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Considering a war with Iran
September 2, 2007 3:30 PM   Subscribe

"Considering a war with Iran: A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East" (PDF). A new study by two British scholars claims that the United States has the capacity for and may be prepared to launch a massive assault on Iran. This comes just in time for the post Labor Day product rollout. [Via Informed Comment.]
posted by homunculus (81 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Of course, there was similar talk around this time last year, but recently it seems like the rhetoric has been escalating.

And in today's news: Pentagon ‘three-day blitz’ plan for Iran
posted by homunculus at 3:33 PM on September 2, 2007


So let's say this happens, soon. What are we going to do? Seriously, this is similar to German aggression circa 1914.

As citizen will we stand up and say not in our name!? Will we riot in the streets, or at least try to shut down the rail transports of men and materiel needed on the front lines. Or will we go back to sleep?

What options are there?
posted by John of Michigan at 3:38 PM on September 2, 2007


Bush has been wanting to do this from the beginning. It is as though the reactionary leaders of both nations are playing some kind of massive video game in which the only way to win is to blast the other side away, when in reality the only way to win is to just stop it.

Have they learned nothing at all from the events in Iraq? Can't they realize that they made a massive mistake, and maybe it is time to learn from that mistake?

Is this really possible? Everyone in this country (even in the military) needs to make it perfectly clear that any such massive attack on Iran is completely unacceptable. Congress should pass resolutions.

Please, please, don't let this be so.
posted by eye of newt at 3:46 PM on September 2, 2007


I was reading the Civil War series by Marvel comics the other day. I like how The Thing resolved the dilemma. He didn't believe in the law in question so he couldn't fight to support the government, but he was a patriot and refused to fight against his government. So instead, he went on an extended vacation to France. Unfortunately I can't afford the airfare myself.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:46 PM on September 2, 2007


None. We voted the crazies in.
posted by notreally at 3:47 PM on September 2, 2007


check bob baer's segement on Ian Masters - background briefing last week... he sounds quite concerned about this possiblility.
posted by specialk420 at 3:59 PM on September 2, 2007


If this happens, I sure as hell want to see people in the streets. Torches, pitchforks, that sort of thing.
posted by uosuaq at 4:05 PM on September 2, 2007


eye of newt: Maybe we could force Bush & Co. to play Tic Tac Toe until they learn some important life lessons.
posted by papakwanz at 4:05 PM on September 2, 2007


Big oil is still desperate for an oil pipeline route from the Caspian and America has the only army for sale that is large enough to secure it, and time is running out on their purchased oval office.
posted by Brian B. at 4:06 PM on September 2, 2007 [5 favorites]


check bob baer's segement on Ian Masters - background briefing last week... he sounds quite concerned about this possiblility.

Thanks for the link. The third link in this post is Baer's column in Time. His concern is one of the reasons I think it's really possible.
posted by homunculus at 4:11 PM on September 2, 2007


Brian B.: Because a massive regional conflagration descending into sectarian conflict is the way to get a pipeline built?

I don't get 'because they want the oil' conspiracy theories. If the conspirators are smart enough to suborn the American democratic system, why aren't they smart enough to have a post-occupation plan in Iraq?
posted by athenian at 4:13 PM on September 2, 2007


Why do these two British scholars hate America?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:13 PM on September 2, 2007


Larry Johnson is another former CIA agent who is concerned about this: Stopping the New War Before It Starts
posted by homunculus at 4:13 PM on September 2, 2007


Seriously, this is similar to German aggression circa 1914.

Not a Godwinist, but I think 1939 might be the analogy you were thinking of.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:17 PM on September 2, 2007


The preparations for war aren't too shocking, I mean, the military-industrial complex has gotta blow those trillions on something. But the extent is alarming, and the "roll-out" rumours are coming from extremely reliable sources.

If an attack on Iran begins, I look forward to rioting. It's beyond absurd. Surely this will.
posted by mek at 4:27 PM on September 2, 2007


I don't get 'because they want the oil' conspiracy theories. If the conspirators are smart enough to suborn the American democratic system, why aren't they smart enough to have a post-occupation plan in Iraq?

Conspiracy theory? It was always about money to these people and they never hinted otherwise. Idealists tend to be the most blind about this fact. The biggest untapped "goldmine" right now is in the Caspian and needs to get out fast. Coincidence? It was never about brains either, look who voted for him after losing three debates. I can see how you can get tied in knots by reasoning with those if-then-why's.
posted by Brian B. at 4:27 PM on September 2, 2007


I'm convinced Bush would have dropped bombs on Iran if not for the domestic price of gasoline here in the states. I honestly think it's the only thing holding him back right now, but then again, it's a pretty strong impetus. If gas per gallon went up astronomically, he'd be impeached in a second.

But . . . . But . . . . I'm thinking he's going to drop the bombs with maybe two months left in his administration, just as sort of a fuck you to Iran, America, and the rest of the civilized world. Republicans have demonstrated that they like to create messes for others to clean up anyways.
posted by bardic at 4:29 PM on September 2, 2007


If the conspirators are smart enough to suborn the American democratic system, why aren't they smart enough to have a post-occupation plan in Iraq?

They were smart enough not to have a plan, so billions of dollars could go missing into various pockets. It's perfectly consistent.
posted by mek at 4:42 PM on September 2, 2007


If this happens, I sure as hell want to see people in the streets. Torches, pitchforks, that sort of thing.

Getting out into the streets after it has happened is too late.
posted by Tehanu at 4:43 PM on September 2, 2007


Brian B.: Because a massive regional conflagration descending into sectarian conflict is the way to get a pipeline built?

Halliburton specializes in both.
posted by Brian B. at 4:43 PM on September 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


The NIE and Iran: If We Attack, Hezbollah Hits Us
posted by homunculus at 4:51 PM on September 2, 2007


THE Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive airstrikes against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days, according to a national security expert.

In time of peace (yeah, I know), prepare for war.

Of course the Pentagon's drawing up plans. That's part fo what war department's do, is draw up plans. During the Cold War, they drew up plans for dealing with the commie countries. Times change, interests change. No doubt they're drawing up plans for other countries as well. They'd be slacking if they didn't draw up plans.

As to whether our Lords and Masters are seriously considering actually inplementing these plans, well, I bloody well hope not. But that's just an op ed aside on my part.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:52 PM on September 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


The White House will continue rattling its saber, and leaking threatening stories like these to gullible journalists. But they won't attack. Gates is reportedly smart enough to have argued for closing Guantanamo, and he's been non-commital about the surge; he won't create a catastrophe like this. And current Centcom commander William Fallon, who was appointed by Gates, has reportedly said that an attack on Iran won't happen on his watch. The only real risk, IMHO, is if Israel decides to go it alone.
posted by gsteff at 4:54 PM on September 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, I keep thinking that the Bush government can't do something so stupid as [...] and then they prove me wrong.

As someone here said, it's as if he's worried about losing the title of worst President ever.

I'm more and more sure that he's going to set off a nuke before all is said and done.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:18 PM on September 2, 2007


What gsteff said. I keep hoping for an apocalypse of some sort, but this won't be it. I'm watching a show about black holes on the History channel right now, but that seems unlikely as well.

*sighs*
posted by jiiota at 5:33 PM on September 2, 2007


War with Iran is only a matter of time.
posted by chlorus at 5:39 PM on September 2, 2007


We don't have the man power to attack Iran on the ground, and while an air campaign would likely be effective against military targets, we couldn't achieve any kind of 'regime change' just by blowing up all the Iranian tanks and planes and OMGNUKEZ. There's nothing in it for us (and by 'us' I mean Haliburton and Cheney) if we can't stay around on the ground for 2-4 years and loot the country while passing on billions of taxpayer dollars to our contractor and mercenary buddies. The army isn't in a position to do that a second time and against a FAR larger country without a massive rampup in numbers, which can't be done in the year Bush has left.

I can't see it happening, or if it does, it'll be on Hilary's watch rather than W's.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:41 PM on September 2, 2007


I think that a public military strike on Iran is virtually impossible, for several reasons.

1) Any strike on Iran is going to completely decimate & disillusion whatever pro-western reform movements currently exist, and solidify the Islamist regime for at least another generation or two. People don't like it when you drop bombs on them, no matter how often you tell them that its "for their own good".

2) The Iranians don't need long-range missiles to strike back at us. We currently have 160,000 troops sitting in Iraq that would make perfectly fine targets for a massive influx of Iranian guerillas. We can barely control the Iranian border already -- if the Iranians decided to pull out all the stops, they could easily send 100,000 to 300,000 basjis across the border to attack US and Iraqi regime forces. Think of the Ho Chi Minh trail but a thousand times worse.

And those are just their currently trained & equiped basjis. In the event of a long-term war (which any war with Iran would be) they could potentially raise and equip an army of millions over the course of several years. Speaking of which...

3) There will be no "lightning war" with Iran. A war isn't over until the weaker party decides that it's over. We might be able to knock out their high-tech infrastructure and generally make life hell for the average Iranian Joe, but their will to fight will not be harmed, and may only be increased, by a Western bombing campaign. We may find ourselves fighting a brutal, global war against just Iranian fighters (not even counting Sunnis or Al Qaeda) for decades, or even a century. Hundred-year-wars are not unheard of in human history.

Not only that, but their kind of warfare does not require a sophisticated infrastructure like ours does. A basji is considered "equipped" if he has an AK-47, a few hundred rounds, a Quran and a satchel charge. Theres no way that we could ever destroy Iranian infrastructure enough to stop them from producing millions of such soldiers, and then sending them to attack us across the middle east and the world.

4) It goes without saying that any overt attack on Iran would completely destroy American diplomatic legitimacy for at least 50 years. We would be remembered by future generations as the "Germany of the 21st Century" -- a nation consumed with military aggression and dreams of hegeonomy.

Our leaders, both military and civilian are fully aware of all this and would never be so stupid as to enter into a war that we could never conceivably win.


.........









HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

naw, I'm just shittin ya about the last part. We'll be at war before Christmas.

Oh man we are so fucked.
posted by Avenger at 5:52 PM on September 2, 2007 [26 favorites]


uosuaq: If this happens, I sure as hell want to see people am going to be out protesting in the streets.

There, fixed that for you.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:56 PM on September 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just don't understand.

The cognitive dissonance I am experiencing is reaching head-exploding proportions.

This administration's "blow everyone up" foreign policy handbook has been shown, time and again, to be ineffective at acheiving any of the constantly changing "goals" of our military.

It seems many many people are aware of it, critical of it, and unwilling to put with it anymore. The opposition party controls the legislature, and the power-holders are constantly besieged by scandals and public demonstrations of incompetence on an almost daily basis.

And yet.....nothing is happening.

Maybe I'm just young and ignorant, and lack the perspective to understand how an administration so publicly incompetent cannot be stopped from continuing with what seems to be an endless agenda of corrupt governing for the benefit of the very few.

But I just don't get it. Why can't we do anything?
posted by lazaruslong at 5:58 PM on September 2, 2007


Iran 'reaches key nuclear goal'
posted by homunculus at 6:01 PM on September 2, 2007


But I just don't get it. Why can't we do anything?

Because the Democrats in congress are craven, self-serving, spineless, lying weasels with no plan or agenda who have no desire to do anything other than stay in Washington and will never do anything to diminish their 2008 Presidential prospects.

And Americans as a whole are lazy, jaded, distracted, apathetic and isolated from world opinion- and those are the ones who are against the war. A full third of us actually want to attack Iran because killing brown people is the right thing to do.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:08 PM on September 2, 2007


With all due respect, MeFi doesn't have the best track record on predicting impending war with Iran.

It's like clockwork around here. Every couple of months, somebody posts a link telling us that war with Iran is imminent. Hasn't happened yet, and I'm not holding my breath this time, either.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:46 PM on September 2, 2007


Earlier today Kos had a story entitled: "We Are Going To Hit Iran. Bigtime" which has now disappeared, (Twilight Zone moment for all the conspiracy theorists). Here is the cache, and post:
"We Are Going To Hit Iran. Bigtime"
by Maccabee
Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 03:50:24 PM PDT

I have a friend who is an LSO on a carrier attack group that is planning and staging a strike group deployment into the Gulf of Hormuz. (LSO: Landing Signal Officer- she directs carrier aircraft while landing) She told me we are going to attack Iran. She said that all the Air Operation Planning and Asset Tasking are finished. That means that all the targets have been chosen, prioritized, and tasked to specific aircraft, bases, carriers, missile cruisers and so forth.

I asked her why she is telling me this.

Her answer was really amazing.

* Maccabee's diary :: ::
*

She started in the Marines and after 8 years her term was up. She had served on a smaller Marine carrier, and found out through a friend knew there was an opening for a junior grade LSO in a training position on a supercarrier. She used the reference and the information and applied for a transfer to the United States Navy. Since she had experience landing F-18Cs and Cobra Gunships, and an unblemished combat record, she was ratcheted into the job, successfully changing from the Marines to the Navy. Her role is still aligned with the Marines since she generally is assigned to liason with the Marine units deploying off her carrier group.

Like most Marines and former Marines, she is largely apolitical. The fact is, most Marines are trigger pullers and most trigger pullers could care less who the President is. They simply want to be the tip of the sword when it comes to defending the country. She voted once in her life and otherwise was always in some forward post on the water during election season.

Something is wrong with the Navy and the Marines in her view. Always ready to go in harms way, Marines rarely ever question unless it’s a matter of tactics or honor. But something seems awry. Junior and senior officers are starting to grumble, roll their eyes in the hallways. The strain of deployments is beginning to hit every jot and tittle of the Marines and it’s beginning to seep into the daily conversation of Marines and Naval officers in command decision.

"I know this will sound crazy coming from a Naval officer", she said. "But we’re all just waiting for this administration to end. Things that happen at the senior officer level seem more and more to happen outside of the purview of XOs and other officers who typically have a say-so in daily combat and flight operations. Today, orders just come down from the mountaintop and there’s no questioning. In fact, there is no discussing it. I have seen more than one senior commander disappear and then three weeks later we find out that he has been replaced. That’s really weird. It’s also really weird because everyone who has disappeared has questioned whether or not we should be staging a massive attack on Iran."

"We’re not stupid. Most of the members of the fleet read well enough to know what is going on world-wise. We also realize that anyone who has any doubts is in danger of having a long military career yanked out from under them. Keep in mind that most of the people I serve with are happy to be a part of the global war on terror. It’s just that the touch points are what we see since we are the ones out here who are supposedly implementing this grand strategy. But when you liason with administration officials who don’t know that Iranians don’t speak Arabic and have no idea what Iranians live like, then you start having second thoughts about whether these Administration officials are even competent."

I asked her about the attack, how limited and so forth.

"I don’t think it’s limited at all. We are shipping in and assigning every damn Tomahawk we have in inventory. I think this is going to be massive and sudden, like thousands of targets. I believe that no American will know when it happens until after it happens. And whatever the consequences, whatever the consequences, they will have to be lived with. I am sure if my father knew I was telling someone in a news organization that we were about to launch a supposedly secret attack that it would be treason. But something inside me tells me to tell it anyway."

I asked her why she was suddenly so cynical.

"I have become cynical only recently. I also don’t believe anyone will be able to stop this. Bush has become something of an Emperor. He will give the command, and cruise missiles will fly and aircraft will fly and people will die, and yet few of us here are really able to cobble together a great explanation of why this is a good idea. Of course many of us can give you the 4H Club lecture on democracy in the Mid East. But if you asked any of the flight officers whether they have a clear idea of what the goal of this strike is, your answer would sound like something out of a think tank policy paper. But it’s not like Kosovo or when we relieved the tsunami victims. There everyone could tell you in a sentence what we were here doing."

"That’s what’s missing. A real sense of purpose. What’s missing is the answer to what the hell are we doing out here threatening this country with all this power? Last night in the galley, an ensign asked what right do we have to tell a sovereign nation that they can’t build a nuke. I mean the table got EF Hutton quiet. Not so much because the man was asking a question that was off culture. But that he was asking a good question. In fact, the discussion actually followed afterwards topside where someone in our group had to smoke a cigarette. The discussion was intelligent but also in lowered voices. It’s like we aren’t allowed to ask the questions that we always ask before combat. It’s almost as if the average seaman or soldier is doing all the policy work."

She had to hang up. She left by telling me that she believes the attack is a done deal. "It’s only a matter of time before their orders come and they will be sent to station and told to go to Red Alert. She said they were already practicing traps, FARP and FAST." (Trapping is the act of catching the tension wires when landing on the carrier, FARP is Fleet Air Combat Maneuvering Readiness Program- practice dogfighting- and FAST is Fleet Air Superiority Training).

She seemed lost. The first time in my life I have ever heard her sound off rhythm, or unsure of why she is doing something. She knows that there is something rotten in the Naval Command and she, like many of her associates are just hoping that the election brings in someone new, some new situation, or something.

"Yes. We're gong to hit Iran, bigtime. Whatever political discussion that are going in is window dressing and perhaps even a red herring. I see what's going on below deck here in the hangars and weapons bays. And I have a sick feeling about how it's all going to turn out."
posted by caddis at 7:02 PM on September 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


But I just don't get it. Why can't we do anything?

Because you live in an oligo-pluto-kleptocracy, and the so-called 'opposition' is part of the scam.
Enjoy.
posted by signal at 7:10 PM on September 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


caddis: so, the US is going to war with Iran, based on the opinion, posted on the intarwebs, of somebody purporting to be a junior shitkicker on a carrier. Glad I know the inside truth. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to start digging my nuclear fallout shelter.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:19 PM on September 2, 2007


Only one more year of Bush's insane bullshit to go. Will we make it? Stay tuned, citizens!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:20 PM on September 2, 2007


UbuRoivas, I report, you decide. ;)
posted by caddis at 7:29 PM on September 2, 2007


I saw the same story yesterday (I only look at DailyKos once in a while when I'm bored, honest!) and apparently the author is some sort of bullshit artist.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:51 PM on September 2, 2007


I still doubt that it's going to happen, despite what guys like Baer and Rubin are hearing, but that's mainly because I can't bring myself to believe we'd do something so totally stupid and immoral.

Yeah, yeah, I know.
posted by homunculus at 7:51 PM on September 2, 2007


if the U.S. had a functioning democratic Republic there would be no question as to whether it was about to go to war with Iran...
posted by geos at 7:53 PM on September 2, 2007


Every couple of months, somebody posts a link telling us that war with Iran is imminent.

true enough, and i'll admit i've gone along with it - and i still feel that it's a possibility, although i also think that bush and co may have had second thoughts

but here's what i have to say - it may not matter ... forces are there on each side, facing each other aggressively ... all it takes is one mistake or misunderstanding or miscalculation and all hell could break loose - whether bush is actually planning on a quick massive bombing of iran, circumstances could beat him to the punch

90 something years ago many european countries had plans for what they might want to do against each other and when - all of them were suddenly changed by a couple of assassins killing the wrong figure

THAT is exactly where we are today - it may happen whether anyone intends it or not
posted by pyramid termite at 7:53 PM on September 2, 2007 [3 favorites]


Frankly, part of me is suprised that Bush hasn't already attacked Iran. Part of me says "even he can't be that stupid" -- but simple rationality say that he can.

But we're at the point where it doesn't cost Bush *anything* to do so. What's going to happen? He won't lose office -- he can't run again. He won't lose Congress, he already has, and there isn't another election that affects him -- he's leaving office in 2009. He doesn't have to deal with the next congress. Not his problem. The current congress will cave, so that's not a problem either.

There is *no* downside for an Iran stike in the Bushverse. Given the current state of affairs, if by some miracle, it came out well, it's the only way that we don't decalre the Bush Administration to be a complete and utter fuckup.

Therefore -- there's nothing but upside now. Bomb Iran.
posted by eriko at 8:29 PM on September 2, 2007


What's really scary:

the results of today's climate simulations—which are much more sophisticated than those that were available in the 1980s—suggest that even a nuclear exchange of just a few dozen weapons could cool Earth substantially for a decade or more.

More here.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:16 PM on September 2, 2007


I fully believe that the capacity for Operation: Colossal Fuck Up exists.
posted by Artw at 9:20 PM on September 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


So on the bright side, the Bush presidency could turn out to be really proactive about fighting global warming.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:28 PM on September 2, 2007


No doubt they're drawing up plans for other countries as well. They'd be slacking if they didn't draw up plans.

Absolutely. I'm sure somewhere in the Pentagon, there are detailed plans for a U.S. invasion of Switzerland. "Plans exist." That doesn't mean jack.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:29 PM on September 2, 2007


Maybe I'm just young and ignorant,
posted by lazaruslong


anti-eponysterical!
posted by sourwookie at 9:57 PM on September 2, 2007


In the 1930s at least, "plans existed" to invade Canada.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:03 PM on September 2, 2007


I don't believe "regime change" would be the goal of a strike on Iran. The goal would be to diminish their nuclear program and military capabilities. There probably would not be a ground invasion.

Iran would want to respond by attacking the only American target they can - our troops in Iraq, who are in range of their missiles. However a US airstrike would probably aim to take out most of their missiles. Even if we left the Iranian air force and navy unscathed, we have 100% air superiority in Iraq as well as control of the Gulf. Any flight into Iraqi air space would be a suicide mission; any naval attack would result in the loss of an Iranian ship.

A US strike on Iran would probably also target their oil refineries. 75% of Iran's oil is refined at just 4 facilities. A strike would create a fuel crisis in Iran and literally pummel its economy.

If the strike targeted just Iran's nuclear weapons programs, the Iranians could launch a somewhat effective response. But if the strike also included Iran's response mechanisms, there's not much they could do.

Response from the rest of the Arab world may be muted because of the Sunni/Shiite schism. The situation in Iraq would be interesting to say the least. We'd probably win lots of fans among the non-Qaeda sunni insurgents, but backlash from Shiite groups would probably be very strong. It would certainly put an end to any discussion of troops pulling out of Iraq - which the administration may see as an argument in favor of a strike.

Of course there would be strong backlash from the world community. I doubt anyone would agree to cooperate in a preemptive strike. Russia and China would disapprove to say the least. You would really need a major, open act of aggression from Iran to justify the attack.
posted by b_thinky at 10:05 PM on September 2, 2007


GLASS PARKING LOT

amirite?
posted by Poolio at 11:16 PM on September 2, 2007


I just don't believe this could happen. Where are the troops? Do we have enough soldiers - even enough planes to carry out an assault like this? I thought we were already completely committed to the hilt in Iraq and Afghanistan.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:17 PM on September 2, 2007


Luckily, anything that i dread and write extensive online posts about tends to never happen -- Y2K -- so hopefully this won't come to pass.

As for the complaint that we hear about Iran every nine months... might it be the case that Cheney, in all his glorious insanity, has been trying like mad to do this for three years but keeps being restrained by Condoleeza and a few other sane Bushites?

On a totally different note.... if anyone else has the misfortune to have an Uberchristian in their family, have you noticed how they are absolutely giddy over this? All those books and tapes they've bought in the last decade that preach "the millennium tribulation" and the "coming days of fire" have been gearing them up for a Third World War. They don't worry about $7.00 gas because they won't need no gas in Jesus's Magic Kingdom.

It's scary and pathetic.
posted by ELF Radio at 11:18 PM on September 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of amused by the people who think that just because anybody with a brain knows that attacking Iran would be a jaw-droppingly stupid and sick thing to do, that we won't do it.

We don't have a president with a brain, we have President Bush.
posted by empath at 11:27 PM on September 2, 2007


b_thinky wrote: Iran would want to respond by attacking the only American target they can - our troops in Iraq, who are in range of their missiles. However a US airstrike would probably aim to take out most of their missiles.

Are........are.....you serious?

You're taking about us bombing "Iranian missiles" before they can be fired on American troops?

These are "Iranian missiles". So are these.

They have an unlimited supply, and bombing their country will bring virtually all of them into play.

A US strike on Iran would probably also target their oil refineries. 75% of Iran's oil is refined at just 4 facilities. A strike would create a fuel crisis in Iran and literally pummel its economy.

This is the worst possible idea that I can even think of. We're going to bomb some buildings that *might* be connected to their military and destroy their economy? Then what? They're just going to roll over and say "Well, you win, America! You bombed the living shit out of us so we're going to embrace freedom and democracy! No more terrorism for us!"

Thats never, ever going to happen. A wounded and economically destroyed Iran would be our greatest enemy for the next 100 years. Iran would go from being a country with anti-American leaders and a slightly pro-American public to being a country where every hungry and unemployed Iranian-on-the-street views America with a zealous, icy hatred in every fibre of his being.

Could you really blame them? Imagine being a farmer, or a blue collar worker in any country and learning that your homeland has been attacked -- or perhaps one of your loved ones was killed in a bombing. Maybe you don't like the government, maybe you think your leaders are idiots, but you love your country and will defend her to the last breath. So will your 6 sons, and their sons -- for however long it takes until the strange, bloodthirsty foreigners stop bombing your country for reasons that you don't even understand.

Then imagine this story repeated a million times. Two million. Ten.

We'd probably win lots of fans among the non-Qaeda sunni insurgents, but backlash from Shiite groups would probably be very strong.

I can't believe I just read that. So the minute we go to war with Iran, all the families of the young Sunni men that we've been killing are going to rally to our side and help us fight the Iranians? You could pull a rabbit out of thinking this magical. No one in the middle east is on our side. Everyone is on their own side, including the Saudis, the Israelis, the Syrians, the Sunnis -- and everyone will try to exploit the chaos created by a dumbfuck move on our part, with no exceptions.

I think I see your problem here. I think it's "our" problem, too, as a nation.

You think that war is some kind of video game. A contest of technology: boats, planes, missiles vs. enemy boats, planes and missiles. Just like Command & Conquer but in real life. "Warning: Nuclear silo detected." Uhoh! Better launch some Orcas! Air strikes on the way!

But people aren't sprites in a game. You can't just bomb facilities from the air and then walk away with a big Mission Accomplished banner over your head. Facilities can (and will) be rebuilt, but even more importantly, facilities contain people, and people remember. People carry grudges, people cause "blowback" 20 years down the road, people blow themselves up in supermarkets with a smile on their face and a prayer on their lips.

This is not a game, but we think it is, and we're fucked because of it.
posted by Avenger at 11:31 PM on September 2, 2007 [9 favorites]


Btw, the diary was removed from dailykos, because Maccabee is a serial liar, and that post was full of inconsistencies from beginning to end.
posted by empath at 11:37 PM on September 2, 2007


If the strike targeted just Iran's nuclear weapons programs, the Iranians could launch a somewhat effective response. But if the strike also included Iran's response mechanisms, there's not much they could do.

They have supersonic ship to shore missles that could take down a ship. If the shia street in Iraq gets activated, the US would be in a world of hurt.

It could also be the beginning of a regional war which could bring in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Egypt.

The best case scenario here -- destroying Iran's government and creating a failed state-- is pretty bad. The worst case scenario is apocalyptic.
posted by empath at 11:45 PM on September 2, 2007


We all remember this post....right?
posted by adamvasco at 11:50 PM on September 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Honestly, unless we get hit again hard on U.S. soil (Which could very well be the excuse they need to bomb Iran), I just don't see it happening for a number of reasons. One, it seems, as much as the administration is pleading otherwise that it is going into winding down mode. If anything like this was really going to take place I just don't see Bush's A-team, Rove, GOnzo, Snow etc. resigning their offices. (Might be a bit questionable about Gonzo though...but if the shrub needed to be sheltered against the considerable political hurricane unleashed by BOTH dems and Repubs, by a strike on Iran, I don't think he would give a flying you-know-what about what anyone thought of his buddy AG). Also look at the carefully choreographed run up to the Iraq war. The continual harping of fear inducing catch phrases, the media browbeating, the total (and quite impressive) team effort from not only Bush and Cheney, but Rice and Wolfowitz and Rummy, Perle and the rest of the PNAC gang and even Powell ferchrissakes (I hope we find out one day how the hell that happened). I don't see it here at all and Gates seems too decent and old school Republican (i.e., Not a Neocon) to go along with an idiotic thing as this...not to mention this is a greatly weakened Presidency and he may be the worst president ever and short sighted, but I really don't see him destroying any chance the GOP might have at a shot at the WH in '08 or regaining the Congress (or at least not losing more seats). At the end of the day W. is a company man and when the head office at the RNC says "Okay George, enough!" I think he'll listen, no way he can't.

Second, the manpower for a protracted engagement that could spill over into Iran sending troops just does not exist and I think any high ranking officer worth his mettle would point out that Iran gets hit and the 160, 000 troops in Iraq are going to be in BIG trouble. U.S. casualties would go through the roof, because Iran would no longer have to pretend it wasn't pulling the Shia strings. Sadr's militia would almost certainly declare all out war on the American troops.

But more than anything it's the strange symmetry that I see between what BushCo is doing and what Ahmenijad does...they both traffic in great big saber rattling bombardments of horseshit....and the reason is easy to see, every time it seems like tensions escalate with Iran the price of gas spikes precipitously and the American Oil Co's are just FLUSH with cash. Their profits the last couple of years have been mind boggling. That money is going into GOP pockets BushCo loyalist pockets and perversly into the pockets of the oppressive hardline fundamentalists that rule Iran. So lots of thunder and everyone makes a couple of extra billion dollars and with money like that, these folks can't afford NOT to play this game. I also see a similar symmetry between Al Quaeda and BushCO where the currency (following the money) isn't .. currency..but the fear. And we've all seen how fear is almost as good as money in the bank for some people...but that's a discussion for another time.
posted by Skygazer at 12:24 AM on September 3, 2007


sure a lot of "the sky is falling" talk going around. but ignoring everyone that says it will happen and just looking at the climate the administration is creating seems like it's amping up to something. the shell game of iran supplying weapons to insurgents, any evidence other then a few photo ops of guns on a table? nah, classified. one of our ambassadors meeting with iran for the first time in ages and the few things i've read were of him just out right accusing iran of pretty much instigating war, with nothing to back himself up. iran recently cooperating more and with the iaea and bush scoffing at it and saying they're just stalling. bush saying something must be done about this future threat. that's just off the top of my head, they're stirring up a huge amount of bluster and fingerpointing, to do what, just sit on there hands? it all looks like the wind up for the invasion of iraq, creating the so called iminent threat to world safety, etc.

i was reading the minneapolis star tribune a few weeks ago, with page three having a half page article on iraq. a side bar was titled "the front line" with little news stories, nestled in "the front line" was a couple articles about iran. everything the major media regurgitates is nothing but demonization and how dangerous they are wanting to wipe israel of the map. i just find it rather telling that a major cities newspaper already considers the country part of the front line in an already existing war. by the logic that's flying around a ground war wouldn't be necessary, just an elimination of the threat, airstrikes on weapons caches and the future wmd's, mission accomplished. the administration seems to be spending alot of there propaganda efforts on laying a groundwork to justify the supposed need for something to be done.

if they have no intention of doing something, why are they creating a bogeyman?
posted by andywolf at 12:26 AM on September 3, 2007


Avenger: you seem to have mistaken my post for advocating an attack on Iran, which it was not. I'm simply stating that our military is quite well equipped to carry out a strike on Iran that would cripple their weapons programs as well as their ability to militarily respond.

Conducting such a strike is an undesirable event and would have serious political consequences. The question is whether the price would be higher if/when Iran develops nukes.
posted by b_thinky at 1:06 AM on September 3, 2007


datapoint - border control security tightening

datapoint - NYC working on ad campaign to encourage more foreign tourists

datapoint - adamvasco's reminder above

datapoint - french weren't friends during first 'war' product sale, recall freedom fries fiasco. now the tune has changed.

there seems to be a girding of the loins for "something" soon

one of two things will happen or both if there is no warning - market and dollar will have rug pulled out to stop the intended attack as only money will talk in this case, obvious reading all comments that "sense" will not work. or they will strike iran anyway and in retaliation world will stop buying dollars and stop selling oil to the us. "if this goes on...." the other 6 billion people of earth will have to put a stop to it. by fingers and toes and teaspoons if they must. how many brown people are there in the world? how many non americans? can you kill everyone who does not look like you, walk like you, talk like you? xenophobia? rest of the world won't respond to violence with violence, leave that to the crazies, the wiser nations will respond only where it hurts, america's wallet. UN sanctions? why not? most of the world trade patterns have already changed. US not the world's largest market for many global companies already, not the largest trading partner either.
posted by infini at 1:48 AM on September 3, 2007


b_thinky wrote: you seem to have mistaken my post for advocating an attack on Iran, which it was not. I'm simply stating that [1] our military is quite well equipped to carry out a strike on Iran that would cripple their weapons programs [2] as well as their ability to militarily respond. [numbers are my insertion for clarification]

I think you might be wrong on the first count and I'm almost positive you will be extremely wrong on the second count. (see my two posts above)

Conducting such a strike is an undesirable event and would have serious political consequences. The question is whether the price would be higher if/when Iran develops nukes.

And this kind of thinking that would make an attack inevitable. To base our foreign policy around "killing all our enemies now before they become too powerful" is to commit a slow national suicide. It can't be done without creating a vicious Empire built on violence and conquest. Hell, if this is going to be our policy, we should have nuked the Russians back in the 90's so they wouldn't get so uppity like they are today.

Thats not foreign policy. It's madness.
posted by Avenger at 2:43 AM on September 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


The question is whether the price would be higher if/when Iran develops nukes.

How about: don't bomb Iran then either?
posted by pompomtom at 5:42 AM on September 3, 2007


So is the balance between either letting Iran be whereby they might well have nukes in two years or so, or hitting them hard, which risks having Iran destabilised and utterly opposed to the West? This would also make it much more likely that the Northern Alliance warlords in afghanistan and the Shi'a in Iraq revolt properly specifically against the Western troops there (in addition to the Talibs and the Sunni), and ensuring a more or less Mediterranean-to-border-of-India badlands without a stable country in it. (Not to mention the revolution possibilities in Russia's backyard: Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan and the Ferghana Valley hotspot). Those seem like awfully high stakes.
posted by YouRebelScum at 7:18 AM on September 3, 2007


UbuRoivas: "Seriously, this is similar to German aggression circa 1914.

Not a Godwinist, but I think 1939 might be the analogy you were thinking of.
"


An even better date would be 1940 (attack on France after successfully annexing the Sudetenland) or 1941 (opening a second front on the Russian side).

As a German, this is a problem close to my heart: in our history lessons in school we are shown time and time again how Germany as a nation supported Hitler and his lunatic schemes; and we are asked to ask ourselves what we would have done in that situation. It's very interesting to see how Americans try to cope with a leadership disconnected from the desires of its people. Not that I'm using this to defend Nazi Germans in any way, but it is nevertheless fascinating to see how little influence public opinion currently has and how people who are seemingly oblivious to reality can continue to wage war as they see fit.

On a side note, it's also interesting to watch a Dolchstosslegende in the making as Republicans are getting ready to blame a lost war on the "defeatist cut-and-run Democrats".
posted by PontifexPrimus at 7:35 AM on September 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Who to believe?

- the administration that is now making even more threats of an attack compared to Iraq (as I recall before the Iraq war, invasion was always the last resort);
- the neo-conservatives who are basically begging or an attack;
- current and former officials who are throwing warning flags all over the place;
- people mostly looking at it from the outside, seeing the clear folly in such an attack while trying to guess at the administration's true intentions?

I'm not saying it's absolutely going to happen. But does anyone recall the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq? It's easy to forget that the public mood was that of questioning or disbelief even while soldiers were being amassed in Kuwait. Only once the tanks started rolling across the border did it become obvious and it has stayed 'obvious' since. I can only guess that the same thing will happen this time around (since we're a bunch of idiots.)
posted by romanb at 8:13 AM on September 3, 2007


I think that Bush won't go to war, partially for the reasons Avenger stated, but more importantly the question of what would really be achievable. Suppose we go to war and crush their entire military industry in a perfectly choreographed opening... (*chuckle*) The Iranians even then would never sue for peace, so what do we do? There aren't enough people employed at PMCs to form a second army to police Iran. Bush'd have to bring back the draft to have any chance at following through, but he'd need more than a year and a half to carry off a real Iran War. It'd have to be limited by simple matters of logistics. Getting troops to the Middle East takes time, and even the most enthusiastic neocon has to contend with logistics.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 10:18 AM on September 3, 2007


On a side note, it's also interesting to watch a Dolchstosslegende in the making as Republicans are getting ready to blame a lost war on the "defeatist cut-and-run Democrats".

Here's a good article on how Bush is trying to revive the "stab in the back" theme: The waning power of the War Myth
posted by homunculus at 10:24 AM on September 3, 2007



Big oil is still desperate for an oil pipeline route from the Caspian and America has the only army for sale that is large enough to secure it, and time is running out on their purchased oval office.


Big oil had no problem with Saddam and has no problem with Iran. They couldn't careless who rules those countries, and high oil prices actually helps them. Big oil made its peace with OPEC and with "nationalization." It was the neocons wet dreams of Iraq pumping so much oil as to destroy OPEC, and take Iran and Venezuela with it. It is the neocons, and the Christian Taliban in the US that are leading this drumbeat for war.

It is less about cheap oil than making sure that other contries get their oil at a price and at a schedule that is convenient for us. I doubt China and India will cotton to that.

I believe Bush believes his own fantasies of being a "decisive leader" and I just imagine him primping in front of the mirror as he imagines fawning histories written fifty years hence. I believe Bush still believes his rhetoric of funny brown men and women, after a short period of instability,yelling hey GI, and kissing Americans as they all go to Starbucks and a Halal Micky Dees and become the perfect "democratic" consumers, and of course trade with Isreal. He believes his own fantasies about not changing his mind means showing resolve.

At least here in New York, the rest of the country is so unrecognizable to us that we feel we have zero control over what the whackos do. It is difficult - the usual suspects in NY, Boston, SF an LA will protest and show them to be even more hating of shrub than Europe. THe "heartland" will show their contempt for the Jews and the gays on the coasts by getting even fatter, rallying at the nearest NASCAR track, with Bush donning a cowboy hat and trying to talk like a Texan. WTF happened to my country?

Viva Nueva York libre!
posted by xetere at 10:42 AM on September 3, 2007


We don't have the troops or the money to go to war with Iran. This looks to me to be a bit of scaremongering by opportunistic Internet folks looking for hits.
Now, Israel hitting Iranian nuclear sites in a re-run of their 1981 attack on Osirak seems a much more possible scenario, although still to my mind unlikely.
posted by Anduruna at 10:52 AM on September 3, 2007


ELF Radio: They don't worry about $7.00 gas because they won't need no gas in Jesus's Magic Kingdom.
Jesus's Magic Kingdom?
posted by Anything at 12:20 PM on September 3, 2007


This looks to me to be a bit of scaremongering by opportunistic Internet folks looking for hits.

uh, it's the administration doing the scaremongering, sure some folks are looking for hits. but most of the worry about this is based on the administrations rhetoric.
posted by andywolf at 12:22 PM on September 3, 2007


I think that some of these folks are blowing the administration's rhetoric all out of proportion in order to cause a sensation, is all I'm saying. And considering that one of the authors mentioned (I think the DailyKos guy?) has already been exposed in this thread as something of a habitual sensationalist, that doesn't seem like a particularly unlikely hypothesis.
This is not to say that Bush and Co. aren't playing the old Nixon trick of "if they think we're crazy, they'll cave" in the international ring. But there's a difference between rhetoric and action, and I see no evidence that action will actually result from this. That's just my opinion, based on what evidence has been brought up here - I have been wrong before.
posted by Anduruna at 12:49 PM on September 3, 2007


Response from the rest of the Arab world may be muted because of the Sunni/Shiite schism.

Iranians are Persians, not Arabs. They speak an Indo-European language. Regardless, policywise, Bush personally needs to confuse his mistake of giving Iraq to Iran's sphere of influence, perhaps the most expensive blunder in the history of American foreign policy.

Big oil had no problem with Saddam and has no problem with Iran. They couldn't careless who rules those countries, and high oil prices actually helps them. Big oil made its peace with OPEC and with "nationalization." It was the neocons wet dreams of Iraq pumping so much oil as to destroy OPEC, and take Iran and Venezuela with it. It is the neocons, and the Christian Taliban in the US that are leading this drumbeat for war.

I was referencing the huge oil fields in the Caspian region, which are mostly undeveloped, outside of Iran, and require a pipeline. Some suggest they may contain 10% of the worlds oil reserves.
posted by Brian B. at 1:50 PM on September 3, 2007


When Bush Comes to Iran: The view of American tough talk from Tehran.
posted by homunculus at 1:56 PM on September 3, 2007


b_thinky: If the US hit Iran's refineries it'd be cutting it's own throat. That'd take 2.5 million barrels a day off the world market, which 'd send the price of oil skyward, and would bring the pain in a rather remarkable way for the world economy.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:29 PM on September 3, 2007


Why Is Barack Obama Buying Into White House Framing on Iran?
posted by homunculus at 11:09 AM on September 4, 2007


Selling War with Iran: Next Week at AEI
posted by homunculus at 2:06 PM on September 4, 2007


Staging Nukes for Iran?
posted by homunculus at 9:18 AM on September 6, 2007


Theses on Policy toward Iran

Update on Iran War Rollout
posted by homunculus at 9:22 AM on September 6, 2007


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