With What Army?

It looks like the usual warmongers want a mulligan:

Some senior Bush administration officials and top Republican lawmakers are voicing anger that American spy agencies have not issued more ominous warnings about the threats that they say Iran presents to the United States.

Some policy makers have accused intelligence agencies of playing down Iran’s role in Hezbollah’s recent attacks against Israel and overestimating the time it would take for Iran to build a nuclear weapon.

The complaints, expressed privately in recent weeks, surfaced in a Congressional report about Iran released Wednesday. They echo the tensions that divided the administration and the Central Intelligence Agency during the prelude to the war in Iraq.

To me the worry about striking Iran seems pointless. We don’t have the army for regime change, but simply bombing them will accomplish less than nothing. Iran’s regime will emerge stronger than before, we will hastily abandon Iraq (assuming that the inflamed shiite mob allows us to do so) and no ally in the world will join a second American expedition to attack a middle eastern country unprovoked. Needless to say Israel will face hell on Earth.

So why the hullaballoo? Think about why the latest Ford Mustang looks almost exactly like a car they made thirty years ago. Once upon a time gasoline cost less than a dollar a gallon, American carmakers dominated the inferior Japanese products and the Ford/Chevy/Dodge muscle car stood near the zenith of pop-culture cool. These days it seems like Ford can’t buy a break and you can hardly blame them for trying to get some of that old mojo back. To be clear, you can blame them for chasing their glory by slavishly copying the past rather than investing in forward-looking products and higher production quality, but the sentiment itself one can perfectly understand.

Similarly I suspect that today’s derelict crop of Republicans look back at those glorious 2002 midterms when they could steamroll anybody as accomodationist, soft-on-terror Saddam-loving and worse and they wonder where their mojo went. It seems unlikely that most of these folks have low enough wattage to believe that we have a workable military option with Iran, even keeping in mind that in today’s DC the cynics win practically every bet. I suppose that it depends on how low your opinion of these people has become, but I suspect that our current leaders understand that they need war talk right now a lot more than they need an actual war.

Some think that Iraq will heat up as a midterm issue. I don’t buy it. Despite the bluster the GOP knows that even the base is ready for a change, otherwise the idiotic stay the course! would never have morphed into the inane adapt and win!. Absent any other issue to rally the base this November the GOP needs to dangle the possibility of an immaculate war that hasn’t started yet, and which most likely never will.






149 replies
  1. 1

    Some senior Bush administration officials and top Republican lawmakers are voicing anger that American spy agencies have not issued more ominous warnings about the threats that they say Iran presents to the United States.

    Aren’t these the same guys who complained that the CIA wasn’t issuing more ominous warnings about the threats posed by the Soviet Union, and were pissed off at Reagan for talking to Gorby?

    I think so.

    Can we just refer to them as Often Wrong?

  2. 2
    ThymeZone says:

    To be clear, you can blame them for chasing their glory by slavishly copying the past rather than investing in forward-looking products and higher production quality

    Wow, note to self, stay away from Tim on cars.

    Sold my 2005 Mustang, which I loved more than anything other than my family, just a few months ago, mainly because I just drove it too fast and needed to get out of that behavior.

    But it was an amazing, amazing car. For the money, the most fun and best adrenaline rush you can get without doing some thing nasty.

    Ford is having a hard time financially, but not because its products aren’t good. It’s because they, like GM, are tied to a business model which has to support its workers to the grave. Thus their business decisions are skewed and they are forced to make lousy long-term decisions in favor of quick gains. Thus, they let their car business slide in favor of trucks … too long, and got into a capacity crisis. But they’ll pull out of it, and the Mustang is going to be part of the pullout. When I bought mine, there was a six month waiting list for some Mustang models. People were following the trucks and buying them right off the truck. The hysteria has died down, but the hysteria wasn’t over the fact that the car had style signatures from 1969. It was because the car was such a great car. If you like cars, these modern muscle cars are just amazing, and the Mustang is the real deal, as they say at DHS.

    Toyota doesn’t make a car that can wipe the butt of a Mustang GT AFAIC.

    So why did I take the proceeds from the Mustang and buy a Honda? Simple. I was driving too fast, and I figured gas was going to $4 a gallon within 18 months. So I got a car that gets 40 mpg on the highway without being a hybrid or a diesel. No American car can do that yet. When they can, maybe I’ll buy one. I tend to keep cars about 2.5 years on average, so hopefully I can squeeze in a few more before they retire me from the road.

  3. 3

    We don’t need an Army to invade Iran. The Iranian Army will turn and run at the first whiff of grapeshot. The Iranian people will welcome us with flowers and chocolates and kisses, and the token force we leave in symbolic oversight of their country will be more than paid for by the oil revenues the new democratic government shall graciously impart to us. The Iranian people will occupy themselves with setting up democratic institutions and turning over their oil industry to American corporations- no need for our Army to occupy them further.

    Onward to Tehran! Prevent the mullahs of madness from developing WMDs before they turn nukes over to Osama and he uses them on America!

  4. 4
    Tim F. says:

    So I got a car that gets 40 mpg on the highway without being a hybrid or a diesel. No American car can do that yet.

    That pretty much says exactly what I had in mind.

  5. 5
    Pb says:

    [Insert obligatory Bill Hicks routine here, replacing Iraq with Iran]

  6. 6
    tzs says:

    John, can we have an auto thread? I think it would be interesting, especially in light of some of the recent moves by Ford.

  7. 7
    Zifnab says:

    Ford is having a hard time financially, but not because its products aren’t good. It’s because they, like GM, are tied to a business model which has to support its workers to the grave. Thus their business decisions are skewed and they are forced to make lousy long-term decisions in favor of quick gains. Thus, they let their car business slide in favor of trucks … too long, and got into a capacity crisis.

    So I got a car that gets 40 mpg on the highway without being a hybrid or a diesel. No American car can do that yet.

    Car companies really are in too deep with their pension plans. In the rush and crush of the organized union, Detroit clearly gave up too much. That said, GM is sitting on the electric car. ELECTRIC. CAR. Tell me those wouldn’t fly off the lots by the warehouse-load if they were released tomorrow. Of course, there’s always room to pitch another Hummer model or similar tank-esque car. And with government subsidies, I can imagine these guys have a hard time turning down giant Washington kickbacks for fueling Big Oil. But the truth is that Detroit has the tools to pull themselves out of their economic slump. They just choose not to. Because if the auto industry looks like it’s about to go under, it can always expect a nice juicy bailout from the US Government. So much easier to mismanage your business, wallow in debt, make bad corporate-level decisions and let the American Taxpayer pick up the slack.

    At least when we were knee-deep in individual welfare we could make the claim we were supporting the legitimately underprivlidged. But in the age of corporate welfare, it’s just the rich paying the rich to get richer no matter how hard they all screw the pooch.

  8. 8
    Zifnab says:

    In retrospec, that was totally off topic.

  9. 9
    ThymeZone says:

    True, off topic, but fun.

    Anyway, I agree with the substantive content of Tim’s post.

  10. 10
    Andrew says:

    Car thread! Car thread!

    I want to smack Zifnab’s silly electric car lust into the stratosphere.

  11. 11
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Tim, I stand by the prediction that we’ll be at war with Iran – as in mutually shooting at each other – before the year is out, and probably before the November elections. The fact of our military condition is immaterial. The same goes for our economic condition.

    Bush doesn’t do nuance. And he has said that Iran must have a regime change. And everything the administration does seems pointed toward supporting this decision. Of course, Iran seems to be helping the process along as well.

  12. 12
    Pb says:

    Attacking Iran is probably the stupidest thing for the country Bush could possibly do right now, next to nuking Mecca. Maybe that’s why I half-expect him to do it anyhow. I don’t think that a team of al-Qaeda operatives could do as much harm to the nation and the world as Bush would be doing if he went into Iran.

  13. 13
    ats says:

    It is nice to see that Abe Shulsky and the Iran Directorate are keeping busy. Soon we shall all be sleeping with the lights on, like when the OSP waa doing the same tub-thumping over Iraq. Plus ça change . . . .

  14. 14
    Darrell says:

    Pb Says:

    Attacking Iran is probably the stupidest thing for the country Bush could possibly do right now, next to nuking Mecca

    Since you denounce the very possibility of military action against Iran, what then do you (or anyone else on your side) suggest? Just sit back and let the mullahs go nuclear? Please enlighten us

  15. 15
    Darrell says:

    I want to smack Zifnab’s silly electric car lust into the stratosphere.

    If the price was right with a decent design, I think they could be a cool option for urban transportation, especially for a second car. If you’re running low on “fuel”, just stop at a convenience store or other business and plug into their outside electric outlet to fillerup.

  16. 16
    Pb says:

    Darrell,

    I suggest you invest in some English correspondence courses:

    probably the stupidest thing for the country Bush could possibly do *right now*

    The fact of the matter is, Iran doesn’t have nukes, they won’t have them for years, and even if they did have them, that’s not a reason in and of itself to bomb them–otherwise, we would have bombed North Korea years ago.

    What we should do right now is the same thing that we should have been doing all along–we should try pursuing all our *other* options. You know, diplomacy, espionage, negotiations, everything *but* trying to start World War III.

  17. 17
    Pb says:

    Darrell,

    If you’re running low on “fuel”, just stop at a convenience store or other business and plug into their outside electric outlet to fillerup.

    I don’t think that the battery technology is there yet, to make that a practical and timely option right now? However, I wouldn’t mind being proven wrong about that… :)

  18. 18
    Pharniel says:

    hell, maybe some fucking black ops of the “hi, i hear your working on nuclear weapons for iran, i’m here to offer you a job in the 1st world country of your choosing with fully furnished amenties for you and your family. You can even claim we kidnaped you” variety.
    with the “oh, true beliver. pity *bam*” option.

  19. 19
    Darrell says:

    To be clear, you can blame them for chasing their glory by slavishly copying the past rather than investing in forward-looking products and higher production quality, but the sentiment itself one can perfectly understand.

    Oh I don’t know about that. Maybe their problem is that they strayed too far away from what they do best and are returning to their ‘roots’. I see Dodge/Chrysler doing the same thing (successfully?) bringing back the hemi engine. As ThymeZ pointed out, the mustang is a cool car. That is was first designed in the 1960’s doesn’t change that fact. I would bet that if Chevrolet brought back their SS Chevelles, Dodge brought back their classic Charger, and Pontiac brought back their 1960’s Firebird design.. I’ll bet they would be big hits. On a related note – seen the new Chevy Impala? They put a big engine in it, but the design looks boring as hell. Lesson for Detroit – If you bring back the classics, don’t try and get too ‘creative’ in ‘reinventing’ the original design

  20. 20
    Darrell says:

    What we should do right now is the same thing that we should have been doing all along—we should try pursuing all our other options. You know, diplomacy, espionage, negotiations

    All those options currenty are, and have been pursued. How’d they work out?

  21. 21

    You don’t buy a Toyota if you’re trying to beat the Mustang on performance. Toyota makes reliable cars, not fun cars.

    And it’s not all about going fast. If God intended us to buy cars solely for going fast, he wouldn’t have put corners in the road.

    Before I’d buy a Mustang GT, I’d be looking at(in my order):

    BMW 3-series
    Audi A4
    Volkswagen GTI
    Nissan 350Z
    Mazda RX-8
    Honda S2000

    Well whadya know, I already got me a 3-series. :-)

  22. 22

    Actually a Scion xB would be on my list before a Mustang. :-)

  23. 23
    Pb says:

    Darrell,

    All those options currenty are, and have been pursued.

    Competently, or half-heartedly? And really, the sabre-rattling (since 2002 or so) has not been helping matters.

    How’d they work out?

    No World War III yet, surprisingly enough, despite the fervent desires of Kristol and friends…

  24. 24

    All those options currenty are, and have been pursued. How’d they work out?

    We ought to just nuke Iran from orbit.

    It’s the only way to be sure.

  25. 25
    Larv says:

    It’s probably just that I’ve got my tinfoil hat on too tight, but I find myself wondering if ginning up a war with Iran is part of a strategy for getting out of Iraq. The occupation is a political disaster for the administration, and the President has to know that, even if he can’t bring himself to admit that anything is wrong. He’s painted himself into a corner where he can’t withdraw substantial numbers of troops without being accused of flip-flopping and provoking the wrath of his base. But what if the troops were simply redeployed to counter a new “grave and gathering threat”, i.e. Iran? It wouldn’t be cutting and running, it’d be a strategic redeployment in the fight against Islamic fascism. It also neatly solves most of the “what army” question Tim poses. Bush can simultaneously remove the Iraqi monkey from his back and take advantage of a new round of fear-mongering and patriotic fervor as everyone rallies around the flag in the run up to war. Plus, his speechwriters have to do a minimum of editing, just change the “q” to an “n” and they can reuse their tried and true material. Normally I’d think that this sounds crazy (because it is), but I wouldn’t put much past the administration at this stage. I suspect Bush can see his presidency circling the drain, and is desperate to rescue it. I can see him thinking that this would be a gamble worth taking in hopes of salvaging his legacy as remaker of the Middle East.

  26. 26
    kdaug says:

    Darrel, PB, allow me to introduce you to TesslaMotors.com. As/almost as fast as a Lamborghini Diablo (0-60

  27. 27
    kdaug says:

    (0-60

  28. 28
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Darrell,

    What I want is impossible. I want to go back at least two years, preferably six, and start ‘knowing what we know now’.

    What I want that’s possible but which won’t happen is an honest sequence:
    Declare objective(s);
    if plural objectives, prioritize so that limited resources can be allocated and so that mutually exclusive objectives can be properly triaged;
    Determine courses of action for the objectives which are within our capabilities;
    Determine the costs of the courses of action – costs being not just financial but political (party, internal, and international), technological, and blood – and which consider both short- and long-term costs;
    Then and only then decide on “what are we going to do”.

    The current administration’s behavior towards everyone else reminds me of the cliche about ‘when the only tool you have is a hammer everything’s a nail’ – in this case the hammer is our military. The problem is that a hornet’s nest is not a nail, and trying to treat it as such is a really bad idea.

    I’m going to tell you flat out that in our current situation military force against Iran – unilateral or predominately US – will make things worse instead of better. We haven’t the conventional forces to collapse and rebuild Iran. And the political repercussions of using nukes – which are highly suspect in their success probabilities toward forcing a regime change – are such that they honestly risk WWIII: the US against everyone else.

    So I’m going to turn the question around. If military force won’t work, why are you insisting it’s what we should use?

  29. 29
    kdaug says:

    grrr..

    0-60 in ~4secs, 250 miles to the charge, plugs into any standard 110v/220v outlet. Already sold out of the first 100, full production begins at the end of the year.

    Andrew, get to swingin’.

  30. 30
    ThymeZone says:

    All those options currenty are, and have been pursued. How’d they work out?

    Do you actually have a position here, or are you just here as usual to queer the thread?

    Are you taking the position that we need to have a war with Iran right now?

    If so, explain and be prepared to defend that position. If not, STFU. What the hell are you doing here?

  31. 31
    Darrell says:

    kdaug Says:

    Darrel, PB, allow me to introduce you to TesslaMotors.com. As/almost as fast as a Lamborghini Diablo (0-60

    That is a cool looking ride with muscle to boot. I had no idea that the electric car technology had advanced to that level. Incredible really.

  32. 32
    Pb says:

    Larv,

    I find myself wondering if ginning up a war with Iran is part of a strategy for getting out of Iraq.

    You’re not the first; it’s practically an old joke by now that the Bush administration has an exit strategy, and it involves redeploying our troops out of Iraq, and into Iran… It’s funny because of the colossal stupidity it would take to even seriously consider such a move. But it’s sad because, to date, such stupidity has been abundantly in evidence. I guess you could say that with these morons, “all options are on the table”.

  33. 33
    Darrell says:

    I’m going to tell you flat out that in our current situation military force against Iran – unilateral or predominately US – will make things worse instead of better.

    I’m going to tell you “flat out” that if do nothing, or pretend to do something via negotiation which is in effect ‘nothing’ when dealing with Iran, then terrorist mullahs will have nukes. So how the fuck is terrorists with nukes a ‘better’ situation than disarming them?.. by force if necessary, before they obtain them.

  34. 34
    Darrell says:

    Are you taking the position that we need to have a war with Iran right now?

    I am taking the position that military action against Iran is an option that should NOT be taken off the table as most leftists here are advocating.

  35. 35
    Pb says:

    kdaug,

    Yeah, those things look awesome, thanks for the link.

    Regarding batteries, it looks like it takes them up to 4 hours to charge, worst case, or under 2 hours “after a 100-mile trip”. Not too shabby, really, but obviously not the best for long trips. Then again, that’s what planes and rental cars are for, right? :)

  36. 36
    Darrell says:

    The current administration’s behavior towards everyone else reminds me of the cliche about ‘when the only tool you have is a hammer everything’s a nail’ – in this case the hammer is our military. The problem is that a hornet’s nest is not a nail, and trying to treat it as such is a really bad idea.

    What I have asked, is what other options/tools are you suggesting to deal with Iran? All I’ve heard are detached-from-reality tripe about how we need “more negotiation” with the mullah terrorists, as if that’s a ‘reality based’ position.

  37. 37
    Pb says:

    Darrell,

    disarming them?.. by force if necessary, before they obtain them

    Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I agree with you here. So when should we consider using that sort of force? I mean, this was a prominent rationale for the war with Iraq, and it turns out that he had no nuclear weapons program going on at all! We easily could have waited ten years in that case, and from what I’ve heard, the same might be true of Iran as well.

  38. 38
    Kirk Spencer says:

    What I have asked, is what other options/tools are you suggesting to deal with Iran? All I’ve heard are detached-from-reality tripe about how we need “more negotiation” with the mullah terrorists, as if that’s a ‘reality based’ position.

    ummm, no, that’s not what you’ve asked. You’ve asked how to deal with Iran, not the mullah terrorists. They overlap, but they’re not the same.

    And again, your earlier response implied the only acceptable action was military force. I’ve stated it won’t work. You don’t like these other tools. So what do you suggest?

  39. 39
    Darrell says:

    So when should we consider using that sort of force? I mean, this was a prominent rationale for the war with Iraq, and it turns out that he had no nuclear weapons program going on at all! We easily could have waited ten years in that case, and from what I’ve heard, the same might be true of Iran as well.

    The problem with Iran is the same dilemna we had with Iraq – can we afford to take the chance? What would be the likely consequences of a nuclear armed country like Iraq run by terrorist mullahs who have repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel?

  40. 40
    Pb says:

    Darrell,

    detached-from-reality tripe about how we need “more negotiation” with the mullah terrorists

    I guess that explains a lot. If you already think that the country of Iran is run by terrorists at the top, then of course you’d want to attack them. Can I get a list of the other major world powers that you think are run by terrorists, so I’ll know who you’ll want to nuke in the coming years and decades? Most of Asia and the Middle East, perhaps? Parts of Europe, South America, and Africa? Indonesia? Are the penguins safe?

    The crazy people with that sort of mindset are the reason why we seriously need to get cracking on some extraterrestrial colonization projects. Then again, those self-same crazy people have already stated their desire to “nuke the moon”, so maybe we should also work on some interstellar colonization projects…

  41. 41
    Darrell says:

    What I have asked, is what other options/tools are you suggesting to deal with Iran? All I’ve heard are detached-from-reality tripe about how we need “more negotiation” with the mullah terrorists, as if that’s a ‘reality based’ position.

    ummm, no, that’s not what you’ve asked.

    Kirk, can you read? This what I posted initially:

    Since you denounce the very possibility of military action against Iran, what then do you (or anyone else on your side) suggest? Just sit back and let the mullahs go nuclear? Please enlighten us

    Again, what options besides military force are you and your side suggesting? Because most leftists, yourself included, and making sweeping statements that military options should never be considered. So tell then, what would you suggest we do?

  42. 42
    ThymeZone says:

    military action against Iran is an option that should NOT be taken off the table

    Whose table?

    You mean your table, right? Because military action is never off my table. Nor is it the first thing I would reach for.

    You cannot operate with your lies and your false dichotomies. Keeping military options open does not mean dismissing the other options, you stupid asshole.

    STFUY and go away, you are too stupid to play with adult topics.

  43. 43
    Pb says:

    The problem with Iran is the same dilemna we had with Iraq – can we afford to take the chance?

    And it turns out that with Iraq, had the administration actually looked at the intelligence instead of spinning it, or had curbed their rush to war long enough to let the UN inspectors tell them the answer, or, or, or, etc., etc., could have figured out the answer to this one. The answer was “yes”. We could have afforded to “take the chance”. It turns out that it wasn’t much of a ‘chance’, actually. But instead of trying to assess these risks, they took the total overkill approach, and it backfired miserably. But… some people never learn.

  44. 44
    Darrell says:

    I guess that explains a lot. If you already think that the country of Iran is run by terrorists at the top, then of course you’d want to attack them. Can I get a list of the other major world powers that you think are run by terrorists, so I’ll know who you’ll want to nuke in the coming years and decades?

    Pb, step back away from your dogma for a minute and use your brain. Iran is the #1 terrorist supporting country in the world bar none. They are actively pursuing nuclear weapons, and from all accounts, they are nearing completion of that goal. In summary, they are a country run by terrorists, who are the #1 supporter of other terrorist groups outside their country, and they are about to get nukes.

    Did that really need to be spelled out for you?

  45. 45
    Andrew says:

    0-60 in ~4secs, 250 miles to the charge, plugs into any standard 110v/220v outlet. Already sold out of the first 100, full production begins at the end of the year.

    Andrew, get to swingin’.

    And $100,000.

    I’ll buy a 425hp SRT-8 Charger and run wide open throttle for 50,000 miles at 5mpg and I’ll still be $20,000 ahead.

    Electric vehicles are stupid — hybrid electric vehicles are awesome. They solve every problem with purely electric vehicle: range, refueling, cost, practicality, you name it. You can buy a hybrid car or truck right now, for $25-40k, and you can refuel anywhere in 5 minutes.

    The next generation plug-in hybrids further destroy the case for electric-only, and along with hydraulic hybrids, are critical solutions to the energy supply issue for transportation, for commuters and heavy duty fleet, respectively.

  46. 46
    ThymeZone says:

    Did that really need to be spelled out copied and pasted from righty websites for you?

    Fixed.

    Go away, you stupid fuck.

    You and your one-note samba of false dichotomies are boring and destructive. Get lost. Shove it up your ass.

  47. 47
    Darrell says:

    And it turns out that with Iraq, had the administration actually looked at the intelligence instead of spinning it, or had curbed their rush to war long enough to let the UN inspectors tell them the answer, or, or, or, etc., etc., could have figured out the answer to this one. The answer was “yes”. We could have afforded to “take the chance”.

    No we couldn’t have, and that you claim differently, demonstrates how detached from reality you and most on your side truly are. Saddam had a long history of producing and using chemical and bio weapons. He was aggressive in both invading his neighbors, as well as in flouting international sanctions. He had a history of supporting terrorist groups. In 1998, he expelled all weapons inspectors from his country with literally tons of known WMDs unaccounted for at that time.. and the ONLY reason he let them back in, was because 200,000 soldiers had guns pointed at his head.. a situation which could not be realistically maintained.

    No, given our options at the time, especially after 9/11, it would have been wildly irresponsible to have ‘taken the chance’ as you suggest.. I think your mentality is exhibit A why liberals can never be trusted with national security

  48. 48
    Darrell says:

    Electric vehicles are stupid—hybrid electric vehicles are awesome.

    Why are electric vehicles ‘stupid’? Especially for urban travel. They run on like $5/month of electricity for about 30 miles between charges.

  49. 49
    Tom in Texas says:

    I think your mentality is exhibit A why liberals can never be trusted with national security

    I think the Middle East today is exhibit A why conservatives can never be trusted with national security.

  50. 50
    Pb says:

    Darrell,

    Pb, step back away from your dogma for a minute and use your brain.

    LOL. You first.

    Iran is the #1 terrorist supporting country in the world bar none.

    You do realize that–now that you’re supposed to be using your brain instead of just relying on dogma–I expect you to back up your assertions, right? To support this claim, I suggest you start looking into just how terrorist financing works in the first place, and then find some reputable statistics and information on the subject. Incidentally, you’ll also need to construct a good working definition of ‘terrorism’.

    They are actively pursuing nuclear weapons, and from all accounts, they are nearing completion of that goal.

    False.

  51. 51
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Darrell,

    I’m sorry you’re scared. I’m not. Allow me to explain why.

    First, I can see Iran having a fat-boy (gun-type) nuclear weapon within six months. I see that the House Intel report says that while some sources think they can have a fusion weapon by the end of 2007, our intel agencies say the earliest is 2010. Let’s assume – just to make this the worst case – that they have one fusion (1MT) bomb. I don’t buy it, but it’s the first necessary assumption to justify fear and righteous anger.

    Next assumption. The leaders of Iran are willing to emasculate themselves. Seriously – think about it. “Hey, we’ve spent time and money out the wazoo to build the ULTIMATE WEAPON. Let’s give it to someone over whom we have almost no control.” oooookay, to continue we have to accept that this is possible. We’ll give it to a terrorist agency we trust rather well – Hezbollah.

    Next assumption. Hezbollah has to successfully move the bomb to the United States. Up to the entry this is actually fairly easy. Entry – thanks to the president refusing to spend money on appropriate detectors all our ports (one week of the average cost of Iraq) is more difficult but still not impossible. We’ve got a 1MT nuclear weapon inside the United States.

    OK, we’ve swallowed two difficult and one not so hard assumption, and it’s time to play consequences. The terrorists pop the bomb. What happens next?

    A lot of things, but one certainty is that Iran as it exists is toast. Oh – and it’s done WITH THE WORLD’S CONSENT. The Twin Towers gave us a HUGE amount of political capital – it’s why we got all that smallpox vaccine for free and it’s why we got so much help dealing with Afghanistan and the Taliban (at least for the first six months). That the president squandered it is immaterial – this is new capital in the bank.

    So the end game of using this nuke is that Iran’s leadership commits suicide. I submit – just on how they’ve played the game in the last decade – that Iran’s leaders may be crazy but they’re neither stupid nor suicidal.

    Now there’s another attack that needs less assumption. They load the weapon in a missile and hit one city in Israel. This time instead of the US hitting them it’s Israel, only Israel uses second strike nukes. Instead of a secular Iran under US control, it’s a big nightlight. Again, I don’t see the Iranian leadership being suicidal or stupid.

    With that in mind I submit again: Why are you scared of Iran? Why is it “we have to destroy them now OR ELSE?” What is the “OR ELSE”?

  52. 52
    Pb says:

    Darrell,

    No we couldn’t have, and that you claim differently, demonstrates how detached from reality you and most on your side truly are.

    Oh, this is rich. Darrell argues *now* about why we just *had* to invade Iraq, and then goes on to claim that somehow that makes *me* detached from reality? Wake up, man, look around. It’s not 2002 anymore. They didn’t greet us as liberators. There were no WMDs. There was no 9/11 connection. Worst of all, look at how it turned out! They couldn’t have *planned* a way to mess up Iraq worse than they already did! And all of this was somehow necessary? What, was Saddam going to dig up some degraded old shell from before the Gulf War, carry it into the White House, and drop it on Bush’s head? Because that’s the grave Iraq WMD threat that you’re arguing against today, here, in the year 2006!

  53. 53
    ThymeZone says:

    No we couldn’t have, and that you claim differently, demonstrates how detached from reality

    You can’t open your mouth without telling a lie, or framing a question in some dishonest way.

    You can’t allow for any discussion of the downside of a proximate war without your bullshit talk of “taking the military option off the table” and some other crap you copied from somewhere else.

    Have you ever actually had an original thought?

    Can you actually have any conversation without queering it with your obnoxious bullshit?

    What fucking purpose do you serve here? Why don’t you take your little-boy crap and go sell it on the schoolyard?

    Are you going to gin up more death and destruction, apparently the only things you admire, because you can’t stand the idea of even talking about not having a war?

    What the fuck is the matter with you?

  54. 54
    ThymeZone says:

    WHY THE FUCK IS DARRELL ALLOWED TO POST HERE?

    Can’t you guys see that half the shit you don’t like here is the result of having to deal with this fucking idiot?

  55. 55
    spoosmith says:

    On the issue of Iran with nukes – who can PROVE that they are developing them? Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act which entitles them to enrich uranium for power-generating purposes. As of right now, they are not breaking any international laws. If they had a nuclear weapon, would they use it? Unlikely. The threat of mutual nuclear annihilation has kept anyone from dropping one since WWII, and I highly doubt that the president of Iran wants that scenario. Besides, with the incomprehensible saber-rattling Bush has been doing since 9/11, if I were the president of Iran, I would be working flat out to get the bomb – it’s the only thing that would make the US back down.
    And before anyone argues about the mullahs looking to be Allah’s prom date (which would make them likely to use a nuke, I guess) I would point to all the religious nuts in the states who are anxiously awaiting Armageddon and don’t care who they have to bomb to get it.
    As for Darrell asking what can be done in place of bombing the populace into oblivion, I would ask if the US is so concerned about preventing nutjobs from getting the bomb, they sure sat on their hands while Pakistan got theirs (if you will recall, India and Pakistan actually threatened to use them and Pakistan is churning out fanatical Islamists at an alarming rate). So what would I do? Diplomacy. Sit down with them, and stop threatening them, get decent intel…you know – all the things Bush should have done before Iraq.

  56. 56
    RSA says:

    I wonder if the following is possible? Come up with a rationale that simultaneously (a) supports attacking Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons, and (b) does not support attacking North Korea to prevent it from using its nuclear weapons.

    When I try to put on a rightwinger’s rose-colored glasses (you know the ones–there’s a big crack in one lens, the frames don’t fit, and you can hardly see through the grime), I still can’t see how they make their choices in advocating that we escalate the violence.

  57. 57
    AkaDad says:

    Listen to what the Generals are saying.

    “To call the Iranian situation a ‘crisis’ connotes you have to do something right now, like bomb them.”

    A General, who was on Harball the other day said, attacking Iran right now would be “insane”.

  58. 58
    Darrell says:

    Again, I don’t see the Iranian leadership being suicidal or stupid.

    Kirk, you still haven’t answered my question – what do you suggest we do? Sit back and let the mullah terrorists go nuclear? Please elaborate on your alternative ‘vision’

    that Iran’s leaders may be crazy but they’re neither stupid nor suicidal

    The Iranian President and leading mullahs openly talk about about the caliphate and the nobility of martyrdom. WTF are you talking about, trying to attribute rational behavior to these terrorists?

  59. 59
    Darrell says:

    I still can’t see how they make their choices in advocating that we escalate the violence.

    Versus the ‘enlightened’ liberal position which is that military force should never be an option, and if Iranian mullahs get nukes, only “afraid” conservatives should worry about such a development. You whackjobs actually believe your positions are normal and mainstream, don’t you?

  60. 60
    Pb says:

    RSA,

    I wonder if the following is possible? Come up with a rationale that simultaneously (a) supports attacking Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons, and (b) does not support attacking North Korea to prevent it from using its nuclear weapons.

    I wondered the same thing three years ago regarding Iraq, and concluded that it wasn’t.

    Of course, the elephant in the room regarding North Korea is China. Then again, I somehow doubt that attacking Iran now is going to make us Mr. Popularity in the Middle East, or, indeed, in the rest of the world…

  61. 61
    Darrell says:

    Tom in Texas Says:

    I think your mentality is exhibit A why liberals can never be trusted with national security

    I think the Middle East today is exhibit A why conservatives can never be trusted with national security.

    So Tom, would you have supported leaving Saddam in power? Just curious

  62. 62
    Andrew says:

    WHY THE FUCK IS DARRELL ALLOWED TO POST HERE?

    Can’t you take a breather and do something more relaxing, like getting swept away in a flood?

    Responding to Darrell simply cannot be good for your blood pressure.

  63. 63
    Darrell says:

    spoosmith Says:

    On the issue of Iran with nukes – who can PROVE that they are developing them? Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act which entitles them to enrich uranium for power-generating purposes. As of right now, they are not breaking any international laws.

    Exhibit B on why liberals can NEVER be trusted with our national security.

  64. 64
    82ndAbnVet says:

    Regardless of whether Iran is a real threat or not, we currently have little ability to do anything about it even if we wanted to. Sure we can bomb them, but thats not going to accomplish much in terms of a long term solution and will likely just do more harm than good. And we certainly can’t invade them with both the Army and Marines stretched to the breaking point. Even if they werent’ tied down in Iraq, Iran is a much bigger country by more than double both geographically and population-wise, with a better Army than Iraq had, and much tougher terrain. It has taken half of our Army and more than half of our Marines to ‘pacify’ Iraq (if thats what you call it) and they are still at it over 3 years latter. To conduct a similar operation against Iran would require almost the entire strength of the Army and Marines. So unless there is serious consideration to reinstuting the draft, we simply don’t have the manpower to do ‘regime-change’ in Iran.

  65. 65
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Darrell,

    OK. Let’s try something we haven’t tried. Diplomacy.

    See, you said it’s already been tried and hasn’t worked. And I’m going to assume you’re ignorant instead of disingenuous and tell you that no, it hasn’t been tried.

    Diplomacy by the US does not mean shuttling the Secretary of State or a designated pinch-hitter into a hasty “do it or else” meeting. Diplomacy by the US does not mean allowing our UN representative to describe how anything Iran does that isn’t 100% compliant with US wishes is disallowed. Diplomacy means that we have a full-time specialist with a full-time staff in the nation talking with the people who get things done – the bureaucracy. The full-time specialist is called an ambassador, and we’ve not had one in Iran for a very long time.

    I also suggest we get humint assets and analysts in place. Unfortunately the first takes time, time wasted by this and the preceding administration. And the latter went in the pot when this administration decided to fire the ones it had because they were homosexual or they weren’t born in the US or they were otherwise impure.

    I also suggest that you quit wetting your pants about the Iranians getting a nuke. Your fear is blinding you to both necessity and ability.

    Iran won’t have a bomb for at least a year and a half, probably not for three years, but will certainly have them by 2015 (eight years). Iran can’t use that bomb offensively AND continue to exist.

    Oh, and as to that bit about rationality — have you paid attention to what leading figures in the US have said? No, not necessarily the ones YOU think are leading figures, but people like Pat Robertson and Senator Brownback and all that? The cheering hordes that pop up when Ann Coulter talks of killing all the Arabs? When President Bush says that he’ll strike first, that evil must be eliminated, and that Iran is part of the axis of evil? Quite simply, reading only the speeches that support your feeling these people are crazy is possible in most nations.

    OK, I’ve answered your question. Now it’s your turn.

    What tools do you think should be used, given that military force is going to fail?

  66. 66
    Tom in Texas says:

    Darrell, I did not support a war in Iraq at the time we did it.

    I thought the Iraq regime was horrible for the world and brutal to its citizens. I thought we needed to finish the war in Afghanistan first, build support, and then devote everything to eliminating the threat posed by Saddam. If the administration had fought a competent war to its conclusion in Afghanistan and then made the case for bringing Democracy to Iraq rather than painting it in terms of a mushroom cloud striking us all, I would have supported it (This is assuming that Bush was able to stop the growing threats posed by Hezbollah and Hamas — something he could feasibly have done absent the military obligations and international reputation we now have). I also suspect that, absent the immediate 9/11 fear, most Americans would not have supported this position. So you and I are the hawks here.

    Absent my reservations about the war’s timing, I also felt we did no postwar planning. The consequences of our mismanagement have been disastrous, ranging from our current inability to stop Hezbollah from becoming a major regional power to Hamas’ resurgence and the sectarian violence embroiling Iraq. The world, and in particular the United States, would be a safer place today if we had focused on the threats posed by Syria, Iran, and Pakistan rather than the phantom menace of Saddam.

  67. 67
    Pb says:

    Exhibit B on why liberals can NEVER be trusted with our national security.

    Because they’re inclined to uphold our Constitutional treaty obligations? I’ll make a note of that. In the meantime, I suggest that you call for the impeachment of George W… ah, George Washington.

  68. 68
    neil says:

    Exhibit B on why liberals can NEVER be trusted with our national security.

    Good idea, let’s scrap the Non-Proliferation Treaty altogether! That will really help our national security.

  69. 69
    ThymeZone says:

    Kirk, you still haven’t answered my question

    Where do you get off asking people questions, you dishonest piece of crap? When do you start answering the 18 months’ worth of questions you’ve been ignoring just since I’ve been here?

  70. 70

    OK. Let’s try something we haven’t tried. Diplomacy.

    I’m sorry, but we’ve taken that off the table. Iran cannot be trusted for us to waste our time talking to them.

    Besides if we talked to them, that would like be recognizing they are a legitimate Government and have rights. We can’t do that.

    Nope, we must nuke them from orbit!

    It’s the only way to be sure.

  71. 71
    ThymeZone says:

    Versus the ‘enlightened’ liberal position which is that military force should never be an option,

    Produce one article by any lefty here who has ever said such a thing you LYING FUCK.

    Produce it or shut up.

  72. 72

    The thing with Iran is, the President may have had support and credibility on this issue if not for Iraq.

    It’s interesting, we had a real chance to turn Afghanistan into a modern democracy, and a beacon to the rest of the middle-east. Instead we choose to abandon them and invade Iraq.

  73. 73
    RSA says:

    China

    Good one, Pb. I’d missed the elephant in the middle of the room.

  74. 74
    Darrell says:

    I thought the Iraq regime was horrible for the world and brutal to its citizens. I thought we needed to finish the war in Afghanistan first, build support, and then devote everything to eliminating the threat posed by Saddam.

    So you are all for toppling Saddam militarily? Please define “finish” the war in Afghanistan first.

  75. 75
    ThymeZone says:

    So you are all for toppling Saddam militarily? Please define “finish” the war in Afghanistan first.

    Have you no fucking shame? Where do you get off asking people questions when you never answer questions?

    Why are you even allowed to post here?

  76. 76
    Darrell says:

    Darrell,

    OK. Let’s try something we haven’t tried. Diplomacy

    But your side said that Bush was too bellicose, so let the Europeans negotiate with Iran.. which didn’t change a thing. Diplomacy was tried, and is currently being tried, and Iran is charging forward with their nuclear program. Why, in the face of diplomatic failures like this (big surprise that terrorist mullahs don’t respond to diplomacy!), does the left cling to the belief that diplomacy is the answer. Please explain that one to me

    I also suggest that you quit wetting your pants about the Iranians getting a nuke

    Yeah, #1 terrorist country in the world getting nuclear weapons is nothing to worry over. Exhibit C why liberals should NEVER be trusted with national security.

  77. 77
    Darrell says:

    The consequences of our mismanagement have been disastrous, ranging from our current inability to stop Hezbollah from becoming a major regional power

    Explain for us Tom, in broad or specific terms, how we could have managed ANYTHING differently which would have stopped Hezbollah? I would love to hear the ‘reality based’ explanation for that.

  78. 78
    jh says:

    Everybody who is not Darrell.

    I applaud your patience.

    I have never seen a person so single minded in their reverence for armed conflict as a universal solution to all problems.

    Darrell,

    War with Iran is simply not feasible at this time. That doesn’t mean Bush won’t start one anyway, but right now the bartenders at the Pentagon and DIA are trying to wrest the ‘War Car Keys’aways out of the power drunk hands of this administration.

    Whoever said we need to open up diplomatic relations with Iran immediately was absolutely correct.

    If we can justify diplomatic relations with China and the USSR (when it existed), there is no excuse for not having them with Iran.

    And for the record, it matters not one bit if the President is Bush or or the ghost of Paul Wellstone, military force is NEVER off the table with the United States, and accusing “the left” of being universally against it is both a non-sequitur and a lie.

    Thanks.

  79. 79
    82ndAbnVet says:

    So Darrell, what is your plan of attack against Iran? You say we should do something… But what? Bombing, invasion, something else?? What is your solution?? What forces are we going to do it with? And keep in mind the difference between rhetoric and capability

  80. 80
    Darrell says:

    82ndAbnVet Says:

    So Darrell, what is your plan of attack against Iran? You say we should do something… But what?

    Do you believe that it is acceptable for the terrorist mullahs in Iran to obtain nuclear weapons?

  81. 81
    Darrell says:

    jh Says:

    Everybody who is not Darrell.

    I applaud your patience.

    I have never seen a person so single minded in their reverence for armed conflict as a universal solution to all problems.

    That is such an honest characterization of my position jh!

  82. 82

    Do you believe that it is acceptable for the terrorist mullahs in Iran to obtain nuclear weapons?

    Wow what a way to not answer question, and as such avoid responsibility for the answer.

    I SAY WE NUKE DARRELL FROM ORBIT!

    It’s the only way to be sure.

  83. 83
    Pb says:

    That is such an honest characterization of my position jh!

    I agree!

  84. 84

    That is such an honest characterization of my position jh!

    Do you believe it is probable for the United States to invade Iran and install a democratic government, while being greeted with flowers and candies?

  85. 85
    Darrell says:

    Wow what a way to not answer question, and as such avoid responsibility for the answer.

    Followed by the statement

    I SAY WE NUKE DARRELL FROM ORBIT!

    It’s the only way to be sure.

    No doubt the irony is lost on you

  86. 86

    No doubt the irony is lost on you

    That was irony?

    I thought I was making fun of you and your stupid position.

  87. 87
    neil says:

    Do you believe that it is acceptable for the terrorist mullahs in Iran to obtain nuclear weapons?

    The US and Iran have both signed a treaty that says Iran isn’t allowed to obtain nuclear weapons, but it has the right to peaceful nuclear technology.

    Darrell wants the US to put an end to this treaty. He’s objectively pro-proliferation — the US doesn’t have the manpower to invade all of the countries that want a nuclear weapon, and if the treaty is put to an end, Pakistan and North Korea can freely export their nuclear weapon technology.

  88. 88
    neil says:

    I thought I was making fun of you and your stupid position.

    Well, that’s definitely a way not to answer a question and avoid responsibility for the answer. Sheesh, how do you manage to lose a point to Darrell?

  89. 89
    Darrell says:

    The US and Iran have both signed a treaty that says Iran isn’t allowed to obtain nuclear weapons, but it has the right to peaceful nuclear technology.

    Darrell wants the US to put an end to this treaty

    I guess when you don’t have logic and facts on your side, lying your ass off about my position is the next best thing

  90. 90
    neil says:

    Darrell, do you want to prevent Iran from obtaining dual-use nuclear technology by force or don’t you?

  91. 91
    Pb says:

    I guess when you don’t have logic and facts on your side, lying your ass off about my position is the next best thing

    I guess when you don’t have logic and facts on your side, not answering questions and avoiding responsibility for the answers is the next best thing.

  92. 92
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Darrell,

    You did not answer my question. Then, you ignored the preceding explanation of why Iran getting a nuclear weapon wasn’t the end of the world to make it “exhibit C”.

    You’re not interested in discussion – you’ve proven that repeatedly. Your whole goal appears to be using rhetorical tricks to ‘make points’. That works when you are working with an occasional audience. It also works when the majority of the community you’re with agrees with your position. Here, neither apply.

    When you start answering questions with more than “look how smart I am – SCORE” responses, I’ll start considering you an adult and again pay attention and give weight to your opinion. I just thought I’d tell you so you knew why I was ignoring you and refusing to respond.

  93. 93
    Darrell says:

    I guess when you don’t have logic and facts on your side, not answering questions and avoiding responsibility for the answers is the next best thing.

    Let’s see, every lefty on this thread, when pushed for an answer, said it all rests with diplomacy.. with no honest acknowledgement that diplomacy with Iran has been tried repeatedly through numerous channels, and it’s not working. No good choices here. Bombing their nuke facilities should definitely be an option.

  94. 94
    Darrell says:

    Your “question” was in fact an ignorant opinionated statement

    What tools do you think should be used, given that military force is going to fail?

    How is your wife, given that you beat her every night? Please don’t pretend that you’re looking for honest debate with crap like that.

  95. 95
    Tulkinghorn says:

    No doubt the irony is lost on you

    It is as clear as rai-i-aaaaiiiin on your wedding day…

  96. 96
    neil says:

    Bombing their nuke facilities should definitely be an option.

    Why? The US has affirmed Iran’s _inalienable right_ to pursue peaceful nuclear technology. It would be nice if we could entice them not to pursue uranium enrichment, and I’m still optimistic that this will be possible. (For one thing, we could give them some fissionable fuel.)

    But barring this, we have two options: the unilateral, Darrell route, which would essentially destroy the NPT and lead pretty directly to states with nuclear weapons openly selling nuclear weapon technology to states without it (like.. Iran?). Or else, the multilateral route, which almost certainly would not involve bombing Iran, but instead an inspection regime backed up with sanctions. You know, like the one that succeeded in dismantling Iraq’s WMD program.

  97. 97
    Darrell says:

    Iranian Prez Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said he believes the end of the world is rapidly approaching, and the way to hasten the coming of the Islamic Messiah (12th imam) is through global jihad and martyrdom.

    In a video distributed by an Iranian web site in November, Mr Ahmadinejad described how one of his Iranian colleagues had claimed to have seen a glow of light around the president as he began his speech to the UN.

    “I felt it myself too,” Mr Ahmadinejad recounts

    Do you lefties see what idiots you are trying to minimize the threat of nuclear armed mullahs? of course not, because you are impenetrable to facts and reason, so you cling to your dogma like a 1 year old clings to his blanket.

  98. 98
    Darrell says:

    Why? The US has affirmed Iran’s inalienable right to pursue peaceful nuclear technology

    Iran has openly stated that they are pusuing nuclear WEAPONS technology.

  99. 99
    neil says:

    Iran has openly stated that they are pusuing nuclear WEAPONS technology.

    This is just plain false, but I’d like to hear why you think that, anyway.

    The Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has issued the Fatwa that the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who took office just recently, in his inaugural address reiterated that his government is against weapons of mass destruction and will only pursue nuclear activities in the peaceful domain.

    I realize that the obvious comeback is “THEY’RE LYING!” which would sort of seem to contradict two things that you just said (religious fanatics who conduct realpolitik? they openly stated it but they openly deny it?). But I know that you don’t get whiplash from contradicting yourself.

  100. 100
    jg says:

    Do you lefties see what idiots you are trying to minimize the threat of nuclear armed mullahs?

    Can’t you see how much of an idiot you are to listen to the ramblings of an idiot?

  101. 101
    Darrell says:

    This is just plain false, but I’d like to hear why you think that, anyway.

    Well, besides the fact that no one (outside of the ‘reality based community’ that is) doubts that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, you have former Iranian Prez Rafsanjani in 2001 laying it out

    “If one day, the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists’ strategy will reach a standstill because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything. However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.

    But yes, the Iranians generally are more guarded in their statements.

  102. 102
    Darrell says:

    The US has affirmed Iran’s inalienable right to pursue peaceful nuclear technology

    Funny how with all their massive oil reserves, Iranian leaders claim to need nuclear power. Does that trigger even the tiniest of red flag warning bells in your heads?

  103. 103
    Kirk Spencer says:

    sigh, breaking my statement already.

    Darrell, you sanctimonious idiot. It is almost exactly the question you asked of others earlier, except I replaced the various tools like diplomacy and sanctions with military. If it’s good enough to ask, it’s good enough to answer.

    As it happens, yes I was looking for an honest debate. I was hoping you had other options you were willing to consider. What you’ve just made quite plain is that the ONLY option you think valid is military action. Period. And anything else gets scorned.

    OK, let me respond more completely on WHY military action is a bad idea. I’ve said it, others have said it, but let’s run through it again. First – I’ve got a few years of military service. Enlisted time was on the pointy end, and officer time got me some staff experience. This gives me some experience to supplement my education in forming my opinions. You want to counter, you’d better do more than declare by fiat or wave your hands.

    First, let’s take the really ugly option off the table – nuclear first-strikes. Logistically this is the easiest option. Tactically it’s got some difficulties. Politically it’s a pyrrhic at best. Let’s take these in turn.

    Logistically, delivery of nuclear weapons to the target is quite simple. We have a multitude of delivery systems, and the fact that relatively few are needed to deliver extraordinary damage means we can get a devastating attack through with surprise – which means few will be intercepted, which increases their effectiveness.

    Tactically, we’ve some problems. The most significant is that we’re not exactly sure where the nuclear development sites are located. Unlike “common wisdom” seems to believe, a nuclear weapon needs to be rather close to its target to have an effect. This is especially true if the target is hardened – say, as rumored in more than one case – it’s a few hundred feet underground. The lesser alternative to an accurate target identification is to ‘scattershot’ the area in which you think the target is located and hope one or more are close enough to have the desired effect. Since the intelligence agencies have expressed doubt and uncertainty about the nuclear weapons development, it becomes rather obvious that precise targetting will be unavailable — or at best, untrustworth. Thus the tactical technique required for nuclear weapons is to lay down a network of explosions with overlapping fields of effect such that the worst possible range is ‘good enough’ for the target to be damaged. And this, in turn, drops us straight into the political problem.

    There is a decent probability that we would destroy or materially disable most of Iran’s nuclear program with such an attack. There is a significantly higher probability that we would also kill greater than 50% of the population of Iran. The reaction by most of the world would be to declare the United States their enemy – a mad dog to be destroyed in self-defense. Their actions would be both economic and military, and the result would be the end of the United States as we know it. The actions include but would not be limited to:
    – seizure of and internment of all military and most civil assets in foreign countries;
    – embargo of trade;
    – shootdown warnings (and followups) of any US aircraft approaching any other nation’s borders.
    – War Crimes warrants for the president, vice president, secretary of defense, and any other parties that knew of but did not stop the nuclear weapons.
    The above assumes a large enough majority of the citizens and residents of the United States were sanguine about the use of nuclear weapons to suppress those against them. Regardless there would be a civil crisis internally over this issue – the only question is how severe, and how it resolves.

    Hopefully having (relatively) briefly disposed of the nuclear option, I’d now like to discuss the conventional options. Again, we have tactics, logistics, and politics.

    Tactically we’re in for a rude surprise. My reviews of the capabilities of Iran’s military put it on a level approaching that of Turkey. Their equipment is decent, but the key is their manpower. Iran is the only middle eastern country that regularly practices intradivisional and intraservice exercises. They are the only middle eastern military besides Egypt and Israel to make an honest effort at training and utilizing NCOs. Unlike most of the middle east, they manufacture over 90% of their military equipment – from bullets to parts to end items – and MAINTAIN it. The quality of their systems appears to be solidly ‘second tier’ – an M1A2 is better, but an M60A5 is a bit worse in comparison to their main tank, just as one example. Their primary service shortfalls is in air combat capability. Navally, their ships are small. The submarines from Russia were a mistake and should be treated as a distraction as the mini-subs they manufacture and use are much more dangerous given the waters in which they’ll operate.

    In addition to their quality, they’ve just about perfect terrain for effective defense. To get to the core of the nation US forces will have to cross severe mountain ranges (comparable to crossing the mountain ranges in California and Oregon) followed by long distances of soft sand — or more mountains, depending on route preferences.

    The United States military has a qualitive advantage, and quantitive in airpower, and this will probably be sufficient to defeat the larger and not-so-bad Iranian military — but only with a large price in blood, money and time. Still, given a strong enough support by the nation, it could be done. (I’ll note but refrain from further comment on the current majority of citizens AGAINST our adventure in Iraq.)

    Logistically, the conventional attack of Iran is an exercise in stupidity. We used a corps and a half’s worth of logistic support units to support our Iraq attack over the extended distances – and fortunately did not have to devote extra forces to securing the supply routes. An attack on Iran would have to support a force over a minimum of three and up to five times the distance. Functionally we would have to double the support troops just to support the same offense. And the likelihood the Iranians would leave our supply lines unmolested is small. I think it necessary to point out that supporting three times the distance is not three times the fuel. Additional losses, breakdowns and mistimings are likely to make it more along the lines of four times the fuel and triple the need for other parts and supplies BEFORE enemy action is considered.

    All that said, it’s within our logistic capabilities to push through Iraq provided we give everything we have to the effort.

    Politically – there are two problems politically. The first problem is the fact that we’d spend 100% of our ground forces (including marines) and over 75% of our air forces on this. This leaves us with NO reserve for actions anywhere else in the world except where naval force is sufficient. That’s the lesser problem. The larger problem is the fact that an invasion of Iran stops 4 to 30% of the world’s oil production from shipping. Iran alone is 4%, and some 25% of production goes through the Hormuz straits. In a major shooting war, oil transports are highly unlikely to want to transit the straits.

    And that means we’re going to make other nations mad. We’ll make Pakistan mad – and Pakistan has a mutual defense treaty with Iran. We’ll make India mad that 25% of the oil it imports has been shut down, and even though India and Pakistan don’t like each other India ALSO has a mutual support (not mutual defense) treaty with Iran. China and Russia have support treaties with Iran since Iran joined the Shanghai compact – and China would be staring at losing not only the source of over 20% of its current imports but at the sole development contract it has in Iran (source of almost double the oil plus a lot of natural gas).

    The good news is that we wouldn’t be at war with Canada and Mexico or most of Europe. The middle east and asia, on the other hand, would still be fighting us. And that’s again some economic and military pain and difficulty to overcome.

    Oh – and to cap the political difficulty we must return to our own shores. Recall that conventional warfare will require the full will of the nation. That’s the citizenry who are seeing the price of gas at the pumps jump to 6 or more dollars per gallon. That oil shortage hits EVERYWHERE.

    Attacking Iran is an option only if you like losing. I don’t. So I insist, again, that another avenue be found. Again:

    Given that the military option is not viable, what other options would you consider?

  104. 104
    John S. says:

    Kirk-

    Good luck reasoning with Darrell. He’s a teflon-troll.

    Guess what doesn’t stick to him.

  105. 105
    Darrell says:

    There is a decent probability that we would destroy or materially disable most of Iran’s nuclear program with such an attack. There is a significantly higher probability that we would also kill greater than 50% of the population of Iran

    Kirk, you set up these strawmen, then you knock them down, likely because you are uncomfortable dealing with real arguments, so you invent cartoonish ones. Let me point out 1 (among many) of your strawmen – a nuclear strike is not the ONLY option we have to disable Iran’s nuclear program, and it’s dishonest as hell of you to suggest otherwise. “Bunker busters” and other targeted missile options are also available.

    Since your only idea in stopping Iranian terrorist mullahs from acquiring nuclear weapons is through “Diplomacy”, can you tell us how well the diplomacy strategy has worked so far with Iran, as tried by the Europeans?

  106. 106
    jg says:

    a nuclear strike is not the ONLY option we have to disable Iran’s nuclear program, and it’s dishonest as hell of you to suggest otherwise. “Bunker busters” and other targeted missile options are also available.

    LMAO!!

  107. 107
    Darrell says:

    LMAO!!

    What is so funny?

  108. 108
    Darrell says:

    Given that the military option is not viable, what other options would you consider?

    Your premise (not viable) is wrong and cannot stand up to scrutiny. So why do you keep pretending that it’s some sort of established fact?

  109. 109
    Tim F. says:

    Darrell:

    a nuclear strike is not the ONLY option we have to disable Iran’s nuclear program, and it’s dishonest as hell of you to suggest otherwise. “Bunker busters” and other targeted missile options are also available.

    The noted liberals at DefenseTech:

    Meanwhile, Lockheed is looking into the “Kinetic Energy Cavity Penetrator Weapon” — a bunker-buster that surrounds the bomb with a gas bubble, so it can plow into the ground ten times further than similar weapons. Testing continues for the Army’s “Deep Digger,” the bunker-buster that uses cannon to tunnel through solid rock, drilling a channel for the bomb. It’s the current record-holder for non-nuclear penetrators, going down twice as deep as the nearest competitor. But still, that’s only 30 feet. The Natanz bunker is down another 45. Which is why we’re getting ready to see that massive explosion outside of Vegas.

  110. 110

    The actions include but would not be limited to: – seizure of and internment of all military and most civil assets in foreign countries; – embargo of trade; – shootdown warnings (and followups) of any US aircraft approaching any other nation’s borders.

    We’ll have to assemble a Coalition of the Willing beforehand, a Coalition that understands that America must do whatever it takes to topple the mullahs of madness.

    – War Crimes warrants for the president, vice president, secretary of defense, and any other parties that knew of but did not stop the nuclear weapons.

    Then I’m afraid we’ll just have to point a nuke at the Hague. Show Europe we mean business. Britain will back us up on this one. They have long-standing grievances with the Dutch going back to the 17th century. Payback’s a bitch.

    The above assumes a large enough majority of the citizens and residents of the United States were sanguine about the use of nuclear weapons to suppress those against them. Regardless there would be a civil crisis internally over this issue – the only question is how severe, and how it resolves.

    We’ll have to circumvent this problem. It becomes greatly simplified once you realize that anyone who isn’t pro-US military is objectively pro-Iran and pro-terrorist.

    Yes, if it comes to a nuclear war with Iran, it may finally be time for the US military to take care of our endemic national problem of moonbat mutineers and America-haters. Simultaneous with our attack on the mullahs of madness, the mullahs of Manhattan will also have to go the way of the mushroom cloud. It’s the only way to protect America now, and for future generations.

    I know many peoiple will find the idea of nuking American cities controversial, but when it comes to combating nuclear proliferation by Iran and other terrorist states, we can’t take any options off the table. Those New Yorkers (and Californians, too) may well be harboring hotbeds of treason. Nuking them is the only way to ensure that the job gets done right. We can’t afford a repeat of Vietnam, where domestic turmoil toppled the war effort abroad. We owe it to our troops to ensure a united homefront. And sometimes, that requires nuking some people, as a lesson to the other moonbats to support our troops, or shut up and die.

    God bless America.

  111. 111
    Darrell says:

    Tim F. Says:

    Darrell:

    Interesting link Tim, thanks. Did you scroll the link to read the “update” on April 2006?:

    How deep down the Natanz facility is less important than what’s covering it, the Wonk notes. In Natanz’ case, we’re talking about a lot of rock and soil. Which means that 5,000-pound conventional bunker-busters, like the GBU-28, ought to do the job of knocking out Natanz rather nicely.

  112. 112
    Tim F. says:

    Zing! No, I remembered the original post but not the update. Good catch.

  113. 113
    Tsulagi says:

    I think the Middle East today is exhibit A why conservatives can never be trusted with national security.

    Amen, brother!

    These Bush conservatives have proven themselves to be way beyond brain-dead in national security. Special Olympics athletes would tell them to get off their short bus as they have minimum standards.

    But if you think they’re not quite stupid enough to do Iraq, think again. How many weeks ago was it that Kristol was saying Iran would be a cakewalk? Hell, I think he was even using the “we’ll be welcomed as liberators” bullshit.

    Couple brain-dead in the Oval Office with his messianic image of himself freedomizing the ME along with his fruitcase base, if Iran doesn’t happen sometime within the remainder of dipshit’s time in office, I’d be surprised. We already have plans available to do so. From Iraq and other points we’ve been probing their air defenses for the past few years. Trying to get them to turn on their targeting radars and light up their SAM batteries so they can be mapped. Generally they don’t bite.

    You think there are any generals left that will tell the retard king “Ummm, sir, troops for a ground component are currently hostage occupied in Iraq. Ahhh, Iran has very effective anti-ship missiles which could hamper the Navy a bit plus other ships in the area carrying oil and stuff. Gee, they might even think to fire on oil tankers leaving Iraq from its one port and the resulting loss of revenue might put a strain on the government in that blossoming democracy. But yes sir, we still have air. Do you wish to now fuck them up too use that, sir?”

    You know this dumbshit listens to military geniuses like five-deferment, “last throes” Cheney and “we’ll be welcomed as liberators” Kristol. And since they are never wrong, Iran can be made right too. They crave democracy, and Bushy wants a legacy. Win win.

  114. 114
    Tim F. says:

    That link on the GBU-28 no longer functions, which doesn’t mean that it is wrong but its credibility cannot be assessed. To get a better sense of that weapon’s utility I have started reading around. For example:

    Though new systems are under development, the most capable deep penetrating munitions currently deployed with US forces – GBU-28/EGBU-37 satellite-guided bombs – can drill down through 20 feet of reinforced concrete or 100 feet of packed earth, utilising the Hard Target Smart Fuze to count layers or voids to allow precisely delayed detonation. The next generation of weapon – the Northrop Grumman/Lockheed Martin Deep Strike Hard Target Weapon (DSHTW) – will penetrate up to 30 feet of reinforced concrete and could be rushed into service as the GBU-28 was in 1991. Iranian sites buried to the depth that Natanz – with a cap of tens of feet of reinforced concrete – will present a major challenge to US engineers.

    Since I honestly don’t know one way or the other, any other information sources are more than welcome.

  115. 115
    Tsulagi says:

    Oh, and once you drive BMW, you’d never drive anything else. It just drives and handles like a car should. I love my 5-series, and this is the first car I’ve ever actually enjoyed doing maintenance on because it’s engineered to be simply drama-free easy. I actually look forward to doing its first brake job. My baby.

  116. 116
    Tim F. says:

    Another:

    the depth of the Natanz facility—reports place the ceiling roughly 30 feet underground—is not prohibitive. The American GBU-28 weapon—the so-called bunker buster—can pierce about 23 feet of concrete and 100 feet of soil. Unless the cover over the Natanz lab is almost entirely rock, bunker busters should be able to reach it. That said, some chance remains that a single strike would be unsuccessful.

    The site is up in the air about whether a GBU-28 would work, and other estimates peg Natanz as 70 feet deeper than the CFR does.

  117. 117

    Is there anything we can offer the Mole People to get them aboard the Coalition of the Willing? If we can get their soldiers to plant our nukes underneath the Iranian facilities, those Persians will be in for a nasty surprise…

  118. 118
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Darrell – if we don’t have intel accurate to be certain in placing nukes, how are bunker busters and PGMs going to be more effective?

    Let’s go specifically with that linking you and Tim F started. Let’s go to the Wonk. That’s the link that adds the update in April.

    The Wonk specifically makes and notes three assumptions which are then treated as fact. Assumption one: the natanz facility was built using the cut and cover method. Assumption two: the facility did not get any additional reinforcements. Assumption three: We have perfect intel toward the location of the labs and their entrances. As the Wonk notes in response to a commentor, if any of these three assumptions are mistaken then the penetrators are insufficient.

    I have already noted that the third assumption is questionable. There is good reason to believe the first assumption is true. There is good reason to believe the second assumption is false. The reason is that the properties of penetrators have been known for quite some time (publicly known) – prior to the completion of the Natanz facility. As noted by the Wonk, Saddam’s ‘false floors’ stopped penetrators at his bunkers, which were also cut and cover and which were at shallower depths. This does not mean the false floors are there. It means, however, that we DO NOT KNOW. And if they are there, which is a reasonable though not certain expectation, then bunker busters – even the big ones – are not certain to accomplish the mission.

    Darrell, You’re handwaving. “It can’t stand up to scrutiny” you say, but then you fail to support the conclusion. I said already and I’ll say again:

    Back it up.

    You know, I figured out why I’m bothering. I feel as though there’s a chance someone out there might actually think you’re correct. That my non-response is not frustration at your obstinate refusal to compare and evaluate facts but instead is because I’m mistaken and refusing to back down. I’ve admitted mistakes in the past when I was wrong – I think I’ve even done so on this blog, but I find myself thinking it’s possible. Know what? You’re none of the people I brief. You don’t pay me. Your voice has zero input in the decision cycles in which I’m involved. In fairness, I’m not in any important decision cycles either, but that’s not the point.

    You don’t matter. Your constant refusal to engage in honest discussion does nothing but raise my blood pressure, and I don’t need it. It’d be nice if you grew up, but I don’t hold out hope for it. Enough – goodbye.

  119. 119
    ThymeZone says:

    Looks like Darrell wins more hearts and minds every day.

    I think in the long run, he’s good for Balloon-Juice.

    If you think that having a total commentariat of One is a good idea, I mean.

    What other outcome is likely?

  120. 120

    Oh, and once you drive BMW, you’d never drive anything else. It just drives and handles like a car should. I love my 5-series, and this is the first car I’ve ever actually enjoyed doing maintenance on because it’s engineered to be simply drama-free easy. I actually look forward to doing its first brake job. My baby.

    You said it!

  121. 121

    Well we’re not going to attack Iran, so this whole debate is rather mute.

    Well that is unless it’s our desire to start World War III.

  122. 122
    Darrell says:

    Darrell – if we don’t have intel accurate to be certain in placing nukes, how are bunker busters and PGMs going to be more effective?

    You dedicated a large portion of a long, rambling post to the likely results of US military using nuclear weapons on Iran (killing 50% of their population, being accused of war crimes, etc) without acknowledging in the least that there are other military options which are far more likely to be used instead. You set up the attack Iran with nukes strawman and then batted it down, as if attacking Iran with nukes was the only option. Patently ridiculous

    It means, however, that we DO NOT KNOW

    I never suggested differently. But it is unacceptable to allow nuclear weapons in the hands of the terrorist supporting mullahs of Iran who have called to “wipe Israel off the face of the map”, and who are looking to hasten the coming of the next Islamic messiah through global jihad and martyrdon. It’s completely fucking nuts for you and others on the left to suggest that it would not be “so bad” for Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. Yet that is the position of you and so many others on the left.

    Your only suggestion is ‘diplomacy’. I only ask you and others then to tell us what have been the results of all previous diplomatic efforts with Iran, especially those led by the Europeans? Answer: Iran still forging ahead with their nuclear weapons program unabated, diplomacy buying them the time they need to complete their development efforts.

  123. 123
    Darrell says:

    The Other Steve Says:

    Well we’re not going to attack Iran, so this whole debate is rather mute.

    Well that is unless it’s our desire to start World War III.

    We may not invade and occupy Iran, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we attacked them to take out their nuclear facilities. Otherwise, Israel will be the first to be “wiped off the map” by the mullahs.

  124. 124
    Darrell says:

    Looks like Darrell wins more hearts and minds every day.

    Yeah, as if you inpenetrable extremists could ever be persuaded by facts and reason. Kirk Spencer has been posting in numerous BJ threads about how attacking Iran is a done deal, because, according to him, “Bush doesn’t do nuance”. He’s out there in tinfoil hat territory all right, which makes him right at home with the reality based community.

  125. 125
    Pb says:

    Darrell,

    Otherwise, Israel will be the first to be “wiped off the map” by the mullahs.

    Would you be willing to place a wager on that? I’m betting on the “Israel won’t be wiped off the map” side.

  126. 126
    Andrew says:

    Darrell, sack up and start acting like a real conservative. Fine there, might be some other option besides nuking the shit out of everybody, but just looking for one will make us look like weak appeasers.

    What kind of Neville do you want to be, Darrell? Aaron or Chamberlain? Peace through superior nuclear firepower or appeasment? Your choice.

  127. 127
    Darrell says:

    What kind of Neville do you want to be, Darrell? Aaron or Chamberlain? Peace through superior nuclear firepower or appeasment? Your choice.

    Andrew, you’re coming around. Someday soon we may have to replace your tinfoil hat with something more suitable

  128. 128

    We may not invade and occupy Iran, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we attacked them to take out their nuclear facilities. Otherwise, Israel will be the first to be “wiped off the map” by the mullahs.

    AFraid not. If we attacked Iran to take out their nuclear faciliites…

    I think you’d find Iraqi insurgents now driving tanks. You prepared for that?

    Oh right. You’d just use it as justification to nuke the rest of Iran. You would bring death and destruction down upon our own US soldiers just so you could start a bigger war.

    As far as Israel. If they’re concerned about mullahs bringing death and destruction down upon them, how about we let them defend themselves?

  129. 129

    Yeah, as if you inpenetrable extremists could ever be persuaded by facts and reason. Kirk Spencer has been posting in numerous BJ threads about how attacking Iran is a done deal, because, according to him, “Bush doesn’t do nuance”. He’s out there in tinfoil hat territory all right, which makes him right at home with the reality based community.

    How is it tinfoil hat?

    Bush, yourself and all the rest of the Republicans have admitted that every other option besides military force is OFF THE TABLE.

    Kind of hard to have diplomacy, when diplomacy is off the table.

  130. 130
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Darrell,

    1) Two threads is not usually considered “numerous”.

    2) I’d accept the accusation of rambling, except that same post is over half about a conventional attack’s problems – thus making your accusation of it only being nukes obviously false.

    3) I accept the rebuke about 50%. More likely is 20% of total Iranian population IF the US chooses to nuke every site that’s likely to have been hardened and for which we’ve not good targetting information.

    4) I’m willing to rephrase the question. Try this one – no, these two:
    What is the objective you think the US should have in regard to Iran? and What military operations do you believe would accomplish this? To make intentions plain, I think an honest evaluation and debate of the second requires knowing the first. For example, the reason I didn’t consider any other conventional means of attack earlier is the assumption that we want to topple the current Iranian government – and I can’t see any other military processes as likely to accomplish this.

  131. 131

    Anyway, I’m disappointed to see the Republicans embrace the whole “We want to start WWIII by invading the Czech Republic” platform as a party.

    But thankfully the voters have a choice come November.

  132. 132
    Darrell says:

    I accept the rebuke about 50%. More likely is 20% of total Iranian population IF the US chooses to nuke every site

    No need to “accept” a rebuke which was never made. My objection was to your assertion that a nuclear strike on Iran was our only, or most likely military option.

    What is the objective you think the US should have in regard to Iran?

    The primary objective should be to deny Iranian mullahs access to nuclear weapons.

    and What military operations do you believe would accomplish this?

    When it comes to predicting outcomes from military actions, nothing is certain. I think targeted bombing and missile attacks would likely have the best chance at taking our Iran’s nuclear facilities while minimizing civilian casualties.

  133. 133
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Darrell,

    I don’t think denial of access is possible. I think delaying access is possible.

    For what it’s worth, I think the better strategic goal – for which delaying access is a good intermediate objective – is to change the culture to make use of the weapons unlikely. No, that’s poorly stated as I think it unlikely already. Say instead to change the culture so that THREATENING to use the weapons in a first-strike capacity is abhorrent. Which puts them on par with most of us and those like us.

    I started to swag the likelihood of success of delaying access to nuclear weapons for the targetted bombing campaign you mention and realize that there are too many options to blanket them all. In general, however, a few things stand out in my mind:
    1) Most of the critical (alleged) nuclear sites are very well protected AND we have uncertain intelligence as to location accurate enough for precision strikes;
    2) Success in tactical delay increases as more sites are hit AND the more comprehensively they’re attacked. However, the difficulty of achieving MY strategic objective increases in almost perfect synchronicity.
    3) Any attack on Iran risks triggering the various mutual defense and mutual protection clauses – especially as some members have significant economic investment in Iraq, and an attack inevitably disrupts them already. (In other words, while the US is China’s biggest customer, if we cause their economy to crash by constricting the oil supply, the threat of a crashing economy due to interference with US trade becomes at worst gilding the lily.)

    1 means an attack is not certain to delay the access to nuclear weaponns.

    3 means an attack is likely to have severe negative consequences for us in the short run.

    2 is strategic, and if it’s not your objective it’s immaterial.

  134. 134
    Kirk Spencer says:

    re the rebuke, I still feel like banging my head. I did not state – and did not mean to imply – that nukes were the most likely option. And I sure didn’t ONLY suggest nukes. I just listed them first as the worst option. Literally, I said:

    First, let’s take the really ugly option off the table – nuclear first-strikes

    You can see, I hope, why I’m annoyed that you keep misstating what I said.

  135. 135
    John S. says:

    I think targeted bombing and missile attacks would likely have the best chance at taking our Iran’s nuclear facilities while minimizing civilian casualties.

    Especially when the Israelis have been kind enough to set the bar for minimizing civilian casualties so incredibly low. And let’s not ignore our high standards for minimizing civilian casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq. Why, if even half of those killed end up being civilians – that’s pretty damn good!

    I just wish the president had a plan for dealing with the friends and family of minimized civilian casualties, since undoubtedly they will become terrorists. Maybe we can just kill them pre-emptively to neutralize the threat that they will most certainly become…and kill their friends and family, and their friends and family…

  136. 136
    John S. says:

    All right!

    Another post dumped into moderation (along with this one). Glad to see John is keeping a close eye on me.

  137. 137
    Darrell says:

    I just wish the president had a plan for dealing with the friends and family of minimized civilian casualties, since undoubtedly they will become terrorists

    JohnS, you denounce the possibility of military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.. So tell us then, what other options would you have us pursue to prevent the mullahs from obtaining nuclear weapons? Or do you believe, as so many other leftists posting here, that nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorist supporting Iranian mullahs is “no big deal”?

  138. 138
    Darrell says:

    For what it’s worth, I think the better strategic goal – for which delaying access is a good intermediate objective – is to change the culture to make use of the weapons unlikely

    I agree that it’s the better strategic goal, I just don’t believe it’s a very realist strategic goal, especially within the next 3 or 4 years.

  139. 139
    John S. says:

    JohnS, you denounce the possibility of military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.

    Did I? That’s an interesting inference you draw. And here I thought I was simply mocking your ‘military option first’ stance.

    So tell us then, what other options would you have us pursue to prevent the mullahs from obtaining nuclear weapons?

    Well, diplomacy is obviously off the table with this administration. So I guess you’re right, our only recourse is to nuke the ever-loving shit out of them.

    Or do you believe, as so many other leftists posting here, that nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorist supporting Iranian mullahs is “no big deal”?

    Should I even bother commenting? I mean, you seem to have everyone’s response pre-prepared for them. Regardless, I think that Iran with nuclear weapons is a very dangerous thing.

    But I also think that nuclear weapons in the hands of this administration is also a dangerous thing, considering their willingness to engage in warfare. If you don’t think bombing Iran anytime in the near future isn’t going to spark World War III or create a wave of terrorists that makes the last 6 years look like a joke, then I have a bridge in Tehran to sell you (cheap).

  140. 140
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Ah. 3 or four years.

    No, it’s not, not in that time frame. However, I think it is a possible ten year goal, and is certainly achievable in twenty.

    The basic trick is to balance two apparently contradictory objectives. Short-term, you prevent the bad guys from doing wrong to you. More realistically, you prevent them from doing overwhelming wrong, accept that sometimes they’re going to get past your defense, and do your best to minimize that. At the same time, you do your best to make them WANT to be what you want. The balance is to do the short-term as far as possible such that it doesn’t stop the long-term.

    Simplistically (there are many complications), every time you use ‘too much force’ you reset the long-term gain clock to zero.

    It’s real easy to just keep resetting that clock. The problem is that after a while nobody wants to bother with the long-term goal because you’ve gone well past the 20-year point. By then it’s habit, and it’s multigenerational, and you’ve got NEW things to resolve that complicate the original resolution. That is basically the fix Israel’s in – yes, they’re surrounded by bad guys, but they’ve been impatient and reset the clock (stupidly in some cases) pretty frequently for far too long.

    NOTE: I am not saying military force is off the table. I can think of several times when it’s an absolute necessity. However, under the current circumstances it’s a mistake. We’re overstretched and can’t absorb the strategic penalties such an action would impose on us. And I also I admit I’m biased toward this long-term objective and know that military action must be done carefully to avoid resetting the clock.

    And finally I say again that by every reasonable measure I can find two things are highly probable:
    1) We have a minimum of 18 months for ANY nuclear weapons in Iranian hands, meaning rushing to judgement is not necessary;
    2) Despite loud rhetoric, the actual BEHAVIOR of the Islamic ruling party leads me to believe they’ll be rational actors — see our first go round if you don’t remember the long(er)winded version. Which means that we have at least half a decade to start the shift, and quite possibly a lot longer.

  141. 141
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Kirk, I’d just like to say that I very much appreciate the thoughtful, insightful posts that you’ve contributed to this thread. Would that we could all regularly offer comment and respond to others in the manner in which you have.

  142. 142
    ImJohnGalt says:

    FOR ME TO POOP ON!!11!!1!On3!

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to be pleasant and encouraging. Weak moment there.

  143. 143
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Hm. The editor takes out redundant 1’s and exclamation points? I had no idea there was a l33tSp34k ph1Lt3R.

  144. 144
    Darrell says:

    Despite loud rhetoric, the actual BEHAVIOR of the Islamic ruling party leads me to believe they’ll be rational actors

    Kirk, Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism for chrissakes. That is their actual behavior. What the hell are you talking about Iran behaving like a “rational” actor? And what a heel licker ImJohnGalt is to praise you for this kind of incoherent tripe he refers to as “thoughtful” and “insightful”. Pathetic really

  145. 145
    Tom in Texas says:

    Especially when the Israelis have been kind enough to set the bar for minimizing civilian casualties so incredibly low.

    I really have a problem with this line of thought. The Israeli government did nore than any nation has in the history of warfare to minimize civilian casualties. Has any other nation ever phoned the targets of its attack to tell them to leave? Provided transport for them out of the targeted area? I’m not saying that Israel is perfect, and I do think they could have done more. To be sure, I expect them to act with more regard for life than Hezbollah, but they did just that.

    Kirk, Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism for chrissakes.

    Darrell;
    Lots of nations that we currently hold diplomatic discussions with sponsor terrorism. Some of our best friends do, for instance Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. By saying that the leaders of Iran will be rational actors, I think Kirk is referring to their inability and unwillingness to start WWIII. Iran is completely unable to fight a war against Israel and the US unless it is in response to an invasion. The mullahs hold power through a massive subsidy program that they could not sustain throughout a war. They are losing popularity in the country, particularly among the youth who would fight such a war. The average Iranian is in no more hurry to fight a war in Mesotopamia than is the average American.

  146. 146
    Darrell says:

    Some of our best friends do, for instance Saudi Arabia and Pakistan

    That’s a false statement Tom. Both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have cracked down hard on terrorists in their country, as terrorists threaten the leadership there. That’s not to say that some Saudi princes don’t give terrorists ‘donations’ as payoffs to keep them from targetting them, but neither Saudi Arabia or Pakistan are state sponsors of terrorism by any reasonable definition of that term.

    I think Kirk is referring to their inability and unwillingness to start WWIII.

    Tom, are you aware you are talking about a country (Iran) whose President has not only called for “wiping Israel off the map”, he has openly stated that he is looking for the next Islamic messiah (12th imam) whose appearance can be hastened only through worldwide jihand martyrdom? How you and others on the left attribute rationality to this kind of irrational extremism is beyond me..

  147. 147
    Tom in Texas says:

    Both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have cracked down hard on terrorists in their country, as terrorists threaten the leadership there.

    They have cracked down on those terrorists that threaten them, to be sure, but what about the terrorists whose goals they agree with, such as Kashmere? A terrorists who attacks another country besides the US or Israel is still a terrorist to that country, after all.

  148. 148
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Darrell, as Tom has noted Iran is not the only state sponsor of terrorism. The list includes nations we consider – for lack of a better word – allies.

    In point of fact the United States has been (but is not now) a sponsor of terrorists. What did you think the job of the OSS during WWII was? Did you think we kept careful separation of funds to the El Salvadore and Honduras messes? Heck, I will tell you that every army special forces soldier receives a block of instruction in conducting, erm, “irregular warfare in civil zones,” though we’re supposed to try not to include ‘innocent civilians’ among our targets.

    Sponsorship of terrorists is not an irredeemably irrational act. For that matter, in some cases it’s not an irrational act at all.

    You asked me about what I meant by rational behavior? OK, they sell oil to the highest bidder REGARDLESS of religious stance. They trade with infidels. Their government – flaws recognized – tolerates a measurable minority (~2%) of non-Islamic citizens, and is neither ripped by nor driven to internal ethnic strife. Heck, hard as it is to handle approximately 9% of their population is Sunni.

    By rational, I mean what Tom said – despite opportunities they have not demonstrated a willingness to commit suicide over religious or political principles. That to me is the core of rationality at the national level. Iran has had opportunities to push way into suicidal acts to force its principles on others, and it’s declined to do so.

  149. 149
    ImJohnGalt says:

    And what a heel licker ImJohnGalt is to praise you for this kind of incoherent tripe he refers to as “thoughtful” and “insightful”. Pathetic really

    WTF?

    Offering an “I really appreciated your posts” to someone on the board makes me a bootlicker? This is the type of civility John is promoting? You’re poisonous, Darrell.

    Go fuck yourself, cretin. Your soul, if you have one, is irredeemable.

    And “irrational” doesn’t mean “that with which you don’t agree”. It means (in this context) “that which is unsupportable using available information”. There is nothing to suggest that the behaviour of Iran to this point hasn’t been in their best interest. That it isn’t in ours doesn’t make it irrational.

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