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The Aspens are turning - turning their sights on Iran.  Fake letters.  Fake terrorists.  Fake exile groups.  Fake news.  Real bombs.  Real war.  It's been accelerating all year.  Our analysis of Plamegate and serial failures in Iraq aren't slowing them down at all.    Being reality-based is sure not going to protect us from the blowback.  In this diary I follow the Libby-Miller Aspen trail all the way to Iran.

Do not forget that we in the reality-based community are at a disadvantage.  While we analyse what has already happened, the Bush administration makes its own reality by moving forward to the next faith-based objective - the Ahwaz region of Iran which holds 90 percent of Iran's proven oil reserves.

Emiritus members of the Aspen Strategy Group include:

Richard B. (Dick) Cheney
Judith Miller
Condoleezza Rice
Paul Wolfowitz
R. James Woolsey

They meet each year in August.

More about Aspens, fake letters, fake terror, fake news and real war after the jump.

The neo-con wing of the Aspen Institute began targeting Iran decades ago - even holding a symposium in Persepolis, Iran, in 1975.  Now 30 years later, they are ready to move in and realise their ambitions.  

I think it will be air strikes on the supposed nuclear facilities, but only as a ruse to justify the occupation of the oil-rich Ahwazi region bordering southern Iraq as a "security zone".  

The USA and UK regimes are manufacturing a rationale for air strikes against Iranian nuclear and military targets.  I also expect occupation to the Ahwaz region.  The fact that so many are on to their fraud this time has forced them to accelerate beyond prudence.  I don't think they care that we know it's a fraud.  They just want to have plausible deniability once the bunker-buster bombs have done their damage.  They will say it is essential to occupy Ahwazi lands to create a "security zone" to prevent retailiation or aid to Iraqi insurgents.  The current US/UK campaign to tar Iran with guilt for bombs around Basra is a key element in this plot.  

The world may be disgusted and shocked by the carnage and devastation, but America and the United Kingdom can claim that they "had to act on the intelligence available" even if they had to manufacture the intelligence themselves through their agent Chalabi, their tame media pundits like Judith Miller and Michael Ledeen, and plants in fake exile groups in London.

While the Aspen Institute may appear bipartisan and include many individuals we approve, such as Al Gore, it provides cover for darker, more sinister enterprises.  What are described as "vacations out West" may be meetings of the neo-con wing of Aspens - those "joined at the roots" of the Middle East enterprise.  Their August holidays are used to plan the September disinformation campaigns that precede their wars.  As Andrew Card famously said in 2002, "You don't launch a new product in August."

Ahmad Chalabi - convicted embezzler and fraudster, alleged counterfeiter and known forgery practitioner - is also an Aspen.  He is now the Iraqi minister for oil.  I believe he is the principal source for all the forged documents we know about - the WMD forgeries before the war, including the Niger uranium letter, and now for the forged Zarqawi-Zawahiri letter and the forged Iranian letters causing problems in the oil-rich Ahwaz region of Iran, conveniently adjacent to southern Iraq.  Chalabi first came to the attention of Dick Cheney and the neo-con warmongers through the Aspen Institute according to the Wall Street Journal:

State Department and CIA officials mistrust the wealthy, American-educated Mr. Chalabi, who was convicted in a Jordanian banking scandal more than a decade ago. But Mr. Cheney and his senior staff have remained stubborn advocates of Mr. Chalabi, a man they first got to know in the mid-1990s at the barbecues and golf games held at private seminars hosted by groups such as the Aspen Institute.

Chalabi has been involved with Aspen Institute Berlin.  Jeff Gedmin, director of the Aspen Institute Berlin, will now become number 2 to John Bolton at the United Nations.  Of course, Judith Miller, ASG Emiritus, used Chalabi and psuedo-defectors supplied by his Iraqi National Congress as a principal source for all the warmongering articles published by the New York Times in the run up to invasion in 2002 and 2003.

The CIA and Israelis equipped Chalabi with a huge forgery operation in northern Iraq for production of much of the pre-war "intelligence" which supported the WMD threat. I don't have to wonder what it's being used for today with so many forged letters popping up in the region.

Chalabi is a frequent visitor in Iran.  One journalist even described his summer holidays there as "like the Aspen Institute Persia".  We know he passes intelligence to the Iranians, he may also have a hand in setting the stage for invasion of the Ahwazi region.  As oil minister in Iraq, the Ahwazi oil fields will come under his control once occupied by the coalition.  Ahwaz was part of Iraq at the turn of the last century, and I'm sure Chalabi and his Bushco friends would like its oil to be under Iraqi dominion again.

In April Michael Ledeen - yes, the neo-con warmonger Niger uranium forgery guy - called on President Bush to get on with it and attack Iran following riots in the Ahwaz region.  In his piece in the National Review he closes with, "Enough already.  Let's Roll."  

Ledeen quotes with approval the founder of a group set up here in Britain just last December:  The British Ahwazi Friendship Society.   BAFS was first to publish an English translation of a forged letter which was used to start riots in Ahwaz, Iran, and hyped the casualties and arrests in the Western media.  I thought then the forgery sounded like Chalabi's work and wrote about it here, here and here.  I was almost convinced I had wrongly maligned BAFS founder Mr Brett until I learned that he organised a similar Swazi exile group in 2002 which was implicated in riots, bombs and strikes in Swaziland.  See this (Swazi Solidarity), this and this.  Too much of a pattern for coincidence in my book, even if the guy pretends to be a bleeding-heart left-winger.

Are there British connections to Aspen?  Oh yes, my children!  Lord Charles Powell. Formerly of the Diplomatic Service and Private Secretary to then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, is a Trustee of the Aspen Institute.  His brother Jonathan is Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Tony Blair.    

Condi was in Britain this weekend.  I fear she is marketing the "let's roll" policy to Bush's poodle Tony Blair as Iran headlined their meeting.  With an oil crisis already roiling, she ratchets up the hysteria.

Judith Miller - who spoke at the Aspen Strategy Group in 2003 on "What About Iran Should (or Shouldn't) Concern You" - will indeed have "work to do", as Scooter suggested.  He wants her to focus on areas of interest already to the Aspen Institute: Biological threats and the Middle East.

Add to this the Ahwazi bombs of the weekend which killed six and injured scores.  Iran blames the British.  With British commandos being caught in wigs and costumes, carrying no ID, in a car loaded with explosives, detonators and automatic weapons across the border in Basra last month, the Iranians may have some legitimate grounds for suspicion on their side.  We have never been told what these commandos were engaged in - but the bomb-making equipment displayed in the police station afterwards for the media needed little elaboration.

Since the Basra fiasco, Britain has loudly accused Iran of involvement in attacks on British soldiers, asserting that the detonator technology used to kill 8 British troops came from Iran.  It was revealed yesterday that the detonators are in fact of British military origin, although provided to the IRA and other terrorist groups in a botched sting operation.

On BBC Newsnight last week, the foreign secretary Jack Straw indicated that British troops may well be operating across the border in Iran already. The Conservative shadow foreign secretary has written to Tony Blair demanding a clarification of whether British troops are operating in Iran.

I was therefore shocked and disturbed at Jack Straw's response when asked on Newsnight if British troops would be allowed to 'cross into Iran if it's necessary'. The Foreign Secretary replied that 'it's not for me to speculate on the tactics which the British military would use.'

Sending our Armed Forces across an international border clearly is a major political decision, with profound implications for Britain's international relations. It is inconceivable that military commanders would permit their troops to cross an international border without explicit political authorisation to do so. That clearly would be a decision solely for your Government.

General MacArthur had a dictum:  "When in doubt, attack."  I think the Aspens are following that dictum today.  While we analyse, they will change our reality.  Despite Plamegate and pending indictments and plunging popularity, the Aspens are turning - toward Iran.  They are setting the stage to seize the Ahwazi region as a "security zone" - and control at a stroke nearly a fifth of global oil reserves.

I pity the Ahwazi region.  The Iranian regime may be bad, as Saddam was bad, but the people have homes, schools, jobs, electricity, healthcare, clean water, sewers, food, the rule of law, and relative security.  The dominion of the coalition troops and Ahmad Chalabi is guaranteed to be much, much worse in every respect.

Originally posted to LondonYank on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 07:13 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  very troubling (none)
    Could the Iranians retaliate by blocking the Strait of Hormuz and so prevent any oil from leaving
    the gulf ?

    H.L. Mencken: "A nation of sheep begets a government of wolves"

    by igneous on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 07:22:00 AM PDT

    •  I don't know what the Iranian navy can do (4.00)
      It may be that the British were testing them a bit when a British boat was captured last year.  If the SAS commandos are active in Iran already, however, they have probably set up quite a few things to surprise the Iranians, as well as planting targeting devices at all major installations to be attacked in the air strikes.

      "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

      by LondonYank on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 07:25:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks LB (none)
        I recall that during the 1956 Suez crisis, Nasser was able to shut down the canal. I think the strait is at its narrowest, only one or two kilometres wide.

        H.L. Mencken: "A nation of sheep begets a government of wolves"

        by igneous on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 07:33:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (4.00)
        But you have to balance the presumption of SAS activity in Iran - which if the Basra incident is anything to go by is a recipe for humiliation - with the actual, open and permitted operation of Iranian intelligence on the ground in Iraq. It's not a symmetrical playground - the turf is heavily tilted in Iran's favour.

        And whilst we can posit the potential for the SAS to spring a surprise, we have to balance that with the potential for pro-Iranian forces on the ground in Iraq to wipe out the British/spring surprises of their own.

        I seriously doubt whether the SAS has ever set foot inside a key Iranian installation - the downside of such an operation would be somewhat severe; I would be amazed if Iranian intelligence does not routinely penetrate every coalition military installation it has chosen to scope -whether in the guise of Iraqi army, local politician, local contractor, local police or a combination of them all.

        The point is: have the SAS penetrated Iran is a speculative question, whilst Iranian penetration in reverse in incontrovertible.

      •  Great diary. (none)
        And thanks for throwing the propaganda tag on there.

        Along those lines, I am struck by the How(?) of this story rather than the why and wherefores.  To wit, how will the Americans and Brits, reportedly understaffed and underprepared for Iraq and experiencing continuing manpower shortages, have the resources available to carry out an attack against the much larger, stronger and well-equipped Iranians?

        Which leads me to the propaganda: do you think all this talk of insufficient U.S. and British forces is true?

        •  I don't think it's true that US forces are (4.00)
          under manned, if your mission is to destroy.  That's what ordinance is for.  Policing is another matter.  

          Recently, Rummy said that the US has active troop strength to handle a Katrina.  He also wants to have the right to quarantine a California should bird flu make it necessary.

          Ownership Society - You own your ship. I own our navy. Get the hell out of my way.

          by jobiuspublius on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 11:51:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yikes. (none)
            What a whacko.  Did you see that Wapo article yesterday that totally debunked any need for quarantine, and in fact said it would exacerbate the problem?
          •  it depends (none)
            Whether we are "undermanned" depends on what kind of war we will fight. [That of course is assuming that we are going to fight one with Iran at all- I am not convinced that we will.] If we use nuclear weapons in a first strike, manning is not an issue. It is only an issue if we try to do to Iran what we did in Iraq. I don't think even the Bush crowd are stupid enough to try that. The best way to deal with the Iranians is to depopulate the country with a thermonuclear first strike, and then seize the oilfields by conventional means, and pay off our chums in Iraq by letting them profit from the newly siezed oilfields, which are conveniently bordering Iraq.

            It is all speculation of course. I don't think any of this will actually happen b/c Fitz is probably gonna take down Cheney in the Plamegate business, and Cheney is the prime mover behind all the administration's war plans. Bush wouldn't have to guts to do any of this on his own.

      •  U.S. Special Forces (none)
        Weren't U.S. Special Forces in Iran planting targeting devices on key bunkers, labs, etc?

        "On résiste à l'invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas à l'invasion des idées." -Victor Hugo

        by Darksyde888 on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 01:51:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is why progressives lose. (none)
        Do not forget that we in the reality-based community are at a disadvantage.  While we analyse what has already happened, the Bush administration makes its own reality by moving forward to the next....objective

        This is so damn spot on I cant believe it.  This is why progressives lose all the damn time.  They create reality.  We react.  They create reality.  We react.  

        Once reality is created, its a hard thing to fight against.  They are pro-active.  we are not.

        -9.0,-5.54 A real soldier died in his Hummer so you could play soldier in yours.

        by environmentalist on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 01:53:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh yeah (none)
        Great diary, thanks. Never knew about the Aspen Institute. Just how many of these neocon outfits are there?

        "On résiste à l'invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas à l'invasion des idées." -Victor Hugo

        by Darksyde888 on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 01:53:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  blocking the Strait of Hormuz (none)
      Easy enough.  Haul a bunch of rusting hulks out into the strait and scuttle them.  Instant closure of the   Gulf.  Sink enough of them and it's closed for years.  Little real military hardware required.  (Booby-trapping them may always be viewed as an option, of course.)

      And Iran also has the IRBM's to take out literally every oil installation on the other side of the Gulf, even if the missiles are only HE-tipped.

      We drop the first bombs there and it's easy to see the coming end of much of the oil-based economy.

      If you vote Republican, you vote for corruption.

      by MN camera on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:55:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bushite scum don't care, they'll bomb Iran (4.00)
        Bush and his Bushite scum crowd are truly dangerous, they'll bomb Iran just like they invaded Iraq, first the fake WMDs, then the bombing and invasion starts.  This is a truly evil cabal that has control of our country, as they see the end of their control approaching in 2006 and 2008, they will take more reckless actions.

        So how do you top the disastrous invasion of Iraq?  Bombing Iran will do that.

        Impeach Bush- end the disasters

      •  Sure, but for the Iranians (none)
        that's the equivalent of murder-suicide.

        In the end, we'll always have Venezuela and Nigeria.

        What will they do?

        It hurts Japan the most, and they've stayed completely out of this.

        •  oh really? (none)
          In the end, we'll always have Venezuela and Nigeria.

          Nigeria maybe.  Maybe.  Venezuela's not a given.  And Chavez has been making some deals with the Chinese.

          In the end, maybe we'll always have Canada and Mexico, maybe.  They have also been talking with China, and would, I'm sure, be willing to turn their backs on us if it served their real interests.  And if we get nuts enough, who's to say they would think otherwise?

          It hurts Japan the most, and they've stayed completely out of this.

          They, like China and India, will be hurt but adapt.  We will have become a very large pariah.  

          If you vote Republican, you vote for corruption.

          by MN camera on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 09:16:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Blocking the Strait (none)
        Physically blocking the Strait of Hormuz is NOT an option.  At its narrowest, the Strait is 34 miles wide.  

        As for attacking American bases or oil installations across the gulf, Iran certainly does have a decent number of missiles (no one knows how many), but they have not demonstrated the pinpoint accuracy that would be needed to destroy a military base (they could certainly cause casualties, but not destroy the base).  

        Iran's best weapons for blocking the Straits would be to combine their old weapons of mines and small boat attacks with some more modern weapons like anti-ship missiles and submarines.  This would certainly hinder traffic through the Strait, but it would not block it completely.  Note that Iran failed to shut down the Strait during the Iran-Iraq War.  There is no reason to think Iran's submarines would last long against the US Navy, the same with their anti-ship missile  launching sites.  Iran would still be able to release mines from small boats, but they would have their operations sharply curtailed by sea and air operations from the US Navy.

        Having said that, I do believe Iran could massively raise the cost of transit through the Strait, and this potential cost is, so far, keeping the US from moving forward against Iran (along with the increased cost to our troops in Iraq).  However, if the calculus changes, and the Bush Administration decides it needs to go to war, don't count on this to stop it.  Iran can increase the costs, not close the Straits completely.  As such, they can increase the potential cost of a war, but block the possibility of it happening completely.

        •  34 miles wide (none)
          Perhaps.  Consider, though, that the part of that 34 miles that is navigable by deep-draft tankers is narrower.  And it would not take much "clutter" to create multiple "hazards to navigation" that could easily result in shipping companies being unwilling to send their vessels through there.  

          And if the "clutter" were arranged in such a way as to make ships move slowly through in easily defined patterned movements it would not take much to target them.

          It's really about raising things to the level of "unacceptable risk" - as if the existence of a war zone itself wouldn't be enough!

          If you vote Republican, you vote for corruption.

          by MN camera on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 01:44:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Oil tankers are easy targets... (4.00)
      ...for coastal artillery, commandos in small boats, torpedos fired from land, land based missiles, kamikaze type attack, sea mines and more.

      To prevent all this a 50 mile zone from the coast must be denied to the Iranians and this will require boots on the ground. A lot of coast, lots of boots on the ground.

      Dailykos.com; an oasis of truth. -1.75 -7.23

      by Shockwave on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 09:03:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Aspen (4.00)
    Good diary - recommended
    •  Who else is in the Aspen Group? (4.00)
      This is an odd list, populated by the familiar neo-con and PNAC characters, but also some moderates/centrist Democrats as well.

      Not surprised to see:

      Richard L. Armitage
      Samuel Brownback
      Richard B. Cheney
      Eliot A. Cohen
      Stephen Friedman
      Robert M. Gates
      David Gergen
      Richard Haass
      Kay Bailey Hutchison
      Robert Kagan
      Arnold Kanter
      Richard G. Lugar
      Judith Miller
      William Owens
      Condoleezza Rice
      Brent Scowcroft
      John W. Warner
      William Webster
      Paul Wolfowitz
      R. James Woolsey
      Robert B. Zoellick

      Surprised to see:

      Madeleine Albright
      Zoe Baird
      Ashton B. Carter
      John M. Deutch
      Dianne Feinstein
      Albert Gore, Jr.
      Chuck Hagel
      Jane Harman
      Nicholas D. Kristof
      Sam Nunn
      William J. Perry
      Jack Reed
      Alice Rivlin
      Dennis Ross  
      Strobe Talbott
      Fareed Zakaria

  •  Let's be clear (2.12)
    Iran is a very real threat to America. Iran has well known connections to terrorism funding both Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda. Iran also has weapons of mass destruction and is working nuclear weapons. Iran is also involved in aiding the insurgency in Iraq. You can't ignore this just because some Bushites believe it.
    •  I'm not aware of Iranian terrorism (3.90)
      Iran funded Hezbollah's defense of Lebanese territory when it was illegally invaded and occupied by Israel.  Other than that, I'm haven't seen much evidence for Hezbollah funding except hyperbole from Bushco and Blair - and I don't trust them as you clearly do.

      There are no clear links between Iran and Al Quaeda that I know of.  I read Juan Cole fairly closely, and I can't recall him detailing anything on this.

      As for Iraq, Iran would be stupid to stay out of the game with Britain and the USA building huge military installations on their doorstep.  I don't have a problem with them getting into Iraq and organising anyone they like aimed at ousting the occupying foreign armies there.  We are there illegally.  We are the criminals.  Iran - if it's there at all - is there by invitation.

      "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

      by LondonYank on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 07:29:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow (2.10)
        This is the scariest post I have ever read.
        •  I'm not a fan of the mullahs (4.00)
          I just appreciate that Iran has existed peacefully within its own borders for 25 years, without starting a single war anywhere.  

          They defended themselves against Saddam's invasion (prompted by the USA), and have aided neighbours who requested it, but they have not deployed their military abroad ever.

          The same cannot be said for the United States or the United Kingdom.

          "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

          by LondonYank on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 07:35:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Excuse me? (none)
            Hasn't Iran done a bit of arms-suppying to the Palestinians?  Is that merely a response to a request from a neighbor, or isn't that a bit more adveturous?
            •  Even if it has (4.00)
              How does that make it a threat to the United States?

              --

              You see, what confuses the world is the incongruity between the swift flight of the mind and matter's vast clumsy slowness...

              by Hauer Santos on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:35:16 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  yes (4.00)
              it is helping a legitimate insurgency against an illegal occupation.

              Donald Driver for Wisconsin - Senate 2008 (Feingold for President)

              by Groper on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:58:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Amazing. (4.00)
                Amazing to see the collective pardoning of Iran in the wake of justifiable disgust with American foreign policy.  You know, two evils can exist.  There is no legitimate way to sanctify invading Iran (or Iraq) for that matter, but that doesn't mean the Iranian government is an innocent party in all of this.
                •  I think the comment you were (none)
                  responding to is justifying the Palestinian independence struggle.
                  •  Yes, (none)
                    by funding attacks on civilians.
                    •  Evil means, (none)
                      UN-sanctioned end.  It's a complex world.

                      And it's not as if Israel's conduct is all that blameless either.

                    •  you mean civilians like (4.00)
                      this one? .  The "founder" of Israel who personally participated in attacks on Palestinians and orchestrated the forced removal of thousands of Palestinians from their lands?  The "civilians" who currently squat on land that no other nation on Earth recognizes as a legal part of the nation of Israel???  Try to learn all sides of a story before you decide who the good guys are.  Bottom line:  no one's hands are clean here, and the Palestinians have the same "right" to use violence to advance their cause that the Zionists did. (and by Zionist, I mean that small minority of middle class American and European Jews who funded the violent activities of people like Ben-Gurion, not every ethnic, or ven every religious Jew, so don't even think of calling me an Anti-Semite)

                      I have sworn upon the alter of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man

                      by TheGryphon on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 09:41:25 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  And do you consider this false? (none)
                  Freeh says Iran ordered bombing

                  Not the world biggest fan of Louis Freeh but he's putting out a story that doesn't make Iran or the administration look good.

                  •  Addendum (none)
                    This is an old link but he was pushing the same line on MTP yesterday.
                  •  Any proof other than his word? (none)
                    Because I'd need some. And it wouldn't matter who said it.
                  •  Curious (4.00)
                    I've always been very suspicious of this claim, which has been floating out there since 1996.  It never made any sense to me that Iran would attack Khobar Towers.  Why would they?

                    I've asked a former senior intelligence official who simply told me it's because they hate us.  But that makes no sense.  Hatred is a reason for 500 attacks or for no attacks, but not for one attack.  They wouldn't get any benefit from one attack, they'd need a string of attacks to drive us out.  They only reason to limit it to one attack would be because they didn't have the resources to do more (highly implausible considering the size of Iran) or they changed tactics immediately after the first attack (possible, I suppose, but I'd like to see evidence).

                    Further, the Khobar Towers attack came during a period when Iran was actively trying to improve relations with Saudi Arabia and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).  Setting off bombs would seem to be a bad way to do that.

                    In short, I'm highly skeptical of the claim that Iran was behind the Khobar Towers attack.  I would love to see any proof, or even a logical hypothesis, if anyone knows of one.

              •  There is no legitimacy (1.83)
                Any group that uses suicide bombs is illegitimate. Period.

                The Palestinians would have had their own state years ago if they'd pursued peaceful means, and recognized that Israel also has a right to exist. Peacefulness by the Palestinians would have turned the rest of the world, especially the Christian world, strongly in their favor.

                But any groups that uses suicide bombs is vermin. There can be no response by civilization that legitimizes such inhuman tactics. Widespread use of suicide bombing only works when an entire culture stands behind it. Such cultures deserve no territory at all in this world.

                If they want to reform, they must do so first. Until then, vermin.

                •  While I agree with (3.66)
                  your moral judgment re: suicide bombers, I would find the following statement wrong if it weren't just plain meaningless:  

                  "The Palestinians would have had their own state years ago if they'd pursued peaceful means"

                  Everybody knows this, especially the Palestinians, which is why some of them have turned to suicide bombing.

                  I might also add that there's no legitimacy to plenty of other forms of bombing, too: any nuclear bombing, for instance, and any convential bombing of civilian targets, and such cultures engaging in such practices are no more deserving of territory in this world than those that support suicide bombing.

                •  well (4.00)
                  I'm fairly certain that if the palestinains had access to tanks and F-16s they'd use those instead of suicide bombers.

                  "The Palestinians would have had their own state years ago if they'd pursued peaceful means,"

                  proof please. the Oslo agreement wouldve cut the west bank into 3 territores each surrounded by Israel. they wouldve even lost the border connection to jordan. such a situation is laughable.

                  When I hear the phrase "culture of life" I want to reach for my gun.

                  by PoliMorf on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 10:12:08 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I suppose it's much better to (4.00)
                  kill civilians with tanks and snipers. Car bombs instead of suicide bombs. Maybe drop a bomb on a crowded aprtment building. (Nothing says legitimacy like 9 dead children) There's no shortage of horrible tactics used by eihter side. By your standards neirther side deserves a state. Maybe if the US gave the Palestinians $3 billion a year in millitary aid they would use tanks and F-16s too.

                  Donald Driver for Wisconsin - Senate 2008 (Feingold for President)

                  by Groper on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 02:25:56 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  You need to define "suicide bomber" (4.00)
                  Doolittle bombed Tokyo knowing full well there wasn't enough fuel in the planes to return or even make a safe landing in China. Yet he was hailed as a hero in America.

                  There were any number of missions carried out where there was no hope of survival for the soldiers involved. If they blew stuff up, are they suicide bombers?

                  Or do you just mean the indiscriminate killing of civilians? We've done a fair bit of that in Germany, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, and most recently in Iraq. Yet we hold parades about it.

                  I agree with your revulsion to the tactic, but you need to define it rather narrowly to avoid being part of the problem.

                  A good exercise is to contemplate just how far you would go if it was your homeland being invaded and occupied. Would you accept a UN ruling as somehow making it all OK? Even if you were forced to live in a camp and had no way of getting a job or supporting your family?

                  The issue is not simple. So don't try to make it seem like it is.

                  "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite." - Bertrand Russell

                  by Mad Dog Rackham on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 02:53:46 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Try reading your own. n/t (none)
        •  There's a Book You Should Read (4.00)
          Called All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror

          This will give you an appreciation for the problems created in Iran by the UK and the US. Once I understood that our government has had it's hands in the honey pot over there since at least 1958, and the Brits long before us, I began to understand why there could be so much anger against us. This knowledge could be used to help create a new way of dealing with the problem that we now have with Iran. For instance, if our manipulative, combative, and illegal means that we've used in the past to control Iran hasn't worked, what makes us think that it will, this time?

          We have to learn to think of other countries as places, homes, and centers of culture instead of as strategic pawns - especially when over 50 years of political and military interference has produced this powderkeg of a situation that we may now be confonting.

          I advocate that we back the heck off and issue formal apologies, for a start.

          --

          You see, what confuses the world is the incongruity between the swift flight of the mind and matter's vast clumsy slowness...

          by Hauer Santos on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:34:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Knee jerk liberalism (none)
          I agree with you!  Iran has supported all sorts of terror groups, even Al Queda.  It amazes me that people can denigrate Chalabi for being an "Iranian double agent" and yet then act as if Iran has been a passive player in the ME game.

          However, I cannot imagine the military brass are going to let Bush get us involved on the ground in Iran.  We just don't have the manpower to do it, even if we started a draft now.  Iran is going to meddle in Iraq but they know they can't get too involved.  We attack them and all bets are off and those people are nuts.  Imagine TV images of human wave assaults on US troops, battlefields covered in dead bodies.  If Bush thinks his numbers are low now...

          I still think there is more to this game than just PNAC, there are moves here that don't make sense from people who think VERY long term like Cheney.  We are missing something I believe.

      •  Okay.... (none)
        Iran has been under sanctions of the he Iran & Libya Sanctions Act of 1996. It is one of the few nations that the US has consistently accused of terrorism. They've been a listed terrorist state since 1984.

        Guess who put those 1996 sanctions in place?

        http://www.parstimes.com/law/ilsa96_factsheet.html

        So all this self-flagellation about Bush's illegal invasion won't change that part of history.

    •  Explain please (3.76)
      How is Iran a threat to the United States?  What interest does Iran have in threatening the United States outside the kind of threat that North Korea deployed to counter the American threat to it.  Please think through your points.  That Iran might be a threat to Israel is arguable; but at last count Israel is not part of the United States and we do not have a mutual defense treaty with Israel, so an attack on Israel would not constitute an attack on the United States.

      Your comment is full of all the usual balderdash that got us into the Iraq mess in the first place.

    •  Stop thinking like neocons (4.00)
      Iran is no threat to America.  They will become a threat if we keep pushing them into a corner based on fake and flimsy assertions.  They have lived within quite peacefully for a long time and that is all they want.  Let's not create problems where they don't exist.  We have created enough already.
    •  The real threat to America is America (4.00)
      especailly with the neocons at the helm.

      The Christian Right is neither Witness Every Day

      by TXsharon on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:02:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So what's the price tag?? (4.00)
      What are you willing to invest in this? $600 billion and 200K troops for the next 5-10 years? How about 50-100 US troops killed per month for the next decade.

      Note this is on top of the Iraq debacle which should end about 2015 and will fcontinue to cost us $100 billion a year.

      For what?? WMD? Terrorists? Spreading democracy?? Getting rid of mobile chemical weapons labs and rape rooms? What's the new rationale?

      Where do you want to go next? Syria? How about pissing away another $500 billion, 2,000 US soldiers, and tying up a couple hundred thousand US soldiers (which we don't have) for ten more years?

      Then where?? Saudi Arabia? They fund terrorists...how about Pakistan? plenty of terrorists there and WMDs to boot.....Indonesia? Lots of terrorists...hell Indonesia is a terrorist hotbed.

      Too bad we don't have a couple of trillion dollars and an Army of 5 million troops to spare because this is getting fun!!

      Chechnya?? terrorists galore!!!

      Somalia?? They practically made terrorism a form of goverment

      Sudan??? Yemen??? North Korea???

      Those damn terrorists and fictional WMDs sure don't fit into that old tired nation state model do they??

      How about this? Lets invade every single country in the world that has muslims?? There's only about a billion of them and who cares that its the fastest growing religion on the planet. Shit, we could scrape up the reminents of the Alabama National Guard and send them on a world tour!!

      Eventually terrorism goes away right?? If we keep throwing money, bad policy, and lives at the problem it goes away right?? I'm mean there's a payoff at some point?? There has to be! I mean why would you do it if there's no payoff in the end?? I mean there's going to be a VE Day for the "War of Terror" isn't there?

      •  No, No, I disagree. (none)
        With all that money (did you mention a couple of trillion dollars) and manpower, why don't we just build one of those big glass cities on the floor of the seabed? That way, we may escape terrorism and the greenhouse effects at the same time.  
        •  Even better! (none)
          Lets build a Death Star! "A fully armed and operational battle-station!"

          "Its when murder is justice that martyrs are made..." Lamb of God

          by Darth Codis on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 12:29:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I started to say "nice" let's begin on (none)
            the project now. Then I remembered that Russia would probably not stomach it. It certainly objected to our Star Wars laser program.  

            Moreover, our cronies in government would probably use the trillions we'd given them for the death star and go and buy the "real" cardboard one (i.e. from the original Star Wars film) from an auction for 1 or 2 million just so they could say "we got it". Then they would divide the money left over among family members and friends.

      •  great, great questions! (none)
        why don't we hear them on the senate floor, parliament session, prime minister's question-time, presidential debate, msm talking parrot punditfest, press editorial?

        add up all that moolah, and you wonder who and what do they think will pay for it?

        the american public, hip-deep in credit? the chinese? the indians?

        megalomania, in all its most rapturous, narcissistic, self-destructive and cruelly blind form, coming to a theatre conveniently far from you.

        ratcheting up for the singularity...

        er, that must be a combination of singing and hilarity!?

        right?

        why? just kos..... *just cause*

        by melo on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 06:43:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  oh please (4.00)
      Actually, Iran has no documented links to Al Qaeda at all - there's just a lot of rumint that requires you to fall for the canard that a fanatical Wahhabi who considers all Shia to be idolatrous heretics will play nice with them; the CIA, MI6, ISI and various gulf intelligence agencies have had well-attested operational links to AQ since the early 1990's - the best examples being MI6's cooperation with Anas al Liby in the attempt to assassinate Qadafi, the CIA's co-optation of AQ to fight in the Balkans wars of the mid-90's, neocon/CIA support of Chechen islamists ( and their AQ acolytes ) against Russia...the list could go on and on; but just answer one question: how come the British government didn't arrest Omar Saeed Sheikh when he returned to the UK in 2000 after being imprisoned in India ( for kidnapping British tourists ), especially considering his release was the result of a terrorist hijacking of an Air India plane? Bear in mind that he then went on to allegedly murder the US journalist Daniel Pearl and was allegedly a key money-man for the 9/11 plotters.

      Iran has plenty of connections to Hizbollah - but the last time I checked, they weren't in the business of bombing nightclubs in Bali or mass transit systems in Europe, or flying planes into tall buildings - the only thing that they ever did was fight against the Israeli occupation of Lebanon.

      Iran's principal allies in Iraq are of course the current government and the Badr corps, who are actually one of the Iraqi groups fighting against the Sunni insurgency.

      •  Iran IS dirty (3.00)
        Iran has been the consistent transit point for AQ going to and from Afghanistan.  Even to the point of not stamping passports.

        I am NOT advocating attacking Iran, we already fucked them over enough with the Shaw.  Even if they were a major threat, we just don't have the manpower to do it.  However, that isn't the same as saying they are pure of heart.  Iran probably supports less terror that Saudi Arabia but does so more officially.  Syria is right up there as well.

        However, these are issues that anyone familiar with the region knew BEFORE we invaded and anyone who didn't incorporate that into their invasion plans is a complete and utter idiot!

    •  Which Iran (4.00)
      the Official Iran which is in the hands of hard-line miltarists and fundamentalists who are completely out of step with their people and so deeply unpopular that they survive in power solely by manipulating the election process? (boy Doesn't THAT sound familiar?)

        Or the incredibly pro-western progressive Iran of well educated cosmopolitan citizens who want nothing more than to open a McDonald's and a Starbucks in every neighborhood, and have friendly relations with the US?

      We'd been making pretty good progress reaching out to the 2nd group (who had captured the presdiency)  when GW started Saber rattlin' and Axis-of Evil Designatin'  and generally radicalizing the Iranian Middle and making the hardliner's stance that nuclear weapons were necesaary for self defense, VERY popular in Iran.

      Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

      by Magorn on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:16:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly, the wonderful reporter (none)
        John Simpson (from Simpson's World on the BBC) has pointed this out several times whenever he visits- and it is apparent he is telling the truth because he often stops people walking down the street at random and has a chat with them. These people immediately see that he is a Westerner and almost always responded in kindness.

        Moreovee, I had a friend from Iran who was imprisoned there after the revolution and later fled. He said that back in the 70's there were more dancing discos in Iran than in Europe.  

    •  Okay -Let's be clear! (4.00)
      There is no friggin' way that a further broading of this failed "War on Terror " nonsense goes any further. They lie. They lie! WMDs, yellow cake, aluminum tubes -no credibility at all. NO CREDIBILITY AT ALL! NONE! NADA! NIL!  Disconnect your Kool-Aid drip and join us here back in reality-based community.
    •  Let's be honest (4.00)
      Iran is a very real threat to America.

      America is a very real threat to Iran would be more honest. You've never stopped attacking their country in half a century, and they have never interfered in your country, though no impartial jury in the universe would blame them if they did.

    •  Repeating a lie (4.00)
      Iran has well known connections to terrorism funding both Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda.

      Tell me more about how much Al Qaeda loves Shiites.

      •  Eleven Iranian diplomats beheaded (none)
        by AQ and the Taliban in Mazr-e-Sharif in 1996 (?).  The diplomats were attempting to negotiate some mutual security and trade pacts.  Yeah, I'm so sure that Iran would be helping AQ now.

        Progressives encourage dissent to improve society through constructive engagement. Conservatives encourage dissent to identify and silence the traitors.

        by sxwarren on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 09:27:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Iran and Al Qaeda (1.00)
          Yes, Iran and Al Qaeda hate each other, but they both hate and fear us more. Their geopolitical interests, and plain need for survival, outweigh any hate for each other. Sort of like the way we and the UK were allies of the USSR in WW II. That is why Iran is helping Al Qaeda in Iraq. They know it will be a lot harder for the US to take on Iran if we don't have stable control in Iraq, and conversely, if we have a stable ally in Iraq, we will be free to use it as a base to invade Iran.
          •  Put down the Kool Aid (none)
            The only people who seriously espouse this BS are the neocons. It makes NO sense that Iran would help anti-Shiite insurgents in Iraq. It makes no sense, troll boy. The fact that you're here spouting this BS tells me the talking points have arrived. Let the neocons burn in their hell of lies forever. You too.

            A pessimist sees a glass half empty. I see a paper cup with holes punched in it.

            by Paper Cup on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 06:08:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Circles (none)
            The logic of this is almost brilliantly circular.

            1. We must invade Iran.
            2. Therefore, Iran must fear for its survival.
            3. Iran would even ally with its hated enemy, Al Qaeda.
            4. Since Iran would ally with Al Qaeda:
            5. We must invade Iran.  
    •  Horse Manure (4.00)
      Iran hates al-Qaeda and vice versa.  The former is ruled by Shiite clerics, the latter are Wahabbi fanatics who despise Shia Islam.  They are as likely to become allies as Oliver Cromwell would have been to form an alliance with the Pope.

      Iran probably does have a stockpile of chemical weapons, however, these are not WMDs.  Their ability to kill is limited to the immediate area in which they are released.  As for their nuclear program, that is years away from producing usable warheads, and any use of them would bring down retaliation that would effectively wipe the country off the map.

      And the Iranians are not aiding the Iraqi insurgency.  Why should they?  Our invasion and occupation has put their Shiite allies in the driver's seat.  If anything, the mullahs are backing the government we have installed.

      "L'enfer, c'est les autres." - Jean Paul Sartre, Huis Clos

      "L'enfer, c'est le GOP!" - JJB, from an idea by oratorio

      by JJB on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:37:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your source?? (none)
      I doubt any of us has first person experience with any of this. I don't trust a word I read or hear.

      I feel like we are in a psychodrama. The American public pulls the trigger believing they are preventing an atrocity but in reality they were being played all the time. We were duped into the Iraq War. Don't be so easily duped again. The Iranians sure are not saints but you could probably construct such a case about any country on the planet. If Iran weren't sitting on oil it wouldn't matter a bit.

    •  hey upstate nydem (3.60)
      "Iran is a very real threat to America"? Since when? I seem to remember that Iraq was also presented as a threat, and that turned out to be total crock of shit: a big pile of outright lies concoted by the Bush administration. My advice to you is to look at a map of Middle Eastern oil fields. That should help you to understand where the real priorities of the Bush administration are. The only REAL threat to America is the
      Bush administration. So you can either go to your local army recruiting station and tell them how eager you are to help Halliburton secure the Iranian oil fields, or you can pull your head out of your ass and pay attention.  
    •  If you want the US to go to war with Iran (3.50)
      I humbly suggest you get off the Internet and enlist in the Army.
    •  Wow how to respond to all of this (2.08)
      First off, it is disgusting group think, that got a very valid post of mine troll rated.

      Second, even more disgusting in this post is the constant pointing to America and Israel as the world's great evils and Iran as an innocent victim. It is ironic though that the very freedom you have to post on this blog would get you tossed in jail in Iran.

      Third, Iran funds terrorism, period. There is no disputing this fact. Putting aside Al-Qaeda for the moment, Iran funds Hezbollah, a terrorist organization. Hezbollah attacked a US Marines barracks killing over 200. Hezbollah launches attacks from Southern Lebanon into Israel on nearly a daily basis. Hezbollah is also in Iraq attacking American troops.

      Fourth, instability in Iraq is in Iran's interest because the sooner Iraq comes together the less power the Shiites will have the government and the more likely there will be elements in the Kurdish and Sunni controled areas to stop them. The insurgency in Iraq also helps recruits new extremists as well as trains them.

      Fifth, I in no place advocated invading Iran, I simply point out the very real fact that they are a threat to the US.

      Sixth, it is this type of stuff that allows Democrats and Liberals to be tarred as weak on defense. My Liberalism has always been defined by one quote, "The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." So this crap about "inside their borders" Iran is a brutal dictatorship which funds terrorism, and whether or not it is the right thing to do I fully believe it is within our right to liberate the Iranian people.

      •  If you're really a Democrat (4.00)
        and want to liberate someone, start here at home.
      •   uh huh (4.00)
        "Putting aside Al-Qaeda for the moment"

        so you admit you are wrong about that?

        "Hezbollah attacked a US Marines barracks killing over 200"

        20 years ago. Got anything more recent? 20 years Osama and Saddam were on our side.

         

        "Hezbollah is also in Iraq attacking American troops"

        got any proof of that? note that Lebanese Hezbollah is Shia, why are they aiding the Sunni resistence? Also Iraqi Hezbollah is a political party supported by the Marsh Arabs and is a memeber of the United Iraqi Alliance ie the ruling party.

        "Fourth, instability in Iraq is in Iran's interest because the sooner Iraq comes together the less power the Shiites will have the government and the more likely there will be elements in the Kurdish and Sunni controled areas to stop them. The insurgency in Iraq also helps recruits new extremists as well as trains them."

        Bull shit . Shia make up 60% and the Kurds and Sunni Arabs hate each other. The kurds havent forgotten being gassed by the Sunni. and those new exremists are Sunni NOT Shia. you do understand the diference right?

        When I hear the phrase "culture of life" I want to reach for my gun.

        by PoliMorf on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 09:58:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Upstate - I didn't troll rate you (3.00)
        I respected your right to have a view, however inaccurate, biased, ill-supported and deluded I may consider it to be.

        As far as killing US troops goes, do you remember the US Liberty?  Seems to me Israel maintained surveillance for several hours and then bombed and killed a whole lot of our sailors and cripple our ship - and then shot up the life rafts and strafed those aswim in the water from gunships.  

        Israel was never punished either.  Instead we made the best of a bad situation, covered up the ugly facts, threatened the crew with prosecution, and continued to be allies.

        Maybe that's an example of how peace gets made.

        "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

        by LondonYank on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 10:10:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't hear the phone ring. (4.00)
        and whether or not it is the right thing to do I fully believe it is within our right to liberate the Iranian people.

        Did you take their call on your cell?
        Upstate: "Hello, Right-or-Wrong Liberation Services."
        Iranian People: "We're liberalizing over here and the general trens is away from the mullahs. Keep cool, ok?"
        Upstate: "Fine, we'll begin bombing in 10 minutes--it's the wrong thing to do!"
        Iranian People: "What?"

        Mother Nature bats last.

        by pigpaste on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 11:02:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Your Characterization of the Responses (2.00)
        ...to your post is as inaccurate as your reading of the historical, moral, and pragmatic facts surrounding America's foreign policy toward Iran.  I 2-rated you above, but this last spasm of instantly recognizable misinformation gets you the dreaded Troll.
      •  What troll rating? (none)
        First off, it is disgusting group think, that got a very valid post of mine troll rated.

        It's completely false of you to claim your post was troll rated. At present it stands above 2.00. You might say you meant that some people had given you a zero, but that's not group think: if it were, all, or at least most commenters would have given you a zero or one. That is far from being the case.

        As I write, you have 22 ratings, a mean of 2.22, a median of 2, and a mode of 4 (that last means more people rated your post "Excellent" than any other single rating). You got eight zeros or ones, eight twos or threes, and five fours. Hardly a troll-bombing, for all your wails!

        I think you need to think more carefully what phrases like "group think" actually mean.

        •  Six fours, sorry n/t (none)
        •  Maybe that's the average now... (none)
          ...but when he wrote "disgusting groupthink", the average of his initial posts was a lot lower, in the 1.5 range.  It's been raised up by me and others who thought that these low ratings were out-of-order, given the stricture to rate people based upon the the quality and seriousness of the argument, whether or not you agree with it.  This was a serious argument, and it didn't deserve 0's and 1's.
          •  WTF? (none)
            I gave him a troll rating (my first ever). I respectfully disagree with you and feel the troll ratings are entirely called for precisely BECAUSE the seriousness of the argument is nil. It's neocon fiction. If you believe he posted "serious arguments" then I have my doubts about you as well.

            He parrots the neocon talking points and you think that's OK? Those false arguments are the exact kid that ginned up the war in Iraq and they should be acknowledged for what they are: bogus. Bogus = Troll in my book. Or are the refutations by others here that have skewered his points so thoroughly not enough for you?

            A pessimist sees a glass half empty. I see a paper cup with holes punched in it.

            by Paper Cup on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 06:29:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Time for you to enlist (none)
        For the first time ever I gave a troll rating. Your post is NOT prefectly valid because it's unconnected to reality. It's so damn obvious that you're spouting neocon talking points I'm half tempted to troll-rate anyone who didn't also put the well-deserved label of "troll" on you. It's so obvious it's pathetic.

        A pessimist sees a glass half empty. I see a paper cup with holes punched in it.

        by Paper Cup on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 06:20:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Disagree with you on substance and wording, but (4.00)
      no way you deserve to get troll-rated for trying to make the point that there are regimes that are potentially dangerous to the U.S. Also no way this post deserves some of the responses, which suggest the original poster was advocating military action by the U.S. against Iran. I see nothing in the original post, explicit or implied, that leads to that conclusion.
    •  Gave you a 3 (none)
      for guts. And I have no fucking idea whether or not Iran is a threat to the U.S.
    •  Iran may not live up to western democratic ideals (3.66)
      In Iran currently there certainly is a repressive religious regime. Yes they do commit warcrimes against their own people, and harshly repress dissent ( see iranian revolution, student protests). However, so do many other regimes around the world, including, as we all know, those in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, Syria, China, all over Africa, Columbia, and even (to a lesser extent, through veiled methods) the United States.

      What is different about Iran is they do actually have elected leaders and a parliament. They have made more steps towards the western ideal "democracy" than say, saudi arabia. Although there are severe limits on who can run for president, who can be appointed as ajudge in the courts, and limits on the power of the parliament via the supreme power of the Ayatollah, the Iranian political structure is far closer to any sortof Western Ideal than say, Saudi Arabia (which is governed by patriarchal islamic fundamentalist rule). Iran now is closer to what Iraq will be down the road (parliamentary democracy with strong theocratic limits) than Saudi Arabia, Syria, or even Jordan. So to say Iran is oppressive, sure. But to say it is more oppressive than our other dictatorial friends and allies all over the world is just a way to frame facts into, propaganda in the interests of the American Right Wing Elite Agenda to consolidate world power in their hands ( as they have clearly already conquered america, they are moving onto the middle east ).

      And on terrorism...
      One thing must be understood. Iran is a Shiite Theocracy. Zarqawi/Osama and the WAHABI and SUNNI Al Qaeda linked factions operating in iraq right now are currently murdering HUNDREDS of Iran Friendly SHIIITES by the day. If you think for a second that Iran is providing Al Qaeda with the means to do this, you are again being manipulated by the propaganda of Tony Blair and Rupert Murdoch. Al Qaeda is the enemy of Iran, or in the words of al Qaeda in Iraq recently... " Shiites are not real muslims and should be killed..."

    •  I think not (none)
      There is no proof at all of your assertions outside of dubious "facts" you wish to fix around the policy.

      A pessimist sees a glass half empty. I see a paper cup with holes punched in it.

      by Paper Cup on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 05:53:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  But (none)
    Where do the Illuminati & the Trilateral commision fit in?

    But seriously, I think your overreaching here. I mean the Iranians openly admit they're working on nuclear enrichment.

    •  There is a world of difference between enrichment (4.00)
      and nuclear weapons.  Bushco talks about it as if it were an easy step to make from one to the other, but the reality is much different.

      They have a right to nuclear technologies - as other nations do.  As long as they abide by their obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, I don't have a problem with Iran possessing nuclear technologies.

      "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

      by LondonYank on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 07:37:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They haven't been abiding (none)
        My understanding is that they havn't been abiding by the NPT, by the very existance of an enrichment program, that they kept secret from IAEA until very recently.
        •  Yes, but again, (4.00)
          so what?  Israel won't even join the IAEA, keeps its nukes secret from everyone, and makes no bones about having Iran in its cross-hairs.
          •  So do we dump the NPT? (none)
            Is that what you're suggesting?
            •  Forcing Israel to comply (none)
              is the only meaningful option.  Without dumping the NPT, of course.
              •  one more thing... (4.00)
                i think we should start complying ourselves - especially if we want to insist that others follow the rule and spirit of the npt.
              •  Israel (none)
                I agree Israel should comply, but do you not agree that Israel, as a democratic government, is a different degree of threat to international security with nukes than Iran is? If any nation has claim to needing nukes to insure it's survival, I would think Israel is it.
                •  Absolutely not. (3.33)
                  What does "democracy" have to do with a government's inclination to start wars or even lob nukes?

                  "If any nation has claim to needing nukes to insure it's survival, I would think Israel is it."

                  This would be true only if that nation had no superpower supporting it 98%, and if those nukes really protected it against serious threats.  Believe it or not, I question whether lobbing a nuke against Gaza, Beirut, or Damascus would be all that  . . . healthy a thing for Israel to do, even if the target were thus prevented from retaliating.

                  •  Super power (none)
                    Oh like the one that intervened to attack the forces invading the country in 1948 and 1973? What's that you say? No one fought for them? Hmm...

                    Look, I'm not saying Israel is without fault, in fact I think their policies regarding the occupation and Palestinians are wrong and counterproductive to boot, but to lump Israel in the same catagory as Iran isn't supportable, in my opinion.

                    •  I said 98%, (none)
                      not 100%.  Listen, I'm sorry if we didn't respond by destroying your opposition in a six-day war, but you seem to have done okay for yourselves.
                    •  You're absolutely right: (none)
                      Let's not lump Iran and Israel in the same catEgory.

                      When in fact the operative question is always: Under which category"

                      Iran executes homosexuals; Israel does not.  Score one for Israel in this category.

                      Israel has destroyed foreign nuclear reactors in contravention of international war; Iran has not.  Score one for Iran in this category.

                      My, but the world is complex sometimes.

                    •  to me in my everyday life the difference (4.00)
                      between Iran and Israel is absolutely nil.

                      The fact is that we (the U.S.) just established 14 permanent military bases in Iraq. Iraq is now officially a puppet regime of the U.S. This may please the hardline Israeli and Pentagon hawks, but it's making our already crappy standing in the Middle East even worse. If you think it's worth risking WW3 and another 9/11 to get more oil contracts for Hallibrton, let me know.

                      •  Ah yes, Israel, the great satan. (none)
                        It is all their fault, I forgot.
                        •  say what? (none)
                          where in my post do you see an attack on Israel?

                          Just curious.

                          •  quotes (none)
                            "the difference between Iran and Israel is nil."

                            "Iraq is now officially a puppet regime of the U.S. This may please the hardline Israeli and Pentagon hawks"

                            Did you mean those things as a complement?

                            While Israel falls short of the democratic ideal, equating it with a closed, dictatorial, theocracy (to a far greater extent than Israel) which has a history of support of terrorism,  seems like criticism to me.

                            Your mentioning Israel in the context of our Iraq policy (Which I again feel the need to state that I do not support) at least strongly implied that you feel Israel is at least partly at fault.

                            By the way, thanks for the troll rating on one of my other comments. I'm glad your there to make sure that the free exhange of ideas doesn't get out of hand.

                          •  your first quote is inacurate (none)
                            my actual quote was: "to me in my everyday life the difference between Israel and Iran is nil."

                            What this means is not that there is no difference, since obviously there is a difference, but that the fate of the Middle East is not intimitely related to my day-to-day life as an American.

                            I think that if the hardliners (especially the hardliner neocon hawks in the Bush administration and the Likud, but also the hardliners in Iran--although this last group is hardest for me to gague, since the first two groups provide much of the info regarding what we "know" bout them) ave their way, we are headed to the abyss.

                            In my mind Israel ALSO shares some of the blame for the instability and violence in the mideast. They are not merely innocent bystanders. The larger context here is that having Bush/Cheney/Rice/Blair merely continue to parrot the hardline Israeli stance (towards Iran, towards Syria, towards Palestine, towards the mideast situation in general) is a lose-lose scenario. The blunder of the Iraq war (a wargiven full support by the far-right in Israel) has made the mideast LESS safe: less safe for America, less safe for Israel, less safe for the millions upon millions of moderate Arab citizens living across the mideast in a number of countries.  

                            Iran is not an immediate threat (and likely not even a long term threat) to Israel, and they are not a threat to the U.S. We need to stop assuming that every mideast country save Jordan is a threat to Israel. And Iran having nukes is not the end of mideast peace. It may in fact NOT be a bad thing,or a number of reasons. What is needed is more real diplomacy between Iran, Israel, the US and Europe. Unfortunately that is not going to happen as long as the neocon dream of toppling Tehran remains on the table.

                            I do not want to complement ANY country in the mideast: they all suck. And so, right now, does the US. Criticizing Israel is absolutely necessary b/c it must be made clear that the US can NO LONGER AFFORD to support them blindly and against our own interests. Israel needs to ratchet down the desire to control the mideast. We have to stop playing favorites. We need to actually be allies with other states in the region as well. It is not "Israel aginst the rest of the mideast." The ONE THING ABOVE ALL OTHERS that is keeping mideast peace from becoming a reality is the Israel-Palestinian conflict. We have to help resolve this peacefully FIRST--BEFORE the issue of Iran or whomever can even be addressed. Israel cannot just put their head in the sand and hope the rest of the mideast is either destroyed or goes away. The ball is in their and our court. Does Iran have an obligation also? OF COURSE. But the reality is that the supply of potentially anti-Israel factions in the mideast will not diminish unless the ROOT problems are addressed.

                            Now tell me again how I am being anti-Israel???

                          •  Well, OK (none)
                            First off, I apologize if my reaction to your particular post was influenced by the mass of Israel bashing that erupted in this thread.

                            I take excpetion to a couple of things you say.

                            One, I think events in the middle east very much affect your every day life as an american. You buy gas, don't you?

                            Two, I think Iran is a threat to Israel, and a nuclear armed Iran would be a grave threat. Hezbollah does exist, and is supported by Iran. We can argue the chicken and the egg, but the threat is there.

                            Three, I think a nuclear armed Iran may be a very big problem. Were looking at a world where very great economic dislocations are going to take place as the supply of oil diminishes, and as economys move away from oil as a result. If you think the middle east is a mess now, wait until the oil based economys start crashing. I really don't think we want a bunch of nukes in the area at that point.

                            You know I actually think you and I probably agree on more than we disagree, but I still think the troll rating was uncalled for.

                    •  I was thinking about the 1956 invasion of Suez (none)
                      by Israel, Britain and France.

                      My favorite line from that war to silver haired 18th century minded Prime Minister Anthony Eden of Britain from Ike:

                      "Tony, have you lost your goddamned mind?"

                •  No, I actually dont agree. (none)
                  I think Israel is a dangerous country. So is the US. Both democracies, although Israel is also a theocracy, which weakens the Democracy aspect. Where was the first seccular democracy in the ME? Oh, right, IRAN!!!

                  But the Brits (another democracy) got Ike to help wreck it, to keep a sweetheart OIL deal. Enter Shah, enter Ayatollahs ... buy bye sweet dreams ...

                  And round and round we go. Maddening spiral of insanity. Israel and the US are not exempt or above doing insanely counterproductive things. They are often the provocateurs.

                  I am so fucking sick of it all.

                  And who, in all the wide world, used nukes (unnecessarily)? Why, we did! The good ole democratic USA.

                  I actually think Democracies like ours (big caveat for all the dings in ours, like electoral dysfunction, increasing plutocratic aspects, etc and so on) have an effective scam going with their people re foreign policy. See, domestically life seems bright in a lot of ways (compare with lots of other countries), because they have all this good stuff like freedom of the press (monopolized, yes, but you can get alternative news if you want) the ability to subscribe to this religion or no religion, have this career, protest/oppose govt, to have all these opportunities, options and free speech, yada yada (with all the countervailing bullshit re that caveat, I reiterate) ... THEREFORE, the people have a much HARDER time understanding -- while living in this nonauthoritarian, rather pleasant context -- how DARK and NASTY their govt's foreign policy can be, and how cruel in its outcome for other people. And the govt is therefore free to carry on duping its own people about its tangled, destructive foreign policy web ... (although our ignorance is not insurance against having to bear the blowback eventually.)  

                  Our much lauded democracy has become our blindfold, in a certain way.

                  Should a liberal Dem blog be driven into "safe zones" by a tame party, or should it drive a tame party to break out?

                  by NYCee on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 10:43:31 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Ok (none)
                    So the US and Israel are bothe evil dangerous forces. Mind telling me who's better?

                    Europe? Sorry they're with us on Iran.

                    •  Again: (none)
                      Better in what way?

                      But you're right about Europe.

                      •  Dangerous Democracies (none)
                        The poster seems to believe the "demoracies" are "dangerous". Apparently, the US and Israel in particular.

                        So what country, of any size and power, isn't dangerous?

                        •  asdf (none)
                          "The poster seems to believe the "demoracies" are "dangerous"."

                          Not at all.  Pity you couldn't figure that out.

                          As for myself, I will repeat that the form of government in a given country has no correlation, positive or negative, to the degree to which that country poses a threat to others.

                          Relevant factors include nationalism (especially when parts of that ethnic group are dispersed across borders), coveting of other nations' resources, and a sense of divine mission or moral superiority that views its use of force as emanating from divine right.

                          "So what country, of any size and power, isn't dangerous?"

                          Those which either can't pose a threat to other countries, or are wise enough to choose not to.

                          •  So in other words (none)
                            you have no specific answer.

                            I also see that you are very familiar with the concept of "moral superiority" as it positively drips from all your posts.

                            I also think you are quite wrong denying a correlation between form of government and degree of threat toward neighbors. I think history shows that Communist governments in the Leninist/Stalinist mode are consistently a threat to their neighbors.

                          •  If there's no specific answer, (none)
                            then it is reasonable not to expect one.  However, there are nations of all sizes and state types that do a pretty good job of living peacefully (Canada, anyone?  Mongolia?  Malaysia?) and others large and small that do not.

                            Strange, I thought I was writing about the perceived moral superiority of a nation that thinks it has the right to attack or overrun other nations, not my own notion of what constitutes moral superiority.  Although if pressed to it, I think that striving for peaceful coexistence would constitute a big part of such moral superiority.

                            Oh, and your last paragraph is just funny.  Or perhaps you could tell me what nations were being threatened by the saber-rattling of, say, Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia.  Or the aforementioned Mongolia.  Hyperstalinist Albania was the Greta Garbo of Europe.  The Soviet Union was quite the hegemon within its own sphere, and did more than its share of subversion, but hardly held a candle, let alone a flamethrower, to us when it came to actually attacking countries outside that sphere.

                          •  First off (none)
                            Poland, Hungary and Czecholslovakia were not permitted to have an independant foriegn policy during their Warsaw Pact years. Unless, Like Gerald Ford, you believe there was no Soviet domination of Poland. Mongolia, sandwiched between the Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of China, would have to been suicidal to start anything.

                            Albania? You make me laugh. Albania couldn't get along with anyone. If they would have had a military prayer, they'd have gone after Tito in a heartbeat.

                            Don't let your lack of knowledge of simple history get you down.

                      •  europe may be with you as far as diplomacy (none)
                        but i very much doubt blair and berlusconi will have a chance at coalition again if the war trumpets begin.

                        nor will france and germany's new leaders.

                        aznar's gone, oops

                        maybe australia...

                        and ......  poland!

                        why? just kos..... *just cause*

                        by melo on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 07:04:24 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  Absolutely not (none)
                  Why should democracy have anything to do with it?  Once a government is elected it can do what it wants nucularly speaking.  It will be to late to do anything before the next election.  Democracy hasn't got anything to do with.

                  Israel's nuclear armament IS the destabilizing element in the Middle East. In addition, there can be no doubt that Israel would use it against the United States (good-by New York) if it thought its survival required it.

            •  is USA even party to the NPT? nt (none)

              When I hear the phrase "culture of life" I want to reach for my gun.

              by PoliMorf on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:40:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  The NPT is dead (4.00)
          The US has already withdrawn from the NPT.  Why should other countries be held accountable to a document when others are not?  Once the US pulled out it effectively killed the NPT.  The NPT exhists in name only, to provide the US and Europeans with a document they can smack nuclear emergent courntries around with.  All countries see that Pakistan and India faced no retributions for developing their tech...why would any country refrain from nukes when their possession guarantees respect?  Whats good for the goose...
          •  The US did not pull out of the NPT (none)
            We pulled out of the Comprehensive Test Ban treaty.

            Try to get it right.

            •  That's right, (none)
              we just flout our NPT obligations by developing new nukes and preaching a pre-emptive strike policy.  Different hypocrisy, but still hypocrisy.
            •  Thanks for correction (none)
              I was confusing the NPT with the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty) which Bush announced we were withdrawing from in December of '01.

              The point, however,  is still the same.  When the US embarks on a nuclear policy advocating the development (whether tested or not) of new "tactical nukes", begins building "missile defense" sites, and advocates for an upgrade of its stockpile, we have effectively backed out of our end of the nuclear agreement bargain (i.e. non-nuclear states agree not to pursue the tech, as long as nuclear states agree to disarm...or reasonably work to reduce the potential of their use).

              Thanks again.  Better true the right.

    •  asdf (none)
      "I mean the Iranians openly admit they're working on nuclear enrichment."

      No doubt about it from me.  My only question is: So what?

    •  Some thirty countries do nuclear enrichment (none)
      related to nuclear power generation: World Nuclear Generation of Electricity, and that doesn't even include Israel, that crypto-nuclear power, which refuses to sign the same treaties that Iran has done, and has 100-200 crypto-nukes destabilizing the region.
      •  That chart shows just generation of electricity. (4.00)
        It is not necessary to build enrichment facilities: most people buy reactor-grade enriched uranium.

        Building enrichment facilities at enormous expense undermines the supposed rationale for Iran's nuclear program---economic benefits by using nukes at home and selling gas and oil.

        They have finished enrichment capability long before they have any where near enough reactors to use the fuel.   Why?  

        Secondarily, they are building on their own heavy-water moderated reactors which are a type not typically used, except they have the singular characteristic of making much better plutonium for nuclear weapons than the light-water reactors which are standard for power generation most other places.

        They refused a European deal for modern light-water reactors.

        Unfortunately it does look like Iran is getting nuclear weapons, as every technical choice of uncontestable fact they've made points in that direction.

        As far as I am aware, only Japan has enrichment facilities and doesn't make nuclear weapons.

        •  asdf (none)
          The reason that most countries buy reactor grade enriched uranium is that they don't have yellowcake deposits that they can exploit to do so. I guess it would surprise you to learn that the Iranians mine their own yellowcake at Yazd - so why would they import a resource that they already have available domestically, and that they can sell on the legitimate international market? And given the 25 year history of US sanctions against Iran that have extraterritorial implications - why would you put a fuel supply that you can self-generate into the hands of third parties that can be pressured to cut you off?

          The original light-water deal was to come through Germany and was accepted in the early 1990's - until the US vetoed it. Resurrecting it many years later when the Iranians have gone down an alternative route makes little sense.

          As far as the nuclear weapons issue is concerned: if you have the yellowcake and if you have the centrifuges, you don't actually need a nuclear power programme at all to produce weapons grade HEU. And, as far as anyone can determine - Iran's nuclear power programme is exactly what it says on the tin - a power programme.

        •  Enrichment/plutonium separation/closed fuel cycle (none)
          First of all, perhaps you can provide links to your initial assertion: iran is "building [U235] enrichment facilities at enormous expense" ? Was it this source? I thought Russia was providing Iran with their power reactor fuel, and has been contracted to take back the spent reactor fuel?

          Secondly, It was my understanding that numerous EU countries and Japan are working toward a "closed fuel cycle" policy for dealing safely and wisely with spent nuclear fuel, which contains lots of useful (for power generation) but dangerous (for bomb-making and radiation hazard) Pu-239, and a couple other burnable transuranics are separated out and recycled back into fresh [peaceful] powerplant MOX fuel (rather than burying it as high level nuke waste in Nevada, or making  it into nuclear pits for hydrogen bombs like the US and Israel do).

  •  OMG: Here we go... (none)
    ...with further expansion of Pax Americana.  Where will it end?

    Thank you for bringing your views to us!

    (-5.63,-6.10) "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." - Edmund Burke

    by CyberDem on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 07:28:14 AM PDT

  •  Why create (4.00)
    fake exile groups and revolutionary forces when real ones already exist?

    See here
    here
    and
    here.

    "Mr. Bush's relationship to the environment is roughly that of a doctor to a patient--when the doctor's name is Kevorkian." Bob Herbert, NYT

    by jorndorff on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 07:42:32 AM PDT

    •  Unlike the MEK, Mr Brett is telegenic (none)
      and writes nicely about oppression of the poor, downtrodden Ahwazi under Tehran's thumb.  Until they get a Chalabi, they have to make do with British sympathisers who can write well and look good for the cameras.

      "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

      by LondonYank on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 07:46:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rajavi (none)
        is fairly telegenic. The rhetoric is similar. They certainly have their potential use, despite Ravaji's incarceration in France.

        "Mr. Bush's relationship to the environment is roughly that of a doctor to a patient--when the doctor's name is Kevorkian." Bob Herbert, NYT

        by jorndorff on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 07:50:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent analysis on the MEK. Thanks! (none)
      I took the time to read all 3 diaries and appreciate the long hours of effort you put into them.  We're certainly up to no good in that part of the world.

      "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

      by LondonYank on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:12:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're welcome (none)
        They will most likely be the first wave of any attack. That is assuming that Scott Ritter is wrong and the attacks haven't already begun on a small scale.

        "Mr. Bush's relationship to the environment is roughly that of a doctor to a patient--when the doctor's name is Kevorkian." Bob Herbert, NYT

        by jorndorff on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:18:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  nice work. (none)
    Recommended.

    "So this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause..."

    by CrazyDem on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 07:44:00 AM PDT

  •  interesting theory..... (none)
    :popcorn:
  •  So that would explain... (4.00)
    this...

    TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iranian officials have accused Britain of involvement in two bombings in an oil-rich town near Iran's border with Iraq that killed five people and wounded 95 others, according to Iranian news reports.
    The blasts Saturday shook the city of Ahvaz in southwestern Iran, near the Iraq border which is secured by British forces stationed in Basra, Iraq.
    The explosions came amid recent attacks and violence in Khuzestan province. Britain condemned the bombings.

    George Bush. The second coming of Leonid Brezhnev.

    by Cletus from Canuckistan on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 07:51:11 AM PDT

    •  And THIS (none)
      Bush Denounces Iran's Election
      ... the tough White House comment comes at a pivotal juncture in U.S.-Iranian relations and in Iran's political evolution. Seven candidates are vying today to replace President Mohammad Khatami, the reformist whose two-term tenure is ending without significantly changing the world's only modern theocracy. The next government will be in charge of negotiating with leaders of other nations on Iran's nuclear capability, a process -- currently deadlocked -- designed to ensure that Tehran cannot produce a nuclear weapon from its peaceful energy program.

      The Seattle Times: Politics: Bush's barbs on Iran backfire

      TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's spy chief used just two words to respond to White House ridicule of last week's presidential election: "Thank you."

      His sarcasm was barely hidden. The backfire on Washington, D.C., was more evident.

      The sharp barbs from President Bush were widely seen in Iran as damaging to pro-reform groups because the comments appeared to have boosted turnout among hard-liners in Friday's election -- with the result being that an ultraconservative is in a two-way showdown for the presidency.

      "I say to Bush: 'Thank you,' " quipped Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi. "He motivated people to vote in retaliation."

      Bush's comments -- blasting the ruling clerics for blocking "basic requirements of democracy" -- became a lively sideshow in Iran's closest election since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. And they highlighted again the United States' often crossed-wire efforts to isolate Iran.

  •  Not a bad theory. (none)
    But there is a big problem: Where will the US find the men to occupy this region of Iran? We are already stretched to our limits as far as our military personnel. The only way Bush could pull this off is if he called a draft.
    •  I'm not so sure (none)
      Effectively, they will just move the border over a bit to the East.  Remember, this will occur after they have bombed every military installation in Iran into dust and decimated the armed forces.

      They may also use their pals in the MEK (see jorndorff's comment above) the same way they use the Kurdish Peshmerga in Iraq.

      "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

      by LondonYank on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 07:56:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's the danger. (4.00)
        We would be going up against an Iranian military that has the potential to draft millions into service; they have a huge population between the ages of 18 and 45. Our resources are stretched too thin, and even Bush and Cheney know it.

        But I could see them using the MEK, like Reagan used the Contras to fight against the Sandinistas.

        •  Easy targets for (none)
          carpet-bombing.  Or something even more sinister.
        •  They can't take Iran (none)
          in one big lump like Iraq, because they haven't the boots to hold such a large population down. If they try to take just one region, then they really do have the Vietnam they say Iraq isn't, with soldiers coming over the border to fight the invaders, supported by the yet-unconquered country. (I expect bombing to do as much good as it did in Vietnam)

          But I could see them using the MEK, like Reagan used the Contras to fight against the Sandinistas.

          Yay, state-sponsored terrorism, the old standby of American foreign policy!

        •  Our forces stretched too thin? (none)
          We have about 145K soldiers in Iraq.  Lots of them are National Guard, some moving into their second or third deployment.  

          Where the hell is the Regular Army?  Surely we have the professional armed forces just waiting for the right time/place to be deployed.

          One of the PNAC/Neo-Con premises is to increase military spending, build the armed forces and be able to fight on two major fronts simultaneously.  That's not to say that moving into Iran would open a second front - it's just moving the current front to the east.  

          (-5.63,-6.10) "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." - Edmund Burke

          by CyberDem on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:58:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, we've got 60 - 80 thousand... (4.00)
            ...troops in Europe, under the auspices of the old NATO occupation.  None of the countries they're stationed in wants them anymore - they haven't for awhile.

            Bush could probably make a big deal about how stable Europe is today, and withdraw them.  Strategically.  To Ira* (take your pick - 'n' or 'q').

            Christ we're fucking doomed...

            China is just waiting to invade Taiwan, once we're at the point where we're stretched so thin, there's no reality at all to honoring our committment there.

            Oh.  My bad.  Did I just say 'reality?'

            Silly me.

            JF

            Invest in your future - VOTE DIEBOLD!

            by Jaime Frontero on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 09:21:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I might agree (none)
        that they're stupid enough to try.  But I can't see them beating 70 million people unless they go nuclear.  Conventional bombing won't cut it.
      •  The instant we hit Iran (4.00)

        Every single one of the more liberal, Western-leaning young Iranians will turn against the US and fight rabidly for Iran.  The youth, desirous of liberalization and more freedoms, are quite clear in this.  We hit Iran and we lose them.  Of course, that would be par for the course with BushCo.  Ignoring for a moment the absolutely illegal and unethical attack on Iraq in the first place, but the US totally botched Iraq in so many ways from the moment the fighting ended 'til now.  We've turned what COULD have been many hundreds of thousands of supporters into partisans bent on getting us the hell out of their country one way or another.  We go after Iran and we turn a country full of millions of youthful, more liberal thinking potential friends and turn them, to a man and woman, into fierce enemies.


        BushCo would also lose BIG with the US population (need I remind everyone on the side-bar argument that actually takes this whole scenario as plausible?).  They want us out of Iraq sooner rather than later.  They want their kids HOME.  They will NOT take kindly to ANOTHER military adventure into failure.  You verge on open civil war here if you try that shit.  BushCo MIGHT have harbored dreams of a quick, relatively easy move on Iran a year or so ago, before it all clearly and decisively went pear-shaped in Iraq to the point that is impossible to miss, but not now.  Only the most blind and fevered nutbars on the PNAC right would even entertain the fantasy that we are in any shape, militarily OR domestically, to invade yet another country that had nothing to do with 9/11.  That boat has sailed and the People are so easily blinded - nor is the Press.  The tide has definitively turned against the PNAC wackos.  They lost.

        "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." --9th Amendment

        by praedor on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 01:30:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Just one small correction... (4.00)
    But I could be wrong! I thought it was Andy Card who made the comment about marketing a product in August? Not Hadley...

    Good diary, by the way!

    Canadians care too...

    by jbalazs on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 07:52:50 AM PDT

    •  you are correct (none)
      It was Card who said this, not Hadley.

      (I sure wish the diarist would correct this.)

      "[I]n all due respect to your profession [journalism], you do a very good job of protecting the leakers." -- Bush on Oct 7, 2003

      by QuickSilver on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 02:07:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  asdf (3.94)
    Whilst I don't doubt the latent desire of many a Washington neo-con to do something in Iran, there are too many balancing factors in the equation in Iran's favour to make a military move into Ahvaz remotely possible, and which are probably very effective at deterring any bombing campaign as well. I mean, how many troops would an occupation of Ahvaz require - and how could it be done without igniting an all-out war with Iran anyway? And how can igniting an all-out war with Iran not lead to a wider-scale regional conflict, given that Iran will have no reason for restraint once the territorial redline is crossed?

    You only have to note Condi Rice's new found enthusiasm for referral to the UNSC, and contrast that with the aversion to doing so with Iraq ( only done as a condition for keeping us Brits on board ) and you should get an idea where the balance of probabilities actually lie.

    The prime balancing factor is of course Iran's ability to counterstrike with pre-positioned forces in Southern Iraq - bear in mind that they have had 21/2 years of near-unfettered access to the whole of Iraq in which they have been able to infiltrate, equip and recruit from within their Iraqi Shia brethren, plus their close connections to the Badr corps, which is the principal Shiite militia on the ground, and is heavily integrated into Iraq's security structures.

    I suspect that should they choose to flex their muscles they could easily overpower the 8,500-strong UK contingent in the Basra and al-Amarah sectors. And I suspect that they could achieve the same thing with the smaller Italian contingent in Nasariyah. The upshot of this is the collapse of the US logistics chain from Kuwait up to Baghdad - disrupt that and the US forces will be in trouble, especially if it finds itself fighting multiple insurgencies on multiple fronts. It gets even worse if Iranian backed Shia/Iranian special forces units have access to working manpads and stand-off anti-armour weaponry.

    The Iranians have had plenty of opportunity to game the scenarios and have the decisive advantages on the ground - they have a degree of support amongst the Iraqi Shia faithful that would likely be decisive if the crunch came. Now I don't know what the Fatwa that Sistani will deliver in the eventuality of an act of aggression against Iran, but don't assume it will be good news for the coalition. Bear in mind that Paul "can we get a fatwa from another Mullah" Bremer was told to sod off when he asked to meet Sistani; Iranian FM Kamal Karrazi casually dropped round for tea as if he were visiting his uncle on a boring Sunday afternoon.

    I would be amazed if Iranian agents hadn't achieved routine penetration of every key US/coalition military installation in Iraq, and they hadn't developed off-the-shelf plans for attacking the key weak-points and had units ready-tasked and trained for this eventuality.

    The second balancing factor is, of course, the price of oil, and Iran's position as gatekeeper to the straits of Hormuz. If Iran were to withdraw its exports from the international markets for a few days the price would still spike up to the $90 per barrel mark; and any attempt to occupy Ahvaz would make the Iraq occupation fiasco look like a holiday by comparison - and it would likely ignite some form of Shia backlash on the ground in Southern Iraq too.

    The third balancing factor is the sheer promiscuity of Iranian retaliatory options against US assets in the Gulf theatre: naval bases in Kuwait and Bahrain, airbases in Qatar etc all within easy range of their mobile, well-hidden, surface-to-surface missiles. I would be surprised if they didn't have special forces units of their own just sitting in the permissive environments that normalised relations with their neighbours allows, tasked and ready to do some damage on the ground.

    In short the pain that will be experienced for attempting something against Iran at this point will be eye-watering for the US, and in all likelihood, deeply unpopular - and there is no guarantee of a favourable outcome from the attempt. The US economy cannot cope with a further energy oil-price spike and the world economy cannot cope with the physical destruction of supply that such a move would entrain.

    •  asdf (4.00)
      "I mean, how many troops would an occupation of Ahvaz require - and how could it be done without igniting an all-out war with Iran anyway? And how can igniting an all-out war with Iran not lead to a wider-scale regional conflict, given that Iran will have no reason for restraint once the territorial redline is crossed?"

      But maybe all-out war and a wider-scale regional conflict are exactly what they want.  Maybe we'll need a draft to raise the troops (probably not; we'll get much more European support for a war against Iran than we did for one against Iraq); maybe they think that this time, the natives will really truly rise up against their own government.

      "Condi Rice's new found enthusiasm for referral to the UNSC"

      umm, yeah, right.  Smile for the camera, Condi.

      "The prime balancing factor is of course Iran's ability to counterstrike with pre-positioned forces in Southern Iraq"

      Another neocon reason for attacking Iran: Eliminate the "insurgency" and "terrorism" at their source.

      "I suspect that should they choose to flex their muscles they could easily overpower the 8,500-strong UK contingent in the Basra and al-Amarah sectors. And I suspect that they could achieve the same thing with the smaller Italian contingent in Nasariyah."

      Wow, a Pearl Harbor-style outrage to motivate the entire western world against the big bad mullahs!

      "The second balancing factor is, of course, the price of oil, and Iran's position as gatekeeper to the straits of Hormuz. If Iran were to withdraw its exports from the international markets for a few days the price would still spike up to the $90 per barrel mark;"

      Ah, Big Oil's wet dream!

      In short, I couldn't have made the neocon case for war better myself.

      •  asdf (4.00)
        Firstly, there will never be popular European support for another war in the region; it's doubtful that any governing party in France, the UK or Italy could generate party consent for this let alone survive the political backlash from their electorates, for whom the operative principle is if GWB is for it, we're against it; Germany has strongly denounced the idea; Jack Straw has said on a number of occasion that it's unthinkable - a statement which is worrying because it means that it's been thought about!

        Whilst the neocons may well be wedded to the idea of creative destruction and let the chips fall where they may, what I would like you to answer is why haven't they already done this then? They had the window of opportunity in late 2003 before the Iraqi insurgency got too bad, so why haven't they done what they wanted to do? The simple answer is that they cannot gain the consent from the rational actors whose support would be vital. Oil companies might like the profit potential it offers - as long as you can guarantee that the 13 million + BPD that transits through the Straits won't be impacted. The last time I checked, most of the US economy was not made up of oil companies, and it doesn't do the oil majors any good if your product is so highly priced that it engineers a depression, and arouses popular anger against you. The non-oil sector will of course be screaming at the White House that their options are underwater, their businesses are no longer profitable and that there will be no cash to Republicans for this electoral cycle.

        The Iranian counterstrike options tend to the elimination of the US military presence at source too; now the US domestic response to 2-3 deaths per day may be a degree of anxiety, but 20-30 or 200-300 deaths per day would have some pretty negative political fallout. It gets even worse if the US military starts losing equipment that can be turned against it. And it has no impact whatsoever on the Sunni insurgency, who will just find it easier to operate against a US military fighting on all fronts, with fragile supply lines and plummeting morale. And the daily execution videos would get very uncomfortable for the administration.

        •  well, (4.00)
          you're of course absolutely wrong about Straw.  When he says it's unthinkable, what he means is: "It's happening, and we're in."  So is Merkel, whose CDU is a reflexive lap dog of American imperialist interests.  Wouldn't put it past Chirac either.  As long as Italy, which has yet to make good on its Iraq withdrawal postures, is run by Berlusconi--i.e. until Il Ducetto dies--it remains a possible coalition partner too.

          "what I would like you to answer is why haven't they already done this then? They had the window of opportunity in late 2003 before the Iraqi insurgency got too bad, so why haven't they done what they wanted to do? The simple answer is that they cannot gain the consent from the rational actors whose support would be vital"

          A more complex and possibly better answer is that they were waiting for the Iraq situation to calm down (it wasn't all that rosy in late 2003).  Now that it's obvious this ain't gonna happen, and that the window of opportunity may be closing--what with all the scandals exploding in DC these days--there's a renewed sense of urgency.

          •  asdf (none)
            No, what Straw means is: we thought about it and the consequences were terrifying.

            Merkel may be chancellor - but she is very weak and in coalition with the SPD,who have the foreign ministry under the doves.

            Chirac will never go along with military action - and more importantly, his designated heir, de Villepin, will never go along with it.

            Berlusconi has to go to the Italian electorate in 2006 - his only way to stay out of prison is to win - and that is a very tall order as is.

            If you think that it wasn't that rosy in late 2003, how would you describe it 2 years later?

            And, to be blunt, there's no urgency about this at all - you've really not been reading the smoke signals. When they had the vote at the IAEA they were already kicking the can down the road until November and the next IAEA meeting because they were terrified of what the impact of Rita was going to be on Gomex energy production. What makes you think that there will be a more propitious set of circumstances to enable a UNSC referral in November? And what good will it do if Russia and China exercise their vetoes ( if it did ever get to the point of a UNSC referral - just watch the markets take a nosedive as oil spikes again ). And the longer this drags on, the further Bush's numbers fall, the more the administration gets mired in scandal, the less it can do politically to generate consent.

            This administration has passed its peak - it is on the downside of the power curve now and its capacity to unilaterally initiate further aggressive military actions has evaporated. And the Iranians have been far too canny to actually present anyone with a credible excuse for action.

            •  asdf (none)
              "If you think that it wasn't that rosy in late 2003, how would you describe it 2 years later?"

              I already answered that: The window is closing; they know it; it's now or never.  Only question is: When is now?  Soon enough, I suppose.

              "What makes you think that there will be a more propitious set of circumstances to enable a UNSC referral in November?"

              Surely you've learned how it works by now?  We won't GET the UNSC war authorization, and even our own neocons probably know that much.  But maybe they'll give us another 1441.  And even if they don't go along, we'll just use it as more ammunition against the UN, and then attack with whoever wants to go along.  (Oops, forgot Australia in my previous postings.  Apologies, John Howard!)

              "And the longer this drags on, the further Bush's numbers fall,"

              But Bush isn't running for re-election.  He's establishing his, erm, legacy now.

              Finally, I still say you're wrong about every last European leader you cite--for one thing, you underestimate the degree to which they all loathe Iran.  And your reading of Straw is, well, Blairist.

              •  asdf (none)
                You underestimate the degree to which European governments are sensitive to the utter loathing their electorates have for the Bush administration. Merkel cannot go along with anything as Schroeder will pull the nuclear option on her by forcing a vote of no-confidence and return as chancellor on the back of German anti-war sentiment. Berlusconi is under pressure to pull out of Iraq. The French electorate will never back anyone that supports a Bush military adventure - and de Villepin knows this.

                I don't see what is Blairite about my reading of Jack Straw - who I find loathsome in his squeamish, toadying mendacity. What you should bear in mind is that every time Bush/Blair/Reid are in a forum that permits open exchanges they get shat on, insulted and excoriated by the British public over Iraq. Unlike in the US, they keep getting publicly ambushed by the likes of Reg Keays and Rose Gentles, whose sons died in Iraq, and are vilified as liars and warmongers by them.

                Bush many not have to run for reelection, but his party is in trouble and is on the electoral block in 12 months; another war is not going to go down well with the US public, and I have few doubts that Republicans would like as little ball-dropping as possible until 2007.

                And no-one, but no-one, is going along with next folly - it's a strictly you're onw your own this time deal and no, you can't use our airspace or facilities for this one.

                •  Why fight the tinfoil hat brigade? (none)
                  You can't win.  Every argument you make, no matter how well thought out and pertinent, only gets transmuted through an alchemical process known only to the Illuminati into more evidence that the conspiracy exists!

                  My favorite line so far: "When he says it's unthinkable, what he means is: 'It's happening, and we're in.'"  And when he says yes, he means no, and when he says "I'll not dignify that with a response," he means "my corporate masters have not programed me to respond to questions in that area."

                  Oh wait, that's Scott McClellan, not Jack Straw.

                  Anyway, thanks, londanium, for injecting some reason into this discussion, but I fear it was a waste of your time.

                  •  Your opinion is quickly (none)
                    becoming a minority one.  Try this instead.
                    •  Sorry - (none)
                      Dan Plesch is basing his conclusions on the same flawed reasoning I see here.  A good example of why it never pays to form your opinions from the opinion pages.

                      There are very real reasons why, even though Iran is considered a potential threat, neither the US nor Britain should consider going to war with Tehran.  If the current administration is so bat-shit crazy they'd ignore those reasons, we're all toast anyway, and Colonel Kong will be riding that nuke soon in a neighborhood near you, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it, so why are you wasting your time on this blog?

                      I'd rather leave the paranoid fantasies for my drinking hours.

                •  fdsa (none)
                  It's all a question of how the war is started.

                  Soft European cooperation would be in the form of another 1441, with just the reliable Blair and Berlusconi offering support.  (My sympathies to Mr. Blair for being shat upon, but it's the cross he has to bear for being the uncontested master of the one functional political party in GB.  And Berlusconi, under pressure?  Not really.)

                  Hard European cooperation would require a Gulf-of-Tonkin-style incident.  Fortunately for BushCo there are plenty of radical Islamicists in Europe that a nice terrorist incident in London or Madrid can be pinned on.  I'm sure the next one will be immediately traced to Tehran.  This option is less likely, of course, but hardly inconceivable.

    •  You may well be right about all this (4.00)
      but I don't see the Aspens backing down.  I see them ratcheting up.

      Until two months ago Britain had quite a good relationship with Iran, and was making a very real contribution to progress in the talks on resolving the issue of nuclear technologies.

      Now it has all crashed and the escalation is more shrill daily.

      I absolutely agree that the US/UK have 140,000 hostages in Iraq, and that the blowback for our troops on the ground would be massive.  Even if the air strikes take out the Iranian air force and navy and many military ground installations, the backlash against the attacks would be extreme and long-lasting.  

      Also, sabotage would ensure that we would never get the oil out the ground, into tankers and out of the Gulf.

      "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

      by LondonYank on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:03:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  foolishness (none)
    Interesting post but this reader simply cannot fathom the idea that Bushco would embrace the idiocy of airstrikes against a significant regional foe.  Iran is no Iraq - it has over half a million armed forces personnel and one of the regions largest missile inventories - the consequences would be devastating to our already vulnerable forces already deployed in the region.  This no doubt would be the final nail in the coffin as the region descends into complete chaos.

    I just cannot see this move being made - its outright maniacal (even for this administration).

    •  I can certainly see Bushco (none)
      suggesting such a course, I simply can't see the Joint Chiefs going along with it, no matter how many Gen. Myers the neocons try to promote.  Hell, even the amen chorus of Powell and Franks would rebel (not to mention the troops).

      "Never mind the trick, what the hell's the point?" Joseph Heller, Catch-22

      by wozzle on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:07:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Um, when Bush and Rice basically... (none)
      say that one of the main goals of Bush's second term will be to spread, ahem, "Democracy" all over the glove at the point of a gun...well, THEY MEAN IT!

      (Except what they really mean is that they'll bring it at the point of a gun, or a cluster bomb, or...take your pick of any weapon you'd care, pointed or not).

  •  Question (none)
    Wasn't Chalabi only interim Oil Minister? I think he was replaced months ago.

    Could be wrong though.

    Somewhere around 2001, Mr. Spock grew a beard.

    by Olds88 on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:01:37 AM PDT

  •  Well put together. Troubling, too. (4.00)
    Just one problem with it though.
    We do not have the military capability to take and hold any part of Iran today.  We might've had that capability two years ago, but we don't today.
    Essentially, we can continue to hold Iraq, or we can attack and hold part of Iran, but we can't do both.  The US Army isn't large enough, and frankly, our equipment isn't in good enough shape right now to fight a major ground war against an enemy as well equipped as Iran.  Attacking Iran would be orders of magnitude more difficult than attacking Iraq.  While not possessing the most modern military in the region, the Iranians do have higher maintenance and readiness levels than did their Iraqi counterparts.  I'm not saying it would be a bloodbath, but it would be a hell of a lot harder to do than invading Iraq.  We can't do it with the forces available to us in the region AND hold on to Iraq at the same time.
    The continued failure of the Iraqi Army to stand up units capable of operating without close US support and supervision simply makes it impossible to hold what we've got and move forward.  That capability isn't expected for several years in Iraq.  Meanwhile Iran is working very hard to upgrade and enlarge their armed forces.
    I don't know which idea bothers me more--the idea that people in the government are planning to attack Iran, or the idea that they're so out of touch with the reality of their own making that they're planning on attacking Iran.  Neither one is good.

    In prison, Tom Delay will no doubt be called 'the Hummer' by his fellow convicts.

    by soonergrunt on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:02:11 AM PDT

    •  Always good to see you, Soonergrunt! (none)
      Stay safe in Afghanistan.  I hope I'm wrong about events taking a turn for the worse in the region, because the blowback would not be limited by borders.

      "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

      by LondonYank on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:20:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good to see you, Sir (none)
        We're not in AF yet.  Going some time in the latter half of 2006.  We just completed another training weekend.  It's getting closer all the time, and we're getting wired into what's going on over there.

        In prison, Tom Delay will no doubt be called 'the Hummer' by his fellow convicts.

        by soonergrunt on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 12:01:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  nukes (none)
      They still have their nukes. The Bushies will use nukes if they think they can get away with it.

      etrans.blogspot.com

      Tracking energy and transportation news.

      by joel3000 on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 11:47:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I heard somewhere that by spring 2006 (none)
      All troops will have done their tours TWICE, i.e. too tired to go again and be effective.

      Bush brought the US military to it's  breaking point...

      •  By that point (none)
        85% of the Army Reserves and National Guard will have either completed, or will be on their second combat tour since 09/11/01.  That doesn't include the disaster relief missions and other missions that the National Guard has.
        By that point, every division in the regular army will be on either their third or fourth combat tour.

        In prison, Tom Delay will no doubt be called 'the Hummer' by his fellow convicts.

        by soonergrunt on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:07:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Indentured servitude ? (none)
          I know you volunteered and all but I think it is extremely unfair and completely out of proportion the amount of sacrifice it is being asked of you guys and your families who miss you every day you are away.

          And all this sacrifice from people who put their life on the line for US!

          We as Americans are abusing your good will and honor - by making you go back 2, 3, 4 times - honor bound by your initial commitment, while we never expect any other Americans to pitch in. I hate it, and I wish there was more I could do to make this abuse stop.

          Take care while you are out there, will ya ?

  •  Does the standing Iraqi War Resolution cover this? (4.00)
    In other words, could Bush do this without requesting more war powers from Congress?
    •  Bush didn't even need (none)
      the Iraqi War Resolution.
      •  Bush is effectively a dictator (4.00)
        If you think otherwise, tell me how:

        1. Bush can imprison anyone he wants, based on his word only- see Jose Padilla.

        2. Bush can and will invade and attack any country he wants to, he was bombing Iraq for a year before the March 2003 invasion.

        3. Bush can appoint any crony he wants to government positions, the spineless Dems provide no opposition:  See Brownie and now Harriet Miers, Abu Gonzalez, etc.

        4. Watch as Bush bombs Iran, he does not live in teh reality based world.  

        Can we stop Bush in time to save our country and the world from further destruction?  I hope so.
        •  You get a 4 (none)
          even though you didn't use the phrase "Bushite scum" this time, for which you automatically get a 4 every time I see it. :-)))
          •  Can we beat the Bushite scum? (none)
            I still have the hope that we can beat the Bushite scum in 2006, but not without some spine from the Dems.  Just putting the descriptive phrase, "Bushite scum" into wide distribution may help a little.  

            When I talk with Repug acquaintances, I ask them if they are part of the 37% that still support Bush. These are the true Kool-aid drinkers, several of them have been active in this thread, parroting the Bushite lines about Iran, just as they believed Colin Powell and the rest of the Bushite liars who sold the Iraq invasion.

            Thanks for the fours, how do you refer to the Bushite scum?

        •  Not Now That They Have the Court n/t (none)

          We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

          by Gooserock on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 10:14:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  We aren't going to war with Iran (none)
    1)we have no troop support possible for it;

    2)the Arabians would refuse to grant us any logistical support for the operation;

    3)no other nation would join us;

    4)the Iranians would kick our asses, with what we currently have in the area;

    5)there's no public support for such a war in this country, and if the neocons tried it, there'd literally would be politicians hanging from lamp-posts as people rioted.

    •  Unless Iran SEEMINGLY attacked us first n/t (none)
    •  <continued> (none)
      6)  There's hundreds of thousands who would protest in the U.S. ON TOP OF the hundreds of thousands who protested the war in Iraq in 2003.

      I sat on my ass while people like my aunt and cousins protested the war.  I won't make the same mistake again.  I don't think any of you will either.

      If Rove concealed the fact that he was a leaker from the President, why hasn't the President fired him?

      by wintersnowman on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:26:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you really think it *matters* how (4.00)
        many people are against the war?

        haven't you figured out that they don't fucking care, they don't have to care--they are in power, in absolute control, and they also have control of the elections, so they don't have to care what the people think, what the people want: they don't even have to care whether the people get help in a national emergency (cf. NOLA)--and your vision of hundreds of thousands hitting the streets....don't see that happening either; if the NOLA/FEMA business could not rile the American public to outrage and absolute anarchy, nothing will.

        The American people just sat by and watched as tens of thousands of their fellow Americans were left stranded w/o water or food for days and are currently being taken by insurance companies, the feds, ....no one gives a fuck anymore about anything but their own brass door knocker and their own white picket fence. Come after that, and you might get a rise out of them.

        Go ahead and take the oil fields, just keep your hands off my iPod man! that is where the american people are at.

        •  Even in Hitler's Germany it mattered.... (none)
          One of the ironic reasons why Germany lost that war was because it had to spend a great deal of the nation's industrial capacity continuing to supply "bread and circuses" to the masses. Can you imagine what would happen in this country if we went to war with Iran on some kind of flimsy pretext, like one of our drones got blown out of the sky while doing surveillance, and suddenly oil went to 125 bucks a barrel? There would be armed rebellion, and as you know, in America, armed rebellion actually means something. We have people whose hobby is collecting weapons that can fire armor-piercing bullets.
    •  But they desire it... (4.00)
      1)we have no troop support possible for it;

      Limited tactical nukes, see the planning and development that has already been going on in this area.

      I think that they are backing themselves into a corner in order to make this option the most attractive. See the latest selling of this option on the anniversary of Hiroshima. No draft will be required and it will be sold as creating the least amount of casualties.

      2)the Arabians would refuse to grant us any logistical support for the operation;

      Iraq already is supporting our bases.

      3)no other nation would join us;

      Other nations have already signed on. See the news today about suspicious attacks in Iran.

      4)the Iranians would kick our asses, with what we currently have in the area;

      See #1.

      5)there's no public support for such a war in this country, and if the neocons tried it, there'd literally would be politicians hanging from lamp-posts as people rioted.

      See #3. All it will take is a small attack or other covert operations that lead into something larger. They are waiting for 'the event' to happen which will be a linkage to the selling of #1.

      ...Whirlpools whirl, and dragnets drag...

      by dss on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:32:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (none)
        Point 1 - Why do you think Rumsfeld's direction - reducing troops, pretending technology is the equal of boots - has been pushed by all the neocons.  You're right, dss.  Nukes.

        Point 2 - The Saudi's would 'support' us too.  Don't forget the Bush family ties, and the fact that if Iran goes down in flames (suuurrrre we'll pay for an Iran adventure with revenues from their oil - just like we did in Iraq...) the Saudis will have a virtual monopoly on mideast oil.  That revenue would help offset the fact that their wells are losing productivity.

        Your other points?  Correct - but trivial, compared to the first two.

        JF

        Invest in your future - VOTE DIEBOLD!

        by Jaime Frontero on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 09:30:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We aren't going to use tactical nukes (none)
        1)nukes have not been used in any conflict since WWII. Using nuclear devices in Iran would immediately trigger war crimes tribunals that would be fully supported by even the big countries from NATO. Nuclear devices would potentially poison large areas of oil fields, making them unworkable. The nation would be ostracized. You would have OPEC tell the world that any country reselling its oil to the United States would be patria-non-grata (if this isn't a phrase, it should be, damnit!) There would be an escalation of Islamic terrorism the likes we can't even imagine.
        •  reply (none)
          "nukes have not been used in any conflict since WWII."

          so what?

          " Using nuclear devices in Iran would immediately trigger war crimes tribunals that would be fully supported by even the big countries from NATO."

          Again, so what. The US does not recognize the soverignty of any international body over the US. Without physical possession of the so-called "war criminal" a trial is meaningless. There are advantages to being a superpower.

          "Nuclear devices would potentially poison large areas of oil fields, making them unworkable."

          nonsense. The oilfields would NOT be nuked. What else was poisoned would depend on the wind and how the attack was done. I'm sure we would use the cleanest nukes available, and perhaps use neutron bombs to depopulate the cities and Iranian army bases. Neutron bombs produce very little fallout since the amount of fissionable material is very small.

          " The nation would be ostracized."

          meaningless. They would all fear us and want the money from trading with us. Their only options would be to form a rival bloc with another superpower, and that is not an attractive option given the sorry state of Russia and China's own dependence on US trade. They could create their own federal-international superpower of course, but that would take time. A lot of time.

          " You would have OPEC tell the world that any country reselling its oil to the United States would be patria-non-grata (if this isn't a phrase, it should be, damnit!)"

          again nonsense. They would want the money, and besides fear would be likely to make then more cooperative than they are now.

          "There would be an escalation of Islamic terrorism the likes we can't even imagine."

          Partly true. Terrorism would increase since it would be likely to be covertly aided by other nuclear superpowers (Russia and China). Most people can imagine an awful lot.

          The biggest downside was not mentioned by steve davis. We would reduce the inhibition for other nuclear powers to use nuclear weapons in their own conflicts. Russia would use them in Chechnya. China against Taiwan, etc....

          •  It is hardly meaningless (none)
            to understand that our leaders would face war crimes in an international court, and that we would effectively have an oil embargo placed on us. Come on, man!  This isn't the third reich. Don't get crazy on us.
  •  With 10x as many troops and a supportive Iraq (none)
    Hussein could not accomplish this.

    I'm not quite sure what the Bushies think is their trump card.

    Cruise missiles don't have boots, therefore provide little in the way of boots on the ground.

    It's only Nero-esque if the city is burning. :)

    by cskendrick on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:23:28 AM PDT

  •  Only sure way (none)
    to prevent an attack on Iran would be for either China or Russia (or both) to sign a mutual defense treaty with Iran.  Looks like they're doing everything but--last weekend Putin told Condi to take a long walk of a short pier when she tried to get him to go along with Security Council action against Iran.  But I'm not sure it's enough.
    •  I am amused by the absence of (4.00)
      a coherent discussion of Russia's regional interests on this thread. Putin would not be amused at all. . .Russia has historically viewed  Iran as a vital regional interest. A deal would have to be reached with Russia beforehand for a U.S attack of Iran to proceed--and Russia would accede only if it thought that the damage done to ourselves was worth the risk involved in "trusting" us.

      China must now be added to this combustible mix, of course.

      The only way that I can see this scenario being engaged is if peak oil is nearer than we think, and the bunker mentality in Bush & co. bolstered the type of analysis Condi admitted to over the weekend with regard to the Iraq invasion.

      The attack on Iran envisioned here would be tragic and shameful beyond imagining.

      "Novus Ordo Seclorum." Another old-fashioned phrase on our dollar bills.

      by Ignacio Magaloni on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 11:45:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Peak Oil (none)
        I don't know whether Peak Oil is now or decades away. The author of "Twilight in the Desert" makes a very good case that peak oil is either now or very soon. Others argue that it won't come for decades.

        I'm sure the Saudi's know though. I don't believe their BS about their reserves "increasing". And if the insiders in Saudi Arabia know how much oil they really have, the insiders in our own oil industry must have a pretty good guess as well. That means the Bush team probably has a very good idea of when Peak Oil will actually come.

        btw - It is a pretty sure thing that peak natural gas has already been passed.

  •  War With Iran (none)
    Would be a disaster in almost every way -- economic, diplomatic, political...it would be a catastrophe that would make the Iraq adventure look like a mild-mannered trip to Disneyland.

    Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

    by Benito on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:23:33 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for posting (none)
    Monday morning...and after reading this I'm ready for a good stiff drink.

    I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

    by jillian on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:36:21 AM PDT

  •  These Freaking People (4.00)
    sit on so many groups that I now understand why they have no time to act based upon real information.

    They all sit on the same groups in different formations at different times, the same fifty people or so traveling here and there, listening to themselves speak and read papers, giving each other awards, eating the same five meals over and over again.

    No wonder some, like Condi, appear never to eat at all, while others, like Cheney, suffer the ill effects of all those filet mignons and chicken cordon bleu dinners while listening to the likes of Ledeen and Woolsey whine on and on about evil, empire, profit margins, and emerging global markets in this or that.

    Clogged arteries and closed minds - the hallmarks of  unregulated corporations, fading economic theory, and failed ideology.

  •  Excellent Excellent Dairy (4.00)
     I think you have hit on the crux!

    And no matter what the polls numbers, or unpopularity, etc. of this administration,

    don't forget to remember,

    they are still in power.

    My question is why are they so obsessed with Iran.

    My short answer, is they want their natural resources.
    And Iran has stubbornly refused to let Americans
    come and steal their country.

    inspire change...don't back down

    by missliberties on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:43:56 AM PDT

    •  Venezuela - same thing (none)
      Lots of oil, run by people who won't "cooperate" with Bush's friends (and by cooperate they mean roll over, play dead, and let them grab whatever isn't nailed down and most of what is).

      Don't be surprised if they go after Hugo Chavez again.  These effing dastards don't give up.

      Chaos, fear, dread. My work here is done.

      by madhaus on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 11:07:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Concur (4.00)
    The neocons may suggest the idea, but it is not likely to fly with the Joint Chiefs, and neither will the US have a "coalition" to speak of.  UK and US will have to go at it completely by themselves and in the face of intense opposition from the three regional powers-Russia, China, and India.

    In the case of Iraq, even though Russia, China and India recognized the web of flimsy WMD lies, they were not really enamored of Saddam either.  So, while they made noises, they did not go out of their way to obstruct or criticize the adventure.  Moreover, nothing like this had happened before, and no one knew what to expect.  Now they do.

    Iran, as I said, only has beef with Israel w.r.t the Palestanians.  If the rest of the world, including the US (much as they hate the Americans), leaves them alone, they will be fine. The other countries recognize this.  If Iran is attacked, do not expect India, China and Russia to stand by idly.  These three countries will form a triangular alliance that will strangle the neocon adventure from all sides.

    Simply said, an invasion of Iran will not stand.  There is much too much at stake for the world, and to hell with friendship with the U.S.

    •  You say UK and US (4.00)
      but frankly, while Blair can use his executive power to provide support to the Bushies, via forged intelligence and covert operations like the one recently botched, he hasn't a hope in hell of getting away with committing more of our troops to another new US-mandated theatre. The very ghosts of Robin Cook and Mo Mowlam would rise out of their graves to strangle him, only to be beaten to it by the living MPs. He's on sufferance as it is.

      No, as in Vietnam, the Americans will have to be content with moral support only from the British government this time.

  •  troops (none)
    I'm certain that the USA could capture that region. Its holding on to it that's going to be tricky.

    When I hear the phrase "culture of life" I want to reach for my gun.

    by PoliMorf on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:45:36 AM PDT

  •  Source Correction (none)
    It was Andy Card, W's Chief of Staff, who made the observation that launching a new product (i.e. - the Iraq War)in Auugust is not smart. Steve Hadley is wrongly attributed in an otherwise convincing and scary posting.
  •  And saber rattling on Syria (4.00)
    I qrote this diary on Saturday:

    Is Syria next on the neocon hit parade?

    ... that outlined an alarming article in the Saturday New York Times that suggested Americans may already be operating in Syria.  Another critical piece of information found in that article is that, by our military analysts' own estimates, only 5% or less of the fighters in Iraq are from outside Iraq.

    Combine that bit of news with this article from Reuters this morning:

    Rice enlists support for Syria, Iran showdowns

    ... and we all have a right to be very, very afraid of what this "cornered animal" of an administration will do.

  •  It's a terrible position to be in (none)
    where you have to hope that the crazies continue to gridlock each other into immobility for so long as it takes to impeach the heads of this government.

    That is, specifically, the "On To Teheran!" crazies can't get an edge over the "On To Damascus!" crazies, who were pushing their agenda from about April of 2003, that is, right up until it all started falling apart as Mike Ledeen's kid and her friends from Heritage were sent in with Bremer's brave boys in suits to run the CPA...right into the ground.

    Ain't DemocracyTM great?

    "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

    by bellatrys on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:52:47 AM PDT

  •  Oh for fucks sake. (none)
    If war with Iran was seriously proposed and acted upon by US/UK without international consent, I seriously hope those military commanders with spine and a moral compass in both countries, would set the sniper assassins free to take out each and every figurehead.

    Anything less would be tantamount to global criminal negligence.

    Of course the rifles would be loaded with elephant darts, all the better for watching the figureheads wake up in court at the Hague.

    What riveting TV that would be...

    You want to downsize the government?
    Fuck you. My government defends the American people.

    by deafmetal on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:55:53 AM PDT

  •  The Map (none)
    Well, let's look at the Iran situation geographically...

    Russia and the UK once "divided" Iran between them - that was about a century ago. Today, Russian forces are planted in Chechnya and British forces in Basra / Shat-al-Arab. The US, responsible for the overthrow of Mossadegh, controls Afghanistan and Iraq militarily. Pakistan, armed with nukes and 77% Sunni population also might be heavily influenced by the US.

    If you're an Iranian, you're looking at a map that has you surrounded on all sides by colonial foes, potential occupiers, and new imperialists. That would scare the heck out of me...

    --

    You see, what confuses the world is the incongruity between the swift flight of the mind and matter's vast clumsy slowness...

    by Hauer Santos on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:56:13 AM PDT

    •  Chechnya? Well, would you believe? (4.00)
      Here's a list of some members of The American Committee for Peace in Chechnya.  Note the large number of Iran-Contra names.

      Elliott Abrams
      Richard V. Allen
      Alexander M. Haig, Jr.
      William Kristol
      Michael A. Ledeen
      Robert McFarlane
      Richard Perle
      Caspar Weinberger
      R. James Woolsey

      "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

      by LondonYank on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 09:11:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And Bush looks into Putin's eyes... (none)
        and sees a man he can work with. And Putin is getting himself heavily into the oil biz, too.

        Not to mention the fact that their last public event was scheduled for February, 2005. What have they been doing in the interval?

        --

        You see, what confuses the world is the incongruity between the swift flight of the mind and matter's vast clumsy slowness...

        by Hauer Santos on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 09:18:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  LondonYank, (4.00)
        Perhaps a more thorough investigation of these networks of think-tanks is needed. I am extremely bothered by the Committee on the Present Danger, as it includes many neocons of the current and former persuasions listed in this diary. The names are many and troubling.

        Listen all of y'all it's a Sabotage! - Beastie Boys

        by See you out there on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 09:26:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agree strongly. It would be useful to map (none)
          all the cross-memberships and funding sources.

          "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

          by LondonYank on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 09:42:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Did I just hear Governor Blanco of LA announce (none)
    That Someone from the Aspen Institute is in charge of rebuilding Louisiana?  
  •  While all the possible objections (4.00)
    to London Yank's projections make sense, the fact of the matter is that the time for such a project is not going to get any better in the future than it is right now. These people are deep into their vision by 30 years.  They have no loyalty to Republicans or Democrats and they function as a separate political party willing to use whoever is willing to forward their agenda.  Even Scooter Libby, facing a possible indictment and jail time, continues thinking about ways to further the mission. Sy Hersh knows the depths that they are willing to go and so did David Kelly. It's time to go back and reread all the articles about this project, the Iran/contra stratagy, PNAC, and the Perle-Wurmser white paper written for Netenyahu.  We need to be much clearer and and more effective in broadcasting this danger than we were about the plan to go into Iraq, though it may be too late already.
  •  My theory (3.50)
    is that Israel will do the bombing of military installations, and the US will do the occupying. I have supsected that Sharon is up to something of this sort ever since he pulled his colonies out of the westbank.
  •  I see Prince Bandar (none)
    is a trustee.  How nice.

    Listen all of y'all it's a Sabotage! - Beastie Boys

    by See you out there on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 09:21:51 AM PDT

  •  LondonYank (none)
    This story chills my blood.

    While I don't see where the military resources for an invasion and long-term occupation will come from, I have no doubt that they will scrape together something.

    We are so fucked.

  •  What do you make of this story? (none)
    How does it fit (if at all) within the context of your diary?

    Former Iraqi minister: "Iran helping al-Qaida"

    Canadians care too...

    by jbalazs on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 09:47:20 AM PDT

    •  Shaalan is on the run with a billion dollars (none)
      He may be trying to curry favour with his old friends among the neo-cons to buy safety and a return to a life of luxury in London or Los Angeles.  I certainly wouldn't trust anything he said without further evidence.

      "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

      by LondonYank on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 10:00:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So what are they gonna fight that war with? (none)
    Spitballs? Sorry, couldn't resist. The point is, we're tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan (and elsewhere in the "GWOT"). They can't attack Iran without bringing back the draft - and in fact bringing it back at a level far beyond Vietnam, I think. (Iran will arm and mobilize millions of people in no time when threatened with attack. They won't have the greatest training or the most advanced weaponry in the world, but they'll still be millions of people.) If they bring back the draft, Rethugs won't win national elections for a decade minimum. In other words, that's not going to happen.

    Billmon had a great post a few months back in which he looked at the planned troop levels of the new Iraqi army. His chilling conclusion was that it was bizarrely overblown for the purpose of defending Iraq. Its real purpose, Billmon argued, could only be a future invasion of Iran. This scenario makes a lot of sense to me - at least if you consider the crazed minds of the neoclowns. But, as we know, there is no concrete danger here - the Iraqi army won't be ready for any operation of this scale for many years to come. And even then an attack on Iran would just blow the ethnic mix of Iraq apart.

    So, in final analysis - I don't doubt for a second that the neoclowns are salivating over Iran. But I just can't see how they could possibly make it happen any time soon.

    If you cannot convince them, confuse them. Harry S. Truman

    by brainwave on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 09:51:22 AM PDT

    •  heh (none)
      And the main reason that the Iraqi army could never do this is that it is largely Shia, and would turn its guns on its Yankee masters in a heartbeat - why do you think it is that they don't have any real equipment?
  •  Well constucted, horrible scenario you propose ... (4.00)
     ... which makes my skin crawl (along with the linked article in one of the top posts beneath the diary called Israel, Iran, and the US: Nuclear War, Here We Come). It's so bad, it makes me grateful for all the posts knocking it down, to which I cling in hope. The connections you make re Aspen Institute, Miller, Cheney, etc and the Israeli nuttiness, the Bush-Cheney neocon nuttiness, the Brits, Iran, Chalabi, etc make me fear your theory could hold water. That said, veering just a bit from no-holds-barred insanity, the refutations and counter-arguments that poke holes in that water-filled bucket make sense and give comfort. (Again, its a matter of who can win, it seems - the Crazies or the Reasonably Sane contingent.)

    Along your lines though, LondonYank - or anyone else who wants to answer - does your scenario fit with the Ritter warning about plans for attacks on Iran in early summer? I cant recall his specifics.

    I would add that the inclusion of a major part played by Israel in this nightmare as well as in the linked Hirsch article, gives me reason again to urge folks to remove their heads from the damn sand re our crazies patnership with the crazies in Israel. Stuff comes from that, including the Iraq war. Folks in the know as savvy as exCIA analysts Michael Scheuer and Ray McGovern keep warning us. Few - even here on Kos - seem willing to pay attention to the extent this crucial problem deserves.

    Should a liberal Dem blog be driven into "safe zones" by a tame party, or should it drive a tame party to break out?

    by NYCee on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 10:15:12 AM PDT

    •  I take Ritter very seriously - timing was put off (none)
      by the spike in oil prices.  I think that spooked Bushco so that they had to delay the air strikes.  Now that it is clear the energy markets aren't going to go back down, they may decide it's double or quits.

      As for Israel, I left it out of the diary.  Of course I could have put a bunch of stuff in, but I find it just turns into a useless bashing or defending of Israel's policies and misses the point entirely.  Plenty of comments have made the case for me (and defended it too).

      "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

      by LondonYank on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 11:20:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is quite unfortunate. (4.00)
        Your observation that when Israel comes up the discussion descends into useless bashing/defending, so it's best to leave it out. Because, with all the letters bloggers of the Left write to media and Congress on a multitude of issues, I would bet there are very, very few that speak to the problem of how deeply embedded we are with Israel, entwined and going down the wrong road. And how much of the Mideast hostility aimed at us has stemmed from a lack of serious measures to make Israel obey international law and start to reduce the tensions by doing what must be done (and they do not want to do) to create a viable two-state solution. Instead, we excuse and enable it and use it as a partner (as it uses us) toward the most blinkered plans, as outlined in your diary and in the Hirsch article. I dont know if either of those scenarios are really in the works, but the last few years make it easy to believe they could be, unfortunately.

        As for Ritter, I take him seriously, too. Did he also say that Israel would bomb Iran? I cant recall.

        As for Chalabi, one thing really puzzles me. You said he is a frequent visitor to Iran. How can he operate so freely in Iran if it is so obvious (according to your diary) that he is helping this plot to bomb Iran? That doesnt synch up.

        Should a liberal Dem blog be driven into "safe zones" by a tame party, or should it drive a tame party to break out?

        by NYCee on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 01:24:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So much about Chalabi doesn't add up (none)
          He manages to steal $350 million from Bank Petra, yet we trust him first with the Iraqi Treasury and then with the Oil Ministry (having first intended to make him dictator for life).

          Maybe Chalabi has the Iranians fooled the same way he fooled the neo-cons.  Or maybe he's played the neo-cons to deliver Iraq into Iran's hands and eliminate their most threatening foe, Saddam.  Hard to know.

          "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

          by LondonYank on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 08:30:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Rather unfortunate... (none)
        that Israel cannot be brought up without discussion turning into mudslinging. Reminds me of when I wrote a diary on AIPAC and Larry Fraklin a couple weeks ago, I believe you commented on it. I almost did not write the diary because I knew the reaction it would provoke. Wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I decided to write the diary because I agree with Michael Scheuer that we need to re-evaluate our relationship with Israel and we need to debate our policies in the Mideast.    

        "On résiste à l'invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas à l'invasion des idées." -Victor Hugo

        by Darksyde888 on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 02:16:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  If we attack Iran (none)
    even with nukes, we'll start a pissing contest on the sea - the Iranians have Russian SunBurn supersonic anti-ship missles with a considerable range, and colud be Nuke-tipped themselves - we (Raytheon) have developed the SeaRam Anti-missle system that drops in in place of the M61A1 Phalanx, but I have no Idea how many ships now have that upgrade. I've see it referred to as a "Spiral Development" process, where the whole system isn't produced at one time, but pieces are phased in. Even if the SeaRAM is very effective, there's chances that this could cost us an Aircraft Carrier.

    And, as other peopleupthread have mentioned, there's the Strait of Hormuz problem for oil transport...

  •  Can't see it (none)
    It took what, six months, to get three divisions transported to Kuwait, trained, equipped and ready to invade.  Iran will see any ground attack coming a mile away.  And hitting Iran with only three divisions would be a massacre.

    You could try conventional bombing, but it would take weeks of continuous missions to take out a fraction of their military.  And that close to Russia and China, nuclear strikes would be insane.

    Bush and the neocons may be totally batshit, but I don't think the entire Pentagon is, yet.

  •  Scare Mongering Conspiracy (none)
    There are parts of nice analysis and useful facts in this post, however, they are connected with strings of straight up conspiracy theory.  This is the kind of post that makes us on the left look like kooks who are willing to ignore any fact that might make U.S. defense policy legitimate.  As much as I hate BushCo and disagree with 90+% of their policies, I reserve a special level of disdain for those who are supposedly in my universe of ideology (lefty/progressives) who cheapen the movement with wacked out conspiracy like this post.

    Now, with no intention of supporting any policy of Iran-invasion, I point out that, yes, Iran is a supporter of sickening terrorism that specifically targets innocent people.  I have seen Hizballah's (Iran's) work first hand.  Sickening work that would not exist without direct involvement of Iran.

    So what are Iran's terror connections (and don't give me the U.S. kills innocents too crap, I know they do, but I am specifically rebutting the "Iran is not a terrorist state" point that runs through this post):

    Hizballah is funded, armed, and trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Iranian government directly funds terrorists in Hizballah's training camps in the Bekaa Valley (Reports from Rueters, NYTimes).  I won't go into a detailed account of Iran's support of Hizballah, since it is well documented and any denial of this is ludicrous.

    The ideological basis of Hizballah is Khomeinism and its principle goal is the establishment of a pan-Islamic republic headed by religious clerics.
    Hizballah was the first group to make use of suicide attacks in the Middle East. The first of these attacks was directed against the American embassy in Beirut (April 1983), followed by attacks on the U.S. Marines headquarters and the French Multinational Force (October 1983). The last two were executed simultaneously and resulted in 300 casualties and dozens of wounded. The later attack made an indelible impression on world public opinion and terror organizations alike.

    Although the Hizballah is a Shia Muslim organization, and al-Qaida, a Sunni Muslim group, there is substantial evidence of a working alliance between the two groups dating back to the early 1990s. Transcripts in the trial of al-Qaida militants in the United States reveal not only ideological links, but also operational connections between Hizballah and al-Qaida.

    Is Iran/Hizballah linked to Al-Queda?: 9-11 report found that a representative of bin Ladin reportedly met with an official of the Iranian government prior to the bombings of the U.S. embassies in East Africa, in order to establish an "anti-U.S. alliance." This meeting was reportedly followed by an even more important one, this time between bin Ladin and Imad Mugniyeh, the operations director of Hizballah. The Brookings Institute found that the bombings of the U.S. embassies in East Africa bear an operational resemblance to Hizballah suicide attacks against the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983. Ali Mohamed, who was convicted of conspiracy in the U.S. embassy bombings, testified that al-Qaida's method for driving the United States out of the Middle East was modeled on the successes of the Lebanese Hizballah organization.

    Referring to the 1983 truck bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut--an attack that killed 241 U.S. soldiers--Mohamed said that his group intended to use "the same method to force the United States to pull out of Saudi Arabia."

    Apparently, Hizballah did more than just serve as a source of inspiration for al-Qaida. According to Ruters:  "I was aware of certain contacts between al-Qaida and al-Jihad organization, on one side, and Iran and Hizballah on the other side," Mohamed said. "I arranged security for a meeting in the Sudan between Mughniyah, Hizballah's chief, and bin Ladin."

    More from Ruters: "Hizballah provided explosives training for al-Qaida and al-Jihad," Mohamed said, adding, "Iran also used Hizballah to supply explosives that were disguised to look like rocks."

    According to U.S. intelligence reports, as reported by Ruters and the NYTimes, Osama bin Laden's operatives approached Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security agents in 1995 and again in 1996, offering to join forces against America. According to the NYTimes and the 9-11 report, phone records obtained by U.S. officials investigating the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania revealed that 10 percent of the calls made from the Compact-M satellite phone used by bin Laden and his key lieutenants were to Iran.

    Iran's government, quite simply, directly supports terrorism that his killed hundreds of american's and thousands of Israelis.  Even my skeptical lefty ideology would support us using virtually any military means to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.  (That of course does not address the post authors contention that there are no such weapons and that any U.S. military intervention in Iran is a pretext to taking their oil.....)

    •  Iran does support terror (none)
      But did you know this interesting fact: they offered help to the US before the staging of the Afghanistan invasion...ties actually improved after 9/11.
      •  Exactly (none)
        they have no love for Al Queda, none at all.

        If Bush had had the balls to try to work with Iran after 9/11, we might be hailing him as a real visionary. And there might actually be some real democracy spring up in the middle east.

        But Bush can't think outside a paper bag, let alone a box.

        Bold thinking my ass. Bush wouldn't know a bold idea if it hit him in the head like the boomerangs in those Outback Steakhouse commercials.

        •  Earlier PBS link (none)
          I posted a link earlier in this diary, it's a PBS Frontline link, an interview of a journalist who has covered Iran since 1979.

          She tries to explain why Bush came up with the "Axis of Evil" classification even when Iran was silently helping with the invasion in Afghanistan.

  •  The run up to Iraq can be the source... (none)
    ...of useful info for the run up to Syria and Iran.

    I just read an outstanding review of whet seems to be an outstanding book on the subject.

    The book is called "The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq" by George Packer.

    The review, in the indispensable Powells.com, is called "The Road to Hell A Review by Gary Kamiya"

    I suscribe to their free Review-a-day service and I enjoy it.

    Read the whole review here

    Excerpts;

      Packer describes how the first salvo in what was to become the Iraq war was fired by PNAC, whose members included Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, James Woolsey and William Bennett; "more than half of the founding members would go on to assume high positions in the administration of George W. Bush." In 1998, PNAC sent an open letter to President Clinton, arguing that the policy of containment had failed and urging him to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Weakened by the Lewinsky scandal, Clinton reluctantly signed the Iraq Liberation Act. "Regime change in Iraq became official U.S. policy."

        "Why Iraq?" Packer asks. "Why did Iraq become the leading cause of the hawks?" He gives two reasons: Paul Wolfowitz's desire to atone for America's failure to topple Saddam at the end of the first Gulf War, and the neocons' obsession with defending Israel.

        In Packer's account, Wolfowitz is a fascinating, fatally flawed figure, an idealist who failed to take actions in support of his ideals. As Dick Cheney's undersecretary of defense for policy, Wolfowitz went along with Bush I's decision not to oust Saddam at the end of the first Gulf War. But he was haunted by that choice, and determined to rectify it. "More than Perle, Feith, and the neoconservatives in his department -- certainly more than Rumsfeld and Cheney -- Wolfowitz cared," Packer writes. "For him Iraq was personal." Packer holds Wolfowitz largely responsible for the Bush administration's failure to put enough troops into Iraq, and to plan for the aftermath.

        The leading light of the neoconservatives was Richard Perle, whom Packer describes as the Iraq war's "impresario, with one degree of separation from everyone who mattered." A partisan of Israel's hard-line Likud Party and a protégé of neocon Democrat Scoop Jackson, Perle recruited two other staunch advocates of Israel, Douglas Feith and Elliott Abrams, to work for Jackson and hawkish Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Packer writes, "When I half jokingly suggested that the Iraq War began in Scoop Jackson's office, Perle said, 'There's an element of that.'" In 1985, Perle had met and become friends with an Iraqi exile named Ahmad Chalabi. "By the time of the PNAC letter in January 1998, Perle knew exactly how Saddam could be overthrown: Put Ahmad Chalabi at the head of an army of Iraqi insurgents and back him with American military power and cash."

    and

       Perhaps the most morally shocking revelation in The Assassins' Gate is that the real reason the Bush administration did not plan for the aftermath of the war was that such planning might have prevented the war from taking place. One example of this was the administration's rejection of an offer of help from a coalition of heavyweight bipartisan policy groups. Leslie Gelb, president of the bipartisan Council on Foreign Relations, had offered to assist the administration in its postwar planning: He proposed that his group and two other respected think tanks, the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, prepare a study. "'This is just what we need," Rice said. 'We'll be too busy to do it ourselves.' But she didn't want the involvement of Heritage, which had been critical of the idea of an Iraq war. 'Do AEI instead.'"

    Dailykos.com; an oasis of truth. -1.75 -7.23

    by Shockwave on Mon Oct 17, 2005 at 02:17:32 PM PDT

  •  I got the same impression: Aspens = Iran (none)
    Here Iran ?
    here
    A shared vulnerability: Iran / Chalabi
    and on other comments...

    Data points for Iran code in letter:

        * Libby's letter mentions Judy should go back to reporting on Iran
        * WHIG, Judy, Libby and Cheney were the primary promoters of Iranian friendly Chalabi
        * At the proverbial Aspen institute conference Judy talked about Iran
        * The biggest treason / intel leak of the Bush Administration wasn't Plamegate! It was the inadvertent revelation to an Iranian double agnet (Chalabi ?) that US had cracked it's communications code.
        * Cheney et al. are itching to invade... Iran next

    And the guess:
    - What subjects could Judy have possibly talked about in Jackson Hole, Wyo. but Iran, Iraq, WMD and Plame ?

    It is obvious that they all have a shared interest in Iran. What remains to be seen is if the Iran reference in Libby's letter is to :
    A - Remind Judy of their joint cover up of a possible illegal leak to an Iranian agent - a crime much worse than Plamegate and a lot less "spinnable" by Rovian antics
    B - Plea with Judy to lie in his behalf so that they can move on to spinning their way into a new Bush war with Iran
    C - All of the above..

  •  Nicely done - slash and burn the Aspens (none)
    The plans of the Aspens must be burnt before they set fire to the whole bloody forest. Thanks for the timely and detailed reminder.
  •  Les Aspin? Iran Contra? (none)
    Roots?
  •  Great diary (none)
    I've read a lot of comments that have basically said that an attack on Iran is not possible due to a lack of human resources.

    But what about a joint US-Israeli attack (this includes any local forces). Israel has a substantial vested interest to attack, and has the means to do this in conjunction with the US.

  •  Something else suggests they're targeting Iran (none)
    Thanks for an interesting article. I kind of agree that Iran is the next target & there are some other movements lately that back this up.

    A week ago, John Bolton made a new appointment to his UN team, named Jeff Gedmin. http://www.thewashingtonnote.com. Gedmin will hold the #2 position as the new Deputy Representative to the UN. Gedmin is a neoconservative and the director of... the Aspen Institute. This appointment ruffled some feathers because the Deputy Rep. is usually a career diplomat, not a political appointee. So why would Bolton want this guy to be his new number 2? Gedmin recently published an article in the Weekly Standard called "Plan B for Iran." http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/0 ... . In it, he talks about the imminent danger that Iran will soon have a nuclear bomb, and criticizes the administration for relying on "diplomatic measures" to stop Iran's program.

    He writes: "By now it must be obvious that if the United States is serious about preventing the mullahs from getting the bomb, we have two choices: either preemption or regime change. By now it is also pretty clear that bombing would be difficult, which can only make one wonder why we have been so slow in giving serious support to the democracy movement in Iran. This regime has to go."

    This Friday, John Bolton made a new appointment to the UN, named Jeff Gedmin. http://www.thewashingtonnote.com . Gedmin will hold the #2 position as the new Deputy Representative to the UN. Gedmin is a neoconservative and the director of, you guessed it, the Aspen Institute. This appointment ruffled some feathers because the Deputy Rep. is usually a career diplomat, not a political appointee. So why would Bolton want this guy to be his new number 2? Gedmin recently published an article in the Weekly Standard called "Plan B for Iran." http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/0 ... . In it, he talks about the imminent danger that Iran will soon have a nuclear bomb, and criticizes the administration for relying on "diplomatic measures" to stop Iran's program. He writes: "By now it must be obvious that if the United States is serious about preventing the mullahs from getting the bomb, we have two choices: either preemption or regime change. By now it is also pretty clear that bombing would be difficult, which can only make one wonder why we have been so slow in giving serious support to the democracy movement in Iran. This regime has to go."

    Bolton is appointing UN officials that support regime change to support him. The Aspen group is promoting the danger from Iran's nuclear program. Rice & Blair are citing Iranian attacks. You know the Vice President is on board. The pawns are all moving into place. Now Libby seemed to be saying they need her, their chief propagandizer, to come out of jail to write overhyped stories to gain public support for their Iran plan. All the aspens have to "turn together" & they need her work. Really, it seems like the only thing stopping them at this point is the Fitzgerald investigation (whew!)

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