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Listening to the frothing loonies

Yesterday, I outlined a possible scenario for Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons, using the 80's movie "War Games" as my conceit. It was a fun piece to write, but it also let me highlight just how dangerous a nuclear-armed Iran could be, and how bad things could get. And it prompted some great discussions, from folks all across the political spectrum.

I know it's a bit unfair to use two or three people to tar an entire political faction, but I'm going to do it anyway, because I think these folks do a pretty good job of summing up some of the Lefts' standard talking points.

First up, chronologically, is SemanticLeo, who meandered over here from Oliver Willis' site. Leo's notion:

"Jay is advising caution since the Moolahs are at least two years away from da bomb."

Leo doesn't cite a source for this, but I suspect it's the International Atomic Energy Commission. That's the same UN body that assured us that Pakistan didn't have the bomb, India didn't have the bomb, and North Korea doesn't have the bomb. Is Leo just being naive, trusting, foolish, and stupid?

There's an alternative explanation. Two years from now is 2008, and the next Presidential election. Could Leo be hoping that if we delay confronting Iran, the Democratic nominee can hammer the Republican nominee with by tying him or her to the Bush administration, which "let Iran get the bomb." Great notion there -- letting the mad mullahs have the bomb, as long as your side gains political advantage.

Leo also thinks that there is a lot of parallels between Iran's president and Bush. Because both men state that they have deep religious beliefs, there is a great deal of moral equivalency between the psycho nutcase in Iraq who has repeatedly called for Israel to be wiped off the map, who routinely calls for "death to America," and who desperately wants nuclear arms, and Bush -- who has had control of them for over five years, and has yet to use a one -- let alone openly threaten to do so.

Next up, we have good old Mak44. Mak takes a break from his usual tactic of ad hominem attacks and gratuitous personal insults (or, as he put it, "So yes, I feel, on occasion, like a guard in a 1930's asylum, and every once in a while I find it amusing just to shove a broom handle up some inmate's ass just to hear you're (lol) squeal since a reasoned response is not forthcoming.") to actually bring an argument to the table. Unfortunately, his "argument" (if I may laughingly call it such) is to look at the long history of US-Iranian relations through his own particular filter (also known as "talking out his ass") and say that every single thing is the fault of Republicans. He blames Eisenhower, Reagan, and Bush (I think he means the current one, but he doesn't specify). Others rebutted with citations of Clinton and Carter, but that is a bad tactic. It buys into his little game.

And just what is that game? It's called "change the subject." Mak doesn't want to have to deal with the FACT that Iran is a looming crisis that is going to get worse, he wants to discuss how it got that way. More to the point, he wants to get everyone talking about whether or not it was the Republicans' fault that the situation got to this point, because he's afraid that if the situation is actually RESOLVED, Bush might gain some political advantage.

If Mak were on the Titanic, he would be the lookout who insists that there be a full investigation into why the weatherman didn't warn everyone that there could be icebergs around. Why the radioman didn't get any warnings from other ships. Why the engineers didn't warn everyone to be more careful because of the ship's vulnerability to collision. Why the designers didn't give the ship enough lifeboats. In brief, he'd be thrilled if everyone argued back and forth over his blame-throwing right up until the icy waters slipped over everyone's heads.

So, confronted with the looming possibility of Iran possessing nuclear weapons, weapons it has repeatedly stated it will freely use to pursue its own goals, and those goals having been stated as the removal of all Western influence in the Middle East and the obliteration of Israel, what are the responses these two (and, in other forms, by many of the Left?

1) It's not an imminent danger, so what's the hurry?

2) You're all a bunch of idiots and losers and morons.

3) How can we spin this to make our side look good?

4) Forget #3, how can we spin this to make the other side look bad?

5) BUSH BAD! BUSH BAD! BUSH BAD!

I'm not quite sure how any of these approaches will actually help avert a nuclear holocaust (yes, I chose that word deliberately), but I'm sure that some of those fine folks who are espousing them will explain the subtleties, the nuances, the finer points that will make the whole problem go away.


Comments (61)

In (2), please add "fascist... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

In (2), please add "fascists" to the list of adjectives applied to us right-wingers.
Oh, and some discussion of beastiality, especially involving pigs.

Jay there is an option- mak... (Below threshold)

Jay there is an option- make Iran feel safe. Make Iran feel that USA does not want to harm it. Let us try being friends. If USA disarms, Iran will feel safe and secure.

I never understood Jay, wha... (Below threshold)

I never understood Jay, what is it with you and Bush? Do you really think Bush is doing the correct thing?

Here's what I don't get... ... (Below threshold)
Sheard:

Here's what I don't get... I don't know any of the "details" of what goes into these various estimates of the Iranian timeline, but I do know that psychos like they have in Iran are not subject to any limitations other than those imposed by the laws of physics. Whether they need to train personnel, build more infrastructure or centrifuges, or obtain more raw uranium, there is absolutely nothing that stops that government from sinking every possible available resource at their disposal into that effort. They can train people around the clock, build infrastructure and centrifuges around the clock, you name it. There is no "beaurocracy" or "labor resistance", per se, to stop them. It seems to me that much of the West assumes that work on the Nuclear program in Iran would proceed much like anything here in the US or elsewhere. But when crazed Mullahs have you working on Nukes at gunpoint under threat of death, you can really get things done in a hurry.

The fact that they HAVE successfully enriched Uranium means they have at least perfected the process, and all that is left is to copy that process as many times over as is necessary. For all I know, that could take a month. I doubt "smoke breaks" are going to disrupt the speed at which they are working.

I find it interesting that ... (Below threshold)

I find it interesting that fear of "theocracy", or equating the faith of evangelical Christians with that of our fanatic enemies, is again becoming a recurrent theme.

This President has been in power for over five years ... where is the evidence that he sought to impose theocracy?

Have we seen public beheadings on The 700 Club? When was the last time Jerry Fawell has issued a fatwah?

I have evidence that evangelical Christians are, OTOH, not only eschewing theocracy, but would actively work against its imposition:

The phone book.

Open it up sometime, and look at the church listings. Notice how many different churches ... and kinds of churches ... there are, even among a particular denomination like the Baptists.

There is a reason for all these different churches ... people don't see eye-to-eye on beliefs, so they leave one church and go to -- or start -- another.

What many, particularly on the coasts, do not understand is that there is a strong streak of independence among evangelicals, for they believe in a doctrine called "the priesthood of the believer", where EACH INDIVIDUAL has the authority and responsibility to accurately interpret Scripture for themselves.

While we may listen to ol' Pat and Jerry, they are not our Pope (as if Catholics hang on his every word!). We are responsible for our own responses ... not them.

Back when the People's Temple tragedy occured in Guyana, one of my mother's colleagues was giving her a hard time, by talking about all those "Baptists" who killed themselves.

My mom never gave him the response she thought of ... there is no way these people could be Baptists -- do you know how hard it is to get two Baptists to agree on anything?!!

If anyone ever attempted to institute a theocracy here, they would wind up offending one or more subsets of the evangelical community ... plus they would be considered a threat by the vast majority of that community, who know full well about how theocracy, when implemented by mortals, never seems to rise to God's holy level, but instead becomes a vehicle for the imposition of man's evil.

The theocrats would be ripped to shreds ... just as they often are, rhetorically and reputationally speaking, when they appear within our churches.

As for me, the only way I would accept theocracy is if God Himself personally and physically arrived to lead it ...

... and even then, I'd check His ID first!

Muslim stupidity-W... (Below threshold)
LJD:

Muslim stupidity-

Why don't the Israelis disarm so that Iran can 'feel safe'? Iran just wants to be free from threats LOL...

Okay:"1) It's not ... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

Okay:

"1) It's not an imminent danger, so what's the hurry?"

Nobody said that.

"2) You're all a bunch of idiots and losers and morons."

Nobody said that.

3) How can we spin this to make our side look good?

Nobody said that.

4) Forget #3, how can we spin this to make the other side look bad?

Nobody said that.

5) BUSH BAD! BUSH BAD! BUSH BAD!

Nobody said that.

Hope this helps.

MU -- Iran is capable of re... (Below threshold)

MU -- Iran is capable of resolving this situation peacefully, for we would no longer threaten them if they:

1> Renounce and cease all support for Islamofascist and Palestinian terrorism.

2> Stand up for Israel's right to exist.

3> Like South Africa, open up their facilities to a complete and comprehensive inspection process to assure the world that their nuclear plans are peaceful, and completely cooperate with that.

4> Establish a government that structurally protects the right of each person to live free and pursue happiness.

Of course, there is a prerequisite for all this ... that they grow up, just as the West did in the second millenium A.D, and cease their use of the Koran to justify oppression, destruction, and death.

Supporting anything less than the above is succumbing to the same blind moral equivalence that let known thugs stay in place, grow stronger and bolder ...

... and for one set (but not the ONLY set out there), kill 3000 Americans in one day.

Understand this ... the disarmament you are suggesting could also be viewed as an exploitable weakness by the Iranians; if so, it would not be the preulde to peace, only death and dihimmitude.

Mulsim Unity:You w... (Below threshold)

Mulsim Unity:

You want Iran to feel safe? Then ALL they have to do is the following.

1. Comply with UN IAEA requests and proposals re nuclear inspections. You want reactors for power? That's one thing. Reactors for raw material for nuclear weapons is another.
2. Publicly abandon the quest for nuclear weapons, and be complerely open and above board on all projects involved in that work. Dismantle them. Prove to the world that Iran is NOT a threat.
3. Ratchet down the "Damn it, the US and Israel are to blame for everything in the world, and we're going to DESTROY them as soon as we can!!" rhetoric. It's not helping the case for a rational solution.

THAT would help Iran feel safe - much more than them acting like rabid dogs straining at the leash to savage everyone they can get their teeth into.

BTW, you think you could get them to call back the 'helpers' over in Iraq?

J.

"Make Iran feel that USA do... (Below threshold)

"Make Iran feel that USA does not want to harm it. Let us try being friends. If USA disarms, Iran will feel safe and secure."

Yes, of course. We are dealing with eminently reasonable, rational people. Let bygones be bygones. I'm sure if we just extend the hand of friendship, they'll immediately halt their megalomanic designs.

Muslim Unity wrote (... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

Muslim Unity wrote (April 27, 2006 07:34 AM):

Jay there is an option- make Iran feel safe. Make Iran feel that USA does not want to harm it. Let us try being friends. If USA disarms, Iran will feel safe and secure.

1. Iran would be safe as houses from us if they didn't support terrorism, make threats against us and our allies (especially Israel), AND weren't working frantically to make nuclear weapons. For example, we aren't "threatening" Jordan, Malawi, or Costa Rica. This crisis is entirely of Iran's devising.

2. You are arguing as though the Iranian leadership is rational and wants nothing but peace and love throughout the world. This doesn't appear to be the case.

3. Your basic argument has been made many times before: "If only we would disarm, the Soviets would disarm." "If only police didn't carry guns, the crooks wouldn't carry guns." "If we show Hitler that we intend no threat to him, he'll be no threat to us."

I recall meeting a "peace" delegation of Soviet students, academics, artists, etc. back in the '80s. Yes, they wanted nothing but peace and "No MX missiles!"

Meanwhile, their government was pointing over 2000 ICBMs and SLBMs at us...

Amazing that appeasers never give up despite the millions of people who have died over the centuries demonstrating that appeasement never works.

Actually, given your screen name, I wonder if you are an appeaser... or a fifth columnist.

Yeah, hey docjim505:<... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

Yeah, hey docjim505:

Let me help you understand those fascist comments. If Clinton is a communist, Bush is a fascist. Is that clear?

In other words, if every mention of every non-neoconservative public figure just naturally invokes Lenin and Trotsky in this particular setting, then every mention of every non-liberal public figure must necessarily invoke Hitler and Mussolini.

If you're going to polarize people to the point where you're identifying swing voters who express reasonable doubts as moonbat liberals, you will just have to take on the mantle of fascist pig.

Look at the way Flatlander Jay took on the criticisms of his little game that were posted here: he stated none of them accurately, fairly or concretely. Everybody on the "left" (yes, Jay, I chose that word randomly) were insulted and demonized; nowhere did he materially address any of the reasonable objections that reasonable people brought up in a reasonable manner.

Which is not what this gig is about, of course; we're here to polarize, flame, call good people liars, and generally to repeat whatever The Leader wants to be hearing in the echo chamber these days.

Back to your talking points, boys and girls; I'm outta here.

MU is clearly smoking somet... (Below threshold)
Robert:

MU is clearly smoking something to bring in that 70's pop psychology "I'm Ok your Ok." So MU, tell us what you are smoking that blinds you to reality?

Astigafa: I paraphrased. Lo... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Astigafa: I paraphrased. Look it up.

1) That was the gist of SemanticLeo's first post -- Iran is two years away from possessing nuclear weapons.

2) The essence of nearly all Mak44's comments.

3) Lee, "Democratic administrations managed to avoid this scenario - but Jay's right, under Bush world war 3 is a much more probable event."

4) Mak44's long accounting of how every problem with Iran has been the fault of Republicans.

5) Far, far too many examples to bring up. Just look at Lee, SemanticLeo, or mak44's comments. In my posting, there was not a SINGLE mention of Bush or any particular individual; it was about a situation that I think needs to be addressed. But it's all about BUSH to the whackos.

J.

What many, particularly ... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

What many, particularly on the coasts, do not understand is that there is a strong streak of independence among evangelicals, for they believe in a doctrine called "the priesthood of the believer", where EACH INDIVIDUAL has the authority and responsibility to accurately interpret Scripture for themselves.

Rich,
Thank you for pointing out what rational and reasonable people hav known for years. Gosh, it seems like their might have been an entire movement built on this principle. What could it have been?

Hmmmmmm.

Oh yeah, that's right. The entire Protestant movement was founded on that one principle. I'm pretty sure that's not a recent thing. It's only about 500 years old, so most educated people probably learned about it in school.

I guess that the President is so powerful and evil that he can personally overcome 500 years of history and tradition. Either that or he is a simpering idiot. I sure wish the left would make up their minds about that.

Yeah, you paraphrased Jay. ... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

Yeah, you paraphrased Jay.

Thanks; I've had the flu, needed a laugh.

Here is the irony with Iran... (Below threshold)

Here is the irony with Iran. Even if frat boy wanted to take preemptive action on that country to thwart their nuclear -or as frat boy says, nukiler-ambitions, we could not, because of his bone headed decision to go to war in Iraq. Now a real threat to our national security goes unchecked, while you right wing chicken hawks screem for more!

Well frat boy can't give you more, because there is no more to give. And those nut jobs in Iran are quite aware of that. Inspite of the predilections towards frat boy by every one posting here, with all due respect, he has set our foreign policy back one hundred years with his Iraq war.

I say, bring back the draft!

BTW, Pat Roberts and the other wack job christian literalist in this country did call for a fatwah; and on the elected leader of another country no less. How is that for christian love? It is not a stretch to think that a theocratic form of government is what many people want in this country. And no, there are no public beheadings on the 700 club; but there were public lynchings while church hymms were being sung in the town square. (How soon we forget?)

This President has... (Below threshold)
This President has been in power for over five years ... where is the evidence that he sought to impose theocracy?

The man is a <gasp> Republican and a <hyperventilate> Bible-reader!

WHAT MORE EVIDENCE COULD YOU POSSIBLY NEED!!!1!!?????

[/parody]

astigafa,WTF are y... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

astigafa,

WTF are you talking about??? I don't recall calling Bill Clinton a commie, though in fairness I've certainly thought it in the past (until I realized that he's waaaaayyyyy to selfish to be a red).

And what's the rest of your argument? Some people call other people stupid, so it's OK for those people to respong with "Yeah? Well, you're ugly!". Juvenile.

I don't think that the "swing voters" Jay refered to are merely expressing "reasonable doubts". Let's look at some examples, eh?

Semanticleo, April 26, 2006 09:28 AM:
"The imminent danger is our own trigger happy
wanderers who are only gun-shy about bad
intel from intelligence services they see as
infiltrated with WH enemies."

mak44, April 26, 2006 11:49 AM: "This wingnut war drum beating is monstrous and it is insane. Perhaps ,like the Evangelical wingnuts in your party, you people really think you are God's agents in initiating The End Of Days."

Lee, April 26, 2006 11:53 AM: "I just hope all of the trigger-happy cowboys commenting on this thread will take the time to talk to their friends, neighbors, and co-workers, and explain to them the importance of keeping the Republicans in power in Washington."

mak44, April 26, 2006 01:24 PM: "As to your former Boeing employment status , I imagine that Boeing is none too careless about psychopathic hires working around classified contract work."

Lee, April 26, 2006 03:45 PM: "The days of cowboy diplomacy are over - good riddance to bad Texans."

cat, April 26, 2006 07:46 PM : "You're pathetic Jay and so are the sheep who follow you. Unfortunately, like you, almost everyone in your country has now been brainwashed into believing that Iran is actively seeking a nuclear weapon. Well, why should we be surprised - half of you belief evolution is a lie and God made the world in six days."

...

"You're evil."

mak44, April 27, 2006 01:27 AM: "Any pyschiatrists or psychologists reading these postings calling for the invssions & use of nukes & missles would easily classify it as psychopathic, if not demented."

And my absolute fave, from Secret Prison a few days ago (April 25, 2006 12:46 AM): "Here's another way secrets work. Say your hairy wife has an affair with your hog and doesn't tell you about it. Just because you are either too ugly or too dumb to know doesn't mean that it didn't happen.

"For Chrissakes, you're one seriously ignorant redneck, dude. Do you wake up and drink your own piss every morning? You should have your penis snipped and save humanity from breeding any more people as idiotic as you."

Shall I continue? While all this was going on, folks like Mac Lorry, James Cloniger, and even mantis and Muslim Unity were conducting a (more or less) civil discussion of the issues.

So tell me another one about "swing voters" and "reasonable doubts".

I say, bring back ... (Below threshold)
I say, bring back the draft!

Absolutely. Whatever it takes, man, to get the youth of our nation, man, totally radicalized and into the streets, man, and bring back the glory days of the Vietnam era, man!

Right AWN, dude!

"I'm not quite sure how ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"I'm not quite sure how any of these approaches will actually help avert a nuclear holocaust (yes, I chose that word deliberately), but I'm sure that some of those fine folks who are espousing them will explain the subtleties, the nuances, the finer points that will make the whole problem go away."

Getting the Repubulicans out of power in DC is the most effective method of avoiding the nuclear holocaust.

Getting the Repubulicans... (Below threshold)
Proud Kaffir:

Getting the Repubulicans out of power in DC is the most effective method of avoiding the nuclear holocaust.

So is throwing bedsheets over our women, surrendering to the Islamists, and bowing down to Mecca 5 times a day- but most of us would rather be dead.

Of course, bringing in the Democrats may just be the prelude to our surrender.

Field-negro:we ... (Below threshold)
Marc:

Field-negro:

we could not, because of his bone headed decision to go to war in Iraq. Now a real threat to our national security goes unchecked, while you right wing chicken hawks screem for more!
How many are currently tied up at the moment FN? Something less than 200,000 if you didn't know. Current US military strength is about 1 point 4 million total.

Hmmm... lets see that leaces what? Without stretching a force of 300,000 could be mustered up with NO allied help.

But even that is un-needed. Two carrier battle groups, about five Trident and five Ohio Subs, plus the air cover is more than enough to bring Iran to it's knees if not obliterate it. (dependent on weapon choice)

FN... anyone ever tell you totally clueless about the US military that your taxes pay for.

If not, let me be the first... you're FRICKIN' CLUELESS!

field-negro:You do... (Below threshold)

field-negro:

You don't understand, it's clear, that IF it comes time to take out Iran (and I sure as hell hope that entire country recovers from its self-imposed brain fart and stops acting like someone who actively WANTS to get their brains bashed out with a brick) a lot of weaponry that hasn't been used yet could be used with little to no concern about cleaning up afterwards. We went into Iraq with a great deal of restraint (as far as warfare's concerned) to avoid massive civilian casualties and damage to the infrastructure. If Iran tosses nukes around - all that restraint will go out the window and the Iranian civilian population will reap what their mullahs have sown. Their deaths will number in the millions.

You wouldn't even need nukes to do it. A dozen C-130s with MOABs, two lines of six across Tehran, followed up by a half-dozen B-52 loads of cluster bombs and incendiaries - and Tehran would cease to exist in the resulting firestorm.

As far as a theocracy goes - the only people who seriously think one could come into being in the US are the wet dreamers like Pat Robertson, and their influence isn't large at all - and folks like yourself.

Now, there ARE folks who'd love to see a theocratic dictatorship in the US - but they ain't of the Christian persuasion.

J.

I was glad to see Jay didn'... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

I was glad to see Jay didn't put the spotlight on my many posts. I supported the invasion of Iraq and still support what President Bush is doing in Iraq. WMDs or not, it was time for Saddam to go.

My take on Iran is different, however, for a number of reasons. First, Iran's nuclear facilities are in several locations and in underground bunkers well beyond the reach of any conventional weapon. The Bush administration abandoned research into a nuclear "bunker-buster" warheads last fall, so the U.S. would have to invade Iran to destroy those facilities. Given the current political climate, does anyone think Bush could get approval from Congress for such an invasion? Even if he did, I just don't see how the U.S. could sustain the kind of action against Iran that would be required to delay their nuclear bomb program long enough to be of value.

Iran's strategy seems to be to goat the U.S. into some rash military action now while Iran's nuclear facilities are just in the beginning stages. Then use that unprovoked invasion to seek world political support sufficient to deter the U.S. from such action in the future when Iran's has much more at stake. If we invade Iran anytime soon, I expect we wouldn't find the enrichment facilities or any enriched uranium. It would be like the WMD's in Iraq and the U.S. would come out weaker while Iran would come out stronger.

Distilling many of the posts yesterday, Iran simply could not use it's future nuclear weapons and survive as a nation. Thus, the reason for using them must be greater than the value of Iran to the leaders of Iran. I just don't buy the notion that leaders of Iran would sacrifice their entire nation to pave the way for other Muslims to complete the job of destroying Israel. Remember, the Muslim world is divided and Iran is mostly a minority sect.

The U.S. just needs to make it clear to Iran and the world that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, the U.S. will retaliate against Iran if a nuclear device is used against the U.S. or any of it's allies. We won't need any proof where it came from nor will we wait for the smoke to clear. That's the price Iran must accept for arming itself with such weapons. In order to counter that threat Iran will have to spend trillions of dollars to make their own nuclear weapons able to withstand a preemptive attack by the U.S. Iran will have to increase it's oil production and insure a steady supply to pay for what the U.S. already has. Lets play Iran as the fools they are rather than proving to the world how foolish we are.

If Iran were to issue an ultimatum for the U.S. to leave the middle east, or any such ultimatum, the U.S. just needs to say to Iran. "Go ahead. We'll survive, but you won't." Iran will find that the only use for their expensive weapons is self-defense.

Proud Kaffir:When ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Proud Kaffir:

When I wrote: Getting the Repubulicans out of power in DC is the most effective method of avoiding the nuclear holocaust.

You replied with: So is throwing bedsheets over our women, surrendering to the Islamists, and bowing down to Mecca 5 times a day- but most of us would rather be dead.

Surrender is not an option, and is isn't necessary. Changing our country's leadership will suffice. The Middle East policies of the current adminstration have greatly destabilized the region, to the point where reasonable people of all ilks are realizing that a nuclear holocaust is a very real possible. The majority of Americans now recognize that, and will respond accordingly in the coming elections.

I'd like to say a few thing... (Below threshold)
mak44:

I'd like to say a few things here in regard to my postings.

When I 1st looked at this thread yesterday, there were already so many comments along the line of using nuclear weapons or initiating hostile action against Iran, that I found the looseness and military swagger to be infinitely more threatening and frightening.

In addition, there were far too many analogies to Chamberlain/Hitler that were too simplistically drawn and that were being used to whip up war hysteria and the attitude "hit 'em 1st.".

Another repetitive theme on Jay's thread was an incessant drumbeat of Carter/Clinton/Democrat blame for all that is wrong w/ Iran.

I used the history w/ Iran & the citation w/ Republican presidents because the right-wing hatred and incessant bleating about Carter/Clinton is just too damn ridiculous: and in this case, simply wrong. The Iran problem actually has many roots beginning w/ the Ike/CIA coop in 1953. If presidential blame is to your taste, I thought a little history was in order. Yes, there is the mess today, but a little insight as to how we got to this point can shed some light before marching over the cliff w/ nuke use.

Astigafa sums it up very well above. And Field Negro is dead on in regard to military action against Iran and the fact that Bush has essentially removed any united action against Iran from the table. His pre-emptive Iraq war of choice and the outright deception (read LIES) used by this president & his aides has precluded any united or rational response to Iran. (If "LIES" is not to your liking, read Tyler Drumheller, Paul Pillar, Richard Clarke and John O'Neill & look into PNAC)

There are so many ways that Iran could bring us & the world down as a result of a demented pre-emptive attack. First of all, you can kiss the oil economy goodbye; the world would be plunged into an economic depression that would make 32/33 seem like economic boom times. If you like $75/bbl oil you're gonna love $250.

It might not attain much w/ regard to the maniacal Iranian leadership, but demanding that Israel finally comply w/ UN 242 after 39 years could help immensely w/ the rest of the Middle East. For far too many years, our tacit approval of what Israel has done in the ME has been a thorn in the side of the Arab world. Were something to be done about the Israeli occupation, there would be far more liklihood of isolating Iran and its threat.

I make no apologies for the tenor of some of my postings. The tenor of much that is written here is reflective of the mindless Hannity/Limbarf daily rant &, the comments here about the Left are typically inflammatory. There's a " I know it all & I got all the answers and all the Left are appeasers, socialists & communists. To your nukes, man."

I was a kid in the era where the chant of the Right was "better dead than red." After reading the gist of the posts I saw here, that refrain sounded more like "better dead than alive." This maniacal discussion of nuke use here, and w/in the circles of our government is insanity unchained. The warnings of Seymour Hersch & others had better be heeded. If this nuclear monster is ever unleashed by the US, the quick will envy the dead.

For sure, were Iran ever to use a nuke, or aid or abet in the use of a nuke, the resulting horror and reaction of the rest of the world would assure that it was the end of Iran. And, for the sake of Hummanity, we may just have to learn to live w/ that reality.

Mac Lorry wrote:<i... (Below threshold)
Brian the Adequate:

Mac Lorry wrote:

Distilling many of the posts yesterday, Iran simply could not use it's future nuclear weapons and survive as a nation. Thus, the reason for using them must be greater than the value of Iran to the leaders of Iran. I just don't buy the notion that leaders of Iran would sacrifice their entire nation to pave the way for other Muslims to complete the job of destroying Israel. Remember, the Muslim world is divided and Iran is mostly a minority sect.

The U.S. just needs to make it clear to Iran and the world that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, the U.S. will retaliate against Iran if a nuclear device is used against the U.S. or any of it's allies. We won't need any proof where it came from nor will we wait for the smoke to clear.

Mac - You have stated the big reason why your preferred approach would be a bad idea. Iran is a majority Shia nation, Pakistan and Al-queda are Sunni majority. So you have a potential source for a rogue nuke and an organization that would want to deliver it, where the religious zealots involved view Iran as primarily heretics. An Al-queda nuke attack on Isreal, that resulted in US retaliation against Iranian Shites would be, in the eyes of Sunni fanatics, a win-win scenario.

Brian

Nuts, the second paragraph ... (Below threshold)
Brian the Adequate:

Nuts, the second paragraph above should also have been italics

Brian

Mak, I thought you... (Below threshold)
vaildog:

Mak,

I thought you were supposed to be dead.

mak44: First of... (Below threshold)
Marc:

mak44:

First of all, you can kiss the oil economy goodbye; the world would be plunged into an economic depression that would make 32/33 seem like economic boom times. If you like $75/bbl oil you're gonna love $250.
That could be... but how long would the 250 price last?

I'm betting it wouldn't be for long. First of all Saudia Arabia would be dancing in the streets as Iran slowly crumbled to dust. Soon after they would increase it's production.

Secondly the worlds current rate oil usage is approx 85 billion barrels each day.

In 2002 figures Iran held 90 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, or roughly 9% of the world's total and averaged about 3.72 million barrels per day.

Even if they doubled or tripled not only their production but also proven reserves it's only would account for 3 days of the worlds requirements.

Sorry guy... any oil flow resuction would be hardly missed.

Brian,So ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Brian,

So you have a potential source for a rogue nuke and an organization that would want to deliver it, where the religious zealots involved view Iran as primarily heretics. An Al-queda nuke attack on Isreal, that resulted in US retaliation against Iranian Shites would be, in the eyes of Sunni fanatics, a win-win scenario.

Actually, I figure the thought of religious zealots being able to cause the U.S. to retaliate against Iran should scare the shit out of the religious zealots in Iran. Being a target for nuclear retaliation is the price Iran pays for perusing nuclear weapons. The alternative of trying to figure out who's to blame for a stray nuke is unworkable. We'll pave Iran in green glass first and then see who else deserves the same.

I expert that Israel has a dooms day plan that includes targeting every major city in every Islamic nation that has not made official peace with Israel.

America may not be theocra... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

America may not be theocracy or have imposed one other than what will probably occur in Iraq as a a result of the law of unintended consequences of trying trying to impose by force a democracy there. I thought this cartoon was approrpriate and Jay as a agnostic, might even enjoy a chuckle. Because of the 800 pound gorilla of Iraq, we really have no choice but for Bush to ignore any new requests from above. I hope that even Bush would begin to come to the conclusion that after 5 years, the world is much more complicated than he had forseen and he looks seriously this time at all consequences, of any preemptive war.. on Iran.

First of all, Mak, I have t... (Below threshold)

First of all, Mak, I have to say I appreciate your more civil tone. If you argue civilly sans the name-calling than an insult food-fight is averted.

I take issue with your statement: For far too many years, our tacit approval of what Israel has done in the ME has been a thorn in the side of the Arab world.

What Israel has been doing is surviving. The Israelis have shown a willingness since 1948 to live side-by-side with a Paelstinian state and have often withdrawn from territory, with or without a peace agreement. It is the Palestinians who refuse peaceful co-existance and various Arab states who will often only cooperate short-term with Israel.

As to the rest of your post, the bottom line is that Iran is the biggest state supporter of death-cult terrorism. While it is true that Islamic leaders never will blow themselves up (ironically) I'm not waiting for a leader who is a true believer or willing to pass nukes to terrorists. We simply cannot allow Iran to have nukes, by whatever method that is achieved.

.

Lee wrote (April 27,... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

Lee wrote (April 27, 2006 10:28 AM):

... where reasonable people of all ilks are realizing that a nuclear holocaust is a very real possible.

Good. Perhaps that'll scare a little sense into the mullahs and Ahmadinnahjacket. But I doubt it.

Spin the clock back to the spring of 1861. I'm sure that there were yankees who comforted themselves with the idea that even South Carolinians weren't looney enough to start shooting at federal troops. And there were plenty of people in the South who thought that the yankees would NEVER have the stomach to actually go to war. Several hundred thousand dead later...

How about the good ol' summertime of 1914? Economist Norman Angell (who later won the Nobel Prize) wrote a well-read book demonstrating that a general war in Europe would be totally stupid as it would be financially ruinous even to the victor. It was an age of science, reason, and enlightenment, and the French, Germans, Russians, English, etc. were all totally "sane". Why get so upset just because some nobleman and his wife are murdered by some revolutionary thugs? Millions of dead later...

What about September, 1939? Hitler had bluffed the Allies at Munich. Why would they stand up to him if he invaded Poland? Anyway, why should they care about a few Poles any more than they'd care about a few Czechs? Tens of millions dead later...

Autumn, 1962... The world came within an ace of destroying itself (President Kennedy estimated a 1 in 3 chance). One litte misstep at any of a number of junctions, and we'd be having this conversation (if at all) by carving our opinions on the wall of a communal cave.

As for the Iranians, they've already learned that they can push us around (remember '79?). Is it so totally unreasonable that they might get the idea in a crisis that they could do it again? Hitler made that miscalculation, as did Khrushchev.

One final note: we're all here having a discussion about foreign affairs, yet some of the language that's been thrown around by "reasonable" people would be enough to start a fistfight. None of us has any stake in "winning" other than a little pride.

Now, what happens when "winning" becomes a matter of national security?

The Middle East policies... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

The Middle East policies of the current adminstration have greatly destabilized the region

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Do they not teach history any more in schools? That region has never been stable throughout its history. This is just the latest iteration of lunatics running the asylum in the Middle East.

As for whether the Iranian nullahs are insane enough to use their nukes, absolutely they are. They believe that they are protected by Allah. If they attack Israel and anyone retaliates, Allah will stop the bombs from raining down on their heads. Those that want to compare our President to that group of people are misguided. In no way shape or form does he believe that we are protected by God. To say otherwise is simply ridiculous.

Lee:Bush will stil... (Below threshold)
Proud Kaffir:

Lee:

Bush will still be President after the 06 elections and the President is the one that deals with foreign policy. Even if Bush is replaced, the threat from Iran will still be there. Unlike the Soviet Union, Iranians subscribe to a religious ideolgy that glorifies suicidal murder. They strongly support deathcult terrorism. The threat has to be dealt with. It will not disappear, unless we surrender, and as you said, that is not an option.

The Dems in Congress may well undercut Bush and make war on Bush instead of our enemies, but the threat from Iran and Islamic terrorism will still be there.

Proud Kaffir:What ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Proud Kaffir:

What is called for at this point is for Americans to show the world that we, as a nation, will not allow foolish mistakes to be made which will catapult us into the kind of nuclear holocaust that's the subject of these posts.

I'm not sure that the world will believe President Bush if and when he tries to communicate that. The world believes, rightly or wrongly, that the politicans currently in power in the U.S. can be expected to say just about anything in order to justify their political agenda.

Whatever plans that are made to address this situation needs, in my humblest of opinions, to deal with those realities.

MarcYou make a lou... (Below threshold)
mak44:

Marc

You make a lousy arm-chair general.

What I was referring to wasn't the loss of Iranian oil. Try the closing of the Straits of Hormuz and/or an attack on Saudi Fields or a Shi'ite Iraqi uprising foreclosing Iraqi oil to the US. If that weren't enough, consider the world's currency in Petro-Euros. Who's going to finance our 800 billion B.O.P. deficit at that point?

Say goodbye to your standard of living, at the very least.

None of your armchair calculations even begin to take in the above scenario. Take the fruit patch off your uniform.

docjmyour civil re... (Below threshold)
mak44:

docjm

your civil response is appreciated.

As for war history, Barabara Tuchman's is the best analysis of the roots of WWI ever written. And those roots are filled w/ flawed & short-sighted missteps by many leaders making multitudes of miscalculations beginning at least in the early 1890's. They started w/ the Kaiser displacing Bismarck & his sage world strategies.

That kind of chain-link miscalculation back then is all too foreshadowing of the kind of short-sighted mediocrity evidenced by this current Administration.

docjim505:Help me ... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

docjim505:

Help me out here. Did you or did you not post the words, "In (2), please add "fascists" to the list of adjectives applied to us right-wingers. Oh, and some discussion of beastiality, especially involving pigs"?

If you did say that, then you've got my post and are familiar with the context. If you didn't say that, then I've got news for you: You did.

mak44,I'm a big fa... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

mak44,

I'm a big fan of Guns. For readability, Tuchman is MILES ahead of most other historians.

I don't agree with your assessment of the administration, or, at least, not completely. As your example of Kaiser Bill and Bismark demonstrates, problems often begin years before they become blindingly obvious. If we'd made different decisions vis a vis Iran since the end of World War II, we might well NOT be in this boat. Unfortunately, we ARE in it.

My other point is that it takes two to tango. If Bush's policies are incompetent, what does that make the mullah's? If Iran hadn't been sponsoring terrorism these past twenty-five years and if they weren't embarking on a highly suspicious nuclear program AND thumbing their nose at the rest of the world, would this situation even have arisen? Let's not let the Euros, the Russians, and the red Chinese off the hook, either. It might well be that, had the Euros made it clear that they were willing to back their diplomacy with more than angry grumbles, they might have had better results. If the Russians and red Chinese were willing to work with us and the Euros in the UNSC instead of playing their political games for money, prestige and oil, it might have gone a long way toward getting Tehran to play ball.

Who knows?

For myself, the idea of an Islamic bomb is terrifying. I don't want our national security to rest on the fond hopes that Ahmadinnahjacket is more sane than he sounds, that he and his successors will always be rational, and that Iran will keep its Bombs and nuke technology under TIGHT control.

docjmThere is hope... (Below threshold)
mak44:

docjm

There is hope for any fan of GUNS lol

The problem is as you indicate-2 to tango & mediocrity joined w/ deception in a tango w/ fanaticism makes for a bad outcome when nukes are involved.

The good fortune in the time of The Guns of August was that the world could stumble down that road for 20+ years w/ the resulting hideous war & an ungodly death toll, or as bloggers like Cubanboob & Virgo might anesthetically call it, "collateral damage."

The world recovered then, even w/ an early onset of the 2nd WW. This time the result could more likely be the planet Earth as a radioactive cinder.

[email protected] Lee<b... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

@ Lee

Getting the Repubulicans out of power in DC is the most effective method of avoiding the nuclear holocaust.

And what **exactly** would the Democrats do that would prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons and restabilising the ME?

And don't fob off any old crap. Post it in nice shiny detail.

[email protected] Muslim Unit... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

@ Muslim Unity

Jay there is an option- make Iran feel safe. Make Iran feel that USA does not want to harm it. Let us try being friends. If USA disarms, Iran will feel safe and secure.

It's amazing but we both agree on this issue that America should disarm itself of all nuclear weapons.

...

Only my way doesn't actually involve "disposing" of them but rather "using" them.

Same result tho. No more problems in Iran.

Armchair General Ed aka Gro... (Below threshold)
mak44:

Armchair General Ed aka Group Captain (G/C) Lionel Mandrake

Your slogan must be "better dead than alive." Why are people like you so poorly genetically programmed that you'll risk turning the planet into a nuclear cinder?

Actually, I figure the t... (Below threshold)
Brian the Adequate:

Actually, I figure the thought of religious zealots being able to cause the U.S. to retaliate against Iran should scare the shit out of the religious zealots in Iran. Being a target for nuclear retaliation is the price Iran pays for perusing nuclear weapons. The alternative of trying to figure out who's to blame for a stray nuke is unworkable. We'll pave Iran in green glass first and then see who else deserves the same.

Mac, Your solution would deter the fanatics in Iran from going after US/Isreal assuming of course that they are in actuality sane. However, the number of innocent people who would die if we glassed Iran is absolutely repugnant. Sometimes war is not the worst of solutions and yes innocent people suffer every day, however I don't believe we are at the point that wiping out Iran is an acceptable scenario without being sure that all of the alternatives are worse.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki could be clearly justified from a greater good argument as an invasion of the home island would have resulted in 10-20X casualties on both sides.

Bombing Iraq to prevent an all out exchange of nukes could be justified in a similar manner. Glassing millions of people, most of whom are completely innocent is absolutely repugnant. Doubly so if we are working on behalf of our enemies in doing so.

My argument is that a blanket statement that we will destroy Iran in response to any nuclear attack on the US/Isreal will increase not decrease the chance of the worst case scenario. The Sunni nuts, who believe the Shia nuts are apostate and therefore under a rightous sentance of death, would have an incentive to try even harder to pull off an attack. The Shia nuts have all the more incentive to get the capability to retaliate even in the face of mutual anhililation.

Also, if the key assumption that the Mullahs are rationale actors is wrong and they want the apocalyspe to occur then this threat will not deter them at all. Of course if the president of Iran really IS the 12th Mahdi then all bets are really off.

Brian

So where does this leave us... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

So where does this leave us?

Those of us on the right think that Iran is going to acquire nukes if we don't stop them. We believe that the mullahs are not entirely rational and will either use the Bomb against Israel and / or us, or give them to a terrorist organization in an attempt to give them at least a semblance of cover. Even if the Iranians do NOT use their Bombs right away, they have made it clear that they will proliferate the technology. The balance of terror that existed during the Cold War was predicated in part on only a few nations having the Bomb and in tacit agreement NOT to proliferate.

We also believe that diplomacy will probably not stop this process. The Iranians have learned that the Euros will not back with force their demands that Tehran cease its program, and presumably hope that the Russians and the red Chinese will give them cover in the UNSC in exchange for sweetheart oil and arms deals. They are also banking on the fact that we are too distracted by Iraq and lack the political will to strike. Therefore, they have little to fear if they proceed with their program. Further, as we learned in the Oil for Fraud scandal, sanctions will simply not hold up over time; even if we get them in place, there are plenty of nations willing to supply Iran with whatever it needs if the price is right.

In such an environment, the only certain way that we see to stop the mullahs from getting a Bomb is to destroy their program by military means, though a couple of people have suggested that we rely on our developing ABM technology to shield us and our allies from attack.


As I understand the left's view, it runs rather as follows:

Some believe that Iran isn't trying to get a Bomb at all. If this is the case, then the Iranian leadership is even more crazy than we on the right think they are: they are risking war to build nuclear power plants that they really don't need.

Most on the left seem willing to admit that the Iranians are trying to build a Bomb. Aside from this, their opinion is fragmented. Some claim that while the Iranians are up to no good, they won't be able to build a Bomb for years to come, leaving plenty of time for diplomacy to solve the problem. Hans Blix has recently expressed this opinion.

Others claim that, even if the mullahs get a Bomb, they will be rational; they only want it as deterence against a hostile US / Israel. If we cease threatening them, they will stop their program.

A few others admit that the Iranians might be crazy enough to use a Bomb, but haven't got a delivery system to hit the United States (corollary: screw everybody else so long as we're safe).

The one thing that the left seems to agree on is that America in general and Bush in particular are to blame, and that Bush is making a bad situation worse because he's stupid and incompetent. No surprises there, really...

Broadly, then, here are the options:

1. Do nothing, either because this isn't really a problem because:

--- the Iranians aren't trying to build a Bomb, or because they aren't mad enough to use them even if they get them, or;

--- we'll shoot their missiles down if they ARE crazy enough to try launching them, or;

--- they can't hit us anyway.

2. Try diplomacy and hope the mullahs are receptive.

3. Hit 'em.

Whining and griping about who caused this problem, whether it be the British Empire, Ike, Carter, Clinton, Bush, or Lord Voldemort, isn't going to help us.

What are we going to do?

docjim505, 3. Hit ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

docjim505,

3. Hit 'em.

Ok, how? As I pointed out we have no weapons in inventory that can take out Iran's deep underground facilities. That means we have to resort to a ground invasion. Given the political realities as they are, I don't believe Bush could get authorization from congress and without that there won't be any funding. That leaves you with option 4.

4. Position ourselves to deal with a nuclear armed Iran. Much of that can be done with a simple policy statement holding Iran responsible for any nuclear attack against the U.S. or it's allies. We then continue to invest in anti-missile systems, better inspection of cargo shipments, and energy independence.

Muslim Unity,Are y... (Below threshold)
Julian Hood:

Muslim Unity,

Are you serious in what you say?
What planet do you live on?

What you say is Optimistic to say the least, but truly believing in world-peace becasue it's a good idea doesn't make the world go around.

My guess is that you are a "western" Muslim?
Yes?

Mac Lorry,I don't ... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

Mac Lorry,

I don't disagree with your ideas about ABM, energy independence, and greater security. We should be doing those as a matter of course.

As far as no weapon that can reach the suspected hardened Iranian sites... I have great faith in the people at places like Tyndall, China Lake, and Los Alamos. If they don't have something already drawn up that could be produced pretty quickly, they'll come up with it if they have to. I recall that, during the first Gulf War, the Air Force developed a bunker buster using old 8" howitzer barrels. It took an F-111 to lug one, but it worked pretty well.

Poor mak44. I'm assu... (Below threshold)
Wanderlust:

Poor mak44. I'm assuming you are a (w)academic, because your debating skills (or lack thereof) would seriously piss people off in the commercial world, at any level above line employee.

Apologies to academics who can refute arguments in a debate without personally smearing their opponents.

Now, from the psychotic rants of your favorite warmonger:

I have to say that (as sad as it makes me feel), I agree with Mac Lorry's conclusions regarding outcomes of pre-emptive strikes against Iran.

I also agree that the weapons development labs may yet find a way to take out hardened deep underground sites. Just remember, those sites have to have a door somewhere, and a thermobaric weapon does wonders to enclosed spaces.

I wouldn't have such a problem with Iran going nuclear for electrical energy production if it a) made financial sense (which it doesn't, given Iran's oil reserves); b) wasn't in the context of Madman Ahmadinejad's statements about wiping out Israel and sharing nuclear technology throughout the middle east; and 3) if Iran, like Israel, Pakistan, and India, could treat nuclear technology with respect.

Unfortunately, Iran funds its "sock puppets" of Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad to conduct a proxy war in Palestine against Israel, and funds an "insurgency" proxy war against the US in Iraq. Furthermore, while GWB may believe in Christian eschatology, he doesn't make policy based on those beliefs, unlike Ahmadinejad, who believes he personally will help bring about Muslim eschatology.

Funny how the same people who complain about US "invasion" and "occupation" of Iraq and Israeli "occupation" of Palestine don't complain about Syrian occupation of Lebanon.

Nor do they complain when Iran makes threats against Israel, when Saudi Arabia bans the practice of any religion other than Islam, or when Palestinians ban Jews from living in Palestine.

So why would they worry about Iran having nukes? Peace in our time, right?

mak44:Marc</blo... (Below threshold)
Marc:

mak44:

Marc

You make a lousy arm-chair general.

What I was referring to wasn't the loss of Iranian oil. Try the closing of the Straits of Hormuz and/or an attack on Saudi Fields or a Shi'ite Iraqi uprising foreclosing Iraqi oil to the US.Only in the short term my friend. During the 80's tanker war oil flow was only reduced by approx 25% thru the Straits of Hormuz. If a shooting war broke out today Irans assets it would use to close the Straits would cease to exist within 28 hours.

And BTW I wasn't in the Army, my 20 plus were spent in the Navy. (including thousands of hours patroling the Straits of Hormuz and bird dogging the Iranian navy - "arm chair" my aching ass!)

Secondly Iranian missle threat to the Saudi oil fields is very small. In case of hostilites the air cover provided by the carrier battle groups in the Gulf plus the Patriot missle emplacements on Saudi soil will catch any residual Iranian "leakers."

In addition the US, (contrary to the "war for oil" BS), doesn't get a single drop of Iraqi oil. It all goes to the EU.

And fanally this quote of yours: "Take the fruit patch off your uniform."

Thought you "turned over a new leaf?" Guess the old saying is true: a leopard can't change it's spots. And I feel, in light of the above, justified in saying this: get your head out of your ass.

Opps, movabletype shit cann... (Below threshold)
Marc:

Opps, movabletype shit canned the ending blockquote tag, sorry.

Shall I continue? While ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Shall I continue? While all this was going on, folks like Mac Lorry, James Cloniger, and even mantis and Muslim Unity were conducting a (more or less) civil discussion of the issues.

Well, more or less.

And it's CloniNger, by the way...common mistake.

I expert that Israel has... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

I expert that Israel has a dooms day plan that includes targeting every major city in every Islamic nation that has not made official peace with Israel.

It does: The Sampson Option...

I wouldn't have such a p... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I wouldn't have such a problem with Iran going nuclear for electrical energy production if it a) made financial sense (which it doesn't, given Iran's oil reserves); b) wasn't in the context of Madman Ahmadinejad's statements about wiping out Israel and sharing nuclear technology throughout the middle east; and 3) if Iran, like Israel, Pakistan, and India, could treat nuclear technology with respect.

Well, for a), it may actually make financial sense, especially with today's oil market. If Iran were to provide some of it's own energy needs with nuclear power, it could sell more of it's oil for an overall profit. For b), good point, but it is also important to remember that the President in Iran's political system does not exactly wield a great deal of power. In fact he does not control the military at all. For 3), who's to say that they won't? I remember all the worry about Pakistan getting the bomb and nuking India, but so far that hasn't happened. Let's not forget that Pakistan is an Islamic state, and produces quite a few radical Islamists, including the Taliban.

Anyway, here's my take on Iran. I wish there were an easy solution to this problem. However, Iran is not Afghanistan, a country full of poor and tribal people with an oppressive theocratic regime. In contrast, Iran is a country with a large educated middle class, a sophisticated and growing economy, and an oppressive theocratic regime. For years I have been saying that the two countries in the world that could emerge as legitimate liberal democracies are China and Iran. The elements are there if the ruling parties could be displaced or overthrown. We have already seen what democracy means in places like Afghanistan: Islamic law and the oppressive policies that go with it, largely in my opinion due to an uneducated an poverty stricken populace (it is easy to rule the poor and uneducated thru tyranny). I believe that this would not be the case in Iran if true democracy, not controlled by the Ayatollahs, were to emerge. Every single Persian expat that I have met testifies to that, and I have known quite a few. Anyway, the election of the nutbag Ahmadinejad has not helped the situation any, and our own adminstration's stance on Iran is certainly not helping.

Anyway, what to do about nukes and Iran? I think the diplomatic route is the best one (and please read Mac Lorry's posts on why a military route is not a real option). We should allow Iran to develop nuclear energy and insist, along with the UN or the EU, on strict oversight by the IAEA. Iran, unlike Pakistan and Israel, is a signatory on the nonproliferation treaty and we must hold them to it's requirements (and we ought to abide by them ourselves, which this administration refuses to do). If Iran will not comply and allow oversight we must make clear that economic sanctions will be implemented (these will in fact have a dramatic effect). We must work diplomatically with Iran by cutting out this silly saber rattling about military intervention, and they must quit with the anti-Israel saber-rattling. It is my belief that this can be done, for a few reasons, first among them being that it is in the Iranian rulers interest to maintain trade relations with Europe, and control over their own people.

It should not come as a surprise (but may) that Iran has a huge blogger population (over 70,000, see here for some). These people, as well as the press in that country, are routinely censored and/or jailed for so-called subversive behavior. This is bad, but what it reveals is that this is a country that embraces technology, that is interested in economic and technological progress (they also have a burgeoning biotechnology, nanotechnology, and pharmaceuticals industry), but wants to stifle dissent. They do this because they are interested in maintaining power while increasing profit. These are not the actions of people bent on bringing about the apocalypse or their own destruction. They are very similar to the Chinese in that the rulers want to keep a tight grip on power while increasing the economy and prestige of the country.

Promoting democracy in Iran is very difficult from our position, we have a bad history with this country and are seen as the enemy by a good deal of it's population. It is very easy for the leaders there to condemn reform movements as puppets of the US, this goes over very well with the poor but not so well with the middle class who are largely sympathetic to western democracy. We cannot be obvious in our attempts but we will not help things by ignoring them and will only worsen the situation by threatening Iran. We should be firm diplomatically without too much military posturing, and support clandestine reform networks thru Europe, where many middle class Iranians are educated. I know this may be a bit too "nuanced" for those who see bombs as their hammer, and the whole world full of nails, but bombs will not work in this case, they will only create more problems, for us and for Israel.

(I should also point out that the current administration's diplomacy has worked pretty well with that other Islamic state, Pakistan, which already has nuclear weapons)

JC,Sorry about tha... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

JC,

Sorry about that.

docjim505,<blockquote... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

docjim505,

If they don't have something already drawn up that could be produced pretty quickly, they'll come up with it if they have to.

That's the crux of the problem; the Bush administration abandoned research into a nuclear "bunker-buster" warheads last fall and with good reason. The Physics Today site states that "Taking into account realistic materials strengths, 10--20 m is a rough ceiling on how deeply into dry rock a warhead can penetrate and still maintain its integrity." It then talks about needing a 100 kt warhead to reach bunkers 1,000 feet deep and the Iranian facilities could easily be 5,000 feet deep. The real problem is that a shallow (10--20 m) ground penetrating warhead produces a huge amount radioactive fallout that will travel well outside the borders of Iran. Given that Iran has spread out it's nuclear facilities into many locations, many of these super dirty nukes would be needed to do the job. releasing so much radioactive fallout on neighboring nations is simply untenable short of responding to a nuclear attack by Iran.

You need to take a pragmatic view of your option 3. It means a ground invasion and there's insufficient political support for Congress to authorize and fund such action. Bush simply cannot do option 3 and the Iranians know it. That's why it's imperative to move to option 4, which is to develop the means to deal with a nuclear armed Iran as well as other nations as they acquire this 60 year old technology.

James Cloninger,<bloc... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

James Cloninger,

It does: The Sampson Option...

And here I've been calling it the Trinitite Option. Maybe it's the same thing.

With the help of many other... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

With the help of many others on Jay's two peaces on this topic I have reached the following conclusions.

Given the current weapon and political realities, Bush is powerless to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It would require a ground invasion and without some dumb action (not words) by Iran, Congress won't authorize and fund such an invasion. Bush is commander in chief, but Congress holds the purse stings.

Given the current U.S. and Israeli air and anti-missile defenses, Iran can't deliver it's nuclear warheads in a militarily effective way. That's really a very important point because Iran can't destroy Israel's nuclear arsenal with a preemptive strike. That means Iran can't use it's nuclear weapons and survive as a nation. Even the fools in Iran know that the reason to use their nuclear weapons must be more important to them than the nation of Iran itself. Other than self-defense, there is no sufficient reason. Any ultimatum from Iran can be met with the simple statement "go ahead; we'll survive but you wont."

The reality of nuclear weapons is that they have only one use in the world today and that's self defense. As we have seen throughout history, nuclear weapons have a way of moderating and maturing the leaders who control them. The existence of Israel's Arrow 2 anti-ballistic missile system greatly reduces the risk of an out war due to an unauthorized or accidental launch.

U.S. policy should be to formally inform Iran and the world that any nuclear attack on the U.S. or it's allies will be regarded as coming from Iran unless there's clear and immediate evidence to the contrary (such as a missile launched from China). Energy independence should become part of our national defense. Find the means to inspect cargo before it reaches U.S. shores. Expand our research, development and deployment of anti-missile systems.




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