of dashes of anthrax threw us into a tizzy.

Luckily, even though citizens have the right to bear arms in this country, so far they can't bear nuclear arms. So no worries.

12/10/2007 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

cannoneer no. 4: I commend your refreshing certitude. What percentage of your fellow Americans share your views?

A percentage that is so small as to endanger America's political will along with its very survival.

Disagree. Last poll I remember seeing a month or so ago, a pretty hefty chunk of Americans are all for nuking Iran. I'm remembering 47% which could be wrong but it was not a thin minority.

I think that you can count on everyone who voted for Bush in the last election to support whatever counter-jihad anyone can come up with. As commenters have noted here, that doesn't seem to be the direction Bush is headed, so it may be we'll have to elect a new warrior to take the battle onwards and upwards.

Closing off our borders is my number one priority in the next election. After that, my number two priority is being mean (very very very mean) to both Iran and Saudi Arabia.

And after that, I don't care a jot about balanced budgets, abortion, tree hugging, or health care for aging Baby Boomers. I'm even willing to let the Democrats have their own way on all those issues, just so conservatives get a chance to fence the Rio Grande and nuke a few Arabs.

12/10/2007 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

nahncee: Last poll I remember seeing a month or so ago, a pretty hefty chunk of Americans are all for nuking Iran. I'm remembering 47% which could be wrong but it was not a thin minority.

I believe you're referring to this poll:

While 46% of those surveyed say military action should be taken either now or if diplomacy fails, 45% rule it out in any case. Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to endorse taking military steps.

"If you had more follow-on questions — on what if the military action was unilateral, (for instance) — then support would tend to diminish," says Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland. "But it does indicate that approximately half of Americans are concerned enough that they would at least seriously consider it, and that's worth noting."

[emphasis added]

The above is a far cry from meaning that "a pretty hefty chunk of Americans are all for nuking Iran". Sadly, most Americans do not have even the slightest idea of how large Iran is or the extremely diverse terrain contained within its borders.

A conventional boots-on-the-ground campaign is fairly well prohibited. Our only viable option is a massive series of air strikes designed to halt nuclear R&D, decapitate the mullacracy and quash the IRGC. It is also telling that public opposition halted the Divine Strake non-nuclear test designed to simulate the ornance intended for HDBTD (Hard and Deeply Buried Target Defeat) weapons of the sort we will need to crack Iran's buried nuclear facilities.

As the poll also notes, opposition increases with respect to America acting unilaterally. None of this is comforting, especially with Bush sipping at the Kool-Aid of Islam being The Religion of Peace [spit].

We both know that the critical need to take Iran offline remains unchanged. I just happen to have less faith in the general American public comprehending how dire the circumstances are. Especially considering how this latest NIE has the potential to drive Israel into a first strike that could set off a firestorm in the MME (Muslim Middle East).

There should be unanimous public approval for direct unilateral preemption where there is, at best, a faltering majority that supports contuned diplomatic efforts backed only by a threat of intervention. I find it difficult to take comfort in that.

12/11/2007 12:00:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Israel just did another "first strike" in Syria.

As mysterious a power as we glimpsed in "The Day the Earth Stood Still."



The Arrival of an Alien Space Ship in Washington


As Klaatu suggests: Wouldn't it be Nice if Peace resides in the electromagnetic spectrum, so nasty old bombs and bullets are no longer necessary?

12/12/2007 08:14:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


Powered by Blogger