Join 3,516 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq
February 8, 2007 10:28 AM   Subscribe

..."Shifting to StratCom indicates that they are talking about a really punishing air-force and naval air attack [on Iran]," says Lang. ..."If they write a plan like that and the president issues an execute order, the forces will execute it. He's got the power to do that as commander-in-chief. We set that up during the Cold War. It may, after the fact, be considered illegal, or an impeachable offense, but if he orders them to do it, they will do it." ...by the end of February the United States will have enough forces in place to mount an assault on Iran. That, in the words of former national-security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, would be "an act of political folly" so severe that "the era of American preponderance could come to a premature end."
From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq
Stepped up US preparations for war against Iran
The United States and Iran: the logic of war
How the press can prevent another Iraq
What to Ask Before the Next War
posted by y2karl (105 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
...actively confronting Iran and its allies is another reckless throw of the dice, engineered by fading neoconservatives in Washington. They have transformed the Middle East from an arena of traditional big-power confrontations to an ideological casino where a single superpower rolls the dice every few years - testing out half-baked new theories based on wild assumptions, a largely failed track record, and highly unpredictable odds. America's neocon romantics were trouble enough for the Middle East; desperate gamblers with their backs to the wall and wagering on our future wellbeing are infinitely worse, and much more insulting.

Iran's growing influence throughout the Middle East is due to several historical factors, most but not all of which are beyond the control of Washington. They include the end of the Cold War, Iran's size, resources and activist ideology, the overthrow of the Baathist regime in Iraq and the rise to power there of Iran-friendly Iraqi Shiite groups. They also include the collective diplomatic incoherence of the Arab world, over 5,000 years of steady growth of Iranian nationalism, identity and state power, and the continuing self-assertion of Arab Shiites throughout the region who tend to have good relations with fellow Shiites in Iran. Sounds to me like a natural regional power that one should coexist with on the basis of shared rules, rather than mutual threats.
Beware of US gamblers playing with Iran
posted by y2karl at 10:29 AM on February 8, 2007


What to do? Congress should not wait. It should hold hearings on Iran before the president orders a bombing attack on its nuclear facilities, or orders or supports a provocative act by the U.S. or an ally designed to get Iran to retaliate, and thus further raise war fever. ...we need Senate and House hearings now to put the Bush administration on notice that, in the absence of an imminent military attack or a verified terrorist attack on the United States by Iran, Congress will not support a U.S. military strike on that country. Those hearings should aim toward passage of a law preventing the expenditure of any funds for a military attack on Iran unless Congress has either declared war with that country or has otherwise authorized military action under the War Powers Act. The law should be attached to an appropriations bill, making it difficult for the president to veto. If he simply claims that he is not bound by the restriction even if he signs it into law, and then orders an attack on Iran without congressional authorization for it, Congress should file a lawsuit and begin impeachment proceedings.
Congress must stop an attack on Iran

From previously: Iran: Consequences of a War
posted by y2karl at 10:29 AM on February 8, 2007


Please:
don't make some sort of smart ass complaint about formatting when you could use the same keyboard to write, email, blog or otherwise campaign against the distinct possibility that the nutters in the W.H. are about to commit another blunder of monstrous proportions. Don't please miss the point again.

y2karl: thanks, that's a bunch of informative links and what looks like a convincing scenario.

I start to wish I was a believer so I could pray in times like these - and wonder if George and Tony's god are the same one I would choose.
posted by dash_slot- at 10:48 AM on February 8, 2007


If he does this all the Mid East will be involved, Israel for sure if not in the pre-planning, then certainly in the fall out. They will strike anyone on their hit list, oil will hit the roof, Russia will be scared that the Muslim population in their lesser former states will use it as an excuse. Lesser "terror" actions all over the world will collapse travel for months or years. The Homeland security response will cripple our lives, mass arrests are not out of the question, they have built the camps, out and out Red Dawn senerios come to mind.

So we need to be thinking about the first complete shut down of the country to stand up to this idiot.
posted by Freedomboy at 10:53 AM on February 8, 2007


when do we impeach this motherfucker?
posted by quarter waters and a bag of chips at 10:53 AM on February 8, 2007


Funny that the neocons would put a Shi'ite majority government into place in Iraq, knowing that they would be influenced by Iran, unless long term destabilization of the ME as a justification for all out invasion and control were the goal...
posted by stenseng at 10:57 AM on February 8, 2007


The game is afoot, the cabal awaits.

("Cabal"- that ain't one them Mooslim words, is it? No? Good.)

If they start this one, impeachment ain't near enough.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:07 AM on February 8, 2007


WWIII
posted by OmieWise at 11:11 AM on February 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Russia will be scared that the Muslim population in their lesser former states will use it as an excuse. Lesser "terror" actions all over the world will collapse travel for months or years.

I think that's a little overblown. Massive air-strikes against Iran won't be as bad as iraq. Not good, but not as bad as Iraq, unfortunetly it will leave Iran able to strike back.

"Cabal"- that ain't one them Mooslim words, is it? No? Good.

It's actually Hebrew. You've heard of the kabbala, right?
posted by delmoi at 11:13 AM on February 8, 2007


It's actually Hebrew. You've heard of the kabbala, right?

Actually, I believe "kabbalah" is from "cabal". "Cabal" is from the French "cabale".
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:19 AM on February 8, 2007


For American wisdom in foreign policy and for the respect that other nations once had for us:

.
posted by lostburner at 11:20 AM on February 8, 2007


PINR thinks the recent moves have been about restoring a leverage position vis a vis Iran, rather than preparing for air strikes or invasions. I tend to agree; these are distractions and a part of the 'normal' relations between Iran and the US.

Frankly, I think we're rattling sabers now so that we can ask them for help next year without looking like wimps.
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:22 AM on February 8, 2007


In other news, the 26 MEU and USS BATTAN strike group have just recently arrived in the middle east.

“We'll continue our role as the surface warfare commander and the air defense commander for the Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group,” said Cmdr. Jon Carriglitto, Bataan's operations officer. “Together with the MEU, we bring the ability to insert a quick, capable amphibious force where it's needed.”

Currently, "where it's needed" happens to be Djibouti. Will it be there for long, I wonder?
posted by Avenger at 11:26 AM on February 8, 2007


From The Split Personality (New Republic):
A debate has already begun over U.S. policy toward Iran in which AIPAC and the Israeli government have expressed interest in the United States stopping at nothing to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Fears of a new Holocaust--made more plausible by the very real anti-Semitism of Iran's president--have been sounded. What policies are in the interest of the United States? And of Israel? These are difficult questions, but they are not made easier to answer when critics of Israel and of the Israel lobby in the United States are charged with anti-Semitism.
Wikipedia also has a great article on Plans for strikes against the Iranian nuclear program.
posted by bhouston at 11:27 AM on February 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


funny that hillary wants the US out of Iraq before bush leaves office, oh dear how out to lunch she is. you can really start to see how seriously these fuckwads believe their neocon dogma.

I have a similar feeling of disbelief that I had during the 2004 election run, where I was wondering what Kerry was doing and when he was going to pull out his secret weapon that would win him the election, but absolutely nothing happened.
posted by ryanfou at 11:28 AM on February 8, 2007


Great post. I was particularly impressed by this, and I hope it (or similar ideas) influences lots of journalists so they don't go along for the ride this time.

Actually, I believe "kabbalah" is from "cabal".

Nope. Cabal is from French cabale, which is from Medieval Latin cabbala, which is from Rabbinical Hebrew qabbalah 'tradition' (which is a form of the root q-b-l 'receive, accept, admit').
posted by languagehat at 11:29 AM on February 8, 2007


Well if I was a 23 year old Muslim and AMERICA sent cruise missiles into a Muslim country, remember Iran hates Israel, and I was able to act in support of my brothers, right or wrong, IT DOES NOT MATTER, I would think all the festering smallish issues would be fanned into very big, although local but still big, messy and violent events. Huge Muslim populations, fed by thier own news outlets, would push for holy revenge. We, the stupid people, will blow our responses, over react, poorly read the situations, all the while airports are closed, everyone is super tense, fringe groups will act in self interest and do nasty things. We are not up to the task on any level, we prove that everyday.

We haven't seen anything ever like this in a tech-dependant world and the reach of a million angry young God blinded warriors taking actions even as simple as gasoline bombs, never mind the bigger stuff,would shut this all down.

Hope I am wrong but these same mind set folks were cutting off heads on the internet WITHOUT a reason as clearly draw as a nuke strike on their peole. We would do that same if we could get our hands, right or wrong, on the ones we thought were involved.
posted by Freedomboy at 11:31 AM on February 8, 2007


languagehat:

Thanks. Very fitting name you've got there, BTW.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:35 AM on February 8, 2007


"an act of political folly" so severe that "the era of American preponderance could come to a premature end."

We already have a good start through our actions in Iraq.
posted by caddis at 11:38 AM on February 8, 2007


languagehat: Thanks. Very fitting name you've got there, BTW.

You don't say.
posted by grouse at 11:50 AM on February 8, 2007


Note that globalresearch.ca's batshitinsane leader, Michel Chussodovsky, is a paid-in-full members of the "Dubya fired laserbeams at the World Trade Center" crew.
posted by docgonzo at 11:50 AM on February 8, 2007


If we attack Iran, we will be out of Iraq within 6 weeks. The government we are propping up in Iraq is bestest buddies with Iran and will choose them over us. This is the hanging-off-of-the-helicopter-skid type exit we are talking about.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:51 AM on February 8, 2007


'If we attack Iran, we will be out of Iraq within 6 weeks. The government we are propping up in Iraq is bestest buddies with Iran and will choose them over us. This is the hanging-off-of-the-helicopter-skid type exit we are talking about"

If we are lucky, I see a huge world changing fallout that will take a century to settle down, think collapse of the British Empire meets Great Depression via Mad Max.
posted by Freedomboy at 11:56 AM on February 8, 2007


Maybe this is what it would take to actually get Americans off our asses and into the streets.

Still, I hope not.
posted by gottabefunky at 12:04 PM on February 8, 2007


I keep thinking that they just can't be that crazy. They can't be.

Not that Tony Snow is to be believed, but he says: "I've said it, the secretary of defense has said it, the president has said it: We're not invading Iran."

I would really like to believe it. Did they make such bold denials before Iraq? I couldn't find any quite like that.

There are, however, things like this from 2002, which are a little disturbing:

Bush Is Not Going to War With Iraq. After miderm elections, the saber-rattling will taper off, U.S. inspectors will roam Iraq at will -- and the Republicans will take credit for achieving "peace with honor."
posted by JamesToast at 12:04 PM on February 8, 2007


Why have toys when you can't play with them and break stuff is the unitary executive way of thinking.

This war has already been gamed, and the US lost.

That leaves the nukular option for Dear Leader. And don't think he isn't itching to use it. Might blow up some frogs while he's at it.
posted by nofundy at 12:12 PM on February 8, 2007


As much as I think attacking Iran would be an awful idea, I don't buy the doomsday scenarios. Despite its unwavering support for the Palestinian cause, Iran is not beloved in the Arab or Muslim world. Iran has Persian ambitions filtered through Islamic power, not the other way around. There is no unity between the vast majority of Muslims when it comes to the topic of Iran in general, especially with the history of warfare between Arabs/Persians/Turks.
posted by cell divide at 12:12 PM on February 8, 2007


At least we'll finally have an indisputable and perfect example of the definition of the word clusterfuck.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:14 PM on February 8, 2007


If we attack Iran, we will, literally, have pissed-off Shiites both in front of and behind us. Unless we have unannounced and powerful friends helping us, I can't see that being anything but a bloodbath.

Why do I still believe that Bushco is actually considering this?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:15 PM on February 8, 2007


Personally, I hope the government decides to invade Iran. Given the complicity that the Democrats seem to be resigning/throwing themselves into, there seems to be no hope whatsoever for the political entity that is the USA.

Hopefully, the chaos and economic destruction that ensued would purge every last divine right/white man's destiny/superpower/ultra-nation bullshit myth that seems impossible to rout out of the rotting American national consciousness.

Of course, there might be a better way. But it seems less and less likely.
posted by Alex404 at 12:16 PM on February 8, 2007


As much as I think attacking Iran would be an awful idea, I don't buy the doomsday scenarios.

Think the first thing Iran would do is close the Strait of Hormuz to traffic and is it easily done? Yes and yes.

In 2003, the vast majority (about 90%) of oil exported from the Persian Gulf transited by tanker through the Strait of Hormuz , located between Oman and Iran. The Strait consists of 2-mile wide channels for inbound and outbound tanker traffic, as well as a 2-mile wide buffer zone. Oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz account for roughly two-fifths of all world traded oil

Mad Max never had it so bad.
posted by nofundy at 12:22 PM on February 8, 2007


Bush just needs a small attack on US soil, not even remotely on 9-11 scale, and Congress will let him incinerate whatever country he and Dick Cheney want -- Iran, Syria, France, the UK, you name it.

and as every desperate gambler knows, when you've lost everything and you only have one chip left, you don't cash that chip in and call a cab to get home quietly, you bet that last chip, too. that's the Bush administration in a nutshell -- Iran is their last chip.
posted by matteo at 12:24 PM on February 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


Israel military and the US have already developed and have been practicing the implementation of "bunker busting" Iran with nukes.

Don't think these guys aren't that crazy, they are.

What matteo said, all they need is the flimsiest of excuses, even if they have to create one themselves.
posted by nofundy at 12:27 PM on February 8, 2007


all they need is the flimsiest of excuses

People! They have their excuse.
posted by chunking express at 12:31 PM on February 8, 2007


Interestingly, in light of another recent post about the U.S. economy is largely predicated on military action, a war with Iran would gaurentee, in theory, that our economy keeps churning right along indefinately. Furthermore, like the war in Iraq, that would be the sort of war that would likely perpetuate itself far beyond Bush's presidency. We would probably be unable to get out of it for something like a decade, no matter who was elected into office.

While this would be a disasterous political move, an evil act, and strategically disasterous, it will probably turn a major profit for many already wealthy people. In that sense (and only in that sense), it would be an excellent move.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:34 PM on February 8, 2007


The new Vanity Fair also has an interesting article about SAIC:

Mega-contractors such as Halliburton and Bechtel supply the government with brawn. But the biggest, most powerful of the "body shops"—SAIC, which employs 44,000 people and took in $8 billion last year—sells brainpower, including a lot of the "expertise" behind the Iraq war.
posted by homunculus at 12:41 PM on February 8, 2007


January 29, 2007

The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Rice:

During your appearance before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on January 11, 2007, I asked you a question pertaining to the administration’s policy regarding possible military action against Iran. I asked, “Is it the position of this administration that it possesses the authority to take unilateral action against Iran, in the absence of a direct threat, without congressional approval?”

At that time you were loath to discuss questions of presidential authority, but you committed to provide a written answer. Since I have not yet received a reply, the purpose of this letter is to reiterate my interest in your response.

This is, basically, a “yes” or “no” question regarding an urgent matter affecting our nation’s foreign policy. Remarks made by members of this administration strongly suggest that the administration wrongly believes that the 2002 joint resolution authorizing use of force in Iraq can be applied in other instances, such as in the case of Iran. I, as well as the American people, would benefit by fully understanding the administration’s unequivocal response.

I would appreciate your expeditious reply and look forward to discussing this issue with you in the near future.

Sincerely,

James Webb
United States Senator
Webb to Secretary Rice: Ahem
posted by y2karl at 12:47 PM on February 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


With all due respect, MeFi doesn't have the best track record on predicting impending war with Iran.
October 8, 2006: Bombing Iran- Rove's Plan to Wag the Elephant.

July 26, 2006: US plotted to invade Iran: explosive report, Rolling Stone adds new fuel to fire over possible Iran strike.

July 2, 2006: The Last Stand. See also Iran: war by October? See also The countdown to war. See also Iran: Consequences Of A War

April 8, 2006: The Iran Plans by Seymour Hersh.

February 12, 2006: It's on. Strategists at the Pentagon are drawing up plans for devastating bombing raids backed by submarine-launched ballistic missile attacks against Iran's nuclear sites

December 31, 2005: Recent reports in the German media suggest that the United States may be preparing its allies for an imminent military strike against Iran. Al Jazerra says the war has already begun.

April 2, 2005: Interview with Scott Ritter on Iran June Invasion

February 25, 2005: Iran gets bombed June 2005. "George W. Bush has received and signed off on orders for an aerial attack on Iran planned for June 2005. Its purported goal is the destruction of Iran’s alleged program to develop nuclear weapons"
I'm absolutely sure plans for invading Iran exist. I'm also absolutely sure this (or any other) administration has every intention of convincing Iran it is capable and prepared to invade/bomb, etc if necessary. That's an entirely different animal than speculating that it's going to happen. I simply can't believe that this administration has any interest in taking on another war in the current political, international, and (stretched thin) military climate.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:50 PM on February 8, 2007


A pilot who is a patriot would ditch in the sea. A sailor who is a patriot would take hammer to the missile guidance panels. A Congress with patriots, listening Mr. Webb?, will impeach and convict the same day for both these traitors.

Jefferson would weep. Lincoln would too. The governors of the states, whose people will pay the price here, should call for a general strike.
posted by Freedomboy at 12:50 PM on February 8, 2007


A general strike? I think you're getting a bit ahead of yourself there.
posted by delmoi at 12:53 PM on February 8, 2007


pardonyou? Maybe you ARE right but..........

Time will tell and the archives will too. They are waitng for the "surge", a cover story? Ya think? This is and always has been about OIL.

Hope I'm wrong, I got tickets to Europe in April, sheesh, talk about odd timing.
posted by Freedomboy at 12:54 PM on February 8, 2007


"Funny that the neocons would put a Shi'ite majority government into place in Iraq, knowing that they would be influenced by Iran, unless long term destabilization of the ME as a justification for all out invasion and control were the goal..."

stenseng wins the golden rabbit. It's pretty transparent by now, that the invasion of Iraq paved the way for a casus belli wrt Iran. IMHO, it's all about the Iran Oil Bourse...
posted by sporb at 12:57 PM on February 8, 2007


pardonyou? Maybe you ARE right but....

I doubt it--I think the admin is calling a hail mary on this one. If they weren't planning war with Iran they wouldn't keep abducting Iranian diplomats and other Iranian civilian officials in Iraq to try to goad Iran into giving them a plausible pretext for some kind of military action. They'd love to do it. My bet is the only reason they haven't yet is because they're getting more than the usual levels of internal resistance to their plans.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:04 PM on February 8, 2007


Seriously, what's the worst that could happen?

(runs, hides)
posted by slickvaguely at 1:12 PM on February 8, 2007


When are we going to see the truth here folks, this is not a typical error plagued administration a la Clinton, oh no. Let's see a little bit of a comparison here shall we?

These same people have lied about EVERYTHING, lost 367 tons of 100 dollar bills, not stolen mind you, Bremer wanted it that way. [Clinton had a Christmas card list, horrors!]

Killed thousands of people, [Clinton lied about a blow job, same thing]

Tortured and by proxy tortured even more, gang raped a 15 year old to the point of suicide, destroyed the Iraq economy [Clinton had staff answer mail for the cat Socks!! Horrors!]

Used phosphur bombs on civilians, [Clinton, well he lost money on WhiteWater! Horrors!]

DNA tracking, loss of habeous corpus, searches, mail searches, wire taps, detention camps, disappearing people, where are those meat plant workers anyway? [Clinton, well his wife is a bitch, same thing]

He will do anything he wants, unless we all think these are the actions of the America we were taught was real.

I somehow do not see it coming out very well.
posted by Freedomboy at 1:21 PM on February 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Not even George W. Bush is that stupid.
posted by Malor at 1:39 PM on February 8, 2007


"Not even George W. Bush is that stupid."

Apparently discretion isn't the better part of Malor.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:00 PM on February 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


In 2003, U.S. Spurned Iran's Offer of Dialogue
Rice: "I Don't Remember" Iran Overture -- Now

This is the hanging-off-of-the-helicopter-skid type exit we are talking about.

Copter Crashes Suggest Shift in Iraqi Tactics. Six helicopters have been shot down in Iraq in the last three weeks.
Historically, improved tactics in shooting down helicopters have proved to be important factors in conflicts in which guerrillas have achieved victories against major powers, including battles in Somalia, Afghanistan and Vietnam.
The "Iraqi Tactics" in the headline is interesting.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:15 PM on February 8, 2007


I can at least be fairly hopeful that the British government won't get involved. Blair is trying to control the manner of his departure and any assistance to Bush in this sort of adventure would result in his immediate dumping by the Labour party - and probably the fifth ever vote of no confidence in HM Government.*

If, on the other hand, it doesn't happen till after June, then Gordon Brown will in all probability be Prime Minister, and I am sure that he will gladly take the opportunity to distance himself from Iraq by telling the US to get stuffed.

[* The first deposed Lord North's government after the loss of the American colonies - there would be a certain symmetry.]
posted by athenian at 2:32 PM on February 8, 2007


I'm far far far far far from being extremist and i'm not fond of Iran either, but if America attacked them, taking arms against America would be an option for a lot of my friends whom are lawyers, doctors and even some are soldiers, so now tell me what i can tell them against it when they all right about it ?
posted by zouhair at 3:01 PM on February 8, 2007


The (repeated) threat of a war with Iran is far more of a threat to Americans than it is to Iran. And there is not a god damned thing we can do about it. Our government has proven time and again that it has no interest in the way it's citizens feel about their actions.

Read Charlie Wilson's War (which will also be coming to your local movieplex this year). The well-meaning congressman from America helped the scrappy underdogs beat the behemoth that was Russia. By shooting down their flying-tank Hind helicopters.

I know this has been discussed time and again. The mere fact that it isn't going away means something. And no one is gonna care. Nope. We've got crazy astronauts and dead models to pretend not to care about.
posted by ninjew at 3:24 PM on February 8, 2007


Historically, improved tactics in shooting down helicopters have proved to be important factors in conflicts in which guerrillas have achieved victories against major powers, including battles in Somalia, Afghanistan and Vietnam.

Kirkaracha, I've been wondering if these "improved tactics" we see lately bespeak 'improved weapons,' which would probably be available to the insurgents only from Iran with an ultimate source either in Russia or China. Because of the immense enjoyment the irony would afford any number of the Russian elite, I come down firmly on the side of the Russians.
posted by jamjam at 3:43 PM on February 8, 2007


IMO, the only reason we haven't bombed Iran yet is because of what it would do to domestic oil prices. Strangely, the apathy of many Americans is kind of a godsend here -- needlessly kill tens of thousands of Iraqis, empower Iran via Iraqi proxy, further de-stabilize the entire Middle East? No biggie.

Fuck with my gas prices? Send them up to, at least, 6$/gallon?

Immediate calls for impeachment from the left, right, and center.

No doubt the PNAC wet dream is to invade Iran. I wouldn't bet on it, for or against. It could happen.
posted by bardic at 3:57 PM on February 8, 2007


This is the hanging-off-of-the-helicopter-skid type exit we are talking about.

I'm afraid that a "hanging from the lampposts" type exit would be even more likely.
posted by Skeptic at 4:12 PM on February 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've been wondering if these "improved tactics" we see lately bespeak 'improved weapons,' which would probably be available to the insurgents only from Iran with an ultimate source either in Russia or China.

But why would Iran be the only culprit? Josh Marshall makes an interesting point in the linked article about possible Saudi involvement.
posted by maryh at 4:18 PM on February 8, 2007


Yeah, the whole "only super-weapons shoot down helicopters" thing is bullshit. RPG's and concentrated small arms fire can do the trick every time, and the Apache is a highly over-rated piece of equipment. They couldn't even get them off the ground in Yugoslavia due to maintenance problems.
posted by bardic at 4:53 PM on February 8, 2007


(Not that most of these crashes were Apaches, just trying to say that if one of the more heavily armored choppers can be brought down, it doesn't take much against the larger, slower personel-carrier types.)
posted by bardic at 5:00 PM on February 8, 2007


Not that Tony Snow is to be believed, but he says: "I've said it, the secretary of defense has said it, the president has said it: We're not invading Iran."

You don't need to invade a country to bomb it.
posted by jokeefe at 5:01 PM on February 8, 2007


If I were running Iran, with US forces in two neighboring countries and a US administration rattling its sabers and ignoring any diplomacy, I'd be screwing the US in Iraq (hell, maybe even Afghanistan) as much as I could. I'd be irresponsible not to.

Because of the immense enjoyment the irony would afford any number of the Russian elite, I come down firmly on the side of the Russians.

Whoa. Are you suggesting that might be payback of some kind for our backing the mujahideen (plus James Bond and Rambo) against the Soviets in Afghanistan? Surely they wouldn't hold a grudge.

And since the US baited the Soviet Union into Afghanistan so we could "have the opportunity of giving to the Soviet Union its Vietnam War," it just keeps going 'round and 'round. Great game!
posted by kirkaracha at 5:03 PM on February 8, 2007


zouhair: --what i can tell them against it--

You could tell them to blame the insanity of George W. Bush, not America. See this poll. "If the U.S. government decides to take military action in Iran, would you favor or oppose it?" Yes: 26%. No: 68%.
posted by russilwvong at 5:07 PM on February 8, 2007


Something tells me that no matter what we want to do when the Iran card comes up, we're going to be jerked around into supporting another war, and liking it.
posted by tehloki at 5:07 PM on February 8, 2007


the Apache is a highly over-rated piece of equipment.

The ground pounders love the damn things, though. Yeah, they're temperamental beasts, but you always want two flying cover for your convoy.

The Apache isn't really that heavily armored, either. The pilot's seats are (Kevlar,) but not much else. They were designed as stand-off weapons to kill tanks from a safe distance. Flying over an urban area gives you next to no time to react when some guy pops up on a roof and fires a rocket at you no matter what kind of helicopter you're flying. Still, has to be done.

Anecdote: A pilot of my acquaintance was flying over Baghdad on night and his night vision recticle, the monocle looking thing that the pilots have over one eye, went on the fritz. It just cut out. No big deal, the pilot thinks. Temperamental beasts and all that. So they go land at a fueling station (an average Apache mission requires multiple stops for gassing up.) That's when the pilot notices a bullet hole in one side of his cockpit. And another bullet hole on the other side. He takes off his helmet and sees that the cable connecting his helmet to the aircraft is severed. Basically, a bullet came in one side, ricochet of the back of his seat right behind his neck, cutting the cable, and went out the other side. He has a few shots of "Listerine" when he got back to base.
posted by Cyrano at 5:28 PM on February 8, 2007


If the U.S. government decides to take military action in Iran, would you favor or oppose it?" Yes: 26%. No: 68%.

26% in favor
68% opposed
posted by coust at 5:49 PM on February 8, 2007


It's hard to believe anyone is in favor of more war, this time with a country that really REALLY didn't do anything to the US. Then again, I work with a guy who gloats weekly that they'll reinstate the draft soon, and he's too old to go, but by god am I ever ripe to be destroyed by the purposeless events of the world.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 6:43 PM on February 8, 2007


destroyed by the purposeless events of the world
like iraq?
posted by localhuman at 7:00 PM on February 8, 2007


Remember the Maine!
posted by taosbat at 7:23 PM on February 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm-a not da kinda guy to say Ayatollah ya so, but sheesh! Khamenei times is dis "W" bozo gonna bomb-a Tehran place at Tehran time?
posted by breezeway at 8:06 PM on February 8, 2007


If the USA attacks Iran it will be seen with the same sort of light as that of Germany attacking Poland. The USA will be despised by the rest of the world. US citizens will feel the results of that.

I beg you, do something about it.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:16 PM on February 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


To go with pardonyou?'s links, here are a bunch more MetaFilter threads on war with Iran, with surprisingly little duplication..

In particular, the incident in September of 2005 was very troubling.. From Khuzestan: The First Front in the War on Iran?
In Basra on September 19, British troops clashed with Iraqi police and Shi'ite militia, who had ironically welcomed the toppling of Saddam two years ago. The police had arrested two British undercover commandos who possessed suspicious bomb-making materials. British troops launched an armored raid on the jail to free their agents, fighting the same Iraqi police they had earlier trained. Iraqis had thought it strange that British agents would be caught with the types of bombs associated with insurgents attacking "Coalition" troops, and some assumed that the agents were trying to pit Iraqi religious groups against each other.

Yet at the same time, bombs were going off across the border in Khuzestan. In June, a series of car bombings in Ahvaz (75 miles from Basra) killed 6 people. In August, Iran arrested a group of Arab separatist rebels, and accused them of links to British intelligence in Basra. In September, explosions hit Khuzestani cities, halting crude oil transfers from onshore wells. On October 15, two major bomb explosions in an Ahvaz market killed 4 and injured 95. A November 3 analysis in Asia Times blames Iraqi Sunni insurgents for the bombings.
I like to think the prospect of war with Iran has become less likely since then, but that might be my reality based bias, or something. I haven't been following the issue much at all lately, so I guess I have some reading to do..
posted by Chuckles at 8:35 PM on February 8, 2007


If the USA attacks Iran it will be seen with the same sort of light as that of Germany attacking Poland. The USA will be despised by the rest of the world.

This isn't true, and if it were, it would show that the rest of the world had no claim to any sort of moral high ground.
posted by oaf at 9:15 PM on February 8, 2007


(Not that attacking Iran isn't pure lunacy for other reasons. Just not for that one.)
posted by oaf at 9:15 PM on February 8, 2007


I doubt if Bush will mount an all-out attack Iran. The group directing the policy has patience and works across administrations. The groundwork is there, and even if a Dem takes power in 2008, remember that the campaign to "Liberate Iraq" started during the Clinton administration. Furthermore, as long as Iran has a horrible, repressive, corrupt government, it will only invite confrontation. In that way, our maniacs and theirs can see eye to eye-- war empowers them both.
posted by cell divide at 10:06 PM on February 8, 2007


The Bush-against-the-world scenario isn't going to happen. He wouldn't even bomb the Taliban after 9/11 before he got permission from Pakistan and the blessings of NATO, and the Iraq invasion required lots of interntional backing, too. His hand is a lot weaker than it was in 2003 -- it'll be an international operation or no operation at all.

My money is on no operation at all. Saddam and the Taliban had in common that they just couldn't think straight, and there was no one able to talk sense to them. Iran is nothing like that. Top decisionmakers might be inclined to demagogue, but they're not lunatics. There's a functional, educated, and rationally self-interest-maximizing elite, with the ability to influence decisionmaking. They'll do what it takes to keep the bombs off their back.
posted by MattD at 10:45 PM on February 8, 2007


the era of American preponderance could come to a premature end

Premature? Please. The sooner the better; if the end of empire arrives before the end of middle-class democracy, we might even make it to 2010 with one or two civil liberties left!

Seriously, the end of hegemony historiacally has always been heralded by a gummint's willingness to fund foolish long-supply-chain wars over immediate and direct dire needs such as large-scale urban disasters. Our time's accellerated cycles only appear to me to provide hope that we'll experience economic failire with such speed that there may remain both a democracy and tax base with which to rebuild New Orleans and adapt to global warming.

We should know in about three months, I think.
posted by mwhybark at 11:24 PM on February 8, 2007


From the FPP's Vanity Fair article:
According to Sam Gardiner, the most telling sign that a decision to bomb has already been made was the October deployment order of minesweepers to the Persian Gulf, presumably to counter any attempt by Iran to blockade the Strait of Hormuz. "These have to be towed to the Gulf," Gardiner explains. "They are really small ships, the size of cabin cruisers, made of fiberglass and wood. And towing them to the Gulf can take three to four weeks."
A little fact-checking is in order. Advanced US Navy Avenger class minesweepers Mine countermeasures ships like the recently deployed USS Gladiator (MCM 11) are considerably larger (39 ft. beam, 220 ft. long, ~1300 tons, 80 crew) than the average cabin cruiser. The article's estimated transport times are short by a couple of weeks, and the ships can also be transported on commercial semi-submersible vessels (like the one that returned the damaged USS Cole from Yemen in 2000.)

More about naval mines and Iranian naval capabilities:
Iran's navy has 20,000 men, but they are young and inexperienced, and most of them are riflemen and marines based on Persian Gulf islands. And at higher levels, there is fierce rivalry between the IRGC and regular navies for scarce resources. Due to these shortcomings, Iran's three Kilo-class submarines would be vulnerable, and they are limited to laying mines in undefended waters. Mines, however, are one area in which Iran has made advances. It can produce non-magnetic, free-floating, and remote-controlled mines. It may have taken delivery of pressure, acoustic, and magnetic mines from Russia. Also, Iran is negotiating with China for rocket-propelled rising mines.
In 1988, an Iranian mine in the Persian Gulf damaged the USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58), and the United States retaliated with its largest naval battle since World War II.
posted by cenoxo at 12:33 AM on February 9, 2007


Saddam and the Taliban had in common that they just couldn't think straight, and there was no one able to talk sense to them.

You think? Saddam was the level-headed secularist in the area, which is why the U.S. originally backed him. Crazy man, was he? Yet he didn't go after Kuwait until he got the mistaken impression that the U.S. would not interfere.

The propaganda is like pea soup in here.
posted by dreamsign at 1:12 AM on February 9, 2007


dreamsign writes "Yet he didn't go after Kuwait until he got the mistaken impression that the U.S. would not interfere."

This is your criteria for level-headedness?
posted by OmieWise at 5:37 AM on February 9, 2007


the Iraq invasion required lots of interntional backing

Otherwise known as the "Coalition of the Billing." And where are they now?

Not even George W. Bush is that stupid.
posted by Malor


I'd like to see an attempt to factually substantiate that statement. :-)
posted by nofundy at 5:45 AM on February 9, 2007


This isn't true, and if it were, it would show that the rest of the world had no claim to any sort of moral high ground.

Says someone who is an American, and thus hasn't the foggiest fucking idea what the rest of the world thinks about America.

The USA is wildly unpopular with the world's citizens right now. In fact, it would be truthful to say that the majority of humanity currently dislikes, distrusts, or outright despises the USA.

If the USA pulls yet another unprovoked attack on yet another democracy, you can be goddamn sure that the majority of the world is going to start associating the name of your country and your leader with the worst warmongers in recent history.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:37 AM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Iraq was a democracy?
posted by matteo at 8:55 AM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well at least these overnight postings show I am, for once, not alone.

We do live in times of lesser men.

So sad for the children, so sad for the earth.
posted by Freedomboy at 8:57 AM on February 9, 2007


Says someone who is an American, and thus hasn't the foggiest fucking idea what the rest of the world thinks about America.

Hey, you got tar on my shoe! Might I suggest a narrower brush?
posted by breezeway at 9:04 AM on February 9, 2007


Gates Says U.S. Can Prove Iran's Role in Iraq "Serial numbers and markings on explosives used in Iraq provide 'pretty good' evidence that Iran is providing either weapons or technology for militants there, Defense Secretary Robert Gates asserted Friday."

Uh-oh.
posted by Prospero at 12:05 PM on February 9, 2007


The first -- the bedrock faith of the Bush administration and its neocon supporters since September 12, 2001 -- is the religion of force. Our self-styled "wartime" Commander-in-Chief, and the Vice President head an administration that has long been in love not just with the American armed forces, but with the dazzling military possibilities that seemed open to them as leaders of the last standing superpower. Its high-tech destructive capabilities, they believed, gave them the power to go it alone in the world, shocking and awing a post-Cold War assemblage of lesser states into eternal submission...

In the case of a possible future assault on Iran, the larger fundamentalism of the Church of Force will surely combine with the only significant force the Pentagon has on hand -- air power. The belief in air power's ability to fell regimes and change the political essentials, to bring whole peoples to their knees, is long-lasting and deep-seated. Since well before World War II, we've been living with a belief system in which bombing others, including civilian populations, is a "strategic" thing to do; in which air power can, in relatively swift measure, break the "will" not just of the enemy, but of that enemy's society; and in which air power is the royal path to victory.

That this has not proven so; that, most recently, it did not prove so in Afghanistan, in shock-and-awe Iraq, or in Israel's air assault last summer on Lebanon matters little. Faith in the efficacy of air power (as opposed to its barbarism) is fundamentalist in nature and so not disprovable by the facts on the rubble-strewn, cratered ground.

As a result, the strength of the belief that "it" -- force, air power -- will do the trick the next time, if only you have the nerve not to listen to the Nervous Nellies, if only you double down on your bet, if only you commit to it, should not be underestimated.
Over the Cliff with George and Dick?
posted by y2karl at 12:32 PM on February 9, 2007


Report says Pentagon manipulated intel
posted by homunculus at 1:03 PM on February 9, 2007


Iran says identifies, detains U.S., Israeli spies
Thu Feb 8, 2007 12:33 PM ET


TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's intelligence minister said Iran had identified 100 people he described as U.S. and Israeli agents and said some were arrested trying to leave Iran to attend "spying" courses abroad, state TV reported on Thursday...

Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei was quoted by state television as saying Iran had "identified 100 American and Israeli spies at the Iranian border. They were planning to obtain military and political information within Iran."
posted by taosbat at 1:46 PM on February 9, 2007


The news a couple weeks ago that Bush had declared "open season" on Iranian agents in Iraq was another bad sign.

To me it seems that the Bush administration is severely underestimating the strength of Iran's position relative to the US. Iran's now the strongest power in the region. Iran's much larger than Iraq, both geographically and by population (70 million vs. 27 million). It can choke off oil exports from the Gulf by blockading the Strait of Hormuz. It has allies in Iraq and Lebanon.

Attacking Iran would be both stupid and reckless. Of course that hasn't stopped Bush before.
posted by russilwvong at 2:00 PM on February 9, 2007


FFF, I'm curious what on earth you're talking about---another democracy?
posted by Mavri at 3:20 PM on February 9, 2007


From the latest Atlantic (subscriber link):
It's His Party: Bush is fading. Bush Republicanism is here to stay.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:15 PM on February 9, 2007


Here we go again:
Consecutive headlines from ABC News' Daily Investigative Report:

"Report Says Pentagon Manipulated Intel"

"Pentagon Says Pre-War Intel Not Illegal"

"Gates: U.S. Can Prove Iran's Iraq Role"
posted by kirkaracha at 5:23 PM on February 9, 2007


"Attacked" was imprecise. The USA has helped overthrow several democratically elected governments, in South America, Africa, and, IIRC, Asia.

It all adds up to the same thing, though: a democratically elected government, like that of Iran's, will be replaced through the use of US or US-aided force.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:19 PM on February 9, 2007


a democratically elected government, like that of Iran

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ........
posted by caddis at 8:49 PM on February 9, 2007


In what way was Iran's last election not democratic?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:37 PM on February 9, 2007


umm, perhaps the fact that all of the opposition candidates found themselves disqualified from the ballots?
posted by caddis at 10:00 PM on February 9, 2007


Are you sure you aren't confusing Iraq and Iran? One has an "n" at the end, and held a democratic election in 2005 in which Amenjihabibblebabble won by a narrow margin, with excellent voter turn-out.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:01 PM on February 9, 2007


fff: see, for example, this NYRB article. Most of those hopes have dissipated or evaporated. Hard-liners prevented hundreds of candidates from running in last year's election, and as a result, the Iranian parliament is now filled with extremists who angrily reject the people's demands for change.

Whether Iran is democratic or not is kind of beside the point, anyway. If the US attacks Iran, expect Big Trouble. See zouhair's comments above.
posted by russilwvong at 11:46 PM on February 9, 2007


James Fallows, Where Congress Can Draw the Line. (In the December 2004 Atlantic, Fallows wrote Will Iran Be Next? "Soldiers, spies, and diplomats conduct a classic Pentagon war game-with sobering results.")
posted by kirkaracha at 6:48 AM on February 10, 2007


John Dean, Leading Experts Say Congress Must Stop An Attack on Iran: Is That Constitutionally Possible? Short answer: "Absolutely."
posted by kirkaracha at 6:50 AM on February 10, 2007


Last week, the CIA sent an urgent report to President Bush's National Security Council: Iranian authorities had arrested two al-Qaeda operatives traveling through Iran on their way from Pakistan to Iraq. The suspects were caught along a well-worn, if little-noticed, route for militants determined to fight U.S. troops on Iraqi soil, according to a senior intelligence official.

The arrests were presented to Bush's senior policy advisers as evidence that Iran appears committed to stopping al-Qaeda foot traffic across its borders, the intelligence official said....

Bush has given the U.S. military the authority to kill or capture Iranian government agents working with Shiite militias inside Iraq. Yesterday, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said serial numbers and markings on some explosives used in Iraq indicate that the material came from Iran, but he offered no evidence.

With the aim of shaking Tehran's commitment to its nuclear program, Bush also approved last fall secret operations to target Iranian influence in southern Lebanon, in western Afghanistan, in the Palestinian territories and inside Iran. The new strategy, a senior administration official said, aims to portray Iran as a "terror-producing country, instead of an oil-producing country," with links to al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and death squads in Iraq...

Since al-Qaeda fighters began streaming into Iran from Afghanistan in the winter of 2001, Tehran had turned over hundreds of people to U.S. allies and provided U.S. intelligence with the names, photographs and fingerprints of those it held in custody, according to senior U.S. intelligence and administration officials. In early 2003, it offered to hand over the remaining high-value targets directly to the United States if Washington would turn over a group of exiled Iranian militants hiding in Iraq...
Al-Qaeda Suspects Color White House Debate Over Iran
...Vincent Cannistraro, a Washington-based intelligence analyst, shared the sources' assessment that Pentagon planning was well under way. "Planning is going on, in spite of public disavowals by Gates. Targets have been selected. For a bombing campaign against nuclear sites, it is quite advanced. The military assets to carry this out are being put in place."

He added: "We are planning for war. It is incredibly dangerous..."

Last month Mr Bush ordered a second battle group led by the aircraft carrier USS John Stennis to the Gulf in support of the USS Eisenhower. The USS Stennis is due to arrive within the next 10 days. Extra US Patriot missiles have been sent to the region, as well as more minesweepers, in anticipation of Iranian retaliatory action.

In another sign that preparations are under way, Mr Bush has ordered oil reserves to be stockpiled.

The danger is that the build-up could spark an accidental war. Iranian officials said on Thursday that they had tested missiles capable of hitting warships in the Gulf.

Colonel Sam Gardiner, a former air force officer who has carried out war games with Iran as the target, supported the view that planning for an air strike was under way: "Gates said there is no planning for war. We know this is not true. He possibly meant there is no plan for an immediate strike. It was sloppy wording.

"All the moves being made over the last few weeks are consistent with what you would do if you were going to do an air strike. We have to throw away the notion the US could not do it because it is too tied up in Iraq. It is an air operation."

..."US policymakers and analysts know that the Iranian nation would not let an invasion go without a response. Enemies of the Islamic system fabricated various rumours about death and health to demoralise the Iranian nation, but they did not know that they are not dealing with only one person in Iran. They are facing a nation" - Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Target Iran: US able to strike in the spring
posted by y2karl at 8:21 AM on February 10, 2007


I am much more worried... about the consequences of a U.S. or Israeli attack against Iran's nuclear infrastructure. That's the one that deeply worries me because I've seen some of the planning and we're not talking about just so-called surgical strikes against an array of targets inside of Iran. We're talking about clearing a path to those targets by taking out probably much of the Iranian air force. We're talking about sinking the Kilov (ph) submarines, knocking out the anti-ship missiles that could attack commerce or the American fleet in the Persian Gulf. We're talking about probably even taking out, trying to take out much of the speedboat capabilities, although that would be the hardest. We may even be taking out ballistic missile capabilities in Iran.

You're not talking about a surgical strike. You're talking about a war against Iran and the Iranians are not going to take that sitting down. They will do everything in their power to retaliate. And then once again that could rebound heavily into Iraq. But it also could hammer the region to some degree. In other words, some of the planning that I've seen in reporting relates to, and I think somebody mentioned it as well - it might have been you Ken - something that would be sort of something like 1,500 aerial sorties and Cruise missile launches stretching over a matter of days. If you think that the Iranians during those days are not going to fire off what they haven't lost yet at commerce in the Gulf and aren't going to try to, you know, launch missiles that haven't been taken out, think again. The Iranians are going to be fighting back very, very hard.

There will be no ground dimension to this campaign. This will be an aerial assault. Some people might think, well, maybe the Israelis will do it and we won't. And the United States won't be involved and that might mitigate the situation in the Gulf. It may be worse. Because in the fog of war, in the first hours of the first day of such an assault, the Iranians might not even know who the enemy is. They may assume that the Untied States is well involved and therefore the Israelis not taking out that array of retaliatory capability in the Gulf could provoke a far more dangerous scenario by doing it themselves than if the United States did it...

Wayne White
Former Deputy Director, Near East and South Asia office,
Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State
Iraq, Iran, Israel And The Eclipse of U.S. Influence: What Role For America Now ?
posted by y2karl at 8:47 AM on February 10, 2007


The NY Times returns to pre-Iraq-war "journalism"
posted by homunculus at 11:28 AM on February 10, 2007


U.S. sending third carrier strike group to Gulf.
posted by homunculus at 9:49 AM on February 11, 2007


Interview with Craig Unger.
posted by homunculus at 1:32 PM on February 13, 2007


Larry Johnson: Getting It Right on Iran
posted by homunculus at 8:01 PM on February 15, 2007


Who's Funding the Sunnis?
posted by homunculus at 4:12 PM on February 17, 2007


« Older Eric Schaeffer wants to marry you...  |  Toutes les autos de Tintin... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments