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What is Bush planning to do with Iran?
January 11, 2007 6:18 AM   Subscribe

US Storms Iranian Consulate in Iraq.
posted by empath (196 comments total)

 
Why is he sending a carrier group and patriot missles to Iraq? The insurgents have neither an air force or a navy.
posted by empath at 6:18 AM on January 11, 2007


And so it begins...

Pat Buchanan further states that war with Iran is coming, and we will be fighting Israel's war. I hate when I agree with him, and anxiously await the screaming cries of anti-semitism, and further believe that it's nearly a done deal. Perhaps the surge in Baghdad is to keep the Shia in line after airstrikes on Iran.

PS. Also, three blasts in Southern Iran. I guess they have to move fast before all the AIPAC connections come out in the Libby trial?
posted by rzklkng at 6:22 AM on January 11, 2007


So he can then pay to replace them. Ever since I saw the footage of that KBR magician at the Arms Expo in the documentary Why We Fight, I've been pretty much convinced that half of what we do militarily is determined by the financial interests of those who we contract with (this seems doubly true for the ill-advised shock and awe campaign).

But regards this post, does anyone know what the deal is with this? I heard on NPR it also led to a tense, armed stand-off between Americans and Kurds (of late, our allies).
posted by hank_14 at 6:23 AM on January 11, 2007


Err, isn't that generally considered an act of war? Did the we just expand this war with Iran?
posted by Eddie Mars at 6:23 AM on January 11, 2007


Yes, we did.

We need to impeach him and remove him from office, like yesterday.

This is absurd.
posted by empath at 6:26 AM on January 11, 2007


Is it time to take to the streets yet? We need to stop this madman.
posted by empath at 6:28 AM on January 11, 2007


EddieMars, based on the Somalian incident on the 9th, no.
posted by rzklkng at 6:29 AM on January 11, 2007


Sigh. At least he doesn't have a rubber stamp congress. From what I understand he has only 90 days to do whatever he wants in Iran, after which he'll need authorization from congress to continue. I guess we'll see what happens.

The raid comes amid high Iran-US tension. The US accuses Iran of helping to fuel violence in Iraq and seeking nuclear arms. Iran denies both charges.

I wish they wouldn't use the word "US" like that, this is the bush administration, on it's own.
posted by delmoi at 6:30 AM on January 11, 2007


Does something like this precipitate a closing of the Strait of Hormuz and $6 gas at the pumps in the US or do we get that sometime next week?
posted by The Straightener at 6:31 AM on January 11, 2007


If we weren't so dependent on oil (and the Republicans on Israeli - Democrats too - and Evangelical support), I say let the various Middle Eastern tribes settle their Old Testament (and prior) grudges. We cannot force those to resolution either at the bargaining table or at gunpoint. Alas, economically, that isn't an option.
posted by rzklkng at 6:32 AM on January 11, 2007


From what I understand he has only 90 days to do whatever he wants in Iran, after which he'll need authorization from congress to continue.

You can really fuck things up in 90 days.
posted by birdherder at 6:32 AM on January 11, 2007


delmoi, then an "Emergency Supplemental Request" from the Pentagon comes up, and the rightwing welfare queens will carp about Congress not "supporting the troops".
posted by rzklkng at 6:33 AM on January 11, 2007


Why is he sending a carrier group and patriot missles to Iraq? The insurgents have neither an air force or a navy.
posted by empath


They're using fighter/bombers daily to destroy mudhuts and Sadam-era office buildings. This rarely makes the news but makes as much noise on the ground as IEDs.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:35 AM on January 11, 2007


I'm reminded of the Vietnam era quote - "We had to destroy the village to save it." Attytood also has some eerie Vietnam parallels (LBJ's Vietnam SOTU speech was on 1/10/1967. These guys love their historical syllogy).
posted by rzklkng at 6:35 AM on January 11, 2007


Pat Buchanan further states that war with Iran is coming, and we will be fighting Israel's war. I hate when I agree with him, and anxiously await the screaming cries of anti-semitism...

I hope in the coming weeks effort will be made in the media to 1)explain that the term "semite" refers to both Hebrews and Arabs (though not all Arabs); 2) Explain the difference between Judaism and the Zionist state movement. Inhaling....
posted by Burhanistan at 6:40 AM on January 11, 2007


Oh yeah, yesterday was also the 231st Anniversary of the publishing of Thomas Paine's Common Sense. I'm sure there's an analogy in there somewhere...

PS. Read aloud via freeaudio - Parts 1 and 2.
posted by rzklkng at 6:41 AM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is it just me, or do the three words "Iran", "US", and "embassy" have an unpleasant historical resonance?
posted by imperium at 6:44 AM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


EddieMars, based on the Somalian incident on the 9th, no.

err, that's not exactly precedent setting. I mean supposedly we had the authorization of the "government" of Somalia.

Anyway, we also bombed the Chinese embassy in Serbia during the Clinton administration. Thankfully we didn't end up going to war with China. Obviously these situations are not analogous.
posted by delmoi at 6:45 AM on January 11, 2007


rzklkng:

I have had that unnerving feeling of being on the same side of an issue as Pat Buchanan. Bush is like the Wizard of Oz - he makes Buchanan seem moderate and reasonable, bestowed (comparative) integrity unto President Clinton, made his pop resolute and steadfast (again, by comparison), and made the democrats into "leaders". He makes Jimmy Carter look like a good president. Heck, he makes Kerry look like a good president.
posted by Mister_A at 6:47 AM on January 11, 2007


1)explain that the term "semite" refers to both Hebrews and Arabs (though not all Arabs)

regardless of what Semite means, "anti-Semite" means "Anti-Jew" It's a word specifically made up for that purpose.
posted by delmoi at 6:47 AM on January 11, 2007


I'm reminded of an old Calvin and Hobbes comic... In the first panel Calvin is running frantically, and as he passes Hobbes he shouts "Run, Hobbes! There's a swarm of angry hornets right behind me!" Hobbes starts running alongside Calvin and asks "Why are they so mad?", to which Calvin replies "I've been throwing rocks at their nest all morning." The last panel shows Calvin hung up on a tree branch and hanging by his underwear, shouting out to an unseen Hobbes "A real friend wouldn't take their side!!"

Don't know why I thought of that this morning.
posted by Servo5678 at 6:47 AM on January 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


Anyway, we also bombed the Chinese embassy in Serbia during the Clinton administration. Thankfully we didn't end up going to war with China. Obviously these situations are not analogous.

Well, we had a lot more to lose in a war against China.
posted by mkb at 6:51 AM on January 11, 2007


We have a whole hell of a lot to lose in a war with Iran. I don't think they'd have too hard a time sinking a few warships and blocking the straight of hormuz.
posted by empath at 6:55 AM on January 11, 2007


In 1992, I remember reading a satirical article mocking Ross Perot, a fake retrospective of his time as president, that ended with the US at war with Canada and Mexico. Ha ha! Two unnecessary wars because the president's unstable! What a funny joke.

But it's the Bush administration's America, now. Life imitates satire.
posted by ibmcginty at 7:01 AM on January 11, 2007


perhaps bush is trying to provoke iran into making the first move by attacking its interests in iraq
posted by pyramid termite at 7:07 AM on January 11, 2007


But, don't call it an escalation.

This is truly scary shit, kids.
posted by Phantast at 7:07 AM on January 11, 2007


Didn't the Wehrmacht's invasion of Poland in Sept 1939 start on some pretext or other?
posted by pax digita at 7:08 AM on January 11, 2007


is Bush calling their bluff of defending themselves?
how much death (approximately) will satisfy him?
posted by Busithoth at 7:09 AM on January 11, 2007


RE: China. You may recall that in the infancy of the Bush Presidency, the Neocons were disappointed that he sought a diplomatic (which in their eyes means appeasement) with China regarding that P-3 Orion-fighter-jet strike.
posted by rzklkng at 7:11 AM on January 11, 2007


It IS time to take to the streets. Fortunately, there were already plans in the works to do so. Check Moveon.org--lots scheduled for tonight!
posted by rikschell at 7:14 AM on January 11, 2007


They were hyping the China threat so much in the early part of the Bush presidency, that my first thought was that China was behind 9/11.
posted by empath at 7:14 AM on January 11, 2007


According to NPR, the Kurds were really not happy with this raid on the consulate, and actual had an hour long stand-off with US troops over it.
posted by drezdn at 7:16 AM on January 11, 2007


We were always at war with Iran.
posted by hal9k at 7:17 AM on January 11, 2007


How is this not on CNN?

Yes, I know I just answered my own question, but snark aside, really. Yet somehow "walrus does sit-ups" makes the cut.

I don't know what's scarier -- this news or the fact that it's apparently NOT news.
posted by crackingdes at 7:20 AM on January 11, 2007


Go to the streets? Yes, I agree, but it would never happen, and furthermore, if it did, what makes you think they'll listen? They (BushCo) aren't facing the electorate again - they went into this knowing the American people don't support an escalation (~12-18% in favor), so all the did was scale back Kagan-Keane-Kristols plan for 50k more to 20k, and justify the reduction in force through more funny supply-side math regarding the insurgents.
posted by rzklkng at 7:20 AM on January 11, 2007


For a lot of people loosing two wars would be plenty.

I guess I lack that vision thing.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:21 AM on January 11, 2007


Why is it not on TV - simple, the media, and particularly the establishment, embraced the Bush plan, moving against it destroys their credibility, and causes them to lose their place as one of the elite structures that dictate to Joe Sixpack. Why do you think they all obediently call escalations "surges", civil wars "sectarian violence", and withdrawals "redeployments".

There's one of two options - either the military, politicians, and pundits will have to admit that they were wrong (which won't happen) or they were lied too (regarding Iraq pre-war intelligence), with Impeachment being the only legal remedy.
posted by rzklkng at 7:23 AM on January 11, 2007


The iranian government says the explosions were minesweeping.
posted by empath at 7:24 AM on January 11, 2007


China is doing a good job of increasing and consolidating its global power and influence without firing a shot. From the article:
“The administration continues to use technical and legalistic dodges to avoid saying what everyone knows to be true – the Chinese manipulate their currency. It's as plain as the nose on your race,” Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in a joint statement.

“If the administration still won't call China a manipulator, how can we ever expect them to get China to play fair?” they asked.

Schumer and Graham were the lead sponsors of legislation last year that would have imposed 27.5 percent penalty tariffs on all Chinese imports if China did not move more quickly to allow its currency to rise in value against the dollar.

The administration opposed the legislation on the grounds that it would raise the price of Chinese imports to American consumers.
Sorry, now back to speculating about the consulate attack and Iran. Has anyone stopped to think about the effect this attack has had on US-Iraqi Kurdistan relations?
posted by Mister_A at 7:25 AM on January 11, 2007


How is this not on CNN?

It's a link on the homepage on the international editon of cnn.com if that's any consolation crackingdes...

... I'm guessing it's not. :(
posted by stumcg at 7:26 AM on January 11, 2007


Mister-A, people have stopped to think. The problem is that the Decider and his advisees see them all as "Arabs" or Iraqis. The Sunni-Saudi, Shia-Iran, Kurd-Turk complications don't factor into their worldviews...
posted by rzklkng at 7:28 AM on January 11, 2007


Hey, but what's the worst thing that could happen if Kurdistan becomes unstable? It's not like they have a neighbor with the second largest army in NATO, a neighbor that would like a reason for seizin' their oil fields.
posted by Mister_A at 7:32 AM on January 11, 2007


holy shit.
posted by chunking express at 7:37 AM on January 11, 2007


We attacked the Iranian embassy in Kurdish Iraq, which is there because there are Kurds in Iran, too. It was doing things like arranging family visits.

The Kurds are our allies (we aren't really theirs, having turned our backs on them several times, including after we sold Saddam the gas to use on them). The Kurds want this embassy, because they want to go see Auntie.

So, we attacked it. With no proof of wrongdoing, irregardless of diplomatic status, against the wishes of our allies, we attacked an *embassy*.

I've seen better and more thoughtful tactics from 8 year old playing Monopoly.
posted by QIbHom at 7:41 AM on January 11, 2007


“President Bush lacks the political power to attack Iran. As an American strike in Iran is essential for our existence, we must help him pave the way by lobbying the Democratic Party (which is conducting itself foolishly) and U.S. newspaper editors.” That rather alarming statement is from Israeli Army Reserve Brigadier General Oded Tira, in an article posted December 30 on Israeli news website Ynetnews.com
posted by Huplescat at 7:52 AM on January 11, 2007


We didn't attack the Iranian Embassy. We raided a consulate. There are hugely important differences between the two.

This is the second time we have done it in a month, so it's not like this is an unprecedented act of war.

Apparently they had evidence that people in the consulate were engaged in insurrection, and being inside a consulate does not provide sovereign immunity.

Really, does anyone deny the likelihood that members of the Iranian consulate are, in fact, working to destabilize Iraq? It was one of the most frequent criticisms of why Iraq was a mistake for Bush.


All that being said, intentionally starting a war with Iran right now would be colossally ill-advised. Negligently doing so would be tragic, as well. I hope saner minds prevail. To that end, it would be absolutely nifty if the discussion here was thoughtful and displayed a level of reasoned-based objections instead of the opposition resorting to and appearing to be the the usual embarrassingly simple-minded tortured Orwelll allusions, calls to protest, strained analogies to Nazis or other historical moments, and shamefully shrill strawmen bashing. What are the chances? After reading this thread, not good.
posted by dios at 8:05 AM on January 11, 2007


What dios said (cue usual pileon nonsense).
posted by matthewr at 8:12 AM on January 11, 2007


VIENNA CONVENTION ON DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS AND OPTIONAL PROTOCOLS

According to the international treaty linked above, entered into force with respect to the United States of America on 13 December 1972:

Article 22

1. The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.

2. The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.

3. The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.


So, like, what the USA just did is totally illegal.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:12 AM on January 11, 2007


Dios, they no longer have the credibility and support based on your belief that "they had evidence". The ends justify the means mentality got us into this mess - people realize it - and it is a poor justification for any of the current goings on. Ctrl-F makes no reference to Orwell nor any Godwin-ing, so the strawman you allude to is your own.
posted by rzklkng at 8:13 AM on January 11, 2007


Fyi - one can read the UN treaty on Consular Relations. Discussing this action in light of that treaty is a bit tricky due to the absence of key details.
posted by dios at 8:14 AM on January 11, 2007


Dios, regardless of whether or not they had evidence, they should have worked out the details with the Kurds (a group mostly friendly with the US), as it was on the Kurds turf. By not doing so, they have created another rift that hadn't existed previously.
posted by drezdn at 8:14 AM on January 11, 2007


Maybe if the Iranians sink a Carrier we can reinstate the draft!
posted by washburn at 8:15 AM on January 11, 2007


So, like, what the USA just did is totally illegal.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:12 AM CST on January 11


Did you pick that up from a blog? If so, then you should quit reading whatever piece-of-shit blog you got that from, because you cited to the wrong thing.

That is referring to Embassies. Consulates are different.

Read the thing I linked (especially the parts wherein they state that the entire premises of the consulate is not inviolable, only parts and the parts where people there can be arrested for grave crimes, etc.) since it is the one that applies here.
posted by dios at 8:18 AM on January 11, 2007


It was one of the most frequent criticisms of why Iraq was a mistake for Bush.

No snark intended, but wasn't the most frequent criticism that there were no WMDs in Iraq? At least, that was my most frequent criticism...
posted by NationalKato at 8:18 AM on January 11, 2007


Ctrl-F makes no reference to Orwell nor any Godwin-ing, so the strawman you allude to is your own.
posted by rzklkng at 10:13 AM CST on January 11


Try using your eyes, not Ctrl+F. (Or course, even if you read each comment, you might not have noticed: maybe Orwell allusions have become so cliched (Orwell's biggest enemy, the cliche) that you don't even recognize them as such.)
posted by dios at 8:20 AM on January 11, 2007


My criticism was that it was an unnecessary war of choice rooted in bad intelligence and a belligerent, deliberately deceptive linking of Iraq with Al Qaida.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:20 AM on January 11, 2007


Dios, apologies, missed that 1939 bit. Perhaps the Gulf of Tonkin "incident" or the 16-Dirty-Words are better historical metaphors?
posted by rzklkng at 8:21 AM on January 11, 2007


er... so intentionally starting a war later on I guess could be good policy?

I was wondering about the Embassy vs. consulate question so that is a a good addition, otherwise not nice way of promoting thoughtfull, reason based objective conversation.

And to turn the question around, does anyone doubt that the US will say whatever they wish to to justify a action? Seriously?
posted by edgeways at 8:21 AM on January 11, 2007


regardless of what Semite means, "anti-Semite" means "Anti-Jew" It's a word specifically made up for that purpose.

And that label is, unfortunatey, sometimes fairly applied to Mr. Buchanan.

Regardless of the reason, Buchanan is right about the inexorable drift towards armed conflict with Iran. It's all part of the plan: the invasion of Iraq made the destruction of Iran an imperative. The causus belli will probably be one of these into the side of a U.S. Navy warship. Who actually fires it won't matter.

So, we attacked it. With no proof of wrongdoing, irregardless of diplomatic status, against the wishes of our allies, we attacked an *embassy*.

Wah, wah, wah. When those assholes stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran, took a hundred + U.S. citizens hostage, and held them for over a year, they lost any right to expect the U.S. to respect their embassies anywhere. Fuck 'em in their greasy behinds.
posted by three blind mice at 8:22 AM on January 11, 2007


Are you actually making the case that because someone else has behaved lawlessly, we likewise may behave lawlessly? Aren't we supposed to be better than that?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:24 AM on January 11, 2007


That is really a stupid position to take TBM
posted by edgeways at 8:31 AM on January 11, 2007


I love these * versus * arguments (embassies versus consultates). It reminds me of an incident, something along the lines of "it all depends what 'is' is" that gets people of a certain political stripe all fired up. I'd also like to point out how the admin is taking their interpretation of "rule of law" to mean "lawful" (spirit of the law) as opposed to "legal" (letter of the law). My other personal favorite is this chestnut regarding the lack of a capture or kill of OBL (I paraphrase):
"It's not a failure, it's just a success that hasn't happened yet."
Dios, your explanations, as usual, are correct, though seldom right.
posted by rzklkng at 8:31 AM on January 11, 2007


Glenn has some things to say about all this.
posted by NationalKato at 8:33 AM on January 11, 2007


dios: what a rude person you are. Your hand-waving about the consulate / embassy distinction might work with ignorant plebs, but I am the treaty master and I know how to use the power of the Internet.

The language in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations is almost identical to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Optional Protocols. I bet the diplomats who wrote it used cut-and-paste:

Article 31 Inviolability of the consular premises

1.Consular premises shall be inviolable to the extent provided in this article.

2.The authorities of the receiving State shall not enter that part of the consular premises which is used exclusively for the purpose of the work of the consular post except with the consent of the head of the consular post or of his designee or of the head of the diplomatic mission of the sending State. The consent of the head of the consular post may, however, be assumed in case of fire or other disaster
requiring prompt protective action.

3.Subject to the provisions of paragraph 2 of this article, the receiving State is under a special
duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the consular premises against any intrusion or damage and to
prevent any disturbance of the peace of the consular post or impairment of its dignity.
...


Are you trying to argue that maybe they arrested the guys in the lunchroom, rather than the office space? Yeah, that's the ticket... You, dear sir, are full of shit.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:35 AM on January 11, 2007 [8 favorites]


I do not believe we should have in vaded Iraq. I do not believe we should remain there. But I have seen reports that Iran is both supplying arms and money to kill Americans and Iraquis and so I have little argument with seizing computers in consulate and examining them/ After all, two days ago, Iranian Revolutionary guards officders were grabbed. What were they doing in Iraq--isn't that also a delcaration of war of some sort?
posted by Postroad at 8:43 AM on January 11, 2007


My criticism was that it was an unnecessary war of choice rooted in bad intelligence and a belligerent, deliberately deceptive linking of Iraq with Al Qaida.

My criticism is that it's all part of a strategically short-sighted and morally bankrupt resource grab intended to forestall an inevitable market collapse brought about by peak oil (which, whether you believe in it or not, many industry analysts do accept as a reality, so it definitely factors into the long-term planning these guys do). You know that top-secret energy plan of Cheney's? It's to secure oil using military force, on the justification that doing so is in America's national interests. That's it. Plain and simple. I guarantee it. It's just another high-risk business strategy of the type for which hard-nosed CEO Cheney and his ilk are so highly valued. (These kinds of resource conflicts were foreseen and written about long ago by people like Jared Diamond, btw.) The problem with the plan, of course, is that Global Warming will have done us in long before all the fighting over resources gets resolved. But that's cool with me, because, hey, live by the sword die by the sword. And the human race, collectively, sure as hell ain't winning any nobel peace prizes. If we keep going this route, we deserve to die out. Putting a stop to it will require a spirit of mutual respect, trust, and maturity I see no evidence we can muster. I think Martin Luther King, Jr. was being prophetic when he said:

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

Looks like we decided to go with option 2.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:45 AM on January 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Postroad: what you are supporting is in clear violation of international law.

What did you think of the Iranian hostage crisis? Was that cool?
posted by Meatbomb at 8:46 AM on January 11, 2007


Wah, wah, wah. When those assholes stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran, took a hundred + U.S. citizens hostage, and held them for over a year, they lost any right to expect the U.S. to respect their embassies anywhere

Perhaps they were a bit miffed by that reinstalling the puppet Shah thing.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:47 AM on January 11, 2007


Postroad, mice-- no one here is arguing that Iran is anything other than a horrible, malevolent dictatorship.

However, with US resources being finite, our knowledge falling somewhere short of omniscience, and our reputation at the lowest point in the nation's history, it might not be the most shrewd or moral thing for us to escalate tensions by acting with illegal aggression against Iran.
posted by ibmcginty at 8:48 AM on January 11, 2007


"The missiles are flying. Hallelujah. Hallalujah."
posted by kirkaracha at 8:48 AM on January 11, 2007


I'm not crying any tears for the Iranians.

I'm crying pre-emptive tears for the American troops that are going to die for another pointless war that we can't win.
posted by empath at 8:53 AM on January 11, 2007


The language in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations is almost identical to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Optional Protocols. I bet the diplomats who wrote it used cut-and-paste:

Almost identical? Try again. There are VAST differences between an embassy and a consulate office. I have to run and be gone the rest of the afternoon for a deposition, so I can't go though Article by article and point out the difference and why they are important. But read just the two you quoted and see the differences yourself. It is certainly not a cut-and-paste. Consulates have protection, that is true. But they do not have the level of sovereign immunity embassies have.

Read the treaty as a whole. Look at the articles 31 and the Articles in the 40's (having to do with criminal detention of members at the consulate), and, importantly, Article 55 (regarding the fact that the consulate cannot be used to interfere with the host state or any way incompatible with the consular function--which arguably would be occurring if the allegations are true). If you read the thing as a whole, you see that protection is afforded for consular duties, but it is certainly something that can be waived in circumstances such as grave crimes like insurrection.

Of course, the whole discussion is predicated on the question (that I don't know the answer of and don't have the time to look up) of whether the treaty was ratified by Iran (as it would have to be to apply to it).

My point is this: simple and facile comments about how this is clearly something against the law are not something that can be said at the current moment given the facts that we know.

You, dear sir, are full of shit.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:35 AM CST on January 11


Eh. I called your source a piece of shit. You called me one. But I'm the rude one, eh?
posted by dios at 8:53 AM on January 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Postroad: what you are supporting is in clear violation of international law.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:46 AM CST on January 11


Clear? Hardly.

And I won't bother to get into the issue of an 'international law' with you.
posted by dios at 8:56 AM on January 11, 2007


Postroad, we admonish the Iranian for supporting the Shia. Where do you think the Sunni get their support from, and why haven't we criticized them?
posted by rzklkng at 8:56 AM on January 11, 2007


No, I said you were full of shit, I did not call you a shit. The two terms are vastly different, you go look them up in dictionaries as I am in a rush, but stop jumping to conclusions and do some research and it will be apparent that you completely misunderstand the statement I made about you.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:58 AM on January 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'm not crying any tears for the Iranians.

Do you know any Iranians?
posted by stammer at 8:59 AM on January 11, 2007


dios, the TOS for Metafilter clearly state that personal attacks are prohibited. As such, I'd like to state that "mistakes were made", and that Meatbomb apparently meant to state that your argument was "a piece of shit". This clarification should clear up your misunderstanding and be in total fidelity with the terms of service.
posted by rzklkng at 9:01 AM on January 11, 2007


I must admit that I've missed reading dios's posts. It's really remarkable how he is able to find a technicality and twist the discussion into an argument over semantics.
I mean that sincerely by the way. You have a rare talent. I might disagree with your view points, but I find your take on things fascinating.
posted by Eddie Mars at 9:01 AM on January 11, 2007


Maybe we should hold them hostage?
posted by delmoi at 9:03 AM on January 11, 2007


I'm not crying any tears for the Iranians.

A pity, since it is Iranian civilians, who are just trying to live their lives, who will certainly pay the most terrible toll if we expand this war into Iran. Keep in mind, America has lost 3,000 soldiers in Iraq. Iraq has suffered 600,000 casualties.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:03 AM on January 11, 2007


simple and facile comments about how this is clearly something against the law are not something that can be said at the current moment given the facts that we know.

but simple and facile comments about how this is clearly something that is alright with the law are more than sayable? ... and let's face it, dios ... this whole red herring you've introduced into the discussion is nothing but simple and facile ... while you argue legalities with the "treaty-master", our president is doing his damnedest to troll the iranians into doing something drastic and stupid, so he can proceed with a war

doesn't that concern you in the least, considering that we may not have the manpower or the firepower to successfully deal with something like that?

why not try to address the real issue at hand for once?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:04 AM on January 11, 2007


Postroad, mice-- no one here is arguing that Iran is anything other than a horrible, malevolent dictatorship.

I don't know about that, but they did storm a U.S. embassy in 1978 (or 1979) - in their own fucking country - and held the occupants hostage for 400 some days. What the U.S. did today doesn't even register in comparison.

However, with US resources being finite, our knowledge falling somewhere short of omniscience, and our reputation at the lowest point in the nation's history, it might not be the most shrewd or moral thing for us to escalate tensions by acting with illegal aggression against Iran.

The die is cast ibmcginty. Iran must be destroyed or the whole neo-con plan is ruined. As a practical matter, regardless of the situation in which the U.S. finds itself in, attacking Iran only gets more difficult as time goes on. For Bush it's pretty much now or never. Like Iraq, the decider has already decided and it's just a matter of moving the stratego pieces and rolling the die.
posted by three blind mice at 9:04 AM on January 11, 2007


There's nothing so unnerving as lunacy articulated clearly.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:06 AM on January 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


"For a lot of people loosing two wars would be plenty.

I guess I lack that vision thing."


And that spelling thing.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:08 AM on January 11, 2007


I'm not crying any tears for the Iranians.

Not any empath? How 'bout at least one or two? Otherwise, what AstroZombie said.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:09 AM on January 11, 2007


What the U.S. did today doesn't even register in comparison.

And if you ask most Iranians-- including those who despise the current regime-- they'll tell you that holding a few hundred hostages for a year doesn't even register in comparison with the hated dictatorship that the US had installed and supported for decades.

Playing the "but he started it" game, comparing past slights, is not a sound way to judge our actions today.

Like Iraq, the decider has already decided and it's just a matter of moving the stratego pieces and rolling the die.

I am praying that you are wrong. But I can't really argue that you are.
posted by ibmcginty at 9:09 AM on January 11, 2007



What the U.S. did today doesn't even register in comparison.


Except it happened today, not more than 25 years ago. Repeatedly replaying the injustices of the distant past are foolish.
posted by drezdn at 9:13 AM on January 11, 2007


to clarify:

I meant the Iranian government/military. Thus far, there's nobody who has been harmed that hasn't been asking for it.

I don't expect an actual US invasion at this point, so I'm not expecting mass Iranian casualties at this point, but you never know...
posted by empath at 9:16 AM on January 11, 2007


Metafilter: It's as plain as the nose on your race.
posted by Phlogiston at 9:16 AM on January 11, 2007


The important distinction that flows from Bush's speech is this: We are no longer going to pay attention to Iraqi political realities if it interfers with our military judgement. Ignoring the Kurds and invading the consulate is the very first example of this new policy. This conflicts directly with Bush's other declared agenda: The Iraqis must take responsibility for their own country. From my naive perspective, our new policy is "more force, less talk". It seems obviously contradictory, stupid and wrong to me. Does anyone here think that Bush's direction makes any sense?
posted by Carmody'sPrize at 9:17 AM on January 11, 2007


I don't know about that, but they did storm a U.S. embassy in 1978 (or 1979) - in their own fucking country - and held the occupants hostage for 400 some days. What the U.S. did today doesn't even register in comparison.

If anybody's mother/brother/father/son/sister/daughter died or was gravely wounded in the attack on this embassy, at the hands of US soldiers not in "their own fucking country", I'd say it more than registers in comparison.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:18 AM on January 11, 2007


Playing the "but he started it" game, comparing past slights, is not a sound way to judge our actions today.

If Darius I could kept a grude against the Athenians his whole life (he had a servant remind him every day), I think I can keep a grudge against the Iranians.

I am praying that you are wrong. But I can't really argue that you are.

Praying never has - and never will - change anything.
posted by three blind mice at 9:21 AM on January 11, 2007


OR, if this action results in any deaths down the line.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:21 AM on January 11, 2007


Whoa, I step out to visit some clients and shit gets all apey.

Let me see if I can ask some questions to steer this in a constructive direction. First the original question I asked:

Does something like this precipitate a closing of the Strait of Hormuz and $6 gas at the pumps in the US or do we get that sometime next week?

Was jokey but serious at the same time. The Greenwald piece link (which was great) pulls up short of asking what will wind up precipitating a full fledged conflict over the Strait. We've already parked nuclear subs there and have built up naval power in the area around it. Every analyst I've ever read (I'm not real avid about this stuff, though) has said that closing Hormuz is the obvious first thing Iran will do in the event of a full fledged war.

So:

1) Considering the build up in US forces how would Iran go about doing this now? Can they still do it?

2) What kind of event might precipitate something like that and when might it happen? If this particular event of storming an Iranian consul is not enough to do it, it's certainly another step in a series of escalations (as Greenwald points out). So where are they taking this? What kind of bonkers shit goes down next?

I'm am being dead serious and completely honest in asking these questions, I'm not as up on this kind of stuff as others here probably are.
posted by The Straightener at 9:22 AM on January 11, 2007


I think I can keep a grudge against the Iranians.

A grudge, eh? Perhaps you should enlist and go kick some Iranian ass, then. Dubya'll be behind you all the way.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:22 AM on January 11, 2007


I think something to keep in mind is that the Iranian Hostage Crisis was not an 'official' act by the government, and they were still in the midst of the chaos caused by the Iranian Revolution.

Now granted, those people came to power later. But I think you need to draw a line between acts taken by a stable, long-established government with those taken by a revolutionary government in its embryonic stages.
posted by empath at 9:24 AM on January 11, 2007


President Bush is looking more and more like the drunk in a bar who gets in your face, shoving and poking you in the chest, hoping to provoke you into throwing a punch so he can claim you "started it."
posted by EarBucket at 9:24 AM on January 11, 2007


President Bush is looking more and more like the drunk in a bar who gets in your face, shoving and poking you in the chest, hoping to provoke you into throwing a punch so he can claim you "started it.

Yep, it's a time-tested method for getting a war going, ain't it? Good analogy.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:26 AM on January 11, 2007


For those of you saying this is 'technically legal', because Iran is actively working with opposition forces in Iraq:

The US has been actively working with and supporting opposition forces in Iran for decades, no? How would we react if Iran directly attacked American forces in the region?
posted by empath at 9:28 AM on January 11, 2007


Except it happened today, not more than 25 years ago. Repeatedly replaying the injustices of the distant past are foolish.

The past? So where does the present begin drezdn? It seems to me that the events on the late 1970s - the hostage taking in particular - firmly established the awful relationship that exists TODAY between the U.S. and Iran.

Obviously there was some reason (real, imaginged, or made from whole cloth) for today's actions. All I am saying is that based on the PRESENT relationship between the two countries, the U.S: decision to violate an Iranian embassy (or consulate) for whatever reason should not have been a difficult one to make.
posted by three blind mice at 9:30 AM on January 11, 2007


How would we react if Iran directly attacked American forces in the region?

We'd fucking bomb their asses.

USA! USA!
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:30 AM on January 11, 2007


Yep, it's a time-tested method for getting a war going, ain't it?

It sure is.
posted by EarBucket at 9:31 AM on January 11, 2007


1) Considering the build up in US forces how would Iran go about doing this now?

missiles sinking tankers and u s ships

Can they still do it?

hell, yes

2) What kind of event might precipitate something like that and when might it happen?

i don't think the consulate incident will do it ... certainly, a nuclear bunker-buster raid on iran's nuclear facilities would be more than enough to get them to do this ... i'm not certain that mere border raids or bombings would be enough ... the iranians have a lot of options and can use proxies to do their dirty work for them
posted by pyramid termite at 9:33 AM on January 11, 2007


the awful relationship that exists TODAY between the U.S. and Iran.

It's only "awful" cause CNN says it's awful. Ordinary Iranians (the vast majority of its citizenry) and ordinary Americans (ditto) have no personal hatred of each other, save for perhaps a very artificial one whipped up by jingoistic press and leadership on both sides.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:34 AM on January 11, 2007


And that spelling thing.

If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, point out their early morning ham-fisted typing.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:35 AM on January 11, 2007


storms a'coming adelle. have charly put the horses in the barn and i'll go get mary from the strawberry fields.
posted by localhuman at 9:36 AM on January 11, 2007


But I think you need to draw a line between acts taken by a stable, long-established government with those taken by a revolutionary government in its embryonic stages.

C'mon empath, the revolutionary government was completely culpable. The Assaholla Khomeni was always in a position to put an end to that crisis and, in fact, that "embryonic" government acted pretty damn quickly to get those people released before Ronald Reagan took office.

Iran is in no position to complain about its consulate being violated.
posted by three blind mice at 9:39 AM on January 11, 2007


storms a'coming adelle. have charly put the horses in the barn and i'll go get mary from the strawberry fields

As ever, the rich and connected will indeed have their horses in the barn. Those with no horses to begin with wil be sent to yet another foreign land to get shot at.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:40 AM on January 11, 2007


Iran war kickoff, MacWorld style. [via]
posted by kirkaracha at 9:42 AM on January 11, 2007


It's only "awful" cause CNN says it's awful.

Well, I guess that settles it.
posted by three blind mice at 9:44 AM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thank you, dios.

Nothing was more disheartening in my college political development than driving 12 hours to a Washington, D.C. anti-war protest in January of '03 and discovering that not person I spoke with anywhere could give me a thoughtful and logically consistent reason why they were opposed to the war. It just felt right, so they marched and screamed and chanted "Free Palestine, END ZIONISM!" when the guy at the front told them too. I went home and made bullet-point discussion points to put on peoples windshields.

oops, i mean ::shrill screaming with the other foreign policy guru's in NewsFilter::

WHAT NEST!!!! THEY"S MOVE TROOPS TO THE SIREA ARMISTICE LINE ON THRSUDAY!!?!!!
posted by trinarian at 9:44 AM on January 11, 2007


Sorry, but anyone here that's itching for more war is a complete shithead.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:44 AM on January 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


NationalKato - That’s some coherent analysis by Greenwald. Huh: “I think there is a tendency to dismiss the possibility of some type of war with Iran because it is so transparently destructive and detached from reality that it seems unfathomable. But if there is one lesson that everyone should have learned over the last six years, it is that there is no action too extreme or detached from reality to be placed off limits to this administration.”

Yeah, I thought someone’s ass would have stung over the WMD thing and the upper echelon clusterfuck in Iraq which is why I bought into it.
Similarly, I would think that if Iran is “providing material support for attacks on American troops” we should hit them very hard where it counts.
But given prior experiance....
And I’m not sure of the plan. I mean even given the best case scenario that this is “to secure oil using military force, on the justification that doing so is in America's national interests,” (saulgoodman ) the logic in the timing escapes me.
Other than of course political.

“but they did storm a U.S. embassy in 1978 (or 1979) - in their own fucking country - and held the occupants hostage for 400 some days.”

And given the facts at the time I would have thought we should have gone to war over that. In retrospect, not so much. But that entire situation was politically orchestrated as well. If Delta had succeeded, it would have changed history (we should have tried again). Now maybe that was a joint service foul up because everyone wanted to get their dicks wet in it, but again, I’m very distrustful of Ollie North and all the events that occured afterwards. Can’t prove anything of course. And that idea could be completely wrong. But it’s still fishy what occured afterwards. On that note however, if we buy into the idea that the Iranians cut the hostages loose because Reagan was such a bad-ass and was willing to go to war, than this bit of saber rattling will work.
It’d be a nice piece of brinksmanship if it does. Bringing in the Israelis is like the whole good cop/bad cop routine: “Uh, oh, Iran, I don’t know if I can hold Schlomo back when he’s like this. As your buddy I’m telling you to back off the nukes, man”
So it could all be by design. And it has to be played to the hilt. But if it fails, that’s an awful big gamble with other people’s lives. And we’re not seeing the pay off. If we put Iran in a corner - what is it they need to do to back us off?
It’s like the demands that Saddam disarm. He couldn’t because he didn’t have anything (and the state on state action “War” was a cakewalk).
So what is it Iran needs to do and how do we verify that? The material aid question aside - we’d need constant vigilance to insure they’re not pursuing a nuclear weapons program. If that’s my goal I’d rather take the one time shot and knock them back to the stone age than spend the rest of eternity sitting in their backyard making sure they play nice.
But that brings us back to square one. Timing.

Yeah, it’s all just not adding up to where it turns out good for the U.S. as opposed to whomever else.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:45 AM on January 11, 2007


The past? So where does the present begin drezdn?

Considering that the average soldier in Iraq was born after the Iran Hostage Crisis, I would consider that the distant past.

Continuing to dwell on things that happened years ago has kept the middle east the desperate quagmire it is. Until leaders start worrying more about the future than settling past transgressions, the chances for peace get narrower.
posted by drezdn at 9:46 AM on January 11, 2007


BTW: I’m not rebutting anyone per se, just chewin’ it over.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:46 AM on January 11, 2007


TBM, that's absurd.

Yes, the revolutionary government AT THE TIME was responsible for what happened. But what I'm saying is that the current, stable, long-established government of Iran can't be held responsible for actions taken when it was the country was still getting it's shit together after a revolution.

And you certainly can't continue to justify any act of aggression based on the past crimes of the aggressee.
posted by empath at 9:47 AM on January 11, 2007


So, your argument here, three blind mice, seems to be boiling down to this:

AVENGE 1978 (or 1979)!

So, I'm still wondering when you're gonna go see your local recruiting officer... You talk the talk, gonna walk the walk?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:49 AM on January 11, 2007


I went home and made bullet-point discussion points to put on peoples windshields.

pity you seem to be armed with only a daisy air rifle ... do you have something relevant to this discussion to say?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:49 AM on January 11, 2007


I for one think War in Iran is an excellent idea. Why lose two wars (Iraq, Afghanistan) when you can lose three?

I hope saner minds prevail.
If you really want saner minds to prevail, then stop voting for insane warmongers.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:54 AM on January 11, 2007


i know that debkafile has its limitations, but they hit the nail on the head with this headline

"American forces set out to capture Baghdad for second time in four years"

that says it all
posted by pyramid termite at 9:54 AM on January 11, 2007


Do you guys really want to be commenting on metafilter when the missiles start flying? For godssakes, start making emergency preparations! Protect your goddamned families!
posted by tehloki at 9:57 AM on January 11, 2007


the Saudis are involved in Iraq too, helping Sunnis--when do we start attacking them? (there's also that little 9/11 thing also)
posted by amberglow at 9:59 AM on January 11, 2007


I would like to thank CNN for taking such a leadership role in keeping the American population well informed. With all this war kerfuffle it's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture: walruses can do sit-ups.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 10:11 AM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


dios, sorry if an admittedly rhetorical question about 1939 got the Godwinian juices flowing. But the current mess also reminds me somewhat of the Punic Wars and the Spanish-American War, so I hope you'll forgive me for causing a mistaken impression that I have a Hitler fixation.

To close the Strait, I think it's not even necessary for a C-802 to sink a US Navy warship per se -- just sink a crude carrier of any nationality, and Lloyd's of London will do the rest by skyrocketing premiums for maritime insurance. I imagine there are already contingency plans for reflagging and escorting tankers like happened with the Kuwaiti ones during the Iran-Iraq war.
posted by pax digita at 10:17 AM on January 11, 2007


i suppose it's bad form to point out that our embassies have been being attacked for 3 decades.
posted by quonsar at 10:20 AM on January 11, 2007


go figure, quonsar ... you give people guns ... and next thing you know, they think they can do ANYTHING
posted by pyramid termite at 10:25 AM on January 11, 2007


Dios has a point. Kind of. In that YES, to be sure, Iran is making hay with our occupation of Iraq. The are most certainly supplying the Shia militias with arms and intelligence. And in some cases out right directives.

But Dios, SO FUCKING WHAT.

All of that— Iran taking advantage of what was SURE to be a foreign policy disaster for the US — was predicted by every single strategic thinker and middle east expert in the god damned world.

This shit was predicted in 2002 and totally ignored by the Bush administration. And what was also predicted soon after was that, in light of the inevitable failure of Occupying a nation of 24 million with less than 200,000 troops, is that we would then deliberately provoke a regional conflagration. An unstable middle east, in lieu of Democracy not taking root, is seen as GOOD (in the short term) for US interests by the neo-cons. Though this view is idiotic. It is clearly outlined in the old PNAC statements.

And lo' it has all come to pass.

Bush is prodding the bees nest again. He is trying to provoke Iran into doing something stupid.

This entire war, and it's apologists, are like reading a fucking script. It's simultaneously frightening in how banal and predictable their failures all are. Here is the script that was written BEFORE invasion:

Scene I: Concoct a war.
Alienate the only people who have supplied you with accurate advice and intelligence knowing they will inform the public of your intentions. Stroke and allay the potential fears of your base by doing said war on the cheap and tying it to recent fears. Short handed - you are forced to use ill trained less governable mercenaries.

Scene II: Invade a resource rich third world country on false pretenses. Rush the time line to invasion so facts can't be examined. Because you rush invasion don't formulate an occupation plan nor do you contact sympathetic enemy forces who could assist you after you "win." You rely on Blitzkrieg. In your rush you also can't accumulate enough allies or forces to prepare for occupation (they need more domestic political rational to justify sending their people and that takes time, FACTS, or deals for war booty you can't supply) - like securing the borders etc.

Scene III: Occupy.
Hire only those that are "ideologically pure" to run your political side of the war and further alienate the military who resent the political interference. The ideologically pure are often incompetent to the tasks forcing you to shuffle personnel and never gain organization.

Scene IV: Bask in your glory.
Your population may start to feel anxiety so declare victory prematurely. Most people will not know the difference between military successes and political victory (Wars are won politically and with logistics, NOT militarily). The enemy must be seen to be punished. So alienate the only competent people who used run the enemy country and hire the only people left - criminals. You must know actually appear to believe in your justifications for war. Paint your war as "humanitarian." This will conflict with reality and hamstring your troops on the ground who most certainly see the occupied peoples are not accepting your "HUMANITY." Insurrection becomes wide-spread. Neighboring countries begin to drool realizing the opportunity you have presented them. Neighboring countries begin profiteering of their own and supply insurgency.

Scene V: It all falls apart.
You are now ill suited occupiers. Your credibility is shot. Your war justifications proved false. Nothing you say is believed by friends or enemies and your enemies take advantage of that. The insurgency takes on many faces as they now fight for political dominance. Insurgencies gain popular support.
Attacking the insurgency is seen as attacking the people you said you were there to help. So you attack the proxies of the neighboring states that who inevitably interfered. This only emboldens the neighboring states as they know you are now bogged down. So you act precipitously to provoke them into a fight, see who twitches first.

Scene VI through MXXVII
Rinse and repeat. Failure after failure.
posted by tkchrist at 10:30 AM on January 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


Do you folks have a different CNN.com from me? It's the first thing listed under "Top Stories". The only problem it says the facts we've all agreed upon in this thread might not (gasp!) be accurate.

Resume comparisons of US administration to Germany circa 1939 (or 29).
posted by yerfatma at 10:32 AM on January 11, 2007


From yerfatma's link: "[A US] official disputes accounts from Iran that the troops broke open a consulate gate and conducted a raid. "No shots were fired. No altercation ensued," the U.S. official. "It was a knock on the door and 'Please come out.' " "

Let's hope that's true. 5 years ago, I would have reflexively believed whatever official statements we were putting out. Lesson learned.
posted by ibmcginty at 10:41 AM on January 11, 2007


"Do you folks have a different CNN.com from me? It's the first thing listed under "Top Stories". The only problem it says the facts we've all agreed upon in this thread might not (gasp!) be accurate."

One for the Memory Hole.

CNN+AP also says "President Bush revises Iraq strategy, sending 20,000-plus additional troops."

Why 20,000-plus additional troops? Will they all fit into Baghdad?



posted by davy at 10:43 AM on January 11, 2007


yerfatma, CNN's front page at 1:32 pm may not resemble same from 10:20 am. (East Coast US time here.)
posted by pax digita at 10:44 AM on January 11, 2007


Chaos in the Middle East is not the Bush hawks' nightmare scenario--it's their plan. -- Josh Marshall -- April, 2003
posted by empath at 10:45 AM on January 11, 2007


what happenned to the good old middle east tradition of driving a truck bomb through the gates? we're such wimps.
posted by quonsar at 10:46 AM on January 11, 2007


CNN tv is appalling--for the past hour and a half, it's only been Bush talking, and Gates and Pace talking--no questions, no Congresspeople talking--just the hard sell.
posted by amberglow at 10:47 AM on January 11, 2007


via CNN's update, both Britain and Australia back Bush's "proposal but won't add troops."
posted by NationalKato at 10:48 AM on January 11, 2007


Resume comparisons of US administration to Germany circa 1939 (or 29).

Care to cite what specific comment this Godwin is in reference to?
posted by saulgoodman at 10:48 AM on January 11, 2007


I have to run and be gone the rest of the afternoon for a deposition, so I can't go though Article by article and point out the difference and why they are important.

ROFL.

"Just take my word for it! I'm from the Internet!"
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 10:49 AM on January 11, 2007


i suppose it's bad form to point out that our embassies have been being attacked for 3 decades.

1. Have our embassies been attacked by any Beacons of Freedom and Democracy in the last 3 decades?

2. Is there any possibility that self-proclaimed Beacons of Freedom and Democracy should behave better than that?

3. Why do nimrods keep using this same bogus rationalization?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:53 AM on January 11, 2007


To close the Strait, I think it's not even necessary for a C-802 to sink a US Navy warship per se -- just sink a crude carrier of any nationality, and Lloyd's of London will do the rest by skyrocketing premiums for maritime insurance. I imagine there are already contingency plans for reflagging and escorting tankers like happened with the Kuwaiti ones during the Iran-Iraq war.

Thanks, that's the kind of answer I was looking for. Can you elaborate on the Lloyd's of London thing? I'm sorry for being dense but has something like that happened before? Would that effectively stop shipping traffic all around the world?
posted by The Straightener at 10:54 AM on January 11, 2007


Chaos in the Middle East is not the Bush hawks' nightmare scenario--it's their plan.

Exactly. It's a very poor plan in the modern context. Now that we have real serious competition for those resources and no powerful allies. And the average middle easterner is also nearly as connected to the larger world as most westerners. They are not going to just lay down and die. And we won't be able to hide what is happening there.

What a terrible avoidable and predictable tragedy this war is. A minimum of three decades of misery and slaughter will be it's legacy. If I believed in hell I would hope that anybody who voted for Bush in 2004 would burn there.
posted by tkchrist at 10:54 AM on January 11, 2007


quonsar writes "what happenned to the good old middle east tradition of driving a truck bomb through the gates? we're such wimps."

Before our invasion, Iraq never had a suicide-terrorist attack in its history. Never. Since our invasion, suicide terrorism has been escalating rapidly with 20 attacks in 2003, 48 in 2004, and over 50 in just the first five months of 2005. Every year that the United States has stationed 150,000 combat troops in Iraq, suicide terrorism has doubled.

hurf durf car bomb derby
posted by prostyle at 11:01 AM on January 11, 2007


It's a very poor plan in the modern context.

Not when you have a large Treasury to fund your plan and a bunch of buddies who'll profit from the necessary wartime and reconstruction contracts.
posted by NationalKato at 11:06 AM on January 11, 2007


Resume comparisons of US administration to Germany circa 1939 (or 29).

Care to cite what specific comment this Godwin is in reference to?


Didn't Hitler use some fake excuse just like Bush's to invade Poland?
posted by amberglow at 11:15 AM on January 11, 2007


Thanks, that's the kind of answer I was looking for. Can you elaborate on the Lloyd's of London thing? I'm sorry for being dense but has something like that happened before? Would that effectively stop shipping traffic all around the world?

Not around the world, the rates are set depending on the route the ship takes. In any case, Lloyd's insurance usually doesn't cover damage done in a war zone at all. Financially, oil traffic in the Persian Gulf will depend on how many tankers are being sunk, and whether maintaing the flow of oil is worth a few lost tankers. In practice, many crews will refuse to work under those conditions.
posted by atrazine at 11:21 AM on January 11, 2007


It's a very poor plan in the modern context.

Not when you have a large Treasury to fund your plan and a bunch of buddies who'll profit from the necessary wartime and reconstruction contracts.


It's a really poor plan when you consider the problem of Global Warming will only continue to increase all the while, with America's leadership focused exclusively on grabbing resources--not to mention the fact that exactly the kinds of economic and industrial activity this plan centers on are only going to accelerate the process of Global Warming dramatically (a process which by many reasonably estimates already only gives us a window of about 10 years to prevent an ecological cascade failure that will be difficult to survive under the best of circumstances). See, the problems you tough guys have is that you all think the environmental stuff is a politically motivated bluff or a mistake. It's not. Congratulations, war cheerleaders and other tough guys! Game over. We all lose. Just because you couldn't stand to lose you had to turn the game board over and start throwing the pieces all over the place, and here's what you get for it: The grown-ups (mom and dad) are stepping in and taking the game away from you.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:21 AM on January 11, 2007


saulgoodman, I was being sarcastic. I'm really not that much of a 'tough guy,' and if you read any of my war-related comments, you'll see I called bullshit back in 2002. Carry on.
posted by NationalKato at 11:27 AM on January 11, 2007


nationalkato: i know--didn't mean my unhinged remarks to be directed at you. just used your comment as a launching off point and then started riffing. sorry if that wasn't clear.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:31 AM on January 11, 2007


“I hope you'll forgive me for causing a mistaken impression that I have a Hitler fixation.”

You know who else had a Hitler fixation? Hitler.
S’true.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:38 AM on January 11, 2007


(I asked upthread about the Wehrmacht crossing into Poland on a pretext in September of '39 -- then guessed that was Godwinesque. Actually, John Hay and Scipio Africanus are more to my taste.)

The tanker reflagging thing... I think we (the USN) had more ships available for stuff like escorting merchies during the tail end of the Cold War than currently, but it smoothed things over somewhat back when there was ordnance flying (and floating) around the Persian Gulf.

Lloyd's of London is the world's best known and oldest, if not still the world's biggest, reinsurer (in effect, they insure insurers); they (used to?) pretty much set the standard for what the premiums would be on insuring various ventures like sending a 300,000-ton ultra-large crude carrier (ULCC) through a choke point like the Strait of Hormuz, where for various reasons at various times various neighbors might want to interfere with said passage. Lay a few dozen mines or fire a missile or two into the Strait, and the cost of insuring a tanker and its payload might go way up.

(on preview, atrazine pretty much summed it up)
posted by pax digita at 11:42 AM on January 11, 2007


Didn't Hitler use some fake excuse just like Bush's to invade Poland?

The kielbasa was a threat to German Epicurean integrity! If there is anything the Germans take very seriously it is their cuisine!

Not only that Hitler once bit into a large polish sausage and it squirted him with hot goo and got all stuck in his mustache... this was after explicitly informing the sausage that it was only to squirt into his mouth.

BTW. If that sentence made you horny you're a Nazi.
posted by tkchrist at 11:52 AM on January 11, 2007


Ps. I am not gay.
posted by tkchrist at 11:53 AM on January 11, 2007


Others made this point up-thread before the attempted derail, but it's worth repeating -- America doesn't have many friends left in the region, other than Israel (because we pay their bills). The Saudis? There are reports that they are prepared to send in troops to protect their Sunni brethren if Maliki goes any further in letting the Shia death-squads (the same guys who hanged Saddam and chanted "Moqtada! Moqtada!") murder and mutilate Sunnis. The Turks? Very nervous. There has been talk of partition, giving the Kurds their own piece of the pie, and the Turks will not let this happen without a fight. The Kurds themselves? I think they appreciate that the US got rid of Saddam, moreso than many other Iraqis, but stuff like this just pisses them off. It's like Bush has gotten the Kissinger-Realpolitik religion as of late, and he still doesn't get it. As has been mentioned elsewhere, he and Cheney could fuck up a hamburger.

As for Iran, let me be as plain as possible. The US lost the war in Iraq. Mince terminology all you want (we "won" the war and lost the insurgency, but insurgency is a part of modern warfare after 1945 no matter where it's faught), but we fucked it up, politically and yes, militarily. Bush, Bremer, all the generals, all the way down to the enlisted thugs at Abu-Ghraib? No fucking clue. So now we want to take on Iran? If you're a fan of the US military, you have to wonder why you're so hungry for a second black eye in a few short years. Iran is bigger than Iraq, with more troops and more toys, and most importantly, bigger friends in Russia and China.

Further, try to avoid facile nationalistic determinations here. Yes, the Iranians probably have a few hands in the Iraqi cookie-jar. Why shouldn't they? If someone invaded Mexico or Canada, you can be damn sure it would be in "our interest" to be involved. What's more, when you hear about an Iranian who's sympathetic to the plight of Iraqis, it's not because they're both Arabs. More likely, it's because they're both Shia muslims. And more likely than that, it's probably because they're blood relatives. It's not some sort of nationalistic sympathy, it's fucking family.

Go back to 2001 and answer this question -- how could the US embolded the Iranian mullahs, silence the Iranian progressives, build international sympathy for the thugs running Iran, and give them a life-long regional ally in the form of a thoecratic, Shia-led Iraq?

Exactly.
posted by bardic at 11:55 AM on January 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


hurf durf car bomb derby

You're saying there weren't regular car bombs in the Middle East before the U.S. invaded Iraq? You're just wrong.
posted by oaf at 12:00 PM on January 11, 2007


(Ai. I screwed up -- Iranians are typically Persians, not Arabs. But my point is that their sympathy for Iranians isn't simply nationalism, or even a powerful religious identification. In many cases, it's familial.)
posted by bardic at 12:02 PM on January 11, 2007


I think the official military story will look something like this:

Private Jessica Lynch knocked on the consulate door using the head of the statue of Saddam Hussein which was nobly pulled down by the overwhelmingly grateful Iraqi people. Pat Tillman fought back the gunfire from six WMD-wielding second in command of Al Qaeda Iranians, capturing them and finding evidence of a plot to destroy the Mackinac bridge using cell phones.

Where's ambassador Shirley Temple when her country needs her? That's why I spell USA H-I.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:09 PM on January 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


dances-with-sneetches, I hereby promote you to the rank of Lt. Colonel of MetaFilter Public Relations. Good job soldier. As you were.
posted by tkchrist at 12:13 PM on January 11, 2007


Iran is the new Cambodia.

Which makes sense, given that Bush is now getting advice from Kissinger.

Incidentally, there have been reports of U.S. special forces operating in southern Iran for over two years now.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:38 PM on January 11, 2007


Iran is the new Cambodia.

Meh. Iran is more like China ca. 1950, replete with a strong Russian ally. Nobody thinks they'll get involved, but when they do, the US forces on the ground are in for a treat.
posted by bardic at 12:44 PM on January 11, 2007


Meh. Iran is more like China ca. 1950, replete with a strong Russian ally. Nobody thinks they'll get involved, but when they do, the US forces on the ground are in for a treat.

Uh, we never went into china. MacAurthur wanted too, though.
posted by delmoi at 12:56 PM on January 11, 2007


Of course we didn't go into China. But we antagonized them to the point that their response was overwhelming and led to the greatest retreat in modern military history.

These types of analogies are never really helpful anyways.
posted by bardic at 1:08 PM on January 11, 2007


Uh, we never went into china. MacAurthur wanted too, though.

No, but we did (most agree) run into Chinese troops when we pushed pushed too far north. We didn't stay long.


Also, on another topic, it's telling that Dios only shows up when we (hereafter referred to as "the great unwashed", or "the party of the second part", or "box of rocks") are too dumb to understand the minutae of the law we are discussing. I submit that many things in our world are fucked up because we are overrun with lawyers who get off on arguing over legal esoterica, and adamantly refuse to recognize the spirit of said law. /rant
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:18 PM on January 11, 2007


i think whoever said Dios was "correct, but not right" pretty much pegged him.
posted by empath at 1:30 PM on January 11, 2007


Nobody thinks they'll get involved, but when they do, the US forces on the ground are in for a treat.
But won't we just do what Israel just did to Lebanon--bomb all the infrastructure and power plants and stuff?
posted by amberglow at 1:40 PM on January 11, 2007


Y’know who else was “correct, but not right”?
Hitler’s college roommate Wolfgang. Guy was all out of wack.
...I don’t know why you’d know that though.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:40 PM on January 11, 2007


A grudge, eh? Perhaps you should enlist and go kick some Iranian ass, then. Dubya'll be behind you all the way.

Yeah, no shit. What the hell are you doing sitting around here, TBM?
posted by glycolized at 1:44 PM on January 11, 2007



Iranian Jews Reject Outside Calls To Leave--Push From Israel, U.S. Groups Falls Flat Despite Ahmadinejad
--... At a time when Tehran and Jerusalem trade barbs and threats, the 25,000 Jews of Tehran, Shiraz and Yazd attend packed synagogues, send their children to Jewish schools, buy their meat in kosher butchers and are even exempt from prohibitions on alcohol. This modus vivendi is the result of a compact between the leadership of the Jewish community and the Iranian authorities, whereby Jews are permitted to practice their faith as a community on the condition that they remain out of politics and do not speak out in favor of Israel. ...
posted by amberglow at 1:53 PM on January 11, 2007


But won't we just do what Israel just did to Lebanon--bomb all the infrastructure and power plants and stuff?

Blowback. If we bomb Iran (or Israel does it by proxy, the more likely scenario), our "allies" in Iraq (remember the chanting -- "Moqtada! Moqtada!") will open fire on US troops.

Last night, Bush promised that Maliki would go after the Sadrists/Shiite hard-liners. The only semi-reliable Iraqi troops thave have been "trained up" are Sadrist/Shiite hard-liners.

And now, apparently, we're going to send US troops in with our "allies" to Shia/Sadrist neighborhoods to "sweep" them?

Ridiculous doesn't even beging to describe this situation. I expect plenty of entry-wounds in peoples' backs very soon, literally.
posted by bardic at 1:53 PM on January 11, 2007


and apparently Sharon warned Bush about Iraq, but not publicly.
posted by amberglow at 1:56 PM on January 11, 2007


amberglow: before the creation of the Israeli state, Jews and Muslims got along in Iran/Iraq very well and an outsider would have a difficult time telling them apart from a distance.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:56 PM on January 11, 2007


Blowback. If we bomb Iran (or Israel does it by proxy, the more likely scenario), our "allies" in Iraq (remember the chanting -- "Moqtada! Moqtada!") will open fire on US troops.

We have that anyway, no? I can't see that stopping Bush (i actually can't see anything stopping Bush at this point)
posted by amberglow at 1:57 PM on January 11, 2007


i know, Burhan--i know some Persian Jews (they called themselves Persians and not by country). A lot of others, especially those who keep dragging Israel into this, don't know tho. Given that there are 25k Jews there who aren't leaving, will Israel actually bomb Iran?
posted by amberglow at 1:59 PM on January 11, 2007


It's pretty clear most Americans don't care about dead Iraqi civilians. Frankly, I don't think many of them give much of a damn about dead US soldiers either, since there's no draft and they aren't affected (profusion of yellow ribbon magnets aside). They will, however, give a damn when gas hits 5-7$/gallon.
posted by bardic at 2:00 PM on January 11, 2007


---THIS JUST IN---

Just heard this from Condi Rice on NPR:
"We must send more troops to hasten their withdrawal..."

Yes. Condi. And you must accede to me fucking you in the ass repeatedly to sate my desire to fuck you in the ass so I will stop fucking you in the ass.

Fucking SUR-real.
posted by tkchrist at 2:02 PM on January 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


amberglow: not that a Speilberg movie is the final word on things, but I think the ending of "Munich" was very telling on the mentality of the men who are running Israel. At the very end of the film, the intelligence officer denied the protagonist's request to have dinner with him, with the implication that the officer didn't care about Jewish tradition, only the State. So, yes, I think it's not above the Israeli's to lump Persian Jews into the collateral damage category.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:11 PM on January 11, 2007


I was on my way to see one of my client families a while back and found myself behind a dude in a hooped up shitbox with a yellow ribbon on one side that said, "SUPPORT PIMPIN'" and a green one with pot leaves all over it on the other side that said, "SUPPORT MY HABIT."
posted by The Straightener at 2:43 PM on January 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Washington intelligence, military and foreign policy circles are abuzz today with speculation that the President, yesterday or in recent days, sent a secret Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director of the CIA to launch military operations against Syria and Iran.

The President may have started a new secret, informal war against Syria and Iran without the consent of Congress or any broad discussion with the country. ...

posted by amberglow at 3:15 PM on January 11, 2007



Thus far, there's nobody who has been harmed that hasn't been asking for it.


The same statement applies to 9/11.

Of course the people in the buildings were innocent, but the policies enacted by the government who rules the land where those buildings sat was certianly asking for it.

But who cares about people in buildings. . .
posted by blackfly at 3:21 PM on January 11, 2007


The madness of President George (Alterman)
posted by amberglow at 3:45 PM on January 11, 2007


Care to cite what specific comment this Godwin is in reference to?

Sure.
posted by yerfatma at 6:17 PM on January 11, 2007


All this talk of Israel's role makes one of the other stories on CNN's front page quite interesting - Carter Center advisers resign over book:
The letter to the fellow Board of Councilors, with more than 200 members, was brief and less detailed but expressed concern about Carter's book "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid."

"We are deeply troubled by the president's comments and writings and are submitting the following letter of resignation to the Carter Center," the letter said.

The letters were signed by Alan Abrams, Steve Berman, Michael Coles, Jon Golden, Doug Hertz, Barbara Babbit Kaufman, Liane Levetan, Jeff Levy, Leon Novak, Ambassador William B. Schwartz Jr., William B. Schwartz III, Steve Selig, Cathey Steinberg, and Gail Solomon.
So, just now, I was thinking about how to elaborate on the link I saw between the issues, and I came across an article by Michael Shurkin, Is Zionism Colonialism. Brilliant! To cement the link with the current debate:
What this means is that, despite what Arabs think, Zionism is not really about them. It is about Europe, and it is about negating in the Jew that which the Europeans (and thus acculturated modern Jews) found hateful. Indeed, Amos Oz's essays on Zionist writers and ideologues in Under This Blazing Light describe a rage that matches word for word Memmi's description of the fury of the colonized. Zionism is an attempt to best Europe, to combat Europe, to spite Europe.
Which explains the alliance between Israel and the USA. Let's not stop there though, Shurkin even mentions Carter in the article:
There is a less radical view, in which a Palestinian Law of Return would repopulate Palestine and make Israelis a minority either in a Palestinian state or in some hybrid dual-national state. A lot of well-meaning people, among them Jimmy Carter, believe that such schemes could work and that peace would arrive. One might argue that Jews could place their trust in some international peace-keeping force, but in light of the history of such forces (think Srebrenica, or the UN's retreat from Sinai in 1967 to clear the path for Nasser's crusading armies), one might as well argue that Jews should just place their head against Arab gun barrels and pull the trigger themselves. In addition, there is no reason to believe that Arabs would be happy with a Western military police force keeping them from slaughtering their neighbors. They would perceive it, not inaccurately, as just another colonial occupation.
Well, Carter might be wrong, but the Jews resigning over it are just affirming their role as colonizers.
posted by Chuckles at 6:43 PM on January 11, 2007


we keep wringing our hands and whining and feigning (?) outrage at what's been plain since shortly after 9/11. we're going to boil the frog. we're going to heat the water slowly, but the frog is going to boil. we're going to turn the sand nigger into the 21st century injun savage. take his oil for building the plastic enclosures of our game consoles and the celluloid of our cinematic trance houses and to stoke the fires of the western economy and eventually drive the engines of war which will keep the yellow horde of china at bay. the world is not a nice place. why are we still so surprised at the incremental temperature rises?
posted by quonsar at 7:03 PM on January 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


From the essay amberglow linked to:

"It’s not too late for Olmert to put Israel’s case to Bush — first discreetly, then, if necessary, publicly. He should start with the issue of negotiating with Syria and the harm that Israel will suffer from the emergence of militant Sunni and Shi’ite Islamist states in Iraq following an American withdrawal, unless Washington takes urgent and radical steps to install a tough and friendly regime in Baghdad."

I'd like to know what Mr. Alpher thinks the U.S. government should do. Concretely speaking. Never quit Iraq? Install another CIA-backed "secular" dictator? Nuke and pave the place?

And quonsar, dude, I'm not feigning outrage. There's not a lot I can actually DO about it (except rant on the Internet), but nevertheless my futile outrage is real. But no, I'm not surprised: as I've stated before, I've been wondering when anybody else would notice too.
posted by davy at 7:54 PM on January 11, 2007


So now it's in the news that the American embassy in Athens was attacked by a rocket. This shit is contagious.

I have to say, as someone old enough to have been an adult in the 70's: It's clever to attack an Iranian diplomatic office. Deep down, I sense a bit of satisfaction, regardless of the fact I know it was such a provacative act, violating the spirit, if not the letter, of international law.

What a pity the new Congress lacks the spine or will to stop this lunacy. Extreme circumstances require extreme actions. Lunatics are running the show, and Speaker Pelosi is worried about playing nice.
posted by Goofyy at 5:14 AM on January 12, 2007


Quonsar, I just noticed that nose on your face.
posted by cog_nate at 7:59 AM on January 12, 2007


“I would confess I’m no expert on Iraq.”
– Defense Secretary Robert Gates, during congressional hearings yesterday. “Later, asked about reaching the right balance between American and Iraqi forces, he told the panel he was ‘no expert on military matters.‘”

posted by amberglow at 9:00 AM on January 12, 2007


Lunatics are running the show, and Speaker Pelosi is worried about playing nice.

Goofyy, it's like the Dems are so afraid of losing what they've just won that they're content to deal with the administration politely. Instead, they need to hit hard and fast, keep the administration and its lickspittles on the ropes so that a real change of course can occur.
posted by NationalKato at 9:05 AM on January 12, 2007


It's also that they think this is good for them for 08 as a continuing issue to run on, and of course, they're still afraid of being accused of not supporting the troops--it's pathetic.
posted by amberglow at 9:27 AM on January 12, 2007


Dios, they no longer have the credibility and support based on your belief that "they had evidence". The ends justify the means mentality got us into this mess - people realize it - and it is a poor justification for any of the current goings on. Ctrl-F makes no reference to Orwell nor any Godwin-ing, so the strawman you allude to is your own.

Mission accomplished.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:36 AM on January 12, 2007


The AUMF that never was
posted by homunculus at 4:04 PM on January 12, 2007


they're distributing the propaganda already, and the media is as willing as ever: US military intelligence sources tell ABC News that large shipments of weapons have been smuggled to Iraqi militia over the past five weeks, including dozens of Iranian supplied EFP's , or Explosive Form Projectiles, highly effective against armored vehicles. ...
posted by amberglow at 5:17 PM on January 12, 2007


they're distributing the propaganda already, and the media is as willing as ever

Oh yeah. Condi's on the job as well, ever the diligent point-woman for propaganda. This from the current BBC front-page article:

"I don't think there is a government in the world that would sit by and let the Iranians in particular run networks inside Iraq that are building explosive devices of a very high quality that are being used to kill their soldiers."

But how you gonna make a rolls-off-the-tongue, TV-friendly soundbite out of "explosive devices of a very high quality"? That's gotta be what they're working on at the White House as we speak.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:11 PM on January 12, 2007


NYT: Bush Authorized Iranians' Arrest in Iraq, Rice Says--A recent series of American raids against Iranians in Iraq was authorized under an order that President Bush decided to issue several months ago to undertake a broad military offensive against Iranian operatives in the country, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday. ...
posted by amberglow at 9:31 PM on January 12, 2007


With all the talk of escalating against Iran lately, it might be worth remembering that the last major war game the Pentagon conducted with Iran as the enemy ...
posted by amberglow at 4:33 PM on January 13, 2007


Military gear bound for Iran, China traced to Pentagon surplus sales
posted by homunculus at 6:59 PM on January 16, 2007


the more things change....

Tom Tomorrow/This Modern World from 03
posted by amberglow at 3:34 PM on January 17, 2007


The danger of Bush's anti-Iran fatwa: The president's decision to use force against Iranian "agents" inside Iraq could snare innocent pilgrims, and raises the risk of open warfare.
posted by homunculus at 8:15 PM on January 29, 2007


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