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No schadenfreude in death
September 17, 2004 7:52 AM   Subscribe

A decision has been made to attack Fallujah after the first Tuesday in November, after the election: The violent political albatross of a secret Iraq with canceled elections.
posted by four panels (76 comments total)

 
But wait, this can't be true as I hear Fearless Leader proclaiming every day that things are getting better in Iraq!

Was it Times New Roman kerning I spotted on that commie web site you linked to?
posted by nofundy at 8:04 AM on September 17, 2004


"We have a growing, maturing insurgency group," [W Andrew Terrill, professor at the Army War College's strategic studies institute - and the top expert on Iraq there] told me. "We see larger and more coordinated military attacks. They are getting better and they can self-regenerate. The idea there are x number of insurgents, and that when they're all dead we can get out is wrong. The insurgency has shown an ability to regenerate itself because there are people willing to fill the ranks of those who are killed."
That's a message that needs to get out to the American people. And not just with regards to Iraq but the War on Terror as a whole. Here's where a lack of nuance and all this straight-talking cowboy bullshit is really going to bite us in the ass. We're not fighting Black Bart or Darth Vader here, as the president would have us view it.

A better analogy is fighting an massive bacterial infection. We can tend small areas with topical antibiotics, but we'll never get it all--resitant strains will develop--and while we're busy with that other parts of the body will fester. (To strain the analogy furhter) unless we can treat the body as a whole, from inside, eventually the infection will win.
posted by jpoulos at 8:16 AM on September 17, 2004


What upsets me when I read this is that people who support the war will just attack the Guardian and/or liberals in general. Or perhaps a one-liner of no use or relevance about Bush being guaranteed to win in November or something.

I'd really like to know from pro-war people, honestly: if this article is accurate, is there actually an answer? Something beyond Tinkerbellish "if we just believe" solutions?

This is one of the reasons I support Kerry on the war- the sheer fact that there's no way the U.S. is going to solve this- militarily OR diplomatically- on its own. And it feels like Bush has burned every global bridge available. I'm honestly asking here- outside of near-genocidal bombing, is there actually an option for the U.S. military to stabilize Iraq on its own? And how many lives will it cost? How many will be compared to other incidents and considered "acceptable?"
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:21 AM on September 17, 2004


Did I happen to mention that this invasion and occupation of Iraq is illegal?

Hmmm ... no ... must have been my anti-shrillness re-training caused me to neglect it. Sorry.
posted by nofundy at 8:26 AM on September 17, 2004


Pay attention, folks: If we end up with a military dictatorship in this country, it won't be enforced by the Army. It will be enforced by the National Guard.

I picked up a strain of anti-military thinking in the Bushites from nearly the beginning. Much as they distrusted him personally and may have found him aesthetically distasteful, the military hierarchy got most of what it wanted from Clinton. From the Bushites, they just get condescension.

We know that the regular Army hierarchy (way down into the lower ranks) has little regard for "the Pentagon", as Gen'l Odom and others have pointed out (again and again, actually, if you've been following them). But judging by Kerry's reception yesterday in LV, it seems the Bushites are still popular (for some bizarre reason) among the Guard.

My nightmare scenario involves Bush inflating the power of the Guard and taking even greater Federal control; they have to know by now that the regular Army might well "mutiny" (i.e., live up to their obligation under the Uniform Code to refuse unlawful orders) if they were asked to do things like, say, quell a large protest. But the Guard doesn't really have the same traditions of service; they could be deployed, and it could even look legal, since they're *not* the Army, after all.
posted by lodurr at 8:55 AM on September 17, 2004


Lodurr,
I don't know about the particular group of veterans that Bush and Kerry spoke to.
Who are they and what is their purpose? There are lots of groups that claim to represent veterans (Swift Boat Liars, for example) so it is proper to question the group.
Do they represent most veterans well in terms of opinions?
I do know what a group of veterans in West Virginia think about Bush. Maybe these are more representative of America's veterans?
posted by nofundy at 9:07 AM on September 17, 2004


Um, lodurr, in the unlikely event that the National Guard were to try to take over or take part in any kind of coup or dictatorship, you realize that the regular Army would stomp them flat?

Lesson 1: Part time army with less equipment<Real, full time professional army.

There's no way that the Army would simply stand and watch if anyone tried a takeover bid.
posted by unreason at 9:10 AM on September 17, 2004


What if it were the Army trying the takeover? Could that be lodurr's point?
posted by alumshubby at 9:21 AM on September 17, 2004


The rapidity of the emergence of sustained, directed organisational strategy within the Iraqi resistance groups last year as astonishing, as was their ability to adapt to US counter-insurgency tactics. It's like they are simply Googling the playbooks of the IRA, PLO, Shining Path, and so on, and extracting their "best practices" for immediate results.

If you look at the history of the US invasion of Vietnam after the French abandoned the country, there was a grace period while the Vietnamese resistance was incredibly disorganised, untrained, and ineffectual. It wasn't until around 1963 that they started to get their act together.

In Iraq there was no grace period and the Pentagon's casualty numbers have been dreadful and much higher than Vietnam at a similar historical stage. The Iraqi resistance was already mounting effective attacks on military convoys with *days* of "Mission Accomplished"! Couple that with the much greater sophistication of Iraq's largely urban populace (vs Vietnam's agrarian economy) and their access to funding via oil sales and narcotics trans-shipments, then yes, this is definitely a dire situation.
posted by meehawl at 9:22 AM on September 17, 2004


Nice pessimism, you got there sir. But there's nothing here that's going to get Kerry elected.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:30 AM on September 17, 2004


I'm frightened by another four years of this madness. Why are people so blinded by political loyalties that they can't see the damage that this administration has wrought? Are the masses really that ignorant, so overwhelmed by the FUD littered on their televisions and distributed by partisan media? How did we come to this? [thanks his lucky stars that he doesn't own a television]
posted by Raze2k at 9:39 AM on September 17, 2004


Nice pessimism, you got there sir. But there's nothing here that's going to get Kerry elected.

Two words sirrah: "Non sequitur". Look it up.
posted by meehawl at 10:12 AM on September 17, 2004


Nice pessimism, you got there sir. But there's nothing here that's going to get Kerry elected.

You know, the war is an election issue, but discussing critical issues about it doesn't always mean we're discussing how it affects Bush's poll numbers.

Way to prove my previous comment's prediction perfectly accurate. It's disgusting that you care only about this war in terms of petty snark about getting Bush re-elected.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:16 AM on September 17, 2004


Nice pessimism, you got there sir. But there's nothing here that's going to get Kerry elected.

Jesus Christ, what the fuck does this have to do with Kerry?
posted by SweetJesus at 10:45 AM on September 17, 2004


Unreason: I believe, in my heart, that you're right. I fear that you're wrong.

I believe -- at least, I want to believe -- that our current senior officer corps -- one of the best (if not the best) educated in the world -- would be horrified by any attempt by the Executive Branch to usurp power that they'd not stand for it, and take action.

But there are two important things to remember:

First, this would all look legal, at least, in the way that most people look at things nowadays. Not to us, no; but we're not like most people. And it would be hard to move the Regular Branches to arguable treason over somethign that looked legal.

Second, it would set a very, very bad precedent if we needed to be rescued from ourselves by the Army.

This is all a nightmare scenario, I know, but I find it less and less implausible as I go along. I've been thinking about this scenario for a couple of years, now, and it just gets scarier.

Alumshubby: No, unreason got my point. And his point is well taken, to a point. That point being that to the Services, setting duty against country is a recipe for confusion, and the most likely outcome of confusion is inaction. Put another way: If the pot is heated slowly, I think the Army would, in fact, stand by and watch.
posted by lodurr at 10:50 AM on September 17, 2004


Before revolution comes, can we steer this back to the original topic?

This quote from W Andrew Terrill, I find particularly unsettling: "There's talk of angels and the Prophet Mohammed coming down from heaven to lead the fighting, talk of martyrs whose bodies are glowing and emanating wonderful scents."

Now, I may be dreaming here, but did I read something here in the blue or elsewhere in the world that talked about a link between certain divisions of Islamic fundamentalism and the use of MDMA? Because perceived beautiful martyrs sounds a bit trippier than your everyday faith-based fervor.
posted by grabbingsand at 11:03 AM on September 17, 2004


nofundy: I was referring to a conference of the National Guard Association of the United States at which Kerry spoke yesterday [NYT] [speech text].
posted by lodurr at 11:04 AM on September 17, 2004


...unlikely event that the National Guard were to try to take over or take part in any kind of coup or dictatorship, you realize that the regular Army would stomp them flat?

Well, as soon as they swim over from Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany, Korea and Hawaii, sure.
posted by eriko at 11:07 AM on September 17, 2004


"We're in trouble in Iraq and Afganistan. Basically we are playing chess & they are playing go. We cannot win with force."

- Seymour Hersh, Hampden-Sydney College, 9/9/04 (realmedia from CSPAN)
posted by nyoki at 11:08 AM on September 17, 2004


grabbingsand: If that were true, it would tend to shatter a few myths about MDMA -- e.g., the myth of it being all about "peace" and "love".... it would be fascinating, for sure.
posted by lodurr at 11:44 AM on September 17, 2004


"If we leave and there's no civil war, that's a victory."

There's your current optimal outcome. Such as it is.
posted by y2karl at 11:58 AM on September 17, 2004


lodurr, I have absolutely no idea where you're getting these ideas from about "mutiny" and military coups and such. That's pure fringe-talk, and will not happen here in any of our lifetimes.
posted by davidmsc at 12:55 PM on September 17, 2004


Golly, david, excuse me so very much for using my brain to think of possible future scenarios. I'm so very relieved to have your extremely reliable word that our Dear Leader won't be trying to arrogate any more power to the Executive Branch.

BTW, you might want to take note that I never used the term "coup" -- though, if (say) the Army intervened to stop the Executive Branch from using the National Guard to institute an effective martial law, that's what we'd call it. What I'm describing would be more accurately termed a "self-coup".

But as I said, I'm glad and gratified to know that it will never happen in our lifetimes. Now I can safely relax all vigilance against such an occurrence...
posted by lodurr at 1:30 PM on September 17, 2004


For the sake of argument, david, why not?

We see an administration willing to do most anything to stay in power. Why is it out of the realm of possibility? Isn't that always supposed to be an option here, that either we or they can rebel? Isn't it built in?
posted by amberglow at 1:39 PM on September 17, 2004


DU ammunition comes out of the gun barrel on fire-- I imagine that people hit with a few rounds are glowing for a second or two. I think the MDMA stuff is apocryphal, but since Israel leads the world MDMA trade, and there is heavy smuggling on the border with Israel, it's not outside the boundaries of speculation that Palestinians may have cottoned onto that trade and/or use. But again, I don't think anyone has ever offered any proof of that.
posted by cell divide at 1:42 PM on September 17, 2004


... that either we or they can rebel? Isn't it built in?

How unfashionably Jeffersonian of you...
posted by lodurr at 2:00 PM on September 17, 2004


I reject the axiom, because Fallujah is being invested *right now*, not sometime in November. In fact, the US Army, sometimes ahead, sometimes without, sometimes besides, and now sometimes behind the Iraqi Army is strongly pounding away at the insurgents and foreigners in about a dozen cities and parts of cities.
Why the convoluted previous sentence? As was explained in the Iraq the Model blog, there are very different ethnic and political mixes at play, that take a finessed response. For example, Tall Afar, west of Mosul, was a haven for smugglers and foreign fighters entering from Syria. The US attacked Tall Afar with Iraqi *Kurds*, willing to take on the native Turkmen population.
Whereas Fallujah is almost an entirely US operation, as the fighters there are Baathist, foreign, and more than willing to use the local population as shields. They are fighting to retain Sunni dominance over their fellow Iraqi.
Baghdad, Sadr City, and most recently Haifa Street, are mostly Mehdi remnants, some Zarqwari supporters and street gangs. The US might follow the Iraqi Army there, but will probably not enter in force by itself.

None of this is a November Surprise. Or even a post-election trick. It is a complex scheme to break the back of all of these disparate anti-Iraqi forces prior to *the Iraqi* January elections. And, will the "resistance" stop, once the elections are held. No.

The "resistance" will simply be re-named a "revolutionary" movement, that seeks to overthrow the legitimate elected government of Iraq. It will still be supported by Iran and Syria, and still get funding from Saddam's expat relatives. But by then, and already underway, the borders will become increasingly tight, and Iraq's Army and police forces will continue to grow and develop.
posted by kablam at 2:06 PM on September 17, 2004


it would tend to shatter a few myths about MDMA -- e.g., the myth of it being all about "peace" and "love"

Are you aware that Reagan's favourite nefarious Apartheid regime in South Africa once considered manufacturing industrial quantities of MDMA to use for narcotic crowd control?

It was all part of their rather nasty biochem weapons program.
posted by meehawl at 2:45 PM on September 17, 2004


Nice pessimism, you got there sir. But there's nothing here that's going to get Kerry elected.

You know PP, it's not all about getting Kerry elected. This FPP is about seeing reality for what it is instead of adopting the President's stupid, self-serving, baseless optimism.
posted by clevershark at 2:54 PM on September 17, 2004


a link between certain divisions of Islamic fundamentalism and the use of MDMA...

What you mentioned sounds more like LSD, frankly. And we do know that the armed forces had a keen interest in LSD going as far back as its invention...
posted by clevershark at 2:55 PM on September 17, 2004


Is Fallujah intended to be the true start of WW3 (a la Jim Woolsey) ?

What will it take to "Pacify" Falujah ? Answer : razing it to the ground, like Grozny.

This will not play well in the Muslim world and in Iran, and the US can use the Islamic backlash against the razing of Fallujah (and other insurgent urban areas) as a pretext to take on Iran.

Just saying.....
posted by troutfishing at 3:02 PM on September 17, 2004


How unfashionably Jeffersonian of you...
I know...how sad is that tho?
posted by amberglow at 3:08 PM on September 17, 2004


It's like they are simply Googling the playbooks of the IRA, PLO, Shining Path, and so on, and extracting their "best practices" for immediate results.

Of course they also have Afghanistan practically as a next door neighbour. Of which the residents managed to harrass the Soviets for years until they finally left. Afghanistan is a perfect nation for guerilla war which certianly helped but you got to think some of the expereince learned there is being used in Iraq.
posted by Mitheral at 3:27 PM on September 17, 2004


This will not play well in the Muslim world and in Iran, and the US can use the Islamic backlash against the razing of Fallujah (and other insurgent urban areas) as a pretext to take on Iran.


With what resources? All of the asshats proclaiming that Iran is next continually avoid the question of *HOW*. With what fucking resources can we invade anybody at this point? This should be scaring the living shit out of the American electorate but we seem to be saying "oh well, duh, okay". Tactics, people. What can we expend to attack anybody else right now?

Shit.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:02 PM on September 17, 2004


Jesus Christ, what the fuck does this have to do with Kerry?

Wow! If I had a nickle for every time I could have said (and have) the same thing in about 1 billion other threads, when someone makes a similar comment about Bush.
Hypocrites. One day y'all will see that.
posted by Witty at 4:53 PM on September 17, 2004


[UPDATE 2: While my opponents call me hypocritical, it turns out that they were the REAL hypocrites all along!! That's like the most hypocritical thing ever!! Times twelve!!!]
posted by Armitage Shanks at 5:38 PM on September 17, 2004


Wulfgar!: As to how the US could fight Iran next, it is not a simple thing, but not impossible. For example, the US would have to calculate what it wanted to achieve by attacking, which in turn would determine the methodology.

As far as resources go, the simple rule is that the less manpower available to the US, the more it would have to rely on its formidable supply of air-delivered weapons.

It would have to factor in any number of possible Iranian responses, and international repercussions, such the effect of the attack on the oil market. Would Iran try to destroy their own fields, or Saudi Arabia's, or Iraq's?

And right at the head of the list, the US has to determine what Iran will do if the US *doesn't* attack. Will it throw a nuclear weapon at Israel, or Europe? Will it attempt to blackmail the world by threatening to destroy much of the world oil supply, or choke off the Persian Gulf?

In other words, the US may not have a choice.

Attacking is always the last option, however, and the US and many other countries have been working very hard to try, by hook or by crook, to diplomatically get the Iranians to stop trying to create nuclear weapons. Not unilaterally, but together, many nations are trying to get them to cut it out. It is not belligerence that is propelling them. It is a desperate effort to *avoid* war. So far, unsuccessfully.

Before WWII, Japan insisted on "having its place in the sun". The US tried several things to get them to not go to war. But they were adamant. I might also add that one of their big reasons for trying to conquer the Pacific was oil, too. The US tried stopping their import of scrap US steel being used to make weapons, we tried any number of diplomatic initiatives. None worked. They wanted war. Conquest. Empire. Anything else was a sign of weakness, and to be despised.

So that is the $64 question. Can Iran just coexist with the rest of the world, or must it have "its place in the sun?" Are the mullahs satisfied with ruling their own nation, or must they reach out to conquer others? Like the Nazis invading Czechoslovakia to "protect" the Germans living there, will the Iranians want to invade southern Iraq to "protect" the Shiites? What of the Shiites in Afghanistan? Azerbaijan? Turkmenistan? Saudi Arabia?
Most of all, must they destroy Israel because it represents everything, literally everything that they hate?

A war is not the first step in a journey of a thousand miles, it is the last.
posted by kablam at 6:24 PM on September 17, 2004


How if we try just coexisting with the world for once?

And throwing WW2 into the calculations is absurd, until Iran or Iraq or any country actually attacks us, something that has not happened.
posted by amberglow at 6:31 PM on September 17, 2004


None of this is a November Surprise. Or even a post-election trick. It is a complex scheme to break the back of all of these disparate anti-Iraqi forces prior to *the Iraqi* January elections. And, will the "resistance" stop, once the elections are held. No.

LOL.
posted by delmoi at 6:58 PM on September 17, 2004


Yeah, look - Kablamo (so apt!) First let me say thanks for representing a differing viewpoint in such a pleasingly non-shrill and reasoned manner. Actual arguments with reasons and everything- cool! But...

All of this supposed in depth knowledge of the various ethnic groups and power plays comes from where? The "intelligence community"? and is thus how close to reality? While you're busy bringing other wars into the metaphor soup, what about Vietnam? (lonely sound of wind whistling... a tumbleweed bounces past) What happens when a formidable air weapon clutching superpower spends a bunch of time and bombs trying to convince the people of some other country that they are there to "liberate" but are instead start smelling more like an occupier everyday? HELLO, THEY FUCKING LOSE AND GO HOME!!! that my learned retired-CNBC-talking-head-general-type is a more recent lesson than FUCKING JAPAN in WWII!

while we're squirting opinions out of our various orifices, let me just say that I think Iran would definitely be a bit of a surprise as in ooops bit off more than we can chew. Unless they actually attacked us and we responded with nuclear weapons, an army guy invasion would make your "complex scheme" in Iraq look like a tea party. (and not the nice violent revolutionary boston type either, I mean something more like i had with my 2yr old this afternoon - there was some dolls and a frog)
posted by dorcas at 8:15 PM on September 17, 2004


lodurr: as much as I appreciate your snark, come on -- I'm not trying to be offensive, but for crying out loud, remove the tin-foil. You're smarter than that. It's just not gonna happen. But to make it interesting: if it DOES happen, I'll owe you a Coke.

amberglow: for the sake of argument, WHY? It's just not gonna happen. "...anything to stay in power..." Riiiiiight. No, I don't think that President Bush (or Cheney, or Rove, or Rummy, et al) will try to steal the election/overthrow the lawful order/etc.
posted by davidmsc at 8:22 PM on September 17, 2004


Attacking is always the last option, however

Riiiiiiiight. It was definitely a last option for Iraq. Oh yes.

Are the mullahs satisfied with ruling their own nation, or must they reach out to conquer others?

Absolutely not. Mullah Falwell and Mullah Robertson seem determined to first impose a theocratic regime within North America and then export that regime by force and intimidation throughout the world. They must be stopped!

Most of all, must they destroy Israel because it represents everything, literally everything that they hate?

Oh I see, you are not talking about USian Mullahs but Persian Mullahs. Okay then, I think you're mistaken,. The Islamic Revolution within Iran has long passed its youthful expansionist phase and is now engaged in maintaining its power within Iranian society. In essence, what you are seeing is analogous to the Soviet Union's move away from Lenin-Trotsky expansion-of-revolution passed Stalinism and into the dog days of internal retrenchment under Brezhnev -Andropov.

Iran has already had its initial revolutionary fervour dampened during its own "Great Patriotic War" against Saddam's Iraq. That war eliminated many of the youthful cadres of pro-Islamic students and workers. In the decades since the Islamic regime has become further distanced from the growing cohorts of Iranians who now view the Revolution as something distant, historical, something that happened to their parents.

Iran in recent years has not behaved arbitrarily and presumptively, as you seem to indicate in your message, but in fact seems to be one of the more rational actors within Middle East power politics. Its control over the regional situation in the last few years has been strengthened immeasurably. First their proxies in the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan have, with US help, ejected Iran's major ideological rivals, the Taliban. Secondly, Iranian intelligence managed to use disinformation concerning WMDs to sucker play some of the dimmer elements of the Bush Gang into invading Iraq and eliminating Saddam, their major rival to the East.

Thanks to recent actions by the US, Iran's rulers proably feel more secure within their little Islamic theme park than at any time in history. The impotent spectacle of a US occupation force being singularly unable to control a weakened Iraq (one-third the size of Iran and much less well-armed and with negligible defensive terrain) has exposed US imperial ambitions within the region as hollow and meritless.

All of Iran's actions over the past 10 years have been those of a rational state, or as rational as you can get in such a volatile part of the world. Why would they "destroy" Israel when it provides such a useful external enemy? Israel's continued existence provides a safety valve for militant Iranian-influenced Islamic radicals to hate, and to mount piddling operations against. In this way those radicals are diverted from questioning the state of the revolution withijn Iran proper. That's why Iran continues to fund showy but useless organisations like Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad - they make for good headlines on Arab TV and keep the militant masses entertained and fired up. Eastasia is our enemy and all that.

The only sensible course is for the US to stop treating Islamic Iran like a rabid dog. You backed Mohammad Reza Pahlav, a cruel, increasingly deranged and ultimately ineffectual despot. He lost. They won. Get over it, get some perspective, and engage them in realpolitik.
posted by meehawl at 8:52 PM on September 17, 2004


major rival to the East

That should be West, of course.
posted by meehawl at 8:54 PM on September 17, 2004


I have absolutely no idea where you're getting these ideas from about "mutiny" and military coups and such.

And such is the case in America's past also David?

(BTW, the thread about re-inlistment needs your comments, what with you being in the Military and all)
posted by rough ashlar at 9:40 PM on September 17, 2004


We've had mutinies and miltary coups? News to me.
posted by davidmsc at 12:12 AM on September 18, 2004


lodurr: as much as I appreciate your snark, come on -- I'm not trying to be offensive, but for crying out loud, remove the tin-foil. You're smarter than that. It's just not gonna happen. But to make it interesting: if it DOES happen, I'll owe you a Coke.

As always, davidmsc, your arguments are well-founded and logically air-tight.
posted by jpoulos at 5:22 AM on September 18, 2004


We've had mutinies and miltary coups? News to me.

Yup.

http://www.carpenoctem.tv/cons/whitehouse.html
It was not successful as at least one Marine had a backbone.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:53 AM on September 18, 2004


meehawl: news, just today:

"Iran’s Revolutionary Guards announce test of unnamed "long-range, strategic missile" against fictitious enemy positions during maneuver watched by spiritual leader Ali Khamenei."

Now, you personally may feel that Iran is behaving in a rational manner. However, the US, and Europe, and Israel, are very scared that Iran doesn't just want to join the nuclear club, bad enough as that is, but that is also wants to *use* those weapons.

And Iran just won't bargain. They are vigorously trying to develop nuclear weapons, and they are also actively creating a ballistic weapon capable of carrying them. They reject IAEA inspections, and officially insist that they have the "right" to have nuclear weapons.

The pacing is an important part. If they just toodled on for years, like India or Pakistan, then suddenly announced they had nuclear weapons, it would be less scary. But Iran has a "We must have nuclear weapons, NOW!" attitude that is scaring about everybody.

For their part, both the US and Israel are killing themselves trying to develop an anti-ballistic missile "The Arrow", capable of shooting down the latest Iranian SHAHAB ballistic missile version. The US is even installing surface to air batteries in southeastern Europe to protect *Europe* from an Iranian missile threat.

Is any of this registering on the Mullahs? That they are scaring the rest of the world? Or does this make them feel powerful. Dominant. Macho?

Very soon, the US, *and* Israel, *and* Europe will have to make a decision about this activity. Diplomatically, they are begging Iran to stop, or slow down, or join with the UN and IAEA to stop scaring everybody.

But so far, the Iranians have not. And that may be their epitaph.
posted by kablam at 8:25 AM on September 18, 2004


They reject IAEA inspections, and officially insist that they have the "right" to have nuclear weapons.

So does the United States.

Maybe their "'We must have nuclear weapons, NOW!' attitude" is due to their being put on the Axis of Evil list and seeing two of their neighbors attacked by the US, one under false pretenses.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:53 AM on September 18, 2004


What kirkaracha said. Why is it that we can do whatever the hell we want, including invading countries that did nothing to us, yet other countries have to behave? We're the model for Iran's behavior--why should they sit back and watch us place so many bases in Iraq, right next door? If i was Iran, I'd be doing the same protective shit that they're doing.

This attitude of us making the rules, yet ignoring the ones we don't agree with, is bullshit, and failing miserably. We're actually encouraging Iran's actions.
posted by amberglow at 9:01 AM on September 18, 2004


Kablam, I think you're grossly mistaken in your assessment of missile defenses and Iranian ballistic missiles. The goal of deploying systems that can defeat Iranian IRBMs (are they even IRBMs?) is to maintain the current balance of power in that region, not to protect against an expected attack. Currently, Iran has essentially zero military capability against European nations -- and Europe would like to keep it that way.
posted by Ptrin at 10:22 AM on September 18, 2004


Missile Defense: Mission Unaccomplished
posted by homunculus at 11:04 AM on September 18, 2004


"Balance of Power" applies to the Middle East. Then why develop rockets capable of striking Europe at 4000km? Will Iran only feel "safe" if it can directly attack the coast of the United States? In other words, are these being developed as defensive or offensive weapons, remembering that just their posession is a tacit threat.

http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/shahab6.htm

http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/iran/missile/map-long.gif

And, among other targets the Iranians might attack, is Israel, US forces in Iraq, US fleets in the Persian Gulf, Europe, and even the Saudi oilfields. Remember that Iran is a nation with a de facto absolute ruler, whose guardian council controls anything produced by their parliament and president. And, the point remains, that they are trying, and succeeding, to *scare* the rest of the world.
posted by kablam at 11:13 AM on September 18, 2004


I think we're the ones doing the scaring, and threatening, in the region, and the rest of the world.
posted by amberglow at 11:22 AM on September 18, 2004


Iraq had no WMD: the final verdict
posted by homunculus at 12:41 PM on September 18, 2004


They are vigorously trying to develop nuclear weapons, and they are also actively creating a ballistic weapon capable of carrying them. They reject IAEA inspections, and officially insist that they have the "right" to have nuclear weapons.

As kirkaracha says, this now seems to be standard operating procedure for nations. I note that you continually mention Israel, which to this day officially denies possession of bacteriological, chemical, and nuclear stockpiles yet is undeniably a Regional superpower possessing not only massive stockpiles of WMDs, but also a conventional military strength several times stronger than any combination of its neighbours. I note further that the current US military regime is actively pursuing the development of new tactical and battlefield nuclear weapons - in direct contravention of various non-proliferation accords. The current US military regime also voluntarily withdrew the United States from several nuclear antiballistic accords, and also unilaterally withdrew the US from UN-mandated CBW inspection programs.

Given the current disdain advertised by the US military regime for all manner of multilateral anti-profiliferation negotiations, I see the recent acceleration race by smaller regimes to acquire or finalise their ABC arsenals as a regrettable consequence of this policy.

I also think you're still mistaken in painting the Iranian regime as "Mad Mullahs" not amenable to classic containment strategies. If they really were suicidally evangelistic then they had pleanty of opporutnities in the past to launch destabilising attacks or initiatives. The fact that they did not shows they care more about concentrating on maintaining their own grip on power within their borders than they do on exporting the Islamic Revolution.

I note also that one revelation of the mid-1990s and onwards concerning the Soviet Union in terms of released Politbureau memoranda is how vulnerable the Soviet regime felt. Contrary to popular Western propaganda of an aggressive, implacable enemy bent on strategising for the domination of Western Europe, instead the picture that emerges from the memos is how desperate they were to avoid conflict and be secure within their borders.
posted by meehawl at 1:40 PM on September 18, 2004


meehawl: "...how desperate they were to avoid conflict and be secure within their borders."

But that is just the argument. There are times when the police should back off from a heavily-armed paranoid barricaded in his house, like the Soviet Union; but what happens when he is so overwhelmed by fear and paranoia, that he feels he must *attack* to *defend*?

The difference here, with the Soviet Union, or with the US for those who insist it is the paranoid attacker, and Iran, is that the Russians and the US were and are always ready to talk, to negotiate, almost annoyingly so, when war is at stake. They are under no illusion that the world is run by "The Zionist Conspiracy", or other such nonsense.

Both the Russians and the US dwell in the land of realism, not in some invisible-god-dictated morality play. But Iran, ruled by priests, is faced with an internal game of one upmanship, of who can be "holier than thou." Much like Japan was caught in the militaristic equivalent.

For example, if a senior commander judged a military attack too dangerous, and enthusiastic subordinate might demand the right to lead the attack anyway, out of sheer chutzpah. And his senior officer would be hard-pressed to say "no".

This leads to a very dangerous game. If most Iranian leaders don't want a war, how long can they withstand being called "Zionist agents", by a vocal, radical minority, for opposing a war?

How many Iranian leaders truly *believe* that Israel *is* Satan? That is, that the Jewish state is some kind of collective personification of a real, living demon, that must be destroyed at all cost? In Russia or the US, such ideas would be laughable. No sane person would think such a thing. But the same thing cannot be said of Iran.

And therein lies the problem. "Failsafe", the nuclear war prevention system, was designed to insure that a single madman could not start a nuclear war. A group, a committee, must decide. But it is a creation of realism, not religious zeal. There is no comparable system to "nuclear surety" in Iran. But there are plenty of zealots.

Or so thinks the US. And Europe.
posted by kablam at 3:59 PM on September 18, 2004


Great posts meehawl.

a finessed response.
When has that happened again?
It is a desperate effort to *avoid* war.
Stop it kablam, my ribs are sore from laughing!
And, kablam, do tell us how the US and Israel are immune from the same rules as the rest of the world? (also thanks for being reasonble in posting your thoughts)
posted by nofundy at 4:03 PM on September 18, 2004


the US dwell in the land of realism, not in some invisible-god-dictated morality play.

You certain that still is the case?
posted by rough ashlar at 5:22 PM on September 18, 2004


Contrary to popular Western propaganda of an aggressive, implacable enemy bent on strategising for the domination of Western Europe, instead the picture that emerges from the memos is how desperate [the Soviets] were to avoid conflict and be secure within their borders.

Which is not surprising considering that they were the objects of huge invasions by Napoleon and Hitler, and the United States and its allies sent troops into Russia to support the White Russians during the Russian Civil War. Oh, and the American take on the Cuban Missile Crisis is that the godless Commies put missiles 90 miles away from Florida, but that was after we put missles in Turkey, right next door to the Soviet Union.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:31 PM on September 18, 2004


nofundy: I can do that one better with another news item from today:

"The UN International Atomic Energy Agency's ruling body 35-nation board told Iran Saturday to freeze all aspects of uranium enrichment by November deadline and cooperate with UN inspectors – or else answer to UN Security Council."

Now 35 other countries say that Iran is pushing too hard, too fast. The debate isn't what the US or Israel do, they are not at issue here.

So many people are trying to tell Iran to cool it, to not be so aggressive, to cooperate with the UN on a life-or-death matter of great consequence.

"For the Iranian's part, Hossain Mousavian, the chief Iranian delegate, has held out the possibility of meeting the resolution's key demand, that Iran suspend all uranium enrichment and related programmes, which is technology that can be used for nuclear weapons. The Iranians also plan to convert more than 40 tonnes of raw uranium into uranium hexafluoride, gas that when spun in centrifuges turns into enriched uranium.

Iran's "decision-makers will decide about the main request, full suspension," in the next few days, he said.


In the meantime, today, " Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on Saturday inspected the latest stage of the military exercise of the Basij (volunteer forces). The Ashoura 5 grand military exercise of the Basij has been going on in western Iran for eight days with participation of 12 divisions of the Basij supported by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). The Basij carried out the military exercise against hypothetical enemy in an area of 60,000 square kilometers. The magnitude of military exercise has been unprecedented."

So, added up, the test firing of a nuclear-capable missile in the middle of a major military exercise, right next to Iraq, at the same time as negotiations are underway, is not what I would call a "confidence building measure", or seeking a way to "diffuse tensions."
posted by kablam at 5:45 PM on September 18, 2004


Back to Fallujah:

By invading Iraq, the United States in effect took Fallujah and much of the rest of Anbar Province from Saddam and gave it to Osama bin Laden. If that is George Bush’s definition of victory, it would be interesting to know what he would consider a defeat.--from Soldiers For The Truth
posted by amberglow at 6:33 PM on September 18, 2004


Both the Russians and the US dwell in the land of realism, not in some invisible-god-dictated morality play ... if a senior commander judged a military attack too dangerous, and enthusiastic subordinate might demand the right to lead the attack anyway, out of sheer chutzpah. And his senior officer would be hard-pressed to say "no" ... some kind of collective personification of a real, living demon, that must be destroyed at all cost? In Russia or the US, such ideas would be laughable. No sane person would think such a thing. But the same thing cannot be said of Iran.

You seem to have compartmentalised political irrationality into "ours" (nonexistent) and theirs "prevalent". Congratulations.

Commanders in the US dwell in realism? Have you been following events in Iraq recently? Did you happen to see the recent video of Mr Rumsfeld claiming Saddam Hussein was still in hiding? That he ordered assassination attempts on Afhgan warlords? These people have a tenuous grip on facts, let alone reality.

And the idea that US commanders would launch an underpowered initiative despite numerous warnings against its ultimate success? Oh yes, that could never happen.

And as for religious tolerance among the US warrior caste? William Boykin.

Finally, I will leave you with this gem:
Not for our eyes were the notes that showed White House staffers taking two-hour meetings with Christian fundamentalists, [with] a group whose representative in Israel believed herself to have been attacked by witchcraft unleashed by proximity to a volume of Harry Potter. Most of all, apparently, we're not supposed to know the National Security Council's top Middle East aide consults with apocalyptic Christians eager to ensure American policy on Israel conforms with their sectarian doomsday scenarios.

posted by meehawl at 6:48 PM on September 18, 2004


Now you're just ranting. And that was some weird snippage you did, plus missing the italicization. And no, just because some Xtian wackos have visited the WH at some time, it doesn't mean that the government is dominated, heavily influenced by, or gives two hoots for what they believe. It doesn't. Not a lot and not a little.

However, Iran comes out with frequent pronouncements about "demons" and "Satan" and "Zionist conspiracy" and other bizarre pronouncements like that from their leaders, not just from some visitor to their high Poobah.

And, once again, do not lay all of this on the shoulders of the US. About the only supporter Iran has to its nuclear ambitions right now is Russia, but otherwise there are only two options: either Iran discontinues its activites (not likely); or the matter will be referred to the UNSC in November.

This will put Russia, their remaining ally, on the spot, with everyone else, the US, Britain, France, and China, PLUS the non-voting members asking Russia to stop supporting Iran *and* for Iran to cut it out. At that point, Russia is the only thing that is stopping enforcement, and NOT just by the US, but by EVERYONE.

Now, it is ALL up to Iran. Will they want to become an outlaw state, or do they stop trying to make nuclear weapons? Are they truly sane and non-violent, like you seem to want to suggest, or are they a clear and present danger to EVERYONE around them?

You and I cannot answer that question. Only Iran can.
posted by kablam at 8:20 PM on September 18, 2004


metailter : "squirting opinions out of our various orifices"


" Iran comes out with frequent pronouncements about "demons" and "Satan" and "Zionist conspiracy" and other bizarre pronouncements like that from their leaders" (kablam)

Kablam, like these sorts of statements ? :

"General Explains Himself

Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin has made several speeches - some in uniform - at churches in which he said the U.S. was fighting a war with Satan. "He does not see this battle as a battle between religions, he sees this as a battle between good and evil, the evil being the acts of individuals."
Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  A top Pentagon general has requested an investigation of his church speeches casting the war on terrorism in religious terms, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday. .....Several Islamic and religious freedom groups and foreign officials criticized Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin last week when reports surfaced of his comments during several speeches at evangelical Christian churches. Boykin said the enemy in the war on terrorism was Satan, that God had put President George W. Bush in the White House and called one Muslim Somali warlord an idol-worshipper. ....As CBS News Nationsal Security Correspondent David Martin reported last week, Boykin had raised eyebrows with remarks he had made to church groups. .....A decorated veteran of foreign campaigns, the three-star general said of a 1993 battle with a Muslim militia leader in Somalia: "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol."

Asked about that comment, Boykin told CBS News he was not referring to the Muslim God, Allah, but to the Somali warlord's worship of money as an idol. He added that he does not believe the war against terror is a battle between Islam and Christianity.

Martin reports Boykin has shown church groups photos he took of Mogadishu with black slashes in the sky which he says did not come from any defect in the camera or film.

"Whether you understand it or not, it is a demonic spirit over the city of Mogadishu. Ladies and gentlemen, that's not a fake, that's not a farce," Boykin said.

The Pentagon released a statement from Boykin apologizing to those who were offended and saying the three-star general did not mean to insult Islam."


Just saying - you are oddly aware of these sorts of statements (quite numerous) made by Americans which conform otherwise to your "bizarre pronouncements like that from their leaders" characterization.

US rhetoric is also very extreme.

I see no evil children in the World.
posted by troutfishing at 8:44 PM on September 18, 2004


The Third Temple's Holy of Holies: Israel's Nuclear Weapons

Warner D. Farr, LTC, U.S. Army
The Counterproliferation Papers
Future Warfare Series No. 2
USAF Counterproliferation Center
Air War College
Air University
Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama
September 1999


...Another speculative area concerns Israeli nuclear security and possible misuse. What is the chain of decision and control of Israel's weapons? How susceptible are they to misuse or theft? With no open, frank, public debate on nuclear issues, there has accordingly been no debate or information on existing safeguards. This has led to accusations of “monolithic views and sinister intentions.” Would a right wing military government decide to employ nuclear weapons recklessly? Ariel Sharon, an outspoken proponent of “Greater Israel” was quoted as saying, “Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches.” Could the Gush Emunim, a right wing religious organization, or others, hijack a nuclear device to “liberate” the Temple Mount for the building of the third temple? Chances are small but could increase as radicals decry the peace process. A 1997 article reviewing the Israeli Defense Force repeatedly stressed the possibilities of, and the need to guard against, a religious, right wing military coup, especially as the proportion of religious in the military increases.

posted by y2karl at 10:30 PM on September 18, 2004


On topic:

Abduction, murder, mayhem in the week the peace was lost

Iraq this weekend is a country out of control. Iyad Allawi, the interim Iraqi Prime Minister, meets Tony Blair today amid a crisis over a British engineer kidnapped with two American colleagues, a spate of suicide bombings and armed clashes from one end of the country to the other. Mr Allawi himself has full authority only within the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad. A few hundred yards away, the Haifa Street district, a stronghold of the resistance, can be penetrated only by US tanks and infantry backed by helicopters.

When the US and Britain as the occupying powers in Iraq transferred sovereignty to an interim government led by Mr Allawi on 28 June, many Iraqis expressed hopes that security would improve. Instead it has got worse. Last week suicide bombs ripped through the centre of Baghdad. The number of attacks on US troops is increasing. Casualties from American air strikes pour into the hospital in Fallujah, its floor awash with blood. The severity of the violence has increased, with some 300 people killed in the past week, but so has the geographical area in which it is occurring. Last week there was fighting from Tal Afar, a city in the north bordering Turkey, to Basra in the far south, on the border with Kuwait.

The extent to which the situation is deteriorating may not be obvious to the Iraqi government itself, or to its American allies. Mr Allawi lives under the protection of US security men. He and his ministers are under constant threat of assassination, while their officials frequently have to take cover from mortar bombs lobbed into the Green Zone (now officially called the international zone). The US embassy, equally isolated, is spending $200m (£110m ) fortifying and refurbishing Saddam Hussein's old Republican Palace to house some of its 900 staff members.

The US public is just as ignorant of the surging violence in Iraq because, ironically, it is now too dangerous for American television crews and print journalists to cover it...


The Big Picture from Progress or Peril? - Measuring Iraq's reconstruction

Autumn in Iraq, when death grows on trees

More than two months after Washington returned sovereignty to Iraq, the summer honeymoon of interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has already flashed past, and a much harsher climate prevails.

Insurgents fight running battles with Iraqi and US forces in the heart of Baghdad. Whole cities or parts of cities have become no-go zones for US troops. Many highways are now too dangerous to use.

In the first two weeks of September alone, 291 Iraqi civilians have been killed. The number of foreigners taken hostage last month soared to 31. The average number of attacks on US soldiers reached 87 a day.


Slippage of control in Iraq makes a mockery of power hand-over

...Worse still, even with what now seem to be periodic lulls and highs, the scale of armed resistance seems to grow.

The fact that US troops regularly give the enemy an easy hiding - killing scores, sometimes hundreds at a time - is no comfort. It merely shows that no matter how high the casualty rates, there is a seemingly bottomless supply of newcomers coming in.

And all the time, as occupying armies have known for centuries, the resistance is learning from its mistakes.

To see how the situation has deteriorated one only needs to be reminded of the bullish confidence of coalition commanders in Iraq a year ago. Back then reporters were admonished if they talked of "no-go zones": the coalition presence, and with it the rule of law, extended to every corner of the country.

Nowadays, by comparison, even British troops in the relatively quiet southern sector have all but conceded certain hostile towns.

The prospect of a "super rogue state", as raised in recent days by Iraq’s new UN ambassador Samir Sum-aida'ie, is no longer a distant nightmare but an approaching possibility.


From bad to worse in Iraq

Consider the case of Michael O'Hanlon, a defense specialist at the Brookings Institution and former National Security Council aide who has been among the most confident of independent analysts of the basic soundness of Washington's strategy in Iraq.

"In my judgment, the administration is basically correct that the overall effort in Iraq is succeeding," he testified to a Congressional panel just 10 months ago. "By the standards of counterinsurgency warfare, most factors, though admittedly not all, appear to be working to our advantage."

This week, however, O'Hanlon, who has developed a detailed index periodically published in the New York Times that measures US progress in post-war Iraq, was singing an entirely different song at a forum sponsored by Brookings and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

"We're in much worse shape than I thought we'd ever be," he said. "I don't know how you get it back," he conceded, adding that his last remaining hope was that somehow the US could train enough indigenous Iraqi security forces within two to three years to keep the country "cohesive" and permit an eventual US withdrawal. "A Lebanonization of Iraq" was also quite possible, he said.


US-backed armies firing blanks

Since the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Washington has been struggling to create a 40,000-strong military force to take over security in the war-torn country.

But according to Brigadier General James Schwitters, who is part of the US command responsible for training Iraq's new army, only 3,000 of the soldiers could be regarded as having been militarily trained, as of early August.

."Despite over a year and billions of dollars in spending, [US] Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and those he appointed for the mission in Iraq have largely failed to reconstitute meaningful security forces and police," says Erik K Gustafson, a veteran of the 1991 Gulf War and director of the Washington-based Education for Peace in Iraq Center.

Gustafson also argues that the US-run Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which administered Iraq until June, failed to treat the Iraqi interim government as a full partner or to provide Iraqi police and army forces with the equipment, training, oversight and funding they need to operate effectively.

"The legacy of that failure remains and Iraqis are paying dearly in lost oil revenues, crime, terrorism and other violence," Gustafson told IPS. "Given the scale of failure and loss of lives and property, Rumsfeld should be investigated for criminal negligence," he added...

posted by y2karl at 11:38 PM on September 18, 2004


y2karl, if you insist on posting whole articles, rather than just the links, I'm going to stop reading what you post. It really is that annoying.

Today's news. I might add that Iran's response didn't take very long:

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran rejected Sunday a U.N. resolution calling on it to freeze uranium enrichment activities and threatened to stop snap checks of its atomic facilities if its case were sent to the U.N. Security Council.

"This is a war, we may win or we may lose," said chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani, who is secretary-general of Iran's Supreme National Security Council.

Okay, so now Iran thinks it is at WAR. Okay, wise guys, who wants to blame the US now? (I bet every damn one of you. Even if Iran detonates a nuclear weapon over Tel Aviv, starting a large nuclear war, you will INSIST that it is somehow the US's fault. Get a clue, guys. Hitler was Hitler because he LIKED being Hitler, not because Frank Roosevelt was provacative.)
posted by kablam at 8:07 AM on September 19, 2004


Hitler was Hitler because he LIKED being Hitler

I thought Saddam was Hitler? Or was it Gadaffi? I get so confused, there seem to be so many Hitlers out there.
posted by meehawl at 8:29 AM on September 19, 2004


Are they truly sane and non-violent, like you seem to want to suggest

You are conflating two ideas without justification. Nowhere did I state an opinion that the Islamic regime in Iran was "non-violent". You seem to be hearing things in your mind that are simply not there.

I do however believe they are behaving as a fairly predictable, small, belligerant state. One that can be successfully contained and engaged, as many others have been over the past 50 years. I do believe that they have their own self-preservation at heart. Ballistic missiles leave stark, incandescent trails pointing right back to their country of origin. As far as instruments of diplomacy, they are fairly well understood and their use would bring devastating consequences that the rulers in Iran would be loathe to incur.

I really think you have a blind spot. You have displayed again and again a remarkable and repeatedly amazing ability to ignore or elide over demonstrably irrational and counter-productive behaviour by the US and its proxies as inconsequential, epiphenomenal, transient, or merely rhetorical, while focussing instead on the actions and rhetoric of oppositional states and taking them at face value. I think you need to ask yourself why you maintain this blind spot in the face of all evidence to the contrary.
posted by meehawl at 8:38 AM on September 19, 2004


y2karl, if you insist on posting whole articles, rather than just the links, I'm going to stop reading what you post.

Tut, tut--they're merely short excerpts of far longer articles from links you never click on, which go unread as it is, given your continual Because I said so propensity to present vapid wishful fantasies as foregone facts in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

As for all the horrible things the mullahs say concerning Israel, the horrible Red Chinese used similarly harsh and over the top rhetoric towards us long after they got the atomic bomb. Demonize the mullahs all you want but a moderate Iranian government will want nuclear weapons just as much--as will any "moderate" Iraqi government on down the road. And for good reason--they don't see us fucking around with the North Koreans now, do they?
posted by y2karl at 1:21 PM on September 19, 2004


meehawl: "...fairly predictable, small, belligerant state."

Ironically, that would put it on par with Iraq in 2000. With a standing army of 400,000, some 1500 tanks, 200+ high performance aircraft, and a huge number (10M+) of military age men. Hardly what I would call a small state.

http://www.ecoi.net/pub/mv109_meria-irn032001.html

Remember, these are people that in the Shah's time were motivated by the US to be the first line of defense against the Soviet Union. That, as much as anything else, might explain much of their "place in the sun" attitude. Properly speaking, Iran *should* be a twin to Iraq in economically and militarily dominating the whole region.

But I shudder at the presumption of "predictability." There are more contentious factions at every level of their society than I hazard to guess. Even Islam is not the end-all-be-all in Iran. Zoroastrians are still powerful in the upper ranks of their military and upper classes--Zoroastrians who hate Moslems. Post revolution, in the US, there were no fewer than a dozen inimical political factions still hostile to each other--in the US.

They also have the gamut of secret police, their revolutionary guard political army, and irregulars that act at the order of whoever sponsors them.

Strategically, Iran is right in the center of things, multiplying the effect of its military actions. With minimum force, it can shut down the Persian Gulf. It can also easily disable the Saudi oilfields, given the large number of sympathetic Shiites who live there, and block the export of much of Iraq's oil.

In a way, they are right. They do deserve a "place in the sun", like Japan did prior to WWII. Eventually Japan got it, just not militarily. And eventually Iran will be as potent and as powerful as Iraq will be--unless Iran continues in its present course. A tragedy in the making really.
posted by kablam at 4:13 PM on September 19, 2004


what, you have Halliburton stock, kablam? Why so eager to push for war? 2 fronts aren't enough? Can we finish one little job first--maybe Afghanistan? Why make Iran a demon? What have they done to us, or to you? How can you possibly use Japan pre-WW2 to describe them? Show us the evidence, not just your words. How about a link or 2?
posted by amberglow at 5:09 PM on September 19, 2004


Post revolution, in the US, there were no fewer than a dozen inimical political factions still hostile to each other--in the US.

That's true, and many members of the losing factions were ethnically cleansed through a campaign of terror, intimidation and assassination and forced in their multitudes to flee into Canada and other British Empire possessions. But that ones that remained in-country did manage to largely unite by 1812, lucky for them...
posted by meehawl at 8:42 AM on September 20, 2004


http://www.debka.com/article.php?aid=907

At no time have I said war would be a good thing. Any more than war with Japan was good in WWII. But war is not always just unilaterally started by the evil old US. In fact, war is not always just unilaterally *provoked* by the US. In fact, the US goes out of its way most of the time to NOT provoking or starting wars.

So, will it be the USs fault if Iran launches missiles at Israel?

Will it be the USs fault if Iran sends missiles to Syria for Hizbullah to launch at Israel?

Will it be the USs fault if these missiles contain chemical or biological weapons?

Will it be the USs fault if Israel retaliates conventionally, or with nuclear weapons, retaliating in a terrible war?

Will it be the USs fault if Israel takes the fight *beyond* Iran, and strikes Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, even Pakistan?

Will it be better if the US just stays out of it? Stops pressing the UNSC to first economically sanction Iran for building nuclear weapons, and missiles, and deploying large, short-range missiles to attack Israel?

Will it be better if the US doesn't attack Iran in exchange for Israel not using nuclear weapons?

Before you consider the answers to these questions, please don't bother to sneer at the source, Debka. For while they may be inaccurate, they very often do reflect the sense of the government of Israel. I have only cited them to show the most recent of a pattern of Iranian activities, activities that are being widely taken as prerequisites to armed conflict. War. Started by Iran. That even the best intentioned people in the world may be powerless to prevent.
posted by kablam at 8:51 AM on September 20, 2004


Properly speaking, Iran *should* be a twin to Iraq in economically and militarily dominating the whole region.

Well actually, with a much more homogeneous population three times the size of Iraq's, excellent coastal situation, and a mostly mountaineous terrain dominated by the Zagros and Alborz ranges (in contrast to Iraq's general flat plains), Iran is eminentialy stronger and more defensible. Without the massive US military aid to Saddam Hussein in the 1980s Iran would have annihilated Iraq following Iraq's preemptive attack in 1980. Iraq fought most of the war on a defensive footing within its territory and I just don't buy the argument that this was a strategic ploy.

Strategically, Iran is right in the center of things, multiplying the effect of its military actions. With minimum force, it can shut down the Persian Gulf. It can also easily disable the Saudi oilfields, given the large number of sympathetic Shiites who live there, and block the export of much of Iraq's oil.

This is true. And so your solution to a bogeyman of instability is to launch another pre-emptive war against Iran with the seriously over-stretched resources that the US currently can muster? Given how much the ham-fisted invasion and occupation of Iraq has dis-improved stability and creates a fertile breeding ground for all manner of stateless terrorists in the region (and led to a run-up in crude prices and consequent depression of the global economy!) I think your "solution" is ridiculous.
posted by meehawl at 8:54 AM on September 20, 2004


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