When They Do It, It is Called Warmongering

When we do it, we call it national security:

The recent crash of a U.S. spy drone inside Iran offers a glimpse at the growing secret effort by Washington to curb the nuclear program of its longtime foe, the Associated Press reports.

Iran last week released video footage of what it says is an intact unmanned aerial vehicle shot down within its territory. U.S. officials have said equipment failure was more likely to have caused the crash. Observers have expressed little surprise that the drone would be part of U.S. covert activities against the Middle Eastern state.

Tehran has previously claimed that Washington was behind computer-based strikes against Iran, along with bomb attacks that killed two nuclear scientists and injured another. Washington has countered that Iran has played a hand in the death of U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan and tried to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

“It’s beginning to look like there’s a thinly veiled, increasingly violent, global cloak-and-dagger game afoot,” American Enterprise Institute military specialist Thomas Donnelly said at a recent event in Washington.

Clandestine activities in the nuclear impasse are “much bigger than people appreciate,” said former national security adviser Stephen Hadley. “But the U.S. needs to be using everything it can.”

Ahh, American exceptionalism.

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71 replies
  1. 1
    gaz says:

    no shit, right?

    Jesus wept

  2. 2
    Dave says:

    Better this than President McCain launching waves of B-52s over Tehran.

  3. 3
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Dave:
    For some reason, I have this weird mental image of Tehran being menaced by giant beehive hairdos.

    Better drones to spy on Iran than bombs to kill people to no purpose.

  4. 4
    cathyx says:

    It’s only alright if you are a democrat.

  5. 5
    Cap'n Magic says:

    Meanwhile, while we are being made to fear a nuclear Iran, Pakistan is one even away from causing incredible chaos, and the rule of law is being eviscerated by the same people in power who are ignoring repeated criminal acts, such that the states are doing what they should have been doing in the first place.

    And AEI ? Seriously? I’d rather have STRATFOR than any of the other mental masturbatory societies think tanks.

  6. 6
    The Moar You Know says:

    Better drones to spy on Iran than bombs to kill people to no purpose.

    Bombs follow drones like sunrise follows sunset.

    We’ll all have another war soon enough.

  7. 7
    BGinCHI says:

    Oh, well if warmongering, lying piece of shit Stephen Hadley said we ought to do it that way, then by all means let’s do it. Let’s learn nothing from the mistakes the Bush Admin talking heads made.

    Why not forge ahead on wrecking the economy and wrecking the world? It’s our right.

    Assholes.

  8. 8
    El Tiburon says:

    @The Moar You Know:
    If the Prez race is tight, then war it shall be. Thankfully it will be the nice President dropping the nice bombs instead of old Cranky McCrank Crank.

    Can anyone remind me again of the Hope again? Oh right, Lily Ledbetter and Romneycare.

  9. 9
    Kola Noscopy says:

    So Iran is the new USSR?

    A new cold war for the MIC. Excellent for business!

  10. 10
    Cap'n Magic says:

    In a battle between a drone and a Stinger-which one wins? And which one is cheaper?

  11. 11
    Calouste says:

    OT: Michael Savage offers Newt $1 million if he drops out of the race within three days.

    Of course Newt can be bought, but not that cheap and not that openly.

  12. 12
    redshirt says:

    @El Tiburon: IE: Vote Newt! Or RONPAUL!

  13. 13
    Soonergrunt says:

    I never understood how people could come up with arguments like that–arguments that make the things we do seem (to somebody) noble and right and those very same things seem sinister and evil when others do them and have any self respect.
    I remember the freak out a few years ago about the Chinese trying to gather technical intelligence about US ICBM designs. There was a huge thing in the press about it and about what it said about Chinese intentions and abilities.
    I remember thinking that it sounded like something any nation state should be trying to do, and that it sounded like something we had the CIA, DIA, NRO, and any number of other agencies for.
    I took a couple of classes in college–Intelligence Operations in Support of International Relations, and Intelligence Operations in the War on Terror (this was before we changed the name to Global Whatever The Fuck It Is This Week).
    The professor for both was a retired CIA Operations guy who had spent 31 years in the Clandestine Service and the Directorate of Operations. Flaming liberal old school Rockefeller Republican. When one of the other students mentioned this thing he was like “good for them!”

  14. 14
    Yutsano says:

    It’s a beautiful symbiotic relationship. The MIC gets a convenient bogeyman to justify its raping of the US Treasury, and the Iranians get to use the US as their Shaytan to keep their own power structures intact. The fact that virtually everyone else gets screwed in this deal is just collateral damage.

  15. 15
    Lolis says:

    @El Tiburon:

    You will be proven wrong soon enough. President Obama is not going to start a war with Iran to win an election. I think Americans are not as in love with war as they used to be anyway. The president’s Libya project did not improve his approval ratings at all.

  16. 16
    carpeduum says:

    The Black Helicopters are Coming to get us Cole continuing his bizarre obsession and paranoia with all things to do with drones.

    Cole never read any story about a drone he didn’t soil his diapers over.

  17. 17
    Roc says:

    No, it’s war mongering when either team does it.

    Though I err on the side of preferring spying to bombing, I wonder whether the pointlessness of our still being in Afghanistan ever enters into the minds of those who point to other regional players meddling in our sandbox.

    Also: the sum threat of Iran is one hapless plot and the projection of power tens of miles outside their border? That says more about the trumped up nature of our concerns than any other intelligence ‘leak’.

  18. 18
    El Tiburon says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    I never understood how people could come up with arguments like that—arguments that make the things we do seem (to somebody) noble and right and those very same things seem sinister and evil when others do them.

    You do read Balloon Juice , right? Then I know you see this activity on a daily basis.

  19. 19
    Waldo says:

    Washington has countered that Iran has played a hand in the death of U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan and tried to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

    Really? That’s our counterargument? “Yeah, but they started it!”?

  20. 20
    Samara Morgan says:

    It is not possible to keep Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.
    The process can be slowed, but it won’t be stopped.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    Brachiator says:

    When we do it, we call it national security.

    So do the Iranians, with as much justification as the US.

    @El Tiburon:

    If the Prez race is tight, then war it shall be. Thankfully it will be the nice President dropping the nice bombs instead of old Cranky McCrank Crank.

    I would happily like to see the US exit from both Afghanistan and Iraq.

    And as I have asked before, then what? Are Balloon Juicers all for Ron Paul style strict non-interventionism? The elimination of all foreign aid?

    Bonus question: do you all think that nuclear non-proliferation is irrelevant, that the US has no business trying to prevent any nation from getting nukes? What then, is your objection to the US itself maintaining or even increasing its nuclear arsenal?

    By the way, I don’t think that an Iran with nuclear arms would be a threat to the US. I’m not sure that, in the long run, the US can even prevent Iran from getting nukes if that nation wants them. But I could see the Israelis or the Saudis getting real nervous and doing something stupid.

    @Cap’n Magic:

    And AEI ? Seriously? I’d rather have STRATFOR than any of the other mental masturbatory societies think tanks.

    I’ve been looking at the STRATFOR stuff recently. It’s as drearily conventional as any other foreign policy or think tank garbage.

  23. 23
    El Tiburon says:

    @Lolis:

    The president’s Libya project did not improve his approval ratings at all.

    Please. Libya happened without our help. Iran will be Obama’s baby from it’s inception to Shock and Awe II. We have lots of time to turn them into the new Saddam but with WMD FOR REAL!!

  24. 24
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Wasn’t this the purpose of the CIA, to basically research, poke and prod, and counteract the other countries doing this kind of stuff to us? Hasn’t it been going on since city-states were invented?

  25. 25
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Waldo: “Iran” didnt try to kill the Saud ambassador– the persian version of a group of freelance wingnuts tried to kill the Saud ambassador

  26. 26
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    It’s part of the Fog of War which is best utilized by the likes of Michael Ledeen and the usual suspects. If you want to get a belly full, he’s still fulminating a hearty brew of yeasty, nukular diatribe at PJMedia.

    A former Ambassador to Uz-beki-beki Stan, Craig Murray has creds as a whistleblower to his domestic Status Quo.

    Recommend—-http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2011/12/the-gould-werritty-investigation-continues/

  27. 27
    Svensker says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Pretty much.

  28. 28
    joes527 says:

    @Amir Khalid: ummm… The bombs are already falling. We just aren’t paying attention.

  29. 29
    RD says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    That’s what made Stuxnet so entertaining.

  30. 30
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Brachiator:

    By the way, I don’t think that an Iran with nuclear arms would be a threat to the US. I’m not sure that, in the long run, the US can even prevent Iran from getting nukes if that nation wants them. But I could see the Israelis or the Saudis getting real nervous and doing something stupid.

    ekshually the US is pantswetting nervous about Israel launching on Iran without telling us.
    The more the US electorate is just not that into Israel anymore, the greater the danger that Israel will try a pre-emptive strike to drag us into WWIII while they still can.
    Panetta knows the score.

  31. 31
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    ‘What’s in a name…’ quote the Bard

    Nothing. When the smell’s the same. Blackwater/Academi

    http://www.wired.com/dangerroo.....more-66365

    “And that’s part of convincing everyone that the company has turned over an ethical leaf. Academi will issue new codes of conduct to its guards and trainers soon, and Wright promises “accountability and openness” over the company’s actions. Translation: no more stealing guns, coked-up warzone parties, or killing civilians.

    Wright acknowledges that rebranding the world’s most infamous security company might seem like an exercise in cynicism. And so he sets himself a challenge: getting the company back into Iraq.

    “As we make changes and they take root and we convince everyone they’re real,” Wright says, “then the real proof in the pudding is convincing the government of Iraq and the U.S. government to let us do business in Iraq.”

    That’s a hard sell: Iraq stripped Blackwater of its business license after Nisour Square. Iraqis are unlikely to give Academi anything like the benefit of the doubt. But with U.S. troops set to leave Iraq at the end of the month, mercs are filling the security gap. There’s a lot of business to be had — if Wright and company can convince either government they deserve it.

    Wright wants a shot to show a very skeptical world that Academi represents “an institution of trained thinkers and warriors,” he says, conveying ”excellence, dignity, honor, integrity.”

  32. 32
    vernon says:

    SO THEY FOUND A DRONE IN IRAN THAT DOESN’T PROVE ANYTHING, I BET NAOMI WOLF PLANTED IT THERE, BESIDES IT’S ALL PERFECTLY LEGAL UNDER THE AUMF.

    AND IF WE DON’T DO IT, THE CHILD MOLESTERS HAVE ALREADY WON! EFF YOU, FIREBAGGRZ

  33. 33
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    ekshually the US is pantswetting nervous about Israel launching on Iran without telling us.

    That sounds mildly celebratory.

  34. 34
    El Tiburon says:

    @Brachiator:

    By the way, I don’t think that an Iran with nuclear arms would be a threat to the US

    Ding ding ding and we have a winner. First, we all know this has nothing to do with Iran getting a nuke. The only real threats to the US is the destructive neocon US policy and our continuing infatuation with bombing and otherwise fucking with Muslim countries.

    Talk of invading or bombing Iran has very little to do with their actions but with our actions. It is Iraq all over again. Yet even here on this blog the debate will be about that we should just bomb and maybe not invade so much – instead of how we are being bullshitted into yet another war.

  35. 35
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Benjamin Franklin: the bigger problem is that I doubt they can convince al-Sadr and the Mahdi army of that.

  36. 36
    gaz says:

    @Yutsano: You win teh thread.

    This is very good news for the MIC (both US, as well as it’s Iranian counterpart )

  37. 37
    carpeduum says:

    @El Tiburon: Neocons have had a hardon to bomb Iran for decades now. The nuclear threat is just their latest and best excuse.

    Why they are so eager to do it and why people are still willing to listen right after these same people have shown how wrong they can be on Iraq is beyond me. Iran would undoubtedly be Iraq all over again only 10 times worse. Iran has more weapons, more modern weapons a much larger and more professional military, better leadership….the red flags just go on and on with Iran. Military intervention would make the Iraq war look downright brilliant in comparison.

    Even a lot of diehard neocons who think military intervention is the solution for just about everything are quietly saying it would be a bad idea. My guess is that the industrial military complex is behind a lot of this. They see Iran as a goldmine.

  38. 38
    Amir Khalid says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Bombs follow drones like sunrise follows sunset

    No they don’t. Iran isn’t stupid enough to start a war with the US, and Obama is not stupid enough to start a war with Iran over this. Bibi might be stupid and bellicose enough, but Israel’s generals know better.

    Drones are a good thing, to the extent that they help the US learn what’s really going on with the nuclear weapons program in Iran. The Iranian government must expect this kind of surveillance, and I doubt they’re all that angry about it. This business with the drone is not much more than a good laugh at the Americans’ expense. They spy on other nations too; as soonergrunt points out, it’s part of what any self-respecting nation does to defend itself.

    In dealings with potentially unfriendly nations it’s always better to have real knowledge about their capabilities and intentions. It makes needless wars that much easier to avert.

  39. 39
    AA+ Bonds says:

    What the fuck is wrong with people, listening to these private sector dorks who get fed information by email directly from the federal government and have no other means of obtaining it beyond their lickspittle “access”.

    The two sources quoted above are propaganda mouthpieces, nothing more.

  40. 40
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): That was what my professor said–“Nation-states rat-fuck each other. Been doing it a long time. You ever heard of Machiavelli?”

  41. 41
    The Moar You Know says:

    Michael Savage

    @Calouste: His real name is Michael Weiner. Please use whenever possible.

  42. 42
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Brachiator:

    And as I have asked before, then what? Are Balloon Juicers all for Ron Paul style strict non-interventionism? The elimination of all foreign aid?

    I see Brachiator’s not only being a dipshit on here yet again, he’s actually reminding people that this is the 9,785th time he’s failed to construct an argument.

    Cheers to Brachiator for his tireless efforts and a log of food will be waiting for him in his hotel room tonight

  43. 43
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Clandestine activities in the nuclear impasse are “much bigger than people appreciate,” said former national security adviser Stephen Hadley.

    Everyone who says something like this should be kidnapped and interrogated and forced to reveal exactly what the hell they’re talking about

  44. 44
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Amir Khalid: Thanks for the nod. I’ll note however, that you’re talking sense, and so can expect to be attacked momentarily. It’s that kind of a day here on BJ.

  45. 45
    Amir Khalid says:

    @joes527:
    That Guardian story doesn’t assert that a bomb, American or otherwise, caused the Isfahan explosion. In fact, it doesn’t mention bombs at all.

  46. 46
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Benjamin Franklin: if Obama couldnt secure diplomatic immunity and right to protect themselves for our troops, do you think he can get trials and arrests for mercs waived?
    And it is doubtful that Muqtada’s supporters will be able to distinguish contractors from american troops from CIA agents….or that they care to.
    All crusaders look alike to them.

  47. 47
    Maude says:

    @Soonergrunt:
    We have asked Iran to give back the drone.
    Why do people think we don’t spy?
    Better to know than not to know.

  48. 48
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Soonergrunt: Honestly, we prefer it when they assasinate each other clandestinely than rile up our nationalism so we join their mass armies. Fewer people should actually get killed that way.

  49. 49
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Soonergrunt: Honestly, we prefer it when they assasinate each other clandestinely than rile up our nationalism so we join their mass armies. Fewer people should actually get killed that way.

  50. 50
    daveNYC says:

    @Brachiator:

    Bonus question: do you all think that nuclear non-proliferation is irrelevant, that the US has no business trying to prevent any nation from getting nukes? What then, is your objection to the US itself maintaining or even increasing its nuclear arsenal?

    We should try and reduce our stockpile. Hence, New START.

    The difference between having zero nuclear weapons and having one nuclear weapon is much larger than the difference between having 1000 or 2000 or them.

  51. 51
    RD says:

    @El Tiburon:

    Taking out Saddam was stupid foreign policy, but we were left with the mess.

    One aspect of that is Iran becoming even more reactionary.

    I say this as someone who used to have fun pointing out obvious SAVAK agents in my college days.

  52. 52
    Lit3Bolt says:

    I thought a thought.

    Is it probable we let our drone “fail” in Iran’s borders (that’s one remarkably good looking drone after a supposed shoot down and crash?) so Iran could “decode” it then start loading more of our homebrewed centrifuge killing viruses into their computer network?

  53. 53
    Dave says:

    While the tech is different, this is the same as us flying U-2’s over the USSR. And they shot down Powers. Yet, the world survived somehow…

  54. 54
    Chris says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    There was an Airwolf episode and later a JAG episode with exactly that as a plot point, and it was Iran in both cases :) Did you mean to reference these? If so, that’s awesome.

  55. 55

    If you’re going to fly over another nation for spy purposes you can just about count on some kind of Gary Powers moment. That this drone didn’t have fail-safe destruct is ludicrous. 60 year old Chevys have turn signal indicators that stop when a bulb goes out…

    Spying is what nations do, even “friends,” and nobody should expect differently nor expect countries to like it when they catch someone doing it. Nations do what they think they can get away with, if China thought they could fly drones over the US they would.

    I don’t have a lot of problem with the ‘peaking and sneakin’ aspects, killings and such are another thing. You’re just supposed to be good at the peaking and sneaking and catching the other ones.

    Domestically I have real serious problems with it.

  56. 56
    Comrade Dread says:

    Better this than President McCain launching waves of B-52s over Tehran.

    I’d give it a 50/50 shot right now that this escalates further.

    Hell, one of the secondary goals of this is probably to try and provoke the Mullahs into doing something in response which could be used as a justification for Israeli and/or US airstrikes.

  57. 57
    John Weiss says:

    Oh, crap. Just what we need. Another war.

    I was in the street over Viet Nam. I’m hoping I don’t have to go back to the street. I’m tired.

  58. 58
    Cap'n Magic says:

    @RD:

    Noted.

  59. 59
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    How many times have we done this dance with North Korea?

  60. 60
    Yutsano says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    ekshually the US is pantswetting nervous about Israel launching on Iran without telling us.

    Nah. Gunna. Happen. Israel needs us to at least defuse some of the Saudi ire should we invade. And that ire will be mostly to placate their populace. The Saudis aren’t exactly allies with Iran here. Your idea of a united Muslim front against the West is quite laughable at times.

  61. 61
    THE says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    I agree. Already during the arms-reduction talks, during the cold war, it was established that “National means of verification” had to be respected.

    Ignorance breeds paranoia more than knowledge does.

    No-one is surprised that US loses an occasional drone. They are robots. They are designed to be expendable.

  62. 62
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Every six months until we decide to let the Chinese have Taiwan.

  63. 63
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    A friend of mine would do those games where a bunch of people would act like various countries. It was very serious, they tended to have either academics or government people watching how things went. Most of the “countries” would interact out in the main area, except for one: The group representing North Korea would be sequestered in a room, and could only communicate by occasionally meeting someone at the door. No matter how rationally the group might try to act, eventually their behavior could only be described as paranoia. And they got to go home at the end of the day.

  64. 64
    Brachiator says:

    @AA+ Bonds: And here you are agin pretending to be the Official Enforcer of Balloon Juice ideological purity.

    @daveNYC:

    We should try and reduce our stockpile. Hence, New START. The difference between having zero nuclear weapons and having one nuclear weapon is much larger than the difference between having 1000 or 2000 or them.

    You’re evading my question. A lot of people, with some good reasons, want the US to butt out of world affairs, period. Is it our business whether Iran or any other nation tries to get a nuclear weapon?

    How about if we give every nation who does not have any one of ours, and then get rid of the rest?

    Would you feel safer?

    If we simply have a policy of non intervention in world affairs, because our intervention is usually or always bad, what would be the point in participating in a START or any other treaty?

  65. 65
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Yutsano: you didnt read the link moron.
    Here is another.

  66. 66
    THE says:

    Samara I have a comment in moderation at your blog. Please rescue me.

  67. 67
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Amir Khalid: As already noted, good sir, you are making far too much sense.

  68. 68
    RD says:

    @Yutsano:

    I agree with Samara. The Israeli military doesn’t give a fuck what the Saudis think.

    Nor should we.

  69. 69
    anthony says:

    I hope the Iranians get Andres Serrano to photograph the drone in a jar of piss.

  70. 70
    Ronbo says:

    When the media points out that Obama is more liberal than Romney, does that make him a liberal? A pitbull is less cat-like than a poodle, doesn’t make a poodle a cat.

    These drones are Obama’s Peacekeepers. You can’t hide Obama’s trojan-horse anymore. At least in Iran.

  71. 71
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Ronbo: nah.
    O knows that we cant prevent Iran from getting the Bomb. This is all just kabuki for the Israelis.
    The administration has a very real fear that Israel is going to launch on Iran without warning us, in hopes of draggin’ the US in on their side while they still can. Panetta has been doin’ some very public scolding to illustrate the point.
    If it looks like O is gunna win next fall, the Israelis may launch anyways– what have they got to lose? It is not going to get better for them.
    Our crazy ex-gf can already see we just arent that into her anymore.
    The demographic timer in the American electorate is running down for the Israelis too– youth, browns and blacks dont give a shit about Israel.

    and i predicted this….ill see if i can find the link.
    i said, failing to crash the economy would start the drumbeat of war with Iran up in the fall.

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