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January 16, 2005 10:13 PM   Subscribe

The next step? And so on... Seymour Hersh, the fellow that broke the Abu Ghraib story (more) is now saying in the New Yorker that the US has been operating covertly in Iran (and possibly as many as 9 other mid-east and S. Asian countries). As this BBC article says "Mr Hersh could be wrong. But he has a series of scoops to his name, including the details of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal last year. His track record suggests that he should be taken seriously."
posted by edgeways (120 comments total)

 
My apologies for the New Yorker heavy post. But you go with what you got eh?
posted by edgeways at 10:14 PM on January 16, 2005


But you go with what you got eh?

You don't go to MetaFilter with the links you want, you go to MetaFilter with the links you have.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:15 PM on January 16, 2005


heh
posted by edgeways at 10:16 PM on January 16, 2005


"We’ve declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah—we’ve got four years..."

Oy.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:17 PM on January 16, 2005


good one, thedevildancedlightly.

also mentioned here.
posted by blendor at 10:24 PM on January 16, 2005


The next step !
posted by y2karl at 10:54 PM on January 16, 2005


Anybody wanna make a "Coke-bet" that we will not invade/attack Iran before the next Presidential election?
posted by davidmsc at 11:12 PM on January 16, 2005


Was Iraq always about Iran?
posted by four panels at 11:23 PM on January 16, 2005


I should hope so.
posted by HTuttle at 11:24 PM on January 16, 2005


"It ain't the end of the world. But y'c'n see it from here."
posted by hank at 11:25 PM on January 16, 2005


Off-topic: "reëlection"? What sort of smarmy cock-breath uses diacritic marks on regular old English words?
posted by breath at 11:33 PM on January 16, 2005


After the bungling of Iraq, why would we think that our covert forces would be capable of operating in Iran?
posted by eperker at 11:46 PM on January 16, 2005


Shouldn't that bet be how long before Seymour Hersh is involved in a fatal airplane or car crash?
posted by dopeypanda at 11:54 PM on January 16, 2005


eperker - tactically, there's a livelier opposition there and strategically, there's more oil.
posted by stevis at 11:55 PM on January 16, 2005


They're not covert forces, apparently. They're "black reconnaissance," distinguished mainly by their lack of oversight.

I actually have high hopes of this type of troop being turned into a good videogame sometime in the future.
posted by breath at 11:56 PM on January 16, 2005


breath: it's not Hersh's doing; the New Yorker house style demands the use of a diaeresis on double vowels with a syllable break. Coördinate, coöperate, etc. It would probably annoy me if I were to see it in other publications, but in the New Yorker I think it's kind of charming.
posted by painquale at 12:09 AM on January 17, 2005


I'll put up half a kilo davidsmc.
posted by drscroogemcduck at 12:27 AM on January 17, 2005


I did just eat 4 eggs and an extra-large order of french fries, but I believe that I feel sick to my stomach because of that article.
posted by LimePi at 12:29 AM on January 17, 2005


"...widely understood in Congress that Hastert had been delegated to stall the bill."

The facetious behaviour in Congress presented to the US public as simple head-butting never ceases to confound me. They're like a ring of circus elephants, but instead of holding each others tails..

I know a lot of people who are irked by the diaeresis, but I guess when you're 80, people learn to tolerate your eccentricities.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 12:38 AM on January 17, 2005


If Hersh's track record is an indication, get ready for a draft:

“Congress believes it voted to include all such covert activities carried out by the armed forces. The military says, ‘No, the things we’re doing are not intelligence actions under the statute but necessary military steps authorized by the President, as Commander-in-Chief, to “prepare the battlefield.”’”
posted by AlexReynolds at 12:49 AM on January 17, 2005


you'd all rather all those wannabe suicide bombers in iran had a nuke or two?

i'd prefer we had ops going on inside every religious nutball country on the planet that has (or suspected of having) such things.

if we don't, no one else will, that's for sure.
posted by jimjam at 12:56 AM on January 17, 2005


painquale: Thanks for the information. I guess I can accept that we need a publication as anachronistic and pedantic as the New Yorker, if only because their writing is so often excellent. There is a lot to be said for being very thorough in one's work.
posted by breath at 1:05 AM on January 17, 2005


jimjam: Would you or would you not consider the USA to be a "religious nutball country"? We definitely have a lot of "such things," and are the only nation on the planet with a history of using them on civilians. Who's going to come and disarm us?
posted by donkeymon at 1:06 AM on January 17, 2005


you'd all rather all those wannabe suicide bombers in iran had a nuke or two?

Wouldn't worry me. Balance of terror, man. It's not like they could actually do anything with a nuke. They attack Israel with their one or two nukes, Israel wipes them out with its 100 or so nukes. They attack France, or Britain, or the USA - same thing. (Notwithstanding that there's no way they'd be able to hit the USA anyway, so I don't see why you lot should worry about it).

i'd prefer we had ops going on inside every religious nutball country on the planet that has (or suspected of having) such things.

must.....not.....mention......the USA (damn, too late).
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:07 AM on January 17, 2005


you'd all rather all those wannabe suicide bombers in iran had a nuke or two?

It may not be as simple as you put it. By all appearances from people who are paid to research and understand the region, Iran's hardliners want nuclear technology as a defense strategy, as a way to be a global "player" on the same level as a Pakistan or India, and to defend themselves as what they see as threatening gestures from the United States and Israel, not to actually use them in offensive capability.

Hersh's article alleges the ops we have there are not installed for information collection, but to prepare the country for invasion.

After the lies about Iraq, the mismanagement of its transition to democratic rule, our military overextension in colonial campaigns across the globe-- perhaps there needs to be a national consensus about this policy shift, before a draft is invariably enabled and more of our family members are placed in harm's way for no good reason.
posted by AlexReynolds at 1:10 AM on January 17, 2005


Despite the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, the Bush Administration has not reconsidered its basic long-range policy goal in the Middle East: the establishment of democracy throughout the region.

I get so depressed every time I read a line like this in an article trashing Bush. I mean, I expect this type of you'd-have-to-be-smoking-some-truly-exellent-shit-to-believe-it propaganda from, say, FOX News. But from the opposition as well? Have we just lost all ability to think critically?
posted by Clay201 at 1:16 AM on January 17, 2005


The problem is that newspapers think that "journalistic objectivity" means giving lies equal footing with truth, in the interest of fairness.
posted by nightchrome at 1:26 AM on January 17, 2005


jimjam, please, stop hurting America.
posted by LouReedsSon at 1:29 AM on January 17, 2005


to jimjam and those like him:

don't you realize that the ONLY reason it makes sense for Iran to upset its delicate and hard-earned equilibrium by aggressively seeking nuclear weapons (which is no doubt what it is doing) is because it has been targeted as part of the grand plan?

it's a simple question of causality that is conveniently perverted and inverted for the gullible and otherwise occupied. this is endgame for Iran. if they manage to successfully test a weapon before an invasion or a revolution or something radical happens, they win. it's that simple.

that said, if it were not crystal clear to those in power in Iran that they are in the crosshairs of the US, why would it make sense to complicate relations with pretty much the entire world and risk becoming a real periah state in order to create a few weapons it has no intention of using?

this is the logical response to our aggressive behavior. NOT the opposite.
posted by milkman at 1:35 AM on January 17, 2005


the utility of the single (or several) nuclear devices is in its effectiveness as a tool of deterrance.

of course iran understands that it would be incredibly self-defeating to make an aggressive first-strike. even the much-discussed scenario of iran or a state like it selling a device to a terrorist organization is poorly thought out.

it's pretty well understood that if such a thing were to happen, the nature of the moral math which is done when considering security issues would immediately and fundamentally change. it doesn't matter whether the weapon actually came from libya or iran or pakistan or some incredibly beligerent nerd in idaho. life would immediately get a whole lot worse for your average brown-skinned middle-easterner.

but it is also well established that countries which have the ability to explode even one nuclear device in friendly territory are not to be fucked with. because nobody wants to make somebody who can do that desperate. the threat is absolutely asymmetrical, but asymmetry starts to mean less when the weaker power can cause that much damage and set (or reset) a precedent that nobody wants to see set.
posted by milkman at 1:48 AM on January 17, 2005


Shouldn't that bet be how long before Seymour Hersh is involved in a fatal airplane or car crash?

No, shouldn't that bet be how long before somebody in the intelligence services or the Pentagon finally manages to feed Hersh some demonstrably false information, which can then be revealed in a blaze of publicity to discredit everything else he's ever said?

*my tinfoil hat matchin' my kicks for real*


jimjam: if we don't, no one else will the Israelis will, that's for sure. Just saying...

posted by flashboy at 1:53 AM on January 17, 2005


jimjam's racist logic is shared by a lot of people so it's worth examining a bit. The fundamental notion is that all radical Muslims are ultimately the same so Bin Laden==Saddam==Iran. In this model it makes perfect sense that Saddam would provide NBC's to Al Qaeda and that Iran wants nukes just so they can perpetrate 9/11 The Sequel.

What's particularly interesting is the sense of "inevitability" this logic lends to the war with Iran. The current administration can't change their tune as Iran is part of the "axis of evil" and to negotiate with Iran would throw the whole enterprise in jepoardy. (This is especially unacceptable with a thousand dead Americans in Iraq and a few more in Afghanistan). But Iran isn't about to back down and shut down their weapons programs precisely because the Bush administration isn't about to be back down and it wants a strong defensive position. The end result is chicken on a grand scale. These types of historical deadlock, in which war and violence seem inevitable, are noteworthy because they often preceed extraordinary violence and the failure of a political paradigm. The question, I think, is just which paradigm that is.
posted by nixerman at 1:54 AM on January 17, 2005


Shouldn't that bet be how long before Seymour Hersh is involved in a fatal airplane or car crash?

Construction of the rumored endless prison is probably on schedule, with a few annoying dissidents already scheduled for a long-term vacation courtesy of FEMA/DoD.
posted by AlexReynolds at 1:56 AM on January 17, 2005


"Despite the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, the Bush Administration has not reconsidered its basic long-range policy goal in the Middle East: the establishment of democracy throughout the region.

I get so depressed every time I read a line like this in an article trashing Bush. I mean, I expect this type of you'd-have-to-be-smoking-some-truly-exellent-shit-to-believe-it propaganda from, say, FOX News. But from the opposition as well? Have we just lost all ability to think critically?"

Why do you say that, Clay201? It seems clear that you don't like Bush or his policies, but there's no need to demonize him. Isn't it possible that Bush and Co truly see this as their aim, and have taken a number of misguided steps to achieve this goal? I think it's often easy to cast our enemies as "evil", "greedy", etc just for evil's sake, but most politicians see themselves as working towards admirable goals like protecting their country or spreading freedom, though their idea of what that means or entails may be radically different from most people's.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:17 AM on January 17, 2005


No, shouldn't that bet be how long before somebody in the intelligence services or the Pentagon finally manages to feed Hersh some demonstrably false information, which can then be revealed in a blaze of publicity to discredit everything else he's ever said?

Right on, although I think his antennae and his networks are pretty good. Which is what makes him such an effective journo.
posted by Wolof at 3:18 AM on January 17, 2005


Sangermaine: To me Bush is a demon. He has demonstrated that he is able order the deaths of thousands to pursue his own aims, he has lied to the country about these things more than he has told the truth. When he has told the truth (about his aims) it is often an alarmingly stupid and misguided truth. He thinks that it is ok to be the president and make these huge decisions without reading the newspaper or parsing the dissent in this country. He thinks that Jesus is workking through him in this war. He has demonstrated that he is a terrible racist. He has withdrawn us from the Anti-Proliferation treaty. He has pushed for the effective repeal of many of our basic civil rights.

Where is the good part? The people that voted for him and support this war are rubes. Many were fooled with the utterly evil Iraq == 9/11 junk, many feel that they must support the Pres in wartime (even under a contrived war), many don't seem to understand that Bush is more at fault for 9/11 than the people we're currently murdering, many don't seem to understand that Bush is the one who has not brought Bin Laden to justice, many don't undertand that Bush is effectively robbing the treasury and giving the money to the rich.

There is no way for a person like me to see what "Bush and Co" have as their aims. Their policies are just so much filth in my eyes that I don't know that I can ever understand what would motivate them. They are murderers and criminals, and if they start another preemtive war where hundreds of thousands MORE innocents are killed I hope they are eventually hung as such.
posted by n9 at 4:40 AM on January 17, 2005


I don't think we would like to see Iran gain nuclear weapons (or any other new country for that matter, friend or foe). However, rather than use the military to achieve our political goals, which has usually not worked out so well, we should focus world political pressure on Iran to accept inspections and eliminate all vestiges of their nuclear weapons program in exchange for energy or other assistance. Military advocates frequently use the excuse that politics is futile because _____. You can insert any number of reasons in the blank but it just boils down to a lack of patience. Political change takes a long time. It also usually takes trusting relationships which are hard to achieve when the more powerful party arrogantly states that "this is the way it will be."
posted by caddis at 4:50 AM on January 17, 2005


Clay201: I get so depressed every time I read a line like this in an article trashing Bush. I mean, I expect this type of you'd-have-to-be-smoking-some-truly-exellent-shit-to-believe-it propaganda from, say, FOX News. But from the opposition as well? Have we just lost all ability to think critically?

Clay, this goal has been publically stated by top administration officials. Deputy Defense secretary Wolfowitz talked candidly about the Democratization of the Middle East in an interview with The Atlantic Monthly. Bush and Co. drone endlessly about "spreading peace and democracy in the Mideast." PNAC talks about the "domino theory" and how it is in our country's best interest to force democracy on undemocratic nations, now. They see the present as the golden chance. We have defeated communism, have no major enemies who can truly threaten us on our own soil (who can defeat our country militarily, that is), and it is (in their opinion) morally imperative that we use the military and economic might of the USA at this crucial juncture to push the world toward a democratic "tipping point," after which the sweeping wave of democratization will become irresistible, washing away all dictators, terrorists and bad guys and giving us a new Utopia.

Some of that's sarcasm on my part, but only just barely. This is not propaganda made up by the left. It is talked about openly by neo conservatives. I was aware of it before the war, and was seduced by the seeming simplicity and beauty of the plan. I initially supported the war, in part, because of these arguments (and because I was willing to trust that my government wouldn't lie about WMD's).

Now we have no WMD's and a much harder slog in Iraq than originally predicted by neocon models, and I wonder what is going through Wolfowitz's head these days? Does he still believe that we have the might required to democratize the entire Middle East? Are things going according to his crew's plans? Did they ever actually believe in the PNAC points, or was that clever propaganda, a way to sell a war to one segment of society (worked, in my case)?
posted by syzygy at 5:14 AM on January 17, 2005


I think Mr. Hersh is being used to send a message to the Iranians. I also think it's a bluff, and the Iranians probably think so too.
I would guess that the administration has tacitly decided to ignore the Iranian bomb program as long as the Iranians stay out of Iraq. I find the timing on this interesting, what with the elections just around the corner.
posted by atchafalaya at 5:20 AM on January 17, 2005


The drum beat on Iran as the next target was begun before the election. I wondered why the Bushies were quieter about Iran after the election -- I thought it was because of the planning of the full frontal assault on social security. Hersh's article leads me to believe that the quiet was because the assault has begun.
posted by bluesky43 at 5:23 AM on January 17, 2005


I can assure you, we are not conducting military operations in Cambodia.... uh... I mean Iran. Or Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, ....

Davidmsc, your coke line made my morning. Although that's probably not the coke that you meant. It's because George W. Bush, our president, is rumored to have used illegal narcotics in his youth.
posted by Arch Stanton at 6:31 AM on January 17, 2005


I'm actually quite optimistic about the Iran situation. The Iranian leadership are eminently practical (if somewhat ideologically extreme) and are at least somewhat conscious of an obligation to the welfare of their citizenry.

One good thing is that Iranians do not suffer the same confusion that many of the posters here suffer: that the difficulty in managing a benevolent occupation and reconstruction of Iraq implies any difficulty in the violent conquest of Iran. They know, just as the American military leadership does, that the lesson of Iraq isn't "don't invade," it's "let the locals rebuild the sewers." Given that the Iranian leadership does seem to care about their people's welfare, they should hesitate to condemn them to live in bombed-out ruins for years, if not decades.

Nor do I believe that the Iranians suffer the (apparent) illusion that Saddam suffered -- that somehow the pacifist Germans and cynical French would prevail against Bush and Blair's better instincts.
posted by MattD at 6:56 AM on January 17, 2005


One good thing is that Iranians do not suffer the same confusion that many of the posters here suffer: that the difficulty in managing a benevolent occupation and reconstruction of Iraq implies any difficulty in the violent conquest of Iran

Leaving aside the obvious legal and ethical implications (because, hey, why start now?) doesn't difficulty in managing a benevolent occupation and reconstruction of Iraq imply any difficulty in managing a benevolent occupation and reconstruction of Iran? I think everyone is aware the US has the violent conquest thing down. Are you suggesting that we'd bomb Iran into ruins that last "for years, if not decades", and then go on our way?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:19 AM on January 17, 2005


I instantly recalled George Monbiot's column in the Guardian when I read Hersch's article.

The Non-Proliferation treaty is breaking down because the current nuclear powers are not keeping their side of the bargain. If you were running Iran would you also not conclude that it would be in your interest to possess a nuclear threat?

Hersch's article looks essentially plausible to me. It's frightening to think that the top brass in the White House genuinely believe that a US strike on Tehran would actually lead to a more US-friendly government. How deluded are these people? At this stage it may be sabre rattling, but can this war be fought without a draft? Or will they just abandon Iraq as "mission acomplished"?
posted by salmacis at 7:21 AM on January 17, 2005


What sort of smarmy cock-breath uses diacritic marks on regular old English words?

Damn! I thought I was a proud grammar Nazi, but I cede to breath in this regard.
posted by LarryC at 7:27 AM on January 17, 2005


Armitage, that's exactly what I'm suggesting we might do, if the alternatives were doing nothing, thus tolerating an active nuclear threat, or maintaining a comprehensive occupation and reconstruction at the cost of thousands of American lives.

The worst mistake in fighting any war is to re-fight the last war. The Allies' peaceful occupation and reconstruction efforts in Germany and Japan after World War II have got to be regarded as the exception, not the rule.

And this is hardly a callous view, I think. The folks I know who've been to Iraq characterize the population's view as almost unanimous that they're grateful that the U.S. outsted Saddam, but that ought to have been the end of it. No Coalition Provisional Authority, no American platoons patroling the streets, etc. A lot of the insurgency is the result simply of offended pride -- American troops on the street and American bureaucrats in the ministries were an unnecessary provocation.
posted by MattD at 7:52 AM on January 17, 2005


syzygy said: Bush and Co. drone endlessly about "spreading peace and democracy in the Mideast."

Sure, they say they're for democracy; that's what they've always said. Choose any atrocity you can think of: from Europe during WWII to central America in the seventies, from Russia under Stalin to Haiti under Duvalier... the excuses all sound pretty much alike. We're doing this for the people. For freedom. For liberty. For democracy. For Mom. For Apple Pie. Soviet citizens had only Pravda to read, but they knew these excuses were total bullshit. Why can't we - with fifteen all-news channels at our disposal - come to the same conclusion?

And speaking of our inability to come to conclusions...
The sad truth is that Sy Hersch is useless. I'm sorry to be the one to say it; he seems like a nice enough guy and I like his writing, but put simply, he can't tell us anything we don't already know. You say he's writing a big expose about how the Neocons want to take over Iran. Oh yeah, stop the presses. Of course they want to take over Iran. They wanted to take over Iran back when Reagan was forming complete sentences. They're still pissed that they lost control of it when Khomeini took over. This isn't news. This is ancient history that hasn't changed.

Having some details, some names and dates, is cool and everything. You know, just for the record. But we don't need one more scrap of information from any reporter in order to figure out what's going on. The US government invaded a country and took it over. What is else is there to know that we didn't already hear in the eighties, in the sixties, at the turn of the century? Failed puppet governments? Torture of prisoners? Civilian deaths? Occupation? Seen it, seen it, seen it. Same old same old.

I get this sense that everyone is reading these dispatches from the media expecting to find more pieces of the puzzle, as if the events in question were horribly complex and difficult to fathom and we need smart people to explain them to us. Like everyone is picking up the latest issue of The New Yorker, determined to sift through all the information and arguments until, one day, they arrive at The Answer. And I just think that's totally insane. I think the issues are clear and simple. Articles and op-ed pieces are fine for keeping track of the body count and so forth, but we don't need to read one more word in order to figure out what the hell is going on.
posted by Clay201 at 7:54 AM on January 17, 2005


The US government invaded a country and took it over. What is else is there to know that we didn't already hear in the eighties, in the sixties, at the turn of the century?

I'll tell you what else there is to know: That this is wrong, that our country is doing wrong, that people are dying at an alarming rate for no good reason and that more of the same is planned. Sure this might not be news to you, but it sure seems like the American electorate have yet to figure it out. Most people don't know how many civilians the US killed in Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan and Germany either -- but is it right to stop trying to get through because this is old news? That's pathalogical.
posted by n9 at 8:27 AM on January 17, 2005


Predictions:

2006 -- Troops sent to Iran. Heavy casualties.
2007 -- Covert operations begin in North Korea.
2008 -- Republicans win presidency again, riding on new major terrorist attack on United States.
2009 -- Continued expansion of American empire, severe measures applied to "enemies" within nation.
2010 -- Global conflict (World War IV, call it what you will). The year we make contact.
posted by ed at 8:32 AM on January 17, 2005


2006 - I move to a small mountain village in Nepal, and never come back.
posted by iamck at 8:56 AM on January 17, 2005


American troops on the street and American bureaucrats in the ministries were an unnecessary provocation.

And bombing the shit out of Iran won't be a provocation? I keep hearing that it's better to be in Iraq fighting terrorists there than having them on our soil (see the rather repulsive "home game / away game" analogy). The notion of a nuclear Iran is pretty alarming, but it's not like your alternative is free of consequences.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:57 AM on January 17, 2005


n9 said: I'll tell you what else there is to know: That this is wrong

Granted. But the vast majority of the articles - for example, the ones by Sy Hersch - aren't saying that, are they? They're saying that the strategy is dumb, that Bush lied to get us into the war, that there are secret plans to invade Iran, whatever. They're saying the decision to go to war was a mistake, not that our actions constitute a crime against humanity. There's a huge difference, in my opinion. The latter is - as you argue - an important point to make. The former is really just incidental.
posted by Clay201 at 9:05 AM on January 17, 2005


James Fallows' Will Iran Be Next? in the December 2004 Atlantic Monthly reports on a wargame conducted by retired military and government personnel that looked at the US government's options against Iran. They concluded that You have no military solution for the issues of Iran. And you have to make diplomacy work."
posted by kirkaracha at 9:18 AM on January 17, 2005


I thought coke was an allusion to the drugs for arms Contra deal.. since the President is using Special Forces and not the CIA, to get around the law.
posted by stbalbach at 9:29 AM on January 17, 2005


I love how some are trying to make the forced spread of democracy to Iraq and ultimately Iran some kind of moral bailiwick. But I don't want to slam the door on alternative Constitutional thinking so I decided to try some local beta testing. Using this 'new thinking' I approached a client that had previously been avoiding my overtures at utilizing a tried and true method for marketing his business.

I killed his family and pistol whipped him about the head until he agreed to the new strategy. I even got his signature in blood. Business is booming!!

yeah, I know..absurd. But Christ, read what some people are saying here, there is little difference.
posted by j.p. Hung at 9:31 AM on January 17, 2005


I agree with you, hung, that's basically how it goes. It's the law of the jungle, which makes some people feel good about themselves. But if you believe even the smallest bit in Karma, or treat they neighbor as you would treat thyself, you'll know that it never works out for long.
posted by chaz at 9:36 AM on January 17, 2005


Well it's interesting, anyway, that nobody seems to be arguing that we are not, in fact, invested in an Iranian operation in the relatively near future.

I think that ed's predictions are pretty realistic, up until the North Korea part.

We are not going to fuck with North Korea. Why? because they can eat S Korea and Japan for breakfast with their nukes and resist a ground invasion in a way that will make vietnam look like a visit to the Local Resistance Theme Park.

Which, i might point out again, is exactly why Iran is racing to create a working nuclear device. Once they do, the game simply changes.
posted by milkman at 10:19 AM on January 17, 2005


An invasion of Iran has the potential to backfire in an embarrassing way for the US. Iran isn't the backwards republic that Iraq was, and hasn't had the weapons sanctions that Iraq had. We can count on at least one aircraft carrier (probably more) sinking in the Persian Gulf if we invade. Iran has *hundreds* of Exocet missiles, and don't forget about the next-generation Sunburn missiles they've purchased from Russia. They could put a stop to all shipping traffic in and around the Persian Gulf, including oil tankers. In addition, the invasion would likely lead to further instability in Iraq and an uprising in the Shia population there. We could end up retreating to witness civil war consuming Iran, Iraq, and perhaps even Saudi Arabia.

If there was a way to stir up nationalism in the region and give the arabs a reason to unite as a super-state (pretty much what the Baath party wants) invading Iran seems like the way to do it. It's an incredibly stupid idea, so I think Bush will push forward with it. Because, you know, they hate our freedom, and freedom is on the march, so they'd better not misunderestimate us again. Strategery.
posted by mullingitover at 10:26 AM on January 17, 2005


Predictions time! Yay!

No invasion of Iran (no evil-doer like Saddam for the simple masses to easily digest).

No invasion of N. Korea (unless they do something monumentally stupid in the near future, they'll more than likely eat their own children).

If the U.S. were smart, they'd be selling guns to the pro-democracy students in Iran. The ones that were rioting for months without a peep from the major news outlets.

2010--No global war, but no alien contact, either. :) and :(
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:41 AM on January 17, 2005


agreed, civil. as i said in the last iran post:
Looks like Iran is soon to be fucked.

sure, iran. or america, if you consider how stretched our military is. or generations of iranians, if you consider 1953. or generations of americans, if you consider the roots of terror. or us all, if you consider the ramifications of belligerent, arrogant mid-east policy.
we will much more likely see a fomenting of rebellion than overt military force.
posted by blendor at 11:11 AM on January 17, 2005


Iraq is messy, but that doesn't mean it's a failure.

I hope US forces are all over Iran right now. May their facilities go BOOM before our subways do.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:22 AM on January 17, 2005


blendor: Agreed. The fastest overthrow of a country is from within, from its own minority. Support of rebels, be they natives, supplied by U.S. ammo, possibly even with American fake rebels, is a more sound option militarily. I'd rather see enormous political pressure with current and former presidents making Iran bow. But I don't see it.

On preview: Paris, why would Iran attack us?
posted by uni verse at 11:26 AM on January 17, 2005


WATCH secrecy blossom!
SEE power concentrated!
WITNESS oversight wither!

Guess what happens next?
posted by euphorb at 11:51 AM on January 17, 2005


I hope US forces are all over Iran right now. May their facilities go BOOM before our subways do.

Yes, because there's such a long history of Iranian terrorist plots against the US. You stupid fuckstick. The only reason the subway will go BOOM is if your head explodes from cognitive dissonance.
posted by riviera at 11:51 AM on January 17, 2005


You stupid f***stick.
Uncalled for. PP's point is legitimate, wrong, but still legitimate for debate. Name calling just makes you look stupid.
posted by caddis at 12:04 PM on January 17, 2005


PP's point is legitimate, wrong, but still legitimate for debate

shape of earth: views differ
posted by mr.marx at 12:10 PM on January 17, 2005


Are you insinuating that it might not be flat?
posted by caddis at 12:12 PM on January 17, 2005


"fuckstick" is funny.
TehranParamus hemorrhoidal outbursts aside -- one should not try to reason with the certifiably insane -- I find more intriguing MattD's vision of

No Coalition Provisional Authority, no American platoons patroling the streets, etc. A lot of the insurgency is the result simply of offended pride -- American troops on the street and American bureaucrats in the ministries were an unnecessary provocation.

yeah, the Hit-And-Run Strategy looks like a real winner. bomb the fuck out of a deeply divided country then leave them to fight a civil war among the ruins and piles of rotting corpses.
good stuff, keep it coming. I bet Rummy'll love it.

with analysts like these, no wonder that Republicans are fucking up everything they touch -- foreign policy, Clinton's old surplus, etc.
posted by matteo at 12:20 PM on January 17, 2005


Look at the way Thurgood Marshall dealt with opposing views (and let's just say it didn't involve any f***sticks or buckets of cocks):

When I met Marshall many years after Brown, I asked him what he thought of John W. Davis. I expected him, in the fashion of the times, to respond with the sort of vicious and ad hominem assault that I no doubt would have selected. After all, the man was—no point in sugarcoating it—a segregationist. But Marshall surprised me. He said, "John W. Davis? A good man. A great man, who just happened to believe in that segregation."

The story captures Marshall's view of the world. He believed, always, in seeking the common human bond between himself and those with whom he had strong disagreements, even on the most divisive and important moral issue of the day. He sought God at work in others and usually found what he sought. He had opponents but never enemies. He did not much care what a man's politics were. Marshall's highest praise for a politician or activist? "You could do business with him," Marshall would say, meaning, at the end of the day, you could sit down and make a deal with him; and he would keep his end.

posted by caddis at 12:31 PM on January 17, 2005


I think PP's comment is basically how the thing will be sold (if it goes that rout). We are in an era of preemptive war (IMO a morally bankrupt stance to take). When the draft comes I trust the Bush supporters to go first.

What would happen if indivduals acted like nations more often?
posted by edgeways at 12:33 PM on January 17, 2005


What would happen if indivduals acted like nations more often?

Remember "Lord of the Flies"?
posted by caddis at 12:37 PM on January 17, 2005


"On preview: Paris, why would Iran attack us?"

The odds of Iran attacking us directly are low. The odds of Iran funding terrorists to nuke us are "good." The odds of Iran funding terrorists to fuck-up Iraq are excellent. In all cases, the reason is that the Mullahs hate democracy and are wackos.

But, of course, my ultimate hope is that the Mullahs are all killed by the younger generation. The thing is, we can't rely on the happening--just be cautious and hope it does.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:40 PM on January 17, 2005


You can't trust religious zealots, or those on the zealot's payroll. It's true everywhere, even Israel, where, fortunately, the zealots are not in control.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:41 PM on January 17, 2005


The odds of Iran funding terrorists to nuke us are "good."

dare i ask, paris, for you to make an attempt to justify this patently absurd claim with some kind of data?
posted by milkman at 12:44 PM on January 17, 2005


Clay201: we don't need one more scrap of information from any reporter in order to figure out what's going on.

Speak for yourself. I'm confused as hell about what's going on in the US right now. I'm glad somebody has the whole picture figured out, though.
posted by syzygy at 12:45 PM on January 17, 2005


Iran may "fund", as in with cash, a terrorist group, but I doubt they would provide nuclear assistance either in the form of a bomb or just nuclear material. At least they would not take this as official state action as the price to pay would be too high. The fear is that some zealot individual or group of individuals with access to this stuff might just let it slip to a zealot terrorist. Reason enough to be fearful, but I wouldn't invade them over it.
posted by caddis at 12:47 PM on January 17, 2005


But, of course, my ultimate hope is that the Mullahs are all killed by the younger generation. The thing is, we can't rely on the happening--just be cautious and hope it does

Your definition of "being cautious" is going in and blowing shit up in the meantime? You figure that'll help us win the younger generation?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:50 PM on January 17, 2005


j.p. Hung: I love how some are trying to make the forced spread of democracy to Iraq and ultimately Iran some kind of moral bailiwick.

Hey, don't shoot the messenger. I am relaying what the neocons are saying. By doing that I DO NOT intend to give the impression that I agree with what they are saying (I do not agree with it, to be very literal).

I am only trying to fit actions with words. I'm looking for motivations. How much does Wolfowitz believe what he's saying? Is PNAC simply a coverup for some other agenda? If so, which one? Imperialism? Global conquest? Hardcore national fascism? Or is that overreacting? Maybe Clay201 would like to clear some of those questions up for me.
posted by syzygy at 12:54 PM on January 17, 2005


Armitage, it depends; really depends. Israel took out Iraq's nuclear infrastructure, and that was a good things. If Iran really gets nuclear weapons, and their "death to the West, death to the US" screed continues, yes, go for it.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:58 PM on January 17, 2005


yes, it is reasonable to be fearful that a renegade element would 'slip' a working nuclear device to a terrorist group. but not that reasonable.

and more importantly, there's already plenty of danger from, say -- pakistan , which is, last time i checked, our 'friend'.
posted by milkman at 12:59 PM on January 17, 2005


milkman--what is your point in saying that? What kind of amoral point?
posted by ParisParamus at 1:02 PM on January 17, 2005


All this talk about democracy. A free and democratic people could vote in Sharia, vote away their rights to the mullahs, vote for a communist economy etc. GW and crew will not let that stand. This is not about democracy, this is about installing western friendly governments and bombing the daylights out of them just does not seem like the best way to get a western friendly government - at least not one that is freely elected as opposed to one appointed by western led forces.
posted by caddis at 1:04 PM on January 17, 2005


Pakistan is our necessary friend, but I bet we have a close watch on those nukes and plans in place to destroy or steal them if the situation warrants. Friends.
posted by caddis at 1:06 PM on January 17, 2005


caddis: yes, and that is the way of the world. And even if you disagree, we at least agree that perfectly reasonable minds can differ?
posted by ParisParamus at 1:09 PM on January 17, 2005


we do not have the capacity to destroy or steal the entire pakistani nuclear arsenal.

which has a lot to do with why we are 'friends'.

i make no pretense of morality. i simply point out that -- as usual -- the easy rhetorical justifications of our state actions in terms of domestic security are discredited by easily analogous situations in which the rhetoric -- and the actions -- do not follow an analogous pattern.

now i'd like you to try to substantiate the 'good' odds on Iran funding a project to nuke us.
posted by milkman at 1:11 PM on January 17, 2005


"I hope US forces are all over Iran right now. May their facilities go BOOM before our subways do."

Therein lies the problem with so many, "intellectuals" that debate this topic. They actually believe that because of 9/11, we are doomed if we don't preemptively strike anyone that either disagrees with our policies or are just, generally unsavory characters (I don't know anymore, the criteria seems to be less and less for each offensive). Paris, are you familiar with the cold war? Do you recognize the glaring differences of the 'real' threat to our civilization and individual acts of terrorism?

And please Paris..make up your mind which mantra of your dear leader you are going to stick with. Is it peace through strength of bomb them before they throw rocks?
posted by j.p. Hung at 1:13 PM on January 17, 2005


aaaarrrggghhh....peace through strength OR bomb them...
posted by j.p. Hung at 1:14 PM on January 17, 2005


Paris, I certainly agree that reasonable minds can differ. I understand the logic behind the bomb the Middle East first and ask questions later crowd - fight terrorists on their own soil, topple illegitimate theocracies, protect oil resources, spread democracy throughout the Middle East, etc. I just don't think things will work out as that crowd predicts. I don't think we have the power to subdue and watch over multiple Middle East countries where the populace will surely hate us for invading. I don't think they will adopt democracy because we tell them to. I don't think it stops terrorism but rather breeds terrorists. I think it might lead to widespread hatred of the west (even more so than now) and the caliphate that Bin Laden so desires.
posted by caddis at 1:19 PM on January 17, 2005


Caddis. Indiscriminate bombing, yes; selective bombing, at the right moment, when other avenues of action have failed: gotta try.

PS: in today's NYSun, there's an op-ed piece on how Israel has, in effect, destroyed Hamas, etc as the danger it was even 1 year ago. This is instructive in a limited, but important way: it suggests that war and military force can work. Walls too....
posted by ParisParamus at 1:30 PM on January 17, 2005


Also, we can try to get them to adopt democracy; if they're too primitive to accept it, that's, ultimately their problem. But we can prevent them from adopting militaristic Islamo-fascism.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:32 PM on January 17, 2005


. . . we can prevent them from adopting militaristic Islamo-fascism.
I am not sure how.
posted by caddis at 1:39 PM on January 17, 2005


It's uncertain to me why the minds at the top of this whole mess (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, etc.) can so consistenly ignore the real lesson of Vietnam: that having a foreign invader on your land trumps whatever tribal or ideological differences exist between and among countrymen. Whatever the US military does in Iran will set the cause of reform or even democracy there back by many decades, but on second thought, maybe that's the point. It's just a cover story: the US has no interest whatsoever in fostering anything resembling stability in the region, this Adminstration seems to want chaos to prevail there indefinitely. I'm not so sure why then think we'll be immune from it if that's what we succeed in causing there.

The Islamo-facist canard is irrelevant to this whole discussion. We're pursuing a path the will result in indefinite human misery on both sides, and will certainly be economically ruinous for the US and will foster several lifetimes of enmity between the Islamic world and the US.
posted by psmealey at 1:39 PM on January 17, 2005


But we can prevent them from adopting militaristic Islamo-fascism.

i wish someone could have prevented the u.s.a. from adopting militaristic christian fascism.

btw, way before the bush administration started telling us that saddam could launch attacks on u.s. soil in 45 minutes and that iran was going to sell nukes to terrorists, i seem to recall there was a lot of worry about rogue russian states losing track of weapons and/or radioactive materials. whatever happened with all that? when it did it suddenly become the case that saddam and the ayatollahs were the chief threat with regard to the dangers of highly destructive weapons being given to terrorist groups?
posted by lord_wolf at 1:41 PM on January 17, 2005


For those of you who left your PP-to-English dictionaries at home:
democracy = militaristic pseudo-Christian Robber-Baron fascism
militaristic Islamo-fascism = any other system in a society with an Islamic population

Are you silly people still under the deluded impression that the U.S. will have free elections in 2008?

Or that the "incubator for terrorism" that Iraq has become since the fall of Saddam isn't a success for the Bush Administration? Come on, they know damn well that Al Queda 'blew their wad' on 9/11 and the only way to justify the "War on Terrorism" in perpetuum and the un-democrafication of America will be if there are more attacks on American soil, and Bin Laden just ain't getting it done. At least Paris is enough of an insider to keep himself out of the subways when they are attacked...
posted by wendell at 1:43 PM on January 17, 2005


. . . we can prevent them from adopting militaristic Islamo-fascism.

The problem is you have to have some form of government. Without the infrastructure to support democracy, the natural path is leadership by the strong. Who will rise up? Most likely it will be tribal warlords and mullahs and eventually a new dictatorship of some sort will form and probably one not friendly to western interests. The insurgents in Iraq are doing quite a nice job of promoting sufficient chaos so as to cripple a fledgling democracy. We probably would have been better off with Saddam.
posted by caddis at 1:46 PM on January 17, 2005


Are you silly people still under the deluded impression that the U.S. will have free elections in 2008?

Lets keep the hyperbole down to a dull roar, and stay focused... Is Iran the new Iraq. And are America's ambitions Rumsfelds ambitions now?
posted by uni verse at 1:57 PM on January 17, 2005


". . . we can prevent them from adopting militaristic Islamo-fascism. I am not sure how."

well, we can keep their ability to militaristic limited. The Islamo-fascist part: not sure how, either.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:02 PM on January 17, 2005


Pentagon responds
posted by beth at 2:04 PM on January 17, 2005


Hersh's article, published on Sunday, was "so riddled with errors of fundamental fact that the credibility of his entire piece is destroyed," DiRita said.

Coming from the Pentagon, that is just fucking hilarious.
posted by psmealey at 2:06 PM on January 17, 2005


Yeah, I'm doubled up laughing.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:12 PM on January 17, 2005


For those of you who left your PP-to-English dictionaries at home:
democracy = militaristic pseudo-Christian Robber-Baron fascism
militaristic Islamo-fascism = any other system in a society with an Islamic population


thank you, wendell. i was wondering when someone was going to interrupt the back-and-forth xenophobic, sociopathic, albeit well-intentioned banter. intentions don't really matter, though, do they? our administration could be corrupt or it could be well-intentioned; either way, their policies are as xenophobic and sociopathic as the pablum in this thread.

I understand the logic behind the bomb the Middle East first and ask questions later crowd - fight terrorists on their own soil, topple illegitimate theocracies, protect oil resources, spread democracy throughout the Middle East, etc.

you understand? is it "better them than us?" does anyone else see this as a patently aggressive, violent and sociopathic ideology? i don't mean to come down on you so hard, caddis, as i know you're just trying to empathize, but empathizing with pathological murderers is apologetically complicit.
posted by blendor at 2:49 PM on January 17, 2005


Complicit I am then.
posted by caddis at 2:53 PM on January 17, 2005


1: Iran is not Iraq. We knew that Saddam Hussein was pretty much defanged before going in.

2: There are still Iranians who remember the last American-friendly dictator we set up there. Revolutions typically happen through the sheer incompetence of existing rulers. Illigitimate theocracies? The Iranian revolution was just as legitimate as the American revolution, and the resulting government just as legitimate. About the only thing that made the American revolution work while the French, the Russian, the Cuban, and the Iranian revolutions failed, is that we had a bunch of idealists who were unwilling to take on the role of lifelong dictator. (The existence of two, almost equally matched factions in the government probably helped as well.)

If I had any faith in our ability to create democratic governments through military force, I'd be much more willing to consider the idea that we should be working for regime change. But in contrast to Germany, we have Iran, Vietnam, Panama, Nicaragua, Chille, Cuba and El Salvador that suggest that we seem to have a knack for bungling the creation of democracy.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:04 PM on January 17, 2005


About the only thing that made the American revolution work while the French, the Russian, the Cuban, and the Iranian revolutions failed, is that we had a bunch of idealists who were unwilling to take on the role of lifelong dictator.

How true. There were many who would have been happy to have a new King George, George Washington.
posted by caddis at 3:10 PM on January 17, 2005


Am I reading the right article? Or has everybody decided to ignore Hersh's newest article to argue their positions about Iran and U.S. foreign policy? Here is why the whole Iran thing is a stupid red herring and you should go back and read the article, which is really interesting and good and only incidentally about Iran:

Hersh is arguing in this article, as he has been basically since 911 that we are seeing a broad shift, not simply in U.S. foreign policy, but in how that policy is made. Hersh is showing us the extent that the military, through its civilian leadership, has become autonomous enough that it now can SET POLICY completely outside the influence of congress, the state department and the CIA!!! It has achieved this by the defacto replacement of ambassadors abroad with proconsuls called CINCs. It has done this by undercutting and undermining the CIA, and in the end, by attempting to completely remove the CIA from the intelligence process (read the article!). Finally, it has done this by curtailling the congressional oversight process. All of that, to me, inasmuchas it is likely to undermine democracy, seems much more important than our operation in Iran or just about anywhere. All of that, and not the Iran bugaboo, is also the substantial subject of this article!

The closest I could find to somebody who seemed to have read the article was a poster above that said they thought that Hersh was being used to "send a message to Iran". I think that while that is a possibility, our presence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan much more likely to reach them. Hersh is sending a message FROM the CIA and the State Department to Congress and the American people to say that there is a dramatic and long term restructuring of parts of the executive branch taking place.

What this means is that if Hersh is right, it may no longer matter much whom we elect in our quadrennial November shams, because, regardless of whom we "choose", the poor sap will be completely beholden to a military that controls all the foreign policy cards.
posted by mokujin at 3:58 PM on January 17, 2005


Am I reading the right article? Or has everybody decided to ignore Hersh's newest article to argue their positions about Iran and U.S. foreign policy?

What a MeFi rarity: someone that claims to be the only person on the thread to have read or understood the initial post. Clearly intellectual preëminence has been demonstrated in a way that has never been done before on this site, furthermore all the points that have been made up to this last post are invalidated by this master-stroke of forensic brilliance. Bravo, mokujin, bravo.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 4:56 PM on January 17, 2005


i just want to point out that paris is dodging my request that he backs up a ludicrous (but apparently confident) claim with fact.
posted by milkman at 5:11 PM on January 17, 2005


mokujin: What this means is that if Hersh is right, it may no longer matter much whom we elect in our quadrennial November shams, because, regardless of whom we "choose", the poor sap will be completely beholden to a military that controls all the foreign policy cards.

Fascinating analysis and conjecture.
posted by syzygy at 5:12 PM on January 17, 2005


mokujin makes a good point, although I would say to some degree the president is always constrained by forces when it comes to foreign policy... but if Hersh's point stands, it means that those forces are being limited to one group, which does seem to be very dangerous.

As for the notion that the world can be made better through military force, I would point to all the examples throughout history that say that if you are going to try to remake places using force, you had better have an amazing plan and be willing to commit extraordinary amounts of capital and resources to rebuilding the society you destroy... the Military and the American people are in no way prepared to do that.
posted by chaz at 5:29 PM on January 17, 2005


"No invasion of Iran (no evil-doer like Saddam for the simple masses to easily digest)."

While this (and many similar predictions in this thread) are based on sound reasoning, I don't think they are very good predictions. Simply because we are using evidence and logical arguments to predict what a maniac will do next.

A- The current US president is either a complete maniac or has a hidden agenda that does not include the interest of the average American citizen (don't event think about the people in other parts of the world). The problem with all of the "logical" predictions is that it goes something like:
- action A has the consequence B, which will result in C. Since C is disastrous, we can be assured that W Bush will not do A.
On the other hand, if W.bush wants to do A, he either believes that God (through him) wants to do A and thus God will also take care of any consequences, or he (bush) just wants A and doesn't give a damn if it will wipe out half the population on earth. I am not sure which is the case, but either way, the reasoning based on foreseeing the consequences doesn't make good predictions.

B- A good majority of people [in any country] will believe anything (let me say that again.. >>ANYTHING< ). just make them scared enough, top it with a mixture of religion and patriotism, add a bit of {insert your favorite radical ideology that assumes some are better than the rest this planet}, and people are standing in line to fight in your war of choice. [of course, there is always that annoying (+/-)30% that bothers to follow the news and read a book or two history and (for some crazy reason) believes in human rights and believes we should respect the international laws and all that crap. but hey, it ain't that bad. they will probably protest for a while and make a pile of ani-war websites/movies/cds/etc.. nothing that bad really] bottom line, i don't know if the administration is planning to invade iran or not. but i am pretty sure their decision is not based whether it is possible to sell another phony war to the public (it always is), or whether it would cause devastating civilian and military casualties plus an alarming economic cost (it always does) or whether it will make middle east peaceful or more stable (lets face it: they don't give a damn). /userdefined>
posted by lenny70 at 6:31 PM on January 17, 2005


Iraq is messy, but that doesn't mean it's a failure.

Hardy har, har. At what point does "messy" become "failure"? Really, your standards are far too high.

The Islamo-fascist part: not sure how, either.

Certainly not with a democracy. Then they'd just end up electing some dumb-ass like the Algerians did.

Wait! I've got it! How about a strong, secular leader who's not afraid to use fear to keep the crazies in line?

Oh. Right.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:34 PM on January 17, 2005


You know chaz, the American people have not raised a fuss about the biggest intelligence failure in our history (if you believe the intel was actually wrong to begin with), a virtual sea of reasons for invading, hundreds of billions of tax payer dollars, the loss of life and yes, dare I say it, the respect of many on this globe...ack, ack, ack, ack.

The point being, I could go on and on with things this administration has done and none of my "conservative" friends see a thing wrong....zero, zip, nada. Not the huge expansion of government, this strange relationship with Mexico or the failures leading up to 9/11. I know I'm a conservative but I'm wondering what happened to my friends. I guess it's me, I actually meet a lot of folks that are totally ok with everything this administration is doing. Frankly, they scare the shit out of me and I voted for the guy the first time.
posted by j.p. Hung at 6:56 PM on January 17, 2005


The odds of Iran funding terrorists to nuke us are "good."

Remind me not to ask PariahParamus for a tip in the Grand National. One might ask just who his sources at the CIA and Pentagon might be.

The precedent here is a straightforward one: there are few better ways to unite a country than for outsiders to attack it. You think that those Iranian students are going to be throwing flower petals after their parents and grandparents are added to the casualty count?

What will make things, let's say, interesting, is that within a matter of weeks, the plurality of those brave enough to participate in the Iraqi elections will have endorsed a slate with SCIRI at the top. That's SCIRI as in 'formed in Iran, and previously based out of Tehran'.

Also, we can try to get them to adopt democracy; if they're too primitive to accept it, that's, ultimately their problem.

Oh, one has to laugh. I'd always thought that Bush's 'some people think brown people can't do democracy' was a strawman, but in fact, it's an ironic acknowledgement of his nutjob neocon constituency, including those like PP who would like to see people herded to the polling station at gunpoint. But who don't have the stones to do it themselves?

(When are you signing up, PP, by the way? I'm sure that you'd make a perfect replacement for someone without the ideological blinkers. You're 'of the cause', as it were.)
posted by riviera at 9:54 PM on January 17, 2005


Still waiting for the lid to blow off, Seymour.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:48 PM on January 17, 2005


Sangermaine: (Sorry for the late response. Lost your comment in the shuffle).

Well, yeah, it's possible that Bush and company honestly believe they're trying to establish a democracy in Iraq. If I were trying to sell the general public on a plan to attack a defenseless country, I'd probably prefer to hire a huckster who believed wholeheartedly that every word in his ad-copy was true. And I admit that the question of precisely what goes on inside these particular heads is an interesting one. But in an entirely academic way. I mean, we could ask whether Hitler honestly believed that Germans were superior to Jews or whether that was just a lie he made up to convince people to go along with his plans. Again, interesting, but, in the real world, unimportant.

In the case of Hitler, the correct question for people of that era to ask wasn't "Does he believe what he's saying?" Rather, it was: "What are the likely consequences if Germany does as he says?" (And of course, many people did indeed ask that question. And got some pretty terrifying answers.). Same thing with Bush: "What are the likely consequences of the US's actions?" And, as with Hitler, the answers are pretty obvious.
posted by Clay201 at 5:35 AM on January 18, 2005


Godwin finally arrives at the party.
posted by caddis at 6:36 AM on January 18, 2005


Oh, and mokujin, the scary part is not that the military will be so powerful that not even the president can control them; that will not happen. What is scary is that this concentrates power in the president with little or no overview or input by congress the CIA or other interested parties. If Bush has shown anything, he has shown a disdain for diplomacy, even within his own government and wants to have ultimate authority to do as he pleases. Remember that quote at the beginning of his first term where he said it would be easier if he were a dictator or something to that effect? In matters of limited foreign invasion he has now obtained that level of power. Given the public's fear of terrorism he will be able to use this power unchecked. (since Godwin is already here:) He would probably love to become dictator and the time for such action is during a crisis of fear, but frankly he just isn't as smart as Hitler.
posted by caddis at 6:58 AM on January 18, 2005


Just a quick question for those on the other side of the fence - was there ever talk amongst Republicans about King Clinton? Did you guys ever have scary conversations about whether he was going to install himself as a dictator?

I only ask because I am trying to see whether it is hyperbole from the left about "King George" or whether both sides fear this sort of thing occurring. I can't see Clinton's activities causing quite the same amount of fear but then I don't hang around in the right circles.
posted by longbaugh at 7:49 AM on January 18, 2005


You can't trust religious zealots, or those on the zealot's payroll. It's true everywhere, even the US, where, unfortunately, the zealots are in control.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:41 PM PST on January 17


Hey, what about that?
PP and I actually agree!!
posted by nofundy at 9:26 AM on January 18, 2005


If I were trying to sell the general public on a plan to attack a defenseless country, I'd probably prefer to hire a huckster who believed wholeheartedly that every word in his ad-copy was true.

who is the huckster supposed to be analogous to in this? and who are you, doing the hiring?

i suppose that it is implicit that the person doing the hiring, who is clearly really the person in charge, is simply being expedient.
posted by milkman at 10:21 AM on January 18, 2005


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