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Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran
August 1, 2008 9:45 AM   Subscribe

Bush administration officials held a meeting recently in the Vice President's office to discuss ways to provoke a war with Iran.
HERSH: There was a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don't we build - we in our shipyard - build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up.
Oddly, Hersh's editor torpedoed the story because the plans were rejected (2 minutes into the YouTube video).

Previously: Previously on MeFi:
posted by ryoshu (109 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
We have met the enemy, and he is us.
posted by LordSludge at 9:50 AM on August 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


i found a link to the uniforms
posted by pyramid termite at 9:55 AM on August 1, 2008 [8 favorites]


HERSH: There was a meeting. Among the items considered and rejected — which is why the New Yorker did not publish it, on grounds that it wasn’t accepted....

What? Why didn't they publish it?
posted by MarshallPoe at 9:55 AM on August 1, 2008


"Among the items considered and rejected — which is why the New Yorker did not publish it, on grounds that it wasn’t accepted — "

For fuck's sake. They only talked about it, but they stopped short of doing it, so we have no reason to report it?

Isn't the fact that we have a bunch of raving psychotics dreaming shit like this up considered newsworthy?

Oh, right, right. It's the Bush Administration. Not newsworthy at all. I forgot. Business as usual.

Guess I picked the wrong decade to stop sniffing glue.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:56 AM on August 1, 2008 [13 favorites]


Thanks to a terrible firewall, the page is borked for me so I can't tell if this is answered: How did Hersh learn this information? It doesn't seem like they'd put a press release out about it.
posted by DU at 9:56 AM on August 1, 2008


We have met the enemy, and he is us.

Can you see my eyes roll through your interwebs?
posted by billysumday at 9:57 AM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


There is no conspiracy, it's all just coincidence.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:57 AM on August 1, 2008 [6 favorites]


DU wrote:

How did Hersh learn this information? It doesn't seem like they'd put a press release out about it.

Heh. Hersh is a real journalist. Real journalists don't need press releases. They do reporting.
posted by digaman at 9:59 AM on August 1, 2008 [21 favorites]


DU: If you can get to the YouTube video it's explained in the interview. A former intelligence official relayed the information to Hersh.
posted by ryoshu at 10:01 AM on August 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Did Hersh hear about it directly from someone who was at the (alleged) meeting? Or from someone who heard about it from someone who was, or through an even more remove connection? He doesn't tell us, obviously. Hersh has some excellent sources and has done great work, but I find this one a little dubious, and I'm not going to take one journalist's word for it. Obviously his editor didn't, either. Was it rejected by the New Yorker "on grounds that it [the proposal to provoke a war] wasn't accepted"? No, I'm guessing his editor thought it just didn't pass the smell test.
posted by beagle at 10:03 AM on August 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Saw this yesterday and am glad it's now been posted. It reminds me of the revelation in the Downing Street Minutes that Bush himself privately suggested, in the run-up to Iraq, the "false-flag" idea of painting a US air force plane as if it were a UN plane in order to have the Iraqis shoot it down from their air space. Kind of like this incident. The more things change the more they stay the same.

Given the fake terror alerts; given the long standing insistence by Wolfowitz and certain AEI hacks that Saddam Hussein was behind the 1995 OKC and 1993 WTC bombings; given the Niger "yellowcake" forgeries tied to Italian intelligence; given the outing of Plame-Wilson and the pardoning of Scooter Libby; given the fake WMD claims and the unprecedented propaganda machinery in the run up to the Iraq war; given the CIA rendition flights; given all this and more: does anyone out there in America still think that the worst-case scenario with regards to criminal intent on the part of the Bush administration is not only entirely possible but also highly probable?
posted by ornate insect at 10:06 AM on August 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Seriously. I'd be more surprised if it turned out there WEREN'T any meetings like this.
posted by Legomancer at 10:15 AM on August 1, 2008 [7 favorites]


Like I asked in another forum... how is this NOT treason?
posted by Hugh2d2 at 10:15 AM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


So why would they want to start a war? Okay, so they were considering faking a UN plane that would get shotdown by Iraq or faking a naval confrontation with Iran.

But to what end? What they hell could anyone possibly get out of a war with Iran? Higher oil prices? That only helps the oil producing countries. Look at Exxon's recent earnings -- their profits and stock are down.

I'm almost convinced that the Bush administration is a puppet government of Saudi Arabia. There is no benefit to going to war with Iran. We get nothing military or financial, short or long term, from doing this. What do the people who want to start the war think they are going to get out of it?
posted by Pastabagel at 10:19 AM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Assuming this is true, I honestly have to wonder if these people are insane. I don't mean that in a glib "they're crazy!" way, I mean it as "these people must me mentally ill."

Why the fuck are they trying to provoke a war with anyone let alone Iran? Our troops are exhausted, military recruitment is low, we are already dumping money in a conflict we already can't get out of as our country slides into a recession, and we are trying to instigate a fight with a fresh opponent with millions of enlistment aged men who might be looking for a reason to step into a fight with us?

I don't know if they understand that if we pick a fight with Iran, it might be one that we flat out lose if we don't use nuclear weapons, and I can't think of anything which would more quickly cement the rest of the worlds hatred for us than preemptively staging a nuclear strike against a country who hasn't attacked us.

This administration has proved repeatedly that it starts fights that it doesn't know how to finish, there is no reason we should let them do anything that could create a new conflict just months before we are finally rid of them.
posted by quin at 10:19 AM on August 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


does anyone out there in America still think that the worst-case scenario with regards to criminal intent on the part of the Bush administration is not only entirely possible but also highly probable?

Given the latest approval ratings, I'd say somewhere around thirty percent of America still isn't particularly convinced of the criminal intent of the Bush administration.

Hersh has some excellent sources and has done great work, but I find this one a little dubious, and I'm not going to take one journalist's word for it.

This is exactly why you don't get real journalists much anymore.
posted by Caduceus at 10:21 AM on August 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


liberal media!
posted by matteo at 10:21 AM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm almost convinced that the Bush administration is a puppet government of Saudi Arabia Israel.

FTFY. Flame away.
posted by ornate insect at 10:21 AM on August 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


What do the people who want to start the war think they are going to get out of it?

Check out this Fresh Air interview and book excerpt. It might go a little way to explaining the minds of men who actively want war.
posted by Caduceus at 10:26 AM on August 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


I consult on these matters. Things not suggested:

1. Poke with big stick
2. Put in jar and shake
3. Burn with magnifying glass a little bit
4. Pull a leg/wing off
5. My dad could beat up your dad
6. Put a rock in the snowball
posted by jimmythefish at 10:29 AM on August 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


Pastabagel: Natural Gas?
From the details coming out of Ashgabat in Turkmenistan and Moscow over the weekend, it is apparent that the great game over Caspian energy has taken a dramatic turn. In the geopolitics of energy security, nothing like this has happened before. The United States has suffered a huge defeat in the race for Caspian gas. The question now is how much longer Washington could afford to keep Iran out of the energy market.
That would be one motive. Doesn't prove the meeting occurred, or if it did, that Hersh is right about the agenda.

But it's a pretty good motive.
posted by notyou at 10:30 AM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


This administration has proved repeatedly that it starts fights that it doesn't know how to finish, there is no reason we should let them do anything that could create a new conflict just months before we are finally rid of them.

1. Right before Democrats get elected to office, start impossible war.
2. Dems handle impossible war poorly.
3. Republicans and friends get reelected in four years.
4. Profit!
posted by meowzilla at 10:31 AM on August 1, 2008 [8 favorites]


how is this NOT treason

not treason (aiding the enemy during wartime) but nearing the impeachable
posted by yort at 10:32 AM on August 1, 2008


What they hell could anyone possibly get out of a war with Iran? Higher oil prices?

As I understand it: yes. also, billion dollar contracts to weapons manufacturers that happen to be run by friends of theirs. but as far as oil is concerned, I recall Fahrenheit 9/11 making a compelling case for the ties between the Bush Family and Saudi Arabian Oil Magnates.
posted by shmegegge at 10:33 AM on August 1, 2008


I'm with beagle, for now. While I'm no fan of this administration, why should I take the reporter's word at face value that this conversation actually happened? It's like he's also not capable of lying, or even his sources feeding him incorrect information.
posted by jmd82 at 10:34 AM on August 1, 2008


I guessed this would be Seymour Hersh reporting, and it was. Why is he the only one reporting these stories? Is he that awesome a reporter, or is someone playing him?
posted by smackfu at 10:35 AM on August 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


So, this got called off because it didn't require Cheney to eat any babies, right?
posted by klangklangston at 10:36 AM on August 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


You know who else... I'm surprised no one got this yet.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:37 AM on August 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


how is this NOT treason

Because they didn't actually do anything. What are you going to charge them with? For talking nonsense which they ended up rejecting?
posted by gyc at 10:38 AM on August 1, 2008


> Look at Exxon's recent earnings -- their profits and stock are down.

July 31, 2008: Exxon posts record $11.68 billion profit.

Despite Exxon making more money in three months than they they ever have in history (and more than nearly every other corporation ever) Investors were upset that they hadn't made even more, so Exxon's stock is down 3% this morning.

Or, in other words, are you stoned?
posted by ardgedee at 10:40 AM on August 1, 2008 [9 favorites]


"This administration has proved repeatedly that it starts fights that it doesn't know how to finish, there is no reason we should let them do anything that could create a new conflict just months before we are finally rid of them.

1. Right before Democrats get elected to office, start impossible war.
2. Dems handle impossible war poorly.
3. Republicans and friends get reelected in four years.
4. Profit!"

Brilliant!!!

Quick question for everyone... why haven't these idiots been impeached yet? I got plenty of torches and pitchforks at the ready.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 10:47 AM on August 1, 2008


We're jerks.
posted by batmonkey at 10:48 AM on August 1, 2008


Or, in other words, are you stoned?

you know, you people are all the same. all of a sudden it's not okay to post stoned! well, excuuuuuse me!
posted by shmegegge at 10:50 AM on August 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


The familiar neocon agenda (the WW4 agenda of following up Baghdad with Tehran and Damascus) goes back some time. Brzezinski and Scowcroft and other flaming lefties have been warning us about its continued possibilities for some time now. In short, it's the PNAC-AIPAC-AEI axis-of-deceit agenda, and it was written out in the usual places by the usual suspects for all the world to see. It should come as a surprise to precisely nobody. It combines several geopolitical and global capital interests nicely: that of the war profiteering contractors and munitions makers, that of Big Oil and its related industries, and that of the neocon hawks who want a permanent military buffer to China and for Israel. Seen in historical perspective, it is Ike's famous Cold War warning of the M.I.C. returned as think-tank Frankenstein and White House to-do list.

Naturally, the extended abject failure and catastrophe of the Iraq expedition has put the possibility of fulfilling this agenda in serious question. I am confident that the agenda has been thrown off course for some time now, but I am equally confident that the hardcore believers in this agenda (the Boltons, the Ledeens, the Perles, the Podhoretzes, the Cheneys, etc) are a stubborn and determined lot. Although they are not an omnipotent monolith, they are quite capable of engineering certain events to get what the want, at least in the short term, and it behooves us to consider all relevant possibilities.
posted by ornate insect at 10:53 AM on August 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


why should I take the reporter's word at face value that this conversation actually happened?

Because it's Seymour Hersh. Ever heard of him? Look him up, he's been breaking stories the government wanted kept secret for forty years.
posted by languagehat at 10:53 AM on August 1, 2008 [8 favorites]


...I'd say somewhere around thirty percent of America still isn't particularly convinced of the criminal intent of the Bush administration.

This is easily explained by the crazification factor. (Takes a while to get there, but it's well worth the read.)
posted by Ella Fynoe at 10:57 AM on August 1, 2008


Why the fuck are they trying to provoke a war with anyone let alone Iran? Our troops are exhausted, military recruitment is low, we are already dumping money in a conflict we already can't get out of as our country slides into a recession, and we are trying to instigate a fight with a fresh opponent with millions of enlistment aged men who might be looking for a reason to step into a fight with us?

Ummm ... maybe some (or all) of these guys are high-end gangsters whose agenda has always been to shift as much wealth as possible from the coffers of America (the government + the people) to their own pockets. What better way to accomplish this than via a couple of seemingly insane wars? Diabolical? Or just good business?
posted by philip-random at 10:59 AM on August 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Assuming this is true, I honestly have to wonder if these people are insane. I don't mean that in a glib "they're crazy!" way, I mean it as "these people must me mentally ill."

I agree. I just can't conceive of anyone wanting to provoke a war with Iran, even for political power or pure profit. I think just talking like you want to should be grounds for incarceration. In fact, if your average citizen starting talking about wanting to commit mass-murder (which is what we are talking about here) that would be enough to get them thrown in jail or a psychiatric hospital.

I can't really explain it without resorting to mental illness either. My diagnosis would be Antisocial Personality Disorder (also known as sociopathy.) Only people without a sense of the reality of other human beings could actually think this way.
posted by threeturtles at 11:00 AM on August 1, 2008


And, as proof that dissent within the right for this agenda continues to grow, note that now even the RAND Corporation has announced that the War-on-Terror is a strategic failure.
posted by ornate insect at 11:01 AM on August 1, 2008


This is easily explained by the crazification factor. (Takes a while to get there, but it's well worth the read.)

I think I've read that before, actually. So I'll cede that point.
posted by Caduceus at 11:15 AM on August 1, 2008


On the subject of why anyone would want to start crazy wars that destabilize whole regions, at least one prominent Bush campaign operative and all-around lackey (and former foreign policy adviser to McCain, as a matter of fact) actually makes a living working for an international company that promises to deliver profits from exploiting natural resource exploration and other licensing opportunities in politically unstable regions throughout the world.

So the motive is probably the same as it ever was.

"Come on boys! There's gold in them there hills! Oh, wait, on closer look, those aren't so much hills, as giant, putrid heaps of human corpses. Well, still. Might as well get the gold while we're here. Here's some pliers. Start checking the dental work, boys."
posted by saulgoodman at 11:19 AM on August 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


Don't false flag operations violate a few treaties, along with some basic principles of democracy? Blatantly tricking voters into supporting an unjust war is, at minimum, wildly unethical.
posted by mullingitover at 11:21 AM on August 1, 2008


Quick question for everyone... why haven't these idiots been impeached yet? I got plenty of torches and pitchforks at the ready.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 10:47 AM on August 1 [+] [!]


You see, there is a peaceful and legal process for removing a sitting president; it does not involve the instruments of the mob but the actions of legislators. However, since you are an obvious troll and probable waterhead, I shall not trouble myself to explain it.
posted by fleetmouse at 11:22 AM on August 1, 2008


tf(ake);dr
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:28 AM on August 1, 2008


mullingitover--it took the US government 41 years to admit the Gulf of Tonkin was staged, by which time the persons responsible had long since passed away. By the time the complete declassified details of Bush and Co.'s crimes are revealed, it will be a mere historical footnote.
posted by ornate insect at 11:29 AM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't false flag operations violate a few treaties, along with some basic principles of democracy?

Well the Bush administration has ignored the Geneva Conventions, attempted to suspend habeus corpus for "unlawful combatants," etc. It appears that treaties, shmeaties, are meant to be violated in their playbook.
posted by ericb at 11:32 AM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Too many of these pigs get away by dying before their crimes are revealed. I propose a new punishment, whereby those who are posthumously found guilty of high crimes will have public restrooms installed over their graves. The urinals will have pictures of the shamed imprinted in the urinal cakes, and all the stalls will feature the face of the guilty party printed on the toilet paper. A lovely plaque outside the restroom will describe in detail the reason for their shaming.
posted by mullingitover at 11:41 AM on August 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


Kissinger Toilet Paper - mmm...soft and evil.
posted by hojoki at 11:54 AM on August 1, 2008 [6 favorites]


Are people actually making the case that they can't imagine this administration doing this because it seems illegal, stupid, and crazy?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:00 PM on August 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Top 10 Rejected Ways of Starting a War with Iran

10. Take Iranian foreign minister out to dinner, but spend all night flirting with cute Syrian foreign minister at next table
9. Release scathing Middle East Coast diss track, "Hit Ahmadinejad Up"
8. New cultural attaché to Iran: Ann Coulter
7. Second Life griefers subvertise Iranian flag as cartoon of President Bush as Calvin pissing oil into the Persian Gulf
6. Outlaw petroleum products in the US
5. Invite President Ahmadinejad on a hunting getaway with Dick Cheney
4. Real World: Tehran
3. Send them a giant wooden camel secretly filled with Jews
2. De-friend them on MySpace
1. Business as usual
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:01 PM on August 1, 2008 [19 favorites]


it does not involve the instruments of the mob but the actions of legislators a few cronies, the VP (who actually runs the show) and a bunch of people who impeach a president for lying about bumping uglies but not for lying about intelligence reports and starting an illegal war which has killed, by some estimates, over a million people.

There. I fixed that for you.
posted by jimmythefish at 12:02 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or, in other words, are you stoned?
posted by ardgedee at 1:40 PM on August 1


You are missing the point--despite the fact that oil is nearly 70% more expensive now than it was in the fourth quarter, their revenue from this quarter is only 0.2% higher than it was in the fourth quarter--11.68b vs 11.66b. No question they are making a fortune, but so are fertilizer companies, and others.

Furthermore, there isn't any evidence that they are getting any of this money, and people only help their friends so much. They have friends in other business, too.

I see Exxon with an 8% profit margin yielding $12 billion, and then I see Dubai building cities out of nothing and Saudia Arabia announcing plans to build seven brand new cities in the desert. When people say "follow the money," they don't mean "follow the pocket change."

And yes, I am stoned.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:05 PM on August 1, 2008


There is no conspiracy, it's all just coincidence.

When a conspiracy is so conspicuous as to be assumed coincidence (aka "nobody would be that brazen"), it's a conspicudence.

for each usage of this term, please send a micropayment to my mom.
posted by davejay at 12:09 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Er, make that conpicudency.
posted by davejay at 12:09 PM on August 1, 2008


DAMMIT! conspicudency. joke never made it off the ground due to poor assembly.
posted by davejay at 12:10 PM on August 1, 2008


Is he that awesome a reporter, or is someone playing him?

In the event that he's not being played, how is it that this, of all administrations, is not aware of the guy in the meeting who's taking long lunch breaks with Seymour Hersh?

Or maybe I'm just naive enough to think that the VP wouldn't discuss something so brazenly insane and potentially damning with Ricky the intern intelligence official in the room.
posted by Adam_S at 12:23 PM on August 1, 2008


1. Right before Democrats get elected to office, start impossible war.
2. Dems handle impossible war poorly.
3. Republicans and friends get reelected in four years.


Nah, never work.
Took 'em 8 years
posted by msalt at 12:27 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you read this very recent book on the History of the CIA you will learn that this sort of faked incident is something that has been done any number of times, and, in many instances, not merely talked about but carried out:

http://www.amazon.com/Legacy-Ashes-History-Tim-Weiner/dp/038551445X
posted by Postroad at 12:28 PM on August 1, 2008


Adam_S--I've also wondered who Hersh's contact(s) are, and why, assuming Hersh is legit and/or not being played, the Bush administration has not figured this out as well (and taken action to quell the leaks). Even the basic question of how Hersh gets his info from his informant seems problematic: I've no doubt his phone lines, etc, are all tapped. I have no insights into this, but I agree that it is--given how secretive this administration is--perplexing.
posted by ornate insect at 12:32 PM on August 1, 2008


Furthermore, there isn't any evidence that they are getting any of this money, and people only help their friends so much. They have friends in other business, too.

Pastabagel: Well, first, there's a lot of money to be made in selling guns and exploiting the incidental confusion in politically unstable regions (expensive, pre-paid shipments of guns and other supplies that never reach their intended destinations or that turn out to be lower-quality than advertised, for example).

But as far as the oil industry goes, a lot of the profit-taking there probably happens before you get to the end of the production chain. Say a governmental entity (or token government) leases its exploration rights to company A. Then maybe company A leases its exploration rights to company B at a premium (ka-ching!). Then maybe company B finds oil. Meanwhile, company C lobbied for and obtained exploitation rights, so it makes a payout to company B for its trouble (ka-ching!). Then company C leases its exploitation rights to company D (ka-ching!). Etc. (I don't know for a fact if that's how it works, but most markets seem to end up getting all crazy complicated and non-linear like that, creating lots of opportunities for intentionally and unintentionally obscuring the real flow of wealth.)

And then you get into the oil refining, option-trading, selling, reselling, and distribution miasma, and God knows what the hell kinds of value-adding/pie-sharing go on at that point. Either way. There's a hell of a lot more at stake in the oil industry than is reflected simply in the net profits of the major oil companies. And those figures are substantial enough, in absolute terms, in their own right.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:41 PM on August 1, 2008


That Legacy of Ashes book was one helluva depressing read.
posted by Vindaloo at 12:41 PM on August 1, 2008


I need to see more proof before I can believe this. I hate Bush as much as the next guy, but a journalist needs to offer concrete proof before making these sorts of statements.
posted by reenum at 1:01 PM on August 1, 2008


I'm afraid I don't quite follow the logic of the "Well, Exxon did make $x billion more in profits but that only puts their profit at y% which is relatively small" argument. Companies of this size are acutely aware of the fact that they are making billions of dollars, and will happily go to war for a 0.1% sales bump if that means another billion dollars in the company coffers -- or another $500,000 bonus in the CEO's pocket, for that matter -- at the end of the year.
posted by Shepherd at 1:03 PM on August 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Why would the administration care about Hersh's contacts? At this point the White House could send out press releases about things like this and suffer no ill effects.
posted by omarr at 1:09 PM on August 1, 2008


Did Cheney just see Die Hard 2 or something? What the everloving fuck?!?
posted by mark242 at 1:18 PM on August 1, 2008


"Because it's Seymour Hersh. Ever heard of him? Look him up, he's been breaking stories the government wanted kept secret for forty years."

I remember a mefi post - a while back - where Hersh was saying we would be attacking Iran NEXT FUCKING MONTH. It seems like every time I've seen his name recently it's because omigod we're going to attack Iran right now omigod!!!!

It's like the guy is trying to fulfill his own weird war prophecy.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 1:18 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I remember a mefi post - a while back - where Hersh was saying we would be attacking Iran NEXT FUCKING MONTH. It seems like every time I've seen his name recently it's because omigod we're going to attack Iran right now omigod!!!!

You might want to look at the actions of Admiral Fallon to explain some of this. The administration has been getting serious push back from flag officers about going to war with Iran. A covert operation that makes it look like Iran started hostilities would be an easy way to short circuit any resistance. By the time the smoke clears no one will care what really happened.
posted by ryoshu at 1:27 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've said it before, so I won't say it again, at least not in so many words. But in summary:
  1. Hersh is a very, very good reporter. If you don't know about his breaking the stories of My Lai and Abu Ghraib, at a minimum, please take the time to do some research before asking "Why should I believe him?"
  2. This is the pattern, and this is the plan. The Bush Administration believed they could make over the entire Middle East in the wake of September 11. Rumsfeld's first reaction to 9/11 was "Let's bomb Iraq", knowing that Iraq likely had nothing to do with the attack. They had a list: Syria, Iraq, Iran. They're still working through the list.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 1:41 PM on August 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


This is an alternate narrative but I think it could be credible:

Thinking about it a bit: because there is a history of the US doing this type of stuff, this "leak" (using Hirsch as a credible source) could be a play to get Iranian moderates to push for a nuke weapon slowdown through diplomacy .

The US is most worried about the Iranian nuke program, and this administration has horribly squandered past outreaches by Iranians towards entente. It has two plays to respond to the iranians: diplomacy (including economic sanctions which have already been played) and war. War isn't the smartest of options (but when have we stopped to listen to reason), and can be viewed by the Iranians as a no-go thus they are taking this opportunity to stall diplomacy as long as possible to get as far along on their nuclear research as they can before being forced to stop.

By using a leak like this the US, plays on its mad actor status, to signal that it is credibly willing to go to war at a drop of a hat, NO MATTER WHAT, pushing Iran to listen.
posted by stratastar at 1:43 PM on August 1, 2008


Like I asked in another forum... how is this NOT treason?
posted by Hugh2d2 at 10:15 AM on August 1


In the United States Constitution, Treason is the ONLY crime specifically define, and it's defined in Article Three, Section Three, thusly:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
Now, what this sort of thing is, and what the entire Neocon Agenda is, is sedition, which is defined as "a term of law which refers to covert conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority as tending toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent (or resistance) to lawful authority."

The problem is that the 'legal authority' is controlled by the seditionists, and therefore there's no one to punish them.
posted by mephron at 1:52 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why Bush folded on Iran: Reality, of the military and petroleum-based variety, forced the administration to change course. Now Bush sounds like Obama.
posted by homunculus at 1:54 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


stratastar--I've thought the same thing as well, since Condi Rice and the State Department seem to have recently warmed somewhat (see the recent meeting in Switzerland) and done an about-face with regards to at least opening up some new dialogue with Iran--and also since even some Israeli hawks believe a strike on Iran now could be counter-productive.

I think that Rice and the old guard (Baker, Scowcroft, Brzezinski), to the extent that they're listened to at all, are pushing for more diplomacy and/or sanctions with/against Iran regarding the question of their nuclear ambitions (see the NIE report), while Cheney and Bolton and others are pushing for a military strike before the next president is sworn in (especially if that president is Obama and not McCain).

I think there may be a tug-of-war going on regarding "what to do about" Iran this way. Clearly when Obama spoke in Israel recently he took a hard tack to the right on this, for what it's worth.

There is some indication that if the administration and/or Israel acts against Iran it will do so between November 2nd and January 20, 2009.
posted by ornate insect at 2:06 PM on August 1, 2008


Thinking about it a bit: because there is a history of the US doing this type of stuff, this "leak" (using Hirsch as a credible source) could be a play to get Iranian moderates to push for a nuke weapon slowdown through diplomacy .


Which is a HORRIBLE strategy. Because if history has shown us anything it's that overt aggression increases the desire for a an opponent to arm and militarize.

Think about it. Bush infamously identified the so-called axis of evil, right? Iraq. Iran. North Korea.

So what do we do? We invade Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein who doesn't have nukes. North Korea builds a bomb (with help from Pakistan) and suddenly we're happy as clams to be talking to evil ol' Kim Jung Il in North Korea.

Oh, and of course there is Pakistan that has the bomb. And Bin Laden.

It doestn't take a rocket scientist or a mullah with a PhD (which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad actually has) to make the connection that having stand off nuke potential makes the US completely puss out.

Bush has virtually guaranteed that Iran will develop atomic weapons. So we better get used to the idea.
posted by tkchrist at 2:06 PM on August 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Not surprising given what they have *done*.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:08 PM on August 1, 2008


I remember a mefi post - a while back - where Hersh was saying we would be attacking Iran NEXT FUCKING MONTH. It seems like every time I've seen his name recently it's because omigod we're going to attack Iran right now omigod!!!!

Perhaps one of the reasons this has not (yet) come to pass is Hersh's reporting, and his sources' willingness (and courage) to talk to him.
posted by rtha at 2:19 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's like the guy is trying to fulfill his own weird war prophecy.


either that, or Bush and Cheney are -- or have been -- much, much closer to attacking (I said attacking, not invading) Iran than you think. Given Bush/Cheney's track record and Hersh's, you know, the smart money might be on Sy here.
posted by matteo at 2:19 PM on August 1, 2008


Hersh gets great scoops and he gets played by sources. Nothing inconsistent, or even unusual about that: it's how business is done in DC.

It's actually not surprising at this state of the game for people either to gravely (and potentially identifiably) compromise a small private meeting with Cheney, or to make up absurd shit about Cheney either. You really only stand to gain in DC by beating up on Cheney. He and his team are yesterday's men -- a harried minority even inside the Bush administration, whose ascendant powers have largely chased them out of State, Defense, Justice and Homeland Security. When you get to the McCain - Lieberman segment of the national security elite, they are despised. When you get to the Obama segment, they're being mentally fitted for nooses.

Given all of that, the notion that Cheney can start a war in Iran by his lonesome, even on a false-flag basis, is absurd. Beyond their present weak position among Republicans, there never was any chance of a conventional military engagement with Iran without the sign-off of the non-Cheney factions of the Bush administration and Republicans in Congress and that of many -- and potentially of most -- Democrats in Congress. They aren't going to agree to roll the 4th Infantry Division towards Tehran without an unmistakable causus belli. A false flag attack which was denied by the Iranians would hardly past muster.

So, bottom line -- if, God forbid, there is an American engagement with Iran, it's going to be accompanied by Pelosi and Reid, and probably Obama too, standing on the steps of Capitol Hill singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
posted by MattD at 2:19 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


We have found the terrorists, and it is us.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 2:40 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


MattD writes "o, bottom line -- if, God forbid, there is an American engagement with Iran, it's going to be accompanied by Pelosi and Reid, and probably Obama too, standing on the steps of Capitol Hill singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic."

I was watching 2010 last night, and there was a quote along the lines of "The President invoked Lincoln. They usually do that when they're going to do something really bad." It made me think about how Obama invoked Lincoln right off the bat when he was launching his campaign...
posted by mullingitover at 2:40 PM on August 1, 2008


Since no-one has said it yet, in the eyes of some of these guys, the biggest threat to national security is energy security. Once upon a time, oil was about money. Those days are on the way out.
Currently, the market has handled the starting-to-dwindle global supply of oil and rising demand by curtailing demand via higher prices, but this may not last - securing a supply of oil is about national survival, and national survival is not left to the invisible hand of the market if you have other options. Iraq was a success in this regard; it might not matter to seller of the oil who is buying it so long as they have the $$$, but it matters to buyer that they have a seller that will sell to them.
When two men are dying of thirst, and you're auctioning off a glass of water, what is the water worth?

It's worth more than money.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:53 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hate Bush as much as the next guy, but a journalist needs to offer concrete proof before making these sorts of statements.

So in order to make himself more credible to you personally, Hersh should burn the sources he's cultivated for years and never get another story again. Sounds reasonable!
posted by languagehat at 2:54 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


now even the RAND Corporation has announced that the War-on-Terror is a strategic failure.

From their press release "the RAND study found that most terrorist groups end either because they join the political process, or because local police and intelligence efforts arrest or kill key members. Police and intelligence agencies, rather than the military, should be the tip of the spear"

We were shouting this in 2001, and these clowns are only just now, in 2008, starting to get a clue?

For a mere $1M salary per year, I offer my services as an Adviser-Actually-Worth-Listening-To (AAWLT). In stark contrast to people like Rumsfield who live in an idealogical fantasyland and aren't interested in how the real world works.
And by AAWLT, I mean someone who makes stuff up and pulls policy out of my ass that might or might not be good, but which at least isn't obviously stupid right from the outset.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:04 PM on August 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


I hate Bush as much as the next guy, but a journalist needs to offer concrete proof before making these sorts of statements.

No, he doesn't. Probable cause should be sufficient, this isn't a court of law.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:30 PM on August 1, 2008


It's like the guy is trying to fulfill his own weird war prophecy.

There's a difference between crying wolf and driving actual wolves off with noise and attention.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:55 PM on August 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


>>I just can't conceive of anyone wanting to provoke a war with Iran

What if the leader in question is a spoiled, cruel combat dodger with fearful, backward ideas; a leech with no empathy, someone with a history of making big money off of failing businesses, running them into the ground and sucking every drop of cash off, then bailing as the thing implodes. What if this individual is also a religious conservative who might spend nights masturbating to the idea of being the Guy who Brought Jesus Back by provoking Mideast war.

Now how much would you pay!?
posted by SaintCynr at 4:04 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


their nuclear research ... By using a leak like this the US, plays on its mad actor status, to signal that it is credibly willing to go to war at a drop of a hat, NO MATTER WHAT, pushing Iran to listen.

That works only if Iran is listening to what we leak, but not watching what we did with the rest of the "Axis of Evil". There's multiple reasons why we attacked Iraq and not North Korea, but "nuclear proliferation drives us to madness!" clearly isn't on the list. A cynical observer might think "we're not mad enough to attack a country that actually does have nukes" is list item #1.
posted by roystgnr at 5:11 PM on August 1, 2008


Remind me again...when are the nuclear inspectors going into Israel?
posted by dash_slot- at 6:11 PM on August 1, 2008


Meowzilla- That is EXACTLY what I think they are trying to do. And it terrifies me because I can see them getting away with it. the Majority of Americans seem to have a long-term memory problem. Republicans escpecially.

I hope, hope , hope it doesn't work
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 6:34 PM on August 1, 2008


Thanks for the clarification on treason.

Now... could you argue that shooting, or ordering troops to shoot at our own troops would measure up to treason?
posted by Hugh2d2 at 6:40 PM on August 1, 2008


It made me think about how Obama invoked Lincoln right off the bat when he was launching his campaign...

Bush and Lincoln have a few things in common. Unconstitutional suspension of habeas, exceeding Congressional authorization in waging war, detentions...
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:49 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


...crazy wives...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:23 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


It made me think about how Obama invoked Lincoln right off the bat when he was launching his campaign...

"Obama? How can you support an Illinois lawyer with only two years of experience in national office?

Oh, it worked out pretty well last time."
posted by ericb at 9:25 PM on August 1, 2008


Surely this will .....

I need to see more proof before I can believe this.

Ok, so what is 'proof'? Paperwork? Video? Audio?

A time machine and a way to get into the meeting so you can watch the event?

At what point becomes 'proof enough' for someone?

Then, once you have 'proof enough' - what ARE you going to do about it?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:34 PM on August 1, 2008


Bush has virtually guaranteed that Iran will develop atomic weapons. So we better get used to the idea.

Not a problem*, we have the doctrine of MAD - Mutually Assured Destruction.


*only a problem is MAD is bunk.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:37 PM on August 1, 2008


Bush administration officials held a meeting recently... to discuss ways to provoke a war with Iran.

Yeah, the meeting is called "Bush's second term."
posted by Clay201 at 1:48 AM on August 2, 2008


I've always felt sympathy for Tehran. It's like they were all "Let's name it Iran! Oh wait, that's already taken... how about Tehran?
posted by tehloki at 2:24 AM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


The US is most worried about the Iranian nuke program, and this administration has horribly squandered past outreaches by Iranians towards entente....
posted by stratastar at 3:43 PM on August 1

By "the US", I assume you mean the US Government? I am skeptical of that assertion. What this administration seems to be "most worried" about is making sure that the public does not find out what they are truly most worried about.
posted by jaronson at 6:26 AM on August 2, 2008


On the one hand, you have the reporter who broke the stories about both My Lai AND Abu Ghraib.

On the other hand, you have an administration that has lied about absolutely EVERYTHING.

Track records: on the one hand, a reporter who has proven his chops for four decades. On the other hand, a gang of incompetent thieves and proven liars.

Now, granted, past results are no guaranty of future performance - but, that's the way to bet. So I find it remarkable that there are still people who would give any credence at all to the Bush Junta, and who would still be instinctively suspicious of a story by Seymour F. Hersh.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 8:33 AM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I find it remarkable that there are still people who would give any credence at all to the Bush Junta, and who would still be instinctively suspicious of a story by Seymour F. Hersh.

North America is steeped in obedience to authority and suspicion of anything that isn't an "official" source, even if that source has lied to you constantly to everyone's detriment.

It's also sad how that statement could have easily found a home in a half dozen threads on MeFi today.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:33 AM on August 2, 2008


We have found the terrorists, and it is us.

We have found the meme, and it is used.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:18 PM on August 2, 2008


*only a problem is MAD is bunk.

Really? I must have missed the last couple of nuclear wars. Huh.

Ultimately, if more and more nations get nukes, MAD will inevitable cease to be a stable strategy. But while the players are few and represent geographically fixed nation states with somewhat self interested political communities, it works. And. It has worked.
posted by tkchrist at 4:09 PM on August 2, 2008


tkchrist--I could be wrong, but I read rough ashlar's comment as a typo, i.e. "only a problem if MAD is bunk." In other words, I think the two of you are in agreement.
posted by ornate insect at 5:17 PM on August 2, 2008


Oh. Sorry. The dopey hipster thread has me second guessing everything I read and write.
posted by tkchrist at 10:02 PM on August 2, 2008


It's really all that simple hunh? Hahaha bless your souls, you are all pawns. You eat this up because his values are aligned with yours. You really think this 'revelation' would stop them if they were bent on going to war? The war machine is an uncanny beast. It adapts and is not so easily thwarted. You think you really know whats at stake in these times? you think you are the real patriots? aahaha I know you want to feel like you made a difference, but the world doesn't work like that. If Mr. Hersch wasn't a journalist maintaining an image, you can bet he'd be a proverbial leftist Mefite Troll.
posted by Student of Man at 8:58 AM on August 3, 2008


Um. What?

Notice to concert goers: The blue dot acid appears to be contaminated. Again, do not do the blue dot.
posted by tkchrist at 2:19 PM on August 3, 2008


Jaronson - Regarding Iranian overtures to the US post Iraq War: Here you go.
posted by stratastar at 4:52 AM on August 5, 2008


Israel Bolsters Its Ability To Strike Iran
posted by homunculus at 10:36 AM on August 7, 2008


U.S. puts brakes on Israeli plan for attack on Iran nuclear facilities
posted by homunculus at 3:57 PM on August 13, 2008


How Russian Actions Alter The Iranian Situation
posted by homunculus at 9:43 AM on August 23, 2008


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