The Iran Plans
April 8, 2006 9:58 AM   Subscribe

The Iran Plans by Seymour Hersh.
posted by xowie (210 comments total)

 
As they said a few years ago:
"Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran."

God help us from these macho men.
posted by dash_slot- at 10:04 AM on April 8, 2006


Wolf!
posted by cillit bang at 10:05 AM on April 8, 2006


I say we go. I have been feeling great anxiety lately about what of many things will eventually precipitate the collapse of our economy and our federal government. If we embark on this adventure, I will no longer wonder.
posted by psmealey at 10:17 AM on April 8, 2006


A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped.

Just like he was absolutely convinced that Iraq had WMDs and there would be no casualties if we invaded?

We're SO screwed.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 10:23 AM on April 8, 2006


"UK government in secret talks about strike against Iran" (Daily Telegraph, April 3)
posted by stbalbach at 10:29 AM on April 8, 2006


Why worry? Well, the USA now is about as secure as, say, the Hindenburg was just before it arrived over Lakehurst.

As long as there's no spark, we won't have a problem.

If we do have a problem ....
posted by hank at 10:31 AM on April 8, 2006


from the article:

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

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


Regime change: It's not just a good idea for other countries anymore.
posted by digaman at 10:38 AM on April 8, 2006


Actually, I think Persian women are much prettier than Iraqi, IMHO. Thus, shirtless and barrel-chested, I think we should invade.

Do it for the chicks.
posted by jsavimbi at 10:41 AM on April 8, 2006


The House member said that no one in the meetings "is really objecting" to the talk of war. "The people they're briefing are the same ones who led the charge on Iraq. At most, questions are raised: How are you going to hit all the sites at once? How are you going to get deep enough?" (Iran is building facilities underground.) "There's no pressure from Congress" not to take military action, the House member added. "The only political pressure is from the guys who want to do it." Speaking of President Bush, the House member said, "The most worrisome thing is that this guy has a messianic vision."
posted by digaman at 10:41 AM on April 8, 2006



posted by squalor at 10:43 AM on April 8, 2006


What's truly scary is if they did put things in motion to take us to war in Iran, whatever the reason, who would stop them? Members of Bush's own party? The Democrats? The media? Protests in the Street (like that would happen on a mass scale in the United States of Apathy)? Unlikely on all counts.

About the only thing that could stop it from happening would be either wholesale economic collapse or an insurgency in Bush's own military command, and from most of what I've read, the Pentagon Generals are every bit as detached from reality as the neocons are.
posted by psmealey at 10:47 AM on April 8, 2006


James Fallows' "Will Iran Be Next?" (subscriber link) from the December 2004 Atlantic is a detailed account of a wargame on Iran:
So this is how the war game turned out: with a finding that the next American President must, through bluff and patience, change the actions of a government whose motives he does not understand well, and over which his influence is limited. "After all this effort, I am left with two simple sentences for policymakers," Sam Gardiner said of his exercise. "You have no military solution for the issues of Iran. And you have to make diplomacy work."
NPR's coverage includes some slides from the wargame.

Seymour Hersh's article mentions "Fool Me Twice," in Foreign Policy.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:49 AM on April 8, 2006


Skimmers of this thread should note that the FPP talks very seriously about the possibility of a US nuclear attack on Iran.
posted by digaman at 10:59 AM on April 8, 2006


Just like he was absolutely convinced that Iraq had WMDs and there would be no casualties if we invaded?

No, just like "American and European intelligence agencies, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.), agree that Iran is intent on developing the capability to produce nuclear weapons."
posted by ori at 11:02 AM on April 8, 2006


Surely nuking another country would get people protesting in the streets, right? Right? Right?
posted by EarBucket at 11:08 AM on April 8, 2006



...forgive the additional graphic posting, but I cooked this one myself and just had to share...
posted by squalor at 11:12 AM on April 8, 2006


So we're going to launch unilateral military strikes against Iran because they're intent on developing weapons of mass destruction-related program activities?

From the article:
Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has challenged the reality of the Holocaust and said that Israel must be "wiped off the map."
OK, denying the holocaust is nutty. Wanting to wipe Israel off the map could be belligerant posturing and pandering to his conservative fundamentalist base, which is something President Bush is familiar with. And maybe Iran would've have elected such a nutjob as president if President Bush hadn't called Iran part of a non-existant "Axis of Evil" and invaded countries on two of Iran's borders, one on false pretenses.
Bush and others in the White House view him as a potential Adolf Hitler, a former senior intelligence official said. "That's the name they're using. They say, 'Will Iran get a strategic weapon and threaten another world war?'"
That's insane.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:19 AM on April 8, 2006


Iran could also initiate a wave of terror attacks in Iraq and elsewhere, with the help of Hezbollah. On April 2nd, the Washington Post reported that the planning to counter such attacks “is consuming a lot of time” at U.S. intelligence agencies.
Here's that article: Attacking Iran May Trigger Terrorism
posted by homunculus at 11:27 AM on April 8, 2006


Well, it would be irrisponsible not to have a plan.
posted by delmoi at 11:30 AM on April 8, 2006


Well...shit.
If we did engage Iran, it would necessitate a draft, yes?
posted by 235w103 at 11:30 AM on April 8, 2006


Pity we sabotaged our own intelligence on Iran at such an important time.
posted by homunculus at 11:31 AM on April 8, 2006


Oh man, this is gonna be awesome.
posted by keswick at 11:32 AM on April 8, 2006


I'm beginning to think that, under his guise of being a just-folks jokester "war president," Bush is a profoundly deranged individual a la Nixon, obsessed with redeeming his legacy of miserable failures -- from Arbusto to Iraq -- with a clear "win" ordained by God.

The problem is, like most cases where some guy is certain that God is speaking to him and through him, the voice in the guy's head is just personal neurosis writ large; and in the case of a president who believes himself to be above the law (with an Attorney General whose main job seems to be justifying that belief), the toxins of that neurosis can poison the whole world.
posted by digaman at 11:32 AM on April 8, 2006


A Global Game of Chicken
posted by homunculus at 11:33 AM on April 8, 2006


It's been real, folks. I'm off to Sprawl-Mart to stock up on duct-tape, bottled war, and a lot of fuckin' beer. It's time to watch the world end on cable.
posted by ninjew at 11:35 AM on April 8, 2006


war=water.

someone else is stocking up on war.
posted by ninjew at 11:36 AM on April 8, 2006


It's 1933 / Berlin all over again
posted by growabrain at 11:43 AM on April 8, 2006


Surely nuking another country would get people protesting in the streets, right?

No, but this just might:

one industry expert estimated that the price per barrel would immediately spike, to anywhere from ninety to a hundred dollars per barrel, and could go higher, depending on the duration and scope of the conflict.
posted by kgasmart at 11:46 AM on April 8, 2006


"Iran Is Judged 10 Years From Nuclear Bomb," Washington Post, August 2, 2005:
A major U.S. intelligence review has projected that Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years, according to government sources with firsthand knowledge of the new analysis.
...
The carefully hedged assessments, which represent consensus among U.S. intelligence agencies, contrast with forceful public statements by the White House. Administration officials have asserted, but have not offered proof, that Tehran is moving determinedly toward a nuclear arsenal.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:50 AM on April 8, 2006


James Fallows' "Will Iran Be Next?" (subscriber link) from the December 2004 Atlantic is a detailed account of a wargame on Iran

There's a short followup in this month's Atlantic.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:57 AM on April 8, 2006


Protests in the Street (like that would happen on a mass scale in the United States of Apathy)?

Memory problems? We did have mass protests three years ago; it just didn't do any good.
posted by languagehat at 12:00 PM on April 8, 2006


Squalor, that was absolutely priceless. Made me laugh outloud.

My thoughts are that action against Iran would probably be air action with precision strikes of key targets meant to bring them to the bargaining table. Think Rolling Thunder. I don't think GW or any administration has the stomach for an all out invasion/occupation anymore.

But, I am probably wrong. Time will tell.

Personally, I say let Iran build some nukes. India and Paksitan have them already. What could possibly go wrong?
posted by a3matrix at 12:01 PM on April 8, 2006


It's been real, folks. I'm off to Sprawl-Mart to stock up on duct-tape, bottled war, and a lot of fuckin' beer. It's time to watch the world end on cable.

Sorry, your association with liberalterroristfilter will assure you enjoy endtimes from behind an electrified razorwire fence.
posted by mrmojoflying at 12:01 PM on April 8, 2006


"Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks. "

Man, I don't want to sound too nerdy here, but I'd love to play risk against Rumsfeld for money ... seems like an easy mark to me.
posted by Relay at 12:02 PM on April 8, 2006


Attacking Iran May Trigger Terrorism

No shit sherlock ! Actually a call to something more then a silly Jihad would be inevitabile as I guess even non religious people would pick up that they are being invaded and that US has no intention of leaving the area ever. I would expect a nationalistic uprising

As these regions are ill equipped at fighting traditional wars with countries the size and power of US, terrorism would their weapon of choice , this time widescale and prolonged.

Also if we look back in time both UK and France lost their colonies as they never really won popular support, they always were alien invaders to be rejected ; it's no secret the anti-alien-invader drum would be beaten to death by anybody with an interest in keeping region away from big powers control.
posted by elpapacito at 12:05 PM on April 8, 2006


I remember when deranged and armed individuals talking about killing in the name of God were tasered by the cops and taken to the loony bin.

*sigh* Memories....
posted by rollbiz at 12:14 PM on April 8, 2006


Well, one thing's for sure: if they want to be certain to keep the U.S. out, they better ramp up development on those nukes quick! Because if there's one thing the U.S. hates, it's a well-armed adversary.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:16 PM on April 8, 2006


Also we've done a great job empowering Iran by handing Iraq to the Shiites, who have close ties with Iran. Why stop now?
posted by rollbiz at 12:17 PM on April 8, 2006


My feeling is that this will happen later this year. It will probably have a Republican-positive effect on the 2006 elections. Maybe that's not fair, but blame Iran, not President Bush.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:18 PM on April 8, 2006


air action with precision strikes of key targets meant to bring them to the bargaining table. Think Rolling Thunder

Think Shock and Awe: a FOX News-ready suh-weeet fireworks display that killed thousands of civilians, particularly women and children, while missing their military targets and sparking the insurgency.

That Smart BombTM stuff has been way overhyped, as is made plain in Eugene Jarecki's brilliant documentary, Why We Fight.
posted by digaman at 12:20 PM on April 8, 2006


It will probably have a Republican-positive effect on the 2006 elections.

No Paris, gas at $4.50 a gallon across the entire United States will not have a positive effect for the ruling party.

And if "the southern half of Iraq lights up like a candle," that means U.S. casualty lists are going to lengthen, maybe by a long shot. That'll be well-received, don'tcha think?
posted by kgasmart at 12:22 PM on April 8, 2006


blame Iran, not President Bush

Sure, PP. The mullahs in Iran pushing for the Bomb probably didn't notice that bit of unpleasantness happening wayyy over in Baghdad.
posted by digaman at 12:23 PM on April 8, 2006


My assessment:
a. bomb nuke sites in Iran: America will applaud and like
b. invade Iran in any way with troops: America will oppose
c. Whatever we do, if there is any kind of action: French and Germans and Spain and Chinese and Russians will express outrage. England will approve

Question: does Congress have to be consulted on this? I doubt it because Bush will claim war powers to act. Will they rise up in a storm of protest. Not based upon past spinelessness.

What remains true: the military as usual is all for such things, for which see Bamfort's book on NSA, in which he notes Pentagon plans to invade Cuba, stymied by JFK.

The Left: White House contolled by Israel and its lobby groups.
The Right: Hey, polling numbers might go up for GOP.

Oil industry: ok now to raise gas prices..we have another excuse.

Hannity et al: now we are acting in a manly way...those people are a threat to freedom.

Nation Magazine: but what about help for New Orleans?

Most Americans: who is winning on American Idol?
posted by Postroad at 12:24 PM on April 8, 2006


"“God may smile on us, but I don’t think so. The bottom line is that Iran cannot become a nuclear-weapons state. The problem is that the Iranians realize that only by becoming a nuclear state can they defend themselves against the U.S. Something bad is going to happen.”

Without trying to be alarmist: WE'RE ALL FUCKED.
posted by lalochezia at 12:30 PM on April 8, 2006


who would stop them? Members of Bush's own party? The Democrats? The media? Protests in the Street

This is the main problem with having an all volunteer army... it makes military misadventures all too easy when it's only the volunteer sons and daughters of the financial and political disadvantaged doing the dying.
posted by wfrgms at 12:31 PM on April 8, 2006


Nation Magazine: but what about help for New Orleans?


The Nation, Harpers, Vanity Fair, and the New Yorker (such as this FPP) have been notably diligent in covering the activities of this administration with penetrating reportage and comment, Postroad. But feel free to participate in the marginalization of "liberal" media -- you'll get plenty of help.
posted by digaman at 12:32 PM on April 8, 2006


Surely, this will be the final straw that makes ParisParamus join the Army. (against his will)
posted by Balisong at 12:42 PM on April 8, 2006


It will probably have a Republican-positive effect on the 2006 elections.

I see Paris nailed the real reason they might try this. (Not that it would work, but it would certainly wipe the scandal-a-day we've got now off the front pages.)
posted by fungible at 12:42 PM on April 8, 2006


You have got to be fucking kidding me.

Oh wait. I know you're not. On to Iran. Awesome.

Has Angelina had the baby yet? I hear her and Brad are holed up in Tanzania someplace waiting.
posted by jokeefe at 12:58 PM on April 8, 2006


Memory problems? We did have mass protests three years ago; it just didn't do any good.

Sure I remember, even attended a few. I wasn't referring to
somewhat well populated, well-behaved (managed with stern police oversight) protests on a few weekends in New York, San Francisco, LA, and Chicago... I'm talking massive, unruly, spontaneous bring the country to its knees Vietnam and Civil Rights Era protests, strikes, sit-ins in every major city in the country, that will get some attention and get on the teevee every night of the week.
posted by psmealey at 1:08 PM on April 8, 2006


My point was that even if we Americans had the balls to act up in that way (we don't anymore), the Administration still would pursue its path to war undeterred.
posted by psmealey at 1:12 PM on April 8, 2006


A draft would do it, which is why the Defense Department is only instituting a back-door draft for now, trying to bleed the guys still willing to fight for all they can get.
posted by digaman at 1:14 PM on April 8, 2006


Isn't it scary that of all the posters on MetaFilter, the opinions of ParisParamus are closest to reality of the leadership of this country? Think about that for awhile, especially before you call him a troll. :)
posted by cell divide at 1:21 PM on April 8, 2006


This administration is jam-packed full of trolls. What's your point.
posted by Balisong at 1:31 PM on April 8, 2006


Are we really taking this story seriously? Why on earth would we do that?

Hersch has been claiming we were going into Iran for at least 1 1/2 years now. When the mission that was planned for last year didn't come off like he'd said and he was pressed on it, he claimed that we were in the middle of the mission but that it wasn't visible (at least as I recall). Sounded crazy then, doesn't sound any less crazy now.

Maybe he's right -- or maybe he'll just keep saying it until he is right, but frankly he doesn't carry much weight in my opinion when it comes to this.

It was painfully clear to me that we'd be going into Iraq, but even though everybody's trying to push the Iran will have a weapon soon fear mongering, I just don't get that sense right now. I hope I'm not wrong, but I just don't see it happening.
posted by willnot at 1:40 PM on April 8, 2006


The most obvious explanation for this story is not that there's any chance of us taking military action against Iran, but that the adminitration is trying, through Sy Hersh, to bluff Iran. This is diplomacy carried out through anonymous leaking.

On preview, what willnot said.
posted by gsteff at 1:56 PM on April 8, 2006


Hersch has been claiming we were going into Iran for at least 1 1/2 years now.

Sure, 1.5 years is like, forever! Why won't he just keep his mouth shut until the guys from the Pentagon call him with the exact date?
posted by c13 at 1:57 PM on April 8, 2006


If the United States attacks Iran, then the American Empire falling apart will be the consequence. The United States has only two real allies at the moment: the UK, and Israel. There is a possibly for a third with India if we continue to share our military technology with them (although this is not conducive to peace in the region and stability in Pakistan who already has nukes.)

On the contrary there's the Islamic World, Europe, China, and Russia who oppose the policies of the United States and have some power to do something through economic or military action. Latin America, Africa, and countries such as Australia, Japan, and Canada will probably remain neutral in any conflict. Such a war with Iran would be extremely costly militarily and economically, crippling the economy at best, and leaving the federal government bankrupt at worst. Like Iraq, attacking Iran is another lose-lose situation.

This leads me to believe that Europe (excluding the UK) will politically become a big winner- I would expect the Europeans to become moral voice in foreign policy while nations change investment from the US to the EU. Although the United States may hinder the Iranian's ability to make nukes, I highly doubt that regime change is possible without a bloody and extremely costly ground war (much like 'Nam.) There are also externalities such as a worldwide Jihad, economic penalties imposed by the Chinese causing inflation, the price of oil skyrocketing, or Pakistan's government being overthrown by radicals.

I remind you, this could all happen due to a war where achieving our objectives are very questionable.
posted by j-urb at 2:00 PM on April 8, 2006


Dear Digaman: does your comment on my comment mean I should drop my subscriptions to three of the magazines you mentioned that I have "marginalized"?
posted by Postroad at 2:02 PM on April 8, 2006


England will approve

Actually, I'm not so sure. Blair will be out of the picture sometime in the next year or so. Iraq is currently his political achilles - given how he seems to try and avoid the subject if he can. Brown has been noticably quiet about Iraq. If anyone in the UK politcal classes thought the whole escapade had been a rip-roaring success we'd never hear the last of it. The mood in the UK, at least to my limited and no doubt biased reading, has become more and more anti-war, even amongst some of the right-wing media, and it was never a vote-winner in the same way it is in the US. It's not hard to believe escalating things against Iran would result in UK politicians on all sides hurrying to distance themselves from US action. I hope this isn't wishful thinking, anyhow.
posted by normy at 2:03 PM on April 8, 2006


I just read this post from a soldier in Iraq on LJ. I'm keeping their identity anonymous, but here's what they said:
------------------------------
Why doesn't this story surprise me at all? They can't keep people on active duty anymore, so they just make IRR (Individual Ready Reserve ) the next best thing to active duty: National Guard! They damn well better grandfather us out of this bullshit, or I imagine there will be lots of lawsuits springing up. They're already talking about extending the initial commitment from 8 years (4 years active, 4 years IRR) to 13 years (4 years active, 9 years IRR). Not to mention, they don't tell you that you have to explicitly terminate your IRR status at the conclusion of your commitment, or they leave you on the IRR rolls by default. There's a guy in my unit whose brother got called up after his 8-year commitment was entirely over. He tried to protest in court, but he was told, "Sorry, you never terminated your IRR status." Of course, they never tell you that you have to do this. It's not even mentioned in the finest of fine print in your enlistment contract. You can imagine what I'll be doing the day my contract finally expires.
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:10 PM on April 8, 2006


So let's see... the plan seems to be to use nuclear weapons on a country to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons, and this somehow will cause that country's citizens to rise up in the streets against their government.

Or something like that.

Actually what I really don't understand is why Americans aren't rioting in the streets already, MeFi'ers included. Even if the administration weren't seriously contemplating attacking another country - and Hersch isn't the only one to say so - it's not like there isn't sufficient cause for anger and 'unrest.'
posted by Zinger at 2:15 PM on April 8, 2006


Zinger, they aren't rioting because they are happy with the economy, and know deep-down that Bush is right. Right on Iraq.

PS: there will be no invasion. There will be bombing of R&D installations, their power suppplies, and perhaps some secondary targets.

And most of the Iranian public will applaud.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:22 PM on April 8, 2006


And most of the Iranian public will applaud.

Maybe they'll throw flowers just like they did in Iraq.
posted by kgasmart at 2:26 PM on April 8, 2006


Gee, if President Bush directed certain Pentagon officials to "leak," LEAK the info Mr. Hersh reports to scare Iran (or at least, gauge their reaction and foment internal dissent, is that Plame-bad, too?
posted by ParisParamus at 2:27 PM on April 8, 2006


" There will be bombing of R&D installations, their power suppplies, and perhaps some secondary targets. And most of the Iranian public will applaud."

Can someone get the forceps for Paris? He's got his head stuck up in it again...
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:32 PM on April 8, 2006


"The House member said that no one in the meetings “is really objecting” to the talk of war. “The people they're briefing are the same ones who led the charge on Iraq. At most, questions are raised: How are you going to hit all the sites at once? How are you going to get deep enough?” (Iran is building facilities underground.) “There’s no pressure from Congress” not to take military action, the House member added. “The only political pressure is from the guys who want to do it.” Speaking of President Bush, the House member said, “The most worrisome thing is that this guy has a messianic vision.”

Good on Congress. Good on the President. More people need a "messianic" vision to improve the world and defeat evil.
I'll take President Bush over the neo-medieval islamofascists any day.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:34 PM on April 8, 2006


Are we really taking this story seriously? Why on earth would we do that?

Because Sy Hersh is a brilliant, deeply-sourced journalist, whose articles on this war -- such as his classic on Cheney "stovepiping" intelligence and his groundbreaking expose of the torture at Abu Ghraib -- remain the definitive accounts of what's really going on behind the scenes.

Dear Digaman: does your comment on my comment mean I should drop my subscriptions to three of the magazines you mentioned that I have "marginalized"?

Good work, Postroad. Please accept my apology for a rude comment.
posted by digaman at 2:35 PM on April 8, 2006


I'll take President Bush over the neo-medieval islamofascists any day

False dichotomy. President Bush is currently the lead recruiter for neo-medieval islamofascism, using our taxed trillions to drum up mass support for the next wave of bin Ladens and Zarqawis. No thanks.
posted by digaman at 2:37 PM on April 8, 2006


American "presence" in the Middle East certainly stabilized the region.

And o' course, the folks in the newly conquered lands applaud loudest.

Christ. It's the fucking return of the wingnut domino theory, ass backwards.

Ah well. There are no sacrifices too great for the chickenhawks....to require others to make.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:39 PM on April 8, 2006


PS: I think the whole "nuclear weapons are being seriously considered" thing is simply to scare Iran.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:41 PM on April 8, 2006


By the way, Paris... would you be willing to bet $10,000 on your statement that most of the Iranian public applauding such an action?

In the event that the bombing does take place, I'd be willing to bet that you couldn't post or share more pictures or true stories of happy, post-bombed Iranians (i.e. People of Iranian citizenship, living in Iran at the time of the bombing) than I could of of unhappy, angry, mourning, or dead Iranian citizens.

In fact, I will give you ten-to-one odds. My $10,000 against your $1000. How about it?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:44 PM on April 8, 2006


It's 1933 / Berlin all over again

No use permitting some prophet of doom
To wipe every smile away.
Come hear the music play.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret!


I have to agree with gsteff -- there's a non-zero chance that Sy is a tool here (it's happened before). It wasn't hard to find an Iranian source which drew this conclusion (last year). Iran can sit very pretty right now, because they know our entire army is basically tied down (pinned) in Iraq. There's no way they face an invasion. They also have the strategic capability to block the Straits of Hormuz, through which 25-40% of the world's oil passes (estimates vary). If they do that, $4.50/gallon gasoline will be a distant, dusty memory -- think oil by the barrel surging to hundreds of dollars, at least in the immediate spot reaction. (I won't use the obvious pun.) Thus even the bunker-buster tests seem designed more as psychological moves.

I think it's entirely possible, by the way, that Iran is supporting insurgent groups in Iraq -- it's not just a logical strategic move, it's an excellent bargaining chip ("We'll call off the car bombs if you ..."), though certainly it wouldn't be handled so overtly.

On the other hand, I wouldn't put it past the administration to believe that its unpopularity and lame-duckishness are simply the perfect justification for acting and letting the history books judge. Wouldn't be the first time for that, either.
posted by dhartung at 2:44 PM on April 8, 2006


I think the whole "nuclear weapons are being seriously considered" thing is simply to scare Iran.

Think what you want, PP, but your claims that Hersh is some kind of unwitting tool of the administration in this regard would be hard to prove based on his record. He's a muckraker in the best sense of the word.
posted by digaman at 2:45 PM on April 8, 2006


And no, Paris, not just generally happy and cheerful Iranians at some vague time in the future, but Iranians within, say, a month of when the bombing starts, that are specifcally happy that we bombed their country.
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:47 PM on April 8, 2006


Digaman, he is both. How could he not be. The Administration wants to get the word out to the public, Iran, and the world. This is one of the ways to do it. What's wrong with that? And it's not a dig at SH.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:48 PM on April 8, 2006


From dhartung's link:

None of these statements will either embarrass or frighten the Iranian nation. The U.S. and its allies have used all their espionage tricks to obtain information about Iran but have never succeeded and will never succeed in discovering Iran’s real military might.
It seems that the inability of the U.S. and Israel to glean information about Iran’s strategic military capabilities is an endless process. Therefore, the new claim, which is part of the White House’s psychological operations against Tehran and which has also not been completely rejected, can only be interpreted as a ridiculous bluff meant to deflect attention from the U.S. failure in regard to Iran.
However, issues such as plans to wage a major war against Iran have also been raised.
A proverb says: “A barking dog never bites.”


Doesn't read like a trustable source to me, dhartung, but more like fatuous propaganda. Unless you know something more about him?
posted by digaman at 2:49 PM on April 8, 2006


I'm willing to entertain the notion, PP. But I need more proof than what's been presented here.
posted by digaman at 2:50 PM on April 8, 2006


Well, when/if this happens I will buy a television, and even, perhaps, watch Fox News for the first time ;- )
posted by ParisParamus at 2:55 PM on April 8, 2006


You're going to have to watch FoxNews if you plan on finding anyone whose Iranian who thought the bombing was a good thing, PP...

So, does this mean you're going to accept the bet? You do believe in what you said about them being all happy about being bombed, right?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:59 PM on April 8, 2006


If they do that, $4.50/gallon gasoline will be a distant, dusty memory -- think oil by the barrel surging to hundreds of dollars, at least in the immediate spot reaction.

And think that through for a moment. Just how long, do you suppose, will the U.S. public put up with gas prices north of $4.50 a gallon for any sustained period?

I'm convinced that the biggest reason Bush's popularity has plummeted so low is not because of Iraq, not because of the NSA business, not because of congressional corruption, not because of Katrina, but because gas prices remain so high. People are pissed; it takes a chunk out of their wallets, they can't help but notice it, it gets them to grumbling. And they connect this with Iraq - don't think it's lost on the general public that prices rose in tandem with the war. Though you can argue - and Paris will - that the war really doesn't have much to do with the price of crude, in the public mind, there's a connection.

Consider, then, the perfect electoral storm: An attack on Iraq sends fuel prices - and, as a result, everything else - skyrocketing, and results in stepped-up attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq. And should it also prompt a few car bombings in U.S. cities, Bush would not only be impeached, the public may demand his head on a pike.

By the way, I actually do agree with Paris - I'm betting the threat of nuclear bunker-busters is bluster, specifically leaked to throw a little fear into the Iranians. Even Cheney isn't that crazy.
posted by kgasmart at 3:02 PM on April 8, 2006


I'm just going to ignore Paris' posts, as they are beyond laughable.

But as for others on here who say this is a deliberate leak designed to frighten Iran into compliance ... well if it is, it's a dumbass leak.

Apart from the fact it's difficult to frighten people who generally believe dying for a good cause is a one way ticket to paradise... it's also hard to scare people with what will likely be inevitable no matter what they do. Taking Iraq as a recent example, the US said get rid of your WMDs or we'll invade. The Iraqi government said there were no WMDs, the UN inspectors said there were no WMDs, other organizations said there were no WMDs... and Iraq got invaded anyway. Kinda takes the incentive to "behave" away.
posted by Zinger at 3:02 PM on April 8, 2006




You don't need much imagination to visualize what FoxNews' coverage of an attack on Iran would be like...
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:04 PM on April 8, 2006


You know, the more I think about it, the more I think we fucked up with our basic assumptions. (big suprize, I know.)
But what I mean is, even the PNAC got it backwards.
I really believe that if the US is to become the sole superpower/ruler of the world, we should have taken on China FIRST.
It's much easier to defeat a political ideology than it is a religous one.
Sure, we would have had to use the full might of our weaponry to defeat the 10000 to 1 manpower of the Chinese, and institute a full draft of every person able to fight, from 15-50 years old, but I believe we would have had many more sympathisers defecting to our cause fighting communism on their own turf, than Islamists.
At least the showdown would be less drawn out and we would be able so see the "winner" within a lifetime or so. Nukes would be used on both sides.
In fighting something like that, there would be no ambiguity as to losing our rights to a trickle down theory. They would be gone. We would ALL have to fight for "what we believe in", period.
When the smoke cleared, if we were still standing, we would be the only superpower and could easily take controll of the oil reserves, beat down the Islamists, or whatever. Torture, freedom, etc, would all become moot points because all the rules would have already been suspended fighting China.

I know I'm crazy, but I really I trhink it would have been easier to take out the comunists than Islam. It's not like we can completely quash Islam when the final battle comes against China, anyway. What do you all think?
posted by Balisong at 3:06 PM on April 8, 2006


to use the word "islamofascists" demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of islam and fascism and is generally indicative of an underdeveloped intellect. i take pity on its propagators.
posted by Hat Maui at 3:13 PM on April 8, 2006


I didn't.
posted by Balisong at 3:15 PM on April 8, 2006


to use the word "islamofascists" demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of islam and fascism and is generally indicative of an underdeveloped intellect. i take pity on its propagators.

AMEN

btw guys, what are you doing there in the good old USofA ?
Harry Taylor is _news_ ?
dissent is this feeble ?
i mean, even the term "dissent", think about it, /quits rambling.
posted by Substrata at 3:18 PM on April 8, 2006


Balisong, that was in no way directed at you.
posted by Hat Maui at 3:29 PM on April 8, 2006


What do you all think?

I think maybe you've been playing too much time playing Civilization ;-)

Listen: All great nations decline. The United States is going to decline, too, and there's really not a whole lot that can be done about it. We can thrash and flail, wage pre-emptive war on any and all of our current and future competitors, but in the end you only forestall the inevitable by a bit.

When the history of all this is written, the war in Iraq will be seen a symptom of the decline, not really a cause of it. A wise nation might have weaned itself off oil, might have sought to become more self-sufficient in terms of energy, but we haven't done that, and it's come around to bite us in the ass in so many ways. The wise thing wasn't the profitable thing, and in this country, guess which one we automatically pick?

So now we project overt military might in part in an attempt to stabilize the region of the world where the greatest reserves lie, but because we were so simple-minded about it, we've f*cked things up even worse. Being the reigning superpower led to hubris - and hubris is definitely another symptom of decline.

Americans, blessed with one of the highest standards of living ever seen by humanity, would simply not put up with the degree of sacrifice you invoke to defeat China, to defeat anyone. Only reason we did it in WWII is the nation was coming off 12 years of Depression; privation? Yeah, America knew all about that. And even then, it took Pearl Harbor for Americans to work up any enthusiasm for war with Hitler.
posted by kgasmart at 3:32 PM on April 8, 2006


There is no way a bombing attack on Iran would be used as an election play for the Republicans. Massive economic disaster aside, the American public is not giving Bush a mandate for another war. He had a mandate after 9-11, nowdays, his poll numbers are at record lows. Attacking Iran would ensure a massive sweep for the democrats this fall.
posted by MillMan at 3:46 PM on April 8, 2006


"When the history of all this is written, the war in Iraq will be seen a symptom of the decline, not really a cause of it."

That's not what the historians say about the Soviet Union and Afghanistan. Even the fall of Rome was largely blamed on out-of-control, unsustainable military spending. Most ordinary Romans no longer wanted to be a part of the military, so the empire had to hire soldiers recruited from the unemployed city mobs or from foreign counties. Such an army was not only unreliable, but very expensive. The emperors were forced to raise taxes frequently which in turn led again to increased inflation.

Is Iraq a symptom of American decline? Is it a cause? No. It's both.
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:49 PM on April 8, 2006


"it took Pearl Harbor for Americans to work up any enthusiasm for war with Hitler."

Well, that and an actual declaration of war by Germany and Italy on the US.
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:53 PM on April 8, 2006


"We'll be saying a big hello to all intelligent lifeforms everywhere... and to ParisParamus, the secret is to bang the rocks together!"
posted by Relay at 3:58 PM on April 8, 2006


Well, that and an actual declaration of war by Germany and Italy on the US.

But you see what I'm saying. Even in the face of Nazism, the U.S. wasn't interested in war until Pearl Harbor, which ultimately prompted the declarations by Germany and Italy.

Bottom line, Americans basically don't want to go gallivanting off to war. And particularly when the war aims are rather fuzzy - see both Vietnam and Iraq - then it really doesn't take much to sour the public on the whole enterprise.

The wingers can bloviate about "fighting evil" all they want - and it's telling that it's almost always someone else who has to actually go fight. But if they can't be bothered, how the hell do they expect everyone else to show enthusiasm for their little crusades?
posted by kgasmart at 4:04 PM on April 8, 2006


Attacking Iran would ensure a massive sweep for the democrats this fall.

Bingo. This is possibly the most important reason why there will be attack on Iran before the 2006 or 2008 elections. An attack now might improve Bush's poll numbers, but it would drive massive turnout among democrats in the next election. Afterwards is harder to predict, but assuming that the democratic position strengthens after November, the amount of Congressional support he could expect to receive would greatly decline, especially since he would officially have entered his lame duck period.
posted by gsteff at 4:11 PM on April 8, 2006


Doh!

This is possibly the most important reason why there will NOT be attack on Iran before the 2006 or 2008 elections.
posted by gsteff at 4:12 PM on April 8, 2006


Yeah, we're really declining. Europe is declining; we're not. You probably thought we were declining when the Reagan Administration took on the Soviets.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:16 PM on April 8, 2006


Gsteff, you are so wrong it's tragic. But we will see. I hope.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:18 PM on April 8, 2006


Yeah, we're really declining. Europe is declining; we're not. You probably thought we were declining when the Reagan Administration took on the Soviets.

Nice rebuttal.

Actually, the fact that those who howl loudest for war modestly decline to enlist is yet another sign of the slide then, isn't it?
posted by kgasmart at 4:25 PM on April 8, 2006


There's a project that seems relevant here..
posted by Raoul.Duke at 4:29 PM on April 8, 2006


Raoul, good link--expect it to be ridiculed herein...
posted by ParisParamus at 4:51 PM on April 8, 2006


Paris, Paris, Paris... you've been posting in support of the Bush government on Metafilter for *five years* -- five years where every single thing the Administration has done has been a total disaster for American: 9/11, anthrax, Enron, the blackout, Iraq, New Orleans, the list seems endless. There have been huge losses of American lives, huge losses of American money and huge losses of face for America. Bin Laden still roams free to commit murder and mock America on the airwaves; American soldiers are dying every day in Iraq and Afghanistan with no end in sight; our deficits are the highest in history while our jobs are leaving to third-world countries; our government is obsessed about spying on its own citizens.

And yet you persist, doggedly claiming somehow that all this death, destruction, paranoia and loss of freedom is a good thing.

Tell me, ParisParamus, is there anything at all that would force you to admit that Bush was a mistake? Do we need to lose a second major city before you understand the magnitude of this man's incompetence?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:52 PM on April 8, 2006


It's a good thing Iran doesn't follow President Bush's first-strike policy to "confront threats before they fully materialize," because it would completely justify them launching attacks against the US.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:53 PM on April 8, 2006


Yeah, we're really declining. Europe is declining; we're not. You probably thought we were declining when the Reagan Administration took on the Soviets.
ParisParamus


Are you concussed?

Look at where America was only 60 years ago:

We fought and decisively won, not one, but TWO wars, one to the east against fucking Nazis, and another to the west against the Empire of Japan. All at the same time cranking out tanks and planes and men and materiel at a breathtaking place, and at the same time AS THAT, developing an atomic bomb, from vague theory to battlefield deployment.

What are we capable of doing now?

We can't even take out a six and a half foot tall religious extremist that is hiding in a cave, we're not bright enough to realize that invading Iraq is a dumb move, let alone going about it in logistically sound manner, we're barely able to produce cars that our own populace will buy, and what consumer goods we DO buy, are produced in countries like China.

In less than a 6 decades we've gone from the greatest, most militarily and economically powerful country on the planet to a country that can't even fight a half-assed war and keep it's own citizens safe from a predictable natural disaster.

I won't even touch the "took on the Soviets" BS.
posted by Relay at 4:57 PM on April 8, 2006


PP: What are you smoking, and more to the point, where can I get some?
posted by Acey at 5:15 PM on April 8, 2006


From the article:
In recent weeks, the President has quietly initiated a series of talks on plans for Iran with a few key senators and members of Congress, including at least one Democrat.
Lieberman, perhaps?
posted by epugachev at 5:31 PM on April 8, 2006


Lieberman, perhaps?

Who else carries water for W as well as Joe?
posted by Relay at 5:44 PM on April 8, 2006


Excuse me, what I meant to say was, waht other DEMOCRAT carries water for W as well as Joe?
posted by Relay at 5:49 PM on April 8, 2006


Sorry, but Europe is dieing, demographically, and politically. Just look at the French and their stupid employment protests. The US is strong, and getting stronger. And I hope Mr. Bush goes forward with our plans to fix the Mideast. Even if Europe pulls another axis of weasle on us.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:08 PM on April 8, 2006


From the article: This is not like planning to invade Quebec.

Uh-oh, I guess they let slip what the plan-after-the-Iran-plan is.
Buh-bye Canada, how long did you really think you could get away with using your oil-money in aiding and abetting liberal social policies in crossing our border?
Let's roll.
posted by archae at 6:37 PM on April 8, 2006


PP, You have GOT to be high.

Please explain how the US is getting stronger - we're in the hole to the tune of 8 trillion dollars, if China wanted to destroy us, all they would have to do is call in the note. This "war" in the Middle East is pushing us deeper and deeper into said hole, there is no end in sight, by the time it's done we will have gone fucking bankrupt. The rest of the world - you know, the "dying" Europe, South America, Canada, Asia, Russia - fuck them, right? We're the best, they're all dead anyway. Do you masturbate to pictures of Rumsfeld? I mean, it's almost like you're looking to someone to tell you that you've lost your mind.

We're getting stronger? OK, I'd love to hear you back that statement up.

"Plans to FIX the Mideast"?

I'd like to see you tell that to the families of the people who have been killed on both ends of this nightmare, this Holy War that will likely bring this planet to the brink of destruction.

You make me sick. When we use nukes in Iran, you'll be fulfilled, you'll feel good about it? Sadistic piece of shit.
posted by dbiedny at 6:41 PM on April 8, 2006


Skimmers of this thread should note that the FPP talks very seriously about the possibility of a US nuclear attack on Iran.

Skimmers of this thread should also note that the FPP is primarily a "he said-she said" conglomeration of personal guesses and projections.

From the article: “What will 1.2 billion Muslims think the day we attack Iran?”

I have an idea what the majority of the approximately 85% of the world's Muslims, the Sunnis, would think, but an equally interesting question would be: What will 1.2 billion Muslims think if we don't attack?
posted by semmi at 6:46 PM on April 8, 2006


Iran practically doomed itself to military strikes and a possible military quarantine when it said the holocaust never happened, and that Israel should be erased. Those statements will neutralize enough Euro-weasles for President Bush and Congress to do what's truly necessary.

Interesting Mark Steyn piece: How Many Wakeup Calls Do The French Need?
posted by ParisParamus at 6:47 PM on April 8, 2006


"I'd like to see you tell that to the families of the people who have been killed on both ends of this nightmare, this Holy War that will likely bring this planet to the brink of destruction."

Well, once you host an interview show which features the 100x more Iraqis affected by lovely Saddam, and throw in to boot those being terrorized within Iran by the Mullahs, I'd be happy to.

PS: when does the brink of destruction begin? Please tell me when it really gets underway, because I'd like to Tivo it.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:51 PM on April 8, 2006


ParisParamus: He's not here for the hunting.
posted by Grangousier at 6:52 PM on April 8, 2006


*five years* -- five years where every single thing the Administration has done has been a total disaster for American: 9/11, anthrax, Enron, the blackout, Iraq, New Orleans, the list seems endless. There have been huge losses of American lives, huge losses of American money and huge losses of face for America.

And this, PP's nonsense aside, is why I'm wondering why people aren't out rioting in the street. What will it take?
posted by Zinger at 6:59 PM on April 8, 2006


Zinger, they aren't rioting because they are happy with the economy, and know deep-down that Bush is right. Right on Iraq... And most of the Iranian public will applaud.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:22 PM PST on April 8


You know, Paris, feeling morose earlier today, I was browsing through the MeFi archive of March 13th, 2003. You were saying much the same then.

It's been said before, and it will be said again, but the reason that we don't riot is because we haven't been made to care yet. We are clean, fed, and entertained --- and we don't have to see the dead. It's only too easy not to care. Why should we, when we can just pretend everything's fine?
posted by diocletian at 7:02 PM on April 8, 2006


Well, one reason there are no riots is that most Americans are brain-dead, and the economy is wonderful. Now, I'm not sure if they would like President Bush's policies more or less if they were less brain-dead, but you don't know that either.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:13 PM on April 8, 2006


Please ignore the ParisParamus spambot, it has nothing to contribute, ignore it and move along, it will eventually subside and go away. . .
posted by mk1gti at 7:18 PM on April 8, 2006


True, Paris. I don't know that, anymore than you know that they aren't rioting because they "know deep-down that Bush is right." So for the sake of meaningful discussion, maybe you could try to avoid saying things like that.

And, seriously, any reflections on your March 13th self? I am sincerely curious, not mean-spirited.
posted by diocletian at 7:18 PM on April 8, 2006


Four years ago I wasn't great fan of America, two years ago I began to HATE America, when Bush get reelected I began to hate american people for its stupidity and now I'm asking myself if trying to calm people around me is a good idea, and sure some years from now I will take initiatives (peacefuls ones first) against the american terrorism around the world.

FUCK THEM
posted by zouhair at 7:22 PM on April 8, 2006


"The US is strong, and getting stronger. And I hope Mr. Bush goes forward with our plans to fix the Mideast."

I'm sorry, but you're just hallucinatory and lacking even a cursory grip on reality.

Your opinions are worthless.
posted by Relay at 7:25 PM on April 8, 2006


Why are you guys even wasting your breath on what's his face? You're not going to have any kind of meaningful discourse with him. I hope he's just simple, because if he isn't he's a psychopath, albeit one who gets his kicks vicariously since he doesn't have the balls to lug around an M-16 in the Middle East.
posted by Devils Slide at 7:34 PM on April 8, 2006


I firmly believe my opinions are grounded in reality. Bush isn't right on a good number of things, but he is on what's needed in the Middle East. I mean, can anyone seriously argue that a country run by Islamic extremists with nuclear weapons shouldn't be stopped? Hello? These are the people who treat women like fifth-class beings; will kill you if you are gay; think dogs are rats; will cut of your hand for shoplifting; fund suicide bombers; and so on, and so on. And you want me to believe they should have nuclear weapons? And you want me to think that someone who is willing to prevent that is screwy?
posted by ParisParamus at 7:38 PM on April 8, 2006


I thought the article was pretty illuminating, but what gave me the most food for thought of all is this: religious fundamentalists against religious fundamentalists with the innocents caught in the middle. Speaking as one of those caught in the middle, I encourage all of you out there to start investing in simple, easily storable dry foods such as rice and lentils and such as well as camping stoves and the fuels to service them for a period of at least three months or so. Also make sure you've got transportation by bicycle to your jobs (hopefully within three miles or so).
In conclusion, I really, really hope I'm wrong about all this fearmongering I've just spread in the above, but I don't think I am. Let's hope for much amounts of cake and ice cream for all in the next six months to a year or so.
posted by mk1gti at 7:40 PM on April 8, 2006


In conclusion: Nuttery is running rampant. I am really starting to hate nuts around about now. . .
posted by mk1gti at 7:42 PM on April 8, 2006


And you want me to believe they should have nuclear weapons?

Nobody is arguing that Iran should have nuclear weapons. What's at issue is how we go about dissuading the Iranians.

And frankly, an attack on Iran only justifies the mullahs' quest - because nukes are the only thing that might deter an attack, no?

And here's another instance where the wingers are completely misreading the situation, being the teary-eyed idealists instead of hard-eyed realists. Is an attack on Iran likely to lead to upheaval and regime change - or will it strengthen Ahmadinejad politically?

The administration seems sure of the former. Which pretty much means the latter of guaranteed.
posted by kgasmart at 7:43 PM on April 8, 2006


Well, there's the rub kgasmart: What can we do to go about dissuading the Iranians?

I think at this point, with this administration, the answer is nothing.

There's no talent at all for diplomacy with this administration, and any military options are pointless and counterproductive.
posted by Relay at 7:55 PM on April 8, 2006


Just a little repeat . . . .

Please ignore the ParisParamus spambot, it has nothing to contribute, ignore it and move along, it will eventually subside and go away. . .
posted by mk1gti at 7:55 PM on April 8, 2006


I sympathize with your opinion mk1gti, but it's not true that he will go away (not that I think his mind will really be changed either). Some people try to ignore, others try to reason, others just yell, and to each his own.

Personally, I just want Paris to reflect on the congruencies between this thread and his pre-Iraq war threads.

Paris: I didn't say your opinions aren't grounded in reality (though I do think it). I'm asking if you are any less sure of yourself this time than you were back then.
posted by diocletian at 8:04 PM on April 8, 2006


Paris: I mean, can anyone seriously argue that a country run by Islamic extremists with nuclear weapons shouldn't be stopped? Hello? These are the people who treat women like fifth-class beings; will kill you if you are gay; think dogs are rats; will cut of your hand for shoplifting; fund suicide bombers; and so on, and so on. And you want me to believe they should have nuclear weapons? And you want me to think that someone who is willing to prevent that is screwy?

Sounds an awful lot like our Pakistan, our allies in the war on terror. Or Saudi Arabia, minus the nukes, but my guess is that, given the stranglehold they have on the US economy, our nukes are essentially at their disposal anyway.

As has been said, NO ONE thinks that Iran should have a nuke. But to trust THIS administration to walk the tightrope required to prevent Iran from going nuclear without wreaking further damage to our economy, military, credibility, international agreements, etc? No thank you. There are many ways to skin a cat.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:08 PM on April 8, 2006


PS - Paris, I have long enjoyed your comments, if for no other reason than for the sometimes pleasant rush of adrenaline that accompanies complete outrage. You seem to be slightly less exclamatory in this thread, if still equally off-base in my opinion. Way to go. It only serves to improve the debate.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:11 PM on April 8, 2006


diocletian
I don't necessarily want Paris to disappear off the face of the earth so much as to just try to inject some sanity into his comments. Not 'from time to time' but always. He seems to have a real deficit in this area, as many of us, regardless of political stripe have noticed and brought to his attention numerous, numerous times.
Increase the quality of the conversation, not degrade it P.P. That's all any intelligent and rational beings ask. If you are not up to the challenge then just fade away and recede to the background. That's what any decent and rational individual would do.
In conclusion P.P., please do bring facts and most especially *links* to support your arguments, not just hot-blooded, childish nonsense.
posted by mk1gti at 8:23 PM on April 8, 2006


I have made, over the last few months, an effort to add more links to my comments. I have even considered a new policy of saying nothing; just posting links to articles and opinion pieces I think are poignant. But I don't think that every comment need to link to an article.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:46 PM on April 8, 2006


Representative Jane Harman (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said recently that there are "lots of unanswered questions" in the US intelligence on Iran.

religious fundamentalists against religious fundamentalists with the innocents caught in the middle

The missiles are flying. Hallelujah, Hallelujah!
I liked it better when we weren't living in a Stephen King movie.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:49 PM on April 8, 2006


I don't think that every comment need to link to an article.
Nope, just the stuff where you you claim statistics or overreaching generalizations, "People overwhelmingly agree with Bush."
posted by Balisong at 8:57 PM on April 8, 2006


Washington Post, U.S. Is Studying Military Strike Options on Iran
posted by kirkaracha at 9:05 PM on April 8, 2006


Hmm...I seem to recall something about Iraq, WMDs, and how if they weren't there Bush should be impeached. Who said that? Whoever it was, that person must be very upset that Bush is still in office.


Anyway. Let's talk about something that I'm very surprised no one is discussing.




Repeat after me: Oil Bourse.




Also, for the gung-ho crew: if we invade, it's not going to be pretty. Here are some terms to google on the subject: Sunburn missile. Exocet. Squall torpedo. These are the technologies that the Iranians will be using to send US warships and oil tankers to the bottom of the Persian Gulf in the event of an invasion or bombing campaign. This is before the inevitable ground war that will kill tens of thousands on both sides.

So great, we have a 'Messianic' leader. Didn't the Branch Davidians have one of those?
posted by mullingitover at 9:08 PM on April 8, 2006


ParisParamus, you slay me. Really.

What aspect of our economy is great exactly? The outsourcing of absurd amounts of jobs, or the illegal employment issue here at home, or the deficit, or the war spending... or the cuts in education, healthcare, social services, etc.?

Back on topic, The best propping up the Iranian government has received recently was from the US creating the catalyst for re-establishment of ties between Iranians and Iraqi Shiites. I hope Iran wasn't on our radar the way Iraq was a few years ago, because I'd like to think that this consequence was unanticipated.

Relay nailed it above when talking about the decline of the American empire. As did whomever was discussing the military spending and recruiting of the Romans. On this path, the US will continue to erode and decay. I'm willing to accept it, but I really hope I'm old or sickly enough not to have to fight the bad fight. Time to redouble my drinking efforts, I reckon.
posted by rollbiz at 9:11 PM on April 8, 2006


And yet in Paris's statement that 'People Overwhelmingly Agree With Bush' we see in fact that Forty Three of Fifty States in These United States Overwhelmingly Disagree With Bush and that Those Who Agree With Bush Do So With The Slimmest Of Margins. That, I Think Is The Real Truth of the Matter. America Is Quite Well Aware of Bush's Lies and Duplicity and Overwhelmingly Does Not Support Them In Any Way, Shape or Form. Those Who Think The American People Do need to have a 'Come To Jesus' moment. They are wrong and always have been.
posted by mk1gti at 9:11 PM on April 8, 2006


Paris's statement that 'People Overwhelmingly Agree With Bush'

Bush's popularity has been dropping from the day he was elected.


posted by ericb at 9:21 PM on April 8, 2006


(nice capitalization)
It was me who wrote 'People Overwhelmingly Agree With Bush', as a Paris paraphrase.
posted by Balisong at 9:24 PM on April 8, 2006


"axis of weasle" (sic)

That's a good one peepee. Did you get that off of Hannity or Limbaugh on the am drive?

What exactly does "Europe is dying demographically and politically" mean?

Does that mean that *gasp* non-white folks are emigrating and becoming involved in society? Does that mean that youn people, minorities, the working class, are standing up and refusing to be buttfucked by the corporate powers trying to drive European labor laws back to the industrial revolution?

That statement alone shows what a shallow, clueless, classist suckass you are.

"Our plans to fix the mideast" indeed. Are you REALLY THAT fucking STUPID???

FIX THE MIDEAST? As in what?

"My the mideast is...interesting and all, what with the a-rabs, mosques, and whatnot, but you know what would be really nice?

An army base! YEAH! An Army base, with a giant Walmart next to it, surrounded by a HUGE parking lot, and the world's biggest AMPM on the corner! Definite improvement..."

posted by stenseng at 9:31 PM on April 8, 2006


I think it was terrible, execrable capitalization, but what can one say? It was the six-pack doing the capitalization. Lucky for me I'm not out driving and text-messaging to Me-Fi tonight (while drunk). Not that I would ever do that. That would be bad.
posted by mk1gti at 9:32 PM on April 8, 2006


And now a Mentos/Diet Pepsi Interaction similar to a nuclear explosion in Iran (maniacal laughter included).
posted by mk1gti at 9:36 PM on April 8, 2006


If only mankind could harness the power of Mentos/Diet Pepsi, this whole middle east nightmare could be avoided.
posted by Balisong at 9:44 PM on April 8, 2006


...If this country so much as opens the question to serious consideration "whether first-strike nukes are justified in the present world," then we are already halfway down the path to a nuclear holocaust. ...
posted by amberglow at 10:01 PM on April 8, 2006


I think we should just Fed Ex pallets of Mentos and Diet Pepsi to the White House and the Pentagon along with the above fil-um so the screwheads in power can get their ya-ya's without murdering millions of innocents. Still tho, I don't think that a naked jack-off session with Jeff Gannon (Guckert) will be enough to satisfy them. . . Hell, at least Clinton was happily hetero. .. (not that there's anything wrong with that).
posted by mk1gti at 10:10 PM on April 8, 2006


Iran practically doomed itself to military strikes and a possible military quarantine when it said the holocaust never happened, and that Israel should be erased. Those statements will neutralize enough Euro-weasles for President Bush and Congress to do what's truly necessary.

So you're admitting that the US should go to war for reasons that have more to do with Israeli security (or in the case of the holocaust statement, hurt Jewish feelings) than that of the US?
posted by laz-e-boy at 12:39 AM on April 9, 2006


"Europe is declining; we're not."

O RLY, PP?!

"All of the main European economies are seeing a broad-based upturn," said NTC Chief Economist Chris Williamson, who forecast fourth-quarter growth will be revised up toward 0.6 percent as official data reflects strong surveys.

"Employment is rising at the fastest rate for five years now, so this is not a jobless recovery this time."


You can argue that several countries in Europe have negative population growth which could shrink their total GNP, but if prior indications are correct, that just means that each individual will make more, own more, and produce more.

It's a smaller pie, sure, but there are fewer people you have to share it with.
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:28 AM on April 9, 2006


Sorry, but Europe is dieing, demographically, and politically. Just look at the French and their stupid employment protests. The US is strong, and getting stronger. And I hope Mr. Bush goes forward with our plans to fix the Mideast. Even if Europe pulls another axis of weasle on us.

Err what? Ok, let's start with demographics.

"The European Union has 25 member states, an area of 3,892,685 km² and approximately 460 million EU citizens as of December 2004. If it were a country, it would be the seventh largest in the world by area and the third largest by population after China and India." I.E. more people than the US.

Politically, the EU has the Data Protection Act; the US is sending online communication to the NSA, and unconstitutionally tapping its own people's phones. It has the European Convention of Human Rights, with laws being overturned as they are incompatible with those human rights; see the UK Crown Court overturning the law holding foreigners without trial; contrast with Guantanamo and legal torture from the US. Also, see that many European governments opposed the war in Iraq, following their population (such as Spain, France), wheras the US went to war despite it's own populations opposition.

French protestors are political death? If anything, it's a population actively involved in politics and protesting a proposed unfair work change (young workers able to be fired with no notice) whereas in the US, there is no universal medical system despite the will of the populace,and at-will employment in many places in the US mean workers have virtually no protection from employers.

The US is strong? A national debt of $8 trillion that keeps on growing? That will take 7 generations to pay off? With much of it held by the Chinese? The only thing keeping the US afloat is the chinese willing to swap dollars for goods, so they can be used to buy oil. The US economy would collapse if oil producing countries switched to it being priced in euros, and quickly. The US is strong? Getting its ass handed it to by insurgents with $10 RPGs, while the most expensive military in the world can't afford to give its troops body armour or armoured trucks and HUMVEEs.

Axis of weasle? You mean countries that didn't support the war in Iraq (following their population), never supported the war, and actively tried to prevent the war is weasly? Then damn, that makes me proud to be a weasle.

I'm no fan of the EU, but dammit man, you're making yourself a laughing stock.
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:15 AM on April 9, 2006


For accuracy regarding the Human Rights part, for Crown Court read House of Lords (highest court of appeal). Link.
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:42 AM on April 9, 2006


For those of you arguing with Paris, there's one point that he is right about. Just like in Iraq, the people in Iran are suffering under a repressive regime that is choking all hope the country has of modernization, ruining the non-oil and gas economy, and stifling the dreams of the vast amount of young people who want a better life. There are plenty of people (millions) who want the US to invade. I have spoken with some myself. Of course, enthusiasm for this option has declined precipitously after seeing the disaster Iraq turned out to be. Furthermore, there were millions in Iraq who said the same thing, but they obviously thought the US could do a better job. Lastly, Iranians who welcome invasion are doing so out of utter despair and hopelessness with their situation, not out of any great love for American values. Persian values are still quite popular :)

But you've also got to remember that Paris and his ilk have no real moral position in Iran and Iraq. Ideally, they'd prefer to just wipe both off the map, because they're bad neighbors in Israel's neighborhood. For Paris, that is the only reason to give a shit about the Middle East-- because that's where Israel is. These are the same people who wailed on and on about the Iraqi people, and now blame them for the situation there. The same people who supposedly want to now stand up for the rights of the oppressed in Iran, but in the same breath denounce their religion and culture as disgusting, often in the most ignorant and divisive possible manner.

And that is why US policy in the Middle East is doomed to failure. The people who actually care about the common people in the Middle East, which is to say Liberals, have no clue about how to help or change things, and even less political will do try. The people who want to protect Israel and Oil or project power, or just use some of the trillions in weaponary they've acquired use the plight of the people for their own ends, setting policy and ultimately pushing the Middle East even further backwards.
posted by cell divide at 4:51 AM on April 9, 2006


From Kirkaracha's link

"We are getting a little caught in the idea that intelligence has the answer to everything,"

LOL...
posted by Raoul.Duke at 5:36 AM on April 9, 2006


Hmm.

Seems to me that everyone forgets who Iran sells thier oil to. Here's a hint. They're large, they have nukes, and they can completely destory our economy without firing a shot.

So, we we talk about Bomb Iran, I wonder what China is talking about? Perhaps the day they fire sale the US debt?
posted by eriko at 6:30 AM on April 9, 2006


There is a price for allowing a sociopath to sit in the oval office. That he was never elected changes nothing.
posted by phewbertie at 6:54 AM on April 9, 2006


Europe "(and for that matter, the UN) was against the Iraq War because it was in bed with Iraq/Saddam--simple as that. But keep fantasizing about moral/political superiority if you wish.

As for Europe not being on the decline. To paraphrase one commentator. "Its a splendid commentary on what they're teaching at the Sorbonne that its students actually think not being able to fire someone in the first two years of employment will create jobs."

Europe is still at the edge of the whirlpool, but it's clearly in the whirlpool. Hope you find the rest of a way down exciting.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:49 AM on April 9, 2006


I feel that a general strike is in order if Bush launches a nuclear attack against Iran.

Stop working, stop paying bills, stop paying taxes until the man resigns.
posted by empath at 8:03 AM on April 9, 2006



"...even though I've been expecting to hear about this from a reputable source since 2002, actually reading about it is enough to make me vomit from horror.

George Bush seems to be planning to start a nuclear war. My God.

McClellan must be asked on Monday to state whether plans have been drawn up for George Bush to start a nuclear war. With Iran, certainly, but also against any other country. Because if Hersh is right - and so far, he has been very right - then...oh my God.

These maniacs cannot be permitted to get away with this, or even seriously contemplate getting away with it. No, that's not enough. If this country so much as opens the question to serious consideration 'whether first-strike nukes are justified in the present world,' then we are already halfway down the path to a nuclear holocaust. All it will take to tip it over is one more major terrorist attack, and Bush will guarantee the nukes will fall. And if you don't think there will be another major terrorist attack in America, either a real one or one faked by this administration, you have not been paying attention to what has been going on. Bush's nuclear policy is quite clear: from the start he's wanted to be the first president since Truman to drop a nuclear bomb.

On Monday, someone must ask McClellan: Is George Bush planning to start a nuclear war?"

posted by digaman at 8:39 AM on April 9, 2006


Never mind all that PP noize. This is too important.

From Janes, a highly reputable intelligence analysis firm:

US dumps bunker-buster - or not?

In late October, US Congressional leaders agreed to withhold USD4 million requested by the US administration to complete pre-engineering studies into the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP). Although it has been widely reported that the programme has now been cancelled, there is evidence that the RNEP project may yet continue under a new name.


The body in charge of US nuclear weapons programmes, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which operates within the US Department of Energy, has stated it wants to complete the RNEP study at Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico, as planned, but with Pentagon funding. It proposes renaming the study. Although the NNSA had asked to drop Energy Department funding, reflecting a "change in policy" favouring research into conventional penetrator options, the nuclear option may not have been abandoned. The RNEP programme may be as much motivated by the development of new technology directly applicable to a new generation of lower-yield nuclear weapons, as by the perceived military need for a weapon that is able to destroy hard and deeply buried targets (HDBTs).

The conventional weapon is to undergo a 'sled test' early in 2006, in which a mock warhead will be slammed into a huge block of concrete at high speed to test impact. The results could guide government policy to fully developing either a conventional or nuclear earth penetrator. Much depends on whether the penetrator shell contains a mock nuclear warhead, as originally planned, or a mock conventional warhead. A mock nuclear warhead would signal the intention to continue the RNEP programme under a conventional guise. However, some insiders believe that further attempts to get additional funding approved in Congress may come up against the same obstacles as before."


If Congress is granted oversight of this program by King George. There are plenty of war programs being kept off to the books to avoid precisely that oversight.
posted by digaman at 8:46 AM on April 9, 2006


The Sunday Times has gotten the same message from White House insiders as Hersh did.

Bush plans strike on Iran's nuclear sites:
Although they hope that diplomatic efforts to restrain Iran will succeed, "it is not in their nature to bequeath the problem to their successors", a senior White House source said last week.
...
Defence analysts believe the most likely weapon is Big Blu, a 30,000lb bunker-buster bomb that will be ready for use towards the end of 2007.
Focus: Gunning for Iran:
One date is said to be etched in the minds of military planners: 2008. Word has gone out that the Iranian nuclear crisis must be resolved by then or the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with its Israel-baiting rhetoric, will face military consequences.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:02 AM on April 9, 2006


The quote from Iraq war architect Richard Perle is particularly chilling in that Sunday Times piece:

"Richard Perle, a leading neoconservative, said that an attack could 'be over before anybody knew what had happened. The only question then would be what the Iranians might do in retaliation.'"


As in, "the only question would be what to do with the bloody country after the liberated hordes greet us with flowers."
posted by digaman at 9:08 AM on April 9, 2006


Apparently President Bush doesn't want to leave the problem of Iran to his succesors, but it's OK with him to leave his mess in Iraq for future presidents to clean up.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:15 AM on April 9, 2006


And that is why US policy in the Middle East is doomed to failure. The people who actually care about the common people in the Middle East, which is to say Liberals, have no clue about how to help or change things, and even less political will do try. The people who want to protect Israel and Oil or project power, or just use some of the trillions in weaponary they've acquired use the plight of the people for their own ends, setting policy and ultimately pushing the Middle East even further backwards.

You can't afford to be this naive.
posted by techgnollogic at 9:43 AM on April 9, 2006


Well, we at least know for a fact what this administrations' goal has been :

1. Break everything beyond any point of repair or recovery.

2. Dump said broken geopolitical fustercluck into someone elses hands.

3. Enjoy rapture.

It was a good run folks. Sorry to see that we borked on the whole sentient machines of loving grace thing... at least then our mistakes might have been remembered, and passed on to others.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 9:47 AM on April 9, 2006


Meanwhile, today Iran claims to have shot down an unmanned spy plane flying over their country.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:53 AM on April 9, 2006


WOOOOO LET'S GO!! GO GO GO!!!
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:07 AM on April 9, 2006


So, we drop bombs all over Iran, Iran's (big) armies rush into Iraq to fight us, and ?????

I think we're now creating a greater Iran, which is exactly what many there would like.
posted by amberglow at 11:09 AM on April 9, 2006


I recently saw a post on Juan Cole's site where he re-drew a map of the Middle East into what our present courses of action would leave it looking like (can't find it at the moment).

Essentially Syria & Lebanon were one country & renamed Al-Quedastan, The eastern half of Turkey & Northern Iraq were New Kurdistan, the center of Iraq was all Sunni and Iran & Southern Iraq were turned into Shia-Iran.

There were little red explosions here & there to denote ongoing fighting (mainly or the borders at Turkey & Al-Quedastan), and at the bottom it said, "Oil = $350/barrel".
posted by Relay at 11:26 AM on April 9, 2006


Ah, here it is:


posted by Relay at 11:41 AM on April 9, 2006


Rollbiz: What aspect of our economy is great exactly?

Um, how about the 4.6% unemployment, which is lower than averages for the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s? Or the fact that our economy has grown every quarter for several years. In fact, our economy has grown at the fastest rate of any developing countries. Our financial markets are hovering around 5 year highs, construction spending is at an all time high, more people own their own homes than ever... do you want more?

Seriously, the economy is so great its strength is literally undeniable.
posted by b_thinky at 7:09 PM on April 9, 2006


This is a hard one for me, because horrible as it is, a war in Iran would break the back of America economically and militarily once and for all (or for the next half a century at the very least, at which point it'd be moot, given Chindia), so that'd be a net positive.

America as a non-superpower would be a very good thing in the long term, I'm inclined to think. What a price to pay to get there, though.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:18 PM on April 9, 2006


Seriously, the economy is so great its strength is literally undeniable.

Oh, it's deniable, all right. Here. I'll link this again, for shits and giggles. All that real estate churn is balanced on an ARM razor's edge. One small push, and the no-money-down mortgages start to collapse, the housing market dumps, and the house of cards falls. And as you can see from the graph linked, the man behind the curtain is revealed, and the shit really starts to hit the fan.

Not to mention the amount, mentioned upthread, of American debt in Chinese (and Japanese) hands. Or the impact that $100 a barrel oil might have. Or the hollowing out of the manufacturing sector as jobs go overseas. Or....

I am not an economist by any stretch, but there's more than a hint of reasonable doubt there, don't you think?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:25 PM on April 9, 2006


"I am not an economist by any stretch"

It's obvious.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:27 PM on April 9, 2006


I invite you to refute my points, rather than just being an asshole about it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:37 PM on April 9, 2006


...President Bush has noted that 2 million jobs were created over the course of 2005 and that we have added 4.6 million jobs since the decline in jobs ended in May 2003. But does that mean the labor market is getting back to normal?
Unfortunately, no.
Recent job gains lag far behind historical norms. Last year's 2 million new jobs represented a gain of 1.5%, a sluggish growth rate by historical standards (see chart below). In fact, it is less than half of the average growth rate of 3.5% for the same stage of previous business cycles that lasted as long. At that pace, we would have created 4.6 million jobs last year. If jobs had grown last year at the pace of even the slowest of the prior cycles—2.1% in the 1980s—we would have added 2.8 million jobs. Over the last half century, the only 12-month spans with job growth as low as 1.5% were those that actually included recession months, occurred just before a recession, or were during the "jobless recovery" of 1992 and early 1993. ...

posted by amberglow at 7:56 PM on April 9, 2006


So, Amberglow, why did you vote for Bush in 2004?!
posted by ParisParamus at 8:05 PM on April 9, 2006


Still waiting, Paris. Are you even going to make an attempt?

Ah hell, why bother. Back to ignore mode.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:02 PM on April 9, 2006


stavrosthewonderchicken: Oh, it's deniable, all right. Here. I'll link this again, for shits and giggles. All that real estate churn is balanced on an ARM razor's edge. One small push, and the no-money-down mortgages start to collapse, the housing market dumps, and the house of cards falls. And as you can see from the graph linked, the man behind the curtain is revealed, and the shit really starts to hit the fan.

Not to mention the amount, mentioned upthread, of American debt in Chinese (and Japanese) hands. Or the impact that $100 a barrel oil might have. Or the hollowing out of the manufacturing sector as jobs go overseas. Or....

I am not an economist by any stretch, but there's more than a hint of reasonable doubt there, don't you think?.


First of all, there are always threats to our economic well being, some mentioned above, but there's no denying the economy is currently as hot as it's ever been.

I disagree with your assertion that the housing market is built on a foundation of predatory ARMs. Do you have any data on the percentages ARMs make of total mortgages?

It's true the Chinese own lots of treasury bonds, but why would they want to move their money out of the USA? Do you know of a more stable place to park the money, that provides as good or better returns. The fact is, China needs us more than we need China (though the gap is narrowing).

$100/barrel oil is coming. I don't see many people denying that. At $70, it doesn't seem to be bothering that many people.

America losing manufacturing jobs... hmm, hasn't that been happening since the 80s or before?

The state of our economy depends on the national perception of it. All of the things you listed (oil prices, housing bubble, national debt, blue collar job loss) have been taken into consideration and obviously do not affect the wide perception of our economy. There is no doubt that something will eventually cause our economy to falter, but I'd bet on something unexpected (i.e. not on your list). But for now and the foreseeable future, we do have a fantabulous economy. And that is undeniable.
posted by b_thinky at 10:05 PM on April 9, 2006


I didn't expect a reply from PP, so thanks for yours, b_thinky.

Do you have any data on the percentages ARMs make of total mortgages?

Looks to be around 30%. That makes a pretty big chunk of the froth and a lot of people vulnerable to rising interest rates. The previous link I offered mentioned HELOCs as well, so the house of cards isn't built from all one suit.

why would they want to move their money out of the USA?

Any number of reasons, I'd think. If the oil industry shifted to euro rather than dollar denominations (for example, and as mentioned upthread), I'd imagine that would trigger one hell of a sell-off, with catastrophic consequences.

$100/barrel oil is coming. I don't see many people denying that. At $70, it doesn't seem to be bothering that many people.

Well, as someone mentioned in this thread or elsewhere, there's something to be said for the idea that GWB's approval ratings are so low not because of all the other turds flying around, but the fact that folks are paying more than they want for gas. I don't know, I'm not in America. But I think saying that oil at current prices 'doesn't seem to be bothering many people' is a wee bit disengenuous. Higher prices at the local gas station would be the leading edge of whatever systemic difficulties begin to arise from oil at that price point, I'd think. I suspect the curve of consequences-per-increased-dollar-per-barrel might look a bit logarithmic as you start to get past the point at which we find ourselves now.

There is no doubt that something will eventually cause our economy to falter, but I'd bet on something unexpected (i.e. not on your list).

Absolutely, no doubt. I was just tossing off some thoughts, not trying to be exhaustive. Like I said, I'm an interested non-professional. But I still don't agree that the picture is as rosy (to put it mildly) as you do.

Fair enough. The middle ground is probably the correctish one.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:22 PM on April 9, 2006


30% ARM may be true, but only a small slice of that amount are predatory loans or more than the borrower can pay. Even with rates rising, we're still pretty low historically. And if the economy slows, ARM percentages will fall.

Last summer/fall we tested a $3 average for a gallon of gas. Surprisingly, consumption did not fall. If people don't cut back on their driving, I don't think they can legitimately say it's bothering them.

Besides all that, demand is driving up oil prices, not anything GWB is or isn't doing. Unless GWB can get all those folks in China to stop buying oil any frustration pointed towards him on the matter is misguided though taking the blame and credit for what you're not responsible goes with the territory i suppose
posted by b_thinky at 11:51 PM on April 9, 2006


"Um, how about the 4.6% unemployment..."

The unemployment figures are so cooked, they no longer mean anything.

When Clinton left office, the unemployment rate was 4.2%. The Bush administration saw those rates increase sharply. In fact, in 2003, they changed the rules on how those figures are calculated, by dropping the people who exhaust their unemployment benefits from the unemployment statistics. This amount was at least 1.5 million people as of June 2003, and many more have been dropped from the stats since then. They also started to include members of the military in the statistics for the first time. They did this, in part, because of the invasion of Iraq -- the call-up of over 220,000 reservists would negatively effect employment statistics otherwise.

Unsurprisingly, they did this change in June 2003, when unemployment was at its peak, and the government had just reported the sharpest monthly rise in unemployment during Bush's administration. When the new methodology went into place the next month, however, the unemployment rate fell to 6.2%... and kept falling month after month as people kept falling off the list, into the ranks of the uncounted unemployed.

In contrast to many European countries, the United States, in compiling jobless data, excludes persons who the government considers as no longer looking for work. The people it counts, however, include part-time workers who work as little as one day a week, and "on-call" workers, such as substitute teachers.

A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston also confirms the true unemployment rate is deeply -- and increasingly -- flawed.The bank published a report in April 2005 which shows up to 5.1 million unemployed Americans may be left off the official figures for the unemployed.

According to one economist who specializes in tracking these changes in how the government calculates unemployment and other figures:
"If the numbers don’t seem real to the man in the street, they probably aren’t. Real unemployment right now—figured the way that the average person thinks of unemployment, meaning figured the way it was estimated back during the Great Depression—is running about 12%. Real CPI right now is running at about 8%. And the real GDP probably is in contraction."

The Bush administration started crowing about an economic recovery in late 2003, when official job growth figurs were about 80K a month, but that is only about half of the job growth needed just to keep pace with the population and the increasing workforce. Even the apparent 2 million new jobs in 2005 are only barely above the level needed to keep pace with population growth... and many of those new jobs are based on increased government (i.e. deficit) spending.

Meanwhile, the nonpartisan Economic Policy Instutute says that wages have gone down for all Americans except for those in the 95th percentile of income and above.

So... you were saying something about how great the economy is, right?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 4:19 AM on April 10, 2006


If you look at the fine points put out by the US Department of Labor, you can find all sorts of interesting ways that the government cooks the books. They don't even seem to be entirely clear, consistant, and detailed about how they present their methodology changes, at least in any of the documents I'm seeing on their site.

Here's one change I found buried away in a PDF on their site, relevant to the discussion:

"Beginning in June 2003, the CES series for federal government employment will be revised slightly . . . The current national series . . . excludes some workers, mostly employees who work in Department of Defense-owned establishments . . . The CES national series will include these workers starting in June."

Slightly, eh? It's interesting that they don't even tell you what slightly means. A few hundred thousand people here and a few hundred thousand people there, and suddenly you're talking real numbers!
posted by insomnia_lj at 4:44 AM on April 10, 2006


Foreign holdings of Treasury securities, private and public, were $2.188 trillion, or 51 percent, in January - up from and $1.976 trillion, or 49 percent, in March 2005. Foreigners held $1.576 trillion in Jan 2004, or 44 percent.

So for the first time ever, a controlling interest in our nation is owned by foreign investors.
posted by sonofsamiam at 5:51 AM on April 10, 2006


No, a majority of our debt! Suckers!!!!!!!
posted by ParisParamus at 5:53 AM on April 10, 2006


Seriously, what that means is that confidence in our economy is at an all-time high.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:53 AM on April 10, 2006


Why do I bother. See you in some other thread.
posted by sonofsamiam at 6:33 AM on April 10, 2006


A controlling interest? Are you saying that all assets in the US are only worth ~4.2 trillion? Try multiplying by a thousand.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:50 AM on April 10, 2006


Why the fuck are any of you idiots engaging ParisParamus?

Are you all fucking retarded? He's either:
a) A LYING SACK OF SHIT
or
b) A HUGE FUCKING TROLL

either way, his opinions about everything can be considered so suspect as to be useless.

FUCK HIM. AND FUCK ALL OF YOU WHO BOTHER ENGAGING HIM.
posted by I Love Tacos at 6:51 AM on April 10, 2006


(goes off to eat a breakfast burrito, and pretend his morning wasn't just contaminated by that dishonest, disingenuous, pathetic piece of shit ParisParamus, and the naive fools who fuel him.)
posted by I Love Tacos at 6:54 AM on April 10, 2006


Your "rhetoric" speaks for itself, and your level of civility.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:55 AM on April 10, 2006


Just because no one wants to hire you doesn't mean the economy is bad--sorry.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:01 AM on April 10, 2006


Fucking hilarious.

ParisParamus can't even pretend to be better than me for 6 minutes. SIX MINUTES between his holier-than-thou post and his personal-attack troll.

Normally he's more subtle than that, but read PP carefully... he's always derailing into known divisive topics that aren't really relevant to the discussion at hand.

He's just a troll. And 30,000 of us have to ignore him, because mathowie doesn't have the balls to admit that PP is an out of control idiot.
posted by I Love Tacos at 7:22 AM on April 10, 2006


I find it interesting that the Repbulican responses in this thread divide fairly neatly into:

a) there's no reason to believe this!

b) this is neccessary and good!

It's a bit promising too, since the people espousing opinion A are showing signs of independant critical thought.... something that Republicans as a whole have been lacking for about five years now.
posted by I Love Tacos at 7:28 AM on April 10, 2006


From a Freeper thread:

"One of my poli sci professors told us today to read Hersh's story. I thought...hmm, no thanks."

Making up reasons to debunk solid, well-sourced journalism can get tiring. I understand his hesitance.

Anyway, I lasted on freep for about a week before I pointed out that fox news might not be completely impartial and got banned.
posted by jon_kill at 10:08 AM on April 10, 2006


Questions the press should be asking

Time For Clear Public Understanding of Iranian Threat: Council on Foreign Affairs interview of Joseph Cirincione, the writer of the "Fool Me Twice" piece.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:18 PM on April 10, 2006


My only consolation is that someday all this will bite Paris in the ass, too.
Sort of how the down-and-out laugh when someone in a suit gets thrown into their own patch of mud.
One of US! One of US! heh..
posted by Balisong at 4:21 PM on April 10, 2006


Why the fuck are any of you idiots engaging ParisParamus?

Are you all fucking retarded? He's either:
a) A LYING SACK OF SHIT
or
b) A HUGE FUCKING TROLL

either way, his opinions about everything can be considered so suspect as to be useless.

FUCK HIM. AND FUCK ALL OF YOU WHO BOTHER ENGAGING HIM.
posted by I Love Tacos at 2:51 PM



Your "rhetoric" speaks for itself, and your level of civility.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:55 PM GMT on April 10 [!]


Just because no one wants to hire you doesn't mean the economy is bad--sorry.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:01 PM GMT on April 10 [!]


Fucking hilarious.

ParisParamus can't even pretend to be better than me for 6 minutes. SIX MINUTES between his holier-than-thou post and his personal-attack troll.

Normally he's more subtle than that...
Sheesh. Perfect irony. Take a breather, you have too much invested in your enmity to be posting in this sort of thread, tacos. Why so hypocritical? Why so crass? You think that sort of nonsense is gonna persuade anyone?
posted by dash_slot- at 4:46 PM on April 10, 2006


Are We Really Going To Nuke Iran? Decoding our options.
posted by homunculus at 5:12 PM on April 10, 2006


Have a taco, on me!
posted by Balisong at 6:27 PM on April 10, 2006


Well, yeah homunculus, that's kind of the nitty-gritty of this.

What do we (meaning the world community) do about Iran's nuclear ambitions?
posted by Relay at 8:37 PM on April 10, 2006


Oh, I know. We convince the Mullahs that their religion mistaken and that gays, jews, christians, golden retrievers, and hugs are all good.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:49 PM on April 10, 2006


Hey Paris, what do you say to my revelation here?
Take the Muslims out of the equation (let's say we killed them all) and terrorism still happens.
What happens then?
posted by Balisong at 9:20 PM on April 10, 2006



Sheesh. Perfect irony. Take a breather, you have too much invested in your enmity to be posting in this sort of thread, tacos. Why so hypocritical? Why so crass? You think that sort of nonsense is gonna persuade anyone?


a) It's only hypocritical if I claim I'm not an asshole. You'll find that I repeatedly refer to myself as an asshole.

b) Because I'm an asshole.

c) Being nice to him doesn't work. Treating him like a human doesn't work. Ignoring him doesn't work (because it requirets EVERYONE to ignore him, and they don't). So I'm happy to try being the giant neon sign that says "IGNORE THIS BATSHIT INSANE LUNATIC", to see if that works.

The way I see it, we have nothing to lose. All civilized actions result in failure. What's the worst that can happen if I go uncivil instead?
posted by I Love Tacos at 10:14 PM on April 10, 2006


If and when PP actually has something to say that he doesn't pull out of his arse, it would be welcome, but that's a very rare thing lately.

Otherwise, I suggest the following:

User ParisParamus is trolling, but can not be deleted.

Abort, Retry, Ignore?

posted by insomnia_lj at 10:28 PM on April 10, 2006


insomnia: Personally I want to say "Fuck you too, mathowie." every time PP shits in a thread.

After all, each of those shits is PP's way of saying "fuck you" to us, with mathowie's blessing.
posted by I Love Tacos at 4:20 AM on April 11, 2006


An escalation of vitriol and abuse is preferable to increased moderation, imo.
posted by sonofsamiam at 5:01 AM on April 11, 2006


"Hey Paris, what do you say to my revelation here?"

Balisong, even if the London bombings were not the work of Islamic "rage," its a long way from a subway incident to ruling a country.

Also, ultimately, that Iran is Islamic is secondary. The essential is that there is a wacko regime that threatens the world that doesn't seem to be constrained by the usual deterent of its own deaths (sorry for the grammatical error there...).

I listened to the John Batchelor show last night whose recurring guest, Yosef [someone] insists that Iran has had nukes for over a decade. If that's the case, everything is different.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:20 AM on April 11, 2006


You know, when I was a kid my family took a trip to Disneyworld. Being eight at the time, I was excited but a little pained at the idea of spending 35 hours in a car with my brother each way.

The "South of the Border" signs that popped up every three miles for seemingly hundreds of miles seemed to offer respite from the pain of car-bound interaction, and a useful pressure release valve for my eagerness to get to Disneyworld.

I voiced this opinion to my father, who remained steadfast in his resolve to reach Disneyworld, a place that would be infinitely better than South of the Border.

Still, though, those signs kept popping up. And I kept bugging my father. Finally, it was explained taht we had three weeks for the trip, we were already stopping in Boston and Washington, and South of the Border would just be no fun at all.

And that was I encourage you all to do, I guess: recognize that responding to ParisParamus is like stopping at South of the Border, a place best ignored. I couldn't have wished South of the Border into a less crappy destination, and nor can we wish ParisParamus into a less crappy person. He is what he is, and we have to take the fight elsewhere.

Now, just like South of the Border, Paris is evocative. His billboards appear every three miles, bleating about the wonders that await you with no real evidence.

And, if you haven't guessed, Disney World is the congress, the senate, the judiciary, the mayors and the aldermen. They're who we should be addressing.

A self-loathing coward lawyer in New York? Not worth the effort.
posted by jon_kill at 10:15 AM on April 11, 2006


"Charley, I'm looking right now at Fort Pedro, where you can buy artillery shells, rockets and mortars," I said.
posted by xowie at 10:41 AM on April 11, 2006


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