Iran -- Apocalypse Now?

Update [2006-4-9 13:47:29 by Dave]:  I am aware that this has been discussed on TOD's most recent open threads. Still, I believe it deserves a more thorough analysis and thread unto itself.

This story is based on Seymour "Sy" Hersh's article about to be published in the New Yorker entitled The Iran Plans.

When a child is finally able to read, write and understand some things, there are two lessons that should be taught first, and these are

  1. The The Golden Rule which states in one formulation "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
  2. Never, ever, engage in a land war in Asia, a remark attributed to General Douglas MacArthur who also said "Anyone who commits the American Army in the Asian mainland should have his head examined."
The Bush administration now appears poised to learn nothing from their first mistake, which violates precept #2 above, the invasion of Iraq. They now seem hell bent on repeating that mistake. Not since the The Cuban Missle Crisis in 1962, which followed the Bay of Pigs fiasco, has the world faced a crisis of this magnitude. Here we'll analyze the Hersh article, the geopolitics & oil issues involved and the possible fallout from a US or Israeli military engagement with Iran. This possibility can't be taken seriously enough--it is tantamount to World War III should it actually occur. If some of you TOD readers believe this is an alarmist post, rest assured, it is.
First, let's get the basic story from Hersh.
There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community, that President Bush’s ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change. Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has challenged the reality of the Holocaust and said that Israel must be “wiped off the map.” Bush and others in the White House view him as a potential Adolf Hitler, a former senior intelligence official said. “That’s the name they’re using. They say, ‘Will Iran get a strategic weapon and threaten another world war?’ ”

A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his [Bush's] legacy.”

One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.” He added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they smoking?’ ”

For more background, look at this map. This is not a country map, it is an ethnic/sectarian view of the region.

A real map of Iraq and Iran and
surrounding regions -- Figure 1
Click to Enlarge

Here are the parties to the disaster that lays before us.

  • Iran's president Ahmadinejad is a jihadist and he has radicalized Iran's government.
    Since becoming Iran's president in August, Ahmadinejad, who served in the ranks of the Revolutionary Guards during the 1980-1988 war with Iraq, has appointed fellow Revolutionary Guards members to the most key positions in his cabinet and administration. For example, both Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki served in command positions in the Revolutionary Guards. Ahmadinejad also purged several major ministries such as interior, national planning, finance, and, recently, foreign affairs, of appointees from the Hashemi Rafsanjani and Muhammad Khatami presidencies over the last sixteen years. To the great disgust of the powerful clergy who practically rule Iran, the new president does not believe that he owes anything to the traditional power centers, foremost the clergy and the conservative middle class who have benefited financially from their relations with the corrupt governments of his predecessors. Moreover, during his campaign for president, the extremely militant Ahmadinejad sought the support of Iran's poor and unemployed masses and vowed to revive Ayatollah Khomeini's revolutionary ideology.
    This would seem to contradict Hersh's (and my own) assumption that it is really the Supreme Leader who is in charge.
    Iran’s supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, is considered by many experts to be in a stronger position than Ahmadinejad. “Ahmadinejad is not in control,” one European diplomat told me. “Power is diffuse in Iran. The Revolutionary Guards are among the key backers of the nuclear program, but, ultimately, I don’t think they are in charge of it. The Supreme Leader has the casting vote on the nuclear program, and the Guards will not take action without his approval.”
    In any case, these are bad guys and I'm not going to waste anytime debating the point. However, there does seem to be some question as to who is running things in Iran.

  • The same bunch of neocons who got us into the Iraq mess seem determined to repeat the mistake in Iran. They are an isolated group of dangerous fanatics who seek only their own counsel. As for attacking Iran, toward that end they have packed the Defense Science Board with adherents to justify any military actions the US may carry out.
    The chairman of the Defense Science Board is William Schneider, Jr., an Under-Secretary of State in the Reagan Administration. In January, 2001, as President Bush prepared to take office, Schneider served on an ad-hoc panel on nuclear forces sponsored by the National Institute for Public Policy, a conservative think tank. The panel’s report recommended treating tactical nuclear weapons as an essential part of the U.S. arsenal and noted their suitability “for those occasions when the certain and prompt destruction of high priority targets is essential and beyond the promise of conventional weapons.” Several signers of the report are now prominent members of the Bush Administration, including Stephen Hadley, the national-security adviser; Stephen Cambone, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; and Robert Joseph, the Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.
    At the highest level of the military, there is opposition to using tactical nuclear weapons. The rationale for using these armaments is that some of Iran's putative uranium enrichment facilities are deep enough underground to render conventional weapons useless. In this case the Joint Chiefs of Staff may be our best friend. Speaking of our beloved President, a House member said, “The most worrisome thing is that this guy has a messianic vision.”

The bottom line is that the neocons are not content to merely conduct a bombing raid from the air (using nuclear weapons) to take out Iran's budding nuclear program. They want a regime change. That is Bush's messianic mission. As far as the radical Iranian government goes, there's no doubt they intend to become a nuclear power; it is a waste of time to debate the issue. As to when this might be successfully accomplished, there is room for the debate. If you ask the Israelis, they'll tell you Iran is only a couple years away. If you ask the the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), they'll tell you there is uncertainty and guess that Iran's Bomb is 5 years away.

Most of the relevant material can be found in Hersh's article and so I'll spare you the gruesome details. However, to state the obvious

“This is much more than a nuclear issue,” one high-ranking diplomat told me in Vienna. “That’s just a rallying point, and there is still time to fix it. But the Administration believes it cannot be fixed unless they control the hearts and minds of Iran. The real issue is who is going to control the Middle East and its oil in the next ten years.”
No kidding. Those of you old enough to remember the Vietnam War (which we lost) will remember with irony the phrase "hearts and minds". Let's examine the consequences of a US military strike on Iran.

At this point, predicting a post-US/Iranian war is guesswork but several plausible results can be put forward. Here's my list. Feel free to add your own.

  • Iran will cut Hezbollah loose. Principally, they operate out of southern Lebanon but are capable of terrorist acts outside that area. This is noted in the Hersh article.

  • Oil prices will spike rapidly. $100/barrel is a reasonable baseline. The US would not, of course, bomb Iran's oil & natural gas fields. That is, afterall, the prize.

  • Looking at Figure 1, we see that Iran is not simply a Persian nation. In particular, there are substantial Kurdish (Sunnis) and Azeri (Shia') minorities. In fact, the US military is even now operating in these areas. How would these groups react? I suspect the Kurds would line up around ethnic/sectarian lines and secede from Iran. This would have implications for Turkey, which has a sizeable Kurdish minority in the west of the country.

  • It is impossible to imagine that the Russians and Chinese, who want this matter referred back to the IAEA and oppose tough sanctions from the UN Security Council, would just sit back and do nothing. Specifically, the Chinese are doing business with Iran. There is a geostrategic alliance among Iran, Russia and China as reported in one of my favorite sources, the Asian Times. See The ties that bind China, Russia and Iran. It is hard to predict what Russia and China would do but the US would become even more isolated than they already are.

  • Hugo Chavez is, generally speaking, a wild card. What a perfect excuse to justify his (apparently correct) perception of the US as an out of control aggressor and cut some part of oil exports.

  • As Hersh reports, quoting a Pentagon advisor, "What will 1.2 billion Muslims think the day we attack Iran?”

  • Unless the US could take out all of Iran's medium range missles, retaliatory strikes against Sunni-held oil & natural gas facilities in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, et. al. are possible. The entire Middle East could be engulfed in a Sunni-Shia' civil war. This is noted by Hersh.

  • Last but not least, the strong ties between Iraq's Shiites and Iran would become a bond like cement. At any time, Iran could make the situation in Iraq much worse and solidify the nascent civil war there. In particular, look at Figure 1 again and consider this quote from Hersh
    The adviser went on, “If we go, the southern half of Iraq will light up like a candle.” The American, British, and other coalition forces in Iraq would be at greater risk of attack from Iranian troops or from Shiite militias operating on instructions from Iran. (Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, has close ties to the leading Shiite parties in Iraq.) A retired four-star general told me that, despite the eight thousand British troops in the region, “the Iranians could take Basra with ten mullahs and one sound truck.”
This comprises my short list of possible consequences of the envisioned attack. Personally, I would prefer Stuart's long Slow Squeeze as predicted by Hubbert Linearizations. But it is worth bearing in mind what Kunstler recently said.
Progressives have got to step up to leadership on these issues, because if we don't start making other arrangements for daily life - a different program than Dick Cheney's non-negotiable easy motoring utopia of hamburgers - then reality is going negotiate it for us. We'll be dragged into more war, and we'll mount a foolish and futile defense of a way of life that has no future.
We can not expect reasonable behaviour from crack addicts. Civilization is in peril and, frankly, I don't know what to do about it. As the Latin goes, Ora Pro Nobis--Pray for us.
 "Beyond the Euphrates began for us the land of mirage and danger, the sands where one helplessly sank, and the roads which ended in nothing.  The slightest reversal would have resulted in a jolt to our prestige giving rise to all kinds of catastrophe; the problem was not only to conquer but to conquer again and again, perpetually; our forces would be drained off in the attempt."

Emperor Hadrian AD 117-138

The following gives perspective on how US forces will be "drained off."

US forces' use of depleted uranium weapons is 'illegal'

By Neil Mackay, Investigations Editor

BRITISH and American coalition forces are using depleted uranium (DU) shells in the war against Iraq and deliberately flouting a United Nations resolution which classifies the munitions as illegal weapons of mass destruction.

DU contaminates land, causes ill-health and cancers among the soldiers using the weapons, the armies they target and civilians, leading to birth defects in children.

Professor Doug Rokke, ex-director of the Pentagon's depleted uranium project -- a former professor of environmental science at Jacksonville University and onetime US army colonel who was tasked by the US department of defence with the post-first Gulf war depleted uranium desert clean-up -- said use of DU was a 'war crime'.

Rokke said: 'There is a moral point to be made here. This war was about Iraq possessing illegal weapons of mass destruction -- yet we are using weapons of mass destruction ourselves.' He added: 'Such double-standards are repellent.'

The latest use of DU in the current conflict came on Friday when an American A10 tankbuster plane fired a DU shell, killing one British soldier and injuring three others in a 'friendly fire' incident.

According to a August 2002 report by the UN subcommission, laws which are breached by the use of DU shells include: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the Charter of the United Nations; the Genocide Convention; the Convention Against Torture; the four Geneva Conventions of 1949; the Conventional Weapons Convention of 1980; and the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, which expressly forbid employing 'poison or poisoned weapons' and 'arms, projectiles or materials calculated to cause unnecessary suffering'. All of these laws are designed to spare civilians from unwarranted suffering in armed conflicts.

DU has been blamed for the effects of Gulf war syndrome -- typified by chronic muscle and joint pain, fatigue and memory loss -- among 200,000 US soldiers after the 1991 conflict.

It is also cited as the most likely cause of the 'increased number of birth deformities and cancer in Iraq' following the first Gulf war.

'Cancer appears to have increased between seven and 10 times and deformities between four and six times,' according to the UN subcommission.

The Pentagon has admitted that 320 metric tons of DU were left on the battlefield after the first Gulf war, although Russian military experts say 1000 metric tons is a more accurate figure.

In 1991, the Allies fired 944,000 DU rounds or some 2700 tons of DU tipped bombs. A UK Atomic Energy Authority report said that some 500,000 people would die before the end of this century, due to radioactive debris left in the desert.

The use of DU has also led to birth defects in the children of Allied veterans and is believed to be the cause of the 'worrying number of anophthalmos cases -- babies born without eyes' in Iraq. Only one in 50 million births should be anophthalmic, yet one Baghdad hospital had eight cases in just two years. Seven of the fathers had been exposed to American DU anti-tank rounds in 1991. There have also been cases of Iraqi babies born without the crowns of their skulls, a deformity also linked to DU shelling.

A study of Gulf war veterans showed that 67% had children with severe illnesses, missing eyes, blood infections, respiratory problems and fused fingers.

Rokke told the Sunday Herald: 'A nation's military personnel cannot wilfully contaminate any other nation, cause harm to persons and the environment and then ignore the consequences of their actions.

'To do so is a crime against humanity.

'We must do what is right for the citizens of the world -- ban DU.'

He called on the US and UK to 'recognise the immoral consequences of their actions and assume responsibility for medical care and thorough environmental remediation'.

He added: 'We can't just use munitions which leave a toxic wasteland behind them and kill indiscriminately.

'It is equivalent to a war crime.'

Rokke said that coalition troops were currently fighting in the Gulf without adequate respiratory protection against DU contamination.

The Sunday Herald has previously revealed how the Ministry of Defence had test-fired some 6350 DU rounds into the Solway Firth over more than a decade, from 1989 to 1999.

Read the above and then see if you do not agree that the USA is the most repugnant nation on the face of the earth. If I understand the science correctly, your Commander in Chief doesn't give a rats ass for the US Armed Forces apart from their utility as backdrops for his Nurenberg moments. Chavez is as nothing compared to this.

No, sorry, the U.S. is many things, but 'the most repugnant nation on the face of the earth' it isn't.

Want a quick list?

  1. North Korea, where the 'Nurenberg moments' are backstopped by an unknown number of millions starved dead. In a way, much closer to the real spirit of the inventors of such photo ops, by the way.
  2. Zimbabwe, while not quite reaching North Korean standards, shows what a bad president really looks like - strange how starvation is one of the ways where repugnant has a different meaning in my definition. And Robert Mugabe's most loyal units in the past were North Korean trained, so as to show that not all evil in the world comes from the West.  
  3. Well, I thought including one nuclear power would be nice, so Pakistan it is. Admittedly, only arguably more repugnant than America, but actively selling nuclear technology world wide is certainly more repugnant than simply picking and choosing which treaty to sign or ignore, and let's be honest - Pakistan is not exactly a model of stability, corruption, or religious tolerance, and on all three points, America is better. (Maybe not as good as Americans think, but still better.) To put it in a certain perspective - free market America is still less likely to sell nuclear weapons to anyone than Pakistan is. And a lot less likely to fracture in the next decade into a civil war.

Hope this helps to define repugnant - you are welcome to be disgusted with America, but it will take a while longer before it reaches the true depths of repugnance which people are capable of in today's world. Americans (to their credit generally) have a hard time imagining what really bad societies look like. But starving 5% to 10% of a population to death for ideological reasons is truly repugnant, and America has a long ways to go before that happens - even in Iraq, where food and malnourishment have been and most likely remains a problem.

Do write a comment or two after America nukes Iran, though, because that certainly could re-open the debate to your advantage.

Expat: Does "damning with faint praise" come to mind?
Actually, it didn't. And no, I wasn't trying to. It is just sometimes, people seem so out of touch with what life is like other places that pointing it out becomes too hard to resist.

I stopped myself on the whole Bush is as bad as Hitler thing, though.

OK, how about "the most repugnant major nation on the face of the planet"?  I've never seen (or even imagined) such a public repudiation of lofty national ideals.  It speaks volumes that the rest of the world is perfectly prepared to believe that the US will use nuclear weapons in a war of agression against Iran.

Given that the comparisons for moral turpitude are to nations such as Zimbabwe and North Korea, I think it's safe to say that even US citizens should be alarmed at how low their nation has fallen.

Terrible sorry, old chap, but whatever reality your using isn't quite the same as the reality on the ground.  To begin, choosing to use North Korea and Zimbabwe as reference points is truly asinine.  The US cannot be the most repugnant because these are much more repugnant?  Are you getting to grips with what your uttering?

What you should be saying is the US is the most shinning because it shines brighter than...  I'll leave you to select those nations that best represent your notion of shining.

Instead, you choose to argue that in a bowl of shit, your shit is the least smelly.  Is that the best you can do?

The United States of America (oxymoron rears its ugly head here) cannot be the most repugnant nation on Earth because North Korea, Zimbabwe, and Pakistan are all worse?  Guess the US is just the *fourth* most repugnant nation on Earth.  Wow!  What an accolade.  Good job expat, you've made the point perfectly.

  not really - I struck off places like Haiti as being repugnant in the absolute and abject sense of probably being the worst place to live in the Western Hemisphere. Also struck off a few former Soviet Republics, where traditional values includes such shining lights as Stalin and Tamerlane. Zimbabwe was picked because it has nothing to do with the West, but there are entire regions like the Congo (does that area even have an official name /state boundaries anymore?) which are obviously repugnant in terms of low grade genocide. I also left off places like Myanmar or Libya.

But I left these off (there are more), because most of them are part of a larger picture, which is how the rich live off the poor. And there, really, the U.S. is not somehow uniquely repugnant either. It may be the biggest pig at the trough, but it is only one of many.

When complaining about the U.S., and there is a lot to complain about, sticking to some basic facts and perspectives is helpful in having a discussion.

But if it helps anyone - that America is the nation which seems to have fallen the farthest from its own self-proclaimed lofty ideals in the last 10 years, while in the eyes of many becoming a mockery of itself on what seems to be an unstoppable path to evil is certainly the sort of description I would wholeheartedly agree to, simply 'not most repugnant.' Most Americans seem really unaware how far America still has to fall before joining the true bottom ranks. They also seem unaware of how many mechanisms are already in place to make sure that stopping it is considered beyond practicality. Notice that the president can now declare a 'special event of national significance' anywhere in the U.S., for a tiny example (so much for peaceful assembly to petition for redress) - and while massive  wiretapping has been going on for years, it is only recently that the technology has allowed automation to work effectively enough - tied in with the huge amount of data stored, since Americans seem to have allowed databases to be filled over the last couple of decades of a style which a German planner facing numerous political goals in 1934 could only dream of. (Again, not a direct comparison - the German planner did have genealogical records which are still not normal in the U.S., for example - but in 1934, hardcore communists/Stalinists, various religious groups, and a number of militant unions/workers were still in fairly active opposition to the Nazis takeover, and were still considered a threat facing the new regime.) Having a tool to wield tends to be the first step in wielding it in the world of cause and effect - and notice I haven't said who or which political belief will wield it, only that it is hard to imagine it won't be. As an interesting side note - the recent demonstrations of people many seem to consider 'illegal' could be a fine way to test many aspects of a system designed to ensure that 100,000s of people could be placed in confinement (wonder how the camp construction is going? - bet Cheney knows who to call to find out, don't you?), since they are considered a threat to American society. And from most of what I have been reading, a majority of 'real' Americans would be pleased to see it happen, if only to defend America from a wave of unAmericanness, or something equally hard for me to understand. Yes, a certain mixture is starting to stir itself, and I doubt people are worried enough about what it means. Sort of like pointing out how databases being set up in the 1980s were a first step in people trading away privacy - these days, an entire system is in place to notice 'suspicious' transactions in the entire banking/retail network, and essentially no one can live without a credit card, it seems.

I don't live there now, but from here, what is stirring is a truly vile mixture of racism wrapped in righteousness about legality and respecting America. Almost as if after 40 years of being kept under a rock, a certain ugly creature has finally found the lever to pry itself back into the light, where many people seem entranced by its pure blackness, and wish it to grow larger and more devouring.

Maybe I am wrong, but a lot worries me about what is going on in the U.S.

But as noted, a few nukes getting legal field testing in Iran (wouldn't want to break any treaties and test them illegally here first, right?) would make this a more complicated discussion. But honestly, even after nuking a few Iranian targets, I still would argue North Korea is worse.

While we are not the most repugnant, we are working on being a contender if we aren't careful. Some people romanticise about Cuba, but Cuba is no paradise. I saw a Chicago Tribune article about a Cuban woman not being allowed to leave on the assertion that Cuba's government owns her brain calling it "patrimony". Not on an order like North Korea, but contending.

Our own entry in this contest isn't the U-238 bullets but our 2 million people in the prisons. The drug war is arguably racist and can be described as a civil war in slo-mo.

The issue of depleted uranium is not settled.  There appear to be studies that land on both sides of the toxicity/tetragenicity/carcenogenicity questions.  Even if there is a correlation, then there is still the issue of causation.  Of course, I would much rather we were using that uranium for fast neutron reactor fuel than littering the landscape with it.

This is not like climate change, where the willful ignorance of widely accepted information by the Administration is repugnant and endangering billions of lives in the future.

You think there is room for debate about the toxicity of DU?  Even without the radiation issues, the chemical itself is a very toxic metal, more so than lead or mercury.
DU shrapnel has been analyzed and found to contain
reactor core material such as U236,Neptunium and

The Department of Energy has admitted that the DU stockpiles contain radioactive waste from nuclear reactor cores and that plutonium, americium and neptunium are present in DU. This is also evidenced by the presence of U-236 which could only have come from reactor cores. The presence of these transuranic elements complicates the picture somewhat, but the same analysis can be used to determine the effects that these elements have on the total radioactivity of DU. All that needs to be known are the percentage amounts of these elements in a 1 gram sample of DU.

S. F. Boulyga of the Research Center Juelich in Juelich Germany reported [Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectroscopy Vol. 16(11), 2001 (pp. 1283-1289) ] finding Pu-239, Pu-240 and Am-241 in a sample taken from a DU penetrator shell. He reported 1.7x10-9 gram (1.7 nanograms) of Am-241 and 3.1x10-5 gram (31 micrograms) of U-236 in a 1 gram DU sample. This is 10 times the amount of U-236 reported by DoD and used in the above calculations (Table 1b).

Every trooper(Iraq/Afghanistan) should be tested for Onset Diabetes and
Sores that will not heal-first signs of Radiation Poisoning.
Also, Uranium as a simple heavy metal will bind to DNA
causing cell mutations.


You cite 1.7x10-9 grams of AM-241 per gram of DU.  Your typical smoke detector has about 10-4 grams of AM-241, over 50,000 times as much.  One smoke detector would have as much Americium as several hundred rounds of DU ammunition.

As for neptunium 235, the web page that you link has an error. While it can alpha decay, this mode is very small compared to the electron capture to uranium 235. So even though neptunium 235 has a short half life,  it almost entirely contributes x-rays and low energy beta-rays if it is present, and almost no alpha particles.  

On a surreal note, at one time some people used uranium compounds as a treatment for diabetes, among other aliments.

Thank you for the correction.

The implication being made in the article stated
that Americium was not the factor that Neptunium is, I think,
and that the combination of elements,especially with
Neptunium exacerbating the Uranium decay.

I am not a scientist(in this field). My close relative did electrical work
for Oppenheimer(the relative died of a brain tumor).

Again, thanx for the clarification.


DU is toxic, but no more so than many other substances that are not nearly as controversial.  

The radiation is really a non-issue for DU.   The natural activity of potassium-40 in the body is around 100,000 picoCuries. The natural activity of uranium in the body is around 50 picoCuries, 2,000 times less.  You would need to increase the typical load of uranium in the body (about 100 micrograms) to about 200,000 micrograms, or 0.2 grams, just to equal the radioactivity that you already get from potassium.

Heavy metals of any stamp are bad news, but data from people like uranium miners, who have had exposure to alot of uranium compounds as dust, shows that radon is more significant than uranium for their work-related health problems.  

Tony Karon, who writes for Time Magazine Online, has a excellent discussion on this crisis:,8599,1181181,00.htm

He points out that the Iranian have approached the US in 2003 to resolve security (nuclear and other) issues, but their overtures were spurned by the neocons. More recently, Ayatollah Khomenei has given his blessing for wide ranging talks with the US and the Europeans want to see this as well.  

The problem is that at a minimum the US will have to give an iron-clad security guarantee to the Iranians in exchange for acquiesnce on the nuclear issue. However, they won't do it (at least not yet) because it is incompatible with their agenda for regime change.

In all this I do take some solace that Karl Rove is reported to be adamantly opposed to a new war. No doubt he judges that it's a political loser and that many more people will come to the conclusion that Bush is crazy.

I think the possibility of nuclear weapons in a first strike on Iran is remote, given the opposition within the military mentioned by Hersh. However, if the Iranians retaliate effectively and cause massive US casualties (say they sink an aircraft carrier), then I would say all bets are off.

Great post.You forgot to mention the US dollar (which is extremely vulnerable to Chinese dumping of T-Bills).It would be unlikely that China or Russia would tolerate more American aggression without a dramatic counter-attack (hopefully not military).    
Bingo.  And on top of that, add in Japan, which I suspect would not look kindly on the US nuking a country, and owns far more of the US's debt than China does.  (I wanted to look up the numbers, but the US Treasury web site is down...)
Does anyone care to predict what NYMEX oil will close at tomorrow?
well its trading down $.30 now from fridays close on the night session.
I don't know how anyone can resist. It will drop about a dollar from Friday's close. Wanna bet?
Looks like it will end up about a dollar. Do I get points for getting the amount right?
It's their best weapon - I cannot imagine them taking on the US directly.  They'd be most likely to try the economic weapon first - sure it will be costly oto them too, but not as much as open war.  They may also try to support Iran with hardware, etc.

I do think there is some credability to the idea that they may want to let us hang ourselves.  If they really think we'll overextend and do damage to ourselves, they'd be smart to let us go.

In a world gone bonkers, how long would it take Japan to become a nuclear power itself? Promoted as a way to curb nuclear proliferation, an attack on Iran would surely give every medium-sized power on earth a powerful reason to get enough nukes to deter us.
Japan has supposedly had the capacity to go nuclear for years. There have been rumors that they have everything in place and just have never bothered to assemble such weapons, but keep themselves just a few steps away from that capacity in case they were ever pressed against the wall. And frankly, that makes good sense. Given Japan's missile capabilities, it would not surprise me if they could assemble and place on board IRBMs anywhere from 50 to several hundred warheads if they needed to do so. That they have not done so is testament to their longstanding desire to avoid use of such weapons ever again. I would guess that Japan could mirror Isreal's nuclear arsenal inside of a few weeks tops if they wanted.
I totally agree with this except for one thing, the testing, that they might not be able to do within a few weeks. Otherwise, good points.
China has just surpassed Japan as the holder of the most US debt - in excess of $850E9
So far I see no adequate reason given as to why the insane Bush administration wouldn't love to see the Middle East go up in flames. Many of the same arguments were made about attacking Iraq, yet here we are. I think what people are failing to realize is the makeup of the administration. They are millenialists, they are apocalyticons. They want this conflagration. It all plays into their conservative christian viewpoint that the second coming is near. Should that happen, if you remember your nutjob christianity, all of the believers will be sucked up into heaven with the rapture. Why pursue oil if you're going to heaven?

Many people refuse to believe that we could not produce a lunatic like Pol Pot, Hitler or Idi Amin, but there they stand in history. For some reason, many people believe that we are "different," perhaps from breathing the rich American air.

Remember. This is an administration that said, "we make reality." These people are literally insane.

It's not at all clear that Bush is really a conservative Christian.  He doesn't go to church often, and when he does, he usually attends more-or-less theologically liberal Episcopal churches.  He panders to the Christian right for political advantage, but there's not much evidence it's what he really believes.  The faith-based initiative was theologically very inclusive (and inclusivity of other religions it typically anathema to evangelicals and fundamentalists).  Bush appears to be politically conservative but theologically liberal.

I think the roots of the problem have more to do with the fact that he's insecure and thus avoids contrasting viewpoints, and he has poor judgement  - especially seeing the world in very simple black-and-white terms - and won't change course as evidence mounts that he's wrong.

Bush turned to X-tian fundamentalism to wean himself from drugs and alcohol.

Like my former governor and professional wrestler Jesse Ventura said: "Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers."

Ah.  I would be one of those then.  I've attended some form of organized religion for a number of years.
Really?  Would you mind sharing a bit more about this, Stuart?  I find that quite interesting.  (I realize this is in principle a private matter, but since you yourself are a much-esteemed public figure on this site, some judicious remarks on your part could perhaps prove very illuminating to many.)
Laughs at that quote.  As anyone who has studied the world know, Religion is a big word for a lot of things.  From Budda to Zen, Or the other "A" religions.  All of them Oganized.  What Ventura Was likely reffering to was Christians.  As there seems to be a large section of the population of the USA that thinks we are a Christian Nation.  When As a Christian I do not think that the USA is a Christian nation, just has a lot of Christians in it.  

In any Organization you will almost always step on someones toes and make them hate you for whatever reasons.  Religion is not going to be any different than any other Organization.

Did Mr. Vetura fail to see the WWF as the Religion that some see it as?  So he is talking about any Orgainized Religion!  I wonder which ones he really had in mind at the time he spoke those words?

I always read your stuff intently, because you sometimes are absolutely brilliant, and frequently you can be funny as all hell. I don't know what it is, and I don't know how many of your friends tell you this, but you are seriously entertaining.

This is one of those times where I think you are brilliant. I actually didn't laugh at all, even though Jesse "the Body" has always amused me.

I think you were spot on with your analysis of many subjects here.

As a female friend pointed out, I have to much time thinking about things.  I must admit currently the majority of my friends are female.  We won't go into why they like me so much, but I will simply say I am a big bear of a guy and as bears go so do a lot of females.

I have in the past called myself an "Information Junkie".  I was very much hooked and got my fixes only after consuming every bit of reading and veiwing material in my reach.  I also have a near photographic memory which I have trained to record scenes of my life and things within sight for later refernce in my writings.  I have amazed family and friends at the depth of my analyst of a simple photo of someone, telling them their emotions at the time of the photo.  Lest I break my arm patting myself on the back, I do stretching exercises so I don't hurt myself so often.

E. Gades, I am in such a mood I should not be writing today.  I want to be out of Huntsville and In my new home so bad I can taste the dry great plains air.

I, too, consider myself to be a spiritual and religious person.  I am some sort of variation of the Christian variety.

As a citizen of Minnesota, where a former professional wrestler who goes by "Jesse Ventura" was governor for a term, I want to add that he was known for his absolute assurance that he was right, his pontificating style, his impermeability to new information, and a very thin skin.

Not much of a governor, philosopher, or leader, he started off by reducing the license fee for luxury cars like his own (Porsche, was it?) and other "me first and me only" kinds of efforts.  His personal attacks against any who disagreed with him or dared to question him were egotistical, and he pouted like a child for much of his tenure as governor.

Political leadership in the USA is increasingly authoritarian, corrupt, and replete with militaristic posing.

That we face the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran is no suprise given that our political choices are narrowed to "The Corporatist in a Donkey Suit" or "The Corporatist in an Elephant Suit."

Religion is not responsible for evil, nor is it a crutch.  People distort religion to use for evil, including use of religion as a crutch.

Pseudo-Religious leaders and civil leaders colluded in a way that resulted in the Crucifixion.  Pseudo-Religious and civic leaders today collude to make people ashamed and frightened and more easily intimidated and manipulated.

One key to such manipulative fundamentalism is this: if one can make people ashamed of and afraid of human sexuality, one can control them.  If one can play upon old fears, prejudices, and grudges, one can build a sense of self-righteous rage and even entitlement in a people.  

This combination of shame, fear, anger, and entitlement seem to have shaped the American people into a kind of canine pack that is easily manipulated.  The same might be said of any the fundamentalisms that dominate other countries, religious or not.

Resource War as Religious War.  Easily manipulated populations set against one another, each feeling self-righteous anger and also entitled to the rewards of the righteous victors at the end of the battle. Who benefits?

I've begun re-reading Walker Percy's "Love In The Ruins: The Adventures of a Bad Catholic at a Time Near the End of the World" as an antidote to my required daily dose of toxic WarPorn and Disinfotainment.  Better than most, as is his "Thanatos Syndrome."

Passion Week.  Passover.  What other religious Holy Days?  The New Holy War Holy Days?  The "Rid the World of Evildoers" Holy Days?

What of Peak Oil,Global Climate Change, science, and religion?

Is intentional ignorance another term for spiritual blindness?

Is repentance another term for willingness to seek out new information, analyse, and then adapt?

Is the phrase "The blind leading the blind" descriptive of any spiritual or political leaders today?

What happens when nations become closed to new information and resistant to change?

Reason.  Passion.  MetaNarrative. Who makes up the story?

Resource War as Religious War.  Easily manipulated populations set against one another, each feeling self-righteous anger and also entitled to the rewards of the righteous victors at the end of the battle.

Allow me to speculate that it is the other way around - at least at subconcious level it is the prize that is known to the masses and thus justifies the religious rage. The Christianity in US has a long and successful history of maintaining the duality in our values - producing people deeply and truly believing that greed is bad and money is good at the same time. Errata... Money is The Good, and greed is The Bad... Of course it is always the others being selfish and greedy bastards.

Stuart, as an Episcopalian, I feel it necessary to say for the record that Bush, Jr. claims to be a Methodist. I have never found his brand of theology, even among the most conservative wings. (His father (AKA #41) served on various national church boards in the 1970's and 1980's.)

Historically, Presidents have attended the Episcopal St John's, Lafayette Square with some regularity, if that is where he attends when he attends, (which is seldom if ever). Since he claims to have a direct line to the Almighty, church attendance would be a definite waste of time, and crimp his exercise schedule.

I agree, it's only lip service. I'll probably take a lot of heat on this site for admitting it, but I do consider myself a person of faith and a Christian, but of a far different sort than the neocons.  I want to point out a few things about Christianity and politics:

I think it is so ironic that Christians have so whole-heartedly embraced the republican party when Clinton and Carter, two democrats, are the two most honest-to-gosh Christians of the modern era. Consider the following.  

Clinton undoubtedly broke several of the 10 commandments while in office.  But he (bible-in-hand) went regularly to conservative Bible-believing churches.  He even publicly admitted that he was a sinner and made mistakes.  Atheist organizations hated him for these traits.  
Carter was the most Christian president of the modern era. He of course also took a lot of heat for speaking openly about his faith and admitting that he sinned.
Bush would never be so humble.  
Furthermore, CHristians are not supposed to support pre-emptive war.  Why aren't Christians up in arms about this?  Shouldn't they be asking "What Would Jesus Do" about the middle east?
The two least Christian presidents of the modern era?  
1) Ron Reagan- a Hollywood star, a divorce', virtually never attended church. Knew nothing of the bible but his speech writers put in verses here and there to please the faithful that Reagan could not possibly have understood. 2) Richard Nixon- no explanation needed on this one.

"I'll probably take a lot of heat on this site for admitting it, but I do consider myself a person of faith and a Christian, but of a far different sort than the neocons."

Huh?  Did I miss a memo say that TOD discussions were supposed to beat up on religious people?  I honestly don't know why you'd expect to get heat for saying that you're a person of faith.  And if anyone did give you a hard time for saying something like that, I suspect a lot of people here would pile on him/her, and not you.

I'm not.

My parents are.

And you should not have to feel the slightest concern about how you will be thought of because of your religious beliefs.  

This is the cost of mixing religion and politics.

Well, "American Theocracy" is a whole book about it.  A nano-capsule version would be that a number of Administration staff share a certain Texas/evangelical background.

As an old-line conservative (and having been raised in a conservative Christianity) I find that the current political/religious binding quite uncomfortable.

yea a review on that book really caught my eye.  I'm on the waiting list for it at my local library.  Obviously I'm too cheap to just buy it!
I just found a good article on how this religiosity and modern conservative politics interlock:

"A historian of Christian martyrdom attends a Christian Right strategy session in the 'War on Christians.'"

This was a meeting that happened just last week.  A good read for anyone (like me) who, outside these movements, does not see the working movements of modern American theocracy:

What makes Bush dangerous is that intellectually he is a non-entity. He is excruciatingly ignorant of the forces, both subtle and apparant, that move world history and incapable of rational analysis. The man has never had an original idea in his life.
. . . In the World According to Karl Rove, you take the offensive, and stay there. You create a narrative that glosses over complex, mitigating facts to divide the world into friends and enemies, light and darkness, good and bad, Bush versus Saddam.
Hey, original ideas aren't required. Just some halfway decent ideas.
An article from Axis of Logic, last year opened my eyes as to what is happening to our country. I'm reading Kevin phillips new book and read his "Dynasty book." Despoiling of America. is a must read.
I don't believe religion has a blessed thing to do with any of this crap. It's oil, oil, oil -- world domination, world domination, world domination. I have a better idea of what went on in Hitler's head than Cheney's. I skip over Bush because I think what goes on there is less important, well just less in every regard.

But neither Hitler nor Cheney/Rumsfeld are just simply mad. There was and is a logic to what they are trying to accomplish. The SU collapsed, there's no counter balance to US power, the power can only weaken over time, energy resources are in decline, the US empire crumbles without a stranglehold on those resources, China is strengthening, even Russia is recovering somewhat with rising oil/gas prices. So what better time  to move if you are committed to US hegemony?

I won't run down Hitler's rationale, but it was not crazy either given what he wanted to do.

Moveover, from a historical point of view, empires have risen and fallen over and over again. None of this is new. What's new is that this empire is the first truly global empire, and the most powerful, and its fall is occurring on the downside of peak oil and other resources. So there will be a global and historical significance to the fall of this empire.

As for religion, Chavez is a Christian, his buddy Fidel is an atheist, although Chavez says, tongue-in-cheek I think, that he's converted him to the social agenda of Christianity. I personally am an atheist. I don't give a rat's ass about someone's religious beliefs one way or the other. This old Marxist is bemused to find that several of his current heroes happen to be Christians: Chavez, David Ray Griffin, Ray McGovern, etc. And it doesn't bother me to have heroes that are very much at odds with each other. And they can be far from perfect. All I require is that they have the courage to speak truth to power, or at a least major piece of the truth.

The Muslims and Arabs are the new Jews. If you want to wage war, you need something to divide people, something people can hate or fear. This too is an old, old tactic. The influence it has had could be seen on 9-11. The idiotic story of that day could not possibly have been believed by even a child -- not without years, decades of  brainwashing with anti-Muslim/Arab propaganda, and that his empire was something exceptional in the way of empires, a force for good despite all its nukes, 700+ foreign military bases and long history of naked aggression against smaller countries.

I'm frothing, aren't I? I'll stop.

My understanding is the W. is Methodist.  His dad is an Episcopalian.  

And the Episcopalians in the Diocese of Texas (which contains Houston) are not very liberal.  I was raised an Episcopalian down there.


One thing I find funny is that so many Americans (and others) have such strong feelings about the President's religious beliefs, both for and against, and yet every time it comes up it is apparent very few actually know what those beliefs are.

Hugo espouses more classic Christian belief than George. But here Hugo get's "Democratic Strongman" status while George is relegated to the "fascist" pile - because of his supposed faith.

Stuart's realistic remarks on the President's religion and its purpose are the most succint, I believe.

I can think of two rough historical analogues.  

First, which I have mentioned before, I think that Iran is to World War III, as Poland was to World War II.  When Hitler attacked Poland, he finally forced France and Britain to declare war.    

Needless to say, we aren't the good guys this time.  I believe that an attack on Iran will unite virtually the entire world against us.  

Second, this has some similarities to 1973.   During the Yom Kippur War,  the Israeli Army had the Egyptian Third Army surrounded.  Soviet premier Brezhnev sent Nixon a letter suggesting that the Soviet Union and the US mount a joint campaign to end the war.  If the US would not join the Soviet Union, they threatened unilateral military action on their own.    Nixon responded with a worldwide military alert--basically threatening nuclear retaliation if the Soviet Union moved troops into the Middle East.  The Arab oil embargo was going on at the same time.   Kissinger finally got the Israelis to agree to a cease fire.   This also corresponded to the "Saturday Night Massacre," during the Watergate investigation.  

The similarity here is a country threatening military action in the Middle East, during an unfolding oil crisis and unfolding political problems for the president.  The response was a threat to respond with nuclear weapons.  The difference is that we are the ones threatening unilateral military action.  I expect to see Russia and/or China threaten us with nuclear weapons if we launch an attack, nuclear or otherwise against Iran.  

(A historical footnote.  The Arabs tried an embargo during the 1967 Israeli/Arab War, but Texas flooded the market with oil.  When the 1973 embargo rolled around, Texas was just past its peak, and was declining, with no excess capacity.)

An ironic thought occurred to me.  Anyone wonder why more people didn't confront the Nazis in the runup to World War II?

Who among us, here in America, ever thought that we would be put in a position somewhat analogous to those people in Germany before World War II, who were opposed to the Nazis.

I fully realize that George W. Bush is not Adolph Hitler.  However, the best definition of fascism that I have seen is "Unification of corporate and state, with a suppression of civil liberties."  If you don't think that the Bush administration has fascist tendencies, you need to think again.  

Bush's position is that he can indefinitely detain anyone--American citizen or not--without due process.   Followed to its logical conclusion, Bush's position is that he can declare anyone to be a nonentity, without any rights whatsoever.   In the final analysis, how does that differ from Hitler's actions?  Just because it's "just a few" people being detained without due process and possibly (probably) tortured?

I suspect that we may yet see something akin to a refusal to follow orders by the military, perhaps via mass resignations.  Again, what was the moral course of action for German military officers in the Thirties when they were ordered to attack Poland?  

The following oath is taken by all personnel inducted into the armed forces of the United States, as found in the US Code, Section 502.
 I, ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

this one has always made me pause
this was written 03 (I think)
Nonetheless, he knew the terrorist was going to strike (although he didn't know where or when), and he had already considered his response. When an aide brought him word that the nation's most prestigious building was ablaze, he verified it was the terrorist who had struck and then rushed to the scene and called a press conference.

"You are now witnessing the beginning of a great epoch in history," he proclaimed, standing in front of the burned-out building, surrounded by national media. "This fire," he said, his voice trembling with emotion, "is the beginning." He used the occasion - "a sign from God," he called it - to declare an all-out war on terrorism and its ideological sponsors, a people, he said, who traced their origins to the Middle East and found motivation for their evil deeds in their religion.

Two weeks later, the first detention center for terrorists was built in Oranianberg to hold the first suspected allies of the infamous terrorist. In a national outburst of patriotism, the leader's flag was everywhere, even printed large in newspapers suitable for window display. Within four weeks of the terrorist attack, the nation's now-popular leader had pushed through legislation - in the name of combating terrorism and fighting the philosophy he said spawned it - that suspended constitutional guarantees of free speech, privacy, and habeas corpus. Police could now intercept mail and wiretap phones; suspected terrorists could be imprisoned without specific charges and without access to their lawyers; police could sneak into people's homes without warrants if the cases involved terrorism.

To get his patriotic "Decree on the Protection of People and State" passed over the objections of concerned legislators and civil libertarians, he agreed to put a 4-year sunset provision on it: if the national emergency provoked by the terrorist attack was over by then, the freedoms and rights would be returned to the people, and the police agencies would be re-restrained. Legislators would later say they hadn't had time to read the bill before voting on it.
and goes on and on

Tom Clancy does it again.

I'm not sure what the actual procedure is regarding nuclear launch orders, in the event that we are not attacked, but in "The Sum of All Fears," the story at the end of the book is that the president needs launch confirmation from someone confirmed by the Senate.  The Jack Ryan character agrees to act as the confirmation person when the president wants to launch a nuclear attack on Iran (in response to false information regarding a nuclear terrorist attack on the US).   Jack Ryan refuses to confirm and tells the Air Force that the president is not in his right mind and that they should disregard any further nuclear launch orders on Iran.

The intent of the terrorists was to provoke either:  (1) a nuclear war between Russia and the US or (2) a nuclear attack on Iran that would permanently inflame the Muslim world against the US.

You will recall that Clancy also wrote about a commercial jet being flown into the Capitol Building and about a biological weapons attack on the US.   (Tom Clancy was opposed to our attack on Iraq, because we didn't have a reason, i.e., no Causi Belli).

Not especially to you, westexas, but IMO there is too many blether about nukes on this site.

This is just a bit of reality.

The number of nuclear warheads:

The USA......12,000

One should be insane to use nukes in modern times.

If you doubt the numbers go to

Last year former defense secretary Robert McNamara summed up his concerns in Foreign Policy magazine: "I would characterize current U.S. nuclear weapons policy as immoral, illegal, militarily unnecessary, and dreadfully dangerous."

 This is found at RussFag's post above. I suspect that Mr McNamara is capable of an informed opinion and that the qualities ascribed to US nuclear weapons policy may also be ascribed to the chief US policy maker.

"One should be insane to use nukes in modern times."

I agree, but with so many countries with nukes, what are the odds that sooner or later we will have someone with their finger on the trigger who is insane.

This line of reasoning could be used as justification for an attack on Iran, but where does it stop?  What about Pakistan and India, especially Pakistan, if they have a regime change?  Do we launch a unilateral attack on them?

Note that Hersh reports that a number of military officers are threatening to resign unless the nuclear option is taken off the table.

Adolf Hitler in the mid and late 30s wasn't yet the grotesquely evil Adolf Hitler that he ultimately became either.  I think a good case can be made, based on careful historical comparison, that the evils perpetrated by Hitler, prior to and including his invasion of Poland in 1939, are not significantly worse than those perpetrated so far by the Bush Administration.

We're done with Hitler; we're not yet done with the Bush Administration, though.

Please lets not go overboard with the H-word. (Actually, I'm sure it's going to be used to distraction by BushCo, but about Ahmadinejad.

Prior to Poland: Dachau, Enabling Act, Gestapo 1933, Kristallnacht 1933, Rhineland 1936, Guernica 1937, Austria & Sudetenland 1938, Checkoslovakia 1939.

Thank you. A lot of hype here ladies and gentlemen.
Granted, the parallels are not exact, but this is to a considerable extent due to the fact that the Nazis were freer to act than power holders in the Bush Administration in certain important respects, due to differences in the broader societal context of 1930s Nazi Germany versus 2000s US society.  Taking this difference in historical context into due account, I think a dispassionate comparison shows that the Bush Administration's willingness to lie with abandon is the equal of that of the Nazis.  I also think the invasion of Iraq morally parallels the 1939 invasion of Poland in all important respects.  (The fact that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant does not adversely affect this claim since US support of him throughout the 80s reveals that this fact had nothing whatsoever to do with the true motivations for the invasion of Iraq.)  In addition, the Bush Administration's willingness and eagerness to torture is a matter of public record; and its contempt for basic rights and human needs in connection with Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, the response to Hurricane Katrina, and the indefinite detention of hundreds if not thousands of innocent southwest and south Asians following the 9/11 is morally comparable to the similar sort of contempt displayed by the Nazis during the 1930s in such episodes as Kristallnacht.  A similar contempt is also evident in many of the weapons the US chooses to employ in Iraq - heinous devices such as depleted uranium munitions, cluster bombs, white phosphorus incendiary devices, etc.  As far as the remilitarization of the Rhineland and the annexation of Austria and Czecoslovakia is concerned, I think one can identify historical parallels in the systematic contempt that the Bush Administration has displayed for international law in its own conduct of foreign policy.  There is also a pattern of appeasement apparent in the way in which the Europeans, etc., went along with US bullying regarding Iraq - and now Iran - that parallels the conventionally infamous appeasement of the Germans by the French and British in the 1930s.  Having said all that, we do still live in a society that is fundamentally open in a way that was not true of 1930s Nazi Germany, an accidental factor that accounts for many of the secondary discrepancies in the parallels I am attempting to draw.  

The only thing for which a parallel is lacking in the list indicated in the message to which this is a response is Dachau.  I readily admit that in this particular respect, the historical parallel I am attempting to draw breaks down.  But I would not rule out the possibility that things may still come to the point where such a parallel IS available.

There is at least one other fundamental difference. Germany wanted to keep the land and enslave the people they did not kill.
Have you seen the massive permanent bases the US has built in Iraq and Afghanistan?  And are presently expanding?
One could draw analogies:
Prior to Iran: 9/11 2001, Patriot Act 2001, Afghanistan 2002, Guantanemo 2002, Iraq 2003, Abu Ghriab 2004, Domestic Spying 2005, etc.
This is a good point. ALSO, what life was like in Hitler's Germany for ordinary (meaning: not Jewish, not communist, not a bunch of other things) Germans was much different from the way post-war propaganda made it out. They did NOT spend all their time goosestepping around, not did they fear punishment for speaking out on things of everyday concern. Life was much more normal in that respect than one might think, MUCH MORE LIKE HERE NOW than one might think. No, not entirely, but in that direction.

Here, people, some citizens, are being subject to indefinite detention. "Terrorists" are being tortured, shipped to various prisons to evade our own laws. Spying you all know about.

The media fell apart on 9-11. Don't tell me there isn't fear around that issue! Routinely one learns of things in the foreign media you never learn here: Saddam was captured by the Kurds, 6 or more of the 9-11 hijackers are still alive, etc. Bush discussed bombing Al jazeera with Blair according to the British press, and indeed Al JAzeera has lost a lot of zip. Halliburton is building camps here! For whom! It goes on and on.

Each year we lose more liberties, each year more atrocities are revealed, and yet nothing happens to Bush et al. Clinton was impeached for what? Even Nixon? A hundred, a thousand times worse things have happened and yet what has happened? Two elections, STOLEN. Anthrax directed at whom? 2 Senators and 2 journalists received it before the signing of the Patriot Act. The anthrax came from Ft Detrick. Are the senators and journalists stupid or did they figure out what it meant? And after Paul Wellstone and his family crashed, the leading, the almost sole Senate opponent of the Iraq war, do you think that any senators or congressmen would read anything into that?

We sadly delude ourselves.

Hersh: Our Military Is `Very Loyal to the President, But They're Getting to the Edge'

 This morning on CNN, New Yorker journalist Seymour Hersh addressed the uproar at the highest levels of the U.S. military over plans to launch a massive strike against Iran that would include nuclear weapons:

"What I'm writing here is that if this [plan to use nukes] isn't removed -- and I say this very seriously, I've been around this town for 40 years -- some senior officers are prepared to resign. They're that upset about the fact that this plan is kept in. ... [O]ne thing about our military, they're very loyal to the president, but they're getting to the edge. They're getting to the edge with not only Rumsfeld, but with Cheney and the President."

Interestingly the Naval Institute publication THE PROCEEDINGS April 2006 issue has an article on the geography of Iran in which it notes:

a) It is a very large country.
b) It would be difficult to attack and might not be a good idea.

It goes out to naval professionals for the most part and tends to confirm Westexas point here.


You want to know why more Germans didn't confront Hitler in the runup to WWII? In the 1930's, before there was widespread internment of Jews, approximately 700,000 leftists, communists, unionists, socialists and intellectuals were taken to the camps. This is exclusive of those taken for being Gypsy or homosexual. The rest of Hitler's opposition got the idea.

I would suggest reading Sebastian Haffner, Defying Hitler: A Memoir if you haven't yet.  It's a very good read.

It happens slowly, bit-by-bit, day-by-day.  A couple of big events here and there, but mostly just an endless series of small things.  The State seeks ever to make you an accomplice in its wrongs, so that eventually you are so compromised that resisting is pointless.  Each thing is not such a big deal on its own, is it?  How hard will you fight over such a small thing?  And once you've accepted that, it's on to the next.  

Such a familiar feeling.

Very good post, Twilight.

People think that Hitler sprang fully formed into the big bad fascist. No, he evolved with the complicity of the people through their ignorance and unwillingness to speak up after each slight step towards fascism.

Hitler did what he said he would do in Mein Kampf. The first cleansing actions taken by Hitler included emptying old-folks homes, and homes of the mentally incompetent. This was done by loading the victims into sealed vans in which the engine exhaust was fed into the passenger compartment. When the trip ended, the bodies were unloaded, and the vans returned for the next load.

Hitler didn't develop his ideas after he took over; he methodically carried out his existing plans as soon as he felt he had enough control to get away with it. He could finally get away with it when people knew that if they complained they would get a bullet in the brain. That was one reason there was no rebellion against the Nazis; another was that the Nazis offered plenty of jobs.

Exactly, Hitler was a disturbed person from youth. His peers did not like him and even in his military years he spouted plans to kill the Jews and other minorities.

If someone openly plans to murder millions....,,251-1845402,00.html

What are we to think.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stated his goal.  

Hitlet had mein kompf, the WHIG has PNAC, their goals have been stated and published long in advance, its no secret. They have about 14 signatories already holding office and many of their buddies holding positions of power in businesses related to oil,finance, and military contracting.
Armenia, Rwanda, Boznia.... ethnic cleansing is part of history and not unique to any set of victims.
I'm glad you appreciated my comment, but I was speaking about how ordinary people got sucked into the whole mess, not so much about the evolution of Hitler himself - which I don't know that much about, other than his behavior was pretty twisted early on.  

It's about how one can take but a few small steps every day, and suddenly realize you're in a place you don't recognize at all.  It's hard to be on your guard every day - life gets busy; there are bills to pay, the kids get sick, the house needs work, etc.  

You may find the German people to have been ignorant and unwilling to speak up, but I just see regular people, many of whom probably were aware - they just felt powerless to do anything and were attending to their lives and responsibilities.  

We can condemn them for what they allowed to happen in their country, as there is no one else who is responsible, but it is easy to see how it happens.  And rather than look back and say "how could they let it happen", we should look around at our own world.

"You may find the German people to have been ignorant and unwilling to speak up, but I just see regular people, many of whom probably were aware - they just felt powerless to do anything and were attending to their lives and responsibilities.  

  I posted this a few days ago with an earlier Iran discussion, but after most activity on it had faded, and I don't know if it was seen.  That question (of course), of how did he actually get away with as much as he (Hitler) did, is why I dug into the Shirer book lately.  I think there was so much denial and trauma from the extremes of the first WW and the depression, (as we have now from the lingering trauma of 9/11 and a newer kind of economic fatigue), had dulled some of our ability then to see clearly what was growing in Germany.  Here's how Shirer descibed one day of it..  I'm sure I don't need to point out the many, unsettling parallels.

"As darkness settled over Europe on the evening of August 31, 1939, and a million and a half German troops began moving forward toward their final positions on the Polish border for the jump-off at dawn, all that remained for Hitler to do was to perpretrate some propaganda trickery to prepare the German people for the shock of aggressive war.

"The people were in need of the treatment which Hitler, abetted by Goebbels and Himmler, had become so expert in applying.  I had been about in the streets of Berlin, talking with the ordinary people, and that morning noted in my diary: "Everybody against the war.  People talking openly.  How can a country go into a major war with a population so dead against it?"  Despite all my experience in the Third Reich I asked such a naive question!  Hitler knew the answer very well.  Had he not the week before on his Bavarian mountaintop promised the generals that he would "give a propagandist reason for starting the war" and admonished them not to "mind whether it was plausible or not"?  "The victor," he had told them, "will not be asked afterward whether he told the truth or not.  In starting a waging a war it is not right that matters, but victory.

  -W'm Shirer,  Rise and Fall of the 3rd Reich  (p593)

..and on 9/1/39, with German SS dressed up as Polish Soldiers, and concentration camp prisoners as the 'Casualties',  Hitler feigned the "Attack on a German Radio Station at Gleiwitz", amongst others, which precipitated the action he had 'Taken every diplomatic tack to avoid'.. (Operation 'Canned Goods')


I did see your post, and it inspired me to read that book again.  I even went up to the barn to look for it, but I haven't found the right box yet!

Our societies all seem to have a weakness that leaves us vulnerable to these sorts of manipulations, but it should not be necessary for everyone to live on maximum alert all the time.  I used to think the solution is readily available information (free press) and an educated populace capable of understanding it, but Germany seemed to have enough of both.  I dunno, maybe they were just burned out and gave up.      

Fascism by the ol' Lobster Effect. What would be called "liberal" now would 20 years ago be called right-wing. Like the lobster slowly being cooked alive, Americans have been led toward the far right worse and worse. While Bush's approval rating looks like pre-9/11 oil prices, his rabidly Right Wingers support him as blindly as followers of a messiah.

If there is an Antichrist, Bush is a strong contender. Where I work, there are two opinions of Bush. Just like his own rhetoric, you either rabidly support him or just as rabidly hate him. There is no middle. And Bush supporters in a debate sound crazier and crazier.

Most of us here are aware that the oil peak is just about around now, give or take a few years. Jay Hanson with his "Fossilgate" essay on the dieoff site predicted that around the peak we would invade and (try to) occupy the place. It became a debacle, probably due to dropping ERoVI. Iran will surely have a crappy if not negative ERoEI (Iran is in decline after all) and terrifying ERoVI. Even Jay Hanson, the utter cynic he is, didn't dream up a Bush wanting to use nukes.

Roger Griffin's definition of fascism is better: "palingenetic ultranationalist populism." Bush is no phoenix (regardless of how appealing his self-immolation would be) and no fascist.
"palingenetic ultranationalist populism."

PUP -  Makes a great, benign-sounding acronym, and it's fun to say, but now it has three times the amount of re-defining required.  Do I go with the Dictionary Definitions of these terms, or the variety of subjective connotations that could be derived.

At this point the Term 'Fascist' is just name-calling. It's really being used as a euphemism for 'Bad Guy', 'Evildoer'... 'Nazi'.. whatever.  There certainly are comparisons to be made, and I'm busy making them.  But just to find an excuse to be 'definitively correct' in justifying the tag we want to hang on them is fairly petty. We have to understand the level of Administration's Isolation from the electorate and the amount of Corporate influence in US public policy, both in the Media's influence and control in the Electoral System, and the Energy and Arms-related industries' complicity in encouraging conflicts and making decisions regarding conflicts as they help or hinder the black ink.  Whether "Corporate+GovernmentTogether=Fascism" or not, it's a huge key to some of the poor choices our Nation is making right now.

and finally..
What the heck is Palingenesis?  *(According to American Heritage Dictionary, 1.The doctrine of transmigration of souls: metempsychosis.  2. Biology.  The repetition by a single organism of various stages in the evolution of its species during embryonic development.  (Greek - 'palin' >AGAIN + Genesis)  

Whew!  I'm glad THAT'S been cleared up..  sr, you're talking greek, here.

"I suspect that we may yet see something akin to a refusal to follow orders by the military, perhaps via mass resignations.  Again, what was the moral course of action for German military officers in the Thirties when they were ordered to attack Poland?"  

Will we learn from History this time, or repeat it again?


"The Planning of the Terror

"No holds were to be barred in the taking of Russia.  Hitler insisted that the generals understand this very clearly.  Early in March, 1941, he convoked the chiefs of the three armed services and the key Army field commanders and laid down the law.  Halder took down his words (footnote73).

" 'The war against Russia [Hitler Said] will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion.  This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness.  All officers will have to rid themselves of obsolete ideologies.  I know that the necessity for such means of waging war is beyond the comprehension of you generals but ... I insist absolutely that my orders be executed without contradiction.  The commissars are the bearers of ideologies directly opposed to National Socialism.  Therefore the commissars will be liquidated.  German soldiers guilty of breaking international law ... will be excused.  Russia has not participated in the Hague Convention and therefore has no rights under it. '

"Thus was the so-called "Commissar Order" issued: it was to be much discussed at the Nuremburg trial when the great moral question was posed to the German generals whether they should have obeyed their own consciences.*

*  "It was the first time I found myself involved in a conflict between my soldierly conceptions and my duty to obey," Field Marshall von Manstein declared on the stand at Nuremburg in discussing the Commissar Order.  "Actually, I ought to have obeyed, but I said to myself that as a soldier I could not possibly co-operate in a thing like that.  I told the Commander of the Army Group under which I served at that time ... that I would not carry out such an order, which was against the honor of a soldier."
    As a matter of record, the order, of course, was carried out on a large scale.

Wm Shirer,  The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich  (p 830)

Westexas... wouldn't you think China or Russia would have more to gain by standing aside? Why strike your adversary when he's beating himself to death?
Russia and especially China don't want to see us in control of Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia.  Note that the Russians and Chinese, have had, or are planning, joint military exercises, for the first time.  

Bush said he was a "uniter not a divider."  He is succeeding in uniting the world against us.

Of course they don't want us there.

But would they like to see us go broke trying? Perhaps.

I do not think it will get to that. I live next to a University. There are 45,000 students. I think the call for foreign service will fall on deaf ears.    

>Needless to say, we aren't the good guys this time.  I believe that an attack on Iran will unite virtually the entire world against us.  

This is non-sense. As long as the US doesn't block the flow of oil on the free market, no nation is going to engage the US militarily or economically. The only reason why Russia, France, China and a few others voice opposition to the US, is because they all have contracts with most of the bad guys in the Middle East. Its about money and oil. Theses countries don't care who they deal with, all they want is to make money and import oil from them. Second all those countries don't worry about any middle east nation having WMDs because they all know that the West(specifically the US and Isreal) is going be there targets. They rather side with the middle east so that they can continue business as usually right up to the end. Not one of these nations had voice any discussions of economic santions against the US, nor have any of them provided arms to insurgents in iraq. They all now want the US to suceed and to open the oil fields so that can resume business as usual in iraq again.

Russia, China, and France all have intellegence resources and are well aware of the US position and planning for Iran.
The US isn't the bad guy here. A Nuclear armed Iran is a very bad thing, and must not happen at any cost.

Hard to be less self-aware than you seem.
If Israel insured is good , so is Iran insured. End of story.
As for bad guys and good guys, take that stuff back to kindergarten.
"Any" cost? Are we prepared to destroy this world in order to save it?
The only reason why Russia, France, China and a few others voice opposition to the US, is because they all have contracts with most of the bad guys in the Middle East. Its about money and oil. Theses countries don't care who they deal with, all they want is to make money and import oil from them.

Methinks you've got a bad definition of "bad guys" floating around in your head.

  1. Russia is oil self-sufficient.
  2. France is far less dependent on oil than the US is
  3. China, yes, needs more. Is that a surprise? They have, after all, more than 4 times the population of the US. Add in India. too.

Meanwhile, how many wars are any of the above countries in, currently? How many people have any of the above countries slain over the past three years?

Yes, its all about oil but its not all about the rest of the world taking the resource - its about the US trying to control access to as much as possible. You've identified one of the driving problems but the wrong target.

US dependence on oil is a domestic problem with far-reaching foreign policy implications. Other nations have or will have the same problem too of course, but when your nation is an oil importer; gets most of is oil from overseas; and uses more than 1/4 of the world annual resource output yet has only 4 or 5% of the population - well that means look inward, not outward, first.

"A Nuclear armed Iran is a very bad thing, and must not happen at any cost."

  So then, if no cost is too high to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons then a nuclear strike on Iran and the resulting catastrophic increase in world oil prices is not too high a price to pay. Are you really saying that the mass murder of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, maybe many millions of Iranians, Iraqis, Americans and a lot of other folks is the price we pay for freedom from a nuclear armed Iran?
  I would like to know one thing: Who is gonna pay for this war? Who is gonna fight it on YOUR behalf (notice I didn't say OUR because my interests, both as an American citizen and a member of the human race, is most definitely not being protected by this sprint to armageddon being concocted by the malcontents, misfits and mental defectives currently running our country into the ground). All this talk of Hitler and fascist dictators makes great hyperbole, but how about another history lesson, perhaps a little more germain to the conversation at hand. Back in 1952, it would seem that Uncle Sam and John Bull engaged in a similar sort of disinformation campaign that could have beeen pulled from today's headlines. The elected Mosadegh government of Iran had nationalised the oil feilds shutting out major US and UK oil platers, sparking a successful coup in large part funded and run by the CIA (Kermit Roosevelt was our man in Tehran at the time) resulting in violent street protests and ultimately re-installing the the Shah to the Peacock throne (as an aside, Ayatollah Khomieni, then a young buck, along with several of his family members, actively participated in many of the street demonstrations organised and paid for by the CIA. Among the rumors then beeing circulated was that Mossadegh was a communist and a homosexual. Or so it was said, anyway. I think Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson would have felt right at home with that crowd).
   Fast forward to the present. Anyone who thinks that a few air strikes around the Persia is going to make the world safer is either a crackhead or George W. Bush (is there a difference?). While many Americans are still seething at what happened to our diplmatic staff at the US embassy in 1980, many Iranians are still seething at our complicity in bringing down a democratically elected (but non-pliable) government and then installing a monarch to rule Iran for many years as a client state. As a result of that very short sighted and stupid policy (by the way, what the hell is a democratic republic such as ours doing supporting a monarchy anyway?), the damage done to both Iranian and American democracy is beyond calculation.
   The same clowns that were agitating for war with Iraq, using the same arguments and same rationales (tossing in few forged documents or some doctored evidence here and there to reassure the rubes in the Exurbs that the world is a very dangerous place and that GWB is gonna make it all better) are at it again, using almost the exact same script. I cannot believe that the elected leaders of both parties are allowing this thing to escalate, and when time comes to account for their actions, I think history will judge them all harshly. I know I already have.
   Salaam, Shalom, and Peace.

                   Subkommander Dred

>So then, if no cost is too high to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons then a nuclear strike on Iran and the resulting catastrophic increase in world oil prices is not too high a price to pay. Are you really saying that the mass murder of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, maybe many millions of Iranians, Iraqis, Americans and a lot of other folks is the price we pay for freedom from a nuclear armed Iran?

Just because you read an news article posted in a magazine does mean its the US secret battle plans. FWIW: This article has DOD disinformation written over it. It is intended to be read by the Iranians to get them to cave in.

Second, The bunker buster nukes are tiny tactical bombs, not the strategic nukes that are designed to destroy cities. Ten of thousands Irans die every year because of earth quakes and lack of decent medical care so that the Iranian regime can build a clandestine Nuclear Weapons program.

There is only one reason why Iran is constructing massive Uranium enrichment facilities to build Nuclear weapons, period. The US, China, and Russia all agreed to provide Iran with fuel rods, for electrical generation and that offer was flat rejected. If France, Germany, and other countries using nuclear power can import fuel from Russia, why can't Iran? In addition, Iran only has a tiny amount of natural Uranium resources. In order to supply their alledged commerical power program, they would need to import Ore. It would be far more cost affect to use the facitilies of Russia which has already constructed the enrichment infrastructure than to build it Iran. Iran gains zero energy security because it would need to import raw ore anyway.

>the damage done to both Iranian and American democracy is beyond calculation.

Iran doesn't have a democracy, it is controlled by a militarized radical islamic party which opens or ends every public news conference with the phrase "Death to Israel, Death to America!" These people are clearly nuts, and unlike North Korea, they have petro dollars pouring in to help them achieve their objective. It is insane to let them construct Nuclear weapons since there is no doubt that these weapons will end up in the hands of terrorist. These people absolutely want to start a WW3, because in their deranged minds, they believe attacking infidels is path to heaven and 49 virgins.
If they Iranians are successful building WMDs, there really will  be WW3 because unlike a preemptive precision airstrike, the US will certainly unleash a tital wave of strategic nukes all over Iran.

FWIW: I am sure this all pointless discussion since I am sure you've made up your mind a long time ago, and nothing anyone says will change it.

No, Iran does not currently have a democracy because the US government decided to destroy it in 1952, or did you not read that part of the post?
I expect to see Russia and/or China threaten us with nuclear weapons if we launch an attack, nuclear or otherwise against Iran.

That's much too drastic.  That would be practically like declaring war on us.  Nuclear weapons do not have that kind of military utility.  You could only use them as an act of desperation.  It is so unpredictable what would happen if we attacked Iran.  The world could turn against us.  There could be a huge oil crisis from which we could suffer most.  The Russians and Chinese would be much more likely to try to play the politics to try to gain advantage on us that way.  Neither of them would be willing to be destroyed for the Iranian regime.

Up the thread, I was pointing out a historical analogue, where we in effect threatened the Soviet Union with a nuclear strike if they moved troops into the Middle East.

In regard to the World War II analogue, Poland was the final trigger that forced Britain and France to act.  

I predict that Iran will be the final trigger that will force the world to confront the US.

I think you are right that it will trigger WW III.  But I think each country will be more interested in looking after its own self interests.  Each will try to secure its own oil supply and many will think siding with us is the way to do it.

How crazy is it the Bush is thinking of using nuclear weapons to prevent proliferation?  I doubt any one else is unwise enough to use them.  But it is obvious that Iran has good reason to want them for self defence.

Hope this time this comment goes into the thread where I intend it.

I very much enjoy reading this site each day. It affords me the chance to learn about the oil industry and peak oil.  The one exception to this are the occasional comments like 'nutball Christianity'. Yes, I guess I should expect them, but that doesn't mean I have to like them. I am content with this site being a discussion of peak oil, so I am not trying to sidetrack a thread towards religion.

Next, I am in no position to judge or know what is in the mind or heart of Bush. But as a consverative Christian who believes in the God of the Bible, I certainly distance my self from Bush for the following reasons.

  • I have seen enough lies and deception from this administration to question what is they profess to believe.

  • The 'Christian' base in this country is large enough that a policitian would certainly want to act like one of them to gain votes.

  • I don't trust politicians in general since, almost by definition, they are ambitious and after power and prestige. Not exactly the characteristics of the Bible which teach humility, faith, love and service towards others.

Last when it comes down to it, we all believe in something. Yes I believe in Christ dying for my sins. Others here believe there is no God, or not the God of the Bible. Some believe in thier own mind, their own intellect, thier own ability to know, they worship the god of themselves. What ever it is, you have made a decision and do believe in something.
Please note that I did not bring up the Fundamentalist Christian/Rapture angle in my post. When I referred (quoting others) to Bush's messianic mission, I related it to regime change in Iran. This strikes me as more akin to The Crusades than anything else. Bush used the word "crusade in the aftermath of 9/11, an obvious code word in the Islamic world.

I am not going to bash Fundamentalist Christians as a group because there are decent, moral people among them--true Christians who have not confused The Sermon on the Mount with the Book of Daniel--people who cherry-pick the Gospels. On the other hand, there is a substantial element of narrow, rigid, reactionary gay-bashing and otherwise dangerous people among this diverse group.

I have no idea what Bush thinks his connection with the Christian God of the Bible is. Apparently, he reads it everyday and his decision making is guided by it. Whether he thinks he is in personal communication with the Lord is an open question. But if the anwser is "Yes", that is very worrisome.

As a Christian I am in Personel communication with GOD, but my human nature makes the Voice of God coming to me seem but a whipser in my mind.   Do you hear Thunder or God talking, Do you hear a bird chirp or God talking, Do you see a burning bush (no pun intended) Or God talking?  As a Christian I know that GOD talks to me, but I have to listen to Him, to listen for Him and It is not always a Phone call in the Night saying "Charles this is GOD I need you to do thus and therefore."  We have to look at the actions of people, Christians and Non-Christians.  "You will know them by their Love"  I have a hard time seeing a Politician as totally Faith based.  I see the Actions and I hear the Words, and I am Not supposed to Judge others, But I have an obligation as a Christian American to Vote with my Faith.

I Do not know any more.  I have choosen to Limit my incoming information on Politics because I have a limited amount of Time for information gathering and Choose TOD as my outside source of Info.  I do read other things, But by far I get a lot more Information about the outside world from here.  

I have warned Christian Friends and A lot of other friends that we are coming to a head, a breaking point in the wave front of time and space where things will change quickly and we will need to be watchful and Careful.  2008 is a long way off,  I do not look forward to the next election.  Whoever gets the seat, might be forced to be a dictator to fix things, and then the world will just get harder to live in.

Though I am moving to Colorado for a Diffierent reason, I am glad I am moving to a small town and can forage from a yard I get to plant.  

Just curious, how do you determine which words you will capitalize?  I find it hard to focus on your message because I get distracted by the words.  Or maybe it's my hangover that is causing the interference...

By the way, in Colorado you will be able to forage cactus and yucca.  Sugar beets if you irrigate.

Don't forget buddhists.
As a fellow Christian and fundamentalist (someone who believes in the Bible as truth), I thank you. This was the first post about Christianity I can agree with.

Where we might part is, I voted for Kerry last time because I think Bush is both horrid and dangerous. Anyone who would start a war is not trustworthy. And besides, didn't anyone learn from the wars of the 20th Century? How many nations that started a war (largely because of hubris) actually came out the victor?

"Many people refuse to believe that we could not produce a lunatic like Pol Pot, Hitler or Idi Amin, but there they stand in history"

I know you are sure of your linguistic gifts but this does not present a parallel argument.  The existence of Hitler, Pol Pot or Idi does not confirm an american production.  And if people "refuse to believe that we could not produce a lunatic" would they not be on your side? One negative changes the sentence.  You aren't going to take my lunch money after the english class are you?

"This is an administration that said, "we make reality." These people are literally insane."

That is just the tip of the iceberg.  Americans have been collectively insane since 9/11, they have Stockholm Syndrome and have bonded with their own attackers like battered women.  How else to explain that even some allegedly educated people who should know better are willing to accept that a 600,000 pound piece of steelwork could be blown 390 feet laterally from the WTC and embedded in another building due to a gravitational collapse?

(Dr. Morgan Reynolds, ex G.W.Bush appointee has written about the psychopathology of hysterical denial on the Scholars for Truth website and Dr. Carolyn Baker has drawn psychological parallels with dysfunctional family dynamics on Mike Ruppert's website

Forget about demonstrations and writing your congressperson to change policy, the US has not been a functioning democracy for some time.  This is just how the game of last man standing is played.  It is a Hobbesian struggle, everyone is on their own.

I am quite happy to be living in a secular democracy in the southern hemisphere.  Hopefully the fallout will be less down here.

>Hopefully the fallout will be less down here Neville Schute: 'On The Beach'.
And what about Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld's application of the first rule. Or should we assume, perhaps, that they are abiding by it, and should reserve for them the same treatment that they have visited upon hundreds of thousands in South Asia?
One important thing to do is to contact your Congressman.  Now the following is going to seem anti-Semitic to some, but it is not.
Before that contact, it is I think very useful to understand the influence AIPAC ( ) exerts on US-Israeli-Mideast policy.  There is a long paper on this subject at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government's site$File/rwp_06_011_walt.pdf
  (unedited, with hundreds of endnotes)
and an edited version in London Review of Books | Vol. 28 No. 6 dated 23 March 2006, and on its site at My intention is to mention to my Senator and Congressman that I am aware of AIPAC's influence and am quite concerned that we do what is in the interests of American citizens, including my children and grandchildren, who will have to deal with the consequences of the horrific scenario that I envision after reading the Hersh article.   My belief, after quite a bit of reading  over several years, is that AIPAC is apparently quite likely to work hard to defeat any  wayward Congressman in a subsequent election, and members of congress seem to know it.  And AIPAC's focus is not Jewish interests but Israeli interests, an important distinction.  I am hoping that by displaying an awareness of and concern about AIPAC when I call my congressman, I will do a little bit to counter the latter's influence.  (By the way, I am under the impression [I don't have time at the moment to look up my references] that there are numerous other pro-Israel organizations which tend to be the ones that actually fund political campaigns, which AIPAC itself probably does not.)
It really says something that a paper by Harvard's Kennedy School of Government is submitted with great fear and trepidation on this site - that 3,000 lb gorilla sure has people scared.
  I would contact my congressman, but he is a clueless geek.
    Subkommander Dred
Presuming that Hersh is correct that this attack would use nukes there is a bit of a problem with radioactive glow-in-the-dark oil. It is very hard to imagine operating the Iranian oil fields after detonating a hundred or more "small" "tactical" nukes. And even a problem with oilfields in neighboring countries. Every other pundit I've seen on this issue also assumes the use of nukes. My conclusion  is that the "planners" considering this option are stark staring mad.

On one point I take issue with Hersh. The Straits of Hormuz may be minimum 34 miles wide but the shipping channel is much narrower. Anyone out there have a good number? I've read it a few times, don't have it to hand. The Iranians are well aware that the Straits are a major strategic asset, they've had 27 years to prepare for this, their side of the water is mountainous/impossible to bomb out--unless you use big nukes that would also vaporize Qatar and Dubai. Anti-ship missiles are cheap, reliable, proven effective and the Iranians have them. I have a hard time imagining who would want to try piloting a supertanker through the Straits once hostilities began. Unless your ship was the only means at hand to escape the radioactive cloud and you figured you were going to die soon anyway. Once hostilities begin, Gulf oil ends.
So people "planning" for this are crazy. And you cannot predict what crazy people will do. No one knows what the future brings. It would however make sense to cage the fools who are looking forward to nuking Iran.

Here is a good summary of the Strait of Hormuz by

following map shows width, depths, and current shipping lanes:

Anybody know about the range and mobility of Iran's anti-ship missiles?  Is it a matter of policing hundreds of miles of coastline, or just the couple of small islands right next to the shipping lane plus boats?
The sunburn has a range of about ninety miles with a speed of 2.5 mach at sea level and is considered "unstopable" by many military experts.

Here is an interesting article that appeared a little over a year ago at

Overview of the capabilities of the 3M-82 Moskit anti-ship cruise missile (NATO designation: SS-N-22 Sunburn)

And, in 1987, during the Iran-Iraq war, the USS Stark was nearly cut in half by a pair of Exocets while on patrol in the Persian Gulf. On that occasion US Aegis radar picked up the incoming Iraqi fighter (a French-made Mirage), and tracked its approach to within 50 miles. The radar also "saw" the Iraqi plane turn about and return to its base. But radar never detected the pilot launch his weapons. The sea-skimming Exocets came smoking in under radar and were only sighted by human eyes moments before they ripped into the Stark, crippling the ship and killing 37 US sailors.

The 1987 surprise attack on the Stark exemplifies the dangers posed by anti-ship cruise missiles. And the dangers are much more serious in the case of the Sunburn, whose specs leave the sub-sonic Exocet in the dust. Not only is the Sunburn much larger and faster, it has far greater range and a superior guidance system. Those who have witnessed its performance trials invariably come away stunned. According to one report, when the Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani visited Moscow in October 2001 he requested a test firing of the Sunburn, which the Russians were only too happy to arrange. So impressed was Ali Shamkhani that he placed an order for an undisclosed number of the missiles.

The Sunburn can deliver a 200-kiloton nuclear payload, or: a 750-pound conventional warhead, within a range of 100 miles, more than twice the range of the Exocet. The Sunburn combines a Mach 2.1 speed (two times the speed of sound) with a flight pattern that hugs the deck and includes "violent end maneuvers" to elude enemy defenses. The missile was specifically designed to defeat the US Aegis radar defense system. Should a US Navy Phalanx point defense somehow manage to detect an incoming Sunburn missile, the system has only seconds to calculate a fire solution not enough time to take out the intruding missile. The US Phalanx defense employs a six-barreled gun that fires 3,000 depleted-uranium rounds a minute, but the gun must have precise coordinates to destroy an intruder "just in time."

If Iran has this weapon in any quantity then the Persian Gulf is best thought of as an Iranian lake.

Here's a different perspective:

Streakers and dancers complicate intercept in two ways. If we take the
intercept window of a crude, basic anti-ship missile (subsonic,
straight-in) as a baseline there are two options. The first is to use the
Russian approach and get the missile to cross that intercept zone as
quickly as posisble. This means adopting the shortest path across it and
flying that path as fast as possible. Hence P-270. This is a perfectly
viable approach.

The second is to stretch the time the CIWS needs to destroy the missile
to the longest possible point. In effect, this (a) reduces the percentage
chance of the system killing the missile and (b)reduces the number of
inbound systems a single CIWS can engage. One way of doing this is to use
an iterative guidance system in the missile.  This works by giving the
missile a fine-cut radar receiver which picks up and localizes the
emissions from the CIWS fire control system. The missile knows its own
coure and speed, it now knows the position of the CIWS (and can work out
the course and speed of the target). The computer in the missile knows
the algorithms used by the closed loop tracking system in the CIWS to
correct the aim of the CIWS. it can therefore work out what the firing
correction applied by the CIWS will be and alter the missile's flight
path to be somewhere else. This system is a service reality.

A third method is to physically shrink the envelope. The outer edge of
the intercept window is set by the maximum range at which the inbound
missile can be spotted, the inner edge is the range at which wreckage
from the shot-down missile will still strike the target ship. We can push
the outer edge in by flying the missile lower, by making it more
difficult to spot and by reducing its emissions. We can pull the inner
edge outwards by making sure the shot-down wreckage travels faster.

Putting all this together means that existing streakers fulfill
rerquirement (a) very well at expense of (b). In terms of (c), the
significantly pull the inner edge back (from 1 km to around 2.5) but have
major sacrifices in the outer edge. Their level of airframe heating,
their heat plume, the altitude at which they fly, their active radar
emissions, all mean they can be detected well over the horizon.

On the other hand, dancers make major gains in (b) at cost of performance
in (a). They sacrifice the inner edge of the engagement zone but achieve
major gains in reducing the outer edge by being inconspicuous. Typically,
they come in with their radars off (homing on command or IR), they are
coated with RAM (which streakers can't use since it burns off), they have
little airfrme heating and only a limited plume.

In summary, streakers move fast but have a larger, more distant intercept
zone. dancers move more slowly and evasively and have a much smaller
intercept zone, closer to the target ship. Close your eyes and visualize
it, you'll see what I mean.

This leads to a curious point which comes back to the Soviet's lack of
systems analysis. They designed P-270 to exploit certain weaknesses in
the SPY-1 radar performance. This it does, but by looking at a single bit
of equipment in isolation, they neglected to evaluate the target system
as a whole. Had they done so, they'd have found they'd managed to push
the intercept envelope back into an area where AEGIS works very, very
well.  Once Standard SM-2 had been given an IR auxiliary homing system,
it was more than capable of shooting the P-270s out of the sky. Its
essential to think system-to-system NOT weapon-to-weapon.

Since the latest anti-ship defenses and the latest missiles have not met in war before, it's possible no-one knows for certain what the outcome would be.  But certainly, it seems that the range of the missiles and the fact of them being portable on a semi means the US would need to scour hundreds of miles of coast for them, which sounds tricky (the US didn't do to well either in Kosovo or in Iraq at finding all of the enemy's weapons.)  To the extent they can't be found, it won't be safe to put tankers through there.

 In the first Iraq war the coalition forces had SCUD hunting as a major priority. My understanding is that they were never able to identify and destroy a SCUD prior to launch (The Patriot systems were able to interdict airborne SCUDs).

 The cruise missiles being described are about one quarter the size of a SCUD. The terrain in western Iran is much better suited to hiding missiles than the plains of Iraq.

 I agree that in the event of a conflict it will be system vs system and the outcome cannot be made certain in advance. It does appear that it would be a major error to assume Iran's defenses will be as weak as those of Iraq.

My understanding is that the Patriot didn't work either.  
The Patriot did not work well at all in the Gulf War. That was the Patriot I. We are now deploying/deployed Patriot III's and the Israeli's have the Arrow. I'd guess a 50% chance for a hit would be fair.

The Sunbeam anti-ship missile is powerful, but can be defeated. No attack or defense system is 100% (usually).

I'm impressed. The first time I read it, I thought it was one of the few things of interest(no offense, anybody, but we've said it all before) on this Iran link today.

I was drawn back to it and read your original link. Clever. Am I the first to notice?

Sorry, not the same Stuart.
A real systems analysis hack wrote that. Its propaganda and I don't believe a word of it. Kind of like those "patriot" missiles that turned out to be merely pyrotechnics in the first hit job on Iraq.
Why do you say this? I'd be interested in some analyis.
Iranian sources claim that two new weapons have been tested during the week-long project: the Fajr-3 multiple warhead missile, and an underwater anti-ship weapon (the Hoot [Whale]) said to be capable of travelling at more than 300 kilometres per hour underwater ? more than three times as fast as a conventional torpedo. If true, this would be an astonishing breakthrough in weapons technology.


Yet another U.S. vulnerability is described by Col Pat Lang on his blog at  Shia militias with Iranian help could readily sever our lines of communication between Kuwait and Bahgdad.  Air resupply could not replace trucks.
Having done a 5 year stint as a Digital Nautical Map Maker and Knowing a fair bit about Dredged Channels and such for shipping lanes.  The width of most Channels are from 100 meters to about a mile or 2 at the most.  For the straits to be blocked off you would need more than several boats sunk, The sections on the Map blow show the depths in the range of 30 to 100 meters for the Shipping Channels. All Ocean going vessels can get into ports with depths of 30 meters or deeper.  The Straits would need to be mined to stop the flow of traffic, or the ports or Off-shore loading platforms damaged.

 Most of your bigger Oil tankers never get in close to shore, they off-load off shore.  Because the Dredging needed is so time consuming and costly that it is easier to do it off shore.  

 It has been a while since I have seen Large scale charts of the area.  Nautical Charts come in four groups.  

General's ( 150,000 up to 10,000,000 to 1 )
Coastal's (50,000 up to 150,000 to 1 )
Approach's ( approx 10,000 up to 100,000 to 1)
Harbor's ( 1,000 up to 30,000 to 1)

The Kuwait's have Charts that go to the fine detail of 0.001 of a second.  pie times radius ( of the earth) divided by 360, divided by 60, divided by 60 then divided by 1,000, and you get the detail of the average Nautical chart of some Middle Eastern harbors.   I think i figured it up once as about 2 centimeters, Way Way Way lower than the charts tolerance for error.  

When the Gov't asks you to make only 1 to 3 mistakes on a projects database when you deal with as many as 10,000 data points and sets of things and just human error can not be tolerated your job's stress levels can go through the roof.

I miss the fun of the job, but I don't miss the stress of the job.

Who said anything about "hundreds of nukes?" If only a few were popped off over the most hardened bunkers, it would communicate the message. Iran and the world would come to the conclusion that, yes, we really ARE that crazy, and that would be the end to outright, state-sponsored provocations.
Because there's no way to take out all those medium-range missiles in Iran, and it's not just the Straits of Hormuz we'd have to worry about: How about dozens of missles raining down onto the Green Zone in Baghdad? We couldn't withstand serious counterattacks from Iran, especially directed at troop concentrations in Iraq and Kuwait.
So we nuke the centrifuges in Natanz, and blame the fallout on their secret enrichment program - the radioactive cloud is our proof and justification for the attack. And the mullahs "get it," and have to settle for unconventional warfare in response, rather than seeing their country reduced to hot grit.
IMO one of the striking contrasts between this Bush administration and Iraq and the Kennedy administration and the Bay of Pigs is their respective responses to their decision making and policy failures. The Kennedy administration undertook a serious study of itself to determine how and why they went so badly wrong and accordingly made changes in their decision making process, as I recall the main one being avoiding "group think". Hence, when the Cuban Missle ocurred they were much better prepared to make decisions that led away from a global nuclear catastrophe. What is striking is this administration's apparent failure to learn from their mistakes, the discounting of information against cherised viewpoints and the apparent intransigence of the major players, all the antithesis of arriving at good group decisons and good outcomes.

A good book on decision making successes and failures of groups such as the Kennedy administration, why they occur and how to avoid them is IL Janis, L Mann (1977). Decison Making: A Psychological Analysis of Conflict, Choice and Commitment. As it was one of the suggested readings for an MBA class many years ago, there well may be better more recent books on this subject.

Decision-making distorted by "groupthink" is one of the biggest problems we face.  Any WH insider who counsels diplomacy or caution simply won't be invited to the next meeting -- and so will no longer be an "insider."  So, the decision-making is dominated by hardliners.  The entire process becomes increasingly divorced from reality.  It's hard to see how a good decision can be made under these conditions.
If the people planning this attack are "crazy" then approx. 36% of the US public (Bush's current approval rating)are "crazy". How did this happen? What are the future implications for US society?  
Brian T

Look at history. The Germans were the most civilized people in Europe and they produced Hitler. Other examples abound. Whay are Americans immune?
One other point should be mentioned at some point in this thread. I'm sure many are thinking it but it should be said out loud: The collateral damage on this one would be huge. Not all of Iran's targets are somewhere in the desert with no one in attendance but evil bomb jockeys or mad mullahs. Some of the sites are in Tehran. In the initial attack a million people could die. Maybe more. Down the road the follow-on casualties mount.
Are political leaders who would casually annihilate populations with nukes "crazy". Yes

Brian T

Look at history. The Germans were the most civilized people in Europe and they produced Hitler. Other examples abound. Whay are Americans immune?
One other point should be mentioned at some point in this thread. I'm sure many are thinking it but it should be said out loud: The collateral damage on this one would be huge. Not all of Iran's targets are somewhere in the desert with no one in attendance but evil bomb jockeys or mad mullahs. Some of the sites are in Tehran. In the initial attack a million people could die. Maybe more. Down the road the follow-on casualties mount.
Are political leaders who would casually annihilate populations with nukes "crazy". Yes

At the risk of being redundant, I will repost my comment re Iran that I posted near the tail end of the Sunday Open Thread, as it is probably more apropos here rather than there --

Some people are saying that Bush wants to 'do' Iran before the November elections to help rally the people, while others say that he wants to wait till after November so as to avoid possible negative political damage to the Republican candidates.  They both can't be right. I myself have not yet decided which is the more likely outcome.

What I am pretty sure about is the lack of noise from either the general public or the mainstream media regarding the advisability of attacking Iran. Given the growing debacle that Iraq has become, one would think that there'd be blood in the streets at the slightest hint that the Bush regime is planning 'Iraq, The Sequel' before the original movie is even over. But not so. It's almost like it's already a fait accompli that Iran will be attacked and attacked hard.

There's been hardly a peep out of Congress. The reason is not too hard to fathom. Israel and its highly influential supporters in the US has been pressuring the US government for quite some time now to take care of Iran. So, woe be it to any congressman running for election in November if he/she comes out against attacking Iran. Not only will he/she not get any campaign support from the powerful Israeli lobby, but will probably soon find that his/her oppenent is getting lots.  Ditto, the MSM, many elements of which have long been stauch supporters of Israel. And need I say anything about the more loony elements of Christian Right?

If Congress really wanted to,  a group of the key leaders could go to Bush and tell him flat out that if he attacks Iran he will be impeached immediately. But that will never happen. So, as far as I can tell,  there are a lot of people here in the US who not only don't mind an attack on Iran, but are actually for it.

The anti-Iran propaganda machine is going into full swing, and don't be surprised to see some conveniently timed domestic terrorist atttack or international  'incident'  blamed on Iran.  And if the recent Seymour Hersh peice is correct, and the US war plans indeed include the possible use of nukes, then we are that much closer to the proverbial shit hitting the fan.  

The problem is that this time around they have a huge credibility problem.  The fact that they cooked the intelligence on the last one would make any pronouncements about Iran most suspect.

From a purely domestic perspective (ignoring the moral issues related to the use of nuclear weapons), oil prices would undoubtably spike - potentially quite high.  An attack just before the election in an attempt to manipulate the election (wag the dog) could easily backfire...

I am not sure it matters that they have a credibility problem.  It hasn't hurt them so far.  I think that the only thing that will rock the boat is economic hardship for a very substantial number of Americans.  I also think that is coming whether we attack Iran or not.  So the question is: Is the prize worth rocking the boat sooner rather than later?  My guess is that later amid economic turmoil, the prise would slip out of reach, So who will suffer least from attacking or not attacking Iran?
Me thinks this discussion a bit hysterical, but only a bit. I see it like this.
  1.  Weak governments in Iraq and Iran pretty much hollow out the middle east, especially the uncooperative oil holders, leaving in place the cooperative holders of oil.
  2. The always bogus democracy agenda of the Bush admin. has "failed" (see Hamas in Palestine and the side show government in Iraq). "But golly gosh it's not our fault is it, those people just don't get democracy, oh well we tried. Time for an occupied client state. Too bad." This is the narrative that will emerge in the next couple of months to once again reduce the expectations of the American people and bring our thinking more in line with the real politick of the situation. So if we can't get em to do democracy, well we can at least stick around and do security. Thus from a neocon perspective there is no failure in Iraq and there cannot be as long as the government is not strong enough to throw us out.
  3. There is no need or rush to get Iraq or Iranian oil out of the ground, it's money in the bank. Actually, better than money in the bank.
  4. I believe Bush and company are making the cold calculations as above. That Christianity is only a political tool. Acting nuts is more powerful than actually being nuts.
The big questions: how exactly will the neocons weaken the Iranian government, it is possible that they may go so far as to bomb Iran (this is where my thinking comes together with other posters) and what will be the response from Iran and it's "allies" if this occurs?
This is where the discussion spins out. Don't be suprised at muted responses from the "allies", side deals are probably being negotiated for the continued supply of oil to India, China, etc. When Iran gets wind of this it may buckle. The ultimate objective of course is the same, control of mid east oil.
Also no doubt the US is already operating in the Kurdish areas of Iran.
The propaganda system is so effective that even at a place like the Oil Drum, only this comment ( and maybe one more ) on Iran calmly speaks in terms of reality.

Talk about "crazy leaders" who are "evil" (American or Iranian) makes for good television or group-loyalty-reaffirming chitchat, but it's hard to believe that powerful interests idly allow crazies to run the show.

Adolf Hitler put on a crazy show, but of course he was backed by very large, sober interests, who saw the war as an investment decision, just as similar interests do today.

Realpolitik is an interesting word. Its existence implies that plain-old politics is largely propaganda, or propaganda about propaganda.

Speaking of propaganda, has anyone else read what Chomsky had to say? that Peak Oil is probably a good thing, since it will limit pollution, etc. I guess that even when you spend your whole life dissecting the propaganda machine like him, misery for billions can slide right down your memory hole.

Finally a balanced post. I also have not bought the "we are crazy suiciders" story for a minute.

My version is that we are not going to bomb - this would be a loser move whichever angle you take.

We are just flexing muscles and the war scenarios developed here and in the media are serving this same purpose - bringing Iran to its knees and intimidating it. Nobody wants to do business with a country under a constant threat of being bombed and this is the whole purpose. In the end the oil keeps flowing, Israel is safe, and Iran is losing positions to do anything to change that.

How important is the Kurdish part of Iran for the rest of Iran?  Would it be possible that Iran could split off a Kurdish state in exchange for friendship with their Kurds and to help split up Iraq and destabilize Turkey?

That could leave a pained people with their own state, at least something good to come out of this mess if our world leaders are going to burn resources instead of create resources.

Not likely. You tend not to stay in power if you give up part of your "nation". Look at the problem Kashmir for India and Pakistan as is the Kurdish part of Turkey.
Without taking a firm stand on anything, I'm just wondering what all you guys calling the Bush administration "crazy" are suggesting should be done?

I mean, I too see all the downsides of attacking Iran in terms of global economic havoc and, even further, social unrest in most parts of the Middle East.

But on the other hand, should we (as in "we" the inhabitants of the Earth) let a madman continue develop a nuclear bomb, or many, that may or may not be used directly against Israel or, eventually find its way into the hands of terror organizations able to hold entire cities and nations hostage under the nuclear terrorist threat?

I'm not saying this will happen if the U.S. do not go forward with it's plans to bomb the hell out of the iranians. But what if it does?

Should we just try to negotiate our way out of this mess, recalling "peace in our time" and, potentially, risk having all the history of events leading up to WWII come back and haunt us again in a similar manner?

Just asking, what is the right thing to do? What should be done?

Liber -

In my view, the biggest threat posed by Iran having The Bomb is not that it is going to try to nuke Israel (the off-the-wall comments of its current leader notwithstanding) or that it is going try to nuke a US city.

No, the biggest threat posed by Iran having The Bomb is that the US will no longer be able to threaten it with a massive, possibly nuclear, attack without facing the real possibility of getting hurt real bad in doing so. That is what worries the Bush regime: once Iran has The Bomb it will no longer be able to bully it.

You notice that the Bush regime is not threatening to nuke North Korea, whose leader is just as much of a nut case as Iran's.  Now why is that? What does North Korea have that Iran (currently) does not?

One other point I'd like to make:  A country doesn't not have to have a deliverable nuke for that nuke to serve as a credible deterrent. Just the ability to explode a nuclear weapon on its own soil should a country be attacked by an invading force is plenty deterrent enough. If the US had to worry about a nuclear 'mine' going off somewhere in southern Iraq as it was pushing its way up from Kuwait and faced the possibility of literally losing a whole division in one blast, would we be in Iraq today? So, a nuclear weapon doesn't need to be offensive to serve its purpose.  

That with a nuke being used as a super-landmine is enough. Plant some nukes as landmines in your oilfields, and we can't come in. Not only do you lose a whole division, but you lose the black fuel too.

With the Persian Gulf ("Lake Iran") you can plant nukes and not only take out a battlegroup, but cause tsunamis that take out oil ports, stranding oil. The Persian Gulf is real shallow, so if a nuke makes a crater like Meteor Crater out west, the rush of water filling it suddenly will cause a weaponised tsunami. Planting the nuke is easy enough. A small boat will suffice to carry a waterproof sonar-detonated nuke. Plant a network, and you can have remote controlled tsunamis when you want. (I thought of this scenario after the tsunami disaster.)

No doubt this crossed the minds of CIA and Pentagon planners. With Iran having the means of weaponising tsunamis to cripple the oil system, it's no wonder why the Bush Regime is insanely desperate to stop Iran from getting a nuke. Worse, the tsunami created is a DIRTY tsunami!

Iran also has some Scuds sitting around, so they needn't plant the nuke mine. A mullah only needs to pick up a remote. I don't know if they are stock or similar to the Saddam aftermarket model. A stock Scud can carry a one ton warhead 200 miles and a Saddam aftermarket Scud can hurl 500 pounds to Israel. That can carry a jury-rigged nuke. What Saddam did was lighten the missile to remove dead weight, played with fuel mix a little and maybe souped up the rocket engine some. North Korea did similarly. Iran has been experimenting, so their Scuds are likely similar to the Saddam model.

Since the Moslems like to "play dirty" in warfare, a try at weaponised tsunamis is not unthinkable. Once they get a nuke, they become formidible given the real estate they own.

Press Iran in every way exept direct massive military attack, especially nuclear attack, and if they develop nuclear weapons and then are mad enough to use them go to all out war.

If the nuclear weapon taboo is broken it must be broken by a state that can be villified by the whole world including its superpower. If the nuclear taboo is broken by the superpower we will enter a state of global political madness.

Yeah, right now, absolutely nothing.  North Korea got the bomb, with a actual nutcase for a leader.  We're still here.  You've got 5-10 years with Iran before you have a problem, if then.  Personally, I'm more worried about Pakistan.
Re: "Personally, I'm more worried about Pakistan"

Me too, for lots of reasons. See Protesters want Musharraf to go.

Fazal ur Rehman, opposition leader
in the National Assembly, addresses
a rally in Lahore.

The events were organized by an alliance of Islamic parties called Muthaida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA).

The group's president, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, called for a revolution, and exhorted the crowd not to cease their struggle until Musharraf had resigned.

Ahmed also warned the U.S. government not to interfere in Pakistan internal issues and said the nation would not tolerate Musharraf being replaced by a U.S. puppet.

And they're already a nuclear power.
Dave -

Indeed, there is much to worry about with regard to Pakistan.

It seems to be a seething hotbed of poverty, Western resentment, and radical Islam, a very unhealthy combination. Musharraf is hanging on to power by his fingernails. He is probably one suicide bomber away from being toast. And should that happen, what then becomes of Pakistan's nukes?

I'm sure that is a question the US has been concerned about for quite some time, and I would think that a good deal of our engagement with Pakistan has been related to that very question. The US has bribed and cajoled Musharraf to be our 'friend', and he has probably given us all sorts of assurances that his nukes would be safe in the event of a coupe. But do we really know that?

Money talks. If say Iran offered some high-level Paki military official political asylum plus several million US dollars to 'lose' one of their nukes, then what?

We also have the very unpleasant, though unlikely, possibility that Iran may already have The Bomb and that all this uranium enrichment effort really is just for its soon-to-be-operational nuclear power plant and also to serve as a red herring for the West. We also have the possibility of supposed missing Russian and/or Ukranian nukes somehow finding their way to Iran. What if the Russians actually give Iran a nuke?

There is a very dangerous game of nuclear chicken being played here, and the potential for screwing up is enormous. If say, Iran really does have a nuke or two, and the US launches a nuclear strike on Iran's nuclear development facilities, would not Iran then be perfectly justified in dropping a nuke on the Green Zone, US-bound tankers in the Strait of Hormuz,  or on one of the US puppets in the Gulf, such as Qatar?

This is one of those situations where the outcome is quite literally unknowable.

>The US has bribed and cajoled Musharraf to be our 'friend', and he has probably given us all sorts of assurances that his nukes would be safe in the event of a coupe. But do we really know that?

This isn't entirely correct. Musharraf was siding with the West well before 9/11. His coup back in the 1990s was to prevent Pakstan going to war with India, as the elected (and insane) president ordered the military to draw up plans for a nuclear strike against India over kasmir.

>Money talks. If say Iran offered some high-level Paki military official political asylum plus several million US dollars to 'lose' one of their nukes, then what?

Not a chance. As long as the Pakstani Military remains in control, nothing of the sort will happened. Most of the top Pakistan brass have been educated in the West and have no interest in destablizing the region further. They very well understand the stakes. The proliferation of Pakstani Nuclear technology occured before Musharraf took over. The aid that US sends to Pakistan is to help Musharraf build up his security forces.

Musharraf is a pillar of stability to that region. However if he was to fall, or be assassinated, it would certainly spell trouble.

I'm not a fan of Iran or its leader. Having said this, the country has never attacked anybody nor threatened to attack anybody, so your comparisons to WW2 Germany are nonsense.  
 "the country has never attacked anybody nor threatened to attack anybody"

I guess threatening to wipe israel of the map does not count?

Oilrig: I don't think your statement is accurate. You will have to provide a link to your news source. Iran's wacko president might have called for it to be done- which is very different from threatening to do it.I am sure he has made similar comments about the USA. Does this mean Iran is threatening to attack the USA (under your logic)?  
Brian, If someone you got in an argument with said "I hope your lug nuts fall off your tires on your way home!" Would you check your lug nuts. Threats come in a million shades not just black and white.  And yes I think the posturing the past few weeks has been a threat to the US.  

Come in our waters and we'll sink your ships.

Are they right to make this threat, sure if they want to.  But a anti-ship missile with a range of 100 miles can't be launched if it is taken out by a bomber flown out of Kansas.

check this source:

So my logic says this is a threat.

"Come in our waters and we'll sink your ships."
    And if the Iranians sent a fast attack craft into our waters, what would the Bush administration do? Invite them to sit down in a drum circle and sing 'Kumbayah'? As much as I like sitting in drum circles and singing (Kumbayah is actually not one of my faves), I am thinking the first thing the US would do is sink whatever hostile vessels were in our waters. Are the Iranians not afforded the same security concerns?

"Are they right to make this threat, sure if they want to.  But a anti-ship missile with a range of 100 miles can't be launched if it is taken out by a bomber flown out of Kansas."
   Yes, that's quite right. But it only works if you can locate the missile in the first place. Having many years to prepare their coastal defenses, I would think Iran has thought of that problem (among others). While I don't doubt the US military can hurt them badly, I am trying to imagine what sort of defense does a carrier battle group have against a massed attack of say, 20 to 30 anti-ship missiles. If, as you say, a bomber from Kansas can destroy a missile battery, what is to prevent the Revolutionary Guard from launching their best, most accurate weapons before they are destroyed in an air strike?

   Subkommander Dred

Missile batteries are small and portable. Laboratories are big and stationary and already beaconed.  We don't need to take out their missiles.  Fly in take out their facilities and fly out.

You never own a piece of land until you place an infantryman on it, but we are not trying to invade we are trying to disable.  If we put in ground troops then everyone here who believes it is about oil will be right.

We don't even need to move our carrier group any closer.  We could bomb with our atlantic fleet if we liked.

Winning is enabled through escalation.  If the US bombs Iran's research labs then the Iranians will escalate the conflict in a way tht the US cannot match.  They pull the dead women and children out of the rubble, put them in front of the media, and make an appeal to all Gulf nations to be free of foreign armies.

Backed by the  vow that no oil will leave the Gulf until this occurs.

China and Russia will support the call for demiliatarization of the Gulf.  Saudi Arabia has already expelled the US, Iraq's Shiite leadership arguably will be ready to show the US the door, and so Bahrain/Kumait/UAE/Qatar will be surrounded and pressured.

This conflict isn't about WMD, or even enrichment labs.  It's about who controls the Gulf's narrow shipping lanes.  Iran has the coastline, they know the US is incapable of occupying it, so they see victory on the horizon.

Testudo: You might be right. Very original thinking.
Thanks.  I feel there is a good chance that Iran is setting a trap for the US.  They want the US out of the region.  The US is an obvious threat to their national security.  Ever since their revolution they have armed their invaders, skirmished with them in the Gulf, shot down their airliner, slapped sanctions on them, and depressed oil prices.

2 key things have a happened that have given the Iranians the confidence that they can change things.  First, the US got bogged down in Iraq - which exposed their vulnerabilities in occupying territory.  And second, excess oil supplies dried up, which created the economic vulnerability.

Now, I believe that the Iranians are performing diplomatic balancing act.  Trying to bait the US into military action, without alienating the rest of the world (China, India, Russia) who they need as trading partners.  

My personal opinion is that the US understands this and isn't stupid enough to launch an attack.  But I could be wrong.  If warfare breaks out, the question of whether of not a Sunburn missile can get past an Aegis radar will be an interesting diversion, but the real drama will be watching has fast the world's strategic petrolem reserves empty.

Winning? I am talking about our ability to bypass small groundbased missile systems with air superiority.  I don't believe Iran can control the shipping lanes either though.

Robin Sage is taught for the very purpose of moving into countries like Iran and Afghanistan and destabilizing/overthrowing the government.  Iran can film dead women and children if they want. They probably have canned footage already. I really do not believe the majority of anxieties expressed on TOD over this subject compare to the real threat of a nuclear Iran.  Fifty dead Iranian children is much better than all the children in Tel Aviv.  And even if you think we should not back Israel, we don't need to they are capable of doing this job also.  And in that likely event the Islamic world will still judge us co-conspirator for our previous support.  I hope and believe we will attack with conventional bombs and perhaps special operations ground troops.  But nukes are a valid option, consider my scenario in the eyes of an Israeli....
500,000 dead muslims are worth less than 50 Israelis.

A nuclear Iran is 5-10 years away at best. They dont even have the equipment to build a bomb yet nor the fuel for it. Lots of time for diplomacy to work, which btw the Iranians have been asking for yet the Bush admin has blown that off. Face it, the Bush admin wants war, its part of their plan, has been all along. All this was laid out long ago for all to see. Look up PNAC(project for the new american century).

Since your here ar TOD I have to assume that you realize the American Empire cannot continue exerting tis might unilaterally across the globe once the energy supplies go into permanent decline. So having said that I have to ask you this:is it worth the sacrifice and risk knowing that further military actions which will prove to be both pointless and weaken the US in a time when it needs all it resources like it has never before?

lastly, if youve never read Tsun Tzu and "The art of war", I suggest you give it a shot

   I am making short term predictions on how key players think.  Many people here call bush crazy or think he is after oil.  There was another post about acting irrationally to confuse an enemy.  
In our government(three branches, +military industrial complex + Oil companies + all other influence)the thought process is:

  1. Israel must be protected. Does anyone debate this? not it's truth but that our leaders believe it.

  2. We have the energy to keep moving forward. Again not that this is the case but that it is believed.

  3. We have right on our side. I do believe this.

So given those three premises have a thought experiment on how you would engage Iran.  I am not promoting a war I only recognize the inevitability.

I had to read "The Art of War" and "The Bhagavad Gita" when I was 18.  I have a copy of each next to my computer.
Strategy 9 - Watch the fires burning across the river.
-Art of War
Our oil will run out one way or another....If a nuke is to be detonated, would it not be better there than here?  In 5-10 years petroleum and therefore the means to transport a nuke from Iran to Israel or the US will still exist.

Gnits make lice.-Custer

Israel has a couple hundred nukes, they are well able to take care of themselves.  The Israelis strike me as sane people, however; not interested in killing half a million Iranians to possibly save fifty lives 5 years from now.

Have you been to Israel? I know 2 americans in the IDF, I tried to join after 9/11 but they would not have me because I would not convert to Judaism.  Sanity and shrewdness are two different things.  The Israelis are extremely sane with a good memory of what 2000 years of genocide is about.  On that subject many Israeli citizens will denounce this conflict.  But they are not piloting aircraft or holding launch codes.  The people chosen for tasks like that are examined thoroughly for mental competence.  And when the time comes they will if neccesary do what they have been trained to do.

"And when the time comes they will if neccesary do what they have been trained to do."
   What would that be? The murder of millions? If that is not some kind of apocalyptic craziness, I don't know what is. I suppose if they are only following orders, that makes it OK, then. I can't believe you would condemn so many to an awful death and support what quite possibly could be the beginning of a nuclear war so blindly, against an "enemy" that has not attacked us nor has nuclear weapons of their own. This "Himmelsfarhtcommando" may be your idea of a good time, but you can count me out.

                Subkommander Dred

>I am trying to imagine what sort of defense does a carrier battle group have against a massed attack of say, 20 to 30 anti-ship missiles. If, as you say, a bomber from Kansas can destroy a missile battery, what is to prevent the Revolutionary Guard from launching their best, most accurate weapons before they are destroyed in an air strike?

If the US was to engage Iran, the Iranian missile sites would be destroyed before any assets would be brought within range of the Iranian missile sites. The Iranian missile sites have insufficient defences to defend against inbound US missile attacks, and the US can deploy weapons from sea or air platforms that are well outside of the Iranians engagement envelope. Once the threat is eliminated the US can move whatever assets it needs to fulfill its objectives. Although, I doubt little Naval assets will required since the US now has airbases in Iraq.

The only sigificant danger that the Iranian military hardware has is on fixed targets of its neighbors, such as ports, and oil processing facilities. Iran could attack these sites, disabling the flow of oil for months depending on the targets and the amount of damage it can deliver to them.

These types of anti-ship launchers are mobile and small, less than 1/4th the size of a Scud delivery vehicle, and we were unable to find all of them in Iraq. The terrain in Iran is far more difficult to scour by air.  
Talk is cheap. He knows macho posturing for domestic consumption just as well as Bush.

I do think the Bush Admin is going to try to make the case that Ahmadinejad == Hitler, but come on. Just a couple points: Iran is not making any kind of territorial or other claims on its neighbors to my knowledge; and secondly, Ahmadinejad does not hold supreme power in Iran, not even close.

I guess threatening to wipe israel of the map does not count?

Did he?   Or is that just what the media has claimed?   Because I've seen a claim that the translation is not complete or correct, and was in reference to the 1980's Kohemi.

The present leader of the United States has said "I'm the dictator,", does that mean President Bush wants to be dictator?   The President of The United States says he 'Talks to God', yet hearing voices is part of a diagonsable mental illness.  Does that mean The President should be put away for mental illness?

Both of the above quotes are 'correct', but other nations using the above quotes as a basis for forming foerign policy towards the US of A would not be precieved as "fair" by most Americans, now would it?

Later in this thread, you quote "usnewswire".  USnewswire had also reported there were WMD in Iraq.   The media is also not reporting on the energy problem in the US of A.   So why in this case are they a source worth trusing?

So I'm less than willing to stake out a position of "This leader is a mad-man and therefore needs to be 'taken out'" when the sources I can most eailsy access (what with me not speaking Farsi or whatever the speech was in) could very well be compermised.

If there is an attack for a 'change in government of Iran', how exactly will this action:
1. Not end in bankuptcy of the US of A?  History is flled with bankrupt states over war.   (But perhaps the bankruptcy of the United States is a non-issue IF the stories about Leo Wanta are true.   A sample link: start=0&sid=443bf6734756d1b8e7777475f5a60891 )

  1. Not have the people holding foreign debt want to be out from under the US Dollar, thus causing inflation as dollars arrive in the US of A and product leaves.
  2. Creating a situation where world supplies opt to not do business in Dollars.
  3. Creating a situation where world suppliers opt to just not do business with US customers.
When I first heard the "Wipe Israel off the face of the map" quote, I was quite surprised because it seemed out of character.  After all Iran has stayed in the IAEA, agreed to a period of extraordinary inspections that go well beyond what other countries are subjected to.  I was surprised that he would say something so incendiary that might alienate the international community, whose trust the Iranians have carefully cultivated.

So I went off and found a translation of the entire speech.  He did call for Israel to be "wiped off the face of the map".  But he didn't call for Israel to be "wiped off the face of the Earth".  The context of his comments were that displaced Palestinians should be able to return to their land.  And that after that happened, they would have a majority over the Jews.  And therefore Israel would be wiped off the face of the map.  A political map.  They'd probably get a new flag too.  Something with a little more green, and maybe a less prominant Star of David.

The point is that he was calling for polical change, not Armegeddon.  He went so far as to say the Jews were welcome to stay!  But he made it clear that he expected Israel, no make that Palestine (after the wiping takes place) would be Islamic.

Context is everything...

Testudo: Great post. Thanks for clarifying this issue.

Go to this link...look at the picture.
Go to this link...look at the picture.

And?  So?   What is your point?   What am I to see in this 'picture'?

And what is cited is nothing more than a press release from "The Iran Policy Committee," formed to foster "regime change" in Iran. Is it just me, or are their overtones of the Iraqi National Congress here? All we need is Ahmed Chalabi to complete the picture.

   Subkommander Dred


Right, a Chavez-like bluster does not in and of itself constitute a real threat.  I know a lot of people who would like to see [insert a person's name here] drop dead.  That doesn't make these people potential murderers.
Right, a Chavez-like bluster does not in and of itself constitute a real threat.  

And I'm not quite getting why it is America's problem if 'Iseral is wiped off the map' anyway.  

I see a large, bankupting debt resulting and a painful stop to world trading with America as a result of an attack on Iran without meaningful provication.

An alternative for Iran is to say "Well, it would seem the world wishis out citizens to be without energy resources, so effective on date X we will no longer ship oil outside our boarders."   Wonder how well THAT would go over eh?

>I'm not a fan of Iran or its leader. Having said this, the country has never attacked anybody nor threatened to attack anybody, so your comparisons to WW2 Germany are nonsense.  

Iran has several terriorist training grounds inside of its borders and has been supporting external terrorist groups since the fall of the Shah. Many of the terrorist trained in Iran have been involved in Airline/Ship Hijacking, and bombing European Resturants/Night Clubs attended by US service men. Iran has also placed assasin bounties on the US leadership for decades or any person that has publically critized the Iranian gov't.

In recent times, Iran was exposed smuggling arms to Palestine and to Lebanon, including explosives for suicide bombers, small arms and surface to surface missiles. Iran is also holding several high ranking Al Queda members including Usama's son.

While Iran has not directly engaged its foes militarily, it has relied on convert war based upon terrorism to attack them indirectly.

I think that is a false choice, we haven't even gotten to the point where we can try sactions yet and we are considering tactical nukes.  I think they should sit back and work out the diplomatic process for a while. If you are really sure about military pressure get rid of the draft and position a million troops in the region in the meantime. At least we keep the genie in the bottle, and the American people can understand the costs.
Obviously I meant return the draft....
Just asking, what is the right thing to do? What should be done?

 Good question.

 The following presents one route to a solution.

  The discovery by UNSCOM of the secret Iraqi bomb program showed the efficacy NOT of preemption but of inspections. Although U.S. intelligence agencies may have been aware that the Saudis were secretly funding an Iraqi bomb program, the calutrons appear to have escaped detection by U.S. surveillance. Saddam's uranium-enrichment program was completely untouched during the war, despite massive U.S. bombing. The calutrons were found and destroyed because the international community, i.e., the U.N., made a firm commitment to inspections. And this success story, which remains untold and largely unknown in the U.S., happened despite the Clinton policy of regime change, which often conflicted with the U.N.'s stated mission of disarming Iraq. (Milan Rai,War Plan Iraq, 2002) Israel's 1981 raid may even have prodded Saddam Hussein to launch (or accelerate) his clandestine bomb program. Certainly the raid did not prevent an Iraqi bomb. For similar reasons, a solo raid on Bushehr would not block Iran from developing nukes, and might even provoke a decision in Tehran to do so.

A question: were an all-out nuclear war to break out, what would be the igniter? If Russia and China allow the US to attack an ally with nuclear weapons, under what circumstances would either country actually counter-attack the U.S. with nuclear missiles? I think we might be assuming that China and Russia are a lot more docile and passive than is the reality.It seems like they would be forced to respond dramatically, or they might as well quit talking like military powers. Oil depletion won't be a problem if an all-out nuclear war goes down.    
Once the nuclear option is opened up China or Russia have many options short of MAD. Our carriers and overseas bases would be easy to nuke. We could not counter unless we want MAD to happen. I don't think Russia actually cares about Iran enough to do anything. Russia might enjoy seeing a huge disruption in oil supplies. China might like the excuse to take out the carriers and bases in the way of their Taiwan plan.
I seem to remember a military/strategic theory (from Game Theory maybe?) that I read one time.  The concept is, when going against an opponent who militarily is equal or greater than you, then to act rational in your decision making and strategic moves only provides reassurance to your opponent that you are rational and they can logically figure you out.   The theory is, in such a situation one should act irrational.  Your opponent will not be able to logically figure you out and consequently; you will have the upper hand.

Could we have a high stakes application of this theory being applied?

Is it an Act Of War to fly surveillance aircraft into a sovereign nation's airspace?,20867,18766793-1702,00.html

 Technically yes.

 States are to respect each others borders. When they do not then the state suffering the incursion has the right to eject the violator.

 This is even more true where the incursion is part of a plan to gather information to facilitate a military attack.

 Continued incursions increase the legitimacy of response undertaken by the violated state up to and including pre-emptive attack.

 During the cold war the US made regular overflights of the territory of the FSA and some of these overflights were shot down with loss of all life.

 The FSU "understood" the rules of the game in way that the Iranians may not.

>>The FSU "understood" the rules of the game in way that the Iranians may not<<<


But it seems the OLD rules of the game was to verify so as to ensure the peace.

The new rules are more agressive which Iran may understand very well.


A small but dirty nuclear weapong takes out an American city. Most a likely southern, maybe an "oil town".

Martial law is declared immediately. No courts, no elections

Documents are produced indicating an Iranian connection.

We have our excuse to go in and we have taken the first nuke hit so we can justify using anything we care to.

So, who benefits the most?

Yep. A "Radioactive Boy Scout" type thing is made and exploded, conventional explosive with nuke junk in it for the dirty effect, in say a TX oil town by people the authorities tell us are Irani or connected to the Iranis somehow. However tenuous.

Remember we went into Iraq because some middle-class Arab guys training with an Arab group taking refuge in Afghanistan. Therefore we punish working-class Iraquis and kill as many as possible.

You just have to ask: Cui bono? Where's the oil?

I have come to believe that there is some underlying rationale that no one grasps or can see because it is buried so deep.  I find it inconceivable that neither business, politicians, media nor, as far as we can know, a foriegn country hasn't said, "Don't try it."

On the surface, it appears that absolutely nothing good can come from our attacking Iran. But, there must be a reason beyond the usual "Busk is nuts" to even consider such an action.  The only one that sounds worth the gamble is to establish a facist dictatorship due to the fallout from attacking Iran.  

I am led in this direction because of the lack of action regarding illegal immigration and the vast government deficit.  Logic would say that these should have been dealt with in a timely fashion.  Yet, nothing is happeing even in an untimely fashion.

Incidentally, there are two things that lend credence to the dictatorship hypothesis:  First, Bush's comment a few months ago that the Constitution was nothing but a "goddamn piece of paper."  It is inconceivable to me that a president would say this unless he believed it.

Second, electronic voting with no paper trail.  Noting like hackable machines to assure the results you want.

First, Bush's comment a few months ago that the Constitution was nothing but a "goddamn piece of paper."

Source Please

electronic voting with no paper trail.

In FL we have a paper trail, is there a district in US without paper backup?

Re: Bush

Re:  Elections

I don't believe Ohio had a paper trail.  Christopher Hitchens had a very good article in Vanity Fair on Ohio during the 2004 elections.  Hitchens is no fan of conspiracy theories, but he thinks the 2004 election in Ohio stank to high heaven.

IMO, Nader handed the 2000 election to Bush, but I have doubts about 2004, especially in Ohio.  

Gentlemen I'm sure you've guessed I am a Bush supporter. That known, you can't cite a blog as a legitimate reference.  The reporter on capital blue? If he had a source inside the Oval office why would they talk to him if they were going to talk.  Why not CNN? I'm sure CNN would air it.  Secondly I am against the electoral college and think we need voting reform.  However any "hacking" would be visible from independent auditors would it not? The polls were close and the elction was close but I am not enough of a conspiracist to believe the election was faked.  I'm not arguing on this source saying that I just don't think capital blue is objective or legitamite.
That known, you can't cite a blog as a legitimate reference.

Why?   Why is one "published" source more (or less) valid than another?

However any "hacking" would be visible from independent auditors would it not?

I can understand why you would believe that, if you don't consider 'blogs' or 'web based sources' legitimate.

But for people who consider web sources worth considering:
And this guy likes tracking all the various stories on vote fraud:

Now, why WOULD anyone want to be an auditor?

Because some organizations have journalistic profesionalism and some don't.  Fox News IS skewed to the right CNN a little to the left, but they report the news not fabricate it.  

If you witnessed the president say something like that and intended on telling the world, why not go to what is percieved as a legit source?

And anonymous sources say lots of things. Just the facts please....

And a Blog is automatically legit?  That means every statement I have made on this site is 100% true!

Because some organizations have journalistic profesionalism

Lets start here then.   What is 'journalistic professionalism'?


Oilrig: CNN to the left? I assume you are referring to Lou Dobbs (but that is only one show).The rest of the station is basically bought and paid for.    
Lou Dobbs is hardly a lefty.  He's a registered Republican.  He's pro-business, supported the Iraq invasion, and calls Hugo Chavez a "strongman."  

His issues are issues that not supported by either the left or the right.  Perhaps 30 years ago, his support for American workers would be left-leaning, but these days, the labor movement is all but dead, even in the Democratic Party.

You imply that Fox and CNN are 'journalistic professionals'

Fox News IS skewed to the right CNN a little to the left, but they report the news not fabricate it.  

The link you give lower in the thread as a definition has this in the first 3 bullet points:

# Unequivocal separation between news and opinion. In-house editorials and opinion (Op-Ed) pieces are clearly separated from news pieces. News reporters and editorial staff are distinct.
# Unequivocal separation between advertisements and news. All advertisements must be clearly identifiable as such.
# Reporter must avoid conflicts of interest -- incentives to report a story with a given slant. This includes not taking bribes and not reporting on stories that affect the reporter's personal, economic or political interests.

And FOX doesn't violate the 1st and 3rd bullet points?

Not 'fabricarte' the news?

Here is a guy tracking CNN and what he thinks are 'lies'

And another on CNN

If you witnessed the president say something like that and intended on telling the world, why not go to what is percieved as a legit source?

Who is to say that the data WASN'T told to other news orginizations, and that story wans't spiked by an editor due to a desire not to displease The President?    Second, 'precieved as a legit source' - many people feel Mr. Thompson is JUST as legit as you feek Fox is,  

Just the facts please....

Every time datum gets processed by someone, filters are applied to that datum.   You are really naive if you think the data you get from CNN, Fox et la are "facts".   The closest thing to facts are verifiable and repeatable observable experiments.  Even court documents arn't "facts" - but we call 'em facts for legal simplification.

Mr. Thompson has a long history in jourunalism,  Given your desire to 'trust journalistic professionalism', why don't  you find where Mr. Thompson ISN'T a 'journalistic professional'?

Beyond that his present medium is a web site.

(Rather sad that the working definition of 'legitamacy' is "do you have a fat enough wallet so you can buy a gov

That means every statement I have made on this site is 100% true!

I'm sure that is the case of how you precieve what you say.  Of course, your mother must have hated her last time to take the sirname "medic" and I don't even know WHAT they were thinking to call you "oilrig".   Lots of teasing in school over that first name I bet.   ;-)

I am really quite surprised at your characterisation of those media outlets. I had believed you were a more thoughtful and sophisticated person than that, your support for GWB notwithstanding. You must have a very short memory, for I recall quite well what all of the media outlets were doing and saying 3 years ago. With the start of the Iraq war, the networks and other corporately sponsored mouthpieces were all for shock and awe. If anyone so much as questioned the motives for the war, they were called un-American, or worse, in bed with the Terrorists. It was not just Fox (they were only the worst and most extreme example). Remember how CNN and MSNCB and everyone else scrambled to get all of that retired senior military brass to come on their shows and give the play by play and color commentary for the destruction of Iraq? Balance? Right? Left? Come on, man. Corporate media has everything to sell, and nothing to tell.

      Subkommander Dred

The precincts that had touch screen voting did NOT have a paper trail, not that it would have mattered, the election was conducted in such a way to be an embarrassment to any "democratic" nation. Currently there are at least three indictments and trials in progress in Ohio over the 2004 election. I was present when the electoral vote was contested as well, second time in history that has happened I believe, not that it did any good, but its on the record nonetheless. Do even a monor amount of digging into the ohio election and you will find enough suspicious and fraudulent behavior to warrant another election IMHO. The "republican" leadership here is corrupt to the core, Taft has been busted, we have ohio "coingate" and Mr Ney in trouble with Abramoff, and a secretary of state that has holdings of stock in the Diebold company-----same company thats been booted from several states at this point over bad election equipment.
I thought this was interesting.

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."

Todd -

Ruthless people do ruthless things, and dishonorable people do dishonorable things. So what else is new?

War, both real and contrived, have always been the perfect pretense for installing a totalitarian state, always for the protection of the people, of course. Why should it be any different now?

For about two decades we've hardly heard a peep out of the US government about Iran, and now all of a sudden they've become the equivalent of the Nazis threatening to destroy Great Britain during the Blitz. The State, through its controlled media, creates reality and then un-creates reality at will, depending up what's required for the politics of the moment. The media in the US cannot be trusted. I expect that sooner than later we will see a terrorist attack on the US that is blamed on Iran. That will set the pre-arranged wheels in motion. It's a coming!

Yes, a total mess in the Middle East, initiated by a US attack on Iran, would be the perfect excuse to establish more or less permanent marshall law in the US. Followed by  a true dictatorship.  This is where the US is headed, and any rational American who doesn't have his head up his ass will realize this is the trajectory of America.

And just think, Israel, a scrubby little country about the size of New Jersey, a country totally dependent upon the US for its very existence, is driving much of this push to 'do' Iran.  Sad. No, more than sad..... it is shameless and probably criminal.  Most of our leaders are such swine. Most of them do not represent you or I, but someone and some thing else.

I thought Orwell's 1984 was meant to be a warning
Not a how to manual
There's a ton of information linked from RegimeChangeIran.  Obviously, the site has a little bit different slant than many TOD readers :-)  However, there's a lot there (that I don't have time to mine now).
It's one thing to look at a burning fuse on a stick of dynamite and say "if nothing else happens, that thing will blow up".  You don't know for SURE, but it's a good guess.  It's quite another to try to guess where all the pieces will go.  
On the balance of probabilities I suspect Hersh is on to something but nobody yet has discussed the thought that the Bush administation would like nothing better than for Iran to think that they were going to attacked on the presumption ( probably false) that this will make Iran toe the US line.

The administration is certainly up to planting such a story and Hersh would make an ideal patsy if they could pull it off.

This is not an unreasonable suspicion. Nevertheless, I think it's wrong. Recall the original intent behind the Iraq attack - shock and awe. It seemed to work at first, but that quickly began to melt away and even backfire as the world saw the mighty US military machine bog down. It was at that point China, Saudi Arabia and many others started running around the world and cutting deals. Latin America is spinning completely out of orbit.

So I think that one of the things that the neocons want to re-establish is shock-and-awe. This cannot be accomplished via a diplomatic solution -- pain must be inflicted. I've seen reports that offers to talk by the Iranian side have been rejected by Bush at al. This is exactly what happened in Iraq -- last minute offers to negotiate by Saddam were rejected. The US WANTED WAR. That's what I'm afraid is the case again.

The Foreign Affairs article talking about the US ability to pre-emptively take out Russian and Chinese nukes, on the other hand, MAY/MUST have been mostly bluster in an attempt to keep Russia and China from coming to any kind of defense of Iran. Even I cannot believe they would actually try that experiment.

The administration, specifically both the White House and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, acknowledged Hersh's article on CNN last night and called it "speculation".  
That both would deign to quickly release statements on the New Yorker article seemed odd.  Why not ignore it instead, if it's total malarky?
"Me thinks thou dost protest too much."
Must have hit a bit too close to home.
I guess the end-of-the-world part of TOD took over today on this thread.

First, it is a long way from talking about the practical use of nuclear weapons to destroy very hard sites and actually doing it.

Second, Iran is a very diverse nation ethnically. The Persians have tried to suppress the Azeri's and Kurds, and minor ethnic groups, for years. Persians number 51% and there is a small allied ethnic group - Luri's.

Third, if we do attack some Muslims would be happy because we would be killing Shia Muslims. Not all 1.2 billion would be looking for a Western person to behead.

Fourth, Pakistan is a problem if the current regime changes. I think that is part of the reason we are getting close to India.

Fifth, yes, we bomb Iran for three days there will be a lot of fallout but it will get over and the USA will be more isolated.

Some of the hype and hysteria and comparing Bush to Hitler and who is planning to nuke a southern town to change the constitution, etc., etc., is a perfect example of why guys like Michael Moore helped re-elect Bush in 2004.

Let me say one more time. This is not ALL about oil. Bush takes serious his oath of office of defending the USA. As Hersh points out, he feels that was one of the biggest failures of Clinton (and the first few months of his regime).

The biggest fault Bush is committing in my mind is that his advisors think that by bombing Iran they will get regime change. They will not. Instead, they will unite Iranians behind the current regime. But they might buy 10 years before Iran does get nukes. Assuming North Korea does not sell one or two in the meantime.

P.S. Given Iran's oil wealth why can they not invest in steel rebar in the homes of their people? What civilized country has a 5.1 eathquake and hundreds die and thousands are left homeless! Incredible neglect on a national scale in the 21st century.

What civilized country has a city below sea level and does not reinforce the levee system - then watches a CAT 5 hurricane heading stright for it and does not evecuate it?

Who said we have a lock on stupidity?

Wait until we have a major earthquake before you start feeling so superior.


Yes, the levee mess was a mess. Partly due to the notorious corruption in New Orleans/Louisiana.

As to a major earthquake, I can feel superior. The Loma Prieta killed maybe 60 odd people in the SF Bay Area on 17 October 1989 while a similar sized one in Kobe killed hundreds a few years later. Why? We had better building standards than the Japanese that were enforced!

The 26 December 2003 earthquake that hit Bam, Iran was the 4th one in 100 years. It was not so much that the Iranians keep rebuilding there, the Shah forbid that it be rebuilt after the 3rd one, but corrupt theocrats in the Iranian Govt. lifted the ban so they could make some extra money selling the homesites.

But they couldn't/wouldn't sell them rebar.

Now having said that, if, no when, the New Madrid moves again St Louis is going to get hurt hard. But that is due to the last one was in 1811.

I don't see any justification for attacking Iran. In fact our invasion of Iraq is probably a big reason why Iran wants nukes. Bush is leading this country and the world to the pits of hell.

If we do attack it means war with Iran for the next ten years. I don't believe they will just sit there and take it.   I'm sure that Iran can take enough oil off the market that we will be squealing like pigs. Maybe this is how it all ends. The endless greed driven stupidity finally comes to a screeching halt. Is this the TPTB's plan to cut oil consumption? Is this the plan to neutralize 40 trillion dollars in debt?

So then, Jack Greene, I suppose that you are all for the US taking out Iran for the benefit of Israel, come hell or high water?

Why not, Israel and its US supporters have paid for most of our politcians, and that is one of the reasons why we are in this mess in the first place. Iran is not even on the 'B' list of world powers, yet it has now magically become the scourge of the world.

When in doubt, ask 'qui bono' (who benefits?).  Well, as best I can tell, the only party that will benefit by nuking Iran is Israel. Isn't that correct?

I have two Cui Bono theories:

(1) Invading oil-rich countries and keeping 'em in a state of perpetual civil war gives an excuse to set up permenant bases and oh just coincidentally be sitting on top of all that luscious oil, to keep it safe from everyone else you know, as it gets more scarce.

(2) Greater Israel, those two blue bars on the Israeli flag representing the Tigris and the Euprates I think it is, look up "greater Israel" and Israel's influence on the US being huge, it really doesn't matter if the US gets oil, loses much of its working-class male youth, etc yadda yadda as long as Greater Israel becomes reality.

I tend to believe theory #1 more, it's calm, cold, rational, and makes sense. In fact rather than Israel controlling the US so much, the greater goal is probably to use the existence of Israel as yet another reason to have our fingers in the Middle East oil-candy store.


I guess I should have never read Herman Kahn's THINKING ABOUT THE UNTHINKABLE when I was a teenager.

When someone says nuclear weapon one sees Hiroshima all over again. Nukes come in all sizes and shapes and can be used for all sorts of stuff, like blasting asteroids before they hit the earth (though that might create problems too!).

Nor am I advocating their use in dealing with Iran, but I am saying it is a tool out there that can be used.

The French under Chirac a few months back, around Christmas, said that a terror attack on France could make France retaliate with nuclear weapons. Following that thread of thought, the French have taken some of their Boomers submarines and are modifying some of their warheads to fire single nuclear bombs like in the old days instead of having multi-warheads on one missile. It is obvious why they are doing this.

Now if Israel was threatened, or god forbid, nuked herself and we in the USA did nothing, that would be very wrong. I suggest you go back and study why Israel was established in 1948. The last time I looked Israel did not launch a war against Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, etc., but it was the other-way around.

And actually, Joule, maybe it would be best if we did the heavy lifting instead of Israel, because we might be gentler. . .

"And actually, Joule, maybe it would be best if we did the heavy lifting instead of Israel, because we might be gentler. . ."
  I would say that supplying Israel with money, weapons and pliable US politicians is doing lot of heavy lifting. Not to mention that fissile material that magically appeared in their nuclear weapons years ago. Oh, and the war with Iraq (both 1991 and 2003)? I can think of no other time in history when a country has told an ally NOT to fight on it's behalf, particularly a country so close to the battlefield in both cases. Heavy lifting? Give me a break.
   Interestingly enough, there is one other country that the United States did give carte blanche to regarding their regional military/security needs. It was the Nixon administration that basically said Iran could have whatever whatever weapons systems our boys in the defense industries could produce. This was under the Shah, of course. Needless to say, things did not turn out the way we had hoped.

Subkommander Dred

"Let me say one more time. This is not ALL about oil. Bush takes serious his oath of office of defending the USA. "

Well super, you solved the problem. That much "BS" and we will have methane forever.

Now, now, let's play nice! I wouldn't want to be in Mr. Greene's position right now, struggling to justify ever more patent lies from the Administration. You have to hand it to those Coincidence Theorists, they're nothing if not faithful to their cause!

Thank you! There was a part of me that said stay away from this as the end-of-the-worlders were pretty strong the last 36 hours. I have an hour today on our local radio on Hersh's article.

I was just looking at an old college book on the reasons for the USA entering WWI and it listed outrage over Germany's actions from submarine warfare to invading Belgium, economic reasons, Zimmerman message, etc. Monocausism is a big No No in the study of history. Oil is obviously a factor in the Middle East, but it is not the only factor.

A new World War III could come about and happen, but it is very very unlikely. Because most nations operate policies based on realpolitik. That is one reason Iran is such a problem, because they play by different rules. Their leadership is high on religion. It is outside the box, just as Hitler was a revolutionary regime in the 1930's - part of the reason why the West thought appeasement would work, because a normal regime would have been overjoyed by the rewards 1935-1938 gained it. It only reinforced Hitler's thinking that goes back to MEIN KAMPF.

P. S. Oil stock is up so far this morning on the New York Stock Exchange.

What if the neocons are also PO apocalypticons. If TWAWKI is doomed unless we can get all the oil we can, as fast as we can, invading Iran,in their minds becomes imminently logical.
TEAWKI = The Empire As We Know It

That's the only correction I'd make. Yes, they are pursuing a very clear geopolical agenda.

I found a fascinating profile of Seymour Hersh  I strongly encourage reading the whole thing - I can't capture the important parts in a few paragraphs here.  Overall, it sounds like he's right a lot more than he's wrong, but he has been seriously wrong in the past.  He sounds very unlikely to function as a conduit for the Bush administration's PR strategy.

Hersh's friends insist that he works most effectively under a strong editor, and he seems to have one in Remnick. "The combination of the Times and Sy was a terrific one because there is a lot of rigor in the review process at the Times," says Leslie Gelb. "I hear that Remnick has introduced a lot of that rigor and checking as well. If the story is right, that's a good combination. Sy needs it. It's the kind of impetus he needs to go back and check this and that."

"I know every single source that is in his pieces," Remnick says. To "every 'retired intelligence officer,' every general with reason to know, and all those phrases that one has to use, alas, by necessity, I say, 'Who is it? What's his interest?' We talk it through." The tension between the two men can be acute -- "David isn't always nice to me," sighs Hersh -- but both parties are well served by it.

David Remnick is the editor of The New Yorker.

It's excellent that you dug this up. I have read Hersh for years in the New Yorker and other sources. I wanted to comment  yesterday, yet found it impossible to do short of what Sailorman terms a 3000-word essay.

Overall, on comments yesterday I would have to say I agree with  Sailorman's take on Hersh more than anybody else's. I know that doesn't seem surprising, but I have to emphasize that I think Sailorman has the better angle on this, having read the man forever and being what I consider an expert in these matters. For all one knows, Sailorman could be Hersh, or even McPhee. I definity don't believe the thing about Indiana Jones being his Dad, though.

You want to argue with the DNA tests?

BTW, for a guy 110 years old, Dad is in pretty good shape and working as an advisor for the 4th Indiana Jones movie, in which he once again gets in over his head but will defeat the Forces of Evil.

In all seriousness, I believe the findings and dissemination of the findings of cultural anthropology and its closely allied discipline of sociology are one of the foundations for long-term optimism on the future of the human race. We know now much more about humans than we did a hundred years ago, and while much of this new knowedge comes from cognitive science and the findings and interpretations of evolutionary psychology, the contributions of the great anthropoligists have been enormously important in correcting common errors.

Briefly, the way things are is not the way they have to be.

For example, until economists take into account the findings of anthropologists, I believe mainstream economics will go on spinning its wheels. The platitude that economic growth is needed for the world as we know it to exist is flat-out wrong. The glib assumptions of some (not all) economists are Big Mistakes (BMs).

Until our reasoning is based on sound premises, we will continue to come to very wrong conclusions and do Very Dumb Things based on these fallacious conclusions--both at a personal and a societal level.

Read 1491 yet?
Don, that is a very interesting carrot you are holding out above. Could you point to some specfic materials, online or in print, on this sujbect that the interested but uniformed could read?

Thanks much.

I could type out a 200 item bibliography in half an hour (because I type very fast). I can do a twenty item bibliography in one or two days. For a short list of the best stuff, that will take me to the end of the week.

There are no shortcuts to genuine knowledge. I've studied about 1,500 books and three times that number of articles in anthropology, almost as much in economics and philosophy and sociology and history--and a good deal in evolutionary psychology and population genetics.

One of the few things I am quite good at is learning the vocabularies of different disciplines, and thus I can talk to physicists in physics, geneticists in genetics, economists in economic terminology, etc. What is difficult, but not impossible, is to talk or write to intelligent people who do not know the vocabularies of specific disciplines about, for example, economics. Thus, to explain why certain sources or ideas or formulas are exceptionally important is difficult, but it is not impossible.

The most intractable obstacle to deal with is invincible ignorance. For example, there are those who "know" that  religion is bad and the source of our evils. There are those who "know" that the sources of all our problems are Arabs, Jews, illegal immigrants, Blacks, corporations, welfare mothers, drug dealers, evangelical Christians, . . . fill in your own list. There are those who "know" that our Big Problem is G.W. Bush, and that if only he would go away, then life would be good. There are those who "know" of various conspiracies, and, they post extensively on TOD.

In general, I have found it most effective to ignore those who are invincibly ignorant. BTW, ignorance by itself is nothing to be ashamed of. Ignorance is curable:-)

Closed-mindedness, bigotry, ethnocentrism, racism, prejudice, stereotyping . . . ah, those are different matters. Reason cannot penetrate the self-sealing and bullet-proof armor of fallacious reasoning in the service of power and privilege and the ideologies that support existing injustices or utopian fantasies.

Years ago, he broke the story of the My Lai massacre, and won a Pulitzer prize for his work on this story.

Seymour Hersh essentially broke the Abu Ghraib story - he didn't make any friends with the neo-cons on that day. Many believe he will get another Pulitzer for this one.

Hersh gave a talk at Hampshire College in Amherst MA in 2004, and didn't exactly pull any punches as to how he feels about Bush:

I cannot see him being another Judy Miller either.  He does seem to have very good contacts with people down in the trenches in the Defense and Intelligence communities.

Could this be the alternative to the use of tactical nukes for the underground facilities?

It is supposed to be tested in June.  Are we looking at a June surprise in Iran?

Not really. Because you have to penetrate that load into the underground structure. [Dr. Strangelove warning]Video presentations of penetration technique tests seem more impressive than what could really be acheived in "real world" conditions.

Explosives, in my understanding, work much better inside of an enclosed space. Getting that explosive device inside the enclosed space is another story.

The Discovery channel did a good piece on this recently, going back and looking at existing structures in Stalingrad as part of a study of this classic battle.

Most "huge" conventional explosions seem to be a manipulation of the underlying source/physics to acheive a larger kill zone. Napalm, Fuel-Air-Mixture, etc.

Nukes obviously expand the kill zone. Conventional stuff still can't do this. The whole reason we talk about this is because Nukes will literally scoop out a chunk of the earth and send it in the form of dust into the air. This chunk's radius/depth, depending on the tonnage of the nuclear charge, detonated at ground level, should reach down to Iranian "secret underground laboratory" depth.

You can look at this literally or metaphorically. With explosives it looks the same to me.

How big is 700 tons of AN/FO in volume? How do you get that 100 feet underground - and then explode it?

71 Dead, 140 wounded at Mosque in Iraq. How do you get that many bodies that close to a suicide bomber? Have to work the  problem from a different angle.

Al Quaeda excels at studying how to acheive this shit. Not sure if their work always leads to proven results.

Abqaiq. Need to breach two fences before you can even target your objective. Only people brought up on Playstation can achieve this. Making camels out of Legos in the sand won't do it. 9/11 was about Microsoft Flight Simulator and an intelligence community that fails to understand video games.

Al Quaeda excels at studying how to acheive this shit.

On what basis do you have this knowledge of what Al Quaaeda knows?

Watch them. Watch the things they do. Watch interviews with members. Read books and articles about them by knowledgeable people who study them and report on them for a living. Listen to former members of our intelligence community who have studied them for years.
Fair enough.   From what I've seen, they have access to far less destructive power and knowledge than some governments on this planet.  Shoe bombs, fertlizer bombs...just not that impressive.
A ton of ammonium nitrate is a pallet of 40 50-pound bags, a hefty volume. The Tim McVeigh bomb was 2 tons, several drums of ANFO mix. 4 drums? 2 drums per ton sounds right, given the size of the fertiliser skid.

A 700 ton bomb would obviously be too big to drop from a plane, but a 50 tonner will work. You take old airliners to turn into giant cruise missiles. Out west, there are old airliners with lots of miles on them to be had cheap from leasing companies. Too old to use as airliners, they can be good as flying truck bombs. Just add a Tomahawk guidance system to eliminate the need of a suicide pilot. Of course, at the end of the flight, the plane goes into a power dive to the GPS address of the bunker, and <BOOM!>. This weapon has the irony of the Arab's favourite weapon being improved on and used on them. Some of these super cruise missiles would have lots of shock and awe - an automated 9/11. Add shrapnel for army bases above ground.

Nice one. Mega points for originality.
This is indeed a strange story - what in the world does 700 tons of ANFO have to do with a real bomb? Nothing, in the conventional sense, but it's the only available model for a nuclear blast. I can't believe that we don't already have this information about the "effects of shockwaves on buried structures," however, which means the reason for the test is show value - for Iran.

That's not a practical weapon. It's a 700 ton pile of fertilizer soaked in fuel oil to become an explosive mixture. Do you have any idea how big 700 tons of fertilizer is? That can't be delivered as a weapon to a remote site. We'd have to put troops in there, take over the whole location then truck in the tons of fertilizer and corresponding tons of fuel oil to make a pile big enough to do that.

Two C-5s could air drop the pile?  A fairly comical image as a delivery system, however...

Maybe they need some more real world data for one of their blast effects simulations, or maybe its a "cover story" for a new nuke test? I seem to recall that when they did the first one at the "Trinity" site it was officially explained as "an ammunition depot blowing up by accident".

Hope there will be some journalists with radiation monitors downwind of the testing site to check and see...

You're probably right.  I bet it is a cover for a nuke test.  Or at the least a psyops planted story for the benefit of the Iranians.
Is Iran's "deterence by punishment" sufficient to deter a US airstrike?  According to Janes, Iran would retaliate against a US attack by striking American targets in Iran and the Persian Gulf and possibly economic and infrastucture targets of Middle Eastern countries who provided logistical support.  This likely would include oil targets.  Another reason to expect oil prices of skyrocket.

While I completely agree with Dave in his degree of alarm, I think even he falls for some of the neo-con propaganda. He accepts the characterization of  the Iranian leaders as "bad guys". But this is entirely, entirely beside the point. The point is that the US is about to wage pre-emptive war for 3rd time since 9-11. Iran has done NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING illegal and has attacked NO ONE for 250 years.

He also claims that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. But there is NO evidence, NONE, that this is true. This does not mean that it is not true, nor does it mean that they wouldn't have to be complete idiots not to if they could get away with it -- indeed any country that is likely to come under US attack, if it is able to, would have to be nuts not to consider acquiring nuclear weapons. The US HAS nuclear weapons, is threatening to USE nuclear weapons, is developing more nuclear weapons, has ripped up treaties around the issue (ABT), is the only country that has used them is war, and used them after the target country was basically defeated.

This is NOT some kind of two-sided story any more than were Hitler's invasions of Poland, France or Czechoslovakia. No excuses can be made. Our empire, our gov't is the aggressor no matter which way one turns it. It is utterly indefensible. Nor is it defensible in any way to participate in pointing out blemishes in the Iranian leadership. There were blemishes in the leadership of every single country attacked by Hitler.

There's no need to rant about why we are about to attack Iran. All TODders know why.

In terms of the scope of the disaster that may well ensue, I can only say that it will be a new world, especially if the nuclear option is used. There is just no end to horrible developments that can follow in the wake.

For a good perspective on how similar the lead up to an Iranian war is to the lead up to the Iraq war try to figure out to which country these pundits are referring.

Here is a sample quote:

A nuclear Ira[ ], either out of calculation that it could win a nuclear exchange with Israel, or out of a fanatical derangement, clearly poses an existential threat to Israel.
-- Tony Blankley

Pre-Iraq or Pre-Iran?

Perhaps we could put aside our national, ongoing, post-9/11 Muslim butt-kissing contest and get on with the business at hand: Bombing Syria back to the stone age and then permanently disarming Ira[ ]."
-- Ann Coulter

Pre-Iraq or Pre-Iran?

For answers, go to this link:

Some days this website makes my head hurt. Badly. Instead of a brain dump, which a lot of people took in this thread, I'll ask just one question:

If the president wants to launch nukes, can anyone stop him? Basically, what is the administrative procedure for launch approval?

President Merkin Muffley: General Turgidson, I find this very difficult to understand. I was under the impression that I was the only one in authority to order the use of nuclear weapons.

General "Buck" Turgidson: That's right, sir, you are the only person authorized to do so. And although I, uh, hate to judge before all the facts are in, it's beginning to look like, uh, General Ripper exceeded his authority.

heh, I just saw that movie for the first time about a year ago. Whether it's Russia misinterpreting a missle test over Norway as a nuke, rogue military commanders, rogue presidents, or whatever, it's only a matter of time - the only question is when and how bad.
This isn't quite what you want, but Steven Bellovin (a well-known network security researcher) has done a bunch of work researching the technical controls on nuclear weapons.  It's pretty interesting reading (for technical types, anyway).
Coming in kind of late on this thread, but...

To me this seemed to be an article based on leaks by people opposed to the ideas being discussed, presenting them in as unfavorable a light as possible in order to drum up pre-emptive opposition. Particularly the discussion of the use of nuclear weapons, which is just this side of inconceivable, is intended to create as inflammatory a reaction as possible.


Obligatory Princess Bride quotes:

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

"Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha -"

"..intended to create as inflammatory a reaction as possible."

You aren't downplaying what that leads to, are you?  To paraphrase Star Wars.. "..more Inflammatory than you can imagine!" ,  "I don't know, I can IMAGINE quite a bit."  It's not unlike the insanity of the "Cartoon Scandal".. people defending  as "a Free Speech issue" what was no more than 'Knock it off, I dare ya!'..  This is free-speech only as applied to Vonnegut's 'Life is High School' principle.

" order to drum up pre-emptive opposition.."

D'ya think?  Preemptive opposition to a government that's unapologetic about its Preemtive Striking Policy, about its past gross errors in judgement, and its NPT-busting decision to develop NEW nukes?  

".. by people opposed to the ideas being discussed, presenting them in as unfavorable a light as possible.."

As if there's something wrong with that.  The tone of the article was not wild-eyed, and the sources from the inside sounded more jaded than biased against the administration.  But the implication that these were just 'people in opposition' starts to smack of our beloved cultural desire for obedient conformity.  Don't be one of the 'nay-sayers',  'why do you only report the BAD news?', or the double-edged, 'I fully support their RIGHT to protest'

There's such a lot to consider in relation to a possible US attack on Iran that it's difficult to know where to start, let alone where to end!

About a week ago there was a large, international conference in central Berlin. The subject was the US and Iran. I don't know if this meeting, there were over 250 people taking part, received much attention in the US or UK: I don't think it did. That isn't surprising, just rather depressing.

What made the conference interesting were the large number of Iranians present, as well as many Americans, Russians, Europeans, Arabs and others. There were serving and retired US military personel in attendance too. There were lots of experts on the Middle East, retired diplomats, ex-politicians, journalists and academics, all of whom were 'concerned' about the growing confrontation in the Middle East between the UD and Iran.

Lots of things were discussed at the conferance, but here are a few of the things that made me sit-up and take notice.

  1. Moderate forces in Iran have been trying to come to an accomodation with the US for years, but have been continually rebuffed and undermined by US actions and policies in the region.

  2. American policies are 'welding' Iran's nationalism and religious fundamentalism together, with potentially disasterous consequences. Traditionally these two stands in Iranian society have 'opposed' each other. The former being secular,'pro-Western', and 'progressive.' In contrast to the 'religious fundamentalists' who are antagonistic towards the West.

  3. The US must negotiate directly and face to face with the Iranians.

  4. The US does not want an 'equal dialogue' with the Iranians, because this would 'legitimize' the current regime/system. Such a high-level meeting could be hard to 'control' the Iranians could for example publically agree to all American demands, pulling the rug out from under those forces who wish to attack Iran to impose 'regime change.'

  5. Sometimes delaying something happening in international affairs is preferable than trying to prevent it happening.

  6. In 2003 the Iranians, through Switzerland, tried to 'make peace' with the current Bush administration. They were prepared for full-scale 'normalization' of relations with the US. The ending of over 25 years of 'cold war.' They offfered full co-operation in the war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine and everywhere else. Negotiations about all aspects of their nuclear programme. They were prepared to recognise Israel within it's pre 1967 borders. The establishment of full deplomatic relations with the US. In return they wanted assurances in relation to their territorial integrety and a non-agression pact and perhaps a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. The Swiss ambassador was rebuffed by the US and Iran received no direct reply to it's 'peace feelers.'

  7. The Arab/Muslim street/masses are no longer 'under control.' The various regimes we have supported in the Middle East and further afield are 'fragile.' An attack on Iran could ignite the whole region and possibly Western Europe as well.

  8. It is still possible to reach a mutually advantageous understanding and accomodation with Iran, but time is running out.

  9. The Iranian people do not want war. The American people do not want war. The American military do not want another war. The Iranina military do not want war.

  10. The alternative to peace between the US and Iran is almost too terrible to contemplate.

I also heard an interesting interview with Seymour Hersh on the BBC this morning. He said his article was very carefully researched, he hadn't made anything up. He stood by every word in his article. Hersh also added that the US military was concerned about, 'Crossing over a moral and ethical line' that is the first use of nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear Muslim country. The military had gone from 'contigency' to 'operational' planing. The JCS wanst the nuclear option taken off the table. In a few weeks the JCS will return to the White House and 'demand' that the 'option' is taken off the table. If it isn't there has been talk of resignations. Hirsh also mentioned that sources in the US military have complained that the White House is 'irrational' and 'messianic' and 'Hitler' keeps cropping-up.

Next I heard a member of the Jordanian Royal Family. He was ultra concerned that we are heading for war on a massive scale in the Middle East. Two sets of 'religious fundamentalist' are facing each other. An attack on Iran by the US could really be the Big One, that sets the region ablaze.

Then I listened to a reporter with contacts all over the Middle East and inside Iran. A BBC guy, called Jeremy Bowan. The word from the Iranian military is that they will defend themselves with everything they have. A word he heard a lot was 'hostages.' The Iranians regard the US army in Iraq as their 'hostages' in the event of an attack. That they can do a lot of 'damage' to American forces in Iraq and the gulf if war breaks out. The Iranians have called Hirsh's article 'psychological warfare.'

So even if the US does not employ nuclear weapons in an attack on Iran, just a massive conventional attack, it may/could still lead to a 'limited' nuclear war. How will the US miitary, public opinion, Congress, react to the army in Iraq being overrun? How will they react to missiles hitting US ships in the Gulf?

These are all difficult and disturbing questions, and I don't claim to know the answers or be a prophet. But stopping this 'craziness' must be the first priority and I would urge everyone on this site to do everything they can to stop it happening. It sounds dramatic, but we could be moving towards a real moment of truth for our civilization. After an attack, of the kind we're talking about on Iran, the world and American will never be the same place again.

I have also given thought to the real possibility of the US Army being overrun, at least in the South.  Such a scenario would cut off supply lines from Kuwait to the troops in the Central and Northern parts of Iraq.  Even if the Iranian military does not physically take over Basra, the local uprising would be such that it would be virtually impossible to keep US supply lines open to the North.  

What is scary is that it is my impression that the Bush Whitehouse is relatively unconcerned with the immediate aftermath of an attack on Iran.  Their justification is the same as with Iraq - History will be their judge and they see history vindicating their actions.  Whatever the landscape in the Middle East may be in 50 years, I think most of us view the immediate fallout of an attack as unthinkable.  

Good Post,

As to your last comment, if Iran were to launch a preemptive strike, and their military has advocates of that policy, and a sunburn missile hit the CVN Ronald Reagan, all hell would break out.

After hundreds were not allowed to run, this is the make-up of the current Iranian Parliament (there are also some religious minority members and I am not sure of the numbers):  seats by party - conservatives/Islamists 190, reformers 50, independents 43,

Your point 6 is right, Bush is a lousy president.

Your point 9, there are elements in the Iranian military that do not want war, as there are elements that do.

From UPI:

Saudi Arabia may join nuclear club

Riyadh denies any intention to establish a nuclear energy program, but Gulf sources told the Middle East Newsline Saudi officials have been discussing a nuclear research and development program -- and that the program would be aided by Pakistan and other Riyadh allies.

"Saudi Arabia will not watch as its neighbors develop nuclear weapons," a Gulf source said. "It's a matter of time until a Saudi nuclear program begins."

I think it's futile to try and keep Israel the only nuclear power in the region.  Since the Iraq invasion, everyone sees nuclear weapons as a necessary deterrent.  And China, I'm sure, will be happy to trade nukes for oil.  

Is it futile to make serious attempts to prevent further nuclear proliferation?

Granted the current situation is bad, but it is always possible to take a bad situation and make it a helluva lot worse.

The Really Huge Problem is to establish some kind of world order (too bad that "New World Order has such bad connotations) that stops nuclear proliferation and gives stong incentives for nuclear powers such as India and Pakistan not to use atomic bombs on one another.

The idea that greatly increased nuclear proliferation is an inevitability and will happen and will cause a series of nuclear wars has been around at least since the late 1950s. So far this notion has not materialized, and I think that tis nonhappening is a Very Good Thing.

Regimes such as North Korea and Iran are very different from the types of government found in countries such as France and the U.K. Despite occasionally inept remarks, I do not expect France to nuke Iran--or anybody. On the other hand, the quality of the leadership in Iran and North Korea is such that the possession of nuclear weapons by either of these two powers includes a fairly high probability that they will be used first to further the agendas of totalitarian dictators or extremist fanatics who would like to bring on a thermonuclear apocalypse to further their dark visions of the world.

In my opinion, the probability that U.S. would be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict with either North Korea or Iran is nil, and the hysteria generated by those who assert the contrary is, again in my opinion, based on no solid evidence whatsoever.

NOTHING in the Hersh article says or even implies that the U.S. actually is planning to use nuclear weapons against Iran. To me, it is remarkable how many on this website seriously misread that article--assuming that they read it at all before posting intemperate remarks.


It's too bad we don't have a working multi-lateral system to combat nuclear proliferation.

We founded the UN on our soil because we thought we could run it in our interest.  I think we always could have, in bold strokes, ingoring the occaisonal annoying resolution.

The problem is that the right, and probably especially the religious right, needed to deamonize the UN as part of their drive to Christian unilateralism.

A genuine coaltion might have a good grip on nonproliferation.

Given the current breakage, we might need someone else to pick up the ball and lead on Iran.  Unfortunately what I call Christian unilateralism is one huge spanner in the works.

On the other hand, the quality of the leadership in Iran and North Korea is such that the possession of nuclear weapons by either of these two powers includes a fairly high probability that they will be used first to further the agendas of totalitarian dictators or extremist fanatics who would like to bring on a thermonuclear apocalypse to further their dark visions of the world.

And you base this on what?  Indeed, since North Korea has had bombs for some years now I'd say the evidence is against you.

I hardly think people suggesting that there's an implied threat of US using our nuclear forces is intemperate or unwarranted.  The administration has hardly tried to cover up that it is developing a NEW range of Nuclear and Nuclear-assisted weapons, notably in the category of 'bunker-busters', which would be precisely the munitions used against Iran's underground facilities.  Beyond that, the President has repeatedly made remarks about 'not taking options off the table', which though not having to refer directly to the 16,000 elephants in our many silos from sea to shining sea, cannot be considered as unthinkable or unimplied.

I DID read the article, by the way, and thought you might be wrong in your statement.. "NOTHING in the Hersh article says or even implies that the U.S. actually is planning to use nuclear weapons against Iran."

Here's paragraph 13..
"Some operations, apparently aimed in part at intimidating Iran, are already under way. American Naval tactical aircraft, operating from carriers in the Arabian Sea, have been flying simulated nuclear-weapons delivery missions--rapid ascending maneuvers known as "over the shoulder" bombing--since last summer, the former official said, within range of Iranian coastal radars."

I guess it depends on what you define as Stated or Implied Threats..


Exactly WHICH Hersch article did you read?

Paragraph 16-
"One of the military's initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites. One target is Iran's main centrifuge plant, at Natanz, nearly two hundred miles south of Tehran. Natanz, which is no longer under I.A.E.A. safeguards, reportedly has underground floor space to hold fifty thousand centrifuges, and laboratories and workspaces buried approximately seventy-five feet beneath the surface. That number of centrifuges could provide enough enriched uranium for about twenty nuclear warheads a year. (Iran has acknowledged that it initially kept the existence of its enrichment program hidden from I.A.E.A. inspectors, but claims that none of its current activity is barred by the Non-Proliferation Treaty.) The elimination of Natanz would be a major setback for Iran's nuclear ambitions, but the conventional weapons in the American arsenal could not insure the destruction of facilities under seventy-five feet of earth and rock, especially if they are reinforced with concrete."

" . . . initial option plans . . . ."

"initial" means first
"options" means this is a scenario you look at
"plans" means there are a number of plans

Please read with care. To assert that "plans" have been studied does not provide one shred of evidence that there is any intention whatsoever to put them into effect.

The U.S. had many, many, probably more than 300 different "plans" at different times to attack the U.S.S.R. with nuclear and thermonuclear weapons. At no time was there any intent to put these into effect, and indeed, none of them ever were.

One of the main points to creating scenarios and multiple plans is so as not to be put into a position of implementing them.

See for example two classic works by the late Herman Kahn,
To a large extent it was because plans were made and scenarios explored that the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. never did engage in thermonuclear ping pong, despite the thousands of statements by hundreds of pundits over decades that such an outcome was the inevitable result of U.S. military preparations.

The record of pundits in their predictions as to what the U.S. would do in the way of first-use of nuclear weapons is not good--to be polite.

Don, I will try to read with care, but you did say

"Planning to" in your post.. and such plans were clearly mentioned in the article, as theoretical as they may be.  Whether you want to distinguish between what we are 'hypothesizing, planning, threatening or actually intending' just plays into the semiotics of the game itself...

To comment on what is so far the US 'posturing' about this option, it is unfortuntately a lot less certain that our Leadership does not believe that there is a cost-effective plan that can include 'Tactical Nukes'.  They have been incredibly resistant to any clear thinking about side-effects, international reactions, or the cost of the follow-through or clean-up for their actions.

From BBC via Writerman:
He stood by every word in his article. Hersh also added that the US military was concerned about, 'Crossing over a moral and ethical line' that is the first use of nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear Muslim country. The military had gone from 'contigency' to 'operational' planing.

The US military, like all military organizations, engages in endless rounds of planning. I do not believe there would be a threat of resignations unless the officers concerned had servious reservations over the direction being taken and the proposed implementation.

The US officer corps takes an oath to uphold the constitution. I would hope they would remember and honour this oath even if the commander in chief failed to do so.
Well,  the C.S.Monitor has picked it up this morning...

"..the military planning was premised on a belief that "a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government." He added, "I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, `What are they smoking?'

Just can't keep off Hitler these days.. funny.  This is one of my oldest saws on this unsustainable, tactical assumption. (Or is it actually Strategic?)    

The enamorization of bombing-campaigns as a communications-technique falls right back into the Blitzkrieg, and how it was supposed to 'break the will' of the English to fight.. and even though the failure of that program was pretty clear, the 'US-Them' factor allowed the eighth airforce to target population centers with the same expectations, and similarly unspectacular-results.  Later, the High-altitude bombing in Bosnia may have had some level of effectiveness, but then made us look cowardly  (save the Soldiers, darn shame about those civilians..) , and every smart-bomb that did something Dumb was just incredible propaganda against us.  

I guess it gave us Howard Zinn, though, didn't it?

I'm probably being too simplistic, but I thought the idea of the prolonged air campaign is that the enemy doesn't have much of an air force (if any, see Iraq) and our military will be relatively safe as they rain damage down from above.  We may lose a couple of multi-million dollar aircraft (lost a stealth fighter in Bosnia, I think) but overall fairly bloodless and mucho-entertaining for the six o'clock news.

Compare this to the fun of sweeping roads several times every day for IED's and wondering which car might blow up next to you.  Of course, to truly "win" in Iran, we have to get to and past the IED stage, which we haven't done yet in either Afghanistan or Iraq.

The clock is ticking, if we don't attack by 2008 we may have to wait a few years till King George the III gets in office.

'the idea of the prolonged air campaign is that the enemy doesn't have much of an air force (if any, see Iraq) and our military will be relatively safe as they rain damage down from above'

Sure, that is probably the idea.  And I think it looks easier and cheaper with the relative security of running a war from out of reach, but I have serious doubts that it is, in fact, truly effective in the long run.  Some of the costs, like the great escalation of Civilian Casualties in the wars of the last hundred years, are costs our Generals and Politicians don't have to get billed for.  The incidental costs of that has yet to be reckoned, though I think we in the US still carry a heavy burden for our responsibility to the people of Dresden, Hiroshima and Baghdad, and scores of others.  It's running up the credit card, and who knows how it might get collected.

As far as prolonged IED's.. well, let's not forget the degree to which IDF's approach has done little but to perpetuate the suicide bombings...  No, I know. 'They started it'..  and so we're back to "Life is High School"

The BOOM sounds impressive, the flash, the drama..

But it's just 'Sound and Fury and signifying nothing'

'To a Hammer, every problem looks like a nail'

The US Air Force will be safe.  Unfortunately the same can't be said of the tanker traffic in the Gulf.  
In 2006, to be defined as an extremist dictator hell-bent on destroying the world it is absolutely crucial that you be sitting on lots of oil(Chavez is the new Hitler, the Iranian guy is the new Hitler,Hussein is the "old" new Hitler). It would be hilarious if it wasn't so dangerous.
Lucky that totalitarian dictators like JVDzhugashvili and Mao Zedong never got nuclear weapons. They'd certainly have used them, unlike a democratic president of the US.
Smekhovo: Are you being sarcastic? Only one country has used nuclear weapons.
Stalin died in 1953. He had the bomb since 1949.

Mao died in 1976. He had the bomb since 1964.

Perhaps I misunderstood what you meant. Please clarify.

I hope I'm not going to have to add "goak here" to <all> my jokes.
In my defense, you are very subtle.
Surely you jest. Smekhovo's post fairly dripped with sarcasm. I especially liked the touch of using Stalin's real name. I for one appreciate good use of sarcasm. Carry on smekhovo.
What does "goak here" mean?
If you google it, you'll be led to one of my favourite history books, AJP Taylor's <The Origins of the Second World War>.

This is a serious and terrible subject which people respond to in different ways. Horror, shock and disbelief are only a few of the emotions that have been expressed around here. Nuclear weapons make people sick.

Hersh did not say that the United States was planing to use nuclear weapons against Iranian nuclear instalations. The is no 'evidence' that the Whitehouse has decided to bomb Iran with nukes. I suppose it may depend on how one defines the word 'plan.'

The question is different. Sections in the US military, according to Hersh, are concerned that the eventual use of nukes hasn't been catagorically been ruled out under a potential conflict. The military appear to be worried that momentum towards war, or a kind of juggernaut, could build-up that probably will have a life or logic of its own; and that 'momentum' could prove unstopable. It's perhaps comparable to a country 'mobilizing' its military, and the very fact that one has taken that 'peacetime' discision leads one towards a kind of slide to war, without anyone really taking a concious discision to go to war. One could call it the 'logistical imperative.'

This is part of what happened in the run-up to WW1. The French and Germans were mobilizing their reserves and hundreds of trains were transporting the troops towards the border areas long before war was actually declared. They were still talking, deplomacy still hadn't failed. However, the window of opportunity, to stop the conflict was narrowing by the hour, by the troop-train load. A point eventually arrives when turning back is impossible, the die has been cast, so to speak. It's this complicated situation that the military as so anxious about in my opinion.

They don't believe the job can be done properly without resorting to nukes. Therefore, the job shouldn't be done.
That is the message they sent to Bush, in my opinion. To their horror, he didn't reply by saying, all right, so we don't do the job. He replied, keep planning, I still want the job done. Even when he was told the job required nukes. He won't take nukes off the table. This is what scares the hell out of Hersh's sources. That we might get ourselves into such a situation/mess that we might have to go nuclear. That's how I read the situation.

Remember, we talked about the use of the word 'inevitable' in relation to the Sunday Telegraph 'leak' article? I think Hersh's guys are trying to do the same thing. Warn us about a process that also has dangerous and 'inevitable' elements built into it, which we really need to consider now, whilst we're still relatively calm and rational, before the 'mass hysteria' of conflict/war takes over, and get too chaotic too control.

I take no pleasure in writing about this kind of stuff. It's serious shit and I like dark, black, grotesque, humour and irony. I'm having a lot of trouble with this whole situation, and I hope it doesn't go down the way I think it will.

I find that your example of events leading up to the First World War strongly supports my position.

At that time, in 1914, Russia, Germany, and France had very rigid war plans based on total mobilization and railway timetables.

They had NO contingency plans, such as the hundreds of scenarios drawn up and studied by the U.S. and other major powers today. Once Russia mobilized, Germany felt that it had no other option than to give mobilization orders, and when Germany mobilized, the French saw no other alternative but to go to total mobilization and an active war footing. Not one of those powers (nor Britain either) had done contingency planning for a long war in which the defense (based on machine guns and barbed wire) had enormous advantages.

In other words, the Great War, which, IMO, was the greatest catastrophe ever to befall Western Civilization, was a train wreck to a large extent BECAUSE of a lack of planning that envisioned millions of soldiers killed over several years. Germany was gaming for a rerun of the 1870 Franco Prussian War, and Russia and Britain and France were determined not to let Germany into the imperial club, and almost everybody believed the war would be over in a matter of months.

We need detailed scenarios of horror to prevent them from becoming realities. And one of the oddest things, from a point of view of military history, is that the military and political establishments of Europe in the years leading up to World War One learned nothing from the American Civil War and the Russian-Japanese war. They could not imagine the horrors to come, and so, almost like sleepwalkers, they took actions that created the catastrophe.

Don Sailorman -

I fully agree with you about WW I being the greatest catastrophe to befall Western civiliztion, mainly because it was so unnecessary and senseless. In many ways, WW II, at least in Europe, could be considered  WW I The Sequel. I have read quite a bit about WW I and am continually amazed at how the whole thing just took on such a powerful life of its own that no one was capable of stopping it.

What WW I also teaches us are the dangers and snares of interlocking alliances. Sometimes you're better off without 'friends', because in many cases their fight become your fight.

Austria, mainly through its devious and ruthless foreign minister Leopold von Berchtold, wouldn't have been so anxious to go to war against Serbia if he didn't have assurances from Germany that it would defend Austria in the event that Russia mobilized against Germany in support of its Slav brothers in Serbia. Nor would Germany have felt it necessary to make a preemptive strike (there's that hot buzzword again) against France were it not for the alliance between France and Russia.  So, these interlocking alliances instead of helping the various parties virtually guaranteed that a relatively minor problem between two countries would escalate in the total rat#$%k that was to become WW I.

I somewhat disagree with the notion that no one realized what horrors were in store for Europe. Some did learn from the American Civil War and were apalled at the magnitude of the slaughter.  Many had great fears of what was to come,  including many high-ranking military men, but they were largely ignored.  

As for the situation re Iraq and Iran, is it too early to say, "The lights are going out all over the Middle East?"

Military planners and political leaders in the 1900 to 1914 era COULD have learned from the American Civil War and the Russo-Japaneses War, but (with the possible exception of Winston Churchill) they did not.

The most accessible source here is Barbara Tuchman's justly famous book, "The Guns of August." Also, her "March of Folly" is excellent. For that matter, so are all of her books . . . , and while I am at it let me mention with emphatic praise her book, "A Distant Mirror."

One of the reasons I have for long-term optimism is that among military strategists, there has been a substantial progress in trying to learn from history during the past hundred years.

Our military leaders knew the plan to attack Iraq and occupy it with relatively few troops was fatally flawed. Despite military advice at the very highest level to oppose Rumsfeld/Cheney & Co., the pig-headed civilians overruled military advice and bulled ahead, and they did one of the stupidest thing imaginable in firing all of the old Iraqi army and thereby creating from well-armed and sometimes well-trained officers and enlisted men a deadly Sunni insurgency. Both U.S. Army and U.S. Marine generals know much about the problems of occupation. None are so blind as those who will not listen, and to the arrogance of power I know no cure.

BTW, civilians, especally Robert McNamara and LBJ went against strong military advice and thereby managed to turn Vietnam into the third worst war of the twentieth century. The big dangers we face are not from our military but from our civilian leaders who in their fatuous overconfidence think they know what they are doing.

Don Sailorman -

I agree 100% in that it is usually not the military that propels a country into war, but rather egotistical and messianic political leaders that override all rational debate and cannot see the outcome as anything other than the way they wish it to be.

Moving forward to WW II, if Hitler had listened to his generals, there probably wouldn't even have been a WW II, because few of them had any stomach for repeating WW I and finding themselve fighting again on two fronts. When he declared his intention to invade the Soviet Union, many of his generals thought that he was insane.

While I am certainly no fan of the US military, I will have to say that in both Iraq and what looks like a lead up to an attack on Iran,  the military has been the voice of reason and restraint. But if Seymour Hersch is correct, the military may not remain so restrained if indeed the Bush regime actually plans to use nukes against Iran. If there are mass high-level resignations in protest, will the Bush regime still be able to pull off a 'nucular' attack on Iran? Stay tuned.
Yes, both  Barbara Tuchman books were quite good.

BTW, another lesson of WW I was that colonies are ultimately a liability rather than an asset. Prior to WW I Great Britain and France coveted each others colonies while Germany more or less sat on the sidelines envious of both. In almost all cases, colonies became an albatross around the necks of the colonial powers.

And yet, for all of our supposed prowess in military planning and scenarios, we are trapped in a quagmire that was predictable and predicted.  The parallels to the British Iraqi invasion in the beginning of the 20th century are amazing (see Robert Fisk).  

I'm quite sure there were many professionals in the military that saw what was coming, but it didn't matter.  And I suspect what we are hearing in the Hersh story are the voices of that same group.  

There is no way for us to know for sure what is a contingency plan, a way-out hypothetical, intentional disinformation, or one of the final plans already decided on. We don't have the info, and we aren't going to get it until it becomes obvious.  

If people who are in the position to know about what kinds of plans are being considered are worried enough to leak in this manner (my conjecture), then it worries me greatly.  Would they do it if they did not take the matter seriously?  So sure, we make plans for everything, and most are never implemented - how often do people leak them to Hersh to try to stop them?

  I appreciate your better knowledge of History than mine, but I'd offer a different conclusion to the above...

"We need detailed scenarios of horror to prevent them from becoming realities."

  I think we've had a longstanding assumption that we need to put forth all the worst examples of evil, in order to find virtue.  We have had a century replete with fine examples of unimaginable horror, with each contestant vying to outdo its predecessor, be it a war or a movie of a war, or the dark prophesies of the most intense bloggers. Some of the most 'cautionary' and allegedly 'anti'war films have used extreme inhumanity to nail home their point, (Private Ryan, ThinRedLine, Schindler's List) and now I have to wonder if they, like a blitzkrieg-attack, were actually effective at sending their message.  (I do think Schindler was, of the above.. I actually just bought "Little-Big Man", too, which I felt tried to show both Horror and Hope in life.)

  I think it is very difficult to build and present any vision of peaceful, human socities in this traumatized inferno of our day and age, yet such visions do exist, and they are not 'politically unrealistic' or 'impossible'.. that is just the belief system that develops when people have had much of their hope beaten out of them by, in this case, Oil-drugged, mechanized warfare.  But instead of examples of Dire Trauma, I think we need to develop the pictures of the world we want to create, look for the things that we see working well and help build them up, look at 'What's right with this picture?'

"My optimism rests on my belief in the infinite possibilities of the individual to develop non-violence.  In a gentle way, you can shake the world."  M Ghandi



WW1 was just meant as a rough example to illustrate the problems one can encounter once the 'momentum' towards war gets moving, and how difficult it is to pull back, or put the geni back in the bottle. I didn't think you would show such an interest in WW1! There is a 'folk history' version of the conflict which I believe is less than accurate and not all that helpful. The Great War was definitely not 'unplanned' in any way, nobody stumbled into anything. The German battle plan was perhaps the most carefully thought out and detailed plan in the history of warfare. Nothing was left to chance, everything was included, down to almost hysterical detail. But still it was an enormous gamble. It was their version of 'shock and awe' if they could pull it off in time. If it worked, it worked, if it didn't it didn't. I suppose one could argue that they didn't have a plan B. I'm not sure that's relevant. The problem was, plan A had to succeed. If plan A failed the war was lost, because nothing else had a chance in hell of leading to victory! Given the economic resources and manpower at Germany's disposal, compared to Britain, France and Russia, it was imperative, that the war was as short as humanly possible. The Germans knew that a long war would mean stalemate and eventual defeat. Which is why a few months into the war, after the great plan had failed, the High Command went to the Kaiser and suggested negotiating with the enemy and asking for peace terms, before it was too late. The Kaiser refused to listen to his generals and prefered to continue with a war that most thinking people in the German military knew was almost certainly 'lost' in the sense of 'not being winable.'

Funny, when I wrote the above, I wondered what the hell it had to do with Iraq or Iran. I was pandering to you and being self-indulgent at the same time! Now, looking at it, it seems strangely relevant and kind of creepy and scary at the same time. Let's accept for the moment that Hersh is correct in the basics of his story. The generals have gone to Bush with their 'plan.' It's the only one they really believe will work. Do it right, or don't do it! Unfortunately, it contains the probable use of nuclear weapons at one stage or another. This is a big problem and a terrible dilema for the US army. Christ, our battle plan scenario contains the use of tactical nuclear weapons if we're serious about 'winning the game.' We might lose without the nuke option, so maybe we should look at this whole thing again, maybe there is an alternative to war with Iran. But like the German High Command, there really may not be an alternative plan that will work. This is the best of all possible plans, it's the only plan that will fulfil our objectives, only it's a plan that logically  requires the use of nukes. Now it get's really scary. The  President understands this, and Cheyney and Rumsfeld understand this, and the nukes are still in the frame, and they still want to go ahead with it! The nuke option is still on the table. That's the core of Hersh's article. And we're going to war with nukes in our back pocket, and yes, the generals are nervous as hell about it!

Let's hope this is just me and my big mouth/imagination flying off again, and not the way things are going down. Anyway the next few weeks and months will pretty much tell us if we really are going to venture down the road to hell with our eyes wide shut or not. Peace.

Personally, I think stopping an attack on Iran, is going to be touch and go. I hope it doesn't happen for a lot of different reasons, mostly the scale of destruction and the number of deaths involved.

I remember an interview I heard some time ago with a Saudi prince who used to head their secret service. I can't remember his name, sorry. I saw him on the television once, and he reminded me of whispering assasin. The interviewer stated that the prince had accurately predicted the disaster in Iraq a whole year before the actual invasion.

Why didn't you tell the Americans about your fears?
I did, I did, on more than one occasion.
What happened, what did they say?
Nothing happened, they just weren't listening. They didn't listen to anyone about anything.

writerman -

While WW I was not 'unplanned' in the sense that all the major powers had battle plans well developed in the eventuality that war did break out, the manner in which it just ignited and kept on moving relentlessly toward all-out war was definitely not expected. My own personal theory as to why this happened has to do with the major disconnect between the politicians that made 'policy' and the military that was charged with carrying out the manifestations of policy. One cannot be totally subordinated to the other. There has to be a constructive interaction, and from what I've read, I did not see much of that. The two weren't talking to each other, and when they did, they spoke a different language.

The military could not declare war, but knew what war was about. The politicians could declare war, but didn't know what war really was about. The two didn't speak to each other much. Many things that were thought to be politically possible were militarily impossible. And perhaps vice versa.

WW I was all about rivalries, commercial, military, and colonial. From the turn of the century pressures was building on many fronts. There were fault lines upon which these pressures were first felt. Then the fault lines grew and grew, until there was an earthquake. The rest, as they say, is history.

Perhaps it was just something that Europe had to get out of its system. A sort of  purging or re-equilibrating, if you will.

But, in a general sense, I am in agreement with you: Suddenly it's June 1914, and we are in just as much danger as Europe was then.

What the real difference was that, once mobilization of the troops started, war was inevitable. A vast wave of cannon fodder was moving to the front. Its different today, but the war propaganda machine is now a 400 lb gorilla. So if you are against the war you are a "nazi" and then if you submit and partake in that war you will again be considered a "nazi"!
"I think it's futile to try and keep Israel the only nuclear power in the region."

Which begs the question I often ask myself,

"Is having a nuclear arsenal any kind of deterrent any more, or is it, in fact, simply an Incentive for everyone else to keep up with the Jones'?"

What would be the downside in a US policy of starting to reallocate our Defense Expenditures away from our Nuclear programs, and just maintaining a robust and diverse 'conventional' force structure?  Certainly the 'Carrot' side of the diplomatic equation would have a lot of opportunities..  and would it necessarily strengthen other nuclear powers in relation to a downsizing by the US, or in fact allow a multilateral 'escape clause' to begin defueling the Nuclear Arms Industry?  It's actually the ONLY way I have a Pro-Nuke thought in my head, is using our warheads up to power our homes.  Talk about turning Swords into Ploughshares..

Amazing, I'm doing a little web surfing on the religious right and the Iran thing, and I go to the home page for the "Left Behind" book series.  What's the top story?  "Dinner with the Vice President" and "the three I's�Israel, Iraq, and Iran."

This news entry is cross referenced with one of the current end-times novels:

In the novel [Ezekiel Option], Iran is feverishly trying to build nuclear weapons, a dictator rises in Russia, and Moscow and Tehran begin to form a military alliance�a nuclear alliance�threatening Israel. Since it was first released in June 2005, several major fictional elements of The Ezekiel Option have come true. Don't miss this exciting novel.

I'm sure the pairing up at the top of this TOD thread, "Iran" and "Apocalypse Now," was meant to be a movie reference ... but we should be aware that some politically connected folks are grouping "Iran" and "Apocalypse" in a more literal way.

In the interests of trying to better understand the military balance of power here, I looked a little bit into this question of whether conventional weapons could destroy Natanz, which is apparently 18m (54 feet) underground, with 2.5m (8ft) of concrete above it.

It doesn't appear that the state of bunker busting conventional bombs has moved too much beyond the WWII developments by the British of the 5 ton Tallboy, and the 10 ton Grand Slam.  Those were basically very long heavy bombs with very strong cases that fell vertically from a great height, twisting as they went to stabilize them.  They created enormous underground craters when they exploded.

The Grand Slam could penetrate over 40m (140ft) into the ground, and could penetrate 4 to 7m (13-23ft)of concrete.

More recently, the 2.5 ton GBU-28 was designed and put into service in Iraq in only a month during the first Gulf War.  It could penetrate about 30m (100ft) of earth, and 6m (20 ft) of concrete.  The GBU-37 is essentially similar but is GPS guided instead of laser guided.

So, on the whole, it sounds like destroying Natanz is within the capability of existing conventional munitions, and that the state of the art of conventional bunker busters is not yet quite back to where it was in 1945 (in penetration capability - the guidance is obviously much better).  Presumably, given the enormous advances in materials and science since 1945, not to mention bombers that can carry a much bigger load than Lancasters, it ought to be a possible to produce conventional bunker-busting bombs that are far more capable than those at the end of the second world war.

For example, Depleted Uranium would be particularly effective for the casing of a bunker-buster because it is much heavier and much harder than steel, and it burns.  The environmental effects are obviously very bad.  However, there would be something poetic, in a dark way, about delivering uranium to Natanz in this manner...

Stuart, I'd like to response to your comments and a few other things that have come up on this thread.
  • Using tactical nukes was part of the standard contingency planning the Pentagon presented to the White House. However, as I heard Hersh say on the radio (NPR) today, the administration in now involved in what is termed operational planning, the next step forward. The critical point is that they refused to remove the tactical nukes from this new planning step even if what you say is true about the efficacy of conventional weapons regarding Natanz.
  • As regards the discussion of eschatological religious impulses, I believe they play no role whatsoever in the strategic planning of Bush & Company.
  • Concerning the Strait of Hormuz, I did not mention that because I believe CENTCOM could keep it open even after an attack on Iran. Natually, there would be the occasional successful attack by Iran. But CENTCOM has been contingency planning this scenario for years now.
  • As for those who say that this discussion is on the hysterical side, I would remind them of the past record of deceit and lies by the Bush administration. The stated reasons for the Iraq war regarding WMDs is all the evidence we need. But there are many other examples one could bring to bear. Sometimes sounding the alarm is the appropriate thing to do. This is one of those times.
  • Finally, for anyone who thinks this possible attack is justified, I will not argue that because it is outside the context of what I consider good mental health.
Just a few end of thread remarks....

best, Dave

Natanz is bombed and destroyed. So what?

Nothing has been achieved unless you also bomb and destroy the factories and machine shops that built the machines that sit in the subterranean halls of Natanz. So what?

Nothing has been achieved unless you bomb the place that produces the plans to build the machines that sit in the subterranean halls at Natanz. So what?

Nothing has been achieved unless you bomb the place that trains the men to draw the plans to build the machines that sit in the subterranean halls at Natanz. So what?

Nothing has been achieved unless you bomb the place that contains the men that direct the scholars who train the men to draw the plans to build the machines that sit in the subterranean halls at Natanz. So what?

Nothing has been achieved unless you bomb the place that feeds the men that inhabit the place that contains the men that direct the scholars who train the men who draw the plans to build the machines that sit in the subterranean halls at Natanz.

Are we done with bombing? I don't think so.
There is force protection, missile suppression, naval interdiction, and keeping all those nice tower cranes in Dubai from being toppled.

They recently renamed the War On Terror. It is now called The Long War.  It is suggested that it will last twenty years or more. I think they may be right.
Nothing has been achieved unless you hold the oil fields at the end.
> Concerning the Strait of Hormuz, I did not mention that
> because I believe CENTCOM could keep it open even after an
> attack on Iran. Natually, there would be the occasional
> successful attack by Iran. But CENTCOM has been contingency
> planning this scenario for years now.

Ah, but this misses the key point: It would in all likelihood be Lloyds of London that would close the Straits of Hormuz (e.g. the tanker traffic going through there). After the first such attack, insurance would either disappear or go through the ceiling. No insurance, no tanker charters, no oil deliveries.


The US military cannot keep the road from downtown Bahgdad to the airport open.  They sure as hell aren't going to be able to keep the Gulf safe for tankers.

If the US is idiotic enough to bomb Iran, no oil flows through the Straights until the US military leaves the Gulf.  That's Iran's challenge to the US.  

 It is not just the VLCCs at risk but also the military supply vessels required to support the troops in Iraq and the other installations and airfields in Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Bahrain etc.
My life insurance will not pay if I am killed "in any act of war declared or undeclared or in any act of terrorism"

Does maritime insurance have such caveats?

I believe so.
Whenever articles like this appear, the author or authors have to carefully identify all the actors, since labels like "crazy" "nuts" "religiously fanatic" "whacko" apply equally well to the President and/or leadership of Iran and the United States.  It becomes easy to mix them up in such stories.
here is an idea for the Iranians. Build your nuclear facilities on top of your oil fields, or how about a Holocaust © memorial/ nuclear enrichment facility?
All this talk of bombing Iran is silly. As I have said, Iraq has taught the US a lesson. As foolish as the neocons are, there is no way they are going to risk an attack, even an aerial one, on Iran. There is far too much at stake, not the least of which is the implications for the world oil market. What may seem like an "innocent" bombing campaign can become a catastrophe of global proportions: $100+ oil leading to global recessions, Iraqi Shiites massive uprising, Hezbollah & Hamas attacking Israel, counterstrikes by Iran on Hormuz or other US interests, etc. etc. All this while the US is bogged down in Iraq and facing preposterously expensive military budgets. There is also the China and Russia factor, not to mention India which is moving ahead with a Nat Gas pipeline. No, an attack on Iran is simply implausbile and improbable.  
Very well-stated. Congratulations!
Everything you say is reasonable. "As foolish as the neocons are..." you seem to trust that they will not make this colossal error, which they have already done in Iraq. The Iraq situation is now becoming a civil war and is utterly hopeless. We might as well declare victory and leave.

Re: "an attack on Iran is simply implausbile and improbable"

I agree with this because of the practical reasons and the fallout that would result, which I outlined in my post. But it doesn't matter whether you or I understand how crazy these operational plans are. What matters is what the US policy-makers think. There is considerable evidence that they are out of touch with reality and engage in group-think. That's what matters and was the reason for this post. Human history is replete with examples of this kind of foolhardy behaviour. Hitler invaded Russia and had his Stalingrad. (By the way, oil was a big motivation in that invasion. Never engage in a land war in Asia, etc.) That's what we're talking about here. I wish you, Sina, or even me, were considering and making these policy decisions. But, we're not, are we?

An attack on Iranian defense systems is plausible and probable - t.htm

This is about the long term security of USA oil and gas supply.

The USA industrial/military/political complex are simply engaging in long term strategic planning for USA Inc.

Bush may appear irrational; he is simply the 'gloss over' man to front to the world a job that will be done. With or without (and you can bet without) security council approval.

Hand wringing over spiking oil prices and recessionary conditions now are irrelevant to the long term strategic consideration - USA has the middle east, and now must overtly consolidate its position as 'top dog'.

The canine analogy is deliberate.

It's also about the short term security of China's oil and gas supply.

If the Chinese government simply explained to its increasingly nationalistic population that the US has been systematically constructing a noose around China so as to blackmail it in the future, I think the population will support the sending of troops to Iran.

There's a million Chinese guest workers in Angola now, so a Chinese presence in Iran could take many forms.

If ten thousand Chinese troops were sent to Khuzestan to establish its oil as a vital interest of 1.3 billion people, what would the US do?  It could punish China by cutting trade, but it's America that needs Chinese goods to function.  China is drowning in US dollars right now.

And China's current 5-Year Plan is an enormous shopping list of strategic materials that it is stockpiling.  It must be anticipating some kind of crisis where the US tries to shut down its economy.

Now personally I would think it's much more sensible for China to put a million men to work linking its newly purchased pipeline network in Kazakhstan to the Caspian, thus giving it the ability to import oil from any of the adjacent countries including Iran, but that will take time.  A strong response to protect Iran might get Cheney to blink and go back to the drawing board.

America, like Britain before it, assumes that all capitalism relies on merchant shipping to succeed, so they built navies that allowed them to dominate and threaten other capitalist states - we don't really believe in free trade.  But every month China sends more investments to central Asia, creating an unnoticed economic network extending to Iran, Pakistan, and many other countries, creating more jobs for Moslems than the US ever intends to.  The Chinese trade minister recently talked about an "Unlimited Silk Road".  I hope they intend to build a lot of electric rail powered by wind.

If this is geopolitics, it looks like the Chinese have more chips than we do.  We may only be a year or two away from an irreversible Chinese victory.  Are we willing to nuke China's economic allies over that?

Apocalypse NOW?  Its MORE CLOSER THAN YOU THINK.  Iran sits on a giant bed of oil and gas.  If a nuclear bomb starts it on fire, it'll be a fire that will never go out and will kill every living thing on the earth.  Get Me?  Worries about war in the middle-east will be over because the Giant Fire will Consume Us All.