Both Sides From The New York Times

My Twitter lit up this morning with Bret Stephens’s call to sink Iran’s navy. But nobody wants war, he assures us.

Right next door (figuratively speaking), Eliot Higgins has an excellent explainer on the evidence proffered so far and how to analyze it. If you want to learn more about how to do open-source intelligence, take some time with this article.

Stephens’s piece, of course, offers nothing remotely like evidence.

And the Times Editorial Board advises the President to heed his deal-making reflex, not his hawkish advisers.

I guess two out of three isn’t too bad.

Open thread – slow afternoon.






153 replies
  1. 1

    When I first saw a screenshot of that Stephens headline I thought it was a joke.

  2. 2
    The Dangerman says:

    Fortunately for us (although not fortunate for Netanyahu or bin Salman, each of whom would happily fight to the last American), Trump is a lazy fuck. It’ll be noisy, but no shooting war. There’s golf to be played.

  3. 3
    plato says:

    The top nyt and readers’ pick of the comments in that Higgins piece

    William O, Beeman

    Let’s be absolutely clear. There were no American or American allied assets damaged in this operation. There is no solid evidence that Iran was involved. The silly video doesn’t cut it at any level.

    Then there is the complete lack of motive on Iran’s part. The tankers were actually Japanese, and the attacks took place while Prime Minister Abe was in Tehran. Why would Iran want to do this? Japan has not filed a complaint about this event, so why is the Trump administration trying to gin up some kind of pretext for action? On whose behalf? This makes no sense whatever.

    It is also true that Bolton, Pompeo and Trump desperately want to engage Iran in conflict. So do Saudi Arabia and some of the more out-there princelings in the UAE. It would be so easy to set up a false flag operation–especially one that doesn’t involve Saudi Arabian or UAE assets. This is the most plausible explanation for this event.

    Once again: NO AMERICAN OR AMERICAN ALLIED ASSETS WERE INVOLVED.

    The totus thug’s assholes are both corrupt and incompetent.

  4. 4
    zhena gogolia says:

    “his deal-making reflex,” what BS

  5. 5
    NotMax says:

    @plato

    We’re about to discover how short the half-life of enhanced Iranium is. Yet again.

    ;)

  6. 6
    Jay says:

    Columnists
    Cartoons
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    Opinion
    You saw me covered in blood on a bus. But do you get outraged about all homophobia?

    The photo of me and my date went viral after our attack – but only as we’re white, feminine and cisgender. Sympathy and action must be for all

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/14/homophobic-attack-bus-outrage-media-white?CMP=twt_gu&utm_medium=&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1560527533

  7. 7
    NotMax says:

    @zhena gogolia

    Total BS, yes, but pointedly addressed to the ravenous maw that is Dolt 45’s ego, not to the hoi polloi.

  8. 8
    MattF says:

    Oh, those crafty Iranians. I can just picture them snickering into their beards, saying “Let’s embarass the Japanese and the Norwegians. That’s a fool-proof casus belli.”

  9. 9

    @plato:

    It is also true that Bolton, Pompeo and Trump desperately want to engage Iran in conflict.

    Thank goodness, no. I believe it’s true about Bolton and Pompeo, but Trump’s history makes it clear that what Trump wants is to posture and bully without taking any risk of being on the losing side. Personally, I think he got burned by that failed raid in Yemen, which he ordered imagining that if Obama did it, it must be easy. Whatever the cause, he has proven that he screams at the top of his lungs and carries a matchstick.

  10. 10
    germy says:

    The Corrupt News Media is totally out of control – they have given up and don’t even care anymore. Mainstream Media has ZERO CREDIBILITY – TOTAL LOSERS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2019

    Ah. He saw the report about the Pentagon hiding information from him because he can't be trusted.
    Heh. Heh. https://t.co/D24p5Eu16r— Stonekettle (@Stonekettle) June 15, 2019

  11. 11
    plato says:

    @NotMax: cole has to go nukular on you at some point.

  12. 12
    plato says:

    @germy: The thug’s usual projection tactic.

  13. 13
    Citizen Alan says:

    “Nobody wants war with Iran,” says the pious hypocrite who lays awake at night masturbating at the thought of war with Iran.

  14. 14
    MattF says:

    @germy: We can be certain that Trump isn’t trusted by the intel community. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that intel sources in Russia and elsewhere deemed vulnerable to exposure have been offered escape routes and havens in the US.

  15. 15
    Baud says:

    My Twitter lit up this morning with Bret Stephens’s call to sink Iran’s navy. But nobody wants war, he assures us

    “I tell you, this Stephens fellow doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but he’ll get us clicks!,” the editor said as he chewed on his cigar.

  16. 16

    I see the comment fairly frequently that Iran has no motive to do this. Unfortunately, there are a number of possible motives.

    One is an asymmetric strike-back at the US’s sanctions. Just a small action to let the US know Iran won’t take this.

    Another is that “Iran” is not a monolithic construct. Its complicated governance structures contain many players. The IRGC, which is the hardline branch of the Iranian armed forces, loves provocations to prove it’s not gone soft. It has acted in the past independently of, and in conflict with, the President’s office.

    Yet another is that Iran has proxies in the region who do stuff for their own reasons.

    All that is part of the calculation.

  17. 17
    JDM says:

    @zhena gogolia: Trump’s “deal-making reflex” is to jump at the first offer and wildly overpay. Does the NYT really want Iran to wind up owning Florida?

  18. 18
    debbie says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    That only activated my gag reflex. //

  19. 19
    Baud says:

    @plato:

    Once again: NO AMERICAN OR AMERICAN ALLIED ASSETS WERE INVOLVED.

    We are all (turning) Japanese now.

  20. 20
    Baud says:

    @JDM:

    I would (assuming we could air lift a few Juicers to safety).

  21. 21
    Baud says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I agree. I suppose the risk is that he is convinced to do “air strikes.”

  22. 22
    germy says:

    “The owner of the Japanese tanker attacked on Thursday said US reports have provided ‘false’ information about what happened in the Gulf of Oman.” https://t.co/jc0ERZYyOp— Eli Clifton (@EliClifton) June 14, 2019

  23. 23
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Eliot Higgins and his group did outstanding work on the MH-17 shootdown.

  24. 24
    NotMax says:

    @JDM

    An improvement over die hard Republicans owning it. //

  25. 25
    germy says:

    Germany joins chorus casting doubt on Trump administration claim that Iran was behind attack on oil tankers https://t.co/YbcJJxZ05c— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) June 15, 2019

  26. 26
    MattF says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I guess there’s a ‘war party’ in Iran– but I’d also guess that they are not popular. No one should forget that Iran paid an awful price for its war with Iraq.

  27. 27
    Tim C. says:

    Honest question, beyond the 27%, is there anyone who would be cool with an Iran war? It won’t go well, we don’t have the forces to do anything beyond a modest air war, and the Iranians aren’t dumb. They will know how to hit back in ways that hurt. Bolton and Pomepeo clearly want it, but I don’t think the 15% of the country that isn’t in the craziest part of the GOP base but still votes R will like it.

  28. 28
    Baud says:

    @Tim C.:

    I’m not even sure the 27% would be unanimous behind it.

  29. 29
    Plato says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: i highly doubt that Iran wants a war at this point. They have shown plenty of restraint despite the totus thug’s provocations.

  30. 30
    Mathguy says:

    And the Times Editorial Board advises the President to heed his deal-making reflex, not his hawkish advisers.

    Hahahahahahahahahahha…..

  31. 31
    Tony Jay says:

    Meanwhile, over here in Brexitania, the Media were raising pretty sceptical eyebrows at the version of events emanating from the White House and adopting a very “hang on a moment, that doesn’t sound right” tone.

    Then the Foreign Office made its quite astonishingly unlikely declaration that MI6 were 100% certain of Iranian responsibility, which instantly turned it into a factor in the Tory leadership contest (the Foreign Secretary is a candidate) and so moved it out of bounds for journalistic investigation. They wouldn’t want to appear to be calling a potential future Prime Minister a bloody liar, would they? And more importantly they wouldn’t want to step on the toes of the other candidates in case – they – wanted to call him a liar (unlikely) or (much more likely) make ramped up declarations of bloody-toothed violence towards Iran and solidarity with the US a part of the leadership contest. One of these guys was going to be Prime Minister, after all.

    Fortunately for the stymied Media, Jeremy ‘The Red Terror’ Corbyn then had the outrageous temerity to point out that there wasn’t any actual evidence of Iranian complicity and maybe we shouldn’t be rushing into doing anything stupid. Well, that was that. Now they didn’t have to worry about whether or not the Trump White House was colluding with Middle Eastern nations to justify a disastrous war against Iran or how they should cover such a contentious issue. Jezza had spoken, and since everything Jezza says is, by definition, wrong, outrageous and deserving of immediate ridicule, all they had to do was quote the various Tory candidates attacking him and pivot to covering it all as just another anti-Corbyn hitpiece. Problem solved.

    I guess what I’m saying is that British Media is fucking awful and it annoys me no end.

  32. 32
    Jay says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Next week they are releasing a crowd sourced article naming names of those involved and identified in the MH-17 shootdown.

  33. 33
    eemom says:

    @Major Major Major Major: @

    When I first saw a screenshot of that Stephens headline I thought it was a joke.

    I can outdo that….I actually thought it was dignified irony by one o’ them “reasonables.” I must be losing my mind.

  34. 34
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @JDM:

    Does the NYT really want Iran to wind up owning Florida?

    Is “owning” a synonym for “bombing the fuck out of?”

    We’ll raise funds to evacuate all Democrats.

  35. 35
    eemom says:

    @Tony Jay:

    British Media is fucking awful

    omg. You mean even the Guardian?

    You wouldn’t last a day over here.

  36. 36
    JoyceH says:

    Well, you do say Open Thread, so rather than talk about Iran, I want to show off the cover for my next book. Fans of magical Mary Bennet can get a sneak peak here:

    Cover Reveal for Mary Bennet and the Wickham Artifact

  37. 37

    @Gin & Tonic: The five-year anniversary is coming up, and Bellingcat has plans!

  38. 38
    Bill Arnold says:

    Is that the first time Eliot Higgins/bellingcat has been given NY Times opinion piece space?

  39. 39
    Jay says:

    Holy crap. Human rights campaigner Yana Peel has been revealed to be the co-owner of Israeli cyberweapons company NSO Group, whose software has allegedly been used by authoritarian regimes to spy on dissidents. https://t.co/EjaYX353qn— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) June 15, 2019

  40. 40

    @MattF: In Iran, “not popular” is not necessarily as powerful as it can be here. You have the President and you have the Supreme Leader. Both have their allies and sycophants. The IRGC is somewhat insulated from both. It’s complicated, and I won’t pretend to be an expert – just pointing out some of the complexities.

  41. 41

    @Plato: Again, “Iran” is not unitary.

    I agree that overall, Iran doesn’t want a war. But the IRGC is often willing to be provocative, and Bolton and Pompeo would be happy to respond to the provocations. Hard to say where it goes from there.

  42. 42
    Jay says:

    Another day, another Nazi planning mass murder,

    I've been informed by several serious leftists that Nazis aren't a real thing any more so this Hitler fan who planned to shoot up a synagogue wearing a Nazi uniform is presumably imaginary.https://t.co/3gkctC3UP2— David Futrelle (@DavidFutrelle) June 15, 2019

  43. 43
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @eemom:

    omg. You mean even the Guardian?

    You wouldn’t last a day over here.

    And we jackals tend to not expose ourselves to the real crazy RWNJ shit.

  44. 44

    @Bill Arnold: Through Google, I find one entry from Eliot Higgins in the “At War” blog. I didn’t try the NYT search function, which has never returned anything usable to me without enormous effort on my part.

  45. 45
    Bill Arnold says:

    @germy:
    Here’s a rewrite of that, via rule of projection: (ETA plato @ 12 got there first.)

    The CorruptCourageous News Media is totally out ofin control – they have given up retaken control of the news cycles and don’t even care anymore now obviously care very much about the US. Mainstream Media now has ZEROCOMPLETE CREDIBILITY – TOTAL LOSERSWINNERS!

    Which is going a little too far, but is far closer to the truth. And a bot could do it to his correctly-spelled tweets fairly reliably.

  46. 46
    tobie says:

    @Tony Jay: With the Foreign Office’s statement that it supports the White House’s assessment, the UK finds itself once again out of step with Europe with the exception of countries like Poland and Hungary run by rightwing autocrats. I think if it comes to war with Iran, we will see the end of NATO. Putin may just be willing to see his ally (Iran) attacked if it brings about the demise of NATO. I know I’m being alarmist and jumping the gun here, but it’s hard not to be alarmed.

  47. 47
    NotMax says:

    @Tony Jay

    what I’m saying is that British Media is fucking awful

    But- but- page 3 girls. //

  48. 48
    JPL says:

    @germy: They tried to bury that section in hopes that he wouldn’t see it. One of his phone pals must of alerted him

  49. 49
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I see the comment fairly frequently that Iran has no motive to do this. Unfortunately, there are a number of possible motives.

    Agreed that that hasn’t been said enough and thanks for the details.
    Do you have a map of actors possibly involved and probability estimates? Since a low-budget operation (e.g. weaponized heavily modified commercial drones, garage project robotics tech level.) is still one possibility, the number of actors (state and non-state) is large.

  50. 50

    @Bill Arnold: No map of possible actors and yes, the number is large.

  51. 51
    Jay says:

    @tobie:

    Russia’s not going to “allow” a war with Iran. Too many players in the region, too many ballistic missiles.

    The US’s War Hype is costing it traditional allies in the West and the region,

    And not following up on the War Hype is going to make the UAE, Sawdi Arabia and Israel wonder why they bothered to pay Jarvanka all that money.

  52. 52
    NotMax says:

    Asking again from those more plugged in than I: How is MEK spinning this?

  53. 53
    Jay says:

    These text messages among Border Patrol agents will leave you cold: pic.twitter.com/zgeO7eIlG2— Tim Dickinson (@7im) June 14, 2019

  54. 54
    Another Scott says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: It’s almost like the Persians Iranians have their own history and traditions and factions and varying interests and might act to protect those interests.

    And maybe bluster and “maximum pressure” isn’t a good strategy for every situation.

    (sigh)

    Thanks.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  55. 55
    James E Powell says:

    @Tim C.:

    Honest question, beyond the 27%, is there anyone who would be cool with an Iran war?

    Most of the press/media, especially those who were too young to be part of George W Bush’s Great and Glorious Crusade Iraqi Freedom Operation.

  56. 56
    Mike in NC says:

    Maybe we could get the Prince of Whales to broker a Really Incredible Deal, the Best Deal EVER!

  57. 57

    @NotMax: I haven’t seen anything from or about MEK, but here’s FDD’s Mark Dubowitz, who is equally fanatic about removing the Iranian government.

    I didn’t realize he was a monarchist.

  58. 58
    Tony Jay says:

    @eemom:

    Oh sweet lady I’ve been hanging around this joint long enough to know that your Media is about as reputable as the neighbour who doesn’t wash his hair and only parts the blinds when the Ice-Cream truck brings the kids out, but take it from me, the Guardian has it’s own ten-mile wide blind spots and can be just as self-righteously wankerish as any American broadsheet.

  59. 59

    @plato:

    Once again: NO AMERICAN OR AMERICAN ALLIED ASSETS WERE INVOLVED.

    Isn’t Japan a US ally?

  60. 60
    Tim C. says:

    @James E Powell: Yeah, even Media fluffing only allowed that debacle to last 3 years before opinion went south fast and hard. Not only that, the only reason the media had that much power was the 9/11 attacks. Not saying the FTFNYT would do as it always does, just saying it might not matter much.

  61. 61
    Another Scott says:

    @Roger Moore: [ron_ziegler] This is the operative statement. The others are inoperative. [/ron_ziegler]

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  62. 62
    Jay says:

    No Knock Search Warrant served on 8chan. Servers were confiscated. FBI will have access to every comment. How many QAnon loons shit their pants today? https://t.co/pVa3qoWvJo— LiA (@LibsInAmerica) June 15, 2019

  63. 63
    Raven says:

    @Roger Moore: It depends on which way the wind is blowing.

  64. 64
    Tony Jay says:

    @tobie:

    I know. Isn’t it just indescribably super?

    There is nothing, and I mean nothing at all, that can’t be made way worse by the simple addition of putting a ‘serious Conservative politician’ in charge. They’ll plunge us up El Treasono’s slack back channel and merkin-deep into another unwinnable war if it buys them ten good headlines for the scrapbook. Wankers.

  65. 65
    Tony Jay says:

    @NotMax:

    Another Murdoch ‘improvement’ to British cultural life. Sadly gone, all the tits are confined to the Opinion pages now.

  66. 66
    J R in WV says:

    @JoyceH:

    Bought your first majik book, liked it a lot, gave you a 5-star review.

    Best of luck going forward, write fast, I need moar books quick!!!! [sic]

    ;-)

    Seriously, I didn’t care for Pride and Prejudice, don’t like Dickens, don’t care at all for the British royallty and Upper Crust peers. But your novel about this young woman realizing that she had power, in a world built to keep her from having any power whatsoever, was very enjoyable.

    Keep up the good work!!! And thanks for the hard work that went into writing the books!

    ETA: Do like Holmes et al… so maybe that’s the vein you struck…

  67. 67
    MattF says:

    WaPo has GOP in Disarray headline, which is pretty epic. Story is about budget deadlock and catastrophe edging ever nearer.

  68. 68
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @James E Powell: I’d say everyone who remembers Gulf War I too. They loved it. See George Carlin’s and Bill Hick’s commentary.

    And that was just Iraq. Iran would make them faint from the blood not able to get to their brains.

    “If your Iran war boner lasts longer than…., then you’re a war mongering asshole who damn well better enlist immediately.”

  69. 69
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Tony Jay:

    all the tits are confined to the Opinion pages now.

    LOL

  70. 70

    @Plato:

    i highly doubt that Iran wants a war at this point.

    The point is that there isn’t a single Iranian voice- or action- on this any more than there is a single American opinion. The elected Iranian government almost certainly doesn’t want war, and I sincerely doubt the Supreme Leader or the Guardian Council want one, either. That doesn’t mean there aren’t elements within Iranian politics and the Iranian military that aren’t willing to risk war to avoid looking weak.

  71. 71
  72. 72
    Bill Arnold says:

    McSWEENEY’S:
    I Don’t Actually Have to Sell This War With Iran, Do I? (Matthew Brian Cohen, June 14, 2019)

    Fine, you want a reason? I’ll give you a reason. The Iranian government is a threat to destabilize the region blah blah blah. Come on. Your eyes glazed over halfway through the sentence. You’re bored and I’m bored. I don’t want to bang the drums of war and you don’t want to hear it. Let me just play you a sample from the drum machines of war. And the beautiful thing about those 808s is they can play on loop forever.

  73. 73
    Ruckus says:

    @zhena gogolia:
    Oh but he has a deal making reflex. It’s called duck and bluster. And he is horrible at it, with ample evidence having been gathered over the decades.
    @NotMax:
    Iranium
    You could probably sell drumpf a couple tons of that shit, he’s got a couple of other morons telling him how important it is to his massive ego.

  74. 74
    NotMax says:

    @Tony Jay

    Almost enough to make one believe in Coyote the trickster that the most storied of them was named Fox, innit?.

    :)

  75. 75
    Jay says:

    Facebook on front page of @WSJ today. Zuck told Congress first he knew about Cambridge Analytica was Guardian’s story. But share price sank yesterday as reports of emails surface that tell another story… https://t.co/pHdEFI6z6I— Carole Cadwalladr (@carolecadwalla) June 13, 2019

  76. 76
    joel hanes says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    an asymmetric strike-back at the US’s sanctions

    I just can’t see how that could game out to Iran’s advantage.

    Could someone really believe that Dolt 45 or his minions will moderate their stance rather than seek the most childish-possible retaliation? That such an action could possibly _lessen_ the chances of a US assault on Iran when Trump’s minions think they must wag the dog on Trump’s behalf ? That those minions could be any less successful at manipulating Trump (the most reactive, predictable, and thus most manipulable President in US history) than Cheney and Wolfowitz were in manipulating W? That such an assault on Iran, whatever the horrible cost to the US, could be anything but a complete tragedy for Iran?

    IMHO, whoever did these attacks (there have been several; this is just the latest) wants to escalate the conflict between the US and Iran.

  77. 77
  78. 78
    Another Scott says:

    In other news, … Twitter:

    Nicholas A. Christakis @NAChristakis

    Nicholas A. Christakis Retweeted Nick Martin

    This is just unbelievable. A human actually reviewed this suspension and said it was deliberate. Because of a journalist’s book cover! Such actions evoke book banning. First the suspension of @TheTweetOfGod, now this. Your ppl can do better @twitter. | @nickmartin @davidneiwertNicholas A. Christakis added,

    Nick Martin Verified account @nickmartin

    Twitter has temporarily suspended journalist and author @DavidNeiwert, who doggedly covers white supremacists and the far-right.…
    Show this thread
    11:51 AM – 15 Jun 2019

    This is my Shocked Shocked face.

    Jack . Does . Not . Care .

    Move to a different platform. Stop using Twitter and stop sending him money (via your content that he monetizes) if you want Twitter to change.

    Money is all he (and the other MotUs) care about.

    My $0.02.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  79. 79
    Jay says:

    The attack on Pearl Harbor was a direct result of US waging an economic war against Japan. We are currently in an economic war with Iran and although Trump thinks the current aggression agains Iran will somehow generate a "win". Iran is expert in second and third party effects.— Robert Young Pelton (@RYP__) June 15, 2019

    Trump's policy is to create false conflict, declare a victory and quickly move on to his next tempest. The problem is that the Arab dictators and Israel are not going to let up. Read the rhetoric in Saudi "media" outlets and their "coalition" to survive. https://t.co/Ao0G3WK1sy— Robert Young Pelton (@RYP__) June 15, 2019

  80. 80
    RedDirtGirl says:

    Just had to drop by and say the WaPo has a front page article, “GOP in Disarray”. Never thought I’d see that, anywhere!

  81. 81

    @joel hanes:

    I just can’t see how that could game out to Iran’s advantage.

    I don’t see how a war with Iran would game out to America’s advantage, but that hasn’t stopped elements within the American government from agitating for one. People often do stupid, counterproductive things because they’re ill informed, engage in wishful thinking, or get caught up in group think. Don’t assume people won’t advocate for something just because you think it’s self-evidently an awful idea.

  82. 82
    SWMBO says:

    @joel hanes: Could it be Putin? He gains the most if Iran destabilizes the region. What happens to the price of oil? Whose wallet benefits the most? Does Bibi get a pass on going to jail for corruption if there is a war? There are too many bad actors to pin it on any one. And they all will wink and nod if America provides the necessary troops and arsenal.

  83. 83

    @Jay:

    The attack on Pearl Harbor was a direct result of US waging an economic war against Japan.

    Wait what

  84. 84
    Jay says:

    @SWMBO:

    Iran’s not destabilizing the region, the US, UAE, Sawdi Arabia and Israel are.

  85. 85
    germy says:

    The Florida Democratic Party has pledged to spend $2 million to register 200,000 new Democrats by March 2020. https://t.co/c95cjXEFZ9— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 15, 2019

  86. 86
    Tony Jay says:

    @NotMax:

    In a just world that vile sack of shit would be put on trial for personally orchestrating the mainstreaming of far-right hateporn into all of our lives, found obviously way fucking guilty and sentenced to a lifetime being teabagged by mutated and partially leprous man-rats while in the background little pink unicorns burn his ill-gotten fortune one coke-dusted Amero at a time.

    But he won’t. He’s super, duper rich and old enough to Jimmy Saville his way out of paying the piper. Good job I’m a well-adjusted individual who doesn’t get all wrapped up in revenge fantasies, or that would just suck sooooo frigging bad.

    I also lie.

  87. 87

    @Major Major Major Major: Yeah, it had nothing to do with the expansionist policy of the Japanese Empire that had been occurring for over 50 years.

  88. 88
    Jay says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Japan was going to focus on China and Siberia to expand their Empire.

    When the US brought sanctions against Japan, (oil, fuels, steel, food), the “We Must Defeat the US First to Expand the Empire” won the internal debates.

  89. 89

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: and our trade policies certainly had nothing to do with their recent half-genocidal invasion of China.

    @Jay: those tweets read to me like somebody saying “9/11 was a direct consequence of America’s support for Israel.”

  90. 90
  91. 91
    Ruckus says:

    @Roger Moore:
    Hasn’t war most often been against people’s interests and it still happens with rather startlingly regularity? Primarily because the people who stand to gain have almost nothing to lose, while of course the people they send have everything to lose but they don’t give a shit.

  92. 92
  93. 93
    germy says:

    Gentlemen! You can’t fight in here… this is the War Room!

  94. 94
    Bill Arnold says:

    @joel hanes:

    I just can’t see how that could game out to Iran’s advantage.

    The idea I think is that if they dilute the possible provenance of the attack sufficiently (among many possible actors) that Iran does not dominate the list of potential culprits, the risk might be acceptably low and the reward a delivery of a message of dangerousness. Given the risk of being caught, and DJT, Pompeo, Bolton, Israel, SA and others, this seems a bad move both tactically and strategically, I agree. But Cheryl has a point about the nation of Iranian power; it is distributed across several centers of power, more so in some ways than the US. Adam would have more and better but these are a start:
    Iran’s Leadership: Inside the Complex Regime (Michael Sliwinski, February 11, 2016)
    And this from 2005 (powerpoint, Mehrzad Boroujerdi, actual diagrams) is fun just for the crazy org charts:
    The View From Tehran
    Given all that, without real evidence the Iranians do not place highly in sensible lists of actor likelihood.

  95. 95

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: …or obvious plans to do the same to the Philippines.

  96. 96
    Paul M Gottlieb says:

    When Brett Stephens talks you can see Bibi’s lips moving

  97. 97

    @joel hanes: What Roger Moore said.

    And while nobody may think that their particular stupid action will lead to war, that may not be how the other side takes it.

  98. 98

    @Major Major Major Major: True, and the Philippines were a US Territory at the time. The Japanese meddling in Korea dates back to the 1870’s or 1880’s culminating in making Korea a colony of Japan in 1910.

  99. 99

    @Major Major Major Major:
    There’s a glimmer of truth to this. Japan was not self sufficient; their military depended critically on a lot of imported raw materials. In response to their aggression in China, the US and UK imposed sanctions that cut off many of those supplies. That’s why the follow up to the Japanese surprise attacks on US and UK military forces were moves to seize areas where those raw materials were produced. Japan probably wouldn’t have attacked the US if we had kept supplying them.

  100. 100
    Mandalay says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Iran has proxies in the region who do stuff for their own reasons.

    But that is an argument that Iran is specifically not responsible for the attacks. An attack by a proxy without Iran’s consent is hardly the same thing as an attack by Iran.

  101. 101
    SWMBO says:

    @Jay: Yes. But. They are all conveniently using Iran as the focal point of destabilizion. And Iran is not going to fare well if they all gang up on them. We won’t either. Putin May decide that he gains the most to push for it. Or not. That’s why I asked who benefits from oil prices destabilizing

  102. 102
    Tony Jay says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Well, technically true, he just leaves out the bit about the US waging economic war against Japan because Japan was a really, really like for-real Evil Empire that had to be stopped one way or another and trying to do it economically had a potential upside in millions of lives not being uselessly lost in direct and collateral damage from getting kids who should have been doing something cool or at least productive blowing each other to fuck over and over again until one side didn’t have enough young people left to man all the battlements.

    Easy mistake to make. He probably just forgot to mention it.

  103. 103

    @Roger Moore:

    In response to their aggression in China, the US and UK imposed sanctions that cut off many of those supplies.

    Right, but comparing that to Trump’s trade actions against Iran is…. weird. It makes it sound like we weren’t already basically on a war footing with Japan. And of course leaves out the part where Japan was being a bunch of genocidal maniacs.

  104. 104
    chopper says:

    @Mike in NC:

    yeah! that guy has a real sense of porpoise.

  105. 105

    @Major Major Major Major:
    Yeah, it’s funny. I remember when it was the left that blamed America for everything.

  106. 106

    @Tony Jay: this reminds me of a great rant on the internet somewhere. An open letter to the history channel about how “word war 2” is completely unrealistic. For the second half of the story, the good guys are led by a kindly old man in a wheelchair, and the bad guys play soccer with the heads of children? Laying it on a little thick, aren’t we?

  107. 107

    @Roger Moore:

    Japan probably wouldn’t have attacked the US if we had kept supplying them.

    They would have at least made an attempt to take the Philippians, which at the time was part of the US. They had an expansionist policy going back to the late 1800’s.

  108. 108
    Jay says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    Robert Young Pelton is the guy who wrote the Dangerous Places guidebooks, the “Lonely Planet” type guides to the World’s Conflict Zones, while also reporting from those places, when few would.

    He writes for those who have more than a passing knowledge of conflict history.

  109. 109

    @Mandalay: So Iran denies the proxy’s actions. That’s what it would do whether or not it is responsible for those actions. For a responsible US government, the possibility that the proxy acted without authorization might play into the war calculations. Bolton will take any excuse he can find.

  110. 110
  111. 111

    @Jay: Sure, he doesn’t seem to have much of a grasp of the history part.

  112. 112
    NotMax says:

    @Tony Jay

    Nice to see the traditional British fine art of reserve, innuendo and subtle intimidation is not dead.

    :)

  113. 113
    zhena gogolia says:

    Wish there were a respite thread.

  114. 114
    Jay says:

    @Tony Jay:

    It’s twitter, not the Encycopedia of WWII in the Pacific.

    When the US brought sanctions against Japan, they did not believe that the sanctions would cause the Japanese Navy Faction to win the argument over the Kwangtung Army Faction, ( that had dominated the debates since the 1920’s) and quickly lead to war with Japan.

  115. 115

    @Jay:

    It’s twitter, not the Encycopedia of WWII in the Pacific.

    It’s yet another example why Twitter should die.

  116. 116

    @Jay:

    It’s twitter, not the Encycopedia of WWII in the Pacific.

    Right, which is why one should be very careful with one’s words, instead of writing what that guy wrote. Unless he wanted to get across that he truly believes what everybody here (save one) is reading into those tweets.

  117. 117
    germy says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    They would have at least made an attempt to take the Philippians, which at the time was part of the US. They had an expansionist policy going back to the late 1800’s.

    Yes! The Philippines was ours. We took it fair and square. (insert old photo of pile of skulls)

  118. 118
    Tony Jay says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Like most wars everywhere and forever the Pacific Front of WW2 didn’t have good guys and bad guys, it had nation states clashing over resources and trade routes and strategic advantage… but that said, Imperial Japan had become something that genuinely had to be cut down for the sake of the Japanese, if no one else. If a morally grey continental empire was the only power capable of doing that, I’ll take that deal because the aftermath was at least improvable on.

    In my defence, I’ve just watched Deadpool and am feeling pretty salty.

  119. 119
    NotMax says:

    @zhena gogolia

    Ditto. Got a moderately (or minimally, dependent on one’s view) interesting FYI link queued up that has no particular place on a political thread.

  120. 120

    @NotMax: fine, fine, I’ll do one if nobody else is…

  121. 121
    Jay says:

    @SWMBO:

    Putin is already winning.

    The US, Israeli, and UAE moves to destabilize the Middle East and North Africa , ( Iran, Qatar) are causing traditional US Allies to pull away.

    EG, Spain pulling a destroyer from combined patrols in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea.

    The US, not following through on their “threats” are causing people to pick Russia, ( eg. Haftar, Turkey, Iraq) not so much as allies, more as clients.

  122. 122

    @Tony Jay: WW2 is the closest we’ve ever come to having good guys and bad guys, though. IMO

  123. 123
  124. 124
    Brachiator says:

    My Twitter lit up this morning with Bret Stephens’s call to sink Iran’s navy. But nobody wants war, he assures us

    I’ve been buried in a number of projects all day and am only now catching up on news headlines.

    I still think that Trump is a coward who far prefers beating up people who cannot fight back, but I hope these neo con fools are not slow walking is into another war.

    Are any Republican leaders pushing back or do they still now and scrape before Trump?

    Took a look at the BBC news page and see that Conservative Party leaders there support Trump. It is very strange how some people are natural born toadies, eager to please a leader, no matter how unwise that leader might be.

  125. 125
    Jay says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    People who read/follow Robert Young Pelton are not your normal Twitteratti, they are mostly War Historians, Conflict Experts and Military/Intelligence personell,

    One writes for one’s audience.

  126. 126
    debbie says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Shapiro’s responding to Aaron David Miller’s tweet (also no slouch on warmongering):

    Here’s where Trump’s incessant lying hurts America. If he takes the country to war, Americans and their allies need to believe he’s telling the truth about the reasons and justification, particularly after Iraq. Would you?https://t.co/JrATkNur85— Aaron David Miller (@aarondmiller2) June 14, 2019

    Even if Trump were telling the truth, who would believe him, outside of his inner circle?

  127. 127
    Tony Jay says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Oh yeah, but to paraphrase Adlai, in that war it wasn’t enough to have the good guys on your side, you needed a majority.

  128. 128

    @Tony Jay: Well, I guess there are things like the US Civil War, but I was thinking internationally…

  129. 129
    Jay says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    The US wasn’t on a war footing with Japan, they were watching events in Europe like a hawk. Neither was Britain.

    Thats why 1942 was an endless sucession of Japanese victories.

    When Canada, at the request of Churchill sent the Royal Rifles and the Winnipeg Grenadiers to bolster the defence of Hong Kong, ( November 16, 1941) they sent their vehicles and heavy weapons on a seperate ship, which diverted to the Phillipines once War started.

    Nobody expected Japan to attack.

  130. 130
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @MattF:

    No one should forget that Iran paid an awful price for its war with Iraq.

    Yes, but Jared paid a worse price for 666 Park Avenue

  131. 131
    rikyrah says:

    Iran is not Iraq.
    Mess with the Persians if you dare.😒😒😒

  132. 132
    Ruckus says:

    @debbie:

    Even if Trump were telling the truth, who would believe him, outside of his inner circle?

    Not sure we’ll ever have to worry about that. His “truth” and actual facts seem to have a rather strong natural repelling reaction to each other.

  133. 133
    Tony Jay says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I don’t think we’re in any kind of fundamental disagreement. My point, if I’m really making one, is that there’s not a single cause in human history that was won or lost because it was ‘right’ or ‘just’. In some cases, though, the side that won was more right and just than the other, and the WW2 was one of them.

  134. 134

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    They would have at least made an attempt to take the Philippians, which at the time was part of the US.

    The would have tried that eventually, but I think it would have been a lower priority than China. In general, Japan was trying to expand at the expense of its weaker neighbors. China was obviously weak, while the US was not. Maybe they would have attacked if the US were heavily engaged with Germany, but otherwise I think they were going to wait until they weren’t tied down in China.

  135. 135
    EthylEster says:

    @Mandalay wrote:

    An attack by a proxy without Iran’s consent is hardly the same thing as an attack by Iran.

    Maybe not to you but I bet it sounds like exactly the same thing to Bolton and Pompeo.
    Remember, we are down the rabbit hole, as Adam S likes to say.
    Words can mean whatever THEY say they mean.

  136. 136
    Tony Jay says:

    @NotMax:

    Subtle? Was I doing it wrong? 8-)

  137. 137
    EthylEster says:

    @Brachiator wrote:

    But nobody wants war, he assures us

    Don’t make me stop this car and beat the crap out of you kids.

  138. 138
    EthylEster says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    WW2 is the closest we’ve ever come to having good guys and bad guys, though.

    The internment camps for the Japanese-Americans were not very close.

  139. 139
    Jay says:

    Saturday, June 15, 2019
    Hamilton Hate Groups Harass Pride Event Participants, Assault Counter-Protesters, Claim Victimhood
    In the aftermath of the events earlier this month, hate groups in Hamilton have escalated their campaign of harassment and violence. Today the target was Pride celebrations in the city. A group of protesters including hate street preachers Philip Ness Thomas and John Mark Moretti, members of the overtly racist and antisemitic Canadian Nationalist Party, at least one individual appearing to be connected to the III% militia, and Yellow Vests members including Rick Boswick and Derek Storie

    http://anti-racistcanada.blogs.....t.html?m=1

  140. 140
    JPL says:

    @rikyrah: Do we really think that trump knows the difference? It’s doubtful.

  141. 141
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Jay:

    People who read/follow Robert Young Pelton are not your normal Twitteratti, they are mostly War Historians, Conflict Experts and Military/Intelligence personell [sic]

    Along with the occasional spelling-challenged imbecile like a certain Knucklehead Of The Frozen North who regularly pollutes this blog…

  142. 142

    @Jay:

    Thats why 1942 was an endless sucession of Japanese victories.

    Early 1942 was very successful for Japan. They suffered a severe check in May (at Coral Sea) and a decisive defeat in June (at Midway). Admiral Yamamoto famously predicted that attacking Pearl Harbor would let the Japanese run wild for 6 months before the US was able to oppose them successfully, and they only got 5 months.

  143. 143
  144. 144
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Ruckus: Nazi Germany banned the showing of Hollywood’s film of Remarque’s book All Quiet on the Western Front (Im Westen Nichts Neues)

  145. 145
    Eunicecycle says:

    @JoyceH: I am really looking forward to it!

  146. 146
    Jay says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yup, there were factions of the Japanese Military who knew it would go bad, quickly,

    and yet, they still went to war against Britain, the Netherlands and the US.

    That was part of Robert Young Pelton’s point, actions can often result in unintended consequences.

    The theory by most, is that Needy Amin is trying to get Iran to cave in to US demands with out a war, by pulling his ususal bullshit,

    But there are actors in the US with different goals,

    Plus Sawdi Arabia, Israel and the UAE,

    and of course, Iran may not respond in a manner the US expects.

    Japan’s response to US Sanctions, was a huge gamble, with no possibility of winning, but they talked themselves into taking that gamble.

  147. 147
    J R in WV says:

    And everyone in our government acts like if we attack Iran, we win automatically. It is as if the Millennium Challenge 2002 war games never happened. The Pentagon spent hundreds of millions of dollars putting together a serious war game between the Red Force and the Blue Force.

    Red Force was commanded by retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, and was an unnamed middle eastern nation, probably intended to be Iran. He adopted asymmetrical techniques not expected by the approaching Blue Force, Air Craft Strike Group, Marine amphibious attack groups, etc.

    In a preemptive strike, Red launched a massive salvo of cruise missiles that overwhelmed the Blue forces’ electronic sensors and destroyed sixteen warships. This included one aircraft carrier, ten cruisers and five of six amphibious ships. An equivalent success in a real conflict would have resulted in the deaths of over 20,000 service personnel. Soon after the cruise missile offensive, another significant portion of Blue’s navy was “sunk” by an armada of small Red boats, which carried out both conventional and suicide attacks…

    Of course, Iran can read Wikipedia as well as we can…

    Note that The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group has not cruised through the Strait of Hormuz, they’re still cruising around the Arabian Sea, unless they have moved into the Persian Gulf recently. Wonder why?

    I really really hope Sec State Mike Pompeo and Nat Sec Bolton don’t convince Trump to attack Iran. I was a firefighter and damage control team member on my ship way back. Now I’m an old man, and I don’t want to hear about Navy ships loosing that kind of battle. I’m sure no one else does either!

  148. 148
    J R in WV says:

    @EthylEster:

    The internment camps for the Japanese-Americans were not very close.

    The Japanese-Americans weren’t being systemitically killed. Prison camps were not summer camp, but in this case they weren’t death camps, wether.

    The Imperial Japanese Army was using biological warfare in China, and killing off prisoners of war by working them to death without food. Bataan death march, for example…

    Imperial Japanese troops ate captured prisoners. For fun. Nazis of the Pacific. Comfort women enslaved for the pleasure of the troops.

    I think it’s really hard to exagerate the evil of the Japanese Empire, even if America isn’t perfect.

  149. 149
    Jay says:

    @J R in WV:

    They also engaged in cannibalism because they were starving.

    Kokoda Trail,

    And their Co-East Asia Cooperative Sphere was just bs.

  150. 150
    joel hanes says:

    Points above acknowledged.

    Please don’t forget
    – the Trump syndicate is nearly tripping over itself in its rush to finger Iran
    – the evidence video sucked in numerous ways
    – the account by the Japanese ship owner doesn’t jibe
    – the Germans are not corroborating

    Hey, remember Bush looking under the tablecloth for WMDs?
    Good times. Good times.

  151. 151
    Procopius says:

    @MattF:

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that intel sources in Russia and elsewhere deemed vulnerable to exposure have been offered escape routes and havens in the US.

    Well, are you counting Putin’s close friend who swore to John Brennan that Vlad was personally involved in the decision to wage cyber war against the Democratic campaign of 2016? After all, Brennan announced his/her existence in January 2017. Recent news stories in state-controlled newspapers (NYT and WaPo) claim the person is still there and still close to Putin, so obviously is still a valuable “asset” for the CIA. Clearly, it is vitally important that the very existence of this person not be revealed. This is the most valuable intelligence asset since the State Department broke the Japanese Purple (diplomatic) code in 1940. Amirite?

    Moving right along, a thousand thanks to Cheryl for the link to the Eliot Higgins piece at the New York Fishwrap. He neglected to mention another anomaly — the video supposedly from the U.S. Navy does not have a date-time stamp, which is unheard of for intelligence imagery. Intelligence analysts need to know that information when trying to assemble evidence. Also, the Navy statement says that Iranian patrol boats were seen “in the vicinity of” the two tankers. They did not say what other vessels were seen “in the vicinity of” the tankers. I am sure the Mujahedeen E Khalk, Bolton’s good friends and financial contributors, have competent bomb makers, but I don’t know how good they are operating on the water.

  152. 152
    Procopius says:

    @Tony Jay:

    Then the Foreign Office made its quite astonishingly unlikely declaration that MI6 were 100% certain of Iranian responsibility, which instantly turned it into a factor in the Tory leadership contest (the Foreign Secretary is a candidate) and so moved it out of bounds for journalistic investigation.

    Bear in mind these are the people who brought us the Skripal Affair. If you haven’t seen the problems with that claim, I refer you to The Blogmire and also Craig Murray. You’ll have to check their archives the the Skripal stuff. Blogmire did many, many posts on all the innumerable unanswered questions and contradictions. I believe something like 20% of British people believe the story, 3% don’t believe it, and 77% don’t care.

  153. 153
    Procopius says:

    @NotMax:

    … Coyote the trickster that the most storied of them was named Fox, innit?.

    Interesting (to me) that a Fox is one type of Chinese ghost. Similar to tha European Succubus.

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