Sunday, October 30, 2005

Flying Blind

Is Iran a "true" threat? Apparently so, going by its policy statements, but the Independent asks you to put your trust in "yet".

When a country seemingly on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons calls for one of its neighbours to be "wiped off the map", the world surely has every cause to worry. When the country making the threat is vast, volatile Iran, and the object of its hostility is Israel, the worries multiply.

Yet ...

Yet Iran is a complicated and confusing country, as visitors to Tehran soon become aware. ... Other murals proclaim official hostility to America, the "Great Satan", but the capital's youth are well up with trends in American movies and R&B music. ... All the [Iranian] President was seeking to do, they said, was to draw attention to the world's failure to implement UN resolutions condemning Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

If the Independent's line of reasoning seems like a helluva way to perform risk analysis on such an important subject, then surely what we want is a hard assessment performed to the highest professional intelligence standards. One combining input from UN weapons inspectors, collateral confirmation from German, British and Italian intelligence and the Central Intelligence Agency. Just to make doubly sure a mission or two by former ambassadors to surrounding countries might be in order to clear up any uncertain facts. Then one can really be sure of whether or not Iran is a threat and speak with assurance as these learned gentlemen once did of Iraq. (Hat tip: Glenn Beck)

"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line." 
- President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998 on CNN.

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." 
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002 on the Washington Post

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members ... It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
- Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002 on the Senate Floor.

But wait, we now know that the CIA believe Iraq was not a threat. All the reports upon which President Clinton, Al Gore and Senator Clinton based these statements were cooked up by a vast right wing conspiracy, or something. That's been proven by Libbygate. According to David Ignatius:

Behind the indictment of Lewis "Scooter" Libby lies a subterranean battle ... Cheney and his aides didn't trust the CIA. They thought the agency was sluggish in pursuing allegations about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein's links with al Qaeda. ... Now this saga has come full circle. ... To me, that's the real crime in Libbygate -- that the Bush White House became so passionate about its goals that it treated the CIA as the enemy.

If only Cheney had trusted the CIA and not made war on his own intelligence professionals, things would have been alright. The world has come full circle again. Iraq is now history; Iran is on the table. The question facing everyone, not just the Independent, is what Iran's real capabilities and intentions are. Now Washington, freed of the machinations of Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney, can turn with full confidence to its intelligence agencies and ask, is Iran a "true threat?" and expect an accurate answer, or something.


Blogger GB-Arg said...


It's almost a guilty pleasure
to read your timely historical insights (not an oxymoron), and written in a fine, readable style, to boot.

Thanks again.

10/30/2005 03:48:00 AM  
Blogger JoseyWales said...

I guess the Independent believes that jeans-clad rock-and-rollers will have their fingers on the nuke button.

10/30/2005 04:47:00 AM  
Blogger gumshoe said...

as the drooling demos
are so happy to point out,
l'affaire de plame is not yet over.

the MSM seems to have succeeded
(for now) in painting the Plame/Wilson's and the reporting staff of the WaPo and the NYt as innocent victims and by-standers.

i don't expect it will last very long.

10/30/2005 05:07:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

When India and Pakistan both detonated nuclear weapons in the late 90's, the CIA missed predicting the events entirely.
The excuse given for this error (And get real! Neither of the two countries was anything like Iran, Iraq, or N. Korea when it came to secrecy and access) was that while the leaders of both countries clearly stated their intentions, the analyists of the CIA assumed that Pakistani and Indian politicians were like American ones - and lied as a matter of course.
Given this recent history, who would trust the judgement of such people?

10/30/2005 05:39:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Iran's ambassador to Moscow claims Ahmadinejad, "did not have any intention to speak up in such sharp terms and enter into a conflict."

What the ambassador really meant to say is, Ahmadinejad didn't mean for any Westerners to hear and understand his warmongering cries at the rally. Taqiyya teaches that it's best to keep the infidels clueless.

10/30/2005 05:40:00 AM  
Blogger gumshoe said...

mika -

you think then,perhaps,
that our friend M. Ahmadinejad
erred in selecting the
"World without Zionism" conference
as the best place to vent his spleen?

10/30/2005 05:48:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

Then we should lie that we have no military option.

10/30/2005 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

I like Red River's suggestion.

Obviously what the Iranian President said is nowhere near as bad and was actually caused by Bush mentioning the Axis of Evil. Evil, what evil?

Slightly off-topic, the repeated stories in the NYT, WaPo, still at least imply if not openly state that the Administration manipulated intelligence in the lead-up to war. But, what's this then from 16 Sept 2005?





1st Session


SEPTEMBER 16, 2005- Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed

Mr. HYDE, from the Committee on International Relations, submitted the following


[Footnote 3: Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction (Silberman-Robb Commission), Report to the President of the United States, 2, 11 (March 31, 2005).]

In light of the number and thoroughness of these previous inquiries made by congressional committees and special commissions especially well-qualified in matters of intelligence, it is unnecessary for the International Relations Committee through this resolution agree to demand this wide-range of documents and to repeat such inquiries. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees, after thorough review of large volumes of documents, found no evidence that the Administration improperly used, coerced, manipulated, or `fixed' pre-war intelligence. The Silberman-Robb Commission confirmed this conclusion. Senator Pat Roberts, the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, referring to the numerous reports on pre-war intelligence, aptly stated, `I don't think there should be any doubt that we have now heard it all regarding prewar intelligence. I think that it would be a monumental waste of time to replow this ground any further. We should now turn our full attention to the future . . .' 4"

And here it is in PDF, which looks a little more official, as it puts the lie to "Bush lied" -

I expect soon we'll be hearing that Bush lied about Iran's intentions by making the President of Iran state his intentions.

As for the jeans-clad rock'n'rollers, they were there when I passed through Iran in late '77, and soon after the Islamic revolution occurred.

10/30/2005 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Unfortunately, one of the outcomes of the poor WMD intelligence is going to be that, from now on, politicians will always use that as an excuse not to do something, when all indications are that something should be done.

10/30/2005 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger StoutFellow said...

Others share the Independents low-key assessment of the threat posed by Iran. These include the Turkish Media ...
phrases can be interpreted in many ways and the result depends on the interpreter’s intention and goodwill. And finally, the words saying that “the occupier regime of Al-Qods must wipe off the map” just mean the Zionist regime not Israeli and Jewish people. The Islamic Republic of Iran’s anti-zionist and anti-american approach is not a new thing. The “death to America” and “death to Israel” slogans exist since the first days of the revolution. But these slogans aimed at American government and Zionist Regime not their nations and people

and at least one internationalist blogger Jez ...

I can't believe there is even a debate as to whether Iran should be attacked after it's president's remarks over Israel. Anybody with half a mind knows his remarks were just that:remarks. Iran is not going to attack Israel. That would be daft to put it mildly-just as it would be daft for North Korea to attack Japan.
Iraq was attacked 'pre-emptively'.If the same happens to Iran, Bush and co. will just prove themselves to be the crazed fanatics that they are. These people have acted, whereas Ahmadinejad merely uttered words. Words which had they been uttered with regard to any other country than Israel, would hardly had been noticed

However, since the remarks were made by the President of Iran, it is hard to view them as nothing less than at least a semi-official declaration of war of the state of Israel. Certainly Israel views it this way. After the suicide bombing attack of last Wednesday, the Foreign ministry stated that the suicide bombing was an attack on Israel by Iran and its proxy Islamic Jihad.

The attack came hours after Iran's state-run media reported comments from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (search) calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and saying a new wave of Palestinian attacks would destroy the Jewish state.

Recalling Iran's history of support for Islamic Jihad, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev (search) criticized both Ahmadinejad's statement and another from Mahmoud Zahar, a leader of the Hamas militant group in Gaza who threatened fresh violence against Israel.

"Today, Israelis heard two extremists speak openly about destroying the Jewish state. One was the new president of Iran, and the other was the leader of Hamas, Mahmoud Zahar. And it appears the problem with these extremists is that they followed through on their violent declarations with violent actions," Regev told The Associated Press.

To paraphrase Heather from a previous thread, If someone says they are going to kill you, you have to take them seriously.

10/30/2005 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hahaha! Good point!
But Zionists weren't invited. So how would they have known about the conference? Unless, of course of course, this is yet another Zionist plot to discredit Islam.

10/30/2005 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

President Bush should probably include in his next SOTUS that any threats from Iranian officials will be considered an official declaration of war, and that the USA would respond in kind, and in deed, at a time of its own choosing.

Apparently at this time in the US, there is no need for an official congressional declaration of war for the US President to engage foreign military forces. Certainly a quick response to Iranian belligerency might lead to greater caution on the part of surviving Iranian officials.

10/30/2005 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger gumshoe said...

"But Zionists weren't invited. So how would they have known about the conference? Unless, of course of course, this is yet another Zionist plot to discredit Islam."

you're right.

clearly the kids know,
but the mullahs dun quite grok
the internet yet.


10/30/2005 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

I am struck by the disconnect in pre-war and post-war Democratic opinion. There were a lot of Democratic hawks relative to Iraq during the Clinton years, hardly a one now. What makes me think this state of affairs is somehow largely politically motivated?

Now it is almost universally accepted among a good part of our public that Iraq was "the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time." Maybe so, but I have yet to hear of any alternative choice to Iraq. Maybe Iran was always the implied target for this 'other' war, but no Democrat has ever come forward to express such an opinion.

And now we are almost there, it seems. Unless, of course, there really is no such thing as a right war or a right place or a right time for waging it.

Because we now know we can never trust what we think we know. And so we try to convince ourselves it's probably best to do nothing.

10/30/2005 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger PD Quig said...

Ignatius lamented that Tenet loyally fell on his sword. If ever there was an appropriate occaision for a videotaped beheading, a masked Bush sawing "SlamDunk" George's head off would have been it...with Porter Goss standing in the background. The "realists" in the CIA may just have hit upon the incompetence dodge as a means of foiling the Bush Doctrine. Presumably they'll become competent again when a Democrat is in the While House.

10/30/2005 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger Pastorius said...

New York Times circa May 2004:

500 pounds of yellowcake uranium found in Iraq.

I guess they buried it. I don't remember hearing this at the time.

10/30/2005 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

If someone says they are going to kill you, you have to take them seriously.

And that's a lesson that the Jews know better than most people.

10/30/2005 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger gumshoe said...

nice find pastorius.
(NYT 2004 story)

10/30/2005 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger Pastorius said...

Thanks. Good compliment coming from a guy named Gumshoe.

10/30/2005 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Galloway Under Investigation

10/30/2005 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger sammy small said...

Here is a little more clarification for those who might need it,

Iranian Roadmap

10/30/2005 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Al Fin writes Apparently at this time in the US, there is no need for an official congressional declaration of war for the US President to engage foreign military forces.

That might have been true in 1998, when we launched an overnight attack on Sudan to break up Al Qaeda - Iraq cooperation on wmd's. But concerning OIF, check this out:
S. J. RES. 45
To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq.
September 26, 2002

10/30/2005 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Did we ever decide, finally, that the current President of Iran is or is not a terrorist dating back to the days of Carter and the take-over of the American embassy, and subsequent hostage-holding?

I'm remembering that at that point he was a terrorist wannabe, actively working towards acquiring his beheading credentials -- so why are we acting stunned and amazed that he's uttering blood-curdlng terrorist-type threats now? As opposed to genteel murmurs of mutual worth, admiration, and self-congratulation such as are taught in Kofi's UN.

10/30/2005 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

We have much to worry about.

First, I would advise everybody to read "Reassessing the Implications of a Nuclear-Armed Iran." Available here:

Second, I would keep in mind Ahmadinejad's recent statement when reading the paper's assessments of Israeli options concerning Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Third, I would remind everybody of the inevitability of Hezbollah infiltration into the US. Iran has been scared to death for four years and has been planning accordingly. There are sleepers here in the country, and they will be activated if things come to a head with Iran.

The paper's assessment of US options are bleak, and their conclusion seems to rest on the inevitability of Iranian nuclear capability and the subsequent regional containment strategy of the US. Containment and MAD may or may not work. The fact is we do not have any great insight on how the Mullahs make decisions and how sane the ones who do, are. But we could handle it if Iran existed in a vacuum. Unfortunately they do not.

If we attack Iran, we risk alienating the Iranian people and strengthening the regime's hold over a strongly nationalistic citizenry. We also risk suicide bombers in New York, or Boise, or Knoxville. We also risk further alienating our allies and strengthening China's role as the less volatile superpower. Also, the only thing we buy is time.

Unless we invade and occupy, but that is politically impossible now. Any way you slice it, our military options are bleak.

Diplomacy won't work with an Iran so bent on nuclear acquisition. Even those Iranians opposed to the regime believe it is their right to have nuclear technology. Russia and China will block action at the security council. For god's sake, the EU-3 began their negotiations by taking the military option off the table. Machiavelli would be embarrassed, and insulted.

So, it looks like everything is moving towards a nuclear armed Iran. Everything, that is, except Israel.

Even assuming we could handle a nuclear armed Iran and all the cascading problems that would flow from it, we have to get there first. Israel becomes the condition precedent for the strategy of containment, and at the same time it is the condition precedent for a vast regional war. Israel is the great variable upon which everything depends.

We cannot get to containment if Israel attacks Iran. We won't get to a regional war if Israel stays her hand. Israel and Iran are dangerously unaware of each other's redlines, and as we move closer to the tipping point the danger of miscalculation from one or the other grows and compounds.

Which brings us to Ahmadinejad's statement, perhaps the most precipitous event in that region since the assassination of Hariri. I am afraid that statement moved us closer to an all out regional war. If we get pulled in, if it happens, who knows what will happen?

Worst case scenario:

1. Everybody in the region believes bin Laden's conspiracy theories and think a Zionist-American effort at domination is truly underway. Iraq turns against us, or splits completely. Regional wars and battles pop up everywhere and oil production slows to a trickle. European economies, which depend almost exclusively on Middle Eastern oil, tank, and America and Israel are seen as global pariahs by our erstwhile allies on the continent. And then the same people who hate us start to lose jobs.

2. China's economy starts to slow and, in the midst of the largest urbanization experiment in history, begins to generate countless millions of angry unemployed living in close quarters in the cities. China in such a state would be incredibly dangerous and could do anything. Taiwan could be the least of our worries as China seeks to solidify her hold on oil reserves around the world and grows her army to alleviate the unemployment pressure.

The rest I will leave up to your imagination, but this thing could turn global in a flash if Israel strikes Iran. We have no good options, and several deadly ones. And the media obsesses over Plamegate.

10/30/2005 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

After the Cold War wrapped up there were accusations lodged against the side that fought it that intelligence was cooked to make the USSR moer powerful than it was.

The point out the USSR imploded all on its own and would have had we not spent money on our armed forces and pushing confrontation with the USSR.

A giant may be off balance but if not pushed he will not fall. The USSR may not have been the economic superpower many thought it to be (however, all of those ICBMs say otherwise) but it still needed a push to fall.

10/30/2005 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger heather said...

This war is like no other because in most places (like Indonesia and Thailand) the response to horror has to be a blend of military and policing. We can, after finding out about that chain of Islamic training camps in the US (and Canada) include the US in this muddle. Also, financing for the Terrorists comes not only from nation states, but also such people as Maurice Strong, and such companies as Power Corp.

At the same time, the US has decided that this war must be secret. If you want to know anything about it, you have to read Michael Yon, Robert Kaplan and Richard Miniter... and Wretchard. According to Robert Kaplan, to become embedded in the US Army, one needs to have your own personal phalanx of people working to organize and finance your entry into an embedded place
with the US Armed forces.

The only thing holding this together in the US is that there is such a large component of National Guard people ... who are part and parcel of communities throughout Red America. Thus, American support for Iraq - and the GWOT - is word of mouth.

This gives the worn-out elites too much room to discount the war, because it controls the mass media, State Department (ie, foreign relationships), the CIA (a tired bunch who know how to keep their jobs), and the university dominated cities (places where people revel in long convoluted arguments about WMD, were they or weren't they; and yellow cake and mint tea, and covert status versus desk jobs.)

Your Syrian blogger is correct: there IS a Civil War going on in America and Australia and India... and so long as it lasts, our side will appear to be - quite rightly - weak; and the attacks will continue.

I am not sure that civilian control of our countries can outlast this 'civil war.'

10/30/2005 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger tefta said...

Excellent article written by a soldier on media propaganda and how it's working. h/t The American Thinker.

10/30/2005 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Ticker said...


What the WMD intelligence failure means is that instead of "launch on warning" we can only employ the "second strike" strategy. This is a tremendous difference as applied to Iran. The Valerie Plame affair means that Washington must await an explicit and unmistakable attack from Iran before reacting forcefully. It is like being handed a very powerful medicine against cancer, which is the good news; the bad news being that you can only swallow it when you've reached Stage 4 ...

10/30/2005 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger jakita said...

Important post, Wretchard.

Now is the time for the CIA to earn its pay. We need to know now if Iran plans to attack Israel with nukes or other WMD.

For those who think that it doesn't matter what happens to Israel--think again. You may find that in the immortal words of Fraud Churchill, "The chickens will come home to roost." Or, as those nasty Germans discovered, six million Jews died, but so did (at least) six million Germans.

My point is: what happens to Jews will happen to others. Sorry I'm in such a nasty mood, but I think too many Jews act too nicey nicey in the face of these vicious threats. They want to be liked, and therefore accepted.

I'm not one of those nicey nicey Jews, and I'm warning people who think that they can escape the consequences of the Islamic maniacs that there is no escape for anyone.

CIA--it's time to do your job. The politics of the Plame case means zip to me and to millions of others.

10/30/2005 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Wretchard, if it's a given that we can no longer trust our intelligence services before the fact, what gives us any confidence that we can act on intelligence derived after the fact?

Suppose a nuclear device went off in NYC tomorrow. Someone would have to 'connect the dots' and tell us where it originated, who was responsible, & c.

I'm assuming they would be the same people we distrust today. So on what basis would we counter?

10/30/2005 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Boy what a pleasant optimistic thread.We're stuck between a rock and a glowing 2000 degree future.In the words of Woody Allen before he perved out:"Civilization is at a crossroads.On one road is despair on the other annihilation.I pray we choose the right one."
The left in America is a fifth column that emasculates any courageous leader of courage,criminalizes political differences ,lies for power,despises our exceptionalism and toadies to tyrants.Finding a means to defeat them might be more important than finding a means to defang Iran.
Oh by the way did I mention three adolescent female Christian students were decapitated by Jihadi geldings yesterday in Indonesia?I wonder what Chris Matthews thinks about that.

10/30/2005 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger jakita said...

Sirius_sir . . .

Now you see the dangers of appearing "rational." The nasty nations should not be so sure of the rationality of the U.S. and Israel.

If I were the President, I would inform our enemies and potential enemies (i.e. Iran, Saudi Arabia, and maybe Pakistan) that if a nuclear device went off in New York City and we couldn't be sure whose bomb it was, we would destroy the capital cities of these three countries.

I'm just giving a generalized view of how I would protect the U.S. (Maybe destroying the Saudi oilfields and the Iranian ports would be the way to go, for example.)

We want our enemies to FEAR us and to avoid being so clever as to think that misdirection will work for them. I do not see any good resulting from people thinking that the U.S. would not crush them completely. We should also make it clear that we would "disrespect" them and splat them with pig fat too.

It's all very well to be concerned about enemy "innocents," but not at the expense of our own people.

10/30/2005 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...


Nothing intrinsically gives us more confidence after the fact. However, we'll have the benefit of more data points, plus the probable public outrage to support a retaliation. I say probable because you never know what the Left would think.

On the other hand, we'd have to be really sensitive to a "false flag" attack. There will be those who'd say "the Jews did it". Seriously.

What is worse, however, is that the retaliation has to be broader than before because we have to allow for the uncertainty and strike within more standard deviations of our median estimate. That means, if we suspect say Hezbollah, we would be best off taking out Hezbollah, Fatah, Lashkar etc.

The costs of flying blind are enormous and not just to the United States. Now the Plame Affair has arguably reduced, not increased the incentives for intelligence reform. I think Libby's mistake, and whoever was behind him, was to think you fix a politically corrupted intelligence with a political solution. But then the intel agencies seemed unaccountable for their mistakes and that was the patch of desperation.

10/30/2005 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

The term Launch on Warning typically applies not to an intelligence estimate but to actual radar tracks, missile IR signatures detected by DSP satellites, etc.
The alternative to "Launch on Warning" is called "launch under attack". This means that the first weapon launched has to actually hit a target and be verified as a nuclear strike. Launching in response then means that - at best - your second strike can reduce the effects of their first strike by knocking out some of their systems before they can engage you. Of course the old counter-force versus counter value arguments described by Hermann Kahn apply. I will admit that I have no idea which approach Iran or the IDF would use.
I would assume that based on Iran's "official" statements that the Israelis will follow a Launch on Warning approach - and that increases the chance of war enormously. I don't know what kind of "DEW" system Israel has but I have little doubt that if we see a DSP track we will let them know about it right away. After all, they have anti-missile systems cocked and ready.
Assuming an intercept of the inbound Iranian weapon is successful - then as you no doubt see, things get really interesting.
No doubt in that case the U.S. would argue for restraint. No doubt the Israelis would respond that they will talk all anyone wants - after their silos are empty.
Once again it is time to Think The Unthinkable. That would be a good name for a blog!

10/30/2005 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...


When the enemy delivery system is not via ballistic missile but through say, a container ship, then "Launch on Warning" has a somewhat different meaning from its Cold War one. Suppose intelligence, if I can still use that word, was very sure we had a weapon inbound, but not exactly sure of its location in real time. What then?

Our radar warning systems are flanked by the new method of terrorist delivery, which makes backtracking the source of attack harder. In the old days it was simply a question of measuring angles.

Due to the technical nature of Cold War attack, the CIA's input was not necessary to determine response. We had other technical legs. But absent missile tracks we have lost the most reliable elements of determining culpability and are forced back on the Valerie Plames and Joe Wilsons of the world.

10/30/2005 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger jakita said...

I would also like to remind Islamic perpetrators and their Leftist allies that not all WMD responses are nuclear. Why is Iran so naive as to think that if Israel were destroyed that angry Zionists wouldn't do a little WMD of their own?

There's SARS,the bird flu, anthrax, the bubonic plague, sarin, ricin, etc. These could be known in a terrible future as the Ten Plagues of Iran.

Why do the Iranian leaders place such naive trust in the goodwill and the good nature of Zionists?

10/30/2005 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Seems to me, Israel needs to slowly start boiling this egg. Otherwise, as others already pointed out, it will be one messy omelette.

10/30/2005 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Impeccably argued. I do not disagree in any way.
But the danger in Launch On Warning in the "old days" was that you would go to war in a big way based on a radar scope trace. This was unacceptable. A USAF officer I once served with described being in an Alaskan radar station when the computer entered a "do" loop and began to count what was probably a meteorite track over and over again - about 5,000 times - and send that data on to Cheyenne Mountain. About that time the phone lines into The Mountain went down went down. Fortunately he had the presence of mind to note that there was only ONE actual scope trace and managed to get word to an alternate command site to not start WWIII just yet.
As you point out, things relative to Iran - or North Korea - will be far less well defined.
And that increases the chance we will blow away a few million people based on what someone thought he heard while sipping mint tea next to the hotel pool.
But it is less our problem than "theirs" - which makes the Iranian brinkmanship all the more puzzling and disturbing.
Someone really ought to redo Hermann Kahn's work for the environment of the Terrorism War.
Any volunteers?

10/30/2005 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Israel can't afford to operate under a "Launch on Attack" plan; based on their size and the close proximity of all their enemies. Iran has a little more flexibility in that respect.

10/30/2005 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

"What the WMD intelligence failure means is that instead of "launch on warning" we can only employ the "second strike" strategy."

I don't know if I would go that far yet. But we wouldn't do anything without absolute certainty of nuclear weaponry (i.e. a test device explosion).

10/30/2005 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

...we have lost the most reliable elements of determining culpability and are forced back on the Valerie Plames and Joe Wilsons of the world.

Wretchard, if that is the best we can do--rely on the Valerie Plames and Joe Wilsons of the world--then in my estimation the confidence factor re intelligence drops to near zero.

We must do much better. Otherwise, not only will we continue flying blind but, when the time comes, we will be shooting in the dark.

10/30/2005 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

al fin - President Bush should probably include in his next SOTUS that any threats from Iranian officials will be considered an official declaration of war, and that the USA would respond in kind, and in deed, at a time of its own choosing.

If the threats by Iranian officials are against us, yes.

Or an ally we have a mutual defense pact with - like NATO countries, Japan, Thailand, Australia.

We have no mutual defense treaty with Israel, however.

10/30/2005 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

I can see this happening.

One of our agencys overseas is contacted. An informant says that there is a nuke in a container ship that is headed to the USA. He says he doesn't know which ship or port but that he knows who knows. He says for xxx million he will tell us who. From there you can write your own details. But lets say that we are convinced that this is a real event and that the ship is already on its way to New York. The subject that knows the info only told us that before he killing himself in custody (or that is what the people that had him said).

We have to find the bomb.

We have no other leads.

So...We tell every ship inbound to New York, you have a choice, either you go back to the port you came from and be searched or you wait outside the NY harbor to be searched.

Any ship attempting to come closer than 10 miles offshore will be fired on.

There it is. The terrorists have won another round and cost us billions of dollars. Even before they explode the bomb.

We have to stop them before they can get the nukes, there is no other way.

Papa Ray
West Texas

10/30/2005 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff Wright said...

I hate that's there's so many politcal considerations but I don't see us doing anything until after next year's elections. I don't know that the GOP has enough political juice to pursue Iran militarily right now. Again, I hate that these things are so weighty when it comes to national defense.

10/30/2005 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Aristides writes We have much to worry about.

The recurring theme of this optimistic Belmont Club is: Do we have more or less to worry about now than we did before we began fighting back after 9/11?

If we had done more of This way back Then (during the heavenly state of Peace before OIF), we'd have even less to worry about Now.

10/30/2005 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...


Since 9/11 (and our response to it) we have less to worry about, but we are aware of more. In that way 9/11 was a gift, though sorely received.

10/30/2005 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Ex Helo: Yep, exactly! Hence the attack on the Iraqi/French reactor - unless they have very effective anti-missile systems. And they do have some, effectiveness unknown - an thus they can't very well rely on them as a first line of defense.
Israel also has reconnissance spacecraft, as well as non-technical intelligence sources probably better than ours for that area.
And they can't afford even one Joe Wilson working for them.
So they are entirely capable of mounting a pre-emptive strike based on their own resources.
But if Iran does get one off and it is intercepted and destroyed - what then?
Counter value response?
Counter force response?
Nuclear Spasm Response?
I thnk we can presume that appealing to the U.N. is not on the table.....
P.S. The only reason Israel did not enter Desert Storm after the first Scuds came in was that we refused to give them the IFF codes.

10/30/2005 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...


The nice thing about "launch on warning" in the terrorist war context is that it doesn't necessarily mean a nuclear exchange. Terrorist delivery systems are less detectable, but they are also slower and less positively commanded. OIF was, in a sense, a kind of "launch on warning". It was a pre-emptive war, but not a nuclear war, on an enemy who we felt "sure" was preparing to strike.

Now that "sure" has been shown by events to anything but, any future attacks would require more positive indications. Like a nuke going off in Manhattan. Maybe not even that.

10/30/2005 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger Elam Bend said...

Thus, Iran has reason to work with Al Queda because any attack by one, might be by the other, providing Iran an extremely efficien false flag. Iran has always enjoyed using others as it's cat's paw. Who could do this best than the people who obstensibly hate them at Shi'ites?

Given that Pakistan's nuclear announcement was only in reaction to India's detonation (even though Pakistan's resources seemed to have been greater), I wonder at the implications of an Iranian announcement of nuclear power. If I were the Sheiks accross the gulf in the KSA, I would not wait for that moment to decide whether to become nuclear or not.

10/30/2005 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger deeds not fap said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/30/2005 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


"Sorely received" and sorely returned, that's the end I concentrate on.

If Pearl Harbor led to Hiroshima/Nagasaki, what's 9/11 going to lead to?

I would offer analogies like tugging on Superman's cape, but there is no analogy for 9/11.

10/30/2005 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger deeds not fap said...

papa bear,

your scenario is the spookiest yet to me. if they do enough of those functional feints, and combined them with persistent suicide bombings of commuters across the US, they would really rock us 4th generation style. We have some things in our corner but some of the best things seem to be our 21st century war economy - one that tries to pool out innovation ever quicker via liquid markets for inventions - and i worry that its adaptation-yielding rate will not be enough to stop or swiftly counter a campaign thats potentially so profound in scope (going after our economy by systemic and local shocks). Their harm could be considered global if its terrorist networks in South America and/or asia were successfully employed. the ante has conceivably been upped by our foes. has our new industrial military complex got the goods to counter?

Also note the certainly important if not strategic advances the left has garnered recently (indictments targetting the whitehouse & propagating the "Bush-would-lose-an-election" meme, the hardfought fruit of years of clever polling and media manufacturing that gradually shifted the perceptions of the 9/11 witnessing public leftward, ever so prudently). I wonder how many iranians one could dredge up at the discover the network open source intel site?

Can we avoid this, or are we all walking through some historical script by which our civilization blunders its way forward?

10/30/2005 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/30/2005 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger mmcanblog said...

I think the real question begging at this point is "How long will Isreal allow Iran to indulge itself with the type of rhtoric while pursuing nuclear technology?" My expectaion is that it won't be a very long time at all. And that is a good thing, longterm, altho short term it might unite some of the muslim fanatics and mobilize their islamo-fascist base.

10/30/2005 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

If I were the Sheiks accross the gulf in the KSA, I would not wait for that moment to decide whether to become nuclear or not.

Do the Sheiks have a choice in the matter? Seems to me that several of them have decided *to* become nuclear, but it's just not a happening thing. No matter how many petro-dollars you may have.

10/30/2005 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...


Great post & insightful comments by all.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with my adult son this AM in Charleston, SC.

He told me about a co-worker who had had a mental lapse in the O-R that almost cost the patient his life and will certainly cost his group big $$$'s in legal & insurance fees.

The reason for the technician's failure was one of priority. He was well known for being myopic in his approach - busy with unnecessary attention to detail while always missing the big picture. Ironically, his thinking was manifest in the results - his unfortunate action.

My comment to him today & to readers here is this: We need to have our minds very clear on this matter of greatest importance. Our world is one where our thoughts will ultimately become manifest in reality.

10/30/2005 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

(going after our economy by systemic and local shocks)

Why is this being put out there as a possibility? If the terrorists were going to do this, surely they would have already tried it right after 9/11 when Al-Queda was rich, well-integrated, and had gazillions of eager little jihadists all over the world just panting to blow themselves up for Allah, and take a few dozen Americans with them.

If it didn't happen then, at least here in America, I don't see where it's going to start happening now. The fact that we're seeing it happen now in Bali, London, and New Delhi means they can NOT get in here to do their nefarious deeds.

Doesn't it?

And despite four years of warnings, there has yet to be a single explosion in a sea-port. Any place. At all. Of course, there's always a first time, but maybe we're dealing with terrorists from sandy desert countries who don't know how to swim, and are afraid of the water.

10/30/2005 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Did Ahmadinejad Write a Cheque Iran Can't Cash?:

Iran's antipathy to Israel is nothing new, entrenched in the very core of Iranian political identity. But when newly elected conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeated the late Ayatollah Khomenei's words this week that "Israel must be wiped off the map," all hell broke loose.

"In a strategic masterstroke our president has broken the unipolar new world order and created a bipolar world," said a satirical piece posted on an Iranian Web site."Now there's Iran on one side and Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Oceania against us on the other."

10/30/2005 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No nahncee it does not mean that at all.
There are multiple avenues of attack as well as multiple possible attackers.
There was Melvo and Mohamed, the Beltway Snipers, a trail run at localized terror?
There are Mohameddan training centers and encampments, as well as an entire alien underground. Home grown terror groups like MS-13 are guns for hire, here in the US

We have capacity to hit Iran, today. The fact that we have not does not mean we cannot.
They have the capacity to strike US, that they have not is not proof they cannot.

10/30/2005 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger StoutFellow said...

desert rat
They have the capacity to strike US, that they have not is not proof they cannot.

Are they not hitting us because they don't want to stir up the hornet's nest? After all, the last time they struck (9/11) we soon showed up in their neighborhood, ran them out of their only nation state (Afghanistan), deposed an ally and parked our army right in the middle of the caliphate.

10/30/2005 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Bush's wheels falling off:

William Odom, the head of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan, describes Iraq as the "worst strategic debacle in American history." We've committed American lives and over $250 billion in taxpayers' money to an occupation in which we are taking sides in a civil war against the Sunnis, while our allies, the Shiites, are creating a state in the South where most of the oil is, that is ruled by Mullahs allied to Iran, charter member of the "axis of evil," fighting a civil war, largely against the Sunnis.

As Lawrence Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel and former chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell concludes, "We have courted disaster in Iraq, in North Korea, in Iran. And if something comes along that is truly serious, something like a nuclear weapon going off in a major American city, or something like a major pandemic, you are going to see the ineptitude of this government in a way that will take you back to the Declaration of Independence."

10/30/2005 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Not that these people are paragons of rationality,but wouldn't starting a nuclear firestorm in Israel make supposed Muslim holy place Al Quds uninhabitable?Maybe the pint sized psychopath in Iran is blowing smoke .Or maybe not!
Sam:Despite the many critiques of the Bush war effort and ineptitude,isn't the pertinent question where would we be with Gore or Kerry at the helm?Maybe we'll find out in 2008 if Armageddon doesn't happen first or Watergate II bring Bush down first.

10/30/2005 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger CapZap said...


10/30/2005 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

the 1st target if iran uses a nuke, should be nuking that black rock sitting in mecca... period

the islamics could care less about 100 million moslem lives, but they DO love their black rock.

we are dealing with a culture that BELIEVES in the afterlife as reward for jihad, from nasser to the present day iran, losing MILLIONS of average "mohammeds" is not an issue for them, however totally destroying mecca, medina and the dome of the rock would destroy a major symbol and requirement of their religion. Destroy the haji, destroy moderm islam. Maybe like the Jews, whose Temple was destroyed 2 times, and now is occupied by islam, learned to grow past the temple cult, replacing that ancient cult with good deeds and prayer. Maybe the best recipe for defeating NORMALITIVE ISLAM (not radical islam that exists in america that preaches tolerance) is to destroy Pillars of Islam as they currently stand...

I'll trade mecca, medina and the dome of the rock (sitting on occupied JEWISH TEMPLE GROUNDS) for real world peace....

Let the Moslems of the year 4000 AD/CE mourn the destruction of their temple as peaceful minority populations of other nations

10/30/2005 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

mmcanblog, Israel can hit Iran, but it would have to overfly Jordan or Syria and then overfly Iraq, and all of that before entering Iranian airspace. Which is to say that there is abso-posi-lutely zero possibility of maintaining OpSec from beginning to end of even a first strike. The fact that there are literally hundreds of sites, at a minimum several dozen that must be hit to shut down the program, means that even Israel's top flight air force will have to make several massive simultaneous raids or conduct a prolonged air campaign over several days at bare minimum, over Iraq (Turkey is another [friendly?] possibility, unlikely as it might be).

That means the US has to give a green light, minimum, or actively kick open the door for Israel. As [indigenous] Iraq has no airforce per se, or really any credible air defenses, it does not mean the US can be coerced to defend Iraqi airspace but it does mean that we will have sum 'splaining to do. If we give Iraq back to the Iraqis, hey, let Israel have all of the high-explosive fun they want, we'll stay out of it. But as it is right now, holy hell, an attack by Israel on Iran is so unlikely, and unwieldy, as to be almost behind a US first strike.

Again, even a first single strike would have to have air support over Iraq (aerial refueling, almost bare minimum), but it would have to be a massive one into a alert multi-tiered air defense grid. So you'd need the first series of strikes to hit the air defenses, and only then go after fixed targets. And that's if you don't worry about shutting down Iran's ballistic missiles, undoubtedly raining down on Israel and it's [respectable] airforces.

Long distance over no less than any two [hostile] foreign countries before hitting Iran, the extremely large target lists, sophisticated air defense networks and aviation assets...Hey, I'm calling BS on this one. No way Israel is going to do this, it's crazy.

10/30/2005 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...


I read that Hitchens recalls that people in the Clinton administration were speaking of an inevitable confrontation coming with Saddam then those same people dropped this idea once Bush got elected.

10/30/2005 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Muslim women launch international 'gender jihad':

The meeting, which drew women from as far apart as Malaysia, Mali, Egypt and Iran, set itself the task of squaring Islam with feminism. That meant not just combating 14 centuries of sexism in the Muslim world, participants said, but also dealing with the animosity to Islam of many western or secular feminists.

British Muslims were strikingly absent from the conference, which was led by western converts and emigrant families. Ghettoisation and the influence of Saudi-trained preachers were blamed for driving some second-generation immigrants in western countries into the hands of fundamentalists.

10/30/2005 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...

Sometimes I think Iraq will be our salvation, and that for two reasons. The first is that is that is has changed the dynamic in the Arab world; but second and perhaps more fundamentally, it's given the US multiple sources of intelligence it never had.

Marc Ruel Gerecht thinks that the Shi'ite south in Iraq is as a great a strategic threat to Iran as to anything else and I think it is undeniable that OIF has shaken up the region. Witness Libya, Syria, Lebanon. That's the 'change in dynamic' argument. Whether the geopolitics of Gehrect is better than that of Odom remains to be seen.

The next argument, I think, is more solid. Prior to 9/11 American forces were not widely in contact with the enemy. Today they are. Contact with the enemy always brings the precious commodity of intelligence. We are taking prisoners in the field where the enemy is not. But they were. In the past they would kidnap and torture CIA chiefs of station; they would take whole US embassies, their files and staff prisoner. Just recently the US took the files of an entire Arab country. The number of Al Qaeda bigs taken since 9/11 is far greater than that taken before 9/11.

Field contact with the enemy is said to have greatly diminished the monopoly the CIA once had on human intelligence, so that for the first time there are serious turf wars between the CIA and armed forces intelligence organizations over the handling of agents.

If we have any chance of figuring out the Iranian threat it will be because of, and not despite American presence in Iraq. Basra is probably to Teheran as West Berlin was to Moscow.

10/30/2005 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Given the news suppression of the Paki violence and killing of a prominent person in the UK, the Independent may not be so independent (or they would have covered that story like a wet shirt). The Independent could actually be in the back pocket of some Iranian operator. Hence, their assessment that Iran (and the Iranian Presidents remark of wiping Israel off of the map) is silly. In fact, Iran does pose a credible threat to the Israel, Iraq and other parts of world. And, I really would not want to wait for Iran to nuke Israel or our guys in Iraq to prove the Independent wrong.

Let me state that the evidence presented to date doesn't refute the CIA's assertion that Saddam had or was acquiring WMD. To the contrary, the US did find stock piles of yellow cake Uranium, centrifuge parts buried in a garden, and chemical weapons in the form of artillery shells, and chemical precursors and documents. And, it has never disproved that Saddam sent his WMD to Syria (or Lebanon).

The US intelligence groups, such as the CIA are difficult to evaluate because of their clandestine nature. And, historically, there has been some tension between the intelligence community and the President of the USA. Recall, President Eisenhower questioning the Soviet "Bomber gap" and the downing of Francis Gary Powers' U2 jet. Let's go back to Eisenhower Administration:

...first huge benefit of Project OVERFLIGHT was to disprove the Bomber Gap. This was particularly disturbing to Congressional members who could not understand why the CIA and DoD were suddenly revising their Soviet strength figures downward... On 1 May 1960, the CIA launched a U-2 mission over the Central USSR to search for and photograph various missile installations... What Powers didn't know is that, after years of frustration and trying to develop new weapons and techniques, Soviet air defense forces were ready for him. According to soviet sources, some fourteen surface-to-air SA-2 GUIDLINE missiles were fired simultaneously at his U-2 while a number of MiG-19 jet fighters tried zoom climbing to reach him with their guns. Exploding SA-2 missiles managed to damage the U-2 enough to bring it down (in addition to shooting down one of the MiG interceptors). The soviets captured Gary Powers and managed to salvage enough of the aircraft to prove to the world that the U.S. was engaged in clandestine aerial reconnaissance over their territory.

See: Gary Powers' U-2B over Sverdlovsk, USSR

To say that the intelligence community including the CIA are, for the first time, at odds with the President and his Administration is not correct.
Focusing on the current situation with the CIA and the Administration, most people would agree that under the Clinton administration the CIA (and other intelligence units) were mostly gutted and replaced with Clinton's favorite personnel -many of whom were dead wood. Sure, there were some dedicated ones but also there were some partisan chair warmers. Just look at Valerie Plame. She is not exactly 007. In fact, she seemed more interested in getting her husband a job than tracking down terrorists.

I would assume after 9/11 that Bush decided to clean house at the CIA and that meant some of the deadwood would have to go. So, there are some people in the CIA that have an ax to grind with the Administration.

Continuing with the Plame Case, it leads us to Mr. Libby's indictment. Regarding the Libby indictment, many people have indicated that the special prosecutor really over stepped his bounds and has a flimsy case. Here are some legal analysis of the Libby indictment.


...It is clear that, at least by sometime in January 2004 -- and probably much earlier -- Fitzgerald knew this law had not been violated. Plame was not a "covert" agent but a bureaucrat working at CIA headquarters. Instead of closing shop, however, Fitzgerald sought an expansion of his mandate and has now charged offenses that grew entirely out of the investigation itself. In other words, there was no crime when the investigation started, only, allegedly, after it finished. Unfortunately, for special counsels, as under the code of the samurai, once the sword is drawn it must taste blood.

See: David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey

[lgf poster Fatal notes]:

After reading the indictment, this is NOT a strong case, it is exceedingly weak and is most likely nothing more than an attempt to apply pressure so Fitz can dig a little deeper into a big pile of nothingness.
The charges would require the government to prove Beyond a Reasonable Doubt that:

1. Libby "knew" he was lying

2. The lie was about a "material" matter

The prosecutor has declared that:
"the manner and means by which" Libby learned that Valerie Plame was employed by the CIA, whether and when he disclosed that information and whether he knew the information was classified."
is "Material", but without any underlying crime and without a showing that such information would hamper an investigation, this declaration is pretty much nothing more than wishful thinking. A judge could easily throw out the whole indictment on the basis of a demurrer (a claim that the indictment does not make out a crime).

See post: #224 Fatal 10/28/2005 02:40PM PDT

[#156 jamgarr notes]:

...I've read the indictment. I'm not a criminal lawyer but I am a trial lawyer. It is perfectly clear to me that Scooter Libby is the proverbial ham sandwich in this thing.
If you take the factual allegations of the indictment at face value here's what you have - Scooter heard in one way or another several comments in the nature of "people were saying that Wilson's wife was involved in planning Wilson's trip", "that Wilson's wife was believed to have sent him" and that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. He then talks to reporters (Miller, Cooper, Russert) and won't confirm to them that she was employeed by the CIA or sent her husband on the trip.Why...? The indictment sets forth some of Libby's pertinent testimony verbatim - he didn't want to be appearing to the reporters that he could confirm the veracity of that information. In other words, he was doing the very thing that the whole damned investigation was designed to protect us all from in the first place - trying not to be a willy nilly leaker of facts about CIA employees!

[#207 jjag says]:

What I don't understand is this: Why wouldn't a prosecutor absolutely determine Plame's STATUS FIRST? If Plame was not "covert" no law could be broken. Now if her status was dubious to begin with, what does it matter what anyone says in an investigation of NOTHING?

See: comments by the above numbers


...The indictment itself contains no evidence of a conspiracy, and Mr. Libby has not been accused of trying to cover up some high crime or misdemeanor by the Bush Administration. The indictment amounts to an allegation that one official lied about what he knew about an underlying "crime" that wasn't committed.

Mr. Libby's counsel zeroed in on this point when he said, "We are quite distressed the Special Counsel has now sought to pursue alleged inconsistencies in Mr. Libby's recollection and those of others' and to charge such inconsistencies as false statements." He added that they "will defend vigorously against these charges."Unless Mr. Fitzgerald can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Libby was lying, and doing so for some nefarious purpose, this indictment looks like a case of criminalizing politics.

see: Libby is charged with lying about a crime that wasn't committed.

I say de-politicize the CIA and task them with a finding a way to neutralize the Iran problem. That means no more "me first" people at the CIA. We need good clean intelligence (and maybe some action in the field).

10/30/2005 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Pakistan cannot afford more US confrontations with Iran: Musharraf:

The president said it was unfortunate that in some quarters, especially in the Arab world, there was a misunderstanding about the recent contacts between Pakistan and Israel.

Pakistan's stance concerning the Palestinian cause remains unchanged. There has been no change whatsoever, the president said.

10/30/2005 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

From an operational point of view, Israel is quite capable of hitting Iran where it hurts, without using Jordanian or Iraqi airspace. Israel put several satellites into space, it is quite capable of putting high explosive payload on rockets and offloading them high explosives on Iranian oil related facilities. The Iranian economy is directly tied to oil production. I believe it's 85% of their GDP. W/o this revenue stream, no Iranian military program or Iranian nuclear program will be possible. In fact, the economic havoc Iranians will experience by the elimination of those oil facilities will likely also put an end to the ayatollahs political program in Iran.

10/30/2005 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

The prince and the yawpers:

Yes, there are also people in the Middle East joining Prince Charles in trying to "bring the religions of the world together," and bless 'em if they can succeed. In the United States, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Buddhists, Hale-Boppers, tree worshippers and everybody else live in proximity – for the most part remarkably peacefully. By bringing his "can't we just get along" message to America, is Charles preaching to the choir?

Charles went to Iran early last year and visited President Khatami. What are the chances Charles toured the country and asked Islamic fundamentalists to be "less confrontational" toward other religions? Slim and none, as evidenced by the fact that Charles' polo pony isn't being ridden by a headless horseman.

10/30/2005 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Mika, use of ballistic missiles is nearly verboten, but since the Israelis took the hits without flinching in Gulf War I, hey, turn-about is fair play. That neatly eliminates the air-campaign, overflight needs, and on all in a single shot; I stand well and corrected. Hmmm, how much easier is it for Israel to build accurate missiles than it is for Iran to build nukes?

On the other hand, attacking Iran's oil production is likely to piss everyone off, especially Europe, but also India and China. America will be unhappy too, I assure you, with $5 gallon gas. Again, though, the best PR is success and the worst is getting your geopolitical butt in a sling. Ahhh, the knock of opportunity, so sweet.

10/30/2005 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Could Nationalism Come to Iraq's Rescue?:

The crux of the problem is this: Sunnis loathe the constitution, probably because it paves the way for a federal Iraqi state in which provinces can join together to form regions with their own security forces, and the Sunnis think that a Shia super-region in the south of the country could come under the influence of neighboring Iran.

Moreover, in particular, the Sunnis also feel that they will have no access and control over the Iraq's oil revenues, since most of the country's oilfields are in Shia and Kurdish areas.

10/30/2005 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger Cornelius said...

BoingBoing, which I think represents the young, naive, and hardcore Moveon, Dean crowd posted this:

Iran's liberal-democratic society
The Independent runs down ten liberal-democratic elements of Iranian society that you probably didn't know about (I sure didn't):

2 In the form of Shia Islam practised in Iran, Muslims are allowed to enter into temporary marriages with each other, sometimes lasting only a few hours. Critics say this in effect legalises prostitution, and women who enter into these sigheh contracts are often ostracised. But the practice is defended as a legal loophole to provide inheritance rights for children who would otherwise be born out of wedlock. Sigheh websites have been set up to offer advice to prospective brides and grooms...

6 While official dress codes are very strict, many young Iranians delight in pushing back the boundaries of what is acceptable. Teenage girls in Tehran wear the most vestigial of see-through headscarves and tight overcoats that barely cover the bottom. This season gypsy-style scarves are in, featuring traditional Turkmen floral designs. Cosmetic surgery is all the rage, with girls proudly displaying a plaster to show their nose has recently been "fixed".

Of course, it's telling that they focus on the juvenille aspects, such as sex. It's also telling that Doctorow's comment is "I had no idea!".

I'm still suprised at the common depth of knowlege, or lack thereof, of todays declared Democrats on anything Islamic. I'm reminded of a post Drudge put up a few months ago about Al Gore TV, with some 20 something moron who is talking about the Israel-Palestinian war and he says something to the effect of 'Like, wow, yeah, there's crazy stuff happening over there!'.

Ignorance may be bliss, but in a world of proliferating nuclear knowlege and the increasing material means to acquire them, it's suicide.

10/30/2005 11:24:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Iran won’t return to full N-freeze: Ahmadinejad:

The Iranian foreign ministry also kept up its efforts to ease tensions, the day after asserting the Islamic republic was not out to attack Israel. “The position of the Islamic republic regarding the illegal Zionist regime has been very clear since the Islamic revolution (in 1979): we do not recognise this regime and that is our diplomatic right,” foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.

“We want free elections in the occupied Palestinian territories with the participation of all inhabitants, be they Jews, Muslims or Christians.”

10/30/2005 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

vercingetorix writes:
"America will be unhappy too, I assure you, with $5 gallon gas."

Or, we all start using one of these. :)

10/30/2005 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

vercingetorix writes:
"how much easier is it for Israel to build accurate missiles than it is for Iran to build nukes?"

I'm not sure Israel doesn't already have that capability. I'd be surprised if it doesn't. And Israel need not deliver these missiles from Israel proper. It can use its naval assets. Them German submarines it took delivery of come to mind.

10/31/2005 12:01:00 AM  
Blogger blert said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/31/2005 01:55:00 AM  
Blogger blert said...

The only solution that meets our requirements is invasion of their oil fields. We don't want them off the market. We don't want them funding the mullahs. Escrowing the proceeds for a successor democratic government would be necessary. We need to shut down the mullah’s wallet. That is something that can be achieved. Air attacks just stir the hornet’s nest.

Iran has bin Laden, himself. The President's speeches are establishing his rationale for invasion. There will be no further screwing around.

The timing is undecided. Bush & Co are trying to shape the strategic battlespace right now. They have already informed the international players that Iran's days are numbered. Bush & Co queered Iran's gas deal with India.

The belligerent comments are in tune with King Abdullah’s thinking. Perhaps Iran is trying to triangulate. Internally, Iran is buttoned down for total war.

Their strategic punch is suicide troops. Never underestimate that.

BTW, Iran is making moves like a player that already has the bomb; just not enough to admit it. The mullahs know that a paltry number would trigger total war. Testing one and producing a fizzle: catastrophic.

Anyhow, Iran thinks China has their back; and perhaps Russia, too. China is more important because she can supply the trade goods and is a customer, too. Selling gas to Russia just doesn't pencil out.

If Iran unleashes its strategic power, expect a Shia rebellion and mass destruction in KSA oil fields. They have already perfected this technique in Iraq. Don't be surprised to find the same sabotage running wild throughout the West.

10/31/2005 02:05:00 AM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

One interesting little factoid I heard rumors about: China apparently has some sort of military agreement with Israel, trading technology and components. If push comes to shove, China may stop barking and start biting the correct targets.

Of course, given that China deals with Iran and the others, the above information may be dubious. But perhaps we can take comfort in the hope that China does not sell their best stuff to the Middle East.

10/31/2005 05:12:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

To the question of why the US has not been struck again, since 9-11.
I am not sure that the border bandits of aQ have the capacity to strike. Their operatives in Buffalo and other locales, like Lodi, CA, seem inept, at best.

The Iranians are a totally different kettle of fish. They have been succefully engaged in a low intensity conflict with US for a couple of decades now. Since before the Shah's overthrow.
They are waiting, with no need to escalate their US conflict. The rhetoric of the Iranian President vis a vie Israel is old news, having it broadcast to the World IS not. They, most likely, did not expect it.
The Iranians think they are ready, in a good position for the middle game. With good reason.

As verc says there are multiple sites, over 300, on the US list of targeted Iranian nuclear program facilities. How many weapons and delivery systems does Israel have?
Striking Iran conventionaly or with nukes may well start a Global Conflict. Of both high and low intensity, depending upon the theater.

Do not discount a Russian retalitory response against Israel if Israelis attack Iran with nuclear weapons.

Can any Israeli weapons system reach a major Russian city?

10/31/2005 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Desert RAt - We have capacity to hit Iran, today. The fact that we have not does not mean we cannot.
They have the capacity to strike US, that they have not is not proof they cannot.

Unfortunately, that circular argument can be applied to any nation outside a small handful of primitive African and island nations. That Canada has the capacity to strike the US but has not is not proof they cannot. Not much of a point to be made there.

Ledger the funnyman writes:

Let me state that the evidence presented to date doesn't refute the CIA's assertion that Saddam had or was acquiring WMD. To the contrary, the US did find stock piles of yellow cake Uranium, centrifuge parts buried in a garden, and chemical weapons in the form of artillery shells, and chemical precursors and documents. And, it has never disproved that Saddam sent his WMD to Syria (or Lebanon).

The US military packed away their NBC gear in June of 2003, Ledger. The final Duelfer report says no WMD. True believers in DC, though, had the military still running around all through the summer and fall of 2003 under orders to find the "vast, hidden stockpiles of WMD" and ignore the Sunnis looting ammo dumps of shells, landmines as "low priority".

To hear you yammer about Saddams yellowcake and his ongoing nuke program and chemical weapons and hidden WMD hordes in Syria and Lebanon is pathetic. You are stuck in some aberrant time warp where the last of the true believers refuse to move past 2003.

Now, with some Al Qaeda and die-hard Ba'athists moving in from Lebanon and Syria to kill Americans and large crowds of Shia, don't you think they'd come in with a few nerve gas shells if they had them? Instead, they use the explosives they looted in Spring-Fall 2003.

Even the worst of the neocons have long since crawled under their rocks, bunkered down, and only emerge to peep that Bush has only fucked things up because he didn't listen to the neos on other issues - like making their man Chalabi President.

Pathetic, Ledger.

Yeo - One interesting little factoid I heard rumors about: China apparently has some sort of military agreement with Israel, trading technology and components.

Unfortunately, the technology Israel was caught trading to China was US military technology, including F-16 technology and the Patriot Missile system. We have largely shut down the conduit of American military secrets going to China from the backstabbing Israelis, who are currently on "probation" and barred from development on new systems like the F-35. However, Israel's monetary clout with Congress as well as Bush's personal Christian Zionist beliefs has not yet allowed America to wrap up Israel's extensive military and corporate espionage systems here. Only China and Russia have more espionage activities in America than Israel.

As for who China favors - Iran has the oil it needs to make things for WalMarts so it can load up on more American dollars to keep it's explosive growth and military modernization going. Israel has nothing China wants other than it's military technology based on American licensed technology transfers and American foreign aid funds. And we are now watching the Zionists closely....

10/31/2005 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

Do not discount a Russian retalitory response against Israel if Israelis attack Iran with nuclear weapons.

do not discount the reality of a million russians living in israel....

10/31/2005 06:13:00 AM  
Blogger deeds not fap said...

"Why is this being put out there as a possibility? If the terrorists were going to do this, surely they would have already tried it right after 9/11 when Al-Queda was rich, well-integrated, and had gazillions of eager little jihadists all over the world just panting to blow themselves up for Allah, and take a few dozen Americans with them."

Its a good point but I do not think there is anything "surely" about what AQ might have done. Either they aren't here or theyre still in sleeper cell mode. Maybe the super terrorists that are able to more or less work alone and snipe people going in and out of shopping malls from a mile away with anonymous impunity will never materialize and will remain a contrivance of naive paranoia to which i may very well be prescribing. However, when the iranians make such boasts as those linked to in W's post, it is irresponsible to hypothesize that present hunky-dory-ness need continue becayse of x,y & z. The theme of a naive west about to be pounced on by some wily barbarian-types seem as present in todays ominous news of a bellicose iran as did the helpless and stupified west of pre ww2. We may not be so helpless or stupified, but our public has yet to become aware of this threat. OR, as W's post points out, where is a credible assessment of threats from Iran? Some would say that Iran is predominantly persian and only "flirts" with this Arab stuff as a result of the Shah. Then again they seem eager to test themselves against the economies of the anglos

If distant, as you argue, its nonetheless a quite dire possibility - the essence of the problem being "What if America faces a power that isn't so two-bit in its pursuance of war with the Great Satan?" What if we face something other than a newbie insurgency? Our triumphs so far seem tied to our ability to quickly turn around lessons learned in the GWOT and implement them in new "adaptations", be they tactical, technological etc. Will these iterative reorganizations of resources be enough to stay aggressive in this war as it turns its sights on Iran, the tribal areas of Pakistan, central asia, etc?

Besides AQ, an international group like Hezbollah may be a powerful weapon to the Iranians, no?

10/31/2005 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

c4: Israel has nothing China wants other than it's military technology based on American licensed technology transfers and American foreign aid funds. And we are now watching the Zionists closely....

george orwell would be proud....

10/31/2005 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

C4, you agree with nahncee then in that because Iran has not directly attacked the US since the Carter Administration they cannot, now? In Panama, Venezuala, Mexico, Bolivia, Kuwait, KSA, Turkey, Afghanistan and Iraq, of course, US interests are vunerable. Even within the US proper, a Nation State like Iran could field sufficent force to destabilize normal life. Or they could hire proxies, MS-13 and FARC are capable and already on site. There are others, naturally.

Those million Israelis of Russian descent are no longer Russian, they are Israeli Jews. If you think for a moment, porker, that their lives would hold off a Russian response, well ...

The deaths of Russian Jews has never stopped a Moscow based government, in the past, from taking what ever course of action was deemed desirable. From the Czars to the Commissars the Russians have never held the Jews to be a great benefit to Russia.
It may be one reason why Russia is doing so well today, ha ha.

10/31/2005 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

How better to placate the Mohammedans of the World, and cut off funding and support to the Mohammedan Insurgents in Russia, then to destroy the "little satan"?
All in response to the Israelis creating "Hell on Earth" in the nuclear fires of an Israeli preemptive attack on Iran.

The idea that Israel could attack Iran, preemptively, and survive as a Jewish Nation State 'til Jesus returns, is none to likely.
No matter where the "new" Israelis are from.

Just where then is Armegeddon, if not Israel?

10/31/2005 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

It may be one reason why Russia is doing so well today, ha ha.


10/31/2005 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The road to success with Iran is not overtly military.
There are multiple nonmilitary options available to destabilize the Mullahs.
We do not seem to be engaged in pursuing them, other than the establishment of a Federal Republic in Iraq. The spill over into Iran from that will be benefical, but slow in coming.
In the short term sending Mrs Hughes to Eygpt is not nearly enough.

Remember the US is not omnipotent.

Why not Osama?

10/31/2005 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/31/2005 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

desert rat writes:
"The deaths of Russian Jews has never stopped a Moscow based government, in the past, from taking what ever course of action was deemed desirable."

True. But I think you have this figured all wrong. My deep suspicion is that Israel taking Iran's oil production out of commission is Russia's strategic goal in all of this. Russia provides the rope (by way of technical assistance, diplomatic cover, etc) for the Mullahs to hang themselvesand, and in the process helps eliminate one of their competitors in the oil market. With less oil on the market, Russia's oil and gas becomes that much more valuable. Destabilizing the Middle East, interrupting the oil supply, has always been the calculation on Russia's part dating back to the days of the USSR.

10/31/2005 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Israel attacking Iran would very likely be the ember in the haystack. We are faced with a strategic paradox. If Israel truly feels that her existence is in danger, is there anything we can do to dissuade her from attacking Iran? Another question: how far will we go to dissuade her? Shoot down her planes?

No, of course we won't. The Bush administration will stand by its friends, and at the very least not actively obstruct an Israeli attack on Iran.

But we don't want an Israeli attack on Iran. If Israel pushes hard enough, will the US coopt the attack to take the "zionist" sting out of it? How much can we internationalize this conflict, how much can we take the focus off the true stimulus for action: Israel?

The answer may very well be Iraq. The Iraqis have their own reasons to be displeased with Iran. My guess, when looking at the whole strategic layout, is that we will see a slow play at the UN with Iraq demanding action on Iran with the US and the EU in the role of the chorus, the US singing bass and the EU singing...

The drums of war are slowly beginning to beat once again. We cannot afford an Israeli-induced regional conflagration, yet it is Israel that will be the most adamant about confrontation. We cannot afford unilateral action, because it would be political suicide at home and a huge diplomatic step backwards abroad. The UN cannot be depended upon to do anything substantive, and Russia and China may even work actively against us. One ace up our sleave is Iraq and its grievances against Iran. I'm not sure how far it will go, but an Iraqi play may be enough to draw an abstention from China and Russia on any punitive measures flowing from the UNSC. However you slice it, time is running out because, and I know this will put C4's hair on fire, Israel's patience is running out. Zionism is the tripwire for Muslims, and our long-term strategy cannot afford to yank on it.

If we cannot get satisfaction at the UN, things will begin to move faster. We will have peace in the region. The question is how much peace will cost.

And to follow-up on another topic, Iran has had at least four years to position terrorist assets all over the world. That amount of time is even enough to get a green card, so what hope do we have that sleeper Hezbollah cells are not ready and waiting to enact Iranian foreign policy in our malls and shopping centers?

10/31/2005 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Rat, part of the reason we might not be engaged with Tehran right now is undoubtedly Syria; Syria's Alawites nonetheless allow a vital conduit into for Iraq's Sunni insurrectionists. Iran assists materially as well, but arguably not to the Syrian extent. Couple the urgent priority to cut the Sunnis off from their patrons and Syria's own ignoble decline in recent years, plus Syria's position on the vital flank of Iraq, half a pincer with Iran, and all of that is a compelling justification to delay Iran just a bit longer until delay becomes a moment of choice.

BTW, before September 11th, at aQ's apogee, they only hit us once before on America's soil (twice if you conclude that OK City had an assist from the sheep-buggers, sorry, noble savage resistance fighters). So in at least a ten year span, aQ averaged one attack on American turf per every five years (or ten), which is quite consonant with the 4 year op-pause. I don't think aQ has the capability to hit us that hard again, but low-intensity terrorism should be well within their reach.

10/31/2005 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

re: Iranian terrorist response.

It is not enough to stop us from implementing our foreign policy as we see fit, but it is something to take into account. If Iran and the US get into a tangle, we will see attacks on American interests, and most likely attacks here at home.

10/31/2005 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...


"We do not seem to be engaged in pursuing them"

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Would you expect the US to billboard clandestine efforts at destabilization? Might not the Mad Mullah's screaming be reactive in nature?

If we're not stepping on their toes, who is?

10/31/2005 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Israel would be very smart to get some sort of agreement with China that would bring CHinese military support in case of a significant attack on Israel. If I were Israel, I certainly would not trust the United States to respond quickly enough if that were to occur. And if there is such an agreement, I would think it would make Iran think twice.

10/31/2005 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You may well be right, I certainly hope so. I firmly believe that Iraq's new freedoms are a far greater threat to the Iranian Mullahs then the Mullahs are a threat to those Iraqi freedoms.

I do expect an aggresive Iraq, in action at the UN, with a phased US withdrawl from Iraq, starting this Spring.

The Iraqis will play a major role in deliberations about both Syria and Iran.

Again, I'm speaking of a post preemptive Israeli nuclear strike against Iran. The ME would be afire, the Russian oil stocks would already be at all time record values, as you say. That would only encourage them to strike at the Israelis. In solidarity with their Mohammedan comrades, brothers, or pronoun of your choice.
They would IMMEDIATELY have an opportunity to recreate a Bipolar world, where the Russians were again taken seriously.

10/31/2005 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Desert Rat - From the Czars to the Commissars the Russians have never held the Jews to be a great benefit to Russia.

Not exactly true. Jews were at one time 52% of the ruling Bolsheviks when they were 2% of the Soviet population. They were prominent in state security organs and led the liquidation of Orthodox priests and the dynamiting of 20,000 churches while the synogogues were spared. After Stalin's rise, Jews were not persecuted like other ethnic minorities were. Some Jews fell in Stalins reign terror but no more than the odds a Russian would get a knock on the door in the dead of the night.

Even the so-called "Doctors Plot" failed to liquidate any Jews, because it was aborted with Stalin's Death and Stalin's goal was to relocate and concentrate the Jews in new Settlements to the East, as he did with the Chechens and Tatars, not liquidate them.

MOre Desert Rat - One ace up our sleave is Iraq and its grievances against Iran. I'm not sure how far it will go, but an Iraqi play may be enough to draw an abstention from China and Russia on any punitive measures flowing from the UNSC. However you slice it, time is running out because, and I know this will put C4's hair on fire, Israel's patience is running out.

The idea that Iraq has grievances with Iran and would support a US-Zionist attack is preposterous. Iran and the Shia-dominated Iraqis signed a mutual defense pact last spring. It was for two reasons. First, Iraqi Shia signalling that they would not permit Iraq to be the base for unilateral American invasion of Iran. Secondly, that Iraq will not tolerate use of it's territory and airspace for a Zionist attack on Iran.

If the US went along with a Zionist attack, Iraqi Shias would rule America complicit in killing their brother Shiites , and, in a noble purple-fingered democratic moment, vote to demand America leave Iraq completely or suffer Shia attacks as well as Sunni ones.

The US could try and stay and fight a Shia insurgency on top of the Sunni one, but I think the public would be dismayed.

Anyone who worried about Israel's secret, vast, undeclared WMD stockpiles worried this day would come - as Israel's possession of those weapons triggered an arms race. Israel thought Muslims too stupid to ever have the Bomb. Wrong. Strategic parity is naturally sought in any strategic rivalry. We got something the Soviets lacked, they soon caught up, and vice versa.

Which is why the Roadmap must be finished and if Israel and the Pals still can't agree - final borders and final compensation of refugees imposed on both sides.

10/31/2005 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Hold on, China can hardly send forces across the Taiwan Straits, much less even mount air attacks across Central Asia. Not to mention how much it would cost China in terms of realpolitic; nothing says 'get friendly immediately with America, go! go!' than several hundred transport planes dropping zhong dui paratroopers over Tehran. And for whatever Israel is worth to China, oil still matters mightily to China. Also, any deal between Israel and China will likely include some sort of unpalatable onus on Israel itself.

Who does Israel choose in a pinch? A China a half a world away that is a strong market, err, still far less so than America but whatever, that might be able to send up second-class air support if Israel asks? Or America, their largest trading partner (Major import trading partners: US 18.1%, Major export trading partners: US 38.2%) which has aircraft carriers off shore right now and a first rate airforce, and might just go ahead and bomb Iran just because it's our national pasttime (dammit!)?

10/31/2005 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Preemptive Israeli nuclear strike against Iran? Why use a sledgehammer when you can use a flyswatter to do the job?

10/31/2005 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Most Israelis already feel like they're in the 51st state. I doubt that will change anytime soon. Btw, Maccabi beat the Raptors the other day. :P

10/31/2005 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

C4,, I'm not sure who you quoted in the second phase of your response, but it weren't me. I do not use those negative personal portraits. Don't know if you've got hair, let alone relish sadist pleasure with the thought of it aflame.

Israel has more immediate worries on it's frontier, much greater in scale and scope than a belligerent bully years away from getting really armed and already cordoned off by the bouncer.

There is still time for other than lethal methods to be employeed within Iran.

10/31/2005 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

there are an awful lot of those flys to be swatted, in Iran.

If Russians can pilot planes over Korea and Vietnam against US pilots, they certainly could fly against Israelis.
You misjudge, I think, how badly Putin and his cohort of Communist retreads yearn for the respect that they can achieve through force of arms.
They will come to the active defense of Iran, it is in their best interest.
We have already discussed how the Left of the West has gravitated towards the Mohammedans. Why would the Russians go against the flow?

As verc says they are interested in ME turmoil, not stability.
If they were to ally with the Iranians against the Israelis, well, the lines would soon be drawn.
We'd be at the restart of history.

10/31/2005 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

To understand whether the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 applies to the Plame-Wilson affair, one must have access to the CIA’s confidential employment history for Valerie Plame. Presumably, that information would have been the starting place for special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation.

So I ask:

If revealing that Valerie Plame’s CIA connection is not a prosecutable offense, why was a special prosecution set up? Why impanel a Grand Jury? Why Coerce testimony from ANYONE, if “outing” Valerie Plame is not prosecutable?

If revealing Plame’s identity as a CIA employee were a prosecutable offense, and they can show that Libby is the source, WHY is he not being charged?

It’s been TWO FULL YEARS. At this late date it is inconceivable that the CIA and the Department of Justice can still be uncertain as to whether the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 would apply to Valerie Plame.

The world outside our borders provides daily examples of Islamic Zealots’ relentless murder and bullying of people of all faiths. International Islamic terror acts of just the last week: Three adolescent Christian girls beheaded in Indonesia; more than 59 Indians killed and 114 injured by at least three bombs placed in crowded markets and a bus in New Delhi, during a Hindu Festival of Lights; Three truck bombs AIMED AT THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS CORPS IN THE HOTEL PALESTINE IN BAGHDAD. The pace of Islamic terrorism against the world is such that space simply does not allow a listing of the outrages dating back more than a few days.

But the Left acknowledges no evil but the American Right. This is most true of the American Left. Safe within the borders of their own country, protected by the government they casually describe as Nazis, the leaders of the Left describe events as though they’re seeing through a soda straw. According to them, all the evils of the world— despite Islam’s 14-century history of slaughtering its neighbors — can be attributed to the bungling or malevolence of Bush and his cronies. It’s as though there is no history before George W. Bush took office; the righteous rage that prompted the attacks of 9-11 was precipitated by George; the WMD issue was concocted by George; The terrorists of London are responding to the diplomatic blunders and warmongering lies of George; the ongoing Muslim massacre of black african animists and Christians in Darfur is somehow the fault of George; Even hurricanes and New Orleans corruption were spawned by George. The Left have learned the lesson that a lie repeated frequently enough will overwhelm the truth.

Such rampant hyperbole erodes reasoning ability as surely as a diet of ecstasy pills laced with Rohypnol. “Bush Lied; People Died” is a slogan that plainly alerts any with ears to hear, that the shouter is incapable of sorting out the complex logic needed to identify an exit from a toilet stall.

10/31/2005 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

Zionist attack Zionist attack Zionist attack Zionist attack Zionist attack Zionist attack Zionist attack Zionist attack Zionist attack Zionist attack Zionist attack Zionist attack

wow c4, you sound like a mullah.......

10/31/2005 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Yo C4$, any of the grandkids going out as Zionists tonight?

10/31/2005 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger T said...

It's interesting how Ahmadinejad saying Israel should be wiped off the map arouses international outrage, but Bush and his poodle calling for Iran to be wiped off the map is perfectly acceptable.

Yet another contradiction. But hey, who needs logic and consistency when you've got religion replacing science! GO USA! Full reliance and emotional appeals and the abandonment of logic, fascism at its finest.

10/31/2005 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

iotm you're not going to bore us with yet another religion vs logic sermon are you?

10/31/2005 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Who is the poodle this time, Mr Chirac, that french poodle or the english bulldog, Mr Blair? Or that German Chancellor, nah he was replaced.

Interesting that the international community, like you say, is aroused in outrage about Mr Ahmadinejad's bigotry.
Wonder why they are siding with US cowboy Americans, this time. We're the same uncouth barbarians we've always been.
Maybe it's that Mr Ahmadinejad represents the worst of the worse.
Maybe Mr Chirac has had a reconsidered view of Mr Bush's competency and abiities. In light of the successful electoral process in Iraq that we have help the Iraqis establish.

10/31/2005 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger jim said...

Yes, iotm, it's terrible that Bush would call the Mullahs undemocratic and dangerous when they oppress their people, export terrorism, develop nuke weapons and threaten to annihilate a sovereign country and kill the Jews, but it's reasonable, even laudable, that the Dean and Durbin Dems call Bush a fascist Nazi Zionist puppet fundie theocrat corporate tool moronic chimp cowboy and call for his assassination from time to time.

O, a mined is a terrible thing to waist.

10/31/2005 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

The idea that Iraq has grievances with Iran and would support a US-Zionist attack is preposterous.

That was me with the preemptive attack on your hair, though I see I was right. I also see that your reading comprehension is a little atrophied. I did not ever argue that Iraq would support a Zionist attack on Iran, which left me in the awkward position of agreeing with your post before I realized your statement was meant to be a rebuttal.

You obviously missed my point that the US cannot afford a "zionist" face to any military action in Iran, so if Israel is set on confronting Iran our hand will be forced. In other words, if we cannot stop Israel (and we're not going to shoot her planes out of the sky), we are left with a sticky situation where we must act. Whether we act under the auspices of the UN or under a coalition of the willing, our long term strategy in the war on terror seems to militate against any cooperation with Israel on such a venture. Since you always claim Israel manipulates the US into doing her dirty work, I qualified my previous statement with a nod towards your sensibilities.

Ahmadinejad helped us a little with his recent provocations, and even the Russians are distancing themselves from his "burn it all down" mentality. The flip side, though, is that a country like Iran that sports such a death wish will precipitate action whether we like it or not. Look at the recent Basra bombings, and at Ledeen's recent article.

We are moving into the orbit of war. The strategy paper I linked to thinks we can somehow find the Lagrangian point and stabilize the descent. I am not so sure, and Iran's recent hardline posture makes me even less so. With Ahmadinejad's recent asinity, the tug of gravity grows ever stronger, and the probability of controntation rises.

10/31/2005 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Then there is this.

10/31/2005 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

great link
This Abbasi sounds like the Iranians Carl Rove. Wonder if he is under investigation, too, or is he free to plot and plan without constraint? Are there Iranian Grand Juries?

Seriously this is IMO the most important line in the story ...

" ... "A brief military clash with the US at this time could do wonders for the Islamic Republic. The regime would be able to crush growing internal opposition in the name of national solidarity. ..."

"growing internal opposition"... should be well funded and supplied by US or proxies. Help them "Push" for their own Purple Revolution.

10/31/2005 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

nathan or anyone that may know,
What is the satellite system needed to run a phone system over a country the size of, let's say, Iran?.
One unit in a synchro orbit or multiple units working in an intergrated system? Like the GPS.

How easily could the phone transmissions be blocked?

10/31/2005 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Aristedes - You set my hair on fire, not Desert Rat. Mea culpa, Rat.

You set hair on fire with this, which speculated that if Israel attacks, the US must join it's "special friend" and do 99% of the heavy lifting, casualties and cost - because, well, we can't exactly shoot down the warplanes of our "special friend" can we?

My own read is Zionist warplanes appearing over sovereign Iraq attacking fellow Shiites will cause the Iraqis to invoke the mutual defense pact it signed with Iran last spring and force the US to unambiguously "choose sides". If we chose Israel, we are embroiled in a war with the Iraqi Army we just created and make automatic enemies of 80% of the Iraqis (60% Shia + the usual 20% Sunni bastards) and set us up for another 10 years in Iraq PLUS the war Israel dragged us into against Iran.

Or we can shoot down the Zionist planes attempting another preemptive war. That would be a huge propaganda victory showing the Muslim nations that America is really not the tool of wealthy Zionists.

I'd vote for shooting down invading Zionists to avoid the US having all Muslim countries finalize their opinion of America as an irredeemable Zionist lackey.

While we are stuck in Iraq, we have no desire for the Zionists, the pariahs of the world, to complicate our efforts. Israel should have realized its secret WMD efforts would never last as a monopoly. She had close to 40 years to set permanent borders and work on compensating Pal refugees. Instead, Israel poured 300,000 colonists into the Occupied Territories more extreme Zionists wished to make exclusively Jewish, and refused as they have for almost 60 years - to pay the people whose land and property they stole a shekel while they sued European nations and American corporations right and left for WWII lost land and property.

10/31/2005 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Desert Rat:
How do you mean "satellite system"? Geosynch satellites are used for long haul communications, and one would do nicely for Iran in terms of coverage. One might not do it in terms of capacity.
Such satellites relay comm to/from major installations tied into the phone network- not like home satellite dishes where it is received directly.
As for as direct ground to satellite systems there are but a few civillian systems Iridium - used mainly by DoD now, and a few other non-geosynch systems and INMARSAT - desigend for maryime comminicatiosn but usable by anyone with the equipment.
As for jamming a country's capability to use such systems - it would be easy with the right orbital systems and not impossible with ground based systems located in nearby countries.

10/31/2005 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Satellite system meaning a phone system not dependent upon modular towers and the like. We had one at a remote ranch. It was costly at the time, a decade or so ago.
Could we develop a communications network, in Iran, that the Mullahs could not take down with out considerable time and expense?

10/31/2005 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Shortwave transmission is your best bet. People in that part of the world listen to radio. To my mind VOA, BBC, CBC, etc., are worthless. What's needed is MSNBC, FOX, and Bloomberg News translated to Farsi/Arabic.

10/31/2005 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Desert Rat: Oh, you mean not taking down their satellite comm systems but one that could directly broadcast to the people.
Answer: We already done it. Direct TV and the other direct satellite systems work just fine over there. Baywatch was the No.1 show in Tehran!
In fact, they work so fine and are so popular - and are so disruptive to the Mullahocracy - that the Mullahs have put out edicts against people receiving them. So no overt dishes is the law of the land. Big deal! So you point them through a window, make a spot in the roof, etc.
XM Satllite Radio works just fine, too and is a lot harder to spot.
None of these systems can be jammed very easily over a broad area unless you want to put up satellites desigend to do that - and then you really P.O. lots of people because you end up jamming more than your own country. If anyone did that ASATs would become politically acceptable. Too bad we ain't got any.
In Vietnam we dropped AM radio receivers set to our broadcasts in the areas where we wanted to communciate our message to the people. We could do the same in Iran.
But there is probably no need to do that. The people in Iran will pay for the privilege of receiving our decadance.

10/31/2005 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

This speech made by the Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei (The man that rules Iran) shows just the barest outline of his vision to make Iran the leader and seat of power in the effort to subvert and conquer the entire world.

His urging is like the serpent in the garden.

Millions hear it today and many millions more will hear it soon.

Papa Ray
West Texas

10/31/2005 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

re: does Israel have a strategic deterent against Russia? Yes. Given they can launch satellites, they can deliver other payloads anywhere.

re: does poor intelligence or honest uncertainty in intelligence argue for or against a first-strike? For. The National Security Strategy clearly states that greater uncertainty justifies earlier, pre-emptive action. It puts the enemies of liberty on notice that transparency is in their interest.

re: Iraq's benefits. A democratic country's military is at its weakest when it is unchallenged, unpracticed (see Europe's forces for a worst case example. The Turks, if they took exception to the poor EC treatment of their guest workers, could march to the channel with little more than military show bands standing in their way). Iraq has forced the U.S. military to adapt and grow in ways unseen since WW2. All aspects, soldiers, tactics, logistics, technology and leadership are much improved (esp. compared to the decay experienced in the 90s, and for only a very low level of historical investment, a small fraction of the US GDP).

10/31/2005 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...


You may be right about the fallout from an Israeli attack on Iran, which is why I think it is almost at the top of our worst case scenarios.

That said, I can't imagine shooting Israeli planes out of the sky to protect Iran.

10/31/2005 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

The Mad Fiddler notes: ...If revealing Plame's identity as a CIA employee were a prosecutable offense, and they can show that Libby is the source, WHY is he not being charged?

That is a good question. It looks like the case is weak at best. But, I am not a lawyer (my brother is). It's would seem that the Identities Protection Act would not apply to Plame - most acknowledge she was a CIA analyst and that fact was known to many people (including some well known MSM reporters).


The world outside our borders provides daily examples of Islamic Zealots' relentless murder and bullying of people of all faiths... International Islamic terror acts of just the last week: Three adolescent Christian girls beheaded in Indonesia; more than 59 Indians killed and 114 injured by at least three bombs placed in crowded markets and a bus in New Delhi, during a Hindu Festival of Lights; Three truck bombs AIMED AT THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS CORPS IN THE HOTEL PALESTINE IN BAGHDAD... the Left acknowledges no evil but the American Right. Safe within the borders of their own country, protected by the government they casually describe as Nazis, the leaders of the Left describe events as though they're seeing through a soda straw. According to them, all the evils of the world— despite Islam's 14-century history of slaughtering its neighbors — can be attributed to the bungling or malevolence of Bush... "Bush Lied; People Died" is a slogan... that the shouter is incapable of sorting out the complex logic needed to identify an exit from a toilet stall.

Yes, that is so true. I hope cedr4 is not a plumber.

As for listing of the Islamic Zealots' relentless murders, here is a site that lists some chilling statistics.

See: Spread sheet of Islamic Terror Attacks

[psychology behind suicide bombings]

...I came to the conclusion that we are facing a neurosis at the level of an entire civilization... {one will have to read the article to find out what that neurosis is}... It is like dealing with pure craziness, like interviewing people in an asylum, since what they say, is for them, the absolute truth. I hear a mother saying "Thank God, my son is dead." Her son had became a shaheed, a martyr, which for her was a greater source of pride than if he had became an engineer, a doctor or a winner of the Nobel Prize. This system of values works completely backwards since their interpretation of Islam worships death much more than life. You are facing people whose only dream, only achievement is to fulfill what they believe to be their destiny, namely to be a shaheed or the family of a shaheed. They don't see the innocent being killed, they only see the impure that they have to destroy... Not death as an end, but death as a door open to the after life. They are seeking the reward that God has promised them. They work for God, the ultimate authority, above all human laws. They therefore experience this single delusional second of absolute power, where nothing bad can ever happen to them, since they become God's sword...

psychology behind suicide bombings, Pierre Rehov

I think that Wretchard's next post tries to address some of this in a oblique fashion. Rat has discussed Churchill's description of the "Mohammedian" mind set. I'll leave it at that.

The mechanics of handling the Iran problem has been well discussed. I will say that if Bush wanted to handle it - that he not tell Iran before starting operations.

10/31/2005 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

After the USS Liberty, I could imagine shooting down Israelis to protect US interests.
I can imagine shooting anyone to protect US. If the Israelis were taking action detremential to US, we would be bound to stop them.
One way or another.

11/01/2005 05:13:00 AM  

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