And Iran, Iran So Far Away (I Couldn't Get Away)

Guess it's about time we talk about Iran.

This is the one story I've been able to follow on every stop of my vacation, largely thanks to the availability of BBC World in East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, and here in Oz. (BBC World, the respectable offspring of BBC News in the U.K., holds the distinction of being more mind-numbingly repetitive than MTV. The ten stories and four self-promoting commercials the channel has on any given day are on perfectly interesting subjects, but by the eighteenth news loop, they kind of lose their appeal.)

Thanks to BBC, I was able to watch the live press conference with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad right from my hotel room in Bali. (More on Bali and the fight against terrorism in another post.) Given that Ahmadinejad is known for his outlandishly inflammatory statements -- and his freakish lust for the apocalypse -- it seemed he was relatively self-restrained this time around, though he remained predictably defensive of his country's nuclear ambitions. He shrugged off the threat of economic sanctions by asserting that Western nations "need us more than we need them."

Writing in the latest issue of The Weekly Standard, William Kristol insists that the use of military force against Iran must remain an option. He praises the Washington Post editorial board for specifically not ruling out a military response to Iran's nuclear recalcitrance. Make no mistake, writes William Arkin writes in his Early Warning blog, the United States is "ready" for a fist fight with Iran, but he says an American attack on the nuclear wannabee is not imminent.

Alan Caruba, in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, takes Kristol's argument a big step further in declaring that "[a] military confrontation with Iran is inevitable." Caruba's solution? "A massive bombing campaign to degrade their capacity to make or launch nuclear missiles. Take away their nuclear option, along with their command and control capabilities, and there will be no need to invade." Caruba also advocates an approach that, according to the Telegraph newspaper, the Pentagon considered three years ago: "With sufficient planning," Caruba says, "resistance groups inside Iran could be armed to finish off the relative handful of ayatollahs in charge."

My dear Mr. Caruba, please take another look at the history of American involvement in Afghanistan. In its haste to help drive out the Soviet invaders, the U.S. government supported the arming of "resistance groups," who counted among their fighters one Osama bin Laden. Michael Moran explains the relationship in more detail here, in support of his argument that the possibility of "blowback" in such deal-with-the-devil situations is often too great a risk for the United States to take.

Another form of blowback is also likely -- that Iranians, who already largely support their country's right to pursue nuclear technologies, would be so incensed at the infidels' attack on them that they would redouble their efforts to produce nuclear weapons, and would be more eager to use those weapons against said infidels. The AJC editorial board offers several other reasons that diplomacy is preferable to a military engagement:

... an attack on Iran could just as easily touch off a violent Shiite reaction that could make our already fragile situation in Iraq untenable. It could also inspire a new round of international terrorism or send the world price of oil to well over $100 a barrel.
What it could not do, however, is destroy Iran's nuclear program. Advocates of a military response like to cite the Israeli airstrike in 1982 that destroyed Iraq's only nuclear reactor, in the process destroying Saddam Hussein's weapons program as well. Unfortunately, Iran learned from that example and has taken effective steps to ensure that it is not vulnerable to a similar surgical strike. It has dispersed its nuclear activities throughout the country and hardened sites against air attack to make a knockout blow all but impossible.
In fact, the only military option certain to halt Iran's nuclear weapons program would be a full-scale invasion and occupation, and that simply is not militarily feasible absent a mandatory draft in this country. Furthermore, as we've learned yet again in Iraq, the consequences of taking the military approach are almost impossible to predict.

The AJC advocates sanctions, in spite of Ahmadinejad's insistence that the economic pressure tactic would pose no serious threat to the country. Mr. Behi, an Iranian blogger, strongly opposes that outcome: "I grew up under war and sanctions, I do not want to see Iran under sanction again," Behi says. But he doesn't blame those who would impose the sanctions; he blames the leaders of Iran. "This government cares about it's ideology first and then the people. That is insane. Who said that we should cut relations with US and pay this huge price. This is enough."

The leadership of Iran, and more broadly, popular opinion within the country, will be the biggest factor in how this all plays out. Right now, the president and the public strongly believe that Iran has a right to nuclear capabilities -- unless and until they reprioritize (and toss the Holocaust-denying Ahmadinejad overboard), this standoff will continue.

For additional background on this issue, check out this 2003 report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Dealing With Iran's Nuclear Challenge. It's also worth reading the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors' resolution on Iran, from November of 2004, as well as the IAEA director general's detailed report on Iran's nuclear-related activities and the implementation of Non-Proliferation Treaty safeguards. Another interesting read is the James Fallows piece in the December 2004 Atlantic Monthly, "Will Iran Be Next?"

Here's the text of the November 15, 2004 agreement the United Kingdom, France and Germany reached with Iran affirming that, among other things, Iran "does not and will not seek to acquire nuclear weapons." Charles Krauthammer says the approach from the self-dubbed "E.U. Three" is one that "makes you want to weep." Krauthammer writes, "Instead of being years away from the point of no return for an Iranian bomb, as we were before we allowed Europe to divert anti-proliferation efforts into transparently useless talks, Iran is probably just months away." (Jim Hoagland says "Western intelligence agencies believe that Iran is five to 10 years away from making a bomb" -- not exactly in line with Krauthammer's prediction that Iranian nukes are "just months away.")

In the Kinshasa on the Potomac blog, Jeff agrees that the European negotiations have been a big waste of time. Even if the E.U. Three is finally coming around, Jeff says, Russia is still obstructing any meaningful action against Iran. J. Patrick Briscoe mentions Krauthammer's op-ed in his blog post, noting that "he seems to suggest we should have taken military action (perhaps just wish-and-a-prayer airstrikes?) against Iran as long as two years ago, and one has to wonder where that would have left us now."

By Emily Messner |  January 18, 2006; 12:21 PM ET  | Category:  Misc.
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Our inability to influence Iran dates back to before the current Iranian President, and stems largely from the decision to completely embargo Iran. Quite simply, the Iranians have nothing to lose by ignoring Bush and misleading Europe.

We are not a customer, and we don't supply them with anything, so why not ignore us. All the embargo has done has been to push them into the welcoming arms of the Chinese, our greatest potential threat, who would enjoy us impaling ourselves. And if we don't bomb Iran, China's need for its oil assures Iran of a permanent market, even if Europe embargoes them (which is about as likely as the Pope converting to Islam). Condi Rice gave Iran precious little incentive by promising only that the US would grant export licenses for a few aircraft parts Iran would like for its airlines.

Moreover, Bush's "War on Terror" has eliminated Iran's two principal threats: the Sunni Taliban and Saddam, and given them an enormous foot-in-the-door among the Shia majority in Iraq. They are sitting as pretty as they possibly could want.

The only thing Bush could offer them that might entice them, and which Bush adamantly refuses to consider, is to end the embargo at least with respect to non-strategic goods, as Clinton did with North Korea. That would be far more valuable to Iran than it was to North Korea because the Iranians actually produce useful stuff in addition to oil, and much of their oil infrastructure which needs to be replaced or retooled was originally US made.

It should also be remembered that Iran has a legitimate point about uranium. Iran has natural deposits of uranium, and with China buying up uranium in Canada and Australia for their nuclear power industry, and others eyeing a return to nuclear power as a supplement to oil and gas, the Iranians can hardly be faulted for wanting to get in on that market. What is needed is a strict monitoring and inspection program, not a total prohibition.

If we fail to take this opportunity to offer to end the embargo of Iran in return for their ending their nuclear weapons program, they will rebuilt their oil infrastructure with other sources, such as China, India, Russia, and other willing sellers, and we will not only have a nuclear Iran, but we will have lost forever a market of 5 to 10 billion dollars a year at a time when we are seriously in the hole with respect to trade with the rest of the world.

Posted by: MikeDeal | January 18, 2006 04:36 PM

Emily, we love this post - one of the few thoughtful ones. But close the notebook and enjoy the scenery. The road to success is strewn the the bodies of the addicted and burned out who passed you when they thought they were rocketing to the top.

And don't you dare leave OZ without snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef.

PS. We will reap the fruits of having taught the world that we only invade small, essentially defenseless, non-nuclear nations. It will be seen as this administration's greatest failure.

Posted by: patriot1957 | January 18, 2006 05:34 PM

Quote: "He praises the Washington Post editorial board for specifically not ruling out a military response to Iran's nuclear recalcitrance."

This is the same Washington Post Editorial Board that led us willy-nilly into the Iraq War as well, non? Can someone explain the difference to me between the Washington Post Editorial Board, and that of the WSJ?

Posted by: Scoob | January 18, 2006 05:34 PM

Iran has made it abundantly clear that it is not going to stop research in uranium enrichment since this right is granted by articles of NPT to all the signatory member states.

US/EU continue to insist that Iran can not be trusted not to develop nuclear bomb if she is allowed to continue such research because Iran has conducted uranium enrichment research manufacturing capability in the past clandestinely.

US/EU want IAEA Board to recommend Iran be referred to UNSC for possible sanctions against Iran for Iran wanting to exercize it's right granted by NPT. By doing so, US/EU are warning rest of the non-nuclear signatory members not to even think about wanting to exercize their right granted by NPT. However US/EU did not propose to forbid or eliminate such right when NPT was being created and negotiated, knowing fully well that then most of the signatory members would have rejected outright NPT with such a clause.

So Iran is not going to forgo right to enrich its own uranium. Can US/EU do anything about it if Russia and/or China object to trade sanctions other than bypass UN like US/UK did over Iraq? Would entire EU be willing to join US this time unlike last time over Iraq?

Posted by: suresh sheth | January 18, 2006 05:39 PM

The United Nations didn't stop the United States from going into Iraq with the UK, so I can't imagine them being able to prevent Germany, France, and England from going into Iran with the United States/Israel.

MikeDeal-

Loved the post, but I disagree on a key point. The United States *does* have something to offer Iran or rather, it offers not to do something to them contingently with them not pursuing nuclear weapons. It's very difficult for a country to pursue nuclear weapons without an infrastructure and, say what you want about our "Nation Building" (which has been exposed as weak), when it comes to "Infrastructure Destroying" we are about as good as it gets.

Posted by: Will | January 18, 2006 06:11 PM

Liked Mike Deal's post. I think it is time to discuss some false paradigms now afloat:

1. If we only can do a fast, surgical regime change by bombing and special ops, the war will be over in a week and the nuclear threat ended.

Fact: Iranian dissidents are strong supporters of Iran's nuclear program. Toppling the clerics will not be reason enough for Iran to shift course. Any successor regime will go right to it.

2. With ample Iranian oil and gas, going nuclear makes no sense!

Fact: American economists in the 60s and 70s are the ones that convinced Iran that it made absolute sense to go nuclear and train massive cadres of nuclear scientists and engineers in the USA. Hence, the ubiquitous numbers of Iranians in civilian nuke power today in the West, plus those that stayed in Iran. Today, going nuclear makes even more sense, given Iran's huge uranium reserves and cost per kilowatt of nuclear being 1/10th-1/22nd the cost of oil fired plants, plus oil can be exported for hard cash.

3. America is obligated to defend our dearest ally, Israel, and preserve its large stockpiles of WMD as a regional monopoly.

Fact: Because of past Israeli actions, America decided never to sign a defense treaty with Israel. There is no treaty obligation to preserve Israels "edge". The Iraq War is slated to cost us over 1.3 trillion once we account for lifetime benefits of the dead and maimed, and we repay the interest owed for China and Japan financing us. Further wars to preserve a non-existent technical monopoly for Israel will have to account for the costs of invasions, long-term occupations of such nations as Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, possibly Turkey....attendendent oil embargoes and a sharply reduced standard of living as China Rises to the dominant economic, dominant financial, and co-equal military Superpower.

4. It would be evil of Iran to want a nuclear bomb!

Fact: As things currently stand, Iran faces two great historical rivals, Russia and Sunni Pakistan - that have nukes aimed at it. A country next door, Iraq, that killed 200,000 Iranians, by chem weapons WMD and almost got nukes. A nuclear America talking about invasion and regime change. A so far expansionist, colonizing Israel, which has had nukes aimed at Iran for 25 years. Absent arms control treaties and nuclear free zones in the ME, it is hard to imagine any nation with better reasons to seek strategic parity than Iran.

5. We must strike soon! Otherwise, our best pal will be forced to!

Fact: Our "best pal" lacks the logistics, airspace permissions, and conventional bombing capacity to deter Iran.

6. The neocon experts say we must invade soon to honor our eternal moral obligation to Israel.

Fact: There is no "moral obligation". The obligation we have is to try and force final ME Borders and get the ME a nuclear weapons free zone.

7. Sanctions and the Great Kofi issuing a UN double-deploration of Iran will work.

Fact: Sanctions are a joke that typically are circumvented and only screw the poor and powerless. Even with a sadsack nation like Cuba. And we already know that China will not let any touchy-feely Kofi babble stop its path to global greatness. Iran will sell every drop of oil and tank of nat gas it produces whatever the UN says. The US embargo is a joke, and Mr. Deal is right - our only peaceful leverage is to trade favors with Iran.

8. In the end, our "heroes" can defeat Iran under Bush.

Fact: Iran has 4X the population and 3.5X the land area of Iraq. Half the American public and almost all the world have no confidence in following the Bushies and ever more hysterical neocons because of
their incredible blunders. The public is not exactly ready for 160 a barrel oil, a 50% drop in the value of the dollar, a true economic depression - if possible, even in the worse case, they would like to delay a conflict until Iraq is over and a new Executive team is in the White House.

Posted by: Chris Ford | January 18, 2006 07:44 PM


Chris Ford,

What an excellent, thought-provoking post. Thank you. I am particularly struck by the reasons you note for Iran's logical self-interest in seeking a nuclear arsenal. Iran is a major nation with a strong national cohesion and a long, long history. For the region, they've had a relatively stable government for the past 25 years. (The current leader is obviously a loose cannon, but how much power does he actually hold? He seems a fairly succesful propaganda tool, and easily discardable if a deal with the West is desired.)

Pakistan, India and Israel secretly turned themselves into nuclear powers and then went right on forging positive relationships with the West. These are clearly positive role models to Iran, just as at least two of them are potential enemies.

I undestand why powers that have alredy accepted or declined the option of going nuclear themselves would want to stop Iran from getting the bomb and my own interests clearly lie with this group, but what does that mean to the Iranians?

Posted by: Bullsmith | January 18, 2006 09:00 PM

To second the last two posts, Iran may be looking 20-30 years in the future rather than at Israel today, despite their president's rhetoric. When the US and the rest of the West have used up all our own oil, oil will be incredibly valuable, and any remaining holder of large deposits like Iran a tempting target for occupation. Using nuclear power today to conserve oil supplies, and building nuclear weapons to scare off the future invasion seem prudent from that viewpoint.

Posted by: JG | January 18, 2006 09:32 PM

Well said Chris Ford. You still have the ability to surprise.

Posted by: OD | January 18, 2006 10:31 PM

Amen

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 18, 2006 10:49 PM

Yawn! You ever watch one of those dominoes fall in slow-motion?

Posted by: OhYeah | January 19, 2006 12:04 AM

which domino is that, oh yeah? I'm still waiting for the ones in SE asia to fall -- Indonesia, Australia, and so on.

Chris Fordand the others said what I've been thinking for some time -- look at this from the iranian point of view, Nukes are the way to go -- save oil to sell later and keeps the US of A at bay.

And why should they trust the US. Last time they had a democracy we overthrew it. Would YOU trust a country that did that to you?

One suspects not.

ct

Posted by: ct in ogden | January 19, 2006 12:43 AM

Mr. Ford,

I concur with pretty much all of what you say, but what (if anything) do you think should the US/EU/world do about Iran going nuclear? I'm not trying to be snippy, I just can't think of too many good options myself at this point.

Posted by: | January 19, 2006 12:49 AM

Chris made a good point by looking at the issue from the perspective of Iranian govt. The argument that Emily posted is biased towards US policy without taking the sides of Iranian.

I am quite appalled with the logic that the US has used in this issue. If the Nuclear technologies is so dangerous, why don't we just ban them to all nations. If the Iran can't be trusted to hold the nuclear technology, why do we tolerate North Korean, Israel, India & Pakistan.\

Why don't we dismantle the illusion of democracy in United Nation? There are 5 nations that hold veto power to override any resolution by member nations. The veto power has been consistently to cause other nations to toe the line of the powerful. The Security Council is a joke that serves the political objective of the selected nations rather than the world.

Posted by: roslan | January 19, 2006 01:10 AM

It is ironic that Russia and China's self interest in resisting the US approach so far, has protected our national interest more than the actions of our own leaders. I am absolutely against the Islamic regime in Iran, but I tell you that when an idiot like Ahmadinejad points out to our imperious attitude towards developing countries, there are BILLIONS of people around the world who would share his sentiments. What we are telling Iran and the rest of the world is that we have absolutely no respect for the international law and agreements, including the NPT. We are saying that "we don't care if you are signatory to NPT and additional protocols; they don't mean anything if we don't like your face". I find that attitude racist. Look at who is making all the fuss, US, UK, France, and Germany, All the declining powers who are acting like old men too frustrated with their own fragility and decay, some with brutal and disgraceful imperial past. I wish those fools who are in charge of our foreign policy had the chance to walk the streets of South and South West Asia, even central and south America and get a first hand understanding of how little people care about our interpretation of reality. White man, wake up and smell the new world order.

Posted by: Karim Vakeel | January 19, 2006 01:28 AM

To misquote Nazi propagandists, if you keep repeating a lie long enough and loud enough, eventually people may believe it. There is absolutely no evidence to date that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, and yet the US government keep repeating that lie and reframing the debate.

Are we in the imminent danger from Iranian nuclear weapons? Only as much as we were in the imminent danger from Saddam's chemical weapons. Hay, later on we can always blame it on poor intelligence, or lack there of.

Posted by: Fox is my window to the world | January 19, 2006 02:01 AM

Many commentators have said there aren't too many good options, so you're not alone. We are really over a barrel. 2 billion new people just joined the global economy and they are as talented as the West and Asian tigers. They want the same standard of living - just as global oil production looks like it not going to grow anymore so Iran and other exporters are in a huge position of advantage. And unlike in the 70s, when we only had 30% import dependency - we are totally screwed by paralysis of special interest groups that have blocked conservation AND developing ANY sort of new energy source to replace oil. Worse, while we actually consume less than in the 70s, all our "efficiency" gains have been eaten up by uncontrolled immigration into the US and their 1st, 2nd gen large families, so energy usage went up 35%.

America had 203 million people in 1970. We have 300 million by next October. By 2030, we will have at least 363 million according to the Census estimates - far more if Muslim, African, Caribbean, and Latin American immigration is allowed to accelerate further. We use 107 Quadrillion BTUs of energy, of which 40 are oil, of that which perhaps 5-8 Quads are able to be conserved away before 20 million new Mexican arrivals negate all those conservation gains. By all means we should have more mpg requirements of the cars, trucks, and eeeeeeeviiiiil SUVs. But recognize the environmentalists occupy a fool's world...SUVs are a picayune part of the overall energy problem.

Solar is a pipe dream at 0.063 Quads, less than in 1990. Windpower is a joke that may give us 5 Quads of variable, unstorable, unreliable power by 2030 with triple tax breaks. Same with all the "alternate energy source" rubbish which only can add 5 or so Quads by 2030 or replace a tiny amount of imported oil. Yeah, every little bit helps, but Americans are profoundly uneducated on the limitations of those exotic sources making any appreciable dent. Our real sources of energy to replace Iranian and ME oil and make up for the energy demand that our population explosion invariably creates are: Nuclear. Oil shale/sands. Coal. All those will take us 10 years just to get infrastructure in place if we start tomorrow. In the interim, IMHO, we need to say "fuck the caribou and rats with wings" (garbage dump seagulls) and start drilling like crazy in any offshore or Alaskan locale suspected to have oil or nat gas. And dead serious - a complete halt on immigration, family and refugee reunification, mail order Muslim brides, etc.

All that is desperately needed just to be in a position where we can bargain and pressure the Owners of Overseas Oil. Iranian moves and our ability to affect them - is tied just as much to stopping Rashid and Juan getting into America and buying pick-up trucks as to our military capacity.

*******************Specific Actions I think America must do in the ME*********

1. If we can get Iran to accept the Russian enrichment offer for 10 years, that would be a huge step. Russia has surplus enrichment capacity and Iran cannot make an economic argument that it would be cheaper to build more excess global enrichment capacity domestically.

2. The fact Iran will have nuke reactors is not the end of the world alarmist neocons loyal to Israel would have us believe. As long as they are IAEA monitored and "burn" their fuel sticks enough, which they have to if they are generating economical electric power - their spent fuel plutonium is heavily contaminated with unseparatable PU-240 and 241, not just the "good" PU239. And we would quickly learn if they went with reprocessing.

3. We have had good success in making regions of the world "Nuke WMD-free". Oceana, Africa, Latin America. Libya has given up pursuing nukes now, and the new Gov't of Iraq is unlikely to go back to what Saddam tried. If any region really is left that Must be Made Nuke-free, it's the ME. Because Israel has nukes, all it's neighbors are "interested", though there are big political downsides. But if Iran gets them, then the pressure for Saudi Arabia to get them, with other Gulf state support due to the Shiite menace, would be considerable. With less than a few minutes flight time, the nations with nukes would have no option but launch on warning. The trick of course is how to "guarantee" Iran and Israel's security. Why would they trust outsiders? Why would any other nation wish to affiliate, then tie their fate to either Iran or Israel with no real "gain" for doing so? But I think a case can be made that the ME would be less dangerous for not just the nations, but the global economy if we can stop the "nuclear bomb cancer" from spreading and get rid of Israel's secret WMD stockpiles.

4. Iran would be easier to justify - at one point before the Islamic revolution, the US planned on being it's guarantor. Now you could easily see China being that to assist in China's efforts to strip the West of it's oil suppliers and block Russia. Israel would have to first take back it's colonists, work out a reparations plan for the Palestinian people it stole from, have compensation for the Jews the Muslims then stole from in retaliation, then have final borders imposed under a Prince Abdullah style plan with Arab recognition of it's right to exist - before it would ever consider abandoning it's secret Chem, bio, and nuke stockpiles. And no major country is wild about tying the albatross that is Israel around their necks.

5. The big loser in this is Israel. It once thought no Arab country could ever get the bomb so it was safer being a nuke power. But if it keeps it's bombs, Muslims will want parity, and now have the technology and the oil dollars they need to obtain nuclear weaponry. - And, because of Israel's small size and how it's population is mostly concentrated in 6-7 cities, under a dozen nukes would destroy Israel, while it's nukes would not completely destroy any of it's major neighbors. They would survive, barely. Israel would likely not. If Israel goes with a guarantor, and gives up it's WMD as a danger - it has to remember two thousand years of Jewish history as a friendless, despised people that were eventually made unwelcome in nation after nation, culture after culture.

6. We must get off our dependency on ME oil and watch China's drive for dominance in controlling global oil reserves...

7. We have some very good video production and FX stuff and maybe it's time to pound into some Islamoid heads just how bad a nuclear war would be. Too many people think it's a bad day for a few cities, but then it's back to business...It is like trying to extrapolate a WWI air bombing attack into how bad a WWII air bombing campaign would be. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were tiny 12-16KT bombs and happened right at the end of a war, in a country that had very efficiently made regions as self-reliant as possible by wars end. The fallout mostly went out to sea, and rescue ops were possible. The effect of 60 years of "progress" in nuclear war-fighting, the shattering effect of 60-100 thermonuclear devices 30-50 times more powerful than the crude WWII bombs arriving almost simultaneously should be put into a movie. A movie customized for each Muslim nation that thinks nuke war is a desirable option to destroy Israel or advance Islam. The consequences. This would be your fate. This movie is not fiction. Allah would not spare you. And yes, a similar movie should be made for intransigent Zionists and intransigent Pals showing what Israel and the West Bank, Gaza would be after 7-12 bombs landed on it - an event that becomes likelier the longer both sides resist Final Borders and each others right to live side by side.....

Posted by: Chris Ford | January 19, 2006 03:55 AM

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2006: Bush's Waterloo?

From Iraq to Plamegate to an angry bureaucracy, the coming year holds mortal dangers for Bush. But he still has some cards to play.

By Tom Engelhardt
http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2006/01/13/engelhardt/print.html

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Jan. 13, 2006 | 2006 is sure to be the year of living dangerously -- for the Bush administration and for the rest of us. In the wake of revelations of warrantless spying by the National Security Agency, we have already embarked on what looks distinctly like a constitutional crisis (which may not come to a full boil until 2007). In the meantime, the president, vice president, secretaries of defense and state, various lesser officials, crony appointees, acolytes, legal advisors, leftover neocons, spy-masters, strategists, spin doctors, ideologues, lobbyists, Republican Party officials, and congressional backers are intent on packing the Supreme Court with supporters of an "obscure philosophy" of unfettered presidential power called "the unitary executive theory" and then foisting a virtual cult of the imperial presidency on the country.

On the other hand, determined as this administration has been to impose its version of reality on us, the president faces a traffic jam of reality piling up in the environs of the White House. The question is: How long will the omniscient and dominatrix-style fantasies of Bushworld, ranging from "complete victory" in Iraq to nonexistent constitutional powers to ignore Congress, the courts, and treaties of every sort, triumph over the realities of the world the rest of humanity inhabits. Will an unconstrained presidency continue to grow -- or not?

Here are just a few of the explosive areas where Bush v. Reality is likely to play out, generating roiling crises that could chase the president through the rest of this year. Keep in mind, this just accounts for the modestly predictable, not for the element of surprise that -- as with Ariel Sharon's recent stroke -- remains ever present.

Who, after all, can predict what will hit our country this year. From a natural-gas shock to Chinese financial decisions on the dollar, from oil terrorism to the next set of fierce fall hurricanes, from the bursting of the housing bubble to the arrival of the avian flu, so much is possible -- but one post-9/11 truth, revealed with special vividness by Hurricane Katrina, should by now be self-evident: Whatever the top officials of this administration are capable of doing, they and their cronies in various posts throughout the federal bureaucracy are absolutely incapable of (and perhaps largely uninterested in) running a government. Let's give this phenomenon a fitting name: FEMAtization. You could almost offer a guarantee that no major problem is likely to arise this year, domestic or foreign, that they will not be quite incapable of handling reasonably, efficiently or thoughtfully -- to hell with compassionately (for anyone who still remembers that museum-piece label "compassionate conservative," from the Bush version of the Neolithic era). So here are just four of the most expectable crisis areas of 2006 as well as three wild cards that may remain in the administration's hand and that could chase all of us through this year -- adding up, in one way or the other, to the political tsunami of 2006.

1. Iraq. Bush's war (and occupation) of choice has shadowed him like a boogeyman from the moment that banner over his head on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln announced "Mission Accomplished" and he declared "major combat operations" at an end on May 2, 2003. On that very day, in news hardly noticed by a soul, one of the first acts of insurgency against American troops occurred and seven GIs were wounded in a grenade attack in Fallujah. As either a prophet of the future or a master of wish-fulfillment, the president was never more accurate than when, in July 2003, he taunted the Iraqi guerrillas, saying, "Bring 'em on." Well, they've been bringing it on ever since.

Unwilling to face the realities of its trillion-dollar folly of a war and dealing with presidential polling figures entering free fall, the administration did the one thing it has been eternally successful at -- it launched a fantasy offensive, not in Iraq, but here at home against the American people and especially the media. A series of aggressive speeches, news conferences, spin-doctored policy papers, and attacks on the opposition as "defeatists who refuse to see that anything is right," all circling around an election likely to put an Islamic theocratic regime in power in Baghdad, pumped up the president's polling numbers modestly and, more important, caused reporters and pundits to back off, wondering yet again whether we weren't finally seeing the crack of light at the end of that tunnel. (Wasn't the president implicitly admitting to the odd mistake in Iraq policy? Wasn't he secretly preparing his own version of withdrawal? Weren't the Iraqis turning some corner or other?)

It's been a strange, brain-dead media era in which, far more than the American people, the pundits never seem to learn. Most pathetic of all, in what might have been a straightforward parody of the famed moment when a group of senior advisors from past administrations ("the Wise Men") met with President Lyndon Johnson and urged him to reconsider his Vietnam policy, the Bush administration gathered together 13 former secretaries of state and defense (including Robert McNamara and Melvin Laird from the Vietnam era) for a photo with the president. Also offered was an Iraq dog-and-pony show involving painfully upbeat reports from chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Peter Pace and ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalizhad. In return, the 13 former officials, including Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright, got a full 5-10 minute "interchange" with the president or (as the Dreyfuss Report did the math) all of 23 seconds of consultation time per secretary. It was the Wise Men (and Woman) Photo Op and it caught something of Bushworld and its peculiar allure.

However complicated the situation in Iraq may be, here's an uncomplicated formula for considering administration policy there in the coming year. After every "milestone," from the killing of Saddam Hussein's sons and the capture of Saddam himself through the "handing over" of sovereignty and various elections, things have only gotten worse. Remind me why it should be different this time? In fact, while the president warned endlessly about violence before the recent election, the violence since has been far worse with 28 Americans and hundreds of Iraqis dying in just a single tumultuous four-day period. Or put another way, whatever government may be formed in Baghdad's Green Zone, it will preside over a Bush-installed failed state, utterly corrupt (billions of dollars have already been stolen from it) and thoroughly inept, incapable of providing its people with anything like security. In fact, just the other day, two suicide bombers, dressed in the uniforms of "senior police officers" and with the correct security passes, made it through numerous checkpoints and into the well-guarded compound of the Interior Ministry where they blew themselves and many policemen up. Iraq's government, such as it is, has also proved incapable of delivering electricity or potable water, or of running its only industry of significance, the oil business (overseen by, of all people, Ahmed Chalabi), which is now producing less energy than in the worst moments of the Saddam Hussein/sanctions era. The country is already in a low-level civil war; its American-supported military made up of rival militias preparing to engage in various forms of ethnic cleansing; its police evidently heavily infiltrated by the insurgency; and its most important leaders are Shiite theocrats closely allied with Iran. The insurgency itself shows not the slightest sign of lessening.

Meanwhile, at home, figures as disparate as Rep. John Murtha and former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski are demanding a military disengagement by the end of 2006 and in Brzezinski's case calling on the Democrats to come out against the war. ("Finally, Democratic leaders should stop equivocating while carping. Those who want to lead in 2008 are particularly unwilling to state clearly that ending the war soon is both desirable and feasible.")

Iraq is a minefield for the Bush administration. Prepare for it to blow this year.

2. Trials (and Tribulations) of Every Sort. Of course some of the description of Iraq above has become increasingly applicable to the Bush administration as well. It is, after all, run by fundamentalists and presidential cultists, presiding over what increasingly looks like a FEMA-tized, failed state, riddled with corruption, and at war with itself. In 2006, Bush and his associates face a quagmire of potential scandals, exposures of corrupt and illegal practices, and trials and tribulations of all sorts. There is, as a start, special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, still on the Plame case job.

After a brief flurry of activity in November when the National Law Journal's 2005 "lawyer of the year" convened a new grand jury to hear further evidence, the Fitzgerald investigation dropped off just about everyone's radar screen. Fitzgerald, however, is a dogged character, playing things very close to the vest. No one can know what exactly he will do, but he is reportedly preparing material on Karl Rove for the new grand jury. It would be reasonable to expect that, sometime in the next two or three months, he might indeed indict "Bush's brain" and then, rather than winding down his investigation, turn from those who attempted to obstruct his view of the Plame case to the case itself. In other words, if you happen to be a betting soul, you might consider putting your money on the possibility that the Plame case investigation will reach ever higher in the administration -- and Fitzgerald seems carefully shielded within the Justice Department from administration tampering.

At the same time, even though former House Majority Leader Tom (the Hammer) DeLay got hammered and officially ended his bid to regain his leadership post last week, the Texas and Washington parts of the DeLay corruption scandal are likely only to grow and spread. In Texas, DeLay's money-laundering case was not, despite his deepest wishes, thrown out of court and is now expanding into an election spending scandal involving the National Republican Congressional Committee and linked to the Abramoff case. Lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who plied endless (mostly Republican) congressional reps with favors and perks in return for influence, pleaded guilty last week to public corruption charges and turned state's evidence. He has claimed he possesses incriminating material on 60 congressional lawmakers (as well as many of their aides).

Last week, the Washington Post reported, federal prosecutors turned "up the pressure on a former senior aide to Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Tex., in the clearest signal yet that the sprawling public corruption investigation is now focusing on House Republican leadership offices." Though the career prosecutors from the Justice Department's Office of Public Integrity who turned Abramoff seem to have been reasonably insulated from administration pressure, the case threatens to hit the Republican Congress hard, just as the Plame case threatens to empty the higher realms of administration power. It looks like at least a limited number of cases will be brought against lawmakers this election year. Unlike Fitzgerald, however, the career prosecutors in the Abramoff case are overseen by a notorious Bush recess appointee, Alice Fisher. Her nomination was opposed even in a Republican-controlled Senate as she is without prosecutorial experience (though she has some experience in the subject area of Guantánamo interrogations and is tied to Tom DeLay's defense team). So look for future fireworks, conflicts, scandals and plenty of leaks on this one.

In the meantime, the courts will be busy indeed. Just count a few of the ways: The question of whether Bush's warrantless NSA wiretaps have polluted other terrorism cases will hit the courts this year, while the kangaroo "military" tribunals in Guantánamo have just started up again, and various cases having to do with the limits of presidential power (or the lack of them) are likely to arrive, not to speak of the four Texas gerrymandering cases (think, once again, Tom DeLay) the Supreme Court has agreed to take up before the 2006 elections that could put five now-Republican seats in the House up for grabs. (A court already tarred by the 2000 election might rule surprisingly on this one.)

3. War with the Bureaucracy. Until quite recently, with an oppositionless Congress, increasingly right-wing courts, and a cowed media, traditional constitutional checks and balances on administration claims of massive presidential powers and prerogatives have been missing in action. However, the Founding Fathers of this nation, who could not have imagined our present National Security State or the size of this imperial presidency, could have had no way of imagining the governmental bureaucracy that has grown up around these either. So how could they have dreamed that the only significant check and balance in our system since Sept. 11, 2001, has been that very bureaucracy? Parts of it have been involved in a bitter, shadowy war with the administration for years now. It's been a take-no-prisoners affair, as Tomdispatch has recorded in the first two posts in its Fallen Legion series, focusing on the startling numbers of men and women who were honorable or steadfast enough in their governmental duties that they found themselves with little alternative but to resign in protest, quit, retire or simply be pushed off some cliff. This administration has done everything in its power to take control of the bureaucracy. As Hurricane Katrina showed with a previously impressive federal agency, FEMA, Bush and his officials have put their pals ("Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job"), often without particular qualifications other than loyalty to this president, into leading positions, while trying to curb or purge their opponents. At the CIA, for instance, just before the last election former Rep. Porter Goss, a loyal political hack, was installed to purge and cleanse what had become an agency of leakers and bring it into line. Administration officials have, in fact, conducted little short of a war against leaks and leakers. To give but a single example, the origins of the Plame case lie in part in an attempt by top officials to administer punishment to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson for revealing administration lies about an aspect of Saddam Hussein's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction program. What those officials (as leakers, of course) did to his wife was clearly meant as a warning to others in the bureaucracy that coming forward would mean being whacked.

And yet, despite the carnage, as Frank Rich pointed out last Sunday, the New York Times reporters who finally broke the NSA story did so based not on one or two sources but on "nearly a dozen current and former officials." Doug Ireland laid out in his blog recently how, despite fears of possible prosecution -- the first thing the president did in the wake of these revelations was to denounce the "shameful act" of leaking and the Justice Department almost immediately opened an investigation into who did it -- one of them, former NSA analyst Russell Tice, has gone very public with his discontent. He has already been on "Democracy Now!" and ABC's "Nightline," saying that "he is prepared to tell Congress all he knows about the alleged wrongdoing in these programs run by the Defense Department and the National Security Agency in the post-9/11 efforts to go after terrorists." He claims that the NSA spied on "millions" of Americans, including, it was revealed recently, a Baltimore peace group.

The war with the bureaucracy and even, to some extent, with the military -- high-level officers, for instance, clearly leaked crucial information to Rep. Murtha before his withdrawal news conference -- will certainly continue this year, probably at an elevated level. The CIA has been a sieve; the NSA clearly will be; at the first sign of pressure, expect the same from career people in the Justice Department; and an unhappy military has already been passing out administration-unfriendly Iraq info left and right. Administration punitive acts only drive this process forward. Any signs of further administration weakness will do the same.

The "warriors" in the bureaucracy will, in turn, fuel further media and congressional criticism. Congress, worried about next year's election, is an exceedingly fragile pillar of support for the president. Conservatives, as Todd Gitlin pointed out in a recent Los Angeles Times Op-Ed, are alienated or worse; certain Republican senators are angry over the way the administration is sidelining Congress. Even some right-wing judges have been acting out. And, of course, there's the possibility that, in some chain-reaction-like fashion, the dike will simply burst and we will catch sight of something closer to the fullness of Bush administration illegality -- sure to be far beyond anything we now imagine.

4. Election 2006. Count on it being down and dirty. This could be a street brawl because, with the Republican loss of even one house of Congress, the power to investigate is turned over to the Democrats as we head into a presidential election cycle.

Consider points 1-3 above: Iraq as a rolling, roiling, ongoing disaster, Republican congressional representatives and administration figures under indictment, bureaucrats leaking madly, possible seats put into play in Texas, presidential polls dropping -- all having the potential to threaten an administration already filled with the biggest gamblers in our history and capable of doing almost anything if they think themselves in danger. So what can the president and his pals draw on?

Administration Wild Cards

As Noah Feldman pointed out recently in the New York Times Magazine, the rise of the imperial presidency has a history that goes back to Thomas Jefferson's decision to conclude the Louisiana Purchase, while the presidency's outsize "war powers" go back at least to Abraham Lincoln. The president has long had powers unimagined by the Founding Fathers, but the Bush administration still represents a new stage in the obliteration of a checks-and-balances system of government. Last week, in an important, if somewhat overlooked, front-page piece in the Wall Street Journal ("Judge Alito's View of the Presidency: Expansive Powers"), Jess Bravin reported on a speech Sam Alito gave to the right-wing Federalist Society in 2000 in which he subscribed to the "unitary executive theory" of the presidency ("gospel," he called it) which puts its money on the supposedly unfettered powers of the president as commander in chief. This theory has been pushed by administration figures ranging from the vice president and his chief of staff, David Addington, to former Assistant Attorney General and torture-memo writer John Yoo. As Alito put the matter in his speech: "[The Constitution] makes the president the head of the executive branch, but it does more than that. The president has not just some executive powers, but the executive power -- the whole thing." And Yoo put it even more bluntly while debating the unitary executive theory recently. In answering the question, "If the president deems that he's got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person's child, there is no law that can stop him?" he responded, "No treaty."

Evidently, John Roberts subscribes to the same view of presidential powers (as Harriet Miers certainly did, at least when it came to George Bush). In other words, the administration is trying to pack the Supreme Court with judges who are, above all, guaranteed to come down on the side of the president in any ultimate face-off with Congress or the courts. This is surely the real significance of the Alito nomination, should it go through. In any constitutional crisis-to-come the "commander in chief" is trying to predetermine how things will fall out if his own power is at stake.

Terrorism: From Sept. 11, 2001, the terrorism/fear card has certainly been the most powerful domestic weapon in the administration's arsenal. In the event of a major (or several smaller) terrorist strikes in this country, the Bush administration could certainly be the major beneficiary, but even that is no longer a given. History tends not to happen quite the same way twice and no one knows whether, under the shock of such an event or events, the post-9/11 moment would simply be repeated or whether Americans might feel that this administration had completely betrayed them. A terrible war, lousy government, hideous crisis management, and then, on the one thing they swore they did best -- protecting the country from terror -- failure. Still this is certainly an administration wild card.

Wag the Dog Strategies: In a crisis of power, there is no reason to believe that the officials who already led us into Iraq might not be willing to gamble on a Wag the Dog strategy -- that is, launching an operation they had been hankering for anyway that might also turn attention elsewhere. Rumors and speculation about a massive air attack on Iran (or on "regime change" in Syria) have been kicking around since at least the spring of 2005. These have begun circulating again recently. Such a thing is certainly possible (more so, obviously, should Benjamin Netanyahu happen to win the Israeli election in March), but whether the effect of this on the administration's fortunes would be positive for long is also unknown. It certainly seems one path to madness, not just in Iraq but also on the oil markets. (If you happen to be a devotee of oil at $100 a barrel, you might quickly get your wish.)

Is a Constitutional Crisis in the Cards?

Until 2005, it wasn't that the Bush administration didn't make more than its share of mistakes; thanks to 9/11, it simply had plenty of wiggle room. It could always turn attention elsewhere. It always had the fear and terror cards ready to be played. These days, turn people's attention elsewhere and they're likely to see yet more disaster, corruption, incompetence and illegality. In 2006, the administration has a lot less wiggle room than it used to. Polling figures reflect that vividly. When new disasters hit, whether in Iraq or New Orleans, it's becoming harder to take American eyes off them.

Let me then offer one of those predictions -- surrounded by qualifications and caveats -- that all writers should be wary of. If in a bitter, dirty midterm election, filled with "irregularities," one house of Congress or both nonetheless go to the Democrats, which I believe possible (despite their low polling figures at the moment), expect the investigations to begin. Expect as well that the Bush administration will then trot out that "obscure" presidential philosophy of power and claim that the Congress has no right to investigate the president in his guise as commander in chief.

That is why the Alito nomination is so crucial and why 2007 may prove the year of constitutional crisis in the United States.

This article originally appeared on TomDispatch.com.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Posted by: che | January 19, 2006 05:52 AM


...any thoughtful and balanced evaluation
of ME politics and conflicts of the last
150 years would need to address the tribal
and ethnic makeup of ME populations,the
wind down of the ottoman empire and the
ramping up of european and then post ww2
american political and economic interests
and contamination of regional evolution...
...... the advent of israel post ww2 due
to the european experience the jews had
just passed thru introduced some very
far reaching ramifications for the western
energy interests in ME,the convulsive and
never ending political/religous strife,the
desire for survival that led to ultra
border defense postures,territorial addons
and the palestinian quaqmire...
...with israel in possession of nuclear
weapons it is not likely to give up anytime
soon the ME will not be nuclear free ever
...as the usa found out after ww2 intellect
and ability to perform the science and
technical process of atoms is not border
or creed bound...
...iran surely has demonstrated it is able
to marshall the needed intellect and means
to create atomic science and application...
...unlike pakistan it has not sold this
to other countries...which again returns
the discussion to the lack of balance in
how countries are treated over atomic
issues...pakistan has sold it,israel has
it,so why are these countries considered
by usa as allies and yet iran cast as the
pariah? it is a bad can/can't position...
...brainpower and science are not border
respective,politics and economics are for
all time now ever global...china will find
a way back to its historical great power
and country past...the usa and europe have
had a nice romp over the last 200 years
as the invader and exploiter but it is now
clear enough that this century and the one
to follow will bring new order economics,
new or restored centers of political and
military power,and like it or not this will
need to be seen by europe and the usa as
a natural evolution of peoples and lands...
attempts to hold this back or going to war
to prevent will not be persuasive or in
the end succeed...china,india and brazil
are in ascent,africa and southeast asia
surely moving beyond the last century...

Posted by: an american in siam... | January 19, 2006 06:09 AM

"Abe Lincoln said that you can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones I concentrate on."
George W. Bush 2000

Posted by: Holy Molely | January 19, 2006 07:36 AM

Chris Ford, thank you for an enlightening and clear thinking post. My feeling is that Ahmedinijad is a rampant populist and says stuff that the non-thinking Arab street laps up. He knows as well as anyone that a strike on Israel would assure the end of Iran, first by its own fall-out, and then by massive retaliation. Not to mention the rest of the ME and beyond. Still, he talks up a game that endears him to a key constituency, which is how Bush opertates too. America and Europe are handling this all wrong. So wrong its laughable. Let Iran go nuclear i say. Its their insurance that they dont get trampled by the big boys or their nuclear neighbours. They would never use them first. US and europe simply want subjugated oil producers at their disposal, hence Iraq war. Having said all that, all nuclear weapons are a manifestation of human insanity, but sadly we cant un-invent the damn things.

Posted by: Harkadahl | January 19, 2006 09:49 AM

There is a lot of "tough talking rhetoric" from western citizens here.

If US, EU or any other nation was able to do anything about the Iranian nuclear program (militarily, or any other means) do you really think we'd be having this discussion in this forum?! The answer is simple, NO.

Iran "will" be a nuclear power and Iran will be a force to be reckoned with.

They told the US administration that Iraq is no Afghanistan when it came to invading it and "winning". The naive American public scoffed at this only to see themselves knee deep in mud, and no where to go but to sink. There is no way America and it's western allies will win in Iraq. And I am here to tell you "Iran is no Iraq". If you think we have lost this battle in Iraq badly, it will be a catastrophy going to Iran. Regardless of all the Israeli lobbyist telling the American people how great and mighty their military is, pandering to this young nations ego, and pushing it to self destruct. The only ones here that are going to lose are the Americans and the Iranians. There is no winning for either side.

Perhaps a nuclear armed Iran will bring balance to this region, as odd as that may sound. Because the status quo is NOT working in the middle east.

Posted by: Arsalan Zeeba | January 19, 2006 10:11 AM

Is Israel or the USA going to give up their nookular programs or nookular WMD?

What the hell is wrong with all of you?

Attack Iran? For building a Power Plant?

The current cockeyed propaganda twists have Europe and America uniting at the UN against Iran. In March, Iran is supposed to be switching the sale of their oil from American dollars to Euros. That would make the American dollar no longer the foundation for the world's economy. So why, if Europe does NOT want to support Iran, would they allow the Euro to replace the American dollar as the oil currency?

We have been lied to about everything, including the Holocaust, Israel, 911, etc.

"Evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It's classified information."
http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/spyring.html
-- US official quoted in Carl Cameron's Fox News report on the Israeli spy ring and its connections to 9-11.

Our Government isn't the only ones spying on US!

Posted by: El Presidente | January 19, 2006 10:15 AM

Right, right. Let Iran go nuclear. Never mind those pandering comments about wiping Israel off the map or that the Holocaust was a myth (as apparently some posters in here believe) or that there president was on of the 1979 embassy hostage takers or that Iran has supported international terrorism and continues to support Hezbollah or that its President (and apparently quite a few of the mullahs) is a believer in the return of the 12th Imam, who will come at the End Time to restore peace to the world (Islamic of course) or that it has developed and tested the Shahib missle, capable of reaching Israel and possibly Europe. Or that its awash in oil. Nah, all that stuff is for domestic consumption. See, the Iranian presidents poll numbers are down, just needs a little boost.

No, a nuclear Iran is a dangerous option.

But hey, somehow its all Americas fault, right?

Posted by: D. | January 19, 2006 10:29 AM

As far as I can tell Iran has done nothing illegal. Do I want to see a nuclear Iran? No, of course not. But not because it is illegal, but because I believe even the possession of nuclear weapons is a crime against humanity. No human being can protect him/herself against a nuclear weapon.

To make matters worse the United States doesn't even have relations with Iran and all 'talks' are conducted with third-parties. Such a policy is beyond immature and stupid, and puts everyone at more risk because of what? ideology? We need direct talks with every nation, including Iran.

I believe that the Iranian government would be stupid NOT to attempt a nuclear capacity. If Iraq had nuclear weapons it is hard to believe we'd be occupying that country right now. North Korea, with a nuclear capacity, has not been invaded. Apparently, the best way to guard against being invaded by any nation, or a 'coalition,' is to be nuclear armed. The Bush model of 'good' and 'bad' countries is particularly unhelpful and only exposes our own hypocrisy.

The biggest problem for the United States government is the hypocrisy. There are several nuclear armed nations that have never signed any treaties nor allow inspections. Israel, Pakistan, India, North Korea to name the ones I am aware of. A nuclear-armed Israel is a public relations nightmare for us when it comes to diplomatic relations in the Islamic world. They have signed no treaties regarding these nuclear weapons and I have even read articles that have stated that the United States has an agreement that our spy satellites purposely do not observe Israel's nuclear facilities. And yet we bolster Israel with $3 billion a year; Israel is the single largest single recipient of American foreign aid in the world, yet they have a population of less than 8 million. How can we justify that? America's top beneficiaries of foreign aid are, in order, Israel, Egypt and then Colombia. Apparently ideology trumps any concerns we have for gross poverty when it comes to foreign aid...

India has not signed any agreements regarding their nuclear weaponry either. Instead of being demonized like some other nations, the Bush administration actually wants to increase trade including in nuclear technologies with them. This cannot be the way to bring India into the non-proliferation fold...

Of all the nations on the list of non-treaty nuclear powers Pakistan is the most breathtaking. No other nation has added more to nontreaty nuclear proliferation than has Pakistan. Yet, because they are an ally of the Bush administration in their 'war on terror' they have been given a huge pass on their actions and have not paid any price. The hypocrisy of our policy regarding Pakistan has been sickening.

North Korea is a sad case and probably has festered because, like with Iran, we do not have direct relations and all communications are through third parties. Hasn't it become obvious that when we allow ideology, on our side as well as theirs, to trump direct negotiations that nobody really wins?

As long as nuclear weapons are seen as legitimate by governments this problem will not go away. One can hardly blame nations for wishing to acquire them if they are seen as a deterrent for invasion and wars by more powerful nations.

Hey, while your down in Australia why don't you do a story on the Australian government's treatment of refugees and asylum seekers? They have a long history of mistreating people of color, from the 'Stolen Generations' to their infamous 'All White Policy.' Their recent 'Pacific Solution' is truly horrific, as well as their mandatory detention policies that allowed such places as the now defunct Woomera and the current Villawood and Baxter to flourish. Their policies of an exclusion zone around refugees and asylum seekers deters the press and their policies of excising huge tracts of Australia from official 'Australia' have been nothing but a political ploy to deter legal and legitimate refugees and asylum seekers from seeking protection in Australia. Who can ever forget the saga of The Tampa?

Posted by: garylig | January 19, 2006 10:33 AM

http://www.tomflocco.com/fs/HinckleyAndBush.htm
Take a look at this link. This would make for an interesting article sometime.

Posted by: WERE YOU AWARE | January 19, 2006 10:49 AM

D. - Are we the only one's here who believe Iran having nuclear capabilities would be devastating?
I truly am flabbergasted by the posts I've read here. If Iran goes nuclear, they will surely use it to destroy neighboring countries and offset the balance of global power. The US and its allies should take any steps necessary to ensure this madman never achieves nuclear capability.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | January 19, 2006 11:28 AM

Rebuttal to "D";

Your post proves to me that the American interest is NOT what you're concerned about.

YOUR concern is "Israel". And what America can do for her. You couldn't care less if this great nation (USA) suffers irreversable damage, because of dubious policies.

It's high time American policies reflects the interest of the American people, not just it's Jewish minority. Or the Israeli interests first.

It's time for this great nation to shed the policies that ensure it's decline and demise.

What does the Holocaust, and the rhetorical statements made by the young, naive and obviously inexperienced Iranian president have to do with the US!?! I think the world knows what laughable chracter he really is. He was talking about Israel not America, when he made the statement of "wiping out, and the myth iof the Holocaust". It seems like you can not distinguish between the two countries D! They are different nations with different values and cultures. This is a Christian majority nation whilst Israel is a Jewish majority state.

Then again you don't care what happens to the US as long as it is 100% in line with the Jewish state's agenda and interests.

It's high time American policies reflect the interests of the American people. And for it to be the beacon of democracy for the world to look up once again.

Posted by: Arsalan Zeeba | January 19, 2006 11:29 AM

uh sure. I'm a tool of the "Zionist Occupied Government". What in Gods name are you babbling about Arslan? The man makes no bones about his views on Israel, is on the verge of acquiring nuclear capability and if the rest of us out here kinda play connect the dots we are placing the interest of Israel (or as cartman would say, the J-O-O-S) ahead of those of the US? Sorry, the man is dangerous.

Oh wait, how about the comments made by his
chief adviser, Hassan Abbassi, that "Britain is the mother of all evils" - the evils being America, Australia, Israel, the Gulf states and even Canada and New Zealand, all of which are the malign progeny of the British Empire.

"We have established a department that will take care of England," said Mr Abbassi last May. "England's demise is on our agenda."

Christian, Jew or Mohammedean, religious nuts are, well, NUTS.

Posted by: D. | January 19, 2006 11:38 AM

I actually agree with D. on this one, although it looks like we'll be the bad guys on The Debate when it comes to the Iranian issue.

There is no utility in allowing Iran The Bomb. I appreciate the well thought out posts by Chris and others pointing out their vested interest in aquiring nuclear weapons, but that doesn't make the idea any more sensible to me. If Iran has an incentive to get the bomb, IE: as protection, economic gain, political clout, etc. then it is up to the United States and others to offer disincentives.

This would be an entirely different issue if, say, Iceland was going after the bomb. Iceland's president (as far as I can tell) has not denied the Holocaust, has not called for the complete destruction of a regional competitor, and is not puppet-stringed by religious leaders.

I know there is hypocrisy in nuclear non-proliferation. I know that America is imperialistic. These things are unfortunate, but they are not reasons for pandering to Iran's nuclear "entitlement".

Nuclear weapons are uncool. They are uncool for countries who unfortunately have them, like the United States, Pakistan, and North Korea, and they are uncool for countries that do not have them. We can do more about the latter, though.

Posted by: Will | January 19, 2006 11:39 AM

By the way have you guys figured out how Iran can shoot nuclear missiles at Israel and miss Al Aghsa, the second holiest site in Islam, as well as over a million Arab and Muslim population of Israel? How would they keep the clouds away from east Jerusalem or Gaza city, or for that matter from the wind blowing it back home? Since Iranians are no fools, is there a real threat of nuclear attack on Israel? Iranian president is an extremist and all this international pressure on Iran is actually cementing his position. In the absence of these issues, he had to pull his sleeves up and create a viable economy.

Posted by: Joshua | January 19, 2006 11:39 AM

Rebuttal to D;

"uh sure. I'm a tool of the "Zionist Occupied Government"."

After what I've been reading on the Israeli's your statement is NOT far fetched D. Your statement makes a lot of sense.

Posted by: | January 19, 2006 11:52 AM

Thanks Chris Ford, that was well thought out. I hope we can all come to the same reasoning in this country.

Cheers

Posted by: Jon | January 19, 2006 12:28 PM

Guess what American exceptionalists? It's not our job to "allow" or "now allow" Iran to get the bomb.

Of course, if/when they do, they will join the Mutually Assured Destruction club - and I highly doubt any nukes will be coming our way from Iran for the simple reason that we have more and more easily deployed nuclear weaponry than anyone on earth (which, by the way, we are the only nation to ever have actually used.) Of course, they would also have Isreal to reckon with, and they're on an even more nervous hair trigger than we are.

I'm still more worried about the thousands of battlefield nukes developed for use in artillery in Western Europe. Even a relatively small tactical nuclear device would certainly do a job on a densely populated US city - and Bushco have dropped the ball completely on this sort of effort in their singleminded obsession with invading Iraq.

That's the real threat.

Posted by: Mr. X | January 19, 2006 12:43 PM

Oops - "Not allow". More coffee...

Posted by: Mr. X | January 19, 2006 12:44 PM

Excellent post Mr. X

Posted by: | January 19, 2006 12:47 PM

Interesting that we seem to think we own the world and can impose our views over it.

Maybe we should have spent the past 50 years actually helping people instead of blasting them to vapor. As a practical question there doesn't seem to be much to be done at this stage of the game.

Maybe we should think about changing the rules a little and building their reactor for them. Hey, goodwill is deductible in the US, maybe it works globally as well.

Posted by: gonzo | January 19, 2006 01:01 PM

Guess I shoulda hit refresh.. Mr X said it better.

Posted by: gonzo | January 19, 2006 01:02 PM

MAD works when you are dealing with an adversary that fears its own destruction. If you are dealing with folks who believe they'll get into paradise if they die taking out their "enemy", the logic of MAD pretty much goes out the window.

As for the capability to deliver a warhead to the States or into Europe: Iran is awash in petro-dollars. Whats to say that in 15-20 years time they wouldn't be able to develop ICBM technology? Hell of a gamble. I know alot of you aging hippies may not be around in 20 years, but I and my children will.

If, as Will said earlier, Iceland was talking about making the bomb, well, as much as that would be regrettable, at least their president hasn't come out talking like Mr. Ahmadinejad. Such rhetoric and Irans past activities has to give you pause.

Posted by: D. | January 19, 2006 01:14 PM

Israel deploys nuclear arms in submarines

Peter Beaumont in London and Conal Urquhart in Jerusalem
Sunday October 12, 2003
The Observer
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1061381,00.html

Israeli and American officials have admitted collaborating to deploy US-supplied Harpoon cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads in Israel's fleet of Dolphin-class submarines, giving the Middle East's only nuclear power the ability to strike at any of its Arab neighbours.
The unprecedented disclosure came as Israel announced that states 'harbouring terrorists' are legitimate targets, responding to Syria's declaration of its right to self-defence should Israel bomb its territory again.

According to Israeli and Bush administration officials interviewed by the Los Angeles Times, the sea-launch capability gives Israel the ability to target Iran more easily should the Iranians develop their own nuclear weapons.

Although it has been long suspected that Israel bought three German diesel-electric submarines with the specific aim of arming them with nuclear cruise missiles, the admission that the two countries had collaborated in arming the fleet with a nuclear-capable weapons system is significant at a time of growing crisis between Israel and its neighbours.

According to the paper, the disclosure by two US officials is designed to discourage Israel's enemies from against launching an attack amid rapidly escalating tensions in the region following a raid by Israeli jets on an alleged terrorist training camp near the Syrian capital, Damascus.

In a clear echo of the Bush doctrine of pre-emption, the Foreign Ministry's senior spokesman, Gideon Meir, insisted: 'Israel views every state that is harbouring terrorist organisations and the leaders of those terrorist organisations who are attacking innocent citizens of the state of Israel as legitimate targets out of self defence.'

The disclosure, is certain to complicate UN-led efforts to persuade Iran to make a full disclosure of its nuclear programme. It will also complicate the Bush administration's efforts to reach out to moderate Arab states when they are pressing for an equal disclosure of Israel's nuclear weapons programme.

Although Israel has long been known to possess nuclear weapons, in the past it has abided by a deal struck with President Richard Nixon in 1969 that it would maintain 'ambiguity' about its retention of weapons in exchange for the US turning a blind eye. According to reliable estimates, Israel has around 200 nuclear warheads.

It acquired the three Dolphin class submarines, which can remain at sea for a month, in the late Nineties. They are equipped with six torpedo tubes suitable for the 21-inch torpedoes that are normally used on most submarines.

It had been understood they would carry a version of the 'Popeye Turbo' cruise missiles being developed by Rafael Armament Development Authority of Israel.

Israel's seaborne nuclear doctrine is designed to place one submarine in the Persian Gulf, the other in the Mediterranean, with a third on standby. Secret test launches of the cruise missile systems were understood to have been undertaken in May 2000 when Israel carried out tests in the Indian Ocean.

'We tolerate nuclear weapons in Israel for the same reason we tolerate them in Britain and France,' one of the LA Times' sources told the paper. 'We don't regard Israel as a threat.'

Despite the anonymity of the source, the sentiment is almost identical to that of the US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control, John Bolton, who told British journalists last week that America was not interested in taking Israel to task for its continuing development of nuclear weapons because it was not a 'threat' to the United States.

Even if Bolton was not one of the sources for the story, his comments, coming on top of that of the two other sources, suggest the degree to which senior members of the Bush administration can now not even be bothered to hide America's assistance and encouragement for Israel's nuclear programme.

Posted by: OD | January 19, 2006 01:18 PM

While I don't like it, I see no fault with Iran wanting to go nuclear. It just makes the most sense for them strategically. And like others have expressed, there is very little the US can say or offer to deter their desires. By simply taking a look at US policy in the ME, in regards to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and bending over backwards to accomodate Israel over the last 50 years, we are definately not the most trustworthy of speakers about the conflict in the ME. We've obviously got an agenda out there and it is most definately not one that Iran can see as benefiting it.

Posted by: Freedom | January 19, 2006 01:28 PM

"Ok so I read the articles. Oh my! Iran has an "idealogical" government which puts its idealogies before its people. Maybe, but our current government fits the same radical description. THINK about IT. Bush and their shaman-like sway over the born again christains, the use of church as a political vehicle, their constant lying in your face, and yelling at you that if you don't do as your told, something bad will happen to you."

There you go with the moral equivelance thing again. Lets review; as a christian (if I werent an athiest), and my daughter marries a Jew; I would not kill her! Get it?
Catholics, Jews, Born agains all feel they have a monopoly on the one and only TRUE religion of god, and therefore the only people really going to heaven. The funny thing is, they dont feel the need to Convert, subjigate, or kill the rest of us because we are not muslim.
Jeez IP is it really that hard to see the difference? THINK about IT.

Posted by: 11bravo | January 19, 2006 08:21 PM

To Emily Messner,

If there is one thing about people that's a given, it's that they can only change themselves. You can try to understand them, change their circumstances, try to point the roads to peace, but in the end, they must want it for themselves, knowing what the alternatives are.

Thus I offer the following perspective, in the hope that folks find that it makes too much sense to ignore.

-- Original Message -----
From: Eric Jette
To: israel-un@newyork.mfa.gov.il
Sent: Saturday, October 29, 2005 10:34 AM
Subject: Re: "In Larger Freedom" a public letter by the Iranian opposition


To: Ambassador Dan Gillerman Permanent Representative

Dear Mr. Ambassador,

Shalom,

Comes now this US citizen humbly requesting you keep these two things in mind about me personally as you read further.

1. My grandfather was division head of the center for chemical and metallurgical research LANL, under Oppenheimer at the time of the Manhattan project.
2. I have been considering issues surrounding nuclear weapons all my adult life. On the flyleaf of my grandmother's book about Los Alamos that I gave to Bill Clinton the day he was first elected President I wrote, "This is a slice of times past, to give perspective on the present, so that in the future we can eliminate the threat of nuclear war. The greatest threat we face today is that terrorists will obtain nuclear weapons." Not to be partisan, this is just fact.
3. I firmly stand beside those standing up for their liberty, and with those who support those aspirations and inalienable rights to live in dignity and freedom, globally.

It took America just 3.5 years, from 1942-45 to build an industry from scratch, based on designs from scratch, building a city from scratch to build a bomb from scratch, with only theories to go on, in the middle of the largest and most costly war in history. Yet we did this and ended that war that had cost 50 million lives up to that point with the weapon that no one knew would even work at the time it was being produced. Just 3.5 years, from theory to reality (3.5 years from the time FDR read a letter signed by Einstein till the Trinity test).

Everyone who worked on the first bomb, being as uncivilized a weapon as it is, believed it would cause mankind to forever choose peace instead of war after it ended WW2. Unfortunately, that direction was not taken, at the expense of the environment, and to the continued threat to all life on this planet.

I stress here the biggest "what if?" is what we might have accomplished as the Human species had we chosen to live in peace, instead of fear after WW2.

Truly the abysmal statements of the unelected president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, do not reflect the majority, as the majority of Iranian people view this terrorist regime as a threat to themselves, and to their children's future. A regime that rules them by fear only.

In the enclosed public letter to US Ambassador John Bolton, you will find ideas and solutions put forth by the Iranian democratic opposition, and a bit of Persian history that is deeply rooted in Jewish history as well. It is my thinking that this historical connection may be also of importance to Israel should her policies reflect the prayers of suggestion contained in this letter. As from a historical standpoint, supporting the Iranian people's aspirations for liberty through Israeli policy, may be publicly welcomed by the people of Iran as "repayment" of a very old and ancient debt of freedom, in kind.


I hope this personal perspective may aid you (as I believe it has my government) in understanding and assessing the grave and urgent issues surrounding the activities of the IRI, and their intent at this time, and solutions.

There are those affected who have no voice in the matter, and so in solidarity I offer the following public letter in the same spirit of common cause. Thank you for reviewing it.

Sincerely, and with Best Regards,

Eric Jette

Note: SMCCDI's website is down at the moment, but the contact info included is still good.
http://www.daneshjoo.org/article/publish/article_3326.shtml

The "Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy
in Iran" (SMCCDI)
_____________________

September 7, 2005

The Honorable John Bolton,
United States Ambassador to the UN
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Via Federal Express & Fax (202) 647-0244


Dear Mr. Ambassador,

On behalf of the membership of the "Student Movement
Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran" (SMCCDI), and
the people of Iran who have striven so long for freedom of
speech, worship, assembly, a free press, civil liberties,
woman's rights, the application of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, and the rule of law; We
congratulate you on your nomination as America's Ambassador
to the UN.

Comes now this Iranian opposition group, to apprise you of
the facts, the conclusions and suggestions we have been
given to put forward herein this letter, as context to the
2005 UN Summit, and the pending address to the UN of the
Islamic Republic regime's appointed president, Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, with the gravest concern for the welfare and
common good of all people, and generations to come...


"In Larger Freedom"

The body of evidence compiled over the long history of
the Islamic Republic's systemic methodology of torture,
political repression and murder of journalists and
dissidents; crimes against humanity including the past and
current crackdown on ethnic and religious minorities, and
"troublemakers" (i.e.: political dissidents of the regime);
applying a Gender Apartheid policy and sexual
discrimination against women; sponsoring and officially
engaging in terrorism (internally and externally), by its
leadership and proxy; suppression of the press, closing of
TV and newspapers as well as confiscation of satellite
dishes, the arrest of "bloggers" and the shutting down of
internet sites, arbitrary arrest and lack of "due process";
the denial of requested information to the UN Commission on
Human Rights (and its sub committees), the denial of access
and information to the IAEA, false declaration to various
UN committee; The failure to uphold the tenants of the UN
Charter signed by Iran in 1948 (in multiple aspects,
consistently and premeditative, and the long history of
denial, subterfuge, bribery, and false public statements on
the record in the UN we believe must be addressed in
totality, before the Security Council, along with other
issues and recommendations brought before the council
regarding this regime, to obtain a holistic solution to a
common threat.

We understand that the UN Commission on Human Rights
mandate covers only one aspect of the larger picture that
must be addressed, and while the "1503 procedure" states, "
No communication will be admitted if it runs counter to the
principles of the Charter of the United Nations or appears
to be politically motivated." and further states, "As a
rule, communications containing abusive language or
insulting remarks about the State against which the
complaint is directed will not be considered."

We believe it is essential that you and the Commission
understand that SMCCDI's intent is not "politically
motivated" in seeking greater freedom for Iran's people,
nor does any member aspire to become a representative of
any new political structure that may exist in a future free
Iran. It is important for us that you and the UN understand
the nature and precepts of SMCCDI as well as the long road
that has brought the opposition in general to the
conclusions and suggestions expressed herein.

While the 1503 procedure states that no "insulting
language" be used, the truth is different from opinion, and
evil is as evil does. Therefore, while the Islamic regime
will no doubt claim insult and injury to its reputation,
one must in all honesty; call it like one sees it being
manifest in action. Using logic over emotionalism, truth
over viewpoint, and ethics over all.

This is one of the reasons we welcome your tenure as UN
Ambassador, as you have the reputation of manifesting
tangible results, whether it be on UN reform, proliferation
of WMD, or state sponsors of terrorism. We wish to inform
you as a courtesy that a copy of this letter will be hand
delivered to the door of the UN, on September 14th, for
your kind inspection, while thousands of freedom loving
Iranians outside the UN protesting this regime cheer you on
as well as cheering on other free nations' representatives
as measures are taken to address the theocratic regime's
abysmal activities before the UN general assembly.

As you may face the incarnation of boycott and the
regime's answer to the aspirations of the Iranian people's
desire to self determination in the form of an evil man who
has come to power illegitimately; who comes to usurp the
chair of membership in the UN which is by right the chair
belonging to the Iranian people; Usurped by an unpopular
regime that has never held credence to the premise of the
UN charter, or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in
word or deed; we urge you, and all free nation's
representatives to address this issue of , and consider
wisely the matter of the regime's membership, as a matter
of UN reform.


Sir,

Our opposition movement (SMCCDI) is bound by a charter
formed on principals such as; Human Rights, Democracy,
separation of church and states, and free markets. We
believe these principals represent the most fair and
efficient means for humanity to realize its potential.

Ultimately, no repressive, intolerant regime can withstand
the spread of these ideals.
The Islamic Republic regime currently in power in Iran or
any Islamic variances that may exist there in the future
are no exception. By staying true to these values our
people's triumph is absolutely, positively, and undeniably
inevitable.

It is these precepts voiced by Secretary General Kofi
Annan; "Today, our challenge -- as it was for the founders
of the United Nations -- is to pass on to our children a
brighter legacy than that bequeathed to us. We must build
a future as envisioned in the UN Charter -- a future in
larger freedom"; that the Iranian opposition, and the
democracy movement in Iran is based upon, referencing the
Universal Declaration on Human Rights, so often among the
various opposition groups over these past years.

The horror of this evil regime's hypocrisy, and methodical
atrocities can only be likened to a daily Auschwitz for the
stain it brings on the honor of those who appease and
support and lengthen the life span of this barbaric and
tyrannical regime through silence, economic incentive,
"engagement" and illusion. Blind or not as they may be of
what is taking place in our country, or the intent of the
regime in many aspects that threaten the security of the
international community.
Nor can the international community, or any member of any
government that holds in their heart the values of freedom
continue to turn their back on these long standing issues,
and still call themselves human. Or allow this regime,
along with other human rights abusers to block necessary UN
reform of the human rights commission, or the draft
measures in reference on "responsibility to protect".

As a "test case" for UN reform, the Islamic Republic
regime qualifies in every conceivable way.

It is our hope placed in trust that you (as have the US
President and his Secretary of State and many members of US
Congress in the past) will illuminate the plight of our
people that have struggled to shrug off the oppressors and
theocratic chains which have bound the Iranian people for
so long. Chains which have silenced the voice of the people
in utterance, and stilled them with overwhelming force.
Chains denying the Iranian people a better future for our
children, and our children's children for over a generation
in this process

Speaking in regard to "International Woman's Day, March 8,
2005" the US Secretary of State said, "Freedom, the
protection of fundamental human rights, economic
opportunity and prosperity, equality and the rule of
law...these are all elements of the democratic process.
Women are integral to the process of building responsible
governments and democratic institutions. Women's
participation and empowerment at all levels of society will
be key to moving these new democracies forward."

It is the women, who represent a large part of the
opposition and will make a major contribution through their
degree of knowledge and political and civil maturity to the
democratic and peaceful revolution we seek to manifest, as
well as to a future democratic Iran. We cannot carry such
baggage or the individuals who continue to deny women their
place in society in this process of regaining our freedom
and their equality in the process.


Mr. Ambassador,

When one considers the IRI in totality, the abysmal human
rights record, its long-standing support for terrorism,
it's WMD programs in violation of signed agreements; logic
dictates that with or without referral by the IAEA, this
ideological and unelected regime should not just be
sanctioned, but booted out of the UN altogether for gross
violation of the UN charter, which the Iran Nation is a
signatory to, believing it to be criminally negligent for
any nation to support the continuance and aspirations of
the Islamic Republic system one day longer, and remaining
"seized of the matter." As Churchill put it, "Given the
choice between war and dishonor, Chamberlain chose dishonor
and got war."

To this point, the only leader of free nations who's had
that alternate vision of an Iran existing within the
community of nations..."in larger freedom", and had the
guts to voice the option is President George W. Bush...."..
and to the Iranian people I say tonight, as you stand for
your own liberty, America stands with you." The man
presented possibilities to people in so doing, as a
president will on occasion.

Those words of hope to our people must now be joined in
chorus among all free nations, standing in solidarity with
the tenets and premise of "in larger freedom". The freedom
from fear, from want, the hope to raise our children in
dignity and in religious freedom in a nation that is truly
secular and representative of the people's will.

We shall see if the UN honors the precepts of its founding
Charter, whether the EU, Russia, China and India will
continue to trade and negotiate with a tyrannical and
terrorist regime, and whether the UN membership comes
together in solidarity of it's founding principals to honor
the words of President Bush to the Iranian people.

If the UN cannot see fit to honor the tenets of its
founding by enforcing its Charter on members signatory to
it, we in the Iranian opposition will briefly bow our heads
in shame being witness to this, but only briefly as time is
short, and our heads will rise looking only forward, as our
feet continue to trod the path of freedom in process,
whether the international community supports us or not. But
whether this popular movement is successful, or crushed,
depends now upon free nation's support for the aspirations
of Iranian liberty.

It is self-evident that the international community cannot
live with terrorists, nor terrorist regimes in its midst.
There is but one solution to common security in larger
freedom.

To prevent war and/or civil war, the Islamic regime must
be disavowed by the UN as not legitimately representative
of the People of Iran, and held accountable for its
activities.
Nor can its newly unelected leader, self confessed to
having fired coup de grace bullets into political prisoners
after being tortured; under investigation for hostage
taking and other murders outside of the territory of Iran;
claim any "diplomatic immunity", nor be afforded any claim
by the regime under the rules of UN membership, nor be
granted same by the UN, or host nation, if the
investigation warrants prosecution.

We ask very simply that America, and every democratic
member nation of the United Nations, and their
representatives and leaders stand united with the Iranian
people now. Not as diplomats or representatives neither of
nations, nor even as members of the UN per se, but simply
as Humans. For this, and the hope of liberty and justice is
what binds all people, and the UN together in unity, under
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the premise
of the UN Charter.

Indeed, the Islamic Republic regime is engaged in terror,
torture and atrocity on a daily basis, and this
illegitimate regime dares to call itself Democratic, an
advocate of human rights, and protector of the oppressed
throughout the region. A cruel joke added onto the injury
to our nation's pride and heritage, as reportedly the
regime via a dam, will submerge the founder of Persia,
Cyrus the Great's tomb and the archeological sites of
Pasargad and Persepolice under water.
The only way our people can regain our honor, civil
liberties and the trust of the world for a WMD-free Iran
that seeks to provide a safer future for the world and
adheres to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is by
providing us, the people of Iran, the support for our
legitimate aspirations of liberty necessary to restore hope
to the land that Cyrus the Great brought Democracy to over
2500 years ago.

Those ancient precepts regarding freedom of worship,
individual right to own property, freedom from slavery,
representative government in a democratic "federalist"
government that respected the states rights to determine
local laws so long as they were consistent with the
inherent rights of the people, respecting territorial
integrity in the process, have proven themselves over time
and among many cultures. The UN has a replica of this vital
document on display in the entrance lobby. It is as if to
us, the regime intends to submerge the very tenets that
civilization was founded upon, honored and recognized in
the UN, on display. This is not just Persia's heritage
that is at stake, but mankind's, and we hope that a
resolution will be tabled and mandated to protect and
preserve this historical legacy for future generations.


Sir,

With the firm unanimous voice of the UN, and the pressure
that may be applied "in greater freedom" The UN may honor
the precepts of its founding principals, and reform itself
into an effective, cohesive, transparent instrument for the
common good of all men and women. But if not starting with
the "test case" the regime poses, where will, and when
will, UN reform becomes manifest in action and intent, "
being seized of the matter"? All reform must have some
gage or measure to assess its merit; we propose this as a
means to that end.

1. Implementation of full international economic and
military sanctions on the Islamic Republic regime via UN
Security Council resolution based on human rights, support
for terrorism, and this to be tabled with or without IAEA
board recommendation on the nuclear threat the theocracy
poses. These two issues alone should be viewed as
circumstance the world cannot turn it's back upon, at risk
of civilization itself.

Such measures should include coordination with oil
producing nations to ensure stable world supply while
sanction persists, as well as the halting of any and all
arms transfers to the Islamic Republic regime via the
Proliferation Security Initiative.

2. Full diplomatic sanction and closing of Islamic
republic's embassies worldwide, removal and deportation of
regime representatives, their agents and spies from all
nations.
Diplomatic sanction by the UN, revocation of UN membership
and removal of representation from this international forum
till such time as a legitimate interim government can be
established in Iran.

Note: We ask that concerns regarding lack of consular
functions as a result of this action be cooperatively
addressed, so as to continue to allow emergency visas to be
issued. (i.e. family emergencies, etc.) It may be possible
to retain the minimum consular functions, under tight
supervision, but they are well known in their recruiting
of, and issuing visa to potential martyrs and terrorists.

3. Freezing of any and all financial assets of the Islamic
Republic system, current and former leadership, and
corporate interests worldwide, till such time as a new
interim government can be established.

As well as allocation of portions of these assets now to
legitimate non-violent opposition groups inside and outside
Iran, to provide the tangible support needed while civil
disobedience becomes manifest in action. Only in this way
can this action be self-sustaining till it succeeds. Poland
couldn't have become free without support, nor can we, as
this is much to expect of a people under the boot of
repression for over a generation.

4. Repeated statements by world leaders publicly calling
for the leadership of the Islamic Republic regime to step
down peacefully, and to relinquish the government to the
hands and will of the Iranian people, and a UN monitored
"direct" referendum to choose a legitimate, representative,
secular government structure.

5. The coordinated post-regime rebuilding of vital social
institutions and infrastructure of democracy should be
implemented now in preparation, along with he training of
judges, civil servants, police, etc. The Iranian exile
community can provide some of the talent initially, and
there are many more inside Iran supporting the opposition
who will answer the call to service as the situation
permits. This will speed up the post-regime stabilization
process, and greatly enhance institutional development in
the interim government, and constitutional process.

In addition, while SMCCDI does not speak for other groups
in the opposition, we believe it is vital for our efforts
to become coordinated in the formation of a working group
among leaders of opposition groups, in conjunction with
free nation's representatives to help facilitate and
coordinate all of the above measures in a roundtable "Forum
for the Future" of Iran.

The coordination of economic and military sanction,
freezing of assets, closing of embassies, banishment from
the UN General Assembly and other UN related institutions,
such as UNESCO, and other non-violent measures as may be
found worthy under international law will be overwhelming
to the Islamic Republic of Iran, providing solid legitimate
purpose and support among the people of Iran to effect
change from within.


Mr. Ambassador,

We have striven in our legitimate aspirations for liberty
for over two decades, and often frustrated as the pace of
those aspirations seem to be like that of traveling on the
back of a snail. The vast majority has therefore concluded
that any real democratic reform though legitimate election
or national referendum on the people's choice for a secular
political structure in Iran cannot be possible so long as
this evil ideological regime continues in power. Nor can
the international community relegate terrorism to the
dustbin of history while this regime remains in power.

While our aspirations include taking our future into our
own hands, we are convinced after this long in a most
pragmatic way, that those aspirations cannot be obtained in
isolation or silence, we need the entire international
community firmly by our people's side in word and deed if
the agenda the US president has laid out for global freedom
is to become manifest in Iran.

This noble endeavor in common cause does not require
military intervention, nor do we ask for, or seek this in
any form. The method of civil disobedience has a long
history of painful success throughout history, and with
international support will serve to liberate our people
from tyranny and the world from the blind ambitions of the
theocratic regime in a rather short period of time, if they
are implemented in full now, and in a coordinated and
simultaneous manner.

We in the opposition movement see the strong two-faced
diplomacy the Islamic Republic regime is engaged in, that
has not only caused nations to appease the regime with
offers of economic incentive, but that has caused others to
support their blind ambitions, through various means,
including silence and abstention of action on Human Rights
within the various mechanisms of the UN, sale and smuggling
of arms and WMD technology, and economic trade.

We see the effects of this diplomacy and blatant
propaganda on some members of the US Congress, various
governments and international think tanks, as well as the
IAEA. We see the confusion in policy that has been proposed
by former members of various governments, as well the many
cases in which the UN Commission on Human Rights failed in
the past to be unanimous in their condemnation of the
Islamic Republic regime's human rights record and we
strongly urge you and other free nations' representatives
to address their perceptions in this most grave and
dangerous illusion of providing "political benefit of the
doubt" that some members have apparently been following, as
soon as possible.

We, the membership of the Iranian opposition, among all
the various groups have no doubt of the regime's intent, or
continued activities as described and documented over a
long period of time. There are no "rogue elements" of the
regime involved in the transport of shaped munitions into
Iraq, no "rogue elements" of the regime training martyrs
for terrorism operations, recruiting them through public
advertisement, no "rogue elements" committing crimes
against humanity among our people. No "rogue element"
harboring al-quaida. These are fully supported by,
instructed by, and funded by the Islamic Republic of Iran
in whole, not in part, nor independent of its appointed
president's knowledge, and done so by mandate of the
Guardian Council.

Failure to address these grave issues now will be a
dereliction of the UN's founding mandate, and those member
states that fail to recognize this must answer to history.


In conclusion Sir,

It would therefore be in our opinion (reflective of the
1503 procedures), criminally negligent for members of the
UN Commission on Human Rights, and the UN Security Council
to fail to act on the body of evidence regarding security
issues and threats the IRI poses at this time to the
international community and of systematic human rights
abuse (in all aspects) by the Islamic Republic regime; due
to "political considerations" within their respective
nations who's Human Rights records are not the best, or
economic factors in trade with the regime playing a part in
debate, threat of veto, or abstention of moral
responsibility.

It would be quite logical therefore were the UN to
disavow any vote that was deemed "politically motivated" in
the Security Council, calling for a two-thirds majority
vote in the General Assembly to implement any resolution
not achieved in SC decision, along with GA voting on ending
any and all participation, membership and communication
from the Islamic Republic regime (other than answering to
charges brought), for the regime itself is in consistent
and conscious violation of multiple aspects of the UN
Charter, and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights that
the UN is founded upon.

It is for these reasons described herein (as well as the
fact that while Iran is an original signatory to the UN
charter, the current regime flaunts the tenets and is not
legitimately in an of itself, a signatory to it.), that we
have suggested revocation of UN membership through the UN
General Assembly by a two-thirds majority vote as may be
done under the governing rules of the UN, until such time
as a new interim government is established in its place
which will re-ratify Iran's adherence to the UN Charter and
rejoin the family of nations in good standing.

Whereas: "a consistent pattern of gross and reliably
attested violations of human rights and fundamental
freedoms exists." in multiple source documentation
independent of this letter.

Whereas: "communications may be submitted by individuals
or groups who claim to be victims of human rights
violations or who have direct, reliable knowledge of
violations."

Whereas: "each communication must describe the facts, the
purpose of the petition and the rights that have been
violated." And we have striven to do so.

Whereas: "domestic remedies have been exhausted", and it
is convincingly apparent that "solutions at the national
level have been ineffective" - "over an unreasonable length
of time."

We therefore respectfully ask that this letter also be
taken in this context as such a petition to provide proper
perspective to you, the Whitehouse, the UN member states,
President of the General Assembly Ping as well as to
Secretary General Annan on the issues we have addressed
herein with the gravest concern for the welfare of
humanity.

Regarding the security risk the regime poses to its
citizens through its WMD programs and intent in acquiring
this capability. We believe this too, constitutes a
violation of our basic civil liberties (having no voice in
the matter) and poses an unacceptable risk to the
population of Iran and the region through potential and
perhaps unavoidable catastrophic conflict, if the UN does
not act accordingly to prevent further tragedy now.


With gratitude

On behalf of SMCCDI,


Aryo B. Pirouznia (Movement's Coordinator)




SMCCDI
5015 Addison Circle #244 Addison, TX 75001 (USA)
Tel: +1 (972) 504-6864; Fax: +1 (972) 491-9866;
E.Mail: smccdi@daneshjoo.org
www.daneshjoo.org ; www.iranstudents.org

Posted by: Eric Jette | January 19, 2006 10:17 PM

It seems that a number of posts have gone missing from this blog. I for one know I typed a couple earlier today that are nowhere to be found, and I'm pretty sure there are other posts missing. I'd suggest debaters doublecheck if their posts are still part of this blog. I for one would like to know what happenned to my posts.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 20, 2006 12:42 AM

My monitor is missing posts made between about 1Pm and 8 PM. Hmmm...... Guess the NSA forgot to put them back when they were done.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 20, 2006 01:31 AM

Got to suspect Psych Ops on domestic opinion.

Posted by: IP | January 20, 2006 06:37 AM

"Lincoln said you can fool some of the people all the time and those are the ones I concentrate on."
George W. Bush.

Impeach this bad boy now!!!!

Posted by: IP | January 20, 2006 06:40 AM

The situation is not black and white. Did not your good Christians lynch blacks and deny Catholics and Jews the right to live in their lily white neighborhoods with restrictive covenants in their deeds????

Can we look forward to more of this with Alito and our new Chief Justice. Scalia needs a piss test. He has admitted to drinking at lunch in an article in a major publication, wine that is. If I did that, I'd get fired.

IMHO Scalia needs to be sober on the bench.

Posted by: IP | January 20, 2006 06:44 AM

The arrogance and hubris people have when discussing military intervention in Iran and the Gulf region. Historically, the track record suggests the law of unintended consequence applies exponentially in that part of the world.

We sponsored a coup to overthrow Iran's democratically elected leader, Mossadeq, in the fifties. He had the temerity to nationalize oil for the benefit of his own people. So through paramilitary means we forced him into Moscow's arms, then accused him of being a communist. Once we removed Mossadeq we installed the Shah's brutal regime and helped consolidate his secret police's power. Among the legacies of that intervention is today's virulent Islamic Fundamentalism currently terrorizing the world.

Once and for all it is time to have a real energy policy that demands a change in life style. If we were to lead the world to energy independence it would be far easier to mobolize alliances willing to confront Iran more forcefully regarding nuclear weapons. Otherwise we're just tossing match onto kerosene.

http://www.intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | January 20, 2006 11:06 AM

Iran has a right to seek nuclear power for legitimate use. I find it appalling, that the U.S. now allows and disallows who they feel should have nuclear power or not. Who are we to decide. After all, Isreal has nuclear weapons, and they got them illegally. Why does Isreal have a right to nuclear power/weapons and Iran not? After all, Iran does provide trade with most nations in the world, and is much more intrinsic to the world order than Isreal. MAD (mutually assured destruction) is a deturrent to war and there will be no negative consequence.

Posted by: JR | January 20, 2006 11:22 AM

uhm, cause Israels not threatening to wipe anyone "off the map". Relativist dingbat.

Posted by: | January 20, 2006 11:40 AM

JR in a normal world you would be correct.

But what is at stake in Iran and even to some extent in Pakistan is how far the fanatics are from the button. The doctrine of MAD assumes loyalty to a state/country/heritage.

OBL is Saudi - it does not appear that he and his merrymen care about Muslims in other countries or from other sects of Islam or they wouldn't be going into Jordan or Iraq to blow them up. They have even struck in their own country. They live in caves on the run, not exactly a lifestyle that will be critically altered by a nuclear blast in Tehran when we retaliate. To some extent this is true for the Pakistani Taliban as well - a nuclear blast in Islamabad isn't going to touch the mountain caves where they can wait it out quite nicely. Its not clear that alQaeda has so much to lose by getting their agents insinuated into Iran and whipping up a frenzy of passion that could lead to worse things than keeping hostages for 444 days.

In summary Iran is not a stable government, and the people pushing the button might not really have any allegiance to Iran.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 20, 2006 11:55 AM

Well said patriot. I think many of us are ignoring two factors that have nothing to do with American imperialism or Iranian nuclear rights: 1) That nuclear non-proliferation is good for *all* countries, and 2) That the threat is not necessarily from an Iranian state with its national self interests motivating a MAD doctrine, but that they would lose the bomb or misplace the bomb or share bomb secrets with people who do not share that self-interest motivator.

Posted by: Will | January 20, 2006 12:21 PM

Ugh.. whoah.. uff.. Get that genie stuffed back in the bottle is gonna be.. tough.

About the only thing left to other nations when the US militarizes space will be nuclear weapons. If you worry about terrorists getting ahold of weapons from Iran, what about all the unaccounted "suitcase bombs" leftover from the balkanization of Russia..? Ready-to-go.

Just curious, anyone finding the declarations against Iran .. dare I say it.. familiar?

Posted by: gonzo | January 20, 2006 01:41 PM

Yesterday, France threatened the use of nuclear weapons in response to a terrorist act on her soil. President Chirac also claimed that he was extending the definition of "vital interests" protected by France's nuclear umbrella to include allies and "strategic supplies".

France, and the rest of Europe are starting to enter panic mode in this situation. The simple fact is that the Russians supplied Iran with the nuclear technology that is now seen as threatening to Europe.

During this period, Iran began to pump up the hate -- first rejecting the EU 3 nation nuke talks -- then by demanding that Europe 'Take her Jews back'. If this was not bad enough, Russia yanked Europe's chain by cutting their gas supply to Europe off for a day or two a few weeks ago.

Europe has projected an image of weakness all over the world in the last several years -- what is happening now is simply the natural reaction of those who are now convinced of Europe's self-projected weakness and decline.

Iran is now sure that they can take down a big chunk of western Europe with Russia standing in the background -- and that nothing will be done to stop them. They are so sure of it that they are actually putting their plans into motion -- and expect to make the big move in the not so distant future.

Once Iran have some nukes -- they will probably use them -- as they can blast millions in densely populated Europe very quickly as they all run into the hills and watch as their own cities get nuked in response from the distance. How long can Europe fight such a war before it is dead or it is forced to capitulate?

France is fully aware of this unfolding situation -- and understands that her recent weakness posturing has done Europe great harm on the world stage -- and has reduced Europe so far in world standing that the Iranians are not afraid to taunt them and demand that they 'take their Jews back'.

France sees the hour getting late -- and is trying to reverse this dangerous perception that Europe is a pushover -- a perception that is snowballing in the world's mind.

Rather than win over the world with her anti-American bluster -- Europe has only shown that she is silly, and weak, and she no longer knows who her friends are -- and that she can be rolled at will once a nation like Iran can nuke her.

I don't think a speech threatening the use of nuclear weapons by Chirac will be quite enough to reverse the mess Europe finds herself in now.

But what a news story this will make for the Post -- "Several European nations collapse under Iranian nuclear assault -- President Clinton casts blame on former president Bush."

Posted by: gotham | January 20, 2006 02:33 PM

How the hell are Sunni Arab al Qaeda types going to infiltrate the government of Shiite Persian Iran?

That's just ignorance.
"They live in caves on the run, not exactly a lifestyle that will be critically altered by a nuclear blast in Tehran when we retaliate."

But they're going to emerge from these caves to take over the Iranian govt?

"To some extent this is true for the Pakistani Taliban as well - a nuclear blast in Islamabad isn't going to touch the mountain caves where they can wait it out quite nicely."

Er...then surely you should be more concerned about Pakistan, which unlike Iran actually has nuclear weapons, is a known proliferator, and is also sympathetic to al Qaeda/Taliban types.

Why no calls to do something about Pakistan?

Is it for the same reason America picked on Iraq instead of North Korea in 2003?

And what was that reason anyway?

Posted by: OD | January 20, 2006 02:43 PM

Everyone has a right to their opinion. I may not agree with them; but so be it. We must first look at history and study the relationships between nations with and without nuclear weapons. If one studies or reads anything about this; you will know that MAD (mutually assured destruction) is the biggest deterrent to world war. A nuclear blast would effect everyone;including those in caves. The Radiation would be life long lasting. No one would escape. One must understand foreign affairs and other cultures to really understand what they are doing and for what reason. Many Americans do not know Foreign history or have even traveled outside America. I can say with confidence, that Iran would do nothing with nuclear power. If anything, it would help stop the Holy Crusade War that Bush incorporated have launched since Bush came to office. If America can't do what it wants in another country because they have Nuclear weapons, maybe thats good. Remember, the real conflict is here at home on our rights. Watch what is happening in America more than overseas. The corruption in D.C. with money laundering, the lies of our leaders to us, and the taping of our phones and computers by the government (along with other things). Beware, for the enemy shall struck from within.

Posted by: JR | January 20, 2006 02:50 PM

Gotham: "Iran is now sure that they can take down a big chunk of western Europe with Russia standing in the background -- and that nothing will be done to stop them. They are so sure of it that they are actually putting their plans into motion -- and expect to make the big move in the not so distant future.
Once Iran have some nukes -- they will probably use them -- as they can blast millions in densely populated Europe very quickly as they all run into the hills and watch as their own cities get nuked in response from the distance. How long can Europe fight such a war before it is dead or it is forced to capitulate?"

What silliness. Iran doesn't even have missiles capable of reaching western Europe. What amazing ignorance of military affairs. Launching a nuclear strike then running to the hills? Bananas.

"Once Iran have some nukes -- they will probably use them."

I'm getting so tired of hearing this crap. I get the feeling that some people here have never even met a foreigner.

Iran literally hasn't started a war for centuries, yet you pretend they're itching for nuclear suicide.

The Iranians are people, not cartoon baddies.

Posted by: OD | January 20, 2006 02:53 PM

OD, the analogy you speak of is on the same lines as I am speaking. Iran is rich in natural resources, very important to the world community. Yet we judge them as if they are wild Indians as of the ole west. Remember what we did to the Indians? The real issue is Isreal having Nuclear weapons. Since when do they have the right to have weapons and not Iran? In 1961 Britain provided Isreal with the key ingredients to make nuclear weapons behind President Kennedy. How Britain backstabbed us! In 1961, Kennedy had a plan to have all nuclear weapons disbanded and the United nations would be the only source to use them. I see that Kennedy got assassinated a year later. I wonder why?

Posted by: JR | January 20, 2006 03:01 PM

Actually OD -- Iran has been actively seeking rocket technology from places like North Korea and Iranian scientists are said to be building wind tunnels to assist in missile design, developing navigation technology, and acquiring metering and calibration technology, motion simulators and x-ray machines designed to examine rocket parts. The next generation of the Shahab ("shooting star" in Persian) should be capable of reaching Austria and Italy.

As far as Iran's intentions go -- they have clearly stated that they feel Europe should pay for having 'thrust her Jews on the Middle East' and that all of said Jews should be removed from the place at once. They have described the holocaust as merely a European propaganda tool that is being used to help murder Muslims. They will also be aware that Israel's nuclear technology was transferred to them by France, when it was a matter of one socialist state looking after another.

On top of this, Iran's leader and the ruling Mullahs are wrapped up in an apocalypse mind set -- and feel that the '12th Imam' will remain hidden from view until the end times are at hand. They want to hang with the 12th Imam -- so they figure the best way to go about it is to get the apocalypse ball rolling.

Europe is therefore Iran's prime target -- because Europe is close geographically, the Jews in the Middle East mostly came from Europe originally, and Europe appears weak on the world stage.

I think the Iranians may have a good shot at bringing Europe down -- history is full of examples of the larger power being brought to its knees by the smaller force. The Great Kahn nearly always fought at a numerical disadvantage -- yet he became master of most of the known world.

Are we so arrogant to think that a rotted socialist entity like western Europe cannot be felled by a hard blow?

Posted by: gotham | January 20, 2006 03:08 PM

gotham, I think that the analogy stated goes a bit too far. Europe is strong. If you visited Europe, you would know this. As for the other comments; maybe the Jews should have stayed in europe and elsewhere. Why should they have taken land from the arabs unilaterially speaking, and give it to Jews? Holocast, You can't deny that the Holocast didn't happen in Europe now. If you deny it, you go to jail. Sounds like theres freedom of speech over there? Why wouldn't the Jews allow real talk about what happened in WW11?

Posted by: JR | January 20, 2006 03:23 PM

Mike, Chris ..... I really liked all three base posts. About the best comprehensive "cold eyed" (my term) briefing of the situation I've run across and a reasonable assessment of a path to take.

Chris, about your paradigms....

Item 3 .... Yes we have no treaty obligation, but that hardly matters does it? The policy obligation we impose upon ourselves has been just as effective, if not more so, and harder to get rid of.

Item 4 .... You still have some explaining to do as to how you get an ME nuclear free zone to include Iran when it is next door to Sunni Pakistan which is next door to Hindi India which is next door to China. In other words, isn't this genie hopelessly out of the bottle?

Item 5 .... Yes, our best pal lacks the conventional means, but not the nuclear means (submarines), and from Iran's point of view, the best time to achieve parity there was yesterday (reinforces another of your points).

Item 6 .... See Item 3

Item 8 .... Its worse than you say. Unless we are willing to nuke them, the answer is a simple NO. We don't have enough men in Army/Marine uniform to do the job and keep it done. A draft would do it, but they will have nukes before we have the draft back.


About your actions ........
Can't help it.....in the preamble.... I would guess there are probably a whole lot more Catholic (Filipino) and Orthodox Christian (Russian) mail order brides coming in than Muslims. And if you stop Juan your going to exacerbate the coming Social Security crisis :o) Law of unintended consequences.

1. Absolutely agree
2. Also
3. Yes ... and ... No. It's a limited success and remains tenuous. Asia and the subcontinent are not successes. Latin America is tenuous. I say that because they are moving ever more closely together politically one way and we the other such that they see the North-South threat loom larger than the internal threats in the South. Venezuela has the money, Brazil and Argentina the technical resources. We have the imperial attitude. But yes, if we can nuclear free the ME by all means we should.
4. I don't see the action we should take in here. I see a description of a Gordian knot.
5. Just another Gordian knot (or a variation of the first). But I will have at it later.
6. Must? Oil is a highly fungible commodity. The only supplies we are guaranteed are domestic supplies; for the rest we are hostage to the market, the market is hostage to its suppliers in aggregate wherever they are. We will be competing with China no matter what or where.
7. Good luck with the movies. I'm not so sure their intended audiences will pay for a ticket though. Probably need to find a genius in marketing and distribution for it to have its intended effect. But yes, we should all like to get the idea across.


Mike and Chris --- I certainly take no issue with a policy direction which seeks to achieve an acceptable level of security over Iran's nuclear program. If that negotiation can be driven to the next level of an ME nuclear free zone, that gets even better. Nor should we be to damn picky about the price. Military action would come at a whole lot higher price were it even feasible in this case, and its not. But in the way of your negotiations, among other things, is this Gordian knot that has endured in one way and another since 1948. In other words, I'm not persuaded we can make this work. I'm not so persuaded we can make North Korea work either. I hope so, but I sure wouldn't bet one of my dogs on it.

I would also go along with Chris's basic short/long term assessment of our energy situation. Including that both the country and environmentalists are going to have to face the reality of nuclear energy as a substantial source of supply. It's not a question of if, it's a question of solving specific waste, location, and safety oriented engineering issues.

Chris, I also agree with the substance of your comment to Graylig, certainly the first half of it.

Taking further account of all the other comments in between and after the four I just referenced, and this seemingly intractable Gordian knot, I would suggest that maybe we should re-examine what we are trying to do and how we are trying to do it.

1. The first thing is to isolate nuclear weapons from biological weapons from chemical weapons. They each require very different development and production resources, have vastly different environmental effects, and their effectiveness depends on very different factors. They also lend themselves to quite different technologies, methods, regimes, and technical skills to detect, measure, and monitor. They are really different problems. For the moment at least, lets just narrow it down to nuclear weapons and not get into "WMD" in general.
2. The next thing to recognize is that nuclear weapons ain't easy. It takes a bundle of money, huge technical resources, and a lot of time just to get a crude weapon. Nor is it cheap to maintain such a program and continue development. No freelance terrorist is going to create one. The best they could do is steal one or buy one from someone else that managed to steal it.
3. As Chris has graphically pointed out, having nukes is not necessarily a barrier to a conventional attack. Whether it is depends upon the attackers estimate of your willingness to use it coupled with his vulnerability to it. Argentina obviously wasn't the least bit worried that England would respond to its invasion of the Falklands by nuking Buenos Aires. They sent conventional forces led by Prince Randy Andy instead. Also, as Chris has also graphically pointed out, the potential consequences of a nuclear attack or a nuclear response to an attack can be absolute wipeout of an entire nation, its people, its animals, its flora, its fauna, you name it, for a very very long time. Having nukes is one thing, actually using them as weapons is quite another. What you do get to do is rattle them, as France just did. I'm sure that Iran noticed.
4. Lets recognize something else. States do not consciously commit suicide. People do, even cults occasionally do, but states don't. The Mullahs on top of the heap in Iran are not nuts, not mad. Their elected President is not nuts, he is not mad. He is a politician. He didn't beat Rasfanjani by being dumb. He is not going to launch an ICBM attack on us. He is not going to slip a nuclear weapon the Sunni OBL who might just decide the Shia are too big for their britches. In any case, the Mullahs aren't about to give him that much power. All Iran is going to get with its nukes, is rattling rights. Now here's a thought for you. Suppose Argentina had rattling rights back in the 80's when they decided to take on Maggie. Do you suppose they would have been so quick to conclude they weren't putting Buenos Aires at risk by invading the Falklands? So the fellow who suggested Iranian nukes just might have a stabilizing effect actually might have a decent point. But the bottom line is that states are basically rational and where mistakes are made it is because outcomes are misjudged.


I fundamentally question the role we are assuming in this world as ultimate enforcer of state nuclear non-proliferation. I say it that way because I don't want it corrupted by the issue of terrorism. I don't believe it lies within our national character or our national interest. It puts us in the hypocritical position of allowing nukes for our favored friends but not others, as some have pointed out with understandable resentment. It puts us in the position of bullying some for the benefit of others. We have no recognized authority to do this other than our sheer power. Wielding it this manner is inconsistent with our expressed values and our traditions, though it is hardly the first time we have departed from these. It is not actually necessary to our national defense. The cost to our national interest is greater than the value to our national interest. If seriously challenged, we do not actually have the capability of executing the responsibility we have assigned ourselves.

Consider Iran. Our conventional military is second to none in this world at its designed task; close with and destroy the enemy. We did that in Iraq, we could do that in Iran. Our military are not equipped or designed to hold territory. If we wish to go into Iran, destroy their army, destroy selected facilities, and then get out, we can do it. Is that in our national interest? Are we going to do it now, before they have actually taken any steps? Before it is even necessary to have bad intelligence? If not, when? After we have bad intelligence? Our nuclear arsenal is second to none in this world. Can we use it for this task? Do the Iranians have any doubt that we won't? Right. What good is it?

Instead of focusing on what may well be uncontrollable and is certainly most difficult, and where our strongest assets are relatively useless, i.e. non-proliferation, why don't we instead focus on controlling the use of nuclear weapons, i.e. why don't we make them useless? At the heart of Chris's formulation of the Gordian knot is each parties search for a "guarantor". Of what? That, if attacked, the guarantor will unconditionally rush to defend and will win. As he also points out, there are some real dangers to the guarantor in such an arrangement. At the same time, in his description of our primary strength (SIOPs etc.) and its quiet application to NORK, Pakistan, etc., we can see the outlines of a narrower guarantee we are best prepared to offer all parties, and I do mean all.

Let us suppose that we make it the policy of the US that we will, without hesitation, obliterate any nation, without exception, which launches a nuclear weapon, unless that weapon is employed in the defense of the launching nation of an actual invasion by another nation. This provides the same narrow but essential guarantee to every nation. This gets us out of the business of picking sides. This removes the escalation dangers inherent in China providing guarantees to one side and we to the other. If we must be so arrogant in wielding our massive nuclear arsenal, let us at least be so in a useful way.

You could of course, institutionalize this through the UN, and thus take the sting out of the arrogance and give it legitimacy. All it would take is for the 5 permanent members of the Security Council to agree jointly to this policy and agree jointly to enforce it. Undemocratic? Certainly.

What we seek to do here is unambiguously make the offensive use of a nuclear weapon a suicidal act by any nation. This is very much in the interest of all the great, not so great, and wannabe great powers. It is the replacement of MAD (mutually assured destruction) with AD (assured destruction). Its effectiveness depends upon its credibility across all political spectrums. In that regard, we would also have to get out of the business of changing other nation's regimes (elected or not, and we have done both), manipulating their internal affairs, and dictating which forms of government are acceptable and which are not with missionary-like zeal. This, in order to be credible; and relieving ourselves of this particular burden would also get us closer once again to the values that have made Americans, Americans.

This does not end war. We don't guarantee that, we couldn't guarantee that, we shouldn't guarantee that. This does not eliminate the threat from a stateless terrorist who has no state at risk; but it does shed some new light on how to keep him from getting his hot little hands on someone else's nuclear weapon as Chris has outlined.

It does fundamentally change the basis for our decisions. Right now, given our self-appointed task, we are faced with fundamentally uncertain judgments, reading minds, predicting future events. Surely no one can deny that Iran has a legitimate case for acquiring nuclear weapons for its own self-defense. If they did, would they use them offensively? Unknowable, as Rummy would say. Is their President mad? Is Bush mad? Unknowable, as Rummy would say. Why in the world do we put ourselves in the position to decide the undecidable when in actual fact nuclear weapons in Iran's hands are not in and of themselves any more direct threat to our national security than Pakistan's are. Contrast that with a decision based on whether or not Iran has launched a nuclear attack on Israel. It must be granted that from Israel's point of view, their risk from Iran is less if the capability is deterred than it is if the use is deterred. But is the differential worth the cost to us of having to make such impossible judgments at considerable cost to our own national interests? Particularly when they insist upon maintaining a comparable risk to the other party? I think not.

We are today a Great Power, arguably the only Great Power now extant. As Chris points out however, we are not without competition, and China is inevitably going to be a Great Power. We will be competing for access to world resources; we had best keep this competition within the political/economic arena and not push it into the political/military arena.

It is, I think, time to step back and ask of ourselves, just what sort of role we think we ought to play in this world. It is one thing to be an example, a "Beacon of Hope", as I think someone said. It is another to impose your will, however well intentioned. There is a difference between persuasion and compulsion. If the Iranians want a form of Theocracy/Democracy they are entitled to try it. If South American voters choose to try a more socially flavored form of Democracy, they are entitled to it. We have enough on our hands trying to keep our own form of Democracy coherent with our own values, to keep the light in the beacon shining on.

Posted by: Dogflop :o) | January 20, 2006 03:34 PM

Lets have a little restraint on the "i" epithet, ignorance.

I certainly agree that spending even five minutes abroad destroys any illusions nurtured by our oceans about America being the center of the world.

And if you want to see how easily people can be led like sheep by propaganda you have to look no farther than what is going on in our own country right now. Cheney and his gang are having a cakewalk convincing the unwashed that the evil liberals are trying to stop them from making us safe, cunningly managing to mask the fact that the issue is not the surveillence, but the total absence of oversight of the surveillence. I smell LUntz at work here.

Gotham, the 9-11 report found clear evidence of links between al Qaeda and Iran. It would seem that hatred of a common enemy crosses religious sect lines. And blood, even slightly diluted blood, is still thicker than water. It is not unresonable that the throngs can be massaged into enough hatred for the Great Satan that zealots could be pushed over the edge.

Lets talk about a nuclear blast in, say Islamabad. Check here: http://www.angelfire.com/biz/setpa/CGM/austnuke.html
A 1 megaton blast would reach safe levels of radiation within a few hundred miles of a major city. Up to 8 miles away from ground zero 75% of people and structures are unhurt and those with a fallout shelter can go out for water for short periods in as little as 3 days, and can go back out for good in 30 days. The caves in the border areas would be untouched by a blast in Islamabad.

Posted by: patriot1957 | January 20, 2006 03:40 PM

I'm curious JR, are you suggesting that the Holocaust didn't happen? And I have to agree with Gotham, Europe is in a predicament: a declining birth rate coupled with a schlerotic socialist economy that has to increasingly rely on the labor of unassimilated immigrants from North Africa and the ME to keep it running...Iran doesn't need to have nukes, they can just wait 2-3 generations and Europe will collapse in on itself.

Posted by: D. | January 20, 2006 03:42 PM

I lived in Europe for years -- I know pretty well what Europe is.

The only two nations in Europe who have serious militaries are France and the UK. Germany's armed forces are a joke because their funding has been stripped to pay for German socialism. When German troops were sent to Afghanistan to help out they had to fly there on chartered jets because Berlin under Schroder stripped the funding earmarked to purchase transport aircraft.

The UK has a serious military -- which has been made stronger by practice in Iraq and Afghanistan -- their troops are no longer green.

France also has a serious military, and although not quite as practiced as the UK troops, they have also had some practice in places like Afghanistan the Ivory Coast and Haiti.

In the case of a serious attack on Europe the UK is going to hunker down and see where the chips fall -- they will not risk an expeditionary force on the continent when the UK is out of the range of Iranian nukes and areas of fighting in Europe are not. This leaves France doing most of the fighting -- and this also means that the political will must exist in France to continue the fight.

If the US came riding in to the rescue we would be vilified for centuries by the Europeans -- US involvement in such a scenario will only engender European hate -- which is why we will talk the talk -- but might not walk the walk right away if Europe starts to go down.

As far as Iran's Jew baiting of Europe goes -- they are doing this as a demonstration of the utter contempt they feel for Europe -- saying these things to Europe are simply the most hateful nasty thing they could think of.

If Europe forced all 'her Jews back' from the ME the equation would not change between Iran and Europe -- even with the Jews gone Iran will still feel that Europe should pay through the nose for having dared to place a Jew on 'Islamic soil'.

What are the Europeans gonna do -- make a deal with these Iranians -- they laugh at European deals -- they are convinced that Europe is all fur coat and no knickers.

Posted by: gotham | January 20, 2006 03:42 PM

But, in context, we need to be much more worried about those missing suitcase bombs and the HUE from the old Soviet Union.

What has the BA done to make us safe from this, what was called by a bipartisan blue ribbon panel "the greatest threat to our national security"?

The panel recommended that the US spend $30 billion to fix it. The first thing Bush did after taking office was cut funding for it. Creditably after 9-11 he increased the funding back to pre 9-11 levels. Then we went after his friends in the G8 group to pay for it and got pledges of I think about $14 billion. Then we invaded Iraq and his buddies welched on their pledges, and then we pissed Russia off enought that they won't let us in to a lot of the sites. So now the funding is back to what it was after Bush cut it to before 9-11, about a half a billion per year.

Maybe this adminstration could actually work at making us safe instead of just consolidating power and uniting the world against American imperialism.

Posted by: patriot1957 | January 20, 2006 03:46 PM

Germany has a good army. Italy, Spain, and the rest all have good armies. Iran is not going to attack anybody. Where is this foolishness coming from. The only country to attack anybody since WW11 is the U.S. and Israel. The FEAR of war is ludicrous and fictional. If anything, other countries have to fear the U.S. attacking them.

Posted by: JR | January 20, 2006 03:48 PM

No, Italy has good internal counter-terrorist/security forces, honed over the years fighting homegrown terrorism. They cannot "project" power.

Posted by: D. | January 20, 2006 03:55 PM

"But, in context, we need to be much more worried about those missing suitcase bombs and the HUE from the old Soviet Union."

So the possible existence of a working 25 year old Russian 'suitcase nuke' in the hands of some nut somewhere is more important that the possible collapse of Western Europe?

Or do you mention this because you can't see a way to address my posts without bashing Bush?

Do you have any idea of the level of maintenance and technical knowhow a nuclear device requires-- especially a miniaturized one?

OOOO - let Europe go the devil - it only distracts from our beating on Bush.

So, what's next -- claiming that Bush is a primate and has a tail?

Posted by: gotham | January 20, 2006 03:56 PM

"both the country and environmentalists are going to have to face the reality of nuclear energy as a substantial source of supply."

This would be a lot easier to swallow if I didn't live downwind from a nuclear power plant that was found to have cheated on their safety inspection - they took a photo of the one joint in the containment wall that wasn't cracked, and duplicated it and submitted a copy of it for each of the other (cracked) joints.

Nuclear power and a culture of corporate corruption don't go together. If we need the second we better fix the first.

Posted by: patriot1957 | January 20, 2006 04:01 PM

"Are we so arrogant to think that a rotted socialist entity like western Europe cannot be felled by a hard blow?"

We? Something tells me you're not European.

I'm well aware of the inflated US intelligence estimates for future Iranian rocket ranges.

US intelligence does the same for North Korea, so extrapolating from their supposed technology isn't going to get you very far.

It's easy to find paranoid American assessments that go all the way up to Shahab 6, each generation a quantum leap ahead of the one before it. Somehow they never mention that Iran can barely launch a Shahab 3. Everything above that is currently science fiction.

Do you really expect me to take American assessments seriously? Even before the lies about Iraqi WMD, these people had a track record of overstating foreign arsenals going back to the time of Curtis E. LeMay.

And of course they never mention the fact that if Iran did build a bomb, it would be at best some clumsy Fat Man device that would never fit in an Iranian missile.

Instead a program of enriching uranium somehow magically morphs overnight into hundreds of deliverable nukes capable of vapourising Western Europe.

Save this crap for Kansas, they'll believe anything.

And why does Europe need to "project power", D?

Unlike Americans, most Europeans believe that ministries of defence should actually busy themselves with defence. I realise that's an alien concept to you.

Looking at Iraq and the mess your army is in, I'd say your vaunted force projection has projected you into a very deep hole.

Posted by: OD | January 20, 2006 04:20 PM

What's up with all the missing posts? A bunch of posts continue to be missing in action from earlier in this debate. Since when does that occur? A decent chunk of posts is entirely gone, which begs the questions why, how, and should we even bother posting if our posts are going to randomly vanish.
I guess I'll just have to re-iterate my earlier, now-missing posts. Hopefully, this post won't vanish too.
I think it is highly questionable that the Bush administration and the GOP are suddenly emphasizing being aggressive with Iran in 2006, an election year, when they could have done the same in 2005, a non-election year. Saber-rattling was used against Iraq in 2002 for political gain by the Republicans, and it is obvious that they are now attempting the same type of saber-rattling with Iran in 2006. For the rhetoric against Iran to suddenly go up a notch as soon as an election year rolls around is highly dubious, not too mention blatantly obvious. Saber-rattling against Iraq in 2002 riled up the GOP base and put the Democrats on the defensive, and that's exactly why Rove and the Republicans will try the same with Iran this time around.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 20, 2006 04:39 PM

OD - one should not be so quick to assume that some of us here are not European or still have family that reside on the continent. 60 plus years of security provided by the US military allowed the governments of Europe to spend little money on their military infrastruce and instead invest it in costly, and ultimately unsustainable, socialist welfare state. Noble? Perhaps. But should a real threat emerge (say, a belligerent and nuclear Iran) they'd be hard pressed to neutralize it. Mr. Chiracs bravado aside, the iranian mullahs know this and can thumb their noses at the Europeans at will.

All in all, it should make for some interesting news.

Posted by: D. | January 20, 2006 04:50 PM

gotham, my post referred to an earlier post, but by the time it went up other posts came in between. So the context was off.

This board has been relatively civil. Let's keep it that way.

The loose Russian nukes refers to far more than suitcase bombs. It is also bomb ready HEU. Thus far 18 thefts of the HEU have been recovered. But we don't know how many thefts there have been because we don't have records on how much was there to begin with, and the great "uniter not a divider" has pissed of Russia enough that they're no longer cooperating with us to secure it.

ABC news smuggled enough spent uranium into the US to make a dirty bomb, TWICE. A dirty bomb requires as much technical know as the increasingly sophisticated IED's or the bombings in Madrid or London, or even in Oklahoma City.

The US found 200 metric tons of unsecured HEU in Azerbiajan, in the next room were shipping barrels with a Tehran address.

I gotta confess, gotham, I am having trouble seeing past your sarcasm to get your point. Aren't we agreeing that a nuclear threat to Iran is a problem for the free world, I'm adding that we can't be so obsessed with official nuclear use by a government that we forget about those looke nukes in the hands of zealots with closer identification to a political/religious mission than to a nation/state.

Are you saying the threat is more to Europe than the US and that we should chill, or that we better act because we'll be next after Europe?

To those who argue the Government of Iran is not a real problem, was it the government of Iran who took American hostages and held them for 444 days?

Posted by: patriot1957 | January 20, 2006 04:51 PM

Errin - I noticed the missing posts as well. Disturbing. And I agree with you that a certain amount of saber-rattling is going on...it is an election year, after all. However, Frances out of the blue statement yesterday about using nukes in response to a terrorist attack on its soil suggests somethings going on that we are not aware of.

Remember, it was only about 15-20 years later that we found out that the US and USSR were on the verge of a nuclear exchange over the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.

Posted by: D. | January 20, 2006 04:56 PM

My prior post should have read a nuclear Iran, not threat to Iran. My fingers are tired.

What might France know that we don't? Hmm. Well they do oversee the uranium trade in Africa for the IAEA.

France told us to take a big chill pill over Iraq. They knew Saddam hadn't gotten 500 tons of raw uranium from africa - at best he might have gotten his hands on some of the loose Russian HUE on the black market, which, as gotham has pointed out takes more coordination than he currently had to use, or perhaps he got enough to make a dirty bomb if he had a delivery system for it, which he didn't. So, they were against the invasion of Iraq.

Now suddenly they are talking tough rhetoric.

What's up with this?

And finally a parting shot at gotham - "Do you have any idea of the level of maintenance and technical knowhow a nuclear device requires" Were you, then, among those who scoffed at the idea of Iraq being a nuclear threat to the US?

Posted by: patriot1957 | January 20, 2006 05:10 PM

D: when someone calls Europe 'rotting' and 'socialist' it's pretty clear to me that they're not European.

"Mr. Chiracs bravado aside, the iranian mullahs know this and can thumb their noses at the Europeans at will."

Chirac's bravado is backed up with enough missiles to destroy Russia, never mind Iran.

Perhaps you haven't noticed but the Iranians are also thumbing their noses at America.

The Iranians can thumb their noses at everyone because nuclear weapons are unusable short of a WW3 scenario.

Which is also why Iran wouldn't use them unless they were convinced they were about to be nuked themselves.
You and Gotham are attempting to portray Iranian weapons programs as a plot to blow up Europe. Where are you getting this stuff? Krauthammer?

It's blindingly obvious that Iran wants nukes as a counterbalance to the Israeli Dolphin subs and their SLCMs that your country illegally helped nuclearise. And Iran also wants nukes as a further insurance against American invasion. Though personally I think that's a bit unnecessary, since the US military is in no shape to occupy Iran and never will be.

Posted by: OD | January 20, 2006 05:17 PM

Now that the Cold War has ended, the nuclear goodie bag is open - I wonder what countries are in line to get some? On my list are Iran, North Korea, Germany, Japan, Australia, and probably Sweden. Don't piss off any Swedes.

Posted by: Turnabout | January 20, 2006 05:33 PM

No one can successfully argue that Iran has a "right" to nuclear weapons, not even Iran. They signed the United Nations Non Proliferation Treaty in 1970 that explicitly bans the pursual of nuclear weapons.

Article 2: Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

Iran is a signatory on this treaty.

Therefore, the question is not whether Iran has a right to build a peaceful nuclear energy program, but rather how high is the likelihood that they will turn this peaceful program into a weapons-making one.

We can measure that vote of confidence by the IAEA vote (22-1, not exactly a close call) that found Iran already in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation treaty last september.

It is not a likelihood that Iran will pursue nuclear weapons, according to those 22 countries, it's a certainty.

Since last september some additional events have occurred that should give us more pause when considering Iran's nuclear "rights".

Last October, Iranian President said 1) That Israel should be wiped off the map, and 2) that Iran would never allow Israel to live in its midst. Ignoring that these claims were made at a convention politely titled: "A World Without Zionists,"... 1) is impossible because Iran does not have the military means to wipe anyone or anything off the map. Yet.

2) just proves that Iran will be eternally hostile towards a neighbor nation.

In december he went on to deny the Holocaust.

You can call this political posturing until your face turns blue, I call this REASON ENOUGH NOT TO ENCOURAGE IRAN'S NUCLEAR AGENDA.

If the international community is confident to a 22-1 degree that Iran will shift from a peaceful nuclear program to a violent one, then why are we having this discussion about Iran's nuclear "rights"? What rights?

Posted by: Will | January 20, 2006 05:35 PM

It's not a right of Iran to have nuclear capability; It's a reality.
Another reality is that there is indeed plenty of political posturing going on within the debate about Iran. You can try to dismiss that, but the truth of the matter is that there is deliberate saber-rattling going on against Iran right now for the purpose of political gain and strategy, namely by the Republicans and Karl Rove in the EXACT manner they used Iraq for political gain in 2002. It's hard for me to buy into a lot of the tough talk on Iran right now since I know it is mainly being put out their in a manner timed to coincide with this year's elections in the U.S.. Picking and choosing foreign policy based upon a politically-expedient electioneering timetable is hardly what I consider a valid way to conduct ourselves. We all know Iraq got hyped up as more of a threat than it actually was in 2002. The same is happening with Iran in 2006. As the year progresses, we will see that it is those hyping the threat of Iran who will be arguing until their faces turn blue.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 20, 2006 06:03 PM

ErrinF-

Your point about domestic saber rattling is extremely well taken by me. I think that maddening up the constituency for political gain is dangerous for many reasons, least of which it decreases the legitimate credibility of international policy. The saber rattling prior to Iraq makes this seem disingenuous.

But that doesn't mean I think that we should be disinterested in the Iranian issue. We aren't talking about military action (yet). And Iran has made no mistake that it thinks it deserves nuclear power. This assertion should be challenged, irregardless of whether or not the Bush Admin has wronged in the past.

If Iran's nuclear capability is a reality, as you say, then we need to do something to curb that reality immediately.

The heavy talk about "Well Iran is a sovereign nation where do you get the..." or "America has WMDs and uses them therefore..." misses the point. Iran signed a treaty that promised they will not pursue nuclear weapons. In a drastic vote of no confidence, the IAEA said 22-1 that Iran had violated that treaty (because it was pursuing nuclear weapons).

Has everyone here forgotten the Nuclear nonproliferation treaty?

Posted by: Will | January 20, 2006 06:25 PM

If Iran's nuclear capability is a reality, as you say, then we need to do something to curb that reality immediately.
Posted by: Will | Jan 20, 2006 6:25:33 PM

Nope. I agree with the majority of posts here that feel Iran is a sovereign nation and it is not our responsibility to control their nuclear program. Any military option against Iran will be used to the fullest politically by the party in power, so I feel it is indeed off the table and questionable in it's sudden emphasis. Will, you seem to be arguing for ignoring the lessons of the Iraq hype/manipulation of 2002 and to fall for the exact same political shenanigans in 2006 with Iran being the scapegoat this time (which you should recognize is what's going on here, especially when you have people the likes of William Kristol introducing the subject into the national debate).
While I agree Iran is an important issue, there is a false urgency currently being put upon it because this is an election year. Truth of the matter is, we are too bogged down in Iraq to properly deal with Iran, so to suddenly introduce tough talk that we can't follow through on sounds like political wrangling to me rather than any reality-based strategy. In other words, this is all talk for political gain that has no real substance to it, no real practical application in the real world besides winning over voters that respond to aggression towards other countries and paper tiger stances on the War On Terror.
As for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, sounds like a U.N. matter rather than a military option for the U.S.. Even then, isn't that the same treaty the Bush administration turned it's back on to delve into missile defense technology? Rumsfeld claimed it was too outdated, or something like that. If our government dismisses treaties as a matter of convenience, how can we condemn other governments for doing the same? And did Pakistan sign the treaty? If so, they didn't follow it, and nobody took military action on them. How about Israel signing the treaty? If so, we didn't honor it by giving them nuclear capability, which is part of what is intensifying Iran's desire for nuclear power.
So, we can't logistically go after Iran militarily, we can't afford to punish them economically, and we are focusing on them unduly for actions that other governments have also done but that we haven't taken those governments to task for. What is being accomplished then besides an attempt to go up in the polls by manipulating the public's militarism? If Will wants to fall for Karl Rove's political playbook, by all means do so, Will, but I hope the rest of America will be more vigilant and less naive when it comes to the ploys of the political class.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 20, 2006 07:13 PM

Errin, I think every reasonable person knows that we have no military solution in Iran. But fear is a mighty weapon and its wielded expertly here. Its time for the progressives to get out the alternatives to fear out there. There are other options that we should be pursuing to improve our security and its time to demand our leadership stop letting the feamongers frame the debate. And I don't know how to do it.

If we had energy independence Iran would fall off our radar screen quickly. How much do we really care about totalitarianism in Burma or genocide in in Rwanda? Or the fact that India has nukes? So why is there no national crisis about energy indpendence? We need leadership that will make America ask this question and demand answers from the BA.

And while we're on the road to that independence why not try the bribery, er, economic and humanitarian assistance for Iran that staved off, or at least slowed down, North Korea for a few decades?

And that loose HEU in the former USSR? How is it that Bush isn't being called to task on that?

So how do we start?

Posted by: patriot1957 | January 20, 2006 07:31 PM

Patriot,
"Nuclear power and a culture of corporate corruption don't go together. If we need the second we better fix the first."
We need the power, we better fix the issues blocking it.

Turnabout,
Don't forget the long-term potential of Brazil/Argentina/Venezuela, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Indonesia.


Will
"Iran is a signatory on this treaty."
So was North Korea. You will get the same six months notice.


"then why are we having this discussion about Iran's nuclear "rights"? What rights?"
The right to nuclear power technology, to include the full fuel cycle.

As for the 22-1 vote.... you are misstating the conclusion.

Posted by: Cayambe | January 20, 2006 07:37 PM

ErinnF-

"As for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, sounds like a U.N. matter rather than a military option for the U.S.. Even then, isn't that the same treaty the Bush administration turned it's back on to delve into missile defense technology? Rumsfeld claimed it was too outdated, or something like that. If our government dismisses treaties as a matter of convenience, how can we condemn other governments for doing the same?"

Because I am not the United States Government, I am a citizen of the United States Government. I'd be equally apalled by the United State's violation of the treaty as I would Iran's. It IS a UN matter, and if Iran breaks a serious UN treaty then the UN has an obligation to do something about it; possibly militarily. If it does decide to go that route, you can bet the United States will be involved.

"And did Pakistan sign the treaty? If so, they didn't follow it, and nobody took military action on them. How about Israel signing the treaty? If so, we didn't honor it by giving them nuclear capability, which is part of what is intensifying Iran's desire for nuclear power."

Key differnece between Pakistan and Israel vs. Iran... they didn't sign the treaty. Iran did. Iran is bound by it and Pakistan and Israel are not.

It's unfortunate that they didn't sign it, and we could do more to force their hand on that issue, but they are not, technically speaking, bound by the Nuclear nonproliferation treaty. Iran is.

"If Will wants to fall for Karl Rove's political playbook, by all means do so, Will, but I hope the rest of America will be more vigilant and less naive when it comes to the ploys of the political class."

Listen Errinn... I've always treated you with respect. I've indicated in enough of my posts that I neither a) side with the Bush Administration nor b) act unnecessarily militant. If you want to disagree with my position on Iran, that's fine, but don't call me a Rovian shill because that's not what I am. I respect the United Nations and I respect the tenents of Nuclear Nonproliferation. Not because I want 4 or 8 more years of Republican rule but because Nuclear weapons are dangerous and immoral and an eternal stain on humanity.

Cayambe-

Excellent point about North Korea but all the more reason for us to be vigilant on Iran. We dropped the ball on that letting them secretly jerk around and void the treaty they signed. We need not be so lazy with Iran, rather, we can't afford to be so lazy. A few nutjob with The Bomb are less dangerou than a few nutjobs + 1 with The Bomb.

I appreciate that Iran *might* have a legitimate claim to peaceful nuclear technology, but the burden of proof is on them to prove they can responsibly wield it. Even ignoring the Iranian President's craziness (which I cannot ignore), they need to bend over backwards to pursue alternatives (like the one Russia has proposed) and to be *extremely* transparent in how they conduct their nuclear program.

Enlighten me as to how I have misstated the conclusion of the 22-1 vote. Iran was referred to the UN Security Council for refusal to honor its obligations to the Nuclear nonproliferation treaty.

That's an honest question. Maybe you know something I don't.

Posted by: Will | January 20, 2006 08:08 PM

As the US appears constrained by the suffocating influence of Public Opinion to follow the European Strategy (self-congratulation for doing nothing) we should expect to wake up one morning and find that the Israelis have have done it all for us.
Alternatively, we can wait for the "New World Order" to bury us, as Iranian apologists and Fifth=columnists would have us do.

Posted by: Absalom | January 20, 2006 09:02 PM

I think a lot of you are forgetting what has transpired over the last couple of months vis a vis Iran.

Iran has hidden elements of its nuke program from the IAEA -- even demolishing an entire industrial complex before IAEA inspectors could investigate. The IAEA itself is extremely upset with Iran and feel that the way this thing is unfolding is not legit.

The US let the Europeans run with the ball this time -- and after 2 years of talks the Iranians turned around and claimed that the holocaust is a European lie that is used as a tool to murder Muslims. Then they demanded that Europe 'repatriate all her Jews from Islamic lands.'

On top of this Iran's current leadership has expressed an apocalyptic world view -- and are suggesting that the 12th Imam will not reveal himself until the end of the world is at hand. They have suggested that if the 12th Imam reveals himself the world will end and begin again by entering a long period of world wide Islamic bliss.

As far as Iran not being able to build a nuke that can be put on a missile I'd say you are wrong. Pakistan joined the nuclear club only fairly recently, and their first nukes were no colossal 'fat man' models -- they were designed to fit on a missiles from the get go -- and Pakistan do indeed now have nukes on missiles. Why would Iran be any different?

The Iran missile program is indeed a reality -- and although some here doubt any information we have on their capabilities because they have no faith in their government to tell the truth -- the Iranians still do have a missile program and are indeed working on new and improved models.

Russia has indeed yanked Europe's chain on gas shipments as payback for 'interference' in Ukraine -- and have employed the former German Federal Chancellor, Socialist Gerhard Schroder as their 'gas man' for a huge pile of money -- which probably means they have all kinds of information on Germany and Western Europe now. During Schroder's tenure the German armed forces were stripped badly of funding -- and thus much of their equipment is by now old and outdated.

This leaves France and the UK with the only serious militaries -- in a worldwide sense -- this is not to say that other European soldiers are not professional and efficient -- it is to say that in a real sense they are not even remotely up to the kinds of tasks that the French or UK militaries are.

Now we have France waving their nukes around and saying that they may retaliate with nukes if attacked. Why is that?

There has to be a reason, non?

The reason is that Europe has fostered a highly dangerous perception in the world that they are weak and can be taken down by a determined foe a lot easier then most might think. The pervading perception of European weakness is a grave threat to Europe -- because it may encourage a bunch of lunatics like Iran's ruling apocalyptic Mullahs to take a shot at them.

Did you hear Hillary Clinton the other day? She claimed that Bush erred in letting incompetents handle the Iranian nuke talks -- who are these incompetents she speaks of -- Britain, France and Germany of course. Two years ago the Democrats were claiming that Bush should have let Europe run with the ball on Iraq -- and now -- they are castigating Bush for letting incompetent Europeans run with the ball on Iran.

All this US political hoo haw over Iran is just so much bluster -- the fact is that Iran has slapped Europe down something fierce on the world stage -- and have shown their utter and complete contempt for Europe.

This does not sit easy with people like the French -- and since the riots there is a sense that the political stance Europe has taken in the world over the last few years has just been an futile exercise in whistling past the graveyard.

Posted by: Gotham | January 20, 2006 09:23 PM

patriot1957 wrote:
===========================================
Nope. I agree with the majority of posts here that feel Iran is a sovereign nation and it is not our responsibility to control their nuclear program.
===========================================

If we don't who will?

If we wait until they're ready to strike Israel and any other country, we'll be blamed for doing nothing, too.

It's better to err on the side of caution when millions of people can die, and the entire region and beyond bathed in radioactive (and political) fallout.

Sometimes nations do have to intercede for the health and welfare of the constituents of other countries, as it reflects on our own citizens, their persuits and lives too.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 20, 2006 09:55 PM

the nuclear non proliferation act needs to be read. Here are the nations that signed it: http://www.fas.org/nuke/control/npt/docs/nptstatus.htm

here is the treaty text: http://www.state.gov/t/np/trty/16281.htm#treaty

Posted by: JR | January 20, 2006 10:26 PM

SandyK if I wrote that it was before my morning coffee or I hit a wrong keystroke or I was quoting someone else to comment on their post. I don't think I've ever used expression Nope in written language unless quoting someone.

I think that we are on dangerous ground, and a fair portion of it is our own fault for mistakes going back a century and recently aggravated profoundly. What good does dwelling on past mistakes do? Nothing unless one is willing to learn from them.

I don't think a nuclear Iran is in anyone's best interests except Iran. But we have no military solution there. The taps aren't flowing in Iraq. Even if we had the troops and the national will to go to war in Iran, if war shuts down the taps like Iraq and impair the oil supplies to Russia and China that come from Iran we could very well torch off WWIII. Who on this thread was talking about the law of unintended consequences?

And we have no credibility with Iran or much else of the world either, in spite of gotham's cries that we should have rushed in instead of sending Europe. Maybe he would have sent John Bolton to negotiate? We blew our credibility and our military resources in Iraq. We need a plan B.

I have been advocating for a two part strategy. Part one is to get ourselves on a path to energy independence, which will take decades. Part two is to stall Iran as much as we can with bribery, er, I mean trade and aid, like we did with North Korea for a couple of decades, and stroke their ego enough to make them feel like they have a place at the grown up's (read nuclear) table without being a threat.

Will it work forever? Of course not. Will it work for long enough? I don't know. But a serious move toward energy independence might also cause a re-think aobut how you treat your customers, which might help even more.

Really, what other choices do we have?

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 21, 2006 12:03 AM

The always interesting Belmont Club notes the impracticality of "suitcase nukes" or other stealth introductions into the USA.

http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/

Despite the fears of many - notably liberals - that 1 nuke would utterly destroy America in the ensuing panic, US civil and military defense measures would take quick, firm control of the economic and societal panickers. The scale of "Assured Destruction" once a nation takes wartime control of it's people is thought to be about 25% of the population killed. That would be sufficient to destroy the fabric and cohesion of that society despite martial law. In the huge USA, "Assured Destruction" would take 124 Hydrogen warheads of a yield of 375KT hitting the largest population areas to eventually kill some 64,000,000 Americans.

Other countries are far more vulnerable, due to urbanization patterns and size, as well as population. Iran would reach the 25% level with just 10 warheads. Syria and Israel with 2. Egypt with possibly only one (nuke the Aswan High Dam).

And note that an Islamoid attack using smuggled weapons would only be using weapons of the 5-10KT range, so a successful attack on America would take over 550 - 700 teams bringing small nukes in. The chances of detection would be astronomically high. Regardless of attack, the strategic deterrent of the US could then completely destroy every Arab, Pak, Persian major population center in under half an hour and utterly destroy the Ummah as a civilization and cultural force.

Obviously, even a single nuke detonation would put us in full survival mode. There would be no luxury for a year-long "Heroes Mournathon" or multimillion paychecks offered for "Specialist Victims of All Time's" emotional closure. Deal with the injured, bury the dead, figure out how many Islamoid civilians have to be killed in retaliation and where to neutralize the threat. Cry a river when the war's over. No different, ethically, than our current willingness to incinerate 10s or hundreds of millions of Russians or Chinese in response to their leaders attacking us.

Innocence has nothing to do with it, and Geneva is out the window once a nuke of any size is used.

France and Chirac yesterday, and no doubt America previously in private, have told Muslim leaders what price they would pay - as part of our strategic deterrence plan.

Any nation, or a nation supporting a terrorist group would have to worry we could get back to ID the specific individuals or nations involved in a nuke attack then send the Minuteman or Trident targeting orders for the 475KT thermonuke warheads. We had the names of the 9/11 plotters within a few weeks, tied Pakistan, Afghanistan, UAE and Saudi officials or wealthy individuals actions to it.

Patriot1957 - You 4:51 post is misleading. We are on track in securing Russian HEU. Nunn isn't bitching about the schedule. Your figure of 200 TONS of "loose" nuke material "found" like it actually existed or was mislaid is classic Lefty fear appeals to the nuclearly ignorant. Same with:

1. ABC news smuggled enough spent uranium into the US to make a dirty bomb, TWICE.

Crap. Simulated material with a piece of DU wrapped in it. A good excuse to bash Bush to the technologically primitive in Blue States.

2. Spent uranium can make a dirty bomb"

Crap. DU is less radioactive than natural uranium, with a pound of the stuff having less radioactivity than a fire detector you buy at Home Depot. DU is a Lefty bugaboo, not a material for a real dirty bomb.

3. A dirty bomb requires as much technical know as the increasingly sophisticated IED's or the bombings in Madrid or London, or even in Oklahoma City.

Crap. It's just another bomb needing a fuse, a detonator, and a booster charge. Something a 4th grader (in a non-American school) could construct if given a 2 minute lesson and the materials.

4. The US found 200 metric tons of unsecured HEU in Azerbiajan.

Crap. An anti-Bush Leftist fantasy. 440,000 lbs of HEU, enough for 55,000 nuke bombs was forgotten and left in a Muslim split-off 'Stan? Total crap.

Posted by: Chris Ford | January 21, 2006 12:23 AM

"And we have no credibility with Iran or much else of the world either, in spite of gotham's cries that we should have rushed in instead of sending Europe."

You haven't read my posts closely enough. I said that Hillary Clinton is complaining that the US let a bunch of incompetent Europeans run the Iran nuke talks show.

I think Bush did the right thing -- if we had taken the lead in the Iran talks the Europeans would resist any US approach to a solution of the matter and play politics with the situation -- it is their way.

By letting the Europeans try their hand -- and allowing them to stumble badly -- we are instead seeing Europe seek US support for their desire to bring the Iranians before the IAEA and ultimately the UNSC.

Did you hear what Iran's leader said in Syria today -- he demanded again that Europe 'take all her Jews back from the ME' as his government began to pull billions in currency reserves out of European banks -- ans then call for a large OPEC production cut.

This mess can most easily be laid at the feet of Europe -- although Hillary has tried to spin it as a failure of the Bush administration to push the Europeans aside and do the job itself.

To hear Hillary frame it, Bush was remiss in his duty to the American people in letting the Europeans deal with such a serious matter.

I don't know why you have confused me with Hillary -- and I imagine it was an honest mistake.

But then again...

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 12:24 AM

Chris,
Glad you pointed out some of the numbers. We are still MAD with Russia, and will probably be someday with China, but the newbies are hugely outlassed for the forseable future. And you're right, nukes leave a traceble signature, which reduces uncertainty and makes the counter decision easier and therefore the actual event even less likely.

I might add that a real ME threat would almost surely require submarine delivery and no one is even near us in the underwater arena.


Will,
Your formulation I was responding to.........
"If the international community is confident to a 22-1 degree that Iran will shift from a peaceful nuclear program to a violent one,"

Your later more accurate formulation as yet unposted while I was responding above .....
"the IAEA said 22-1 that Iran had violated that treaty (because it was pursuing nuclear weapons)."
Actually they violated the treaty by failing to disclose research activities they should have disclosed, particularly in the area of fuel enrichment, which is necessary to both power plant fuel and nuclear bomb core material. So it doesn't really "prove" anything beyond a reasonable doubt; it certainly suggests the possibility.

I can understand your frustration Will. It is absolutely true, the fewer states that have the Bomb the better. But look at it from another nation-state's point of view. Are we willing to part with our Bombs? Whether we should is another matter for debate, but the brutal fact is we haven't and we are not gonna. Seriously, look at what we can do, have done, to countries we didn't like which don't have the Bomb. Panama, Haiti, Grenada, Bosnia, Kosovo/Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq (twice). Then there is Chile, where Allende was fairly elected in a democracy. Were any of these a direct threat to our national security? Would we have done these if they had the Bomb? These Iranian folk are not dummy's. They can and do think as well and as clearly as we. Should they ignore our own history? Should we? Iraq is right next door to Iran. We think the Iranians are evil and say so. It is our policy to change their regime, to remove their recently elected President, despite no one seriously questions that it was indeed a free and fair election, even though the candidates have to pass muster with the Mullahs first. If you were an Iranian living in Iran wouldn't you be just a bit paranoid listening to Bush calling them Evil and beating the war drums once again. Of course they want nukes. If the biggest baddest bully on the planet was threatening to kick your butt, wouldn't you? Get real Will. They overthrew their Monarchy and established the form of government they wanted. If they are unhappy with it they have an inalienable right to throw this one away and start over, or change this one in any way they choose. But that is their job, not yours, not mine.

Here is a statement of yours......
"but the burden of proof is on them to prove they can responsibly wield it."
That is precisely what we said about Saddam and his WMD; that he had to prove he didn't have it, and to our satisfaction. Look what happened to him and look at what the truth was.

Another......on NORK
"We dropped the ball on that letting them secretly jerk around and void the treaty they signed."
"letting them"? Will, for goodness sakes, and how would YOU have stopped them? How would YOU have known that there was something to be stopped? We can be fooled Will. Have been before, will be again. Hell, in the Iraq case we even fooled ourselves. This is the real world.

I'm not meaning to pick on you in particular Will, but somehow, over time, we have managed to develop a real attitude that we can tell other nations just what they can and cannot do, how they must do it, and if they don't they might become a threat someday and lets take 'em out first. Boom, boom, boom, boom........

It seems sometimes, we are once more going through a "Manifest Destiny" kind of thing.

At some point we need to quit trying to micromanage the world. We are not that good at it and we aren't cold-blooded enough .... thank goodness. Empire has never been our forte, it's a British skill, and they are way past their prime at it.

By the way, the Europeans are no better. Chirac is about as stabilizing as the President of Iran. I suppose it helps matters when he promises to use his nukes if any terrorist takes a shot at any French interest anywhere. Maybe OBL will dig out a Persian cell to blow up the Eiffel Tower and then chuckle as Tehran gets nuked by the French. We got conned on a few airstrikes in Afghanistan that sort of way.

I'm getting caustic ..... shouldn't do that. Don't take it personal, isn't meant that way. Its just an honest answer :o) Past my bedtime. Night.

Posted by: Cayambe | January 21, 2006 02:34 AM

First the righties said "we had to invade Iraq because we couldn't take the chance they might be a nuclear threat". Now suddenly I hear it is the lefties who are crying wolf about nuclear threats. Suddenly believing that a ME country that the 9-11 commission says actually DID help in 9-11 (Iran) could get enough nukes to hurt us or give to their terrorist friends to hurt us or Europe isn't credible? Those scenarios were only credible to justify the war in Iraq?
Wait, my head is spinning.

Gotham, I don't get your point. I can't compare you with Hillary or anyone one else becaue I truly can't figure out what you are trying to say.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 21, 2006 03:26 AM

"Maybe OBL will dig out a Persian cell to blow up the Eiffel Tower"

Better pick another target. The Parisians would probably thank him for that :)

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 21, 2006 03:35 AM

Will: "No one can successfully argue that Iran has a "right" to nuclear weapons, not even Iran. They signed the United Nations Non Proliferation Treaty in 1970 that explicitly bans the pursual of nuclear weapons."

"The heavy talk about 'Well Iran is a sovereign nation where do you get the...' or 'America has WMDs and uses them therefore...' misses the point. Iran signed a treaty that promised they will not pursue nuclear weapons...Has everyone here forgotten the Nuclear nonproliferation treaty?"

Iran and the US are equally in breach of NPT, since Iran wants nukes, against the treaty, and the US refuses to negotiate towards getting rid of its own, which is also against the treaty.

In fact all of the permanent members have effectively torn up the treaty by announcing their intention to keep nuclear weapons in perpetuity.

NPT Article VI says: "Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."

The US has already announced its intention to flout NPT for the rest of eternity. For example, during consultations on the Start-3 Treaty and the ABM Treaty that took place in January 1999 in Geneva, the senior American negotiator, John D. Holum, presented a "Topics for discussion" document that included this paragraph:

"Both the United States of America and the Russian Federation now possess and, as before, will possess under the terms of any possible future arms reduction agreements, large, diversified, viable arsenals of strategic offensive weapons consisting of various types of ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and heavy bombers."

In other words, they agree at the outset of arms negotiations that they have no intention of negotiating towards the goal that NPT requires of them. And as for "cessation of the arms race at an early date", the US is particularly guilty of breaching this requirement, because it's currently working on several entirely new classes of nuclear weapons, and has also resurrected its neutron bomb project.

Those who are here talking up war against Iran are presenting NPT as some sort of exclusive membership deal, whereby the permanent Five and those they choose to admit to the club can have weapons while everyone else is bound to look on impotently. They are twisting NPT from a disarmament agreement into one that institutionalises the domination of the greatest military powers.

So spare us the hand-wringing over NPT, when you have of intention of obeying it yourself. In any case, the seals that Iran broke the other day were on equipment that they have every legal right to use under NPT. And don't claim, as you do, that the IAEA is on the side of the hawks this time. El Baradei has just said that UNSC referral would be premature at this time.

Your sabre-rattling at Iran is no more about upholding legality that your invasion of Iraq was. If you really want to enforce NPT, start with yourselves.

Posted by: OD | January 21, 2006 05:45 AM

NPT is only as good as the countries that signed are willing to obide by it. Since this treaty was signed years ago; many nations, including our own, have new leaders. New leaders, new directions. The NPT does not stop a nation from resigning from the treaty. India, Pakistan, Isreal, and others have never signed it. Should they be treated any better than a nation that signed it? If a nation is being blackmailed by a nation with nuclear weapons, doesn't that nation have an intrinsic right to defend itself (up to an including developing nuclear weapons)? The U.S. got along with the Arabs prior to the state of Israel. Since the state of Israel, the U.S. lopsided policy towards Israel has created the reason for Arab countries to hate the U.S. Along these lines, we see nationalism developing world wide. Nationalism in the sense that no Colonialist, will tell them what to do or how to do it. The Raping of their natural resources by the Colonialists is coming to and end. The Future of the world will have to be different. As mentioned above, becoming independent from oil is the first step. War is not the answer, but changing ones views and developing alternate resources to combat the nations that wish to use oil to have power. Simple as that.

Posted by: JR | January 21, 2006 07:59 AM

Patriot 1957, I stand corrected. It was ErrinF's quote instead.

[WP can we have a quote feature -- PLEASE!]. ;)

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 21, 2006 09:55 AM

Gotham wrote:
=====================================================
"By letting the Europeans try their hand -- and allowing them to stumble badly -- we are instead seeing Europe seek US support for their desire to bring the Iranians before the IAEA and ultimately the UNSC."
===========================================
==========

Which is a wise political move. By hitting the ball into their court they'll have to address the enemy in their back yard -- not evade them.

Europeans always love to attack the US verbally, but they'll come -- hat in hand -- for help if Iran goes bonkers (as they have no guts to fight them, even if they point a nuke at their direction. They got so used of NATO and high brow commie sympathies to actually worry about the real world and it's dangers).

Serves backstabbers right.

This is the Iraq situation in reverse, with this time they can't deflect it with chants of "Where's the WMD?".

Ah, where's your butt to save your own citizens now?

Great political move (love to see them squirm for a change). :)

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 21, 2006 10:04 AM

Save them from what, this fabricated crisis? This storm in a teapot?

Your problem, SandyK is that you're starting to believe your own hype. Do you really think the citizens of Europe are quaking in terror over Iran?

Quaking in terror over 3rd-rate Middle Eastern powers remains very much an American sport.

And besides, why would anyone run for help to the US? Everyone knows their armed forces are bogged down in Iraq. Fighting to prepare a new Islamist client state for the Iranians to take over when they've gone.

Posted by: OD | January 21, 2006 12:24 PM

If you read the AJC editorial, try stopping in on the Mike Luckovich blog.

http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/shared-blogs/ajc/luckovich/

Posted by: getalife | January 21, 2006 01:53 PM

Sometimes nations do have to intercede for the health and welfare of the constituents of other countries, as it reflects on our own citizens, their persuits and lives too.
Posted by: SandyK | Jan 20, 2006 9:55:11 PM

And that 'sometimes' just happens to be during an election year? This is all the exact same poltical posturing that went on with Iraq in 2002. SUDDENLY it becomes all important that we must personally handle Iran, and that importance happens to coincide with a political timetable that leads up to Election Day.
No matter what arguments Will and Sandy make, I do not trust our political leadership to handle Iran in 2006 any differently than they handled Iraq in 2002, that is, using overblown urgency coupled with a manipulative political agenda. The validity of arguments being made against Iran these days is highly questionable, as we've all seen this before in 2002, and look what a road to nowhere Iraq has turned out to be, and how little of the claims about Iraq in 2002 turned out to be true. This Iran storm in a teapot is more of the same hot air.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 21, 2006 02:07 PM

"Quaking in terror over 3rd-rate Middle Eastern powers remains very much an American sport."

This is where you are wrong. It Europe rattling the saber this time -- it is Europe taking Iran to the IAEA, so they can then be taken to the UNSC. It is France, that most European of nations that is waving the nukes around to try and prove that the previous pushover impression they crafted for Europe is in fact not true and that 'Europe is strong dammit'.

Europe is not strong -- it is a political, demographic and financial mess. The indigenous population numbers are plummeting, the armies of imported 'toilet cleaner' Muslims in the cities are rioting, radical Imams in places like the UK are openly calling the nation a toilet, and claiming that freedom of religion allows team to preach the elimination of the Jews and infidels, state pensions plans are going broke, armies have been stripped of funding, rampant and unaccountable corruption is a way of life in state controlled industries and organizations like the EU organization in Brussels.

Now, Iran is openly slapping Europe down on the world stage -- claiming that their 'holocaust lies are murdering Muslims' and demanding weekly that Europe 'take all her Jews back from Muslim lands' -- rejecting the EU 3 nuke talks out of hand -- as they pull their money out of European banks and trumpet their terrorism sponsorship programs.

Now Europe is coming to the US to back her plan to put the squeeze on Iran -- and France is threatening possible nuclear retaliation if they are attacked badly enough.

So, tell me again how 'quaking in terror over 3rd-rate Middle Eastern powers remains very much an American sport'.

What a load of leftist propaganda pish you preach mate.

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 02:32 PM

Listen Errinn... I've always treated you with respect. I've indicated in enough of my posts that I neither a) side with the Bush Administration nor b) act unnecessarily militant. If you want to disagree with my position on Iran, that's fine, but don't call me a Rovian shill because that's not what I am. I respect the United Nations and I respect the tenents of Nuclear Nonproliferation. Not because I want 4 or 8 more years of Republican rule but because Nuclear weapons are dangerous and immoral and an eternal stain on humanity.
Posted by: Will | Jan 20, 2006 8:08:28 PM

If I've had trouble respecting you, Will, it's because of the amount of doublespeak in most of your posts.
You claim to be vigilant against saber-rattling militarism being used by the Bush administration for political gain, and yet you fall for it hook, line, and sinker. Karl Rove has basically taken his 2002 playbook and substituted Iran for Iraq, and you are wholeheartedly going along with it, rattling your own saber in approval.
You claim not to side with the Bush administration or unnecessary militarism, yet here you are siding with the Bush administration when it comes to being unnecessarily militant. Perhaps we disagree on the word 'necessary' in that I just don't feel heightened militarism with the express purpose of electioneering is something that is ever necessary.
If you respect the UN, it seems that you should be arguing more for a UN solution and less for a unilateral solution. Perhaps I am mistaken, but you seem to be endorsing a U.S. military action as a solution to Iran defying a U.N. treaty.
Lastly, I stated before that our government is trying to shirk the NPT due to missile defense. I was mistaken: Our government has shirked the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty by developing a national missile defense system. Let's start holding our own government accountable to the ABM treaty it signed before we start focussing on other countries defying the NPT. Otherwise, we're guilty of the 'do as I say, not as I do' hypocrisy that many countries accuse us of.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 21, 2006 02:33 PM

"This is all the exact same poltical posturing that went on with Iraq in 2002. SUDDENLY it becomes all important that we must personally handle Iran, and that importance happens to coincide with a political timetable that leads up to Election Day."

And who is playing the Iran card the hardest -- the Democrat Hillary Clinton -- who insists that Republican president Bush has fallen down on the job because he did not push incompetent Europeans out of the way in the Iran talks. Bush has never said that we should handle the Iran situation alone -- he listened to the Democrats of two years ago and let Europe take the lead in the situation.

The fact is that Europe is waking up to the gravity of this mess now that Iran has not only rejected the EU 3 nuke talks -- but are now demanding loudly that Europe repatriate all 'her Jews' in one breath and in the next pledging 'support and funding' for a raft of terrorist groups.

The European response so far has been to wave their nukes and ask the US to support their efforts to punish Iran.

This simply does not compute in leftist land -- does it?

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 02:40 PM

"Rove has basically taken his 2002 playbook and substituted Iran for Iraq, and you are wholeheartedly going along with it, rattling your own saber in approval."

Does this mean that Rove is now the political advisor to Hillary Clinton now?

Haven't your leftist arguments been blown out of the water now that Europe is asking America to take an Iran that is slapping it down on the world stage to the UN for punishment and prominent Democrat and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has taken a stance to the right of President Bush?

How do you explain all this in the context of bogeyman 'Karl Rove'? Is Rove floating like a spirit into the head of Jacques Chirac and Hillary Clinton as they sleep and planting words and ideas in their head that they repeat like hand puppets to the press in the morning?

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 02:50 PM

Actually, I should point out that I do respect the opinions of Will (as well as that of Sandy K) as genuine and totally free of a manipulative agenda. I just feel that their positions will be hijacked by those in power who will turn the Iran situation into a politicized farce.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 21, 2006 02:59 PM

"I just feel that their positions will be hijacked by those in power who will turn the Iran situation into a politicized farce."

You mean Democrats in power like Hillary Clinton -- right?

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 03:07 PM

GMAFB, Gotham. Your partisan misrepresentations of my posts have nothing to do with anything I've said.
I don't think Karl Rove is a boogeyman; I can even cite other posts I've written before that said Rove should not be demonized. Far from treating him like a boogeyman, I am simply saying he is a political strategist who does indeed have a battle plan for 2006 that includes saber-rattling against Iran in order to boost the Republicans in the upcoming election.
Regardless or what Hilary Clinton or Europe does, facts are facts. Rove and the Republicans have a political strategy in 2006 similar to that of 2002, and they will cling to that strategy until Election Day, only this time it won't work. None of the arguments you have made have denied this. Rather, you've tried to obfuscate the issue with your empty partisan attacks.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 21, 2006 03:09 PM

You mean Democrats in power like Hillary Clinton -- right?
Posted by: Gotham | Jan 21, 2006 3:07:38 PM

No. Hilary Clinton does not have the track record of George Bush and Karl Rove when it comes to using false urgency and excessive militarism to manipulate elections. Hilary Clinton is not trying to use Iran in 2006 like Karl Rove used Iraq in 2002.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 21, 2006 03:13 PM

"I am simply saying he is a political strategist who does indeed have a battle plan for 2006 that includes saber-rattling against Iran in order to boost the Republicans in the upcoming election...and they will cling to that strategy until Election Day, only this time it won't work."

So why is Hillary Clinton rattling the Iran saber louder then Bush?

Does Hillary also think this is a failing strategy?

Why is France waving her nukes around and asking the US to back the EU 3's moves against Iran at the UN?

Is it all part of a Rovian effort to keep US Republicans in power?

Is Rove telling Iran's wacky leaders to taunt Europe and say 'Take your Jews back while we fund terrorist groups that hold Europe in utter contempt'?

This is just crazy -- Bush let Europe run with the Iran ball -- and as a result Europe has been horribly insulted and rejected by Iran.

How can you say that concern over Iran is an empty tactic that will lose the Republicans the election. This attitude defies logic.

It is not the Republicans who are rattling the saber the loudest against Iran -- it is Europe and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 03:18 PM

If Hilary Clinton jumped off a bridge, would you, Gotham?
Karl Rove has a political strategy in 2006. Whether the actions of Hilary Clinton or Europe coincide with that strategy do not matter one bit. Rove and the Republicans used saber-rattling against Iraq for political gain in 2002; He is of course attempting the same thing with Iran in 2006. Your pathetic attempts to distract from that are what defy logic.
You claim Hilary and the EU are leading the charge against Iran. What a crock. Conservatives the likes of William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, and Karl Rove are leading the saber-rattling brigade against Iran. Hiding behind Hilary doesn't change the truth, and you cast the argument in terms that are simply not true. Nothing you have posted denies that Rove is up to his old tricks, or, to be more precise, that a political strategist is not using the same strategy that was successful in 2002. All you've done Gotham is twist everything I've said into a misrepresentation of the arguments being made. How typical of conservative extremists these days.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 21, 2006 03:34 PM

Gotham,
And are you now willing to admit that Hillary has secretly been a part of the "vast right wing conspiracy all along"? A sleeper cell as it were? :o)
I make the point folks, because when you get down to substance this does not lend itself to traditional right/left wing analysis. The reality is that the Democratic party itself is fundamentally split over this and, were the Republicans not artificially constrained by the politcal need for a united front to preserve their political dominence, you would see splits there as well.

What really divides one person from another among us, as well as polititions, is our view of our nations role in this world and, in some instances our, capacity to execute, or not, that role.

If you approach this from a left/right perspective both sides will find themselves with strange bedfellows indeed, so get over it. :o)

Posted by: Cayambe | January 21, 2006 03:35 PM

"And are you now willing to admit that Hillary has secretly been a part of the "vast right wing conspiracy all along"? A sleeper cell as it were? :o)"

It was Hillary who complained of a 'vast right-wing conspiracy' after her husband lied about a cigar in a dark place. Are you also confusing me with Hillary?

What's with that?

The fact is that Iran is directly challenging, threatening, and humiliating Europe on the world stage on a daily basis -- while they plow ahead with a missile project and a nuke project that the IAEA does not think is legit.

Europe is very upset that Iran is telling the Muslims that Europe 'foisted her Jews on them to kill their babies' and saying that acts of terror will bring them 'Islamic glory'.

What's left for Iran to say to Europe -- 'we are going to kill you all' -- like they have been saying to the US for more then 20 years.

The US and the UK will be out of range of the first batch of Iranian nuke missiles -- a lot of continental Europe will not.

I guess the 'true' left position is to let Europe be smacked down, threatened and probably blackmailed or attacked by Iran because it is not our fight.

That is a Pat Buchanan type attitude -- isn't it?

Should we turn down Europe taking Iran to the UNSC - and link up with Russia and China to veto any UN action against Iran?

It would serve the Europeans right after the way France tried to lock Hussein's oil into long term contracts by selling Hussein their UNSC veto - wouldn't it?

Do you suppose if the US helped Iran take down Western Europe this would improve US/Iranian relations?

Perhaps that is the route we should be taking -- if you can't beat 'em join 'em.

Now, shut off that decadent music, expel all those Jews from Hollywood, and convert to Islam, or we will blow your children up in a pizzeria.

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 03:50 PM

Actually, your posts are so manipulative that I should address them point by point:

"So why is Hillary Clinton rattling the Iran saber louder then Bush?" - Gotham

Answer: She isn't; That was an assertion by you and you alone. As 2006 progresses, you'll hear a lot more saber-rattling from Bush & Co against Iran than compared to Hilary. Judging from 2002 and how Iraq was handled, no politician (not even a Clinton) can hold a candle to Bush and Rove when it comes to saber-rattling for political gain.

"Does Hillary also think this is a failing strategy?"- Gotham

Answer: Ask her. Regardless of what she thinks, I think what worked in 2002 with Iraq will not work in 2006 with Iran.


"Why is France waving her nukes around and asking the US to back the EU 3's moves against Iran at the UN?" - Gotham

Answer: France is not advocating any military options against Iran. Conservatives and others who might gain politically from heightened militarism are advocating military options.

"Is it all part of a Rovian effort to keep US Republicans in power?" - Gotham

Answer: No. Never said that. Your just stretching things as far as you can to try to deny the obvious: Karl Rove will try to use Iran in 2006 just like he used Iraq in 2002. The actions of others, whether in congruence with Rove's agenda or not, are a moot point.

"Is Rove telling Iran's wacky leaders to taunt Europe and say 'Take your Jews back while we fund terrorist groups that hold Europe in utter contempt'?" - Gotham

Answer: No. But Karl Rove will manipulate the situation all he can politically to win elections in 2006.

"This is just crazy -- Bush let Europe run with the Iran ball -- and as a result Europe has been horribly insulted and rejected by Iran." - Gotham

Really? How convenient that Bush 'let them run with the ball' up until an election year rolled around in 2006. Your partisan revisionism leaves a lot in question.

"How can you say that concern over Iran is an empty tactic that will lose the Republicans the election. This attitude defies logic." - Gotham

Answer: How can you continually make straw man arguments that misrepresent other people's statements rather than accurately discuss them? I have no such attitude that you are trying to attach to me. What I have said is that Rove's political playbook for 2006 (which includes saber-rattling at Iran) is doomed to fail. This is not 2002, Iran is not Iraq, and matters such as corruption and cronyism are going to matter far more than trumped-up politicized militarism this time around.

"It is not the Republicans who are rattling the saber the loudest against Iran -- it is Europe and Democrat Hillary Clinton." - Gotham

Bullshit. The loudest saber-rattling is, as usual, coming from the Republicans and the Bush administration, with Karl Rove overlooking it all hoping desperately it will work once again. You are fooling no one, Gotham, by trying to deny this. By all means, try the same old tactics that worked in the past. You'll find that 2006 is a whole new ballgame, and relying on predictable stratigies of yesteryear are not going to save the Republicans from the impending cleansing of Congress.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 21, 2006 04:03 PM

Gotham what is your thing with Hillary? Obsession isn't good for the soul.

"he listened to the Democrats of two years ago and let Europe take the lead in the situation."

Of all the bullshit that was ever posted on this board, this absolutely takes the cake. I'm ROFLMAO. I need a good laugh today.

Gotta go walk the dog. CU later

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 21, 2006 04:25 PM

"Answer: She isn't; That was an assertion by you and you alone. As 2006 progresses, you'll hear a lot more saber-rattling from Bush & Co against Iran than compared to Hilary."

What are you really saying here -- that I am indeed correct and that Hillary is rattling the saber louder then Bush right now -- but that eventually the gods decree that the 'Rovian Republicans' will rattle a bigger louder saber later? That is a silly comeback -- you have really just conceded my point.

"Answer: Ask her. Regardless of what she thinks, I think what worked in 2002 with Iraq will not work in 2006 with Iran."

Wouldn't you say that this is simply an evasive answer after you decreed that Republicans are decreed by the gods to rattle the saber louder then Democrats? Why are you so sure about Republicans but unwilling to consider Democrats. Hillary is to the right of Bush on Iraq -- this is a fact -- reported in this very newspaper.

"Answer: No. Never said that. Your just stretching things as far as you can to try to deny the obvious: Karl Rove will try to use Iran in 2006 just like he used Iraq in 2002. The actions of others, whether in congruence with Rove's agenda or not, are a moot point."

Yet you pontificate on what Bush will do saber-wise while you dodge what Hillary is actually is doing saber-wise.

"Answer: No. But Karl Rove will manipulate the situation all he can politically to win elections in 2006."

You are saying that Republicans are 'manipulators' and Democrats like Hillary are not. I fail to see how this is a valid argument.

"Really? How convenient that Bush 'let them run with the ball' up until an election year rolled around in 2006. Your partisan revisionism leaves a lot in question."

This is what the Democrats demanded two years ago -- they decried 'Republican arrogance' in not letting Europe run our foreign policy in Iraq and threatened all kinds of action if the same was done with Iran. Is this like the Democrats imploring Bush 41 to raise taxes and then pillorying him for doing it in the next election cycle? Who were cynical political manipulators in that instance. Aren't the Democrats like Hillary in moving to the right of Bush 43 on Iran just trying on the same political ploy with Iran?

"Answer: How can you continually make straw man arguments that misrepresent other people's statements rather than accurately discuss them? I have no such attitude that you are trying to attach to me. What I have said is that Rove's political playbook for 2006 (which includes saber-rattling at Iran) is doomed to fail."

I am not 'attacking' you -- I am engaging in a lively political debate. Why do you paint what I say an attack and what you say as something else? Partisan politics perhaps?

"Bullshit. The loudest saber-rattling is, as usual, coming from the Republicans and the Bush administration, with Karl Rove overlooking it all hoping desperately it will work once again. You are fooling no one, Gotham, by trying to deny this."

Actually it is not -- Hillary Clinton has staked out a position on Iran that is to the right of Republican Bush -- and she is now rattling the saber louder by claiming that the Europeans are incompetents that should never have been allowed to take the lead in the Iran nuke talks.

Why do you mention Carl Rove whenever you discuss the actions of George Bush. Are you asserting that Bush is incapable of making a decision and that he is not in fact a true president? Isn't that the same hooey argument that Democrats made about Reagan? Isn't this type of thing only so much propaganda?

If rattling the saber at Iran were not a winning strategy, the highly politically shrewd Hillary would not be doing it.

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 04:30 PM

Give it up Errin. You can't debate with an insane person. At least Chris Ford shows a spark of sanity occasionally.

Posted by: | January 21, 2006 04:38 PM

"Give it up Errin. You can't debate with an insane person. At least Chris Ford shows a spark of sanity occasionally."

So that is how it ends with folks like you -- after I take the time to answer your debate points one by one you go for the ad hominem attack and suggest I can be silenced by ignoring me?

What kind of tactic is that? Everything I said is reasonable -- certainly as reasonable to chalking everything any Republican does or says to Karl Rove. To me that sounds insane -- but I know that saying 'You're sttuuppiiddd' or 'You're innssaanneee' does not a winning argument make.

Is that the winning strategy the Democrats are going to employ in the next election cycle -- simply call their opponents insane?

Is calling them primates with tails old fashioned now?

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 04:50 PM

Can you guys write briefly so we can catch up with all the dialoque that goes on while we are out there.

And, I am really disappointed by Hilary. She may be gaining few right wing supporters but in the process she is also losing folks like me.

Posted by: W | January 21, 2006 04:58 PM

"And, I am really disappointed by Hilary. She may be gaining few right wing supporters but in the process she is also losing folks like me."

This is because she sees moving to the right of Bush on Iran as a winning political strategy.

It may not be a winning strategy ultimately when election time comes due to other factors, but it is the only strategy for her on Iran if she thinks she really has a shot at the presidency. All this far left stick your head in the sand stuff is at the end of the day illogical -- and people will simply never vote for it in droves.

Hillary is smart enough (or insane enough if you listen to my friends here) to know this.

;)

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 05:11 PM

GMAFB, Gotham. Throw forth Hilary Clinton all you like as a distraction. It has nothing to do with Karl Rove and how he used saber-rattling against Iraq in 2002 to help win the elections. He and the Republicans will do the same with Iran in 2006. Why are you trying to deny this? Do you not like Rove's strategy being so obvious that it can be easily countered? Some good the saber-rattling strategy is going to do when you'll be on the defensive most of the time just like you're on the defensive in this debate. The American public still feels manipulated over going to war in Iraq (what with no WMDs there), and that will manifest itself in the 2006 elections.
As for the anonymous person who told me to give it up, I have no clue who posted that, and I obviously don't agree with them, as I am taking you head on, even though I know you'll simply misrepresent everything I say in a string of straw men attacks.
For instance, you state "Why do you mention Carl Rove whenever you discuss the actions of George Bush. Are you asserting that Bush is incapable of making a decision and that he is not in fact a true president? Isn't that the same hooey argument that Democrats made about Reagan? Isn't this type of thing only so much propaganda?" I've mentioned both George Bush and Karl Rove plenty. They are a political team after all. I've never asserted the straw man argument you are making that I said Bush is not the real President. All I've said is what is common knowledge: Karl Rove is the main political strategist for Bush and the Republicans.
Though I'm currently debating with you, I agree with the anonymous poster that basically said you're a weak, unworthy debater, Gotham. You don't have what it takes intellectually to take my arguments head on, so you just ignore what I say and instead cowardly put forth a lie that misrepresents my views, then you argue against that lie. It'd be nice if you could take me on face to face rather than hiding behind the skirt of Hilary Clinton.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 21, 2006 05:34 PM

Well, it seems to me that I am holding my end up in this debate quite well, judging by the anonymous ad hominem that reared its ugly head.

To me this is not a sign that my argument is weak -- it is a sign that it is strong and difficult to counter. You have also failed to note that in posting at the Washington Post I am on hostile ground -- as the Washington Post is well know as having a pro-left anti-right bias -- and thus the contributors to her blogs are likely to possess the same.

There are several points that I have made that either you or anyone else here have really bothered to address in an effective way.

The first is that it is Europe that is in the forefront of rattling the saber, nuclear and otherwise, at Iran -- not the US. Now, you may suggest that Chirac did not name Iran directly in his nuclear retaliation threat, but you cannot deny that it was said in the same week that Iran was demanding that Europe 'remove her Jews from the Middle East' and pledging money and assistance to various anti-European terrorist groups.

The second, is my assertion that Europe has projected a perception of weakness to the world at large via their knee-jerk anti-American obstructionism, double dealings with the Hussein regime at the expense of the credibility of the UN. I also pointed out Europe's seeming reversal of course now that Iran is profoundly raising the stakes. No one really took this one on in serious way -- now have they?

The third, is that I have stated that the US did indeed let Europe run with the Iran talks ball, as demanded by many Democrats who have loudly declared Bush an incompetent criminal liar, and Europe have now admitted that their efforts have been a dismal failure and that they are now afraid for themselves, and will use their nukes if pressed hard enough. This argument has been politely ignored.

Instead, you have repeatedly chanted the name 'Karl Rove' over and over, as if it was Karl who leads the nation, not Bush. I imagine you do this because you figure Rove is a 'criminal' and that by repeating his name you can discredit anything the Bush Administration might want to do about the rapidly unfolding Iran situation.

Over and over all we hear about is Karl Rove, and 'lies'.

Is it not the truth that Europe is seeking US support for punishing Iran at the UN -- not the other way around as it was with Iraq?

Is it not the truth that Iran is demanding Europe take her Jews back as she funds terrorists that burn with hate for 'infidel Europe'?

Is it not verifiable that leading Democrat Hillary Clinton has turn previous Democratic arguments on their heads by insisting that Bush has been too soft on Iran by allowing incompetent Europeans to lead the Iran talks?

All these things are true -- yet all I keep hearing is that 'Karl Rove lied and thus everything Bush does is wrong'. That is not an argument -- that is a propaganda ploy.

If you say the same thing over and over it becomes the truth whether it is true or not -- right?

Check the veracity of my arguments -- they are true -- verifiable -- some have even been covered by this newspaper.

Essentially, you are now arguing that not only is Europe wrong about Iran, and Bush wrong about Iran, and Hillary Clinton wrong about Iran, but that no stance that advocates taking Iran to task for their rabid Jew baiting of Europe and illegal and threatening nuke program can be legitimate because 'Karl Rove lied.'

This line of argumentation is not going to put the left in power in the US. It is just not a winning argument set.

It is about as effective as claiming Bush is a primate with a tail.

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 06:22 PM

Oh, and btw - the intelligence on Iraq's weapons programs came from the US and Europe -- there were a fistful of UN resolutions that Iraq was in violation of before the invasion -- and Hussein was firing on our aircraft on a daily basis when the US coalition finally decided to invade Iraq.

You have no proof that Bush or Rove or anyone else 'fabricated' information on Iraq -- that is a lie.

The thing that is not a lie is that France has hundreds of millions in oil deals with Hussein and Hussein understood this to mean that he had purchased their UN veto. If you recall, Hussein yanked huge oil deals from Russia and handed them to France when Russia seemed to waver on supporting Hussein at the UN.

You are lying when you say you have proof that Bush 'fabricated' the Iraq intelligence.

How does it feel to be a liar calling everyone else a liar?

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 06:36 PM

You are lying when you say you have proof that Bush 'fabricated' the Iraq intelligence.
How does it feel to be a liar calling everyone else a liar?
Posted by: Gotham | Jan 21, 2006 6:36:02 PM

I never said what you claimed I said about Bush, therefore I never lied. Where is your proof that I said such a thing? Post what I have actually said. Instead, you continue to lie and misrepresent what I say, then argue against those lies. Show actual proof of me lying instead of just attributing words to me that I never said while calling me a liar. Post after post you do the same thing of never addressing what I post while constantly attributing a straw man argument to me that has nothing to do with what I actually post. At least you stopped hiding behind Hilary Clinton's skirt for a brief second. Problem is, you are so filled with preconceptions and misconceptions that it is virtually pointless to be debating you.
In 2002, Karl Rove and the Republicans used saber-rattling against Iraq to help win the mid-term elections. If there's a sudden presence of saber-rattling going on against Iran in 2006 (and there has been recently, as Emily's post addresses), you can be sure it is originating from Rove and the GOP's strategy to win the mid-term elections again, not from Europe and Hilary Clinton. There is nothing farfetched about what I'm saying; Old dogs like Bush, Rove, and the Republicans do not have new tricks. You can attack the messenger all you like, you can try to obfuscate and deny all you like, you can try to make a partisan issue of it all you like... your cheap attempts at sophistry do not at all weaken my arguments that the Bush administration uses war-like posturing and saber-rattling for the purpose of political gain, and that the administration and the Republicans cannot be trusted to impartially handle the Iran situation when they have people the likes of Karl Rove in their midst who will manipulate the Iran situation all they can to benefit themselves politically in 2006 (just like Iraq in 2002). If there has been a recent emphasis on saber-rattling against Iran within the national dialogue, there is a high possibility it is in conjunction with a political electioneering timetable leading up to Election Day, a timetable most likely plotted out by Karl Rove, otherwise known as 'The Architect' to George Bush.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 21, 2006 07:12 PM

"In 2002, Karl Rove and the Republicans used saber-rattling against Iraq to help win the mid-term elections."

In your opinion. In my opinion Hussein was firing on US aircraft on a daily basis and was in violation of a fistful of UN resolutions while the Oil for Food program had become a corrupt cynical joke for people who were making deals with Hussein to get paid off in exchange for support for statements in the press and at the UN. Thus, the Iraq issue was not saber rattling, it was simply stating that the Hussein situation was untenable. A truth in my mind at least.

"If there's a sudden presence of saber-rattling going on against Iran in 2006 (and there has been recently, as Emily's post addresses), you can be sure it is originating from Rove and the GOP's strategy to win the mid-term elections again, not from Europe and Hilary Clinton."

Again the same situation. Describing how Iran has slapped Europe down and is demanding they take their Jews back while they have enraged the IAEA with non cooperation on their nuke program is not saber rattling -- it is describing the situation as it stands. If this reality of the situation is not politically advantageous to the far left you cannot simply chalk it all up to 'saber rattling' -- this is a dishonest stance imho.

"There is nothing farfetched about what I'm saying; Old dogs like Bush, Rove, and the Republicans do not have new tricks."

What tricks -- they described the situation as they understood it to be. Just as I have described the Iran situation as I understand it to be. Threats against Europe, support of terrorist groups, demands that Jews be expelled from 'Muslim lands', a nuke program that is in violation of previous agreements. No saber rattling there -- just the good old honest truth.

"You can try to obfuscate and deny all you like, you can try to make a partisan issue of it all you like... your cheap attempts at sophistry do not at all weaken my arguments that the Bush"

All I have done is state exactly what has transpired vis a vis Iran -- it was not me that waved French nukes at them last week, now was it?

"Republicans cannot be trusted to impartially handle the Iran situation when they have people the likes of Karl Rove in their midst who will manipulate the Iran situation all they can to benefit themselves politically in 2006 (just like Iraq in 2002)."

Really now? Is that because you are asserting that the Republicans 'lied' about
Hussein's firing on our aircraft, ignoring a raft of UN resolutions, corrupting the Oil for Food Program, and attempting to buy the French UN veto, a ploy that only failed because we never let them have a chance to cast it, moving on Hussein instead based on violations of existing resolutions? I thought you started your post by implying that you never claimed that Bush lied about Iraq? Your argument line is becoming a bit schizophrenic, innit?

"If there has been a recent emphasis on saber-rattling against Iran within the national dialogue, there is a high possibility it is in conjunction with a political electioneering timetable leading up to Election Day, a timetable most likely plotted out by Karl Rove, otherwise known as 'The Architect' to George Bush."

Again I ask you, how can you paint Bush describing what the Iranians have done on the world stage to the Europeans in the last few weeks 'dishonest saber rattling' yet ignore the very same kinds of statements coming from Democrats and Europeans?

Why is it OK for a Democrat like Clinton and the French President to 'rattle the saber' (according to your criteria) at Iran but not acceptable for Bush to do the same? Chirac even hinted that he might nuke them.

I just don't get where you are going with all this.

Is plainly stating what Iran has done in the last few weeks 'saber rattling' for anyone who describes the thing -- or only for Republicans?

A serious question.

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 07:35 PM

"Now, Iran is openly slapping Europe down on the world stage -- claiming that their 'holocaust lies are murdering Muslims' and demanding weekly that Europe 'take all her Jews back from Muslim lands'"

Iran says nasty things about America every week and has been doing so for nearly 30 years. Is that getting 'slapped down'? No? Only when they say it about Europe?

I'll tell you what getting slapped down by Iran is. When they objected to your spooks supporting a Shah who massacred thousands of demonstrators, they took them all hostage. Jimmy Carter, hated as a weakling by Republicans, ordered a military mission to free the hostages. But the US special forces f***ed it up, somehow managing to blow up their helicopters before they even made contact with the enemy. Then along came your darling Ronald Reagan, and he bought the hostages' freedom by paying the Iranians a ransom. Not just a money ransom, either - he gave them hundreds of cutting-edge guided missiles. THAT's being slapped down by Iran.

Fast-forward to another great Republican president, GW Bush. The centrepiece of his policy, the Iraq War, has handed that state to Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, both parties nurtured and groomed in Tehran. All of America's losses in this war will end up as Iran's gain. THAT's being slapped down by Iran.

I'll let you know when Europe has been slapped down by Iran.

"This is where you are wrong. It Europe rattling the saber this time -- it is Europe taking Iran to the IAEA, so they can then be taken to the UNSC. It is France, that most European of nations that is waving the nukes around to try and prove that the previous pushover impression they crafted for Europe is in fact not true and that 'Europe is strong dammit'."

Are you aware that Chirac was addressing a nuclear submarine crew when he spoke? That he is looking for excuses to justify France's nukes to the voters? You sure read a lot into one speech. Yet you seem to pay no attention at all to, for example, the words of Britain's foreign secretary, who has repeatedly said that military action is not an option.

Even if you were right about Chirac, it would hardly be evidence of Europe getting slapped down. Look at how America now talks, compared to their bluster of four years ago. Anyone might think something had happened to turn them off military methods. Is it really Europe that has learned the error of its ways? I think not.

Posted by: OD | January 21, 2006 07:55 PM

On January 19 Mr. Chris Ford wrote: "If we can get Iran to accept the Russian enrichment offer for 10 years, that would be a huge step."

These ideas have been under consideration in Tehran, as long as Iran is allowed to continue research and keep up with technology. There are of course other issues as well. Although Russia has been a good friend to Iran, most Iranians, even some in the leadership would have preferred a friendlier relationship with a country not so close at its doorstep.

Iran does not want to be dependent on another country for its energy needs; in the way that west relies on the resources of the Middle East. Also please note that even today a significant portion of oil is used for domestic consumption. So Iran may be open to consider a shorter period during which it limits enrichment to Russia and yet again take a good will gesture towards the international community.

US and its allies in the Middle East should be much more concerned about Pakistani nuclear threat than Iran's peaceful plans. In Pakistan, you are only one bullet away from handing over the nuclear capability to Al Qaeda, and thus threatening the national security of Iran.

Even if Iran did have nuclear weapons, she would be inhibited from using it in the occupied Palestine, a) because it is unIslamic, and b) it would destroy Muslims and our most sacred places. The issue of occupied Palestine will be resolved by demographics, in the same way that countries, rivers, and mountains bend to the power of nature. Over the past 100 year, and with the exception of Iran, almost all borders in the Middle East have been redrawn more than once, without using nuclear weapons.

Posted by: (I)nsider | January 21, 2006 08:03 PM

Gotham, where there's smoke there's fire, and thou dost protest too much. Iraq was put on the table for political gain by the Republicans in 2002, and you are insulting my intelligence if you think I'm going to buy the rosy excuses you make for the blatant electioneering that went on in 2002 concerning Karl Rove and Iraq. Bush and the GOP were guilty of saber-rattling for political gain in 2002, and they will try the same in 2006.
Where am I going with all this? Here's an excerpt from how Emily started this debate:

"Writing in the latest issue of The Weekly Standard, William Kristol insists that the use of military force against Iran must remain an option."

William Kristol is not the only one among the conservative ranks that are suddenly trying to make issue of Iran. Karl Rove gave a speech recently similar to ones he gave in 2002 about how the Republicans need to make national security an issue. What better way to make national security an issue than hawkish saber-rattling against Iran?
Rove's strategy is not going to work this time. It may have worked in 2002, but now we have 2002 to point to when it comes to political manipulation of military aggression. The voting public is now weary and wary of Bush; That coupled with Republican corruption will spell disaster for Rove's saber-rattling agenda.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 21, 2006 08:10 PM

"Jimmy Carter, hated as a weakling by Republicans, ordered a military mission to free the hostages. But the US special forces f***ed it up".

OD, some good Americans lost their lives in that mission and I wish you could have been a bit more respectful.

Posted by: HairyJoe | January 21, 2006 08:22 PM

I think you underestimate what Iran has done to Europe in the last few weeks.

First of all they dragged out their talks with Europe into a two year odyssey and then turned around and bluntly told them to piss off -- and take their Jews with them. Two years of talks end with a brush off and a profound insult.

They are also running around in places like Syria encouraging attacks on Europe by claiming that their 'Holocaust lie is a ploy by Europe to murder Muslim babies'. And to top it off, they have just pledged money and material support to these terrorists while they continue to ramp up the hate against Europe.

The Iranians could not do more to encourage terrorist attacks on Europe -- they are practically begging for them. They are paying for them, praying for them, baying for them.

This is a new stance for Iran -- before distant America was the 'Great Satan', and the object to revile -- now it is becoming Europe -- in a big way.

Europe is not happy at all about this new twist on things -- and they are seeking solace in the UN and seeking US help now.

If Chirac had been misquoted on his nuke threat, then the French state news organ AFP would have clarified the matter immediately -- instead they quoted him closely, including this,

"The president said he was extending the definition of "vital interests" protected by France's nuclear umbrella to include allies and "strategic supplies".

The link in case you doubt me;

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/060119/1/3y104.html

Strategic supplies? What might those be -- Cork for wine bottles and silk for lingerie?

This is a message to Iran -- it is a warning -- a threat. This was no mere speech to a sub crew -- this was a declaration of intent.

So, you go back to 1979 and dredge up that sad episode from the Carter years, perhaps one of the darkest periods in US history -- a nation adrift with a weak president - to prove your point that 'Europe has not been slapped down' -- while the fact is that Europe spun her wheels for two years with Iran, ending a couple of weeks ago, only to be told to get the hell out of the Middle East and to take her Jews with her.

So, are you still thinking that Europe has not been slapped down by Iran, or are you perhaps rethinking the situation?

In case you are still on the fence, think about this -- Russia, who is supplying Iran with her nuke tech -- and probably her missile tech, recently shut down her European gas spigot for a day or two to yank Europe's chain over 'interference' in Ukraine. Europe squealed, and said she was scrambling for new sources.

Europe is now getting the feeling that she is being rolled -- with Russia in the background, and Iran at her throat.

As far as the differing stance of the UK to France on Iran, remember -- the Brits have their own gas and oil -- it won't last -- but they are still a net exporter of the stuff. A nation like France or Germany are not.

Big big trouble is brewing my friend -- and although you might not want to face it right now, eventually you will, imho at least.

;)

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 08:29 PM

"Gotham, where there's smoke there's fire, and thou dost protest too much."

You of course mean, where the hard left blows propaganda smoke we should all assume there is fire -- correct?

How can you seriously suggest that plainly stating what Iran has done recently on the world stage and suggesting that all options be kept open 'saber rattling' when out of the mouth of a Republican, but not 'saber rattling' when out of the mouth of a non-Republican like Clinton, or a Frenchman like Chirac?

I think your argument is all smoke and mirrors.

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 08:36 PM

"Two years of talks end with a brush off and a profound insult."

Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly offered to continue the negotiations, as long as they have a clear timeline and objective, not unlike the request by many Republicans and Democrats who have been asking President Bush for a definite schedule for troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Posted by: (I)nsider | January 21, 2006 08:41 PM

Gotham turns a blind eye to the fact that Europe is not arguing for the solution to Iran being an American military option.
Big trouble is not brewing at all. Gotham is just creating a storm in a teapot like the good little saber-rattler he is. We were told big trouble was brewing in Iraq in 2002; Now we know nothing of the sort was going on then and that it was mainly a political issue manipulated to win elections. Gotham and many conservatives like him will try to overblow the Iran situation as much as possible in hopes of convincing others to follow the same blind, rushed march to war that we followed in 2002. Keep dreaming, Gotham; The transparency of your agenda is easy for all to see.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 21, 2006 08:41 PM

How can you seriously suggest that plainly stating what Iran has done recently on the world stage and suggesting that all options be kept open 'saber rattling' when out of the mouth of a Republican, but not 'saber rattling' when out of the mouth of a non-Republican like Clinton, or a Frenchman like Chirac?
Posted by: Gotham | Jan 21, 2006 8:36:05 PM

Because of the way Bush, Rove, and the Republicans handled Iraq in 2002. Saber-rattling is part of their modus operandi. Again you insist on claiming I am saying things I am not.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 21, 2006 08:46 PM

"US and its allies in the Middle East should be much more concerned about Pakistani nuclear threat than Iran's peaceful plans. In Pakistan, you are only one bullet away from handing over the nuclear capability to Al Qaeda, and thus threatening the national security of Iran."

That is a decent point -- but then again if AQ took over Pakistan there would more likely be a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan then between Pakistan and Iran.

How is it possible that Iran is building her nukes to 'counter Pakistan' when she is instead baying for the blood of the Europeans and 'their murdering Jews'?

Iran has never claimed to be building nukes to counter the Pakistan threat -- have they? They are denying they are building nuclear weapons at all, while giving the IAEA the run around and destroying evidence.

"Even if Iran did have nuclear weapons, she would be inhibited from using it in the occupied Palestine, a) because it is unIslamic, and b) it would destroy Muslims and our most sacred places."

You left out Europe -- didn't you? The Europeans are well aware of little 'mistakes' like this that happen all the time among Middle Easterners -- and it is scaring the crap out of them. You watch out -- France will nuke the ME if hit hard enough -- you mark my words.

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 08:48 PM

"Because of the way Bush, Rove, and the Republicans handled Iraq in 2002. Saber-rattling is part of their modus operandi."

How is plainly stating the actions of Hussein in firing on our aircraft, ignoring UN resolutions, corrupting the Oil for Food program and giving UN inspectors the run around 'saber rattling'?

How is plainly stating the actions of Iran on the world stage over the last few weeks 'saber rattling'?

How is what Chirac and Clinton said 'not saber rattling' but anything the Republicans say 'saber rattling'.

I just don't get it -- can you at least admit that under your criteria Democrat Clinton and President Chirac are 'saber rattling'?

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 08:53 PM

Something I found on line from a fellow Canadian that says How many of us outside the USA feel.It's Good reading.


Speaking as a Canadian who is fond of judicious language, I feel that this situation deserves careful and measured thought. So let me just open with:

Is your entire f*cking country on crack??? Are all you Americans out of your cotton picking minds??? Are you completely freaking delusional? Homicidal? Psychotic? Have you lost any shred of a moral compass? WHAT IN THE NAME OF JESUS H. CHRIST ON A CRUTCH IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!!!!!

Let me offer up one small datum which may completely change the equation for you. According to the CIA, Iran is at least five years away from a nuclear weapon.

Five years. Assuming that the CIA has any credibility whatsoever left, its five years. Five years, is time for diplomacy to accomplish a hell of a lot.

In the meantime, I would also point out that the Atomic Energy Commission, that various other international bodies, that inspections have essentially found no sign that Iran is even working on a nuclear weapon.

The only actual evidence that Iran has anything close to nuclear weapons technology is blueprints *that the CIA gave to them!*

Have you all forgotten that the evidence on Iraq was spectacularly wrong? Have you all ignored the fact that it was fabricated? Why then are we going down the exact same road of stage managed, fabricated pseudo-evidence and wild-ass hysteria? What is wrong with you people?

Can't you see that this entire crisis has been manufactured, and has been years in the manufacturing.

Stop and think back five years. What did we have five years ago? A moderate reformist Iranian government making overtures to the United States, rebuilding its relationship with Europe, liberalizing its society, and modernizing its economy.

9/11 comes along, the Iranians are overflowing with sympathy. Mass candlelit vigils are held in Tehran. Iran offers aid and cooperation. Iran hates the Taliban who have executed Iranian diplomats and massacred Afghan Shiites. Iran hates Saddam Hussein. Iran hates Al Quaeda which is a Sunni Fundamentalist organization which declares Shiites infidels and subhuman. Iran shares its intelligence with America, it even arrests Taliban hands them over. So we've got the Iranian spring right, things are finally going to sort out?

And what happens? The Bush administration rebuffs every Iranian overture and does its best to instigate a cold war. Afghanistan is invaded, and suddenly, the Iranians are looking at American troops and allies on their eastern border. Then Iraq is invaded, and its American troops and allies on their western border. Then bases and treaties in Uzbekistan and whoops, there's more American troops and allies on the northern border. The Persian Gulf is filled with American warships and carrier fleets.

Wow, the Iranians are surrounded. And the tough talk is constant. Iran is part of the 'Axis of Evil', the Americans tell each other 'Bagdad, hmmph, real men go to Tehran.' Essentially, America has been threatening military action against Iran for the last five years, and has surrounded the country on every side with troops, bases and allies.

American aircraft invade Iranian airspace regularly. American special forces undertake operations inside Iran. Americans regularly accuse Iranians of interference in Iraq. Dick Cheney pontificates about Israel bombing Iran *after he has just handed over to Israel the long range bombers and bunker busting bombs* required to do the job.

Meanwhile, the United States undertakes economic warfare against Iran, interfering with its business dealings with third party countries, trying to scuttle a pipeline deal with India, and it goes on and on. The hysteria about the Iranians nuclear program is just more of the same.

Now how in God's Bloody Name do you think the Iranians are going to respond to that. Should they concede the nuclear program, abandon their pipeline project? If so, its not going to do them any good. America will just seek more concessions. Each surrender will be met by new demands. This isn't hard to figure out. It's exactly what Bush did with Iraq.

Perhaps overtures, good will gestures, trying to act like a peaceful nation. Did all those things, doesn't matter. The Bush administration is still on a collision course.

So, the Mullahs are concerned that they're faced with a homicidal crazy state, the Iranian people are scared. When people are scared and faced with an aggressive warmongering power which keeps threatening to attack them, continually trespasses on its borders and is undertaking economic warfare... who the hell are they going to elect? Ahminajad may be a crazy bastard, but you assholes, you utter assholes did every thing you could to elect him short of donating 50,000 Diebold machines and mailing his party the trapdoor codes.

So, having pursued a psychotically aggressive course, you've backed Iran into a corner, and engineered a regime which refuses to back further.

And *you* are the victims in all this? *You* are the ones under threat? It's *self defense*????

And of course, you goofily believe that you can just bomb or nuke Iran with impunity?

Holy Microeconomic Theory Bamant! Iran's nuclear facilities are distributed across the country and in hardened sites near population centres. So any strike that cripples a significant portion of Iran's nuclear capacity will inevitably be so large and kill so many people that its going to be tantamount to inviting full scale war.

Think about that. Iran is 70 million people, an area five times the size of Iraq, not disembowelled by 12 years of sanctions and air raids. On the other side of the coin, America's ground army is busted and tied down in Iraq. There's no troops to throw at a major Iranian military force, so you have to hope that bombing will do the trick. The occupation forces in Iraq are in occupation and not territorial defense mode. And Iraq is 65% Shiites who are probably not going to be happy that you're blowing up their brother Shiites. Meanwhile, the straight of Hormuz is so narrow that sinking one supertanker will block it indefinitely, and Iran borders the straight on three sides. Block Hormuz and any naval groups inside the Persian Gulf are trapped there. Any naval groups outside the Persian Gulf are trapped outside. Forget about any oil coming out of the Persian Gulf from Iraq, Kuwait, Quatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia or the UAE. Think about what that does to the price of oil, and to the world economy. Think about what that does to dependent countries like Japan, India, China and Europe.

In short its so appallingly stupid and colossally risky, that I can see why your idiots in charge might consider using nuclear weapons. But throw a few nukes around and see how the rest of the world reacts? Every dirtwad country is going to be mortgaging the Presidential palace to get its own nuclear deterrent from Pakistan or North Korea. How do you feel about the Indonesian Bomb, the Malaysian Bomb, the Thai Bomb, the Myanmar Bomb, the Algerian Bomb, the Saudi Bomb, the Egyptian Bomb, the Brazilian Bomb, the Argentine Bomb, the Venezualan Bomb, the Cuban Bomb, the Japanese Bomb, the Canadian frigging Bomb. You are no longer trustworthy. North Korea, always borderline psychotic is going to be mondo difficult to deal with. You've just guaranteed yourself a full fledged nuclear arms race, balls to the wall with both Russia and China, and quite possibly Europe.

And of course there's no guarantee that the rest of the world will allow this. Do you want an armed standoff with the Russians. Suppose they 'loan' their finest interceptor jets, pilots and radar systems to the Iranians... Do you want to meet *that* on a bombing raid? And if you do meet *that* what are you going to do when half your planes are blasted out of the skies conducting an illegal raid on civilian populations in a foreign country? Cry? Send a harsh note? Launch a first strike? What happens if the Chinese decide to hold Taiwan and South Korea hostage? What do you do? Back off Iran or sell out East Asia? Or Launch a first strike? Hell, in that kind of standoff, someone sneezes and its not going to matter who launched a first strike.

Or would you like an economic standoff, say with Europe, or with Japan and China. Suppose that the Europeans or Chinese decide "screw the worldwide depression, you assholes are just too dangerous to have around." Trillions of dollars get dumped on the market, loans get called in, the bottom drops out of your dollar, its thousand per cent inflation and no manufacturing base and your own trade embargoes. So much for America.

I mean, its morally wrong, its stupid on every level. And yet here you are discussing why maybe you should get out in front of the Republicans on this, or planning your surrender to Bush.Why are you even discussing this?

What is wrong with America?

Posted by: suzanne | January 21, 2006 09:07 PM

I Five years. Assuming that the CIA has any credibility whatsoever left, its five years. Five years, is time for diplomacy to accomplish a hell of a lot.

Rrriigghhtt, and in two years all Europe could obtain from Iran was a suggestion that they stop telling their 'holocaust lie used to murder Muslims', and 'get the hell out of the Middle East and take your Jews with you'.

What will they get in five years time -- a nuclear bomb in Paris for having thrust 'her Jews' on the Middle East most likely.

As far as your claim that America caused the Iranians to go hard line, this is not provable -- Iran's mullahs stopped the more moderate president at every turn -- shut newspapers, threw college students out of third story windows -- barred scores of 'political opponents' from running for office.

This was going on before, during and after the second Hussein war.

Couldn't you just as easily claim that beating Iraq down in the first Hussein war spurred reform in Iran?

The rest of your Lord Haw Haw style taunting of the US and her military are typical for a Canadian socialist -- in one ear and out the other mate. Are you going to read out for us how many steps there are in the local church steeple over the radio for us so we will fear your National Socialist Canukistan?

Oh, btw - it looks like Canada is getting set for a blue tide next week -- more then a decade of Socialist corruption has finally done them in it seems...

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 09:21 PM

"How is it possible that Iran is building her nukes to 'counter Pakistan'".

Iran is not building nukes, but it is highly concerned about the developments in Pakistan. Numerous Shiaas, including many Iranian diplomats have been murdered in Pakistan. The extremists in Pakistan hate Iran as much as they hate the West.

"France will nuke the ME if hit hard enough -- you mark my words"

It's been only 60 years since Europeans killed 6 million Jews, 24 million Russians and we can go on. In addition to a terrorist attacks, French doctrine now permits nuking a country when its strategic energy supplies are threatened. All you need to trigger that is a faulty intelligence report and there you go. Remember that French murdered millions of Algerians and Vietnamese. So this will not be a surprise.

"she is instead baying for the blood of the Europeans and 'their murdering Jews'?"

Those who are familiar with the back streets of the Middle East know that many Jews in occupied Palestine are Iranian. Many of these Jews helped Iran in its war against Iraq. There is a strong emotional linkage between Iran and the Iranian Jews abroad. Jews have lived in Iran for at least 2500 years and have never been the victim of pogroms, as they experienced in Europe. Mr. Ahmandinejad's posturing is political, just like Mrs. Clinton's. Even then, many senior leaders are not very happy with that and feel it will weaken the Islamic Republic.

Posted by: (I)nsider | January 21, 2006 09:21 PM

"Because of the way Bush, Rove, and the Republicans handled Iraq in 2002. Saber-rattling is part of their modus operandi."
How is plainly stating the actions of Hussein in firing on our aircraft, ignoring UN resolutions, corrupting the Oil for Food program and giving UN inspectors the run around 'saber rattling'?
How is plainly stating the actions of Iran on the world stage over the last few weeks 'saber rattling'?
Posted by: Gotham | Jan 21, 2006 8:53:12 PM

How dumb do you think the American voter is? Bush & Co were hardly 'plain stated' about Iraq in 2002. They were wholly manipulative and used the issue aggressively to help boost the Republicans in the mid-term elections. That's what saber-rattling for political gain is. They did it back in 2002 with Iraq; They'll try the same in 2006 with Iran. You are a complete liar in the way you try to frame how Bush handled Iraq in 2002, a typical apologist painting a rosy picture of a dark, manipulative politician.
Give it a rest, Gotham. You must think we're complete idiots to not see through how blatant you are in spreading disinformation, how you either color your side as WAY more innocent then it actually is (i.e. what DO you find so shocking about the truth that George Bush, Karl Rove, and the Republicans in Congress are manipulative politicians with self-serving agendas?) or you completely misconstrue your opposition's words on the matter.
Where there's smoke there's fire means that you have been arguing incessantly to try to deny the truth of the matter: In 2006, Karl Rove and the Republicans will try to use as much saber-rattling as possible to help win elections, exactly as they did in 2002. There's enough context within Emily's initial debate post for me to be pointing this out as much as I like. That you've made it your personal reactionary mission to protest against me pointing out that Rove's strategy is flawed (and transparent, as seen in recent weeks) is all the more telling of the validity of my argument. Besides, it shows that people like you who are going to try to rattle sabers and create storms in teapots this election year are going to find themselves on the defensive rather than the offensive this time around thanks to the blatant militaristic electioneering of Rove and the Republicans in 2002, and the poor performance of GOP politicians since then.
2005 showed that the Republicans don't mean business when it comes to national security and capable leadership. That coupled with all the corruption that has been allowed to run rampant under their watch means that 2006 will be a year of accountability for Bush and the end of the mythical political aptitude of Karl Rove.
So keep rattling that saber, Gotham. You'll see where it leads you this time around. 2006 will not be 2002; Quite the opposite.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 21, 2006 09:23 PM

"There is a strong emotional linkage between Iran and the Iranian Jews abroad."

That's simply not true -- over the centuries many Jews were murdered or forced to convert to Islam in Iran. The Iranian government is currently publishing the 'Protocol of the Elders of Zion' for distribution worldwide. The Iranian display at a recent German exposition was full of anti-semitic literature. Shhese...

And what about the Baha's of Iran -- the Mullahs seems to have little reluctance in murdering them -- they are not Islamic either.

Besides, how can you claim that Iran has close emotional ties to the 'Jews' when Iran's leader is calling the holocaust a lie aimed at facilitating the murder Muslims, and calling for all Jews to be forcibly removed from Islamic lands?

I think you are a lying about your 'favored Jews' -- if you aren't -- why does the Iranian president never mention them?

How can the Iranian president claim to want the Jews out of Islamic lands, but at the same time embrace them in Islamic lands?

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 09:34 PM

"Where there's smoke there's fire means that you have been arguing incessantly to try to deny the truth of the matter: In 2006, Karl Rove and the Republicans will try to use as much saber-rattling as possible to help win elections, exactly as they did in 2002."

Do you have a link for this assertion -- or is it just another lie? Didn't Rove simply say that on the issues the Democrats are not un-patriotic but simply wrong -- and that if the Republicans stick to putting the facts forward as they exist -- like in the Iran situation they are likely to win? Where did Rove tell people to 'rattle a saber'? Show me.

You have still not answered my question -- can you admit that by your standard Hillary Clinton and Jacques Chirac are 'rattling sabers' more loudly then anyone in the Republican party?

Who was the last Republican to threaten a nuclear strike in response to a terrorist act?

Posted by: Gotham | January 21, 2006 09:41 PM

Well, it's pretty much common knowledge that Bush and Rove used the Iraq issue for political gain in the election of 2002. If you need a refresher course, here's a link to a Frontline program about Karl Rove:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/architect/

I haven't lied at all, whereas you try to twist everything I post into something it isn't. I invite anybody to use the link to get a good picture of Rove, and then they can tell me if he and the Republicans use saber-rattling against foreign nations to gain poltically during election years.
Rove's very words show that he views national security as a political issue to be used to win elections. It is hard to trust national security to the likes of somebody who views it in such a way as Karl Rove does. That he is telling the entire Republican party to follow his lead is all you need to be shown that he would gladly 'rattle sabers' at another country if it will get he and his party a vote or two more. When this strategy is attempted in 2006 and it backfires on the Republicans, no amount of pointing the finger at Hilary Clinton or Jacques Chirac will save them.
As for your 'question', that's not a question at all but rather a thinly veiled false statement about my views. Last I checked, Hilary Clinton and Jacques Chirac didn't use military aggression to win mid-term elections in the past; Rove and the Republicans have. That's what my standard is, and your use of Clinton and Chirac is merely a distraction from my exposing what a weak bunch of paper tigers the Republicans are, a corrupt bunch of politicians who only view national security as something to get them elected. Was Tom DeLay golfing on lobbyist-paid junkets to Scotland in the interest of national security? Was Duke Cunningham driving his defense contract kickback Rolls-Royce in the interest of national security? What interests Karl Rove more: national security or winning elections?
Now, although expert accounts tell us the Iranians won't have nuckear capability until 2011, we are suddenly hearing that Iran is something we MUST deal with in 2006. Iraq was light years away from any real capability in 2002, and yet we got the same 'MUST deal with this now during the election year' bullshit then that we are getting about Iran this election year. It's pure politics, Gotham, and you obviously would rather have serious matters like war used and abused to score points during an election year. No matter how innocent you try to act right now, I'm sure as Election Day rolls around you will be frothing at the mouth that the Republicans must stay in power to deal with Iran militarily and that the Democrats are too soft on the Iran issue to be trusted with national security. You'll drop your current pretense and expose your blatant agenda as the very thing I have claimed it was all along: deliberate saber-rattling for the express purpose of political electioneering.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 21, 2006 10:36 PM

Thank you Insider, for something well worth reading.

Could you perhaps put a percentage number on "significant portion"?

I certainly agree with you that Pakistan is a threat, whether greater than or less than that posed by Iran is likely to change over time and with events we cannot predict. But in either case they are not a direct threat to the North American continent.

As for depending on "unislamic" and the Holy Mosque in Jerusalem for protection .... I'm not so sure. It certainly didn't protect the World Trade Center, and Zarquawi seems to have no problem finding unislamic Islamists to do unislamic things to his fellow Muslims. I also imagine you could gut Israel pretty good without actually hitting Jerusalem itself if you tried hard.

OD .... Your analysis of the NPT is a point well made and well taken. As propaganda it works just as well for one side as the other. In reality it has some administrative and diplomatic value, but no real security value, as North Korea so clearly demonstrated.

As for these Europe - US spats we read here, they are a bit overdone. We must acknowledge our prior history with blacks and our current immigrant issues relative to our southern neighbors. Europe must acknoledge their prior history with blacks (in Africa) and their current immigrant issues relative to various Muslim populations (Turks in Germany, Moroccans in Belgium), Algerians in France etc.). It's kind of a case of the pot calling the kettle black, isn't it?

Posted by: Cayambe | January 21, 2006 10:50 PM

"The Iranian display at a recent German exposition was full of anti-semitic literature. Shhese... " Shame on German authorities.

"Besides, how can you claim that Iran has close emotional ties to the 'Jews' when Iran's leader is calling the holocaust a lie aimed at facilitating the murder Muslims, and calling for all Jews to be forcibly removed from Islamic lands?"

Well my friend if you read your own sentence carefully, you will see the answer to the question you posed. "Iran's leader", is not the same as Iran or its people. Jews have lived in Iran for thousands of years. Come and visit their magnificent synagogues in Shiraz and Esfahan. I bet you there will be a day, when many Iranian Jews will be able to return to Iran and at least visit the country where they were born. That is of course if our European friends haven't nuked us yet.

"I think you are a lying about your 'favored Jews' -- if you aren't -- why does the Iranian president never mention them?"

Well, I don't speak for the Iranian president. And Iran does not speak with one voice. And yes, brutal and indefensible things have happened to all Iranians, Jews, Muslims, Bahaiis, and many national minorities. Still, we didn't kill the 6 million innocent Jews and the other 70+ million people who were the victim of the WWII. Nor have we lynched people because of the color of their skin. And, based on what we are hearing it will be a French man who wants to pull the trigger on the next nuclear attack.

The current situation in Iran is another post revolutionary stage and we know it will result in further escalation of internal conflicts. But if I were you I wouldn't lose sleep about Iranian bomb or Iranian agents running around targeting Europe.

"... calling for all Jews to be forcibly removed from Islamic lands?"

I think Iranian leaders have bigger domestic problems than being serious about the Occupied Palestine.

There is another way to look at this picture (that is if you would like to keep an open mind) and that is the Islamic Republic having been surrounded by threatening forces, in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. And some in its leadership think that the best defense is an offense, at least verbally. But to really understand this offense I recommend you study the famous Iranian battle of goldsmiths.

Now put your politician's hat on. You are Mr. Ahmadinejad, you have 70 million people (including 2 million heroin addicts) who are looking to you for jobs, security, etc. You have an economy that is completely messed up and short of major banking reforms and introducing aggressive free market initiatives there is no way you can deliver a fraction of your election promises. Most of the people are born after the revolution and are so proAmerican that internally we call it the biggest red state outside the US. Wouldn't be easier to reframe the debate, position yourself as the champion of defending Iran against Western's threat to its rights to develop nuclear energy, etc. and get everybody united behind a national aspiration? Well that is really what is going on.

Posted by: (I)nsider | January 21, 2006 11:15 PM

"Can't you see that this entire crisis has been manufactured, and has been years in the manufacturing" Thank you Suzanne! Loved your post.

ErrinnF
"How dumb do you think the American voter is?"

Unfortunately pretty f***ing dumb. I need to double my blood pressure medicine to watch any TV these days. This is like deja vu all over again. Is there no one who can make a Democratic mantra? Like "four more years of a free OBL" or something.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 21, 2006 11:20 PM

"How dumb do you think the American voter is?"

I know I am pretty dumb. And I know my children are getting dumber and dumber, thanks to our education system and sources of information.

What is the way out? How can we turn this around so we can understand world events intelligently and don't get s...ed like this?

Posted by: W | January 21, 2006 11:48 PM

If I had the answer I'd be in Stockholm right now accepting my Nobel prize. But after I thought about your post a while I came up with this:

I think we should take our cue from that town in Pennsylvania and all run for the school board. Then we can get them to start teaching kids critical thinking skills again.

And I write to Congress a lot. Not much to my own Senators who are Dems but annoy the hell out of me with their posturing(guess where I live). Mostly to moderate Republicans who might actually be able to have some influence. Particularly Olympia Snowe. I think she's cool and I'd vote for her in a heartbeat if she'd run for head honcho.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 22, 2006 12:10 AM

"Wouldn't be easier to reframe the debate, position yourself as the champion of defending Iran against Western's threat to its rights to develop nuclear energy, etc. and get everybody united behind a national aspiration? Well that is really what is going on."

Insider you convinced me.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 22, 2006 12:12 AM

The way out will be the elections of 2006. The Republicans bad job at governance (i.e. Iraq and Katrina) coupled with the Abramoff and Plame scandals is enough to make the swing vote make the obvious decision of curtailing Bush and the Republicans by restoring the Democrats to Congress. This president and his party have been given a chance to run things recently, and they have not done a good job of it. The now-antiquated tactics of Karl Rove can be easily countered in 2006 and are not going to save the GOP's hide this time around, nor is creating a storm in a teapot out of the Iran situation.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 22, 2006 12:18 AM

Patriot 1957, thank you. It is so easy to abdicate our responsibilities and blame everyone else. I am sure there is another hundred different ways we can make a difference. May be we should have a blog just on that topic. And yes Olympia Snowe is very level headed and effective person. Seeing people like her in the system gives me a lot of hope.

Posted by: W | January 22, 2006 12:20 AM

"The now-antiquated tactics of Karl Rove can be easily countered in 2006"

ErrinF I remain concerned. When I have time I watch the political shows that don't make me vomit - MSNBC (Hardball, Countdown, Larry King, some of the major networks, and when I remember I tape the Sunday morning shows before going to church and sometimes listen to Wolf after Sunday dinner when I can take him).

ANd I'm NOT seeing Dems being effective in countering Repub lies. The repubs go on and on about how the Dems want to tie their hands on spying - not a single one effectively hammers out the message that its not the spying its the lack of oversight. The Dems seem to have absolutely no discipline about effectively delivering a message.

And the other thing I'm not seeing is the media asking critical questions. Repubs go on their show and say "the dems are weak on security, they don't even want to let our security listen to al Qaeda on the phone! - and just let it lie there. The new assumption is that its up to the other side to expose lies, and its their job to provide a place to do so but no apparent investigation.

Biden is the only one making sense but he's not getting enough coverage and he doesn't seem to have much company.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 22, 2006 12:29 AM

So, what do you think folks, is having a debate with posters who actually hold opposing views fun, or is it a drag, and a distant second to simply reinforcing each others similar views?

I find the process of a serious and intense argument quite entertaining -- and I love the fact that on the internet holding a political opinion that ticks others off is unlikely to lead to retribution in other areas.

I never discuss politics with people I actually know any longer -- people these days are too prone to revenge and nasty backstabbings if you give them a good argument.

Anyway, the key is to simply have some fun -- yah?

;)

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 12:34 AM

I'm not as concerned because I feel corruption in government will trump national security in 2006. After all, national security entails NOT letting corruption run rampant during a time of war. The Democrats may indeed do a so-so job of countering the Republicans, but ultimately it is the Republicans own ineptitude that will get them thrown out of Congress. Also, just as 2002 reflected national reaction to 9/11, 2006 will reflect national reaction to Hurricane Katrina. TV shows and the political class will do their best to manipulate the public, but it's pretty much set now that somebody's got to pay for Abramoff, Iraq, and Katrina, and that somebody is going to be George Bush and his Republican party. I simply don't see anything that is going to prevent such a reckoning from occurring come Election Day.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 22, 2006 12:43 AM

"The way out will be the elections of 2006."

Most Democrats in the congress supported Bush in invasion of Iraq. I think this nation deserves better than swinging from one party to another. And I don't buy the bad intelligence crap from either Bush or Democrats. It's so easy to blame CIA, it doesn't have a face, it doesn't have a name and it can not speak out for herself. It is the responsibility of the decision makers to scrutinize the value of the intelligence. Actually the multi-agency nature of the intelligence presented to them made it easier for them the crosscheck facts. It was not in the interest of Bush to do that and Democrats went along with that for their self interest because they thought, and may be rightly so that if they stand up and speak the truth the public is too dumb to respect their opposing view.

I think we are talking here about raising the public's awareness and knowledge to the point where they would be a lot more demanding of both political parties. We got a mess on our hand and I am too old to believe that simply switching parties would solve our challenges. Our democracy is threatened and I am looking for ideas to fix it fundamentally.

Posted by: Alejandro | January 22, 2006 12:47 AM

'After all, national security entails NOT letting corruption run rampant during a time of war.'

ErrinF How many people have been charged with war profiteering? How many people that you might meet in Walmart know how much federal money is "missing" in Halliburton. A few days ago D posted a completely immoral link highlighting how much Democrats took too, and Dems haven't been effective in getting out the message that the Dems didn't take money from Abramoff, they took tiny campaign contributions from the same tribe that was bribing Abramoff.

I hope you are right and I am wrong. But I am still writing Democrats exhorting them to do a better job getting their message out. I haven't been able to figure out how to email Howard Dean. Can you help?

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 22, 2006 12:53 AM

"Our democracy is threatened and I am looking for ideas to fix it fundamentally."

What are you proposing?

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 22, 2006 12:55 AM

I don't think that the Democrats will be able to recapture the House or the Senate in the next go round. If you look at the thing race by race there are really not that many seats seriously up for grabs poll number-wise. The real shot the Democrats have at regaining power in the Federal government is the presidency at the end of Bush's term.

This is why Hillary Clinton is striking a pose to the right of Bush on national security.

Those Clintons are clever ones aren't they?

The Dems did gain some State Houses last time -- but I don't think they can pull the same thing off in the Congress. But you never do know really, and afterall all the candidates who will be running are Americans at the end of the day. As long as the Democrats don't try to run Michael Moore, George Soros or Harry Belafonte I think we should see some interesting races.

Can you believe that Canada looks set to go Conservative next week -- the Conservatives have a commanding lead in Canada -- and rather then start to rally near the end, the Liberals are tanking.

Oh well...

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 12:56 AM

I don't care for the two-party system either, but the fact of the matter is that elections are how the people effect the government to create change. We all deserve a better standard of life and a better War On Terror than what we are being handed these days, and the best way to accomplish that is to participate in elections. Since it is a two-party system currently, the choice is one of continuing to keep one party in power or putting the other party in power. The American electorate will most likely look back on 2005 and look at our current situation, and then decide that change is necessary, and that such change will come about by putting the Democrats in power in order to check the power of the Republican president Bush. This is the way it goes down currently with the American voter; Hopefully, some day we will be able to have more than two inept dinosaur politcal parties to vote for. For now, we have to settle for the Democrats, because the Republicans have only lead us to corruption in government, lip service to national security, and a free Osama Bin Laden.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 22, 2006 12:57 AM

Gotham, you can tell your employer (or maybe your employer's employer) Mr. Luntz that his money is well spent. You earned your keep slamming Hillary tonight. She's too divisive to be elected. So's Frist. Thank God for that on both fronts. I think the Repubs will run someone they can control like Pataki. Too bad Rice didn't have more character she might have been interesting.

When I can find an opinion in the sarcam of most of your posts I'll respond to it. So far I haven't had much luck. But I do agree with you that the House is too gerrymandered to make a power switch likely unless people come to their senses.

Night all.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 22, 2006 01:04 AM

"I haven't been able to figure out how to email Howard Dean."

Howard Dean is a disaster for the Democrats -- he is hindering them not helping them.

The Clintonites will push leftist radicals like Dean and Pelosi out of the way after the midterms and before the presidential election.

Just like over the top bible bashers are bad for GOP business election-wise, so are radical leftists bad for Democrat business.

Dean is a dud -- he is too comical and over the top to be an effective leader of the Democrats.

I guess the X factor will be muckraking articles of dubious timing published by the likes of the Washington Post aimed at hurting Republicans a day or two before the elections.

I wonder what they have up their sleeve this time for 48 hours before the vote?

Only the Shadow knows...

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 01:06 AM

""Our democracy is threatened and I am looking for ideas to fix it fundamentally."

What are you proposing?"
I don't know but I am all ears.

Posted by: Alejandro | January 22, 2006 01:15 AM

"Howard Dean is a disaster for the Democrats -- he is hindering them not helping them."

But that doesn't mean I can't email him and give him a piece of my mind.

I believe I still have freedom of speech, although the Google spying is starting to cross into that as well so maybe I better talk fast while I still can.

But now I really have to go to bed. You can't sneak into the back of church late when you sing in the choir.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 22, 2006 01:15 AM

"Gotham, you can tell your employer (or maybe your employer's employer) Mr. Luntz that his money is well spent."

Mr. Luntz?

Ahhh, I see -- so you think anyone who takes a contrarian view to the majority of posters here must be receiving remuneration from Republican strategists to post?

That is silly. Silliness like that loses elections.

Oh, btw -- if you do know Mr. Luntz, will you put a good word in for me -- I'd love to get paid to post here. Perhaps the journalist who started this blog knows the man and can put a good word in for me -- she will have my e-mail from my log-in I suppose.

I'll wait for delivery each day until three...

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 01:17 AM

"And the other thing I'm not seeing is the media asking critical questions."

I am ashamed of our media. In a lot of third world countries, journalists get arrested, tortured, killed, etc. and they keep going. Here, how can you expect the poor journalist to ask tough questions from the person they slept with last night or at least have been bumping into at every party they have gone to last week, etc. Our politicians and media interbreed too much and are too dependent on each other.

Posted by: W | January 22, 2006 01:17 AM

"What is the way out? How can we turn this around so we can understand world events intelligently and don't get s...ed like this?"

Posted by: Cayambe | January 22, 2006 01:46 AM

Since Howard Dean is head of the DNC, I assume you can contact him through the Democrats website. I think you should also have faith that making your arguments on the blogosphere will get across to the Democrats sooner or later. I for one still think the Democrats have an opportunity to make some big gains in 2006, and may be winning Congress back despite themselves. Wherever swing voters matter, the Democrats will have an advantage. If the Democrats are too incapable of getting back control of Congress, then so be it. Truth is, they won elections in 2005 and will most likely continue that trend in 2006. It will then be up to Bush to see how he can govern without a majority in Congress. That's most likely how the American voter will want it to be, as Bush has demonstrated that he of all presidents is direly in need of being checked and balanced. If Bush, Rove, and the Republicans somehow retain control, then so be it. Either way, the people will have spoken.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 22, 2006 02:11 AM

"Most of the people are born after the revolution and are so proAmerican that internally we call it the biggest red state outside the US."

Let's hope that these young folks can find a way to make a difference in Iran brother. I have no hate in my heart for Iranians, they are a great people, and have a glorious and storied history.

But I do know one thing -- a nation like France feels itself under the gun in a big way right now, and if that wacko who is president of Iran really hits them hard via some terrorist outrage -- all bets are off.

France is trying to stand tall from a position of weakness -- and this makes the situation a very dangerous one.

France is reeling after grievous blows in the EU, the riots, Russian gas chain yanking, and horrendous taunts from Iran's leadership.

They are starting to feel cornered -- and this is not at all good for the hullabalution.

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 02:42 AM

But I do know one thing -- a nation like France feels itself under the gun in a big way right now, and if that wacko who is president of Iran really hits them hard via some terrorist outrage -- all bets are off.
Posted by: Gotham | Jan 22, 2006 2:42:36 AM

Says you, Gotham. That entire statement is full of supposition and imagination, hardly an accurate picture of the current Iran situation. You are overblowing the situation and trying to make mountains out of mole hills. Your posts are a bunch of hype and hot air. You are saying the exact same things about Iran and it's leader in 2006 that was said about Iraq and Saddam Hussein in 2002. Crying wolf just won't work this time around.

Posted by: | January 22, 2006 02:52 AM

Last post was mine, if you couldn't guess.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 22, 2006 02:53 AM

"What is the way out? How can we turn this around so we can understand world events intelligently and don't get s...ed like this?"

W. ... I don't quite know what happened there but all of a sudden, a refresh out of the blue. Anyway let me suggest a couple of things. It really isn't hopeless. For your kids sake, get rid of the game boxes and turn the TV off. Once a week, take them down to your local library and have them pick out 4 books each. My dad started me out that way so I would quit asking him so many questions. He had already taught me how to read using Time magazine as a primer. He started with the advertizements, which had pictures with the words. Pick out a couple of books yourself. If I had to recommend just one, I would take H.G. Wells Outline of History. It is about as decent a crude survey of civilized world history as I've ever come across. It gives you a really good framework for hanging more knowledge on and still keeping it in some perspective. Then read Thucydides, The Pelopenisian Wars. You'll quickly realize just how bright and clear thinking people could be over 2000 years ago. Its also a hell of a read.

Critical thinking starts at home. If anything, most schools now tend to discourage it.

Don't blame the schools W. It starts at home. The schools now a days are admittedly not as good as mine was in the late 40's early 50's (even though it was just one big room with a big wooden table for each class and a two hole outhouse out back. Strangely enough, we seemed to learn a whole lot more than my kids did in their technically enriched environment. Go figure.

Alejandro,
"I think we are talking here about raising the public's awareness and knowledge to the point where they would be a lot more demanding of both political parties. We got a mess on our hand and I am too old to believe that simply switching parties would solve our challenges. Our democracy is threatened and I am looking for ideas to fix it fundamentally."

Buenas noches ... I really liked this paragraph and I do agree with you. Part of the problem is the parties have been more successful by cobbling together unrelated constituencies instead finding them through basic ideas and ideals. The professionals are in charge and the name of the game is finding out what particular set of positions will get the most votes. I don't really pay much attention to party any more. It just doesn't mean much. And your right, its not going to change until we demand more. I don't think that will happen without a better educated populace and that in turn depends on parents taking more responsibility for it than they do.

Anyway ... I like reading your posts.

Patriot,
I like Olympia Snow as well. Also, Barney Frank, McCain, Hagel, Lugar, Howard Dean, Alan Simpson (ex), and a few others. McCain and Dean I like a lot because they are so forth right. I would have taken McCain over Bush or Kerry, I took Bush over Kerry, I would have taken Dean over any of them because as much as I admire McCain I do not agree with his view of what role this nation should play in the world. To the extent I am given a choice, I gravitate towards people who show some level of conviction, preferably a conviction I can agree with. In practice, I don't usually get what I think are very good choices. But that is Democracy for you.

Insider,
Your posts are just fascinating. I would like to take them up another time. Until then .........

Posted by: | January 22, 2006 03:00 AM

I'd like to think you are correct, but I just don't think so in my heart of hearts.

And I am not just saying this as some kind of political ruse -- I really do think that if Europe is hit hard enough the whole shithouse is going to go up in flames.

Is this the kind of fate we really should be tempting?

I'd say most folks in politics on both sides of the Atlantic do not want to find out.

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 03:01 AM

My last post was a reply to ErinF.

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 03:04 AM

The reason you are trying to paint the Europeans as panicking about Iran, Gotham, is because you yourself, and the US Republican Party, have no credibility on WMD, having already cried wolf.

You therefore try to claim that the panic is coming from people who can be taken seriously. But ultimately, the flap over Iran - like the flap over Iraq - is still coming from Dick Cheney's back office.

Posted by: OD | January 22, 2006 08:39 AM

Gotham, I see you are straight from the Bush's doctrine. FEAR is the tool being used by Bush. Speeches by Cheney, Bush, Rove, incorporated provide no details nor rational of the problems. The only thing they provide is FEAR for U.S. FEAR, they are coming! Wake up and get outside Bush's box that he has put so many Americans in with FEAR. There is no FEAR of Iran or nuclear war. Nuclear war is self defeating to any nation that would use it. As in Israel, They already are planning on attacking Iran. FEAR is motivating them. They have 300 or nuclear bombs. They are the 5th largets nation holding nuclear bombs. Maybe we are too Israeli in our thinking. Our previous generations would never have reacted like this. You should more concerned about the corruption in American politics right now. But thats right, your in Bush's box, brainwashed, and FEARING rather than seeing the reality of how this country is falling due to Corruption, lying, bribs, constitutional violations, etc by this administration all for the reason of FEAR. Wake up

Posted by: JR | January 22, 2006 09:08 AM

Read the links if you have time to get out of your box.
FEAR is written everywhere.
Israel prepares possible action against Iran: minister
By JOSEF FEDERMAN
Saturday, January 21, 2006 Posted at 6:37 PM EST
Associated Press
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060121.wisrael0121/BNStory/International/

Rove: Security will be focus of 2006 campaigns
GOP strategist say Democrats have a 'pre-9/11' worldview
http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/01/20/republicans.rove.ap/index.html

Posted by: JR | January 22, 2006 09:19 AM

Read and learn on your own!! Just a few speeches:
Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People
United States Capitol
Washington, D.C.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010920-8.html
Bush State of the Union address
January 29, 2002 Posted: 11:10 PM EST (0410 GMT)
http://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/01/29/bush.speech.txt/
state of the union 2003
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/01/20030128-19.html
Office of the Press Secretary
November 6, 2003
President Bush Discusses Freedom in Iraq and Middle East
Remarks by the President at the 20th Anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy
United States Chamber of Commerce
Washington, D.C
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/11/20031106-2.html

NOV 19,2003
President Bush Discusses Iraq Policy at Whitehall Palace in London
Remarks by the President at Whitehall Palace
Royal Banqueting House-Whitehall Palace
London, England
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/11/20031119-1.html

Bush makes historic speech aboard warship
Thursday, May 1, 2003 Posted: 9:48 PM EDT (0148 GMT)
http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/05/01/bush.transcript/


________________________________________
ABOARD THE USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CNN) -- The following is an unedited transcript of President Bush's historic speech from the flight deck of the USS Lincoln, during which he declared an end to major combat in Iraq:
http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/05/01/bush.transcript/
January 20,2004
State of the Union Address
United States Capitol
Washington, D.C.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/01/20040120-7.html

Posted by: JR | January 22, 2006 11:29 AM

W. , Alejandro, Patriot, Insider.....
Sorry, that was me a few posts ago. It was late and I was tired and I just didn't type my moniker.

Posted by: Cayambe | January 22, 2006 12:48 PM

"France is reeling after grievous blows in the EU, the riots, Russian gas chain yanking, and horrendous taunts from Iran's leadership."

Iran had nothing to do with the ethnic riots in France, not that you implied that. Chickens are coming home to roost for how France has treated its own minorities and specially people of Africa. Chirac is doing the samething that some politicians in Iran are doing. Diverting public attention from their obligations to their own society.

As for the young folks making a difference in Iran, they might. But they are getting less and less political and more like your genXers. Also, the scars of Iran-Iraq war are still fresh and, at least for now people have tried to avoid conflict.

The good news for America is that the scars are also fresh with the leadership and in reality most prefer to find a way out of direct confrontation with America. Remember Iran feels cornered as well and some of the tough talk is a reaction to that. Iran has not made any major fuss about the overflights etc. because they wish it could go away, no one wants escalation.

Posted by: (I)nsider | January 22, 2006 12:53 PM

Are you in Iran, insider?

Posted by: OD | January 22, 2006 01:26 PM

"You therefore try to claim that the panic is coming from people who can be taken seriously. But ultimately, the flap over Iran - like the flap over Iraq - is still coming from Dick Cheney's back office."

So, this means that Dich Cheney's back office is pulling the strings of Jacques Chirac and Hillary Clinton?

I find this attitude here that no matter what is said about Iran by anyone in the world it is all down to 'Bush warmongering'.

The French are up in arms over Iran, the Italians are saying that 'all options need to be kept open including military on Iran', Hilliary Clinton the leading Democrat is saying that Bush made a mistake in letting incompetent Europeans deal with this thing, Germany is saying that 'All options will be kept open'.

Europe has rejected Iran's offer of further talks because they were jacked around for two years only to be horrendously insulted by Iran. It is Europe seeking US help and support in taking Iran to task in the UN.

Posted by: | January 22, 2006 01:40 PM

Repost because the screen froze and posted my message while I was still typing it. Too many pop-ups being blocked here

"You therefore try to claim that the panic is coming from people who can be taken seriously. But ultimately, the flap over Iran - like the flap over Iraq - is still coming from Dick Cheney's back office."

So, this means that Dick Cheney's back office is pulling the strings of Jacques Chirac and Hillary Clinton?

I find this attitude here that no matter what is said about Iran by anyone in the world it is all down to 'Bush warmongering' a dishonest one.

The French are up in arms over Iran, the Italians are saying that 'all options need to be kept open including military on Iran', Hilliary Clinton the leading Democrat is saying that Bush made a mistake in letting incompetent Europeans deal with this thing, Germany is saying that 'All options will be kept open'.

Europe has rejected Iran's offer of further talks because they were jacked around for two years only to be horrendously insulted by Iran. It is Europe seeking US help and support in taking Iran to task in the UN - not the other way around. Europe has claimed that they will not resume talks because their credibility is on the line after the way Iran has taunted her and made her play the fool. What point is there in more talks when Iran is going ahead with their nuclear project despite the 'talks' and taunting Europe in places like Syria? Europe is convinced that Iran only wants to talk so she can humiliate her further on the world stage.

It is Europe who are rejecting further Iran talks - not Bush or Cheney - it is Hillary Clinton who is insisting that the Europeans be pushed aside on Iran - not Bush or Cheney - it is France that has warned of nuclear retaliation if attacked badly enough - not Bush or Cheney.

Why all this dishonest posturing here? The only ones who haven't made bellicose statements on Iran recently in the West are Bush and Cheney.

Why can't some of the folks here acknowledge this truth? Partisan political and willing blindness - no doubt.

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 01:59 PM

"The good news for America is that the scars are also fresh with the leadership and in reality most prefer to find a way out of direct confrontation with America."

Frankly, I find this hard to believe judging by what Iran's president is saying lately. But I suppose he has shifted the Iranian government focus on taunting America to taunting Europe.

I'll bet he figures he can get more out of Europe by insulting and taunting her then he can out of America.

The US government is taking the calmer approach to this thing than Europe is. We are not threatened as immediately as Europe is -- and we knew better then try and lead negotiations with Iran on nukes because we know that the Iranian government does not deal in good faith. We let the Europeans do their thing -- when we knew what the outcome would be before they even started.

The US will support Europe somewhat, supporting them in the UN, but we will not step in to take the pressure off Europe, because six months later when this humiliation of Europe is smoothed over Europe will only turn around and start screaming that the US are 'warmongers'.

That is of course if Hillary Clinton does not become president. In that case we will see the US rush in and be messed around by Iran just like the Europeans were -- with nothing to show for it but a barrage of insults and threats.

The US has every reason to stand back somewhat from this situation, and keep the Europeans feet to the fire. No move the US makes will be acceptable to Europe, unless Europe feels she is running the show. So we will do our part, without overplaying it, and make sure that Europe stays in the lead -- and that any decision to attack Iran is made by the Europeans.

Hillary Clinton will make Bush's 'pacifism' a campaign issue against Republicans of course -- but I think Republicans are willing to risk a taunt like this due to the rest of her parties pathological aversion to any kind of confrontation with anyone for any reason.

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 02:15 PM

"Europe has rejected Iran's offer of further talks because they were jacked around for two years only to be horrendously insulted by Iran"

Iran meant business, and all it got in return was foot dragging. It is pretty insulting telling another nation what they can or cannot do, coming from countries whose military adventurism is only limited by their capabilities.

Did you see how France blasted an African country's air force last year? No judgment is being passed on whether they deserved it or not, but taking unilateral actions like that? They did it because it was a sure bet. We didn't see Europeans lifting a finger in Rwanda.

At the early stages of the Iraq invasion French hoped that by opposing the US and siding with Russia and China they could weaken the global position of America to their benefit. When they failed in that game, they are now trying to ride the bear.

Whatever one thinks of Bush, at least we know the guy is single minded in staying his course, right or wrong, and people in the Middle East respect that. Chirac and most Europeans change their mind more often than they change their underwear. Fogive my rudeness

Mr. Donald Rumsfeld is right about one thing. These old Europe govs are bunch of superpower wanabees. These were the major trade partners of Saddam. It is always US companies who pay the price of economic sanctions when Europeans keep taking advantage of the void. That is true even with Iran today.

How can you respect the judgment of people who triggered two world wars? After that you had to go and clean up their mess in Vietnam. If it weren't for the determination of America they would still be slaughtering people in Bosnia. If European politicians are that smart, they could have kept their own house in order.

It is insulting to be told that we have insulted Europeans. These people spent years writing a constitution that was blown off by their own people. Politicians who are so much out of touch with their own people don't deserve to write the fate of people in the Middle East. We take the neocons any day. At least they have self-confidence, even when they are wrong.

How about having Ambassador Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Iraq, deal directly with Iran. At least the man speaks Farsi and has spectacular record of horse-trading in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Posted by: (I)nsider | January 22, 2006 02:27 PM


To All,

Suggest you folks don't get mired in comparitive analysis....go to:


http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/thedebate/2006/01/nuclear_iran.html#c13030673

....Those that are looking for truth and perspective on history and Iran, solutions to this crisis and food for thought on nuclear matters will find it, if you link to it.

regards,

EJ

Posted by: Eric Jette | January 22, 2006 02:38 PM

Gotham, It doesn't take a conspiracy theorist to hear Luntz tell the Repubs they need to start smearing Hillary and to suddenly see an explosion of Hillary bashing within hours. Just too much coincidence for me.

"and we knew better then try and lead negotiations with Iran on nukes because we know that the Iranian government does not deal in good faith" But only yesterday you said Bush let Europe take the lead because he was taking the advice of Democrats. Make up your mind.

But you do spin our diplomacy failures well.

Whet we need is a leader who will get serious about leading this country to energy independence. After 9-11 Bush had the political capital to anything he wanted. He could have used his political capital to charge Detroit with making a hybrid as good as a Prius (my friend's gets 70mpg in the city), told Americans it was patriotic to by one, and used part of his tax cuts as credits for people who junk their SUV to buy one of these "real' hybrids (not the pretend crap Detroit has been peddling that gets 30 mpg). Detroit would be booming, the sales tax on all those new cars would make up for the loss of gas taxes, and the trickle down effect from income taxes, service taxes etc would have made a great start for a "manhattan II" project bringing together our top scientists to make energy independence a reality - new plastics requiring less or no oil (its where half our oil goes), more wind/solar/safeer nuclear power, etc. Had we made this or another serious gesture toward energy independence, not only would the price of oil would not be $70/barrel, we might see a real change of attitudes in the ME when they realize they need to make it easier to entice us to stay in a hydrocarbon burning energy mode than an alternate energy mode - be nice to the customer or they'll learn to do it themselves.

This is really how George Bush has betrayed us.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 22, 2006 02:44 PM

Insider

I cannot agree with you more about Europe. Europe has acted like an enemy toward America, not an ally.

And you know, in a way I find it highly amusing the way Iran is taunting Europe. That is why I think Bush is taking the right tact -- let Europe sweat it out with Iran -- let Europe lead the charge in the UN against Iran -- let Europe be the ones who cannot get the Russians or Chinese to back them against Iran. (A role reversal from the situation with Hussein). Why would the US want a lead role in this mess?

The US will play this game with Europe, but only so far, because we do have real friends there, like the UK, and Italy, and Poland. We would not want to see this game played to the point that a place like Italy were attacked -- they have supported us against Hussein. France and Germany however are big kids now, and they want to run the show with Iran -- the US concern is protecting out true allies in Europe.

When I said that France feels cornered, and will use her nukes if attacked badly enough, I meant it -- it was no political ploy or joke. France is weak and stumbling -- and this makes her dangerous.

Perhaps secret talks between Ambassador Khalilzad and Iran would be the best route -- keeping Europe and the rest of the world out of the loop would be the way to go.
Once the US lets on that the Europeans are out of he front line on this thing they will turn on us and start screaming that we are 'warmongers and baby killers'. This is why the US will not step in for Europe this time. Unless of course that imbecilic carpetbagger Hillary Clinton gets in.

You are right about Europe -- but the situation is now a very dangerous one.

Secret talks with the Europeans completely in the dark is the way to go with this thing. I wonder if Iran's government would be open to such an approach -- and in good faith?

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 02:57 PM

"Gotham, It doesn't take a conspiracy theorist to hear Luntz tell the Repubs they need to start smearing Hillary and to suddenly see an explosion of Hillary bashing within hours. Just too much coincidence for me."

I'll be honest, I had to google for the bastard when you mentioned him. But like I said, if he is willing to pay me for posting, the Washington Post has my e-mail -- and I will wait for delivery each day until three...

Posted by: | January 22, 2006 02:59 PM

Gotham on January 21 "he [Bush] listened to the Democrats of two years ago and let Europe take the lead in the situation."

Gotham on January 22: "and we knew better then try and lead negotiations with Iran on nukes because we know that the Iranian government does not deal in good faith"

So are you saying the Democrats were the wise ones when they told Bush to let Europe take the lead? Get your story straight.

Posted by: | January 22, 2006 03:04 PM

thap post was me

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 22, 2006 03:05 PM

This is giving me more and more error messages and closing down Explorer, and doing odd refreshes, and kicking me to places that want me to verify my post then sticking me there. Anyone else having these problems? Or is the NSA just being clumsy lately?:)

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 22, 2006 03:07 PM

""and we knew better then try and lead negotiations with Iran on nukes because we know that the Iranian government does not deal in good faith" But only yesterday you said Bush let Europe take the lead because he was taking the advice of Democrats. Make up your mind."

The two are not mutually exclusive -- the Republicans did indeed listen to the Democrats when they demanded that morally superior Europe take the lead in the Iran talks -- and the Republicans also knew that the Iranians would not negotiate in good faith as long as they could play to the leftist press and yank us around.

Now that Europe has shot their load on this thing -- and are headed to a probable defeat in the UN at the hands of their former friends who backed blocking action against Hussein -- a new window of opportunity is perhaps opening.

But we can't let the Europeans know we are letting them off the hook -- or taking them out of the lead -- this will only inspire them to put their state funded anti-America propaganda machine into overdrive like it was during the run up to the second Hussein war.

The Europeans need to be worked around, and they have to be allowed to think that they are the true masters of the situation -- if not the process will be as painful as eating ones own liver.

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 03:08 PM

"This is giving me more and more error messages and closing down Explorer, and doing odd refreshes, and kicking me to places that want me to verify my post then sticking me there. Anyone else having these problems? Or is the NSA just being clumsy lately?:)"

This site plays havoc with my computer too. It is the only site on the internet that crashes my TV card -- and it does this nearly every time I refresh the screen.

Posted by: | January 22, 2006 03:09 PM

"So are you saying the Democrats were the wise ones when they told Bush to let Europe take the lead? Get your story straight."

Wise in the long run yes, but not truly understanding of why this was the wise move.

The Democrats actually believed the hype about a morally superior Europe -- the Republicans knew better and accepted the Democrats insistence that Europe me made to take the lead, because we knew it would hang the Democrats and the Europeans on their own petard eventually.

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 03:13 PM

"This is really how George Bush has betrayed us."

And every other president before him, yah?

Why weren't the Democrats digging up oil shale, and liquefying coal and forcing manufacturers to build hybrids while they had the bully pulpit for 8 long years -- were they too busy turning down repeated offers to hand over Osama BinLiner?

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 03:28 PM

EJ, Good read. I believe at the end we will deal with the Islamic Republic internally, probably with little or no help from the UN or the US. As you might say, you may have to hold your horses because this will take some time. This man Insider may be associated with some lever in Iran, but Iranians will unite if there are sever external pressure. I think we will be cool with oil embargo though. In fact why does the US, Japan, and Europe need to go through the UN to stop US and European companies from trading in the Iranian oil? We are not getting the proceeds of the oil any way and when it is gone there will be a lot of pressure on the government to make payroll to the f... guards and basij. Iranian government is cornered, now the trick is to pull that noose without having the people line up behind them. People that I talk to, and that includes genXers, Mr. Insider, believe that if we put as much energy on human rights violations as we are putting on the nuke issue, we would have a much better chance. No one in Iran supports the government when it comes to freedom and human rights, but most have to side with them when it comes to our international rights. Human rights and democracy will do the trick. Any good web sites out there on organized civil disobedience? We think that's the way to go. Consistent, sustained civil disobedience. It got the English out of India, and will get the mullahs out of Tehran. We will even buy them one way ticket to Ghaza city. Of course the Insider wants you to negotiate with the government. Anything to keep them in power. Please keep the nuclear issue of the table or at least cool it off. It is working to the advantage of that monkey (Mr.)Ahmadinejad.

Posted by: Behrouz | January 22, 2006 03:29 PM

Gotham, do you serve any purpose here besides making excuses and apologies for George Bush? Two wrongs do not make a right, so focussing on the Democrats every time George Bush is critiqued does not let Bush off the hook from what he is being critiqued about.
Right or left, you blindly defend a politician, Gotham. That kind of thinking is utter foolishness, lemming-like behavior that will only lead to self-destruction. Stop being such a shill for the Bush administration, otherwise it will be glaringly obvious that you are not here to debate. Your agenda is transparent.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 22, 2006 04:01 PM

"Of course the Insider wants you to negotiate with the government. Anything to keep them in power. Please keep the nuclear issue of the table or at least cool it off. It is working to the advantage of that monkey (Mr.)Ahmadinejad."

Mr. Ahmadinejad is indeed a nasty piece of work -- and his regime despicable. And its stance in the world is not acceptable for a nuclear power imho.

But the US cannot take the lead in confronting him because the Old Europeans will eventually make us suffer for any such move once they feel safe and secure.

There are two problems here as I see it -- one is the belligerent stance taken by a repressive Iranian regime, and the other is a core block of European nations who will make America pay a high price for any move they make in the situation.

At the same time the confrontation between the Iranian regime and the French German Axis is escalating -- and both seem to be looking to the US for some kind of solution , while making it clear that the US is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't.

The propaganda value for Europe and Iran against America is greater if we do something then if we do little.

So we are doing the minimum in the situation, and letting the two most rabid anti-American propagandists in the world have a real good go at each other.

Secret US talks with Iran might help to diffuse the situation, but like you said, might serve to keep the repressive Iranian regime in power. The alternative could be a major attack (perhaps nuclear) on Iran by a nation like France if they are hit hard enough in an Iranian sponsored terrorist outrage.

But really, Old Europe saw little problem with Husseins repressive regime and ridiculed and propagandized against us for daring to confront him in detriment to their nasty oil deals with that 'indefatigable dictator'.

Now, Europe also has oil deals with a repressive Iran, and have been dealing with them despite the long standing US embargo. But the equation has changed because Iran is taunting and threatening them and humiliating them on the world stage.

If this had not happened it would be Europe that was propping up the repressive mullahs no matter what the US thought -- is a secret US negotiation with Iran that might help to prop up the mullahs any worse? It might prevent a nuclear war after all.

It is a tough dilemma -- on the one hand we could do something, and on the other we could do little and watch Old Europe squirm -- but also risk seeing true allies like Italy, and the UK and Poland feel threatened as well.

What to do, what to do...

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 04:04 PM

"That kind of thinking is utter foolishness, lemming-like behavior that will only lead to self-destruction."

I disagree Erin -- believing the European propaganda about America while they double deal us all over the world like the Democrats do is self-destructive. Homey Bush don't play that game.

And that's why I like him and his Republicans.

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 04:07 PM

"This man Insider may be associated with some lever in Iran"

Even if I were. Aren't I asking for the same thing? To cool off? You don't like Tehran to look like Faloojah, do you?

Posted by: (I)nsider | January 22, 2006 04:22 PM

Fair enough, Gotham. I understand the president is a hero to you, but you also act as though Bush could do no wrong. No matter what the critique, no matter what the situation, you seem to blindly defend George Bush. If he does make a mistake, you would gladly look the other way. If Karl Rove crosses a line politically, you would rather dress it up in a pretty picture than accurately assess his actions. I would rather hold public officials accountable instead of giving them a pass because they happen to further one's political cause.
I personally don't see much merit to being an apologist for a politician. You probably don't even realize how many excuses and apologies you've had to make for George Bush along the way. For that matter, you probably don't even see how the core of your arguments are all straw men attacks.
Oh well, at least you're starting to drop the innocent act and are admitting you are a blatant partisan. Sure did downplay that during the Karl Rove 'saber-rattling' debate, though. Then again, you'd say and do anything to defend George Bush, even if it came to the point of making bold-faced lies. That's the problem with demagogues like you, Gotham: Truth goes out the door for the sake of partisanship, and you insult people's intelligence with your dishonest misrepresentations. If you haven't noticed, your adherence to the party line hasn't won you any points here, and the transparency of your hidden agenda has been thoroughly counterproductive.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 22, 2006 04:31 PM

Erin,

You come across a naked partisan -- and your posts are all aimed at getting me to avoid the issue at hand and defend 'Karl Rove'.

I was nice enough to answer you -- and then I moved on back to the argument at hand.

You on the other hand, eventually tried to turn this blog thread into a discussion of how the Republicans are going to lose at the polls in the next election -- as if this were the one and only pertinent issue in the Iran situation.

Have you anything at all to say about my critique on Old European double dealing any hypocrisy in the Iran and Iraq situation? I'd say no -- all you care about is scoring political points against Republicans to pump up your beloved Democrats.

Can you deny that Europe was propping up Hussein with billions in oil deals, secured on the implication that in exchange they would receive a French UNSC veto? This seems pretty obvious now that tens of millions of Hussein oil deals with the French have come to light.

Can you deny that the US has embargoed the repressive Iranian regime for decades while the Europeans made oil deals with them thus propping up that repressive regime?

Can you deny that despite all these Euro oil deals the Iranians have turned on Europe something fierce and are riding them harder then a llama over the Sierra Madre?

Haven't many Democrats been screeching that we should look to Europe for moral guidance in our foreign policy since before the second Hussein war?

Isn't this stance by many Democrats an embarrassment at this point?

What has all this to do with Karl Rove really?

Why must you turn this discussion on Iran and their nasty diplomatic challenge to Europe into a Democratic campaign platform?

You have insisted on turning this discussion on Iran into an indictment of the Republicans right from the start -- I countered your arguments in a reasonable way as far as I am concerned.

Cast out first the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother`s eye.

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 04:55 PM

"Behrouz, Damet Garm. For god sake America, please help with very good political broadcast, civil disobedience instructions."

I'd love to do something like that to help -- but if we tried the Europeans and their leftist mates here in the US would go into propaganda overdrive against America screaming that we were war mongers and baby killers.

Right now we are letting the Europeans muddle through this thing -- despite their reeking of hypocrisy. Europeans have gotten involved in US elections via people like George Soro's outfit using propaganda based on our daring to take a contrary political view to Old Europe -- and they are nasty and hateful about it to boot.

It has been more then twenty years since we began to refuse to support that nasty regime in Tehran -- despite European willingness and eagerness to deal with them and prop them up. Now that Europe is in the hot seat it is simply in all our best interest to let the Europeans wank themselves to sleep on this thing before we can really help you throw off the chains of oppression.

Hold tight brother -- socialist Europe is crumbling -- and that can only mean hope is dawning for the great and repressed people of Iran.

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 05:13 PM

Can not keep posting from the same browser,but Damet garm, Mr. Gotham.

Posted by: Doost | January 22, 2006 05:17 PM

My heart is pumping Mr. Doost -- and it breaks when it understands what has been done to the people of Iran by its repressive regime, assisted by a nasty and cynical Europe. But the Iran problem can only be approached by the US in a serious way once nasty Europe has played itself out I am afraid.

Damet garm Mr. Doost.

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 05:24 PM

Oh, and Mr. Doost, please do not put yourself in jeopardy by posting if the regime can get to you via your computer -- I am with you brother no matter what -- and I will push for your freedom till my last breath if that is what it takes. And will do so even if I am one of the only ones doing it in a place like this.

Ignore these defeatists, and Euro clones -- they do not have the power ultimately to command the tide to stay out.

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 05:41 PM

"The Democrats actually believed the hype about a morally superior Europe -- the Republicans knew better and accepted the Democrats insistence that Europe me made to take the lead, because we knew it would hang the Democrats and the Europeans on their own petard eventually."

I get it now, you're part of that new government campaign to make people laugh to lower their stress. Do you walk like a penguin too?

"Why weren't the Democrats digging up oil shale, and liquefying coal and forcing manufacturers to build hybrids while they had the bully pulpit for 8 long years -- were they too busy turning down repeated offers to hand over Osama BinLiner?"

9-11 changed everything, remember?

Posted by: | January 22, 2006 05:49 PM

"I get it now, you're part of that new government campaign to make people laugh to lower their stress. Do you walk like a penguin too?"

Come on, we all know the Democrats are being hijacked to be the party of Europe -- I remember seeing people on leftist talkboards in Europe describing how Europeans might contribute to Soros' organization to help influence the US presidential election.

Until the Democrats disown punks like Soros nothing you say will convince me that the leftist ideal held high by Europe is not more important to them then the safety and well being of the people of America.

European's have shat upon America from a great height for many years now -- and many of the loudest among the Democrats are right with them.

Are you -- Mrs./Mr. Anonymous, another one who wants to avoid the Iran situation and instead concentrate on Democratic political angling?

What say you of Europe supporting the Iran mullahs with oil deals --- and then seeking US help now that this out of control regime has turned on them?

What has Soros, or Dean, or Belafonte to say about this nasty situation -- that Americans are now a bunch of Nazis because they dared to elect a non Democrat.

What a load of leftist dung.

If you really cared about your Democratic party you would take it back from these charlatans and posers.

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 06:03 PM

Here we go again then, Gotham. By all means, give me a platform to revisit the Rove debate. I take you on point for point all year long until Election Day, as far as I'm concerned. In repsonse to your post:

"You come across a naked partisan -- and your posts are all aimed at getting me to avoid the issue at hand and defend 'Karl Rove'." - Gotham

The usual crock of sh*t from you. You try to avoid discussion of your own naked partisanism and blind devotion to George Bush by accusing me of what you are guilty of. I will admit without pointing the finger at you that I'm partisan to the point I am against Bush and the Republicans, but that's because there's too many lemmings like you that care nothing about reality and the truth, and it's time to put an end to the corrupt politicians who have you eating off their every word, such as Karl Rove. As far as the Rove debate, there was plenty of context for me within this blog to introduce my position that Karl Rove needs to be kept an eye on in 2006 when it comes to Iran and 'military options' (i.e. saber-rattling) because of his conduct/strategy with Iraq in 2002. You took it upon yourself to start debating me in defense of Karl Rove. My posts are not 'all aimed at you'; You took up the mantle of karl Rove without me ever having asked you. Stop misrepresenting the situation.

"I was nice enough to answer you -- and then I moved on back to the argument at hand." - Gotham

Yours is the niceness of a wolf-in-sheep's-clothing. I would actually say that you didn't respond to me out of niceness but out of your partisan need to defend your Bush apologism.

"You on the other hand, eventually tried to turn this blog thread into a discussion of how the Republicans are going to lose at the polls in the next election -- as if this were the one and only pertinent issue in the Iran situation." - Gotham

With A LOT of help from you. Thanks. Yes, I still stand by my assertion that the Republicans will lose if they try saber-rattling with Iran in 2006 along the lines of how they rattled their sabers at Iraq in 2002. It will backfire on them, and they will find themselves on the defensive the majority of the time just like you found yourself on the defensive when you chose to engage me in debating Rove and his saber-rattling strategies. Republicans are going to lose either way, thanks to corruption, Iraq, and botching the response to Hurricane Katrina

"Have you anything at all to say about my critique on Old European double dealing any hypocrisy in the Iran and Iraq situation? I'd say no -- all you care about is scoring political points against Republicans to pump up your beloved Democrats."

Yes. I will say it is a straw man attack, that the countries of Old Europe are our allies, that our government has been hypocritical in it's national interests too. I don't trust your assessment of Europe in the Iran situation for anything more than the partisan tripe it is. I have no love for the Democrats, and am tired of the Republicans. That's a popular sentiment these days, as you'll find out come Election Day.

"Can you deny that Europe was propping up Hussein with billions in oil deals, secured on the implication that in exchange they would receive a French UNSC veto? This seems pretty obvious now that tens of millions of Hussein oil deals with the French have come to light." - Gotham

Can you deny the U.S. propped up Hussein? Stop insulting my intelligence with garbage like this. You give Bush a pass on EVERYTHING. How can you take others to task? I lend little credence to your charges against France.

"Can you deny that the US has embargoed the repressive Iranian regime for decades while the Europeans made oil deals with them thus propping up that repressive regime?" - Gotham

Can you distract a little more with attacks on others meant to obfuscate our own culpability?

"Can you deny that despite all these Euro oil deals the Iranians have turned on Europe something fierce and are riding them harder then a llama over the Sierra Madre?" - Gotham

Can you ride a llama hard off the Sierra Madre? There's no need for me to deny your overblown exaggerrations.

"Haven't many Democrats been screeching that we should look to Europe for moral guidance in our foreign policy since before the second Hussein war?" - Gotham

Do Republicans screech too? Answer that and maybe I'll get back to you.

"Isn't this stance by many Democrats an embarrassment at this point?" - Gotham

At this point, the Republicans in power have governed horrendously and have corruption in their ranks. The embarrassment that was 2005 trumps any supposed embarrassing stances by the Democrats.

"What has all this to do with Karl Rove really?" - Gotham

Iran is a national security issue. Karl Rove first and foremost views national security as a political tool for winning elections. It brings into question any national security issue in 2006 (such as Iran) when an advisor in the White House may be manipulating the issue for political gain. If Iran is a serious issue, then we should not play politics with it. And yet, Rove and the Republicans played politics with national security and Iraq in 2002. That's what Rove has to do with the current debate.

"Why must you turn this discussion on Iran and their nasty diplomatic challenge to Europe into a Democratic campaign platform?" - Gotham

So that people like you and Karl Rove won't manipulate the issue in order to win elections in 2006. There is a concerted effort going on to do so (i.e. William Kristol and others discussing a military option YEARS before it's even necessary. This isn't about the Democrats so much as bring an end to manipulating the American public with bogus saber rattling. If Democrats were to engage in 'storm-in-a-teapot' militarism for the sake of political gain, I'd hold them to task too.

"You have insisted on turning this discussion on Iran into an indictment of the Republicans right from the start -- I countered your arguments in a reasonable way as far as I am concerned." - Gotham

No, I just pointed out that there has been a recent rise in saber-rattling within the US towards Iran, and how such a rise just happens to coincide with an election year rolling around. I have stated the truth: The Republicans and Karl Rove will try to use Iran in 2006 just like they used Iraq in 2002. You do your best to deny and distract from this, but it's a political reality.

"Cast out first the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother`s eye."

GMAFB. Take off your Bush-colored glasses before you preach and prattle nonsense like this. The only thing getting cast out this year is the corrupt bunch of Republican politicians that have weakened our national security by playing politics with it.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 22, 2006 06:05 PM

Here we go again then, Gotham. By all means, give me a platform to revisit the Rove debate. I'll take you on point for point all year long until Election Day, as far as I'm concerned. In response to your post:

"You come across a naked partisan -- and your posts are all aimed at getting me to avoid the issue at hand and defend 'Karl Rove'." - Gotham

The usual crock of sh*t from you. You try to avoid discussion of your own naked partisanism and blind devotion to George Bush by accusing me of what you are guilty of. I will admit without pointing the finger at you that I'm partisan to the point I am against Bush and the Republicans, but that's because there's too many lemmings like you that care nothing about reality and the truth when it comes to the GOP, and it's time to put an end to the corrupt politicians who have you eating off their every word, such as Karl Rove. As far as the Rove debate, there was plenty of context for me within this blog to introduce my position that Karl Rove needs to be kept an eye on in 2006 when it comes to Iran and 'military options' (i.e. saber-rattling) because of his conduct/strategy with Iraq in 2002. You took it upon yourself to start debating me in defense of Karl Rove. My posts are not 'all aimed at you'; You took up the mantle of karl Rove without me ever having asked you. Stop misrepresenting the situation.

"I was nice enough to answer you -- and then I moved on back to the argument at hand." - Gotham

Yours is the niceness of a wolf-in-sheep's-clothing. I would actually say that you didn't respond to me out of niceness but out of your partisan need to defend your Bush apologism.

"You on the other hand, eventually tried to turn this blog thread into a discussion of how the Republicans are going to lose at the polls in the next election -- as if this were the one and only pertinent issue in the Iran situation." - Gotham

With A LOT of help from you. Thanks. Yes, I still stand by my assertion that the Republicans will lose if they try saber-rattling with Iran in 2006 along the lines of how they rattled their sabers at Iraq in 2002. It will backfire on them, and they will find themselves on the defensive the majority of the time just like you found yourself on the defensive when you chose to engage me in debating Rove and his saber-rattling strategies. Republicans are going to lose either way, thanks to corruption, Iraq, and botching the response to Hurricane Katrina

"Have you anything at all to say about my critique on Old European double dealing any hypocrisy in the Iran and Iraq situation? I'd say no -- all you care about is scoring political points against Republicans to pump up your beloved Democrats."

Yes. I will say it is a straw man attack, that the countries of Old Europe are our allies, that our government has been hypocritical in it's national interests too. I don't trust your assessment of Europe in the Iran situation for anything more than the partisan tripe it is. I have no love for the Democrats, and am tired of the Republicans. That's a popular sentiment these days, as you'll find out come Election Day.

"Can you deny that Europe was propping up Hussein with billions in oil deals, secured on the implication that in exchange they would receive a French UNSC veto? This seems pretty obvious now that tens of millions of Hussein oil deals with the French have come to light." - Gotham

Can you deny the U.S. propped up Hussein? Stop insulting my intelligence with garbage like this. You give Bush a pass on EVERYTHING. How can you take others to task? I lend little credence to your charges against France.

"Can you deny that the US has embargoed the repressive Iranian regime for decades while the Europeans made oil deals with them thus propping up that repressive regime?" - Gotham

Can you distract a little more with attacks on others meant to obfuscate our own culpability?

"Can you deny that despite all these Euro oil deals the Iranians have turned on Europe something fierce and are riding them harder then a llama over the Sierra Madre?" - Gotham

Can you ride a llama hard off the Sierra Madre? There's no need for me to deny your overblown exaggerrations.

"Haven't many Democrats been screeching that we should look to Europe for moral guidance in our foreign policy since before the second Hussein war?" - Gotham

Do Republicans screech too? Answer that and maybe I'll get back to you.

"Isn't this stance by many Democrats an embarrassment at this point?" - Gotham

At this point, the Republicans in power have governed horrendously and have corruption in their ranks. The embarrassment that was 2005 trumps any supposed embarrassing stances by the Democrats.

"What has all this to do with Karl Rove really?" - Gotham

Iran is a national security issue. Karl Rove first and foremost views national security as a political tool for winning elections. It brings into question any national security issue in 2006 (such as Iran) when an advisor in the White House may be manipulating the issue for political gain. If Iran is a serious issue, then we should not play politics with it. And yet, Rove and the Republicans played politics with national security and Iraq in 2002. That's what Rove has to do with the current debate.

"Why must you turn this discussion on Iran and their nasty diplomatic challenge to Europe into a Democratic campaign platform?" - Gotham

So that people like you and Karl Rove won't manipulate the issue in order to win elections in 2006. There is a concerted effort going on to do so (i.e. William Kristol and others discussing a military option YEARS before it's even necessary. This isn't about the Democrats so much as bring an end to manipulating the American public with bogus saber rattling. If Democrats were to engage in 'storm-in-a-teapot' militarism for the sake of political gain, I'd hold them to task too.

"You have insisted on turning this discussion on Iran into an indictment of the Republicans right from the start -- I countered your arguments in a reasonable way as far as I am concerned." - Gotham

No, I just pointed out that there has been a recent rise in saber-rattling within the US towards Iran, and how such a rise just happens to coincide with an election year rolling around. I have stated the truth: The Republicans and Karl Rove will try to use Iran in 2006 just like they used Iraq in 2002. You do your best to deny and distract from this, but it's a political reality.

"Cast out first the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother`s eye."

GMAFB. Take off your Bush-colored glasses before you preach and prattle nonsense like this. The only thing getting cast out this year is the corrupt bunch of Republican politicians that have weakened our national security by playing politics with it.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 22, 2006 06:07 PM

I have no idea why it double posted like that. Seems there's been some technical difficulties of late, from disappearing posts to people's browsers crashing.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 22, 2006 06:10 PM

"So that people like you and Karl Rove won't manipulate the issue in order to win elections in 2006."

Yeah, and any punter who tries to discuss Iran without toeing your political line is a shill for 'Karl Rove' and 'William Kristol'.

Come of your high llama Erin.

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 06:28 PM

Guess I forgot to sign my last post.

"Come on, we all know the Democrats are being hijacked to be the party of Europe"

Where do you get this stuff from? Do you make it up or do you go out there to find the wackos on the fringes so you have "ammunition' to paint us with the same brush as part of the ongoing "with us or against us' tactic?

This partisan stuff is a smokescreen to avoid the real issues. Four years after 9-11 we are still dealing with threats from OBL. We are not one millimeter further down the path to energy independence even though we should have all finally seen the consequences of our energy policies on that day. The rate at which we are cleaning up loose Russian HEU didn't pick up and may have slowed down, our ports and borders and air cargo are only marginally safer, we have been publicly shown to have no ability to manage a large scale disaster, and we have two nuclear hot spots requiring delicate diplomacy and a bull in the china shop at the White House and the UN.

If you think we are so partisan here that we would be kissing their feet had it been a Democratic regime then I don't think you understand most of us very well. I have never voted a straight ticket. I actually developed an iota of respect for Orinn Hatch when he said he was going to listen to the evidence before he decided how to vote in the impeachment. I would have voted for McCain over Kerry if I'd been given the choice, but I wasn't thanks to Bush's "swift boat" style campaign against McCain. So, if you want to be taken seriously as a debater you ought to understand your audience.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 22, 2006 06:32 PM

Yeah, and any punter who tries to discuss Iran without toeing your political line is a shill for 'Karl Rove' and 'William Kristol'.
Come of your high llama Erin.
Posted by: Gotham | Jan 22, 2006 6:28:04 PM

Not true. I am merely saying that we need to be vigilant against militarism being manipulated for political reasons in 2006.
I don't recall labeling you a shill, but if the shoe fits... you blindly follow Bush, Rove, and the Republicans, Gotham. You have said so yourself and every post you make proves that.
By the way, that was completely weak how you could only respond to one of my points after I responded to about 10 of yours. You're a partisan joke, Gotham, and aren't doing a very good job at all of representing your side.
Tell me again why I need to listen to a Bush yesman like you?

Posted by: ErrinF | January 22, 2006 06:46 PM

The situation in Iran is a political issue Erin -- just ask Hillary Clinton. I have yet to see you take her to task for playing politics with collapse of the European Iran talks.

At least Clinton has something to say about the matter besides demanding that everyone stop talking about the thing because it might hurt the Democrats in the elections. If the Republicans want to discuss Iran and national security -- so what -- it is their right -- and they can say what they like on the issue. If the Democrats had a real platform on foreign policy aside from 'do what the Europeans want' then they should vocalize it -- and win votes with it. All this claiming that no one in the Republicans should talk about foreign policy because it is not a good issue for Democrats seems like just so many sour grapes as far as I am concerned.

Why is this foreign policy issue such a bugaboo for the Democrats -- you would think that they could craft an argument on foreign policy that goes beyond 'Bush is a liar, Bush is a criminal'. But sadly, of the Democrats only people like Hillary Clinton and Joe Liberman seem capable of taking on the foreign policy issue with any real gusto. What is the policy of most Democrats on foreign policy anyway -- 'Bush lied and millions died?'

That might work in an election at a junior college, but not for a 'national party'.

You keep saying, 'We have five years to deal with this -- the Republicans must not discuss the matter'. Why, because foreign policy is the achilles heel of the Democrats because they are mostly incapable of forming a coherent foreign policy argument? Why will it be so bad if the Democrats are challenged on where they stand on foreign policy --- because most folks don't buy the stance on the issue they tend to take?

This is a democracy after all, and an election campaign is the time to compare stances on the issues -- if the Democrats come up short on foreign policy time after time, why is the solution to try and silence the Republicans on foreign policy rather then craft a new set of argument for themselves?

Earlier on this thread some of you were lamenting the fact that 'most Americans are so stupid'. So you think that any American who does not buy the non policies the Democrats have on foreign policy are a bunch of morons -- and that if the issue could only be barred from the public domain the Democrats will again dominate politics like they did in the FDR glory days?

FDR was in political trouble after his NRA was shot down as unconstitutional, and he then tried to pack the Supreme Court with 6 new justices -- and failed to manage it in the Congress. It wasn't until foreign policy issues started to become important with tales of National Socialist aggression in Europe that his political star began to rise again. Do you feel that FDR was dishonest and 'militarist' because he rode the foreign policy wave back to the good graces of the nation during the rise of Hitler?

To hear you tell describe such a thing, FDR using foreign policy as a tool to regain popularity was a near criminal act.

If the Democrats feel that Americans are just too stupid to understand their platforms, and that any discussion of Democrats weakest point (foreign policy) is somehow 'unfair' perhaps it is time to rethink what the hell it is they think they are doing, and get a platform that all us 'stupid Americans' can understand.

Democrats will not win elections by painting the American people as a bunch of morons who refuse understand that just because the Democrats have no real foreign policy platform outside of 'Bush lied millions died' they should be voted into office.

That attitude is perhaps the most patronizing pile of crap I have ever heard -- and it is not going to get Democrats back into power -- even if you stood on your head and whistled Dixie.

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 07:22 PM

Clinton, FDR, you'll throw everybody out there for criticism except George 'can-do-no-wrong-in-your-eyes' Bush.
Your arguments might hold some weight if this weren't 2006. Instead, you still think we're in 2002 right after 9/11. We are in 2006 right after Hurricane Katrina. The Abramoff scandal doesn't help the GOP much either.
Plainly put, the Republicans suck when it comes to national security. They know how to rattle sabers and manipulate national security for their own purposes politically, but the fact that Iraq has been run poorly and Osama Bin Laden is alive and well prove what a crock of sh*t it was to ever believe the Republicans were strong on national security.
As usual, you are making excuses and apologies for what Rove and the Republicans do when they play political games with our national security. Trumping up mock crises and manipulating militarism like they did with Iraq in 2002 is hardly a proper way for a democracy to conduct itself. It is illegitimate to put a false urgency on Iran's nuclear capability in 2006 when they won't be capable until 2011. You innocently ask 'why can't we discuss it now?' as if you don't want it specifically on the table for express political purposes in this election year. You yourself compromise our national security, Gotham, as you would gladly see it manipulated for electioneering purposes.
And you continue to miss the point about the intelligence of the American voter. It's not the Democrats that insult their intelligence; It's your ridiculous partisan spin that cares nothing about honesty and reality that insults their intelligence. You blindly say 'yes' to everything Bush does, wrong or right, and that is glaringly apparent, caring more about making an excuse for a politician than being honest with the public. Pathetic.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 22, 2006 07:51 PM

If Democrats were to engage in 'storm-in-a-teapot' militarism for the sake of political gain, I'd hold them to task too.
Posted by: ErrinF | Jan 22, 2006 6:07:05 PM

As you can see, Gotham, I have already posted my view of Hillary Clinton. If she is using saber-rattling for political gain I'd take her to task for it. As it were, she has no opposition in her Senate race, so I don't see why she'd borrow from the Rove playbook to manipulate national security for her own political gain in 2006. You constantly want to hide behind her skirt, but she's got nothing to do with the argument I am making. Give it a rest; Stop crouching behind Hillary Clinton, clinging to her skirt while pointing the finger at me. Typical of a Republican... they claim to be strong and tough, but ones like Gotham hide behind women when the going gets tough. No wonder national security has been such a joke under their watch.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 22, 2006 08:04 PM

"You innocently ask 'why can't we discuss it now?' as if you don't want it specifically on the table for express political purposes in this election year. You yourself compromise our national security, Gotham, as you would gladly see it manipulated for electioneering purposes."

So, I take this to mean that Iran rejecting the EU3 talks and saying horrendous things to the Europeans about 'taking their Jews back' -- and then the EU 3 rejecting Iran's decision to restart the talks and seeking a decision in the IAEA to bring Iran to the UNSC is all a ploy by Republicans to make foreign policy an issue in the upcoming elections?

The US had nothing at all to do with what has transpired between Iran and the EU -- yet it is none the less a pertinent political issue that has every right to be discussed in a political context during the election campaign.

If the Democrats has something worthwhile to say about what has transpired, I suggest they say it now -- before the elections. Simply trying to quash any debate on the subject does not a political platform make.

As far as Katrina goes, it is the individual States that must deal with a natural disaster and it is their responsibility to request Federal intervention. Both the Governor of Louisiana and the mayor of New Orleans were highly incompetent in the Katrina response -- and trying to pin the blame for the thing exclusively on Bush is nothing more then nasty partisan politics. Assignment of responsibility where assignment of responsibility is due.

Mayor Nagen with his P-Funk reference insisting that the Federal government should be forced to make NOL a 'chocolate city' again is nothing more then a race baiting tactic. Nagen is clearly in over his head -- and this is not George Bush's fault -- no matter what you say.

As far as all the belly aching that was done here over how friggin' stupid Americans are goes -- I think this kind of attitude is one of the biggest hindrances to the Democratic party -- the hard left in the party (who now control it until the Clintonites take the reigns) are always letting themselves drift into politically suicidal arguments like this. No American is going to vote Democrat because they called them morons. People's minds just do not work this way -- despite what the left may think. In painting Americans who do not dance your political tune as 'idiots' you are really just banging your head against a wall.

Oh, and claiming that Americans are not stupid, they just act stupid when they vote Republican will not win you and friends or influence any people -- outside of course of your base, who will vote for you anyway.

If you berate a people as a bunch of morons they are not going to put you into power -- I think this is a self-evident truth, No?

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 08:22 PM

"Trumping up mock crises and manipulating militarism like they did with Iraq in 2002"

Iran telling Europe to take her Jews back and rejecting the EU3 deal, and going to Syria to pledge support and financing to terrorists, and the EU seeking redress in the UNSC is a 'mock crisis'?

Is that the Democratic platform on foreign policy, that the EU asking for US help in stopping Iran from insulting and threatening them is a 'mock crisis' engineered by Karl Rove?

You really must think that Americans are stupid. Who would will buy such a flawed premise outside of the initiated?

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 08:29 PM

I'm just sickened at this point, Gotham. Your views on Katrina show that you honestly think Bush is never, ever wrong, and you are just a blind follower. You are a yesman, nothing more.
Really, you are f*cked in the head. You have no concept of truth, only spin. It is apt that some posters here question if you are indeed a paid shill.
Listen, dipsh*t. You and your kind have been playing this same game since 2000. It's not going to work any more. It's gotten tiresome. It is blatantly obvious that you are an enemy of the people at this point, as you care nothing for ethics or honesty and would manipulate any subject possible to cling to political power. You could give a f*ck about truth and accountability, Gotham, so I could give a f*ck about you. Your era is over, and it was always a house of cards to begin with. The Democrats are on autopilot to take Congress back, and no amount of spin and manipulation is going to change that.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 22, 2006 08:43 PM

I think the American public is intelligent. You are the one that thinks they are dumb enough to fall for your self-serving spin in 2006.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 22, 2006 08:44 PM

"It is blatantly obvious that you are an enemy of the people at this point,"

Up against the wall for me right Erin?

Is that going to be the Democratic platform this time around?

You lost your cool, you can't lose your cool like that and think your passion alone will win you an election.

Perhaps a revolution -- but not an election.

Posted by: Gotham | January 22, 2006 09:06 PM

Do a search on Karl Rove. Find out his biography. Maybe that will help you understand why he is the way he is. Then take Religion, Dick Cheney, and add them all up and you have Bush FEAR policy. How religion works with politics.

Posted by: JR | January 22, 2006 11:26 PM

"Then take Religion, Dick Cheney, and add them all up and you have Bush FEAR policy. How religion works with politics."

Religion?

Do you think I am some kind of bible thumper?

You read me all wrong mate -- all I do is tell it the way I see it.

And it is true, I don't think religious people are morons, and I know the bible fairly well, as I also know a fair bit of philosophy and history.

Is that the Democratic platform for the next election -- people who are religious are morons and enemies of the people?

Is the socialist cult all about trying to convince people that everything they know is wrong?

Homey don't play that -- and Homey knows that this kind of game will not win you any elections.

Try again bro -- oh, and try not pissing into the wind next time.

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 12:10 AM

Good morning America.

What an excellent article by Karl Vick,
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, January 23, 2006; Page A09

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/22/AR2006012200808.html

Posted by: (I)nsider | January 23, 2006 12:23 AM


Hello Behrouz,

I don't know about civ. disobediance sites per se....but I can tell you it's been one hell of a ride being an American with no roots in Iran taking part in Iranian opposition forums over the years.

Activistchat.com is a good one....SMCCDI is down as noted....

I suppose if Insider were to think about it for a minute, the phrase.."We don't negotiate with terrorists." would come to mind...

Perfectly sound policy that...

As well as the muscular multilateral approach this US president has taken over the years...W/ respect to Iran that has resulted in what we see now as The World vs. the IRI (and note I use the abreviation for the government of Iran, because The US supports the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people in their quest for freedom, secularity, and a better future for their kids.)

With respect, I have to point out that US policy is directed on three tracks: Human Rights, the regime's support for terrorism, and the nuclear dossier.

What gets reported in the press is about 1/10th of the total story, and centers on the nuclear....so I have to push back on this a bit and say that were the fourth estate(the press)to give the other two equal "billing" the situation might be seen in an accurate state of play.

Did the condemnation of the IRI's abysmal human rights record in the UN recently get any press? Nope. Unless of course one was reading dedicated sources for news on Iran such as Iranfocus.com

As for US/EU relations in general in this regard... the following excerpts provides additional perspective:

Putting Transatlantic Power to Work for Freedom
Daniel Fried , Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs
Address to the American Enterprise Institute
Washington,DC
December 14,
2005
"" Now, in this, some Europeans mirror some Americans who have periodically
despaired on their part of the transatlantic alliance. But that is not the view
of the Bush Administration. As President Bush has said, "All the allies of the
United States can know we honor your friendship, we rely on your counsel and we
depend on your help. The concerted effort of free nations to promote democracy
is a prelude to our enemies' defeat." Let me repeat that: "The concerted effort
of free nations to promote democracy is a prelude to our enemies' defeat." ""

----

"There exists, I contend, a developing
transatlantic consensus that our interests cannot be separated from our values,
that democratic governance has a greater legitimacy than other forms of
government, and that this is true everywhere in the world, and that the purpose
of the U.S.-European relationship is not to be a venue for value-free
competition but to support common action to support freedom."

-----

An Agenda for Hope for Iran

"To draw from another context, we did not win the Cold War by assuming, as did
our adversaries, that communist regimes and their peoples were one. Thus, we
should not accept that theocracy and isolation are fate for the Iranian people.
International pressure on the regime may increase in 2006, as it should, but
the world's democracies should also reach out to the Iranian people. In
addition to our efforts to deal with the nuclear challenge, in 2006 the United
States and Europe should assemble an agenda for hope for Iran. Hostile
theocracy is not fate for Iran or for the region. "

------

And during the Q&A session:

QUESTION: Carol Giacomo with Reuters. Could you explain what you mean by an
agenda of hope for Iran? And are you working on this with the Europeans now?

AMBASSADOR FRIED: We have, for some time, had discussions with the EU-3 and
other Europeans about the Iran nuclear issue. But obviously, and without
getting into the details of conversations which need to be confidential, I
think there is a general understanding that the problem is wider than just a
nuclear problem. The nuclear problem is in some sense a symptom of a wider
problem.

By agenda of hope, I mean an agenda which is directed at support for the
Iranian people and Iranian society in what we believe are universal aspirations
and therefore shared by the Iranian people and Iranian society for freedom
and democracy.

The Iranian people should not be assumed to share the rather exotic views being
uttered now, every other day it seems, by Ahmadi-Nejad, and we need to reach
out directly to them. Now, I think the United States and Europe have the
capacity to do this, and I suspect we will talk more about it as time goes on.

QUESTION: Just to follow up, are you talking about support for civil society
groups, for instance?

AMBASSADOR FRIED: All of these things are things we're talking to the
Europeans about a lot of things, including this.

------end excerpts------


Finally I would like to offer folks a real serious inside look into the regime's current mindset, their intent, and agenda strategicly.

I've been at this for a number of years, doing research and analysis independent of the US gov, think tanks, or the opposition....but have contributed to them all.

That's simply to say this isn't my "topic of the day"....chuckle...

Reports today (Foundation for Democracy in Iran-unconfirmed, but two separate sources , one in the US one In Iran) indicate IRI will conduct nuclear test by March 20...the new year.
Enrichment has been ongoing for some time in other locations...Nantez is just a "dodge" , those centerfuges were allowed to corrode for a reason....to throw the west off their timetable, thinking it would be years off before they went nuclear. I can't believe Iranian scientists wouldn't think of automaticly venting humidity out of that facility, and anticipating that corrosive effect, as part of production planning....they just arn't that stupid. Basic facility maintanance, and even if it was under IAEA seal, the lack of venting indicates it was intentional, not a design flaw.

the IRI wants a war, not just to bring the people on the side of the Mullah, but to galvinize the entire world's Muslim population against the west in jihad.

They don't care if they take a "hit" (Rasfanjani's 2001 statement that the muslim world could survive a nuclear war, but Israel would cease to exist in an exchange), or even lose it technicly if it speeds up the return of the Mahdi...they figure if they push the west to attack, they've won the hearts and minds of not only the people of Iran, but the world's Muslims as well, and in the end, the west will lose big time.

If the west doesn't buy into their game, they have another option....

What better way to start a "holy war" than to use the Iranian people as martyrs in a "so-called" nuclear strike on Iran , and blame it on Israel and the US?

To cover their asses, the Mullahs have stated "We don't need nuclear weapons, our religion does not allow us to have them."

That's true enough, it doesn't....thus no Muslim would believe they would nuke their own people.

At which point, they would be perfectly "justified" in wiping Israel off the map, launching the Bannana peeler via missile, terrorism opps world wide, and that's how they figure they will take down America, not only politically and economicly via the anger directed at the US via the "criminal suprise attack using WMD by the great satan" , but physically as well, including the EU as its allies.

Thing about IRI/North Korean connection is NK has what the IRI needs, and will sell anything for a price, especially if it would be used against the US, or cause problems for us.

Lot of contact since 98-99, lot of tech help from NK, missile development, and other scientific assistance re: nukes

NK could just as well sell fissile material already enriched to weapons grade, and probably has to the IRI since then, giving rise to a serious probability that the IRI has perchased complete operational nuclear weapons from North Korea, and has a couple of them in their arsenal at this time.

Why enrich? To have a hundred...parity with Israel perhaps, but this regime is not interested in MAD as a strategy...and as well, there are worse things than Nukes in their bag of tricks such as biologicals that create a situation of a "Pandora's Box" should the regime be attacked, or used in "retaliation" once their big lie is unleashed on their own people.

They are rapidly isolating themselves on purpose in preparation to close borders as those biological weapons are virulent, and would pose a threat to them as well unless they were totally isolated from all contact, travel, etc. and honestly, perhaps not even then...weaponized and probably airborn transmittable initially, person to person thereafter.

The semi-predictable path of the UN has already been assessed and anticipated by the regime...they have factored this into their planning, thus the pushing of the west to go that rout...."no option is off the table" etc..etc...etc....lot of "war talk" prior, as we see today....

Outrageous you say? Perhaps, but in the given situation which is outrageous itself today, I know darn well another nuclear option has been explored already....and far more devastating. The "Boomers" of several nations are no doubt parked right off the Iranian coast as I write this.

You've probably seen the French president's comments by now.....all of it plays into the mullahs planning for the bigest lie of all.

The only way the Iranian people can take their destiny into their own hands, and change the equasion in favor of peace, is to put at least 2 million people on the streets of Tehran within thirty days, keeping them there 24/7 in shifts...wearing down the regime forces from lack of sleep if nothing else, taking over parliment, calling for "regime change" , and if that happens, the int. community would have to back them up with the moral support of free nations.

If the opposition could get its act together to create this, the people would lose their fear of the regime, despite everything the regime would throw at them, and the bloodshed they'd cause....the world would have no other moral option but to support them in that case, totally....via "responsibility to protect".

A protest of that magnitude would spread out to the entire country, and it would be highly suspect if a nuke suddenly went off in the middle of that....and would undermine the mullah's claim the west was responsible.

The Iranian people have nothing left to lose at this point except their lives...better to die fighting for their freedom than to be victims of the regime's big lie .....

As for the US, and the president on a personal level.... The expression "Damned if you do, damned if you don't." comes to mind.

The political fallout from such a nuclear "first strike" scenario in pre-emption would be vast, perhaps even "impeachable" , unless it was found and publicly determined to be fully justified in order to save a billion lives worldwide.

If the mullahs are successful with the big lie, the political fallout will be even greater. But that will be a nat's bite on an elephant's ass compared to what will befall the common citizens of the west, as well as the Iranian people.

So Behrouz, You'll understand why I say the stakes could not be higher, time is running out for the Iranian people to effect "regime change" from within, and short of that, there is only one way that I know of that could castrate the mullahs in 90 minutes or less without causing massive collateral damage to the population and taking out all miltary offensive and defensive capability, as well as command and control....

Now if, and I say if there is no other option left on the table, and military intervention to secure global peace and security is deemed necessary, there is an option I doubt many outside the military may have considered. I would be the last person on Earth to suggest the use of nuclear weapons, but there is a way to use them to create an effect never before used in modern warfare on a nation-wide scale. The effect being electromagnetic pulse (EMP).
Studies done on a nuclear device detonated at altitude over the US have been extensive, and Iran is even more vulnerable.

The issues of collateral damage, fallout, and the traditional political fallout of using a nuclear device in such a manner (or several if needed) are inherently mitigated if not eliminated by the fact that at 10 miles up, (for a line of site coverage) it won't have the traditional Hiroshima type effect. In short, and as the studies indicate, virtually any device with a circuit board would be knocked out of commission, Radar, missile guidance systems, communications, the total electrical grid, and if the frequency and amplitude are high enough, even electronic ignition in cars would be affected.
I doubt very much the IRI has Faraday shielding on their sensitive sites (what the US mil calls a "tempest enclosure"), and that's the only defense against EMP.

Blast effect would be nil at that altitude, fallout would not be worse than the atmospheric tests in Nevada, and as such, though I haven't seen any medical studies on the effect of EMP on humans, My guess is that civilian casualties would be more due to the sudden loss of electric power, and the panic caused than the bombs themselves if any are directly the result of the bombs or EMP at all.

I think you know what it would mean for having reasonable assurance that the IRI was incapable of any counter attack or missile launch, anti air defense or tracking , command and control due to loss of systems function, followed up with the physical conventional destruction of military capability, to which my understanding is somewhere around 5000 targets per sortie if US airpower was used to the max.

You can't make nuclear weapons without electricity, that's a given...even underground the cables supplying it would transmit EMP right into the sites. You'd knock out every single nuclear site at once. Without blowing it up and risking release of radioactive material at ground level...or biological and chemical weapons....and a lot of those exist in Tehran, a city of what? 15 million?

It would take months if not a year or more to repair the infrastructure, and humanitarian airlifts would need to be started quickly to avoid food shortages due to loss of refrigeration. A bigger airlift than ever seen in history no doubt.

The playing field would be leveled for the internal opposition, as confusion set in for the regime. In fact, I strongly suspect that the average mullah stepping outside the moment the bombs detonated would think he was witness to the return of the Mahdi...I would note that the dropping of the bombs on Japan created such a shock value which caused that war to end, saving some 5 to 10 million lives estimated to be lost in the invasion of the Japanese home islands; That politically, while the US would take a heck of a lot of heat for using nukes again, the method, the lack of massive civilian casualties, and the known factor of the IRI's biological and chemical missile warhead capability, as well as imminent if not currently present nuclear weapons delivery systems would legally justify such measures, given the grave threat to peace and security the IRI now presents, as well as its direct threats issued to member states of the UN.

I am not suggesting boots on the ground, in fact I think it would be far better to give the Iranian people the support needed to complete the task of regime change for themselves, they've waited long enough, and deserve that chance to take pride in freeing themselves once the odds are evened up or in their favor. Only if they request assistance should the offer to, be fulfilled on the ground. Logistical assistance as needed.

The threat the IRI poses is such that no prior warning of "serious consequences" , "48 hours" to pack bags, or any Iraq-style military buildup offer a clue as to imminent action.

I've though long and hard about this, and I believe it is the only way to keep the lid on the Pandora's box, and castrate the regime at the same time. Anything short of that risks disaster for the region if hostilities ensue, and nothing short of total regime change would guarantee an end to the threat posed by the regime. Not sanctions, not support for the opposition alone or with sanctions....the regime wants a war, if we have to give them one, I say give them one they would never expect.

There may have been a time the west could have lent support to the Iranian opposition, but they have suffered from infighting, personality and idiological conflict to the extent that I can't say with certanty it would have been effective.

One thing for sure, Antar the idiot..monkey boy jihadi wannabe mahdi prophet Calif of state ..Nejahd.. has done more to unify the Iranian opposition than any assistance from the west ever could have. As well as uniting the world against this abominable regime far more effectively than US diplomacy alone could have in such a short period of time.

Tell you friends it's time to hit the streets...en mass.

Ba Sepaas,

EJ

Posted by: Eric Jette | January 23, 2006 12:24 AM

Gotham, do a search and read. Don't be so dogmatic. There are other views that may interest you. If your not willing to read, then you already have chose your destiny.

Posted by: JR | January 23, 2006 12:32 AM

Eric Jette, I've read your analogy. As good as it sounds, I just can't believe that Iran is and is going to do the things you are alledging. Many Iranians and other Arabs are educated in the West. They understand as well as we do the consequence of war. Total war would illiminate them. Conventional war would cause many problems; which is what we are seeing today. Nuclear War is not on their agenda. Nuclear power and possibily weapons may be on Iran's agenda. But that is more for their defensive needs than anything else. As time goes, the U.S. and its allies will develop other weapons of mass destruction that no one else will have. The Power of the World is in the West's hands. It shall remain there in my opinion until the end of days. However, economics propell problems between countries. The best defense for west is getting off of Oil for their needs. Once that is done, we shall be independent completely from Oil rich nations, thus assuring us of controlling our destiny. The best Defense, is a Strong offense. Not in war terms, but as mentioned above.

Posted by: JR | January 23, 2006 12:49 AM

This entire thing has gotten out of hand.

Gotham has been civil, for all his Bush apologism, and presented arguments that you all seem reluctant to face head on.

Nuclear weapons is not a political issue, it is life or death on a societal level.

When I hear that Karl Rove is the reason we shouldn't be concerned about Iran, I must ask, what the hell does Karl Rove have to do with Iran's nuclear agenda?

I have not been sufficiently convinced that I need to support Iran's "peaceful" nuclear program. If we were speaking of Iceland, whose President has yet to denounce a regional rival or make explicit statements about a religious/racial group's extermination, this wouldn't be an issue. Iceland has a claim to a peaceful nuclear progrma. Iran does not.

If there is any apologism going on it is for Ahmadinejad. I don't have to check out the Republican blogs to find out what he has said in the past, I can rely on the Washington Post and AP. He is a bad person, a scary person, and precisely the kind of person I wouldn't want having a "peaceful" nuclear program, let alone a viciously devastating one.

Any regular poster on the Debate who would attempt to paint me an Administration shill has just to read my past post history, which is substantial, condemning all kinds of Admin policy. From budget deficits to torture to warrantless wiretape.

Yet these issues pail in comparison to nuclear weapons in scope and consequence. I give a shit about ending Republicans reign in Congress and the Executive only so far. Once I hear that party discussing the "nuclear rights" of Iran, who has openly claimed it wants to destroy Israel and denied the holocaust, my patience is bent. I do not care for the political future of either American party more than I care for nuclear nonproliferation.

Either Ahmadinejad is representative of the Iranian people or he did not win a legitimate election. You cannot have it both ways. In this thread people have argued one and then the other. It is unfortunate that many in Iran do not support this nutjob, but the fact is he wont the vote (much like a domestic nutjob here in the states) and must be dealt with.

I have not overbearingly supported unilateral US military intervention; but I do support any position that discourages Iran from pursuing nuclear energy; peaceful or not.

For all the "sabre rattling" over how the United States has been inconsistent with the NPT, what our President has been consistent is with his lack of genocidal statements. It's unfortunate that Bush is my President because I did not vote for him. But that doesn't make Iranian nonproliferation any less valid.

I've read through over 100 posts and I've yet to hear one reasonable defense of Ahmadinejad from anyone other than (I)nsider (who is a valuable intellectual resource we should embrace).

Here are some questions I think need answering:

Does anyone think that Ahmadinejad is the type of person who should have The Bomb?

If Ahmadinejad is not hte type of person who should have The Bomb, then what type of person possibly shouldn't?

Which is more important: working to reduce the amount of nuclear weapons in the World, or winning a political election in the United States of America (assuming the two are not coterminous, which will require a more detailed argument than has been presented)?

Now, beyond that I feel for Gotham. He presents himself in a mostly civil way, and although he clearly supports a political party not shared by many here, this fact alone does not make him wrong. This "debate" is only so because there are differing viewpoints. If this was all a bunch of democratic handslapping and self-congratulating, this blog would be none-too-interesting. Say what you want about the Chris Fords, but they make this thing work and their absence would bore us all.

And here we have Gotham, who is more civil than Chris Ford. If for no other reason than our own intellectual enjoyment, I think he deserves a level of debate-involvement beyond "Oh that's what Karl Rove would say" or "Will you please stop apologizing for Bush" or "Don't be so dogmatic".

That's my opinion, though I'm sure it will demonize me among this group. As we've found with gun control (Errin and Chris) some issues make strange bed fellows of us all.

I mean no disrespect to anyone in my post and I've received nothing but respect from the vast majority of you (and I appreciate it). If anyone takes umbrage to what I've said, all apologies.

Also if I've repeated a point made or failed to address a criticism of one of my earlier posts, I just landed back home and I will address it in the future.

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.

Posted by: Will | January 23, 2006 12:57 AM

Iran deserves to be free. They are a noble people, run down by oppression and hate by those who rule her.

An oppressive regime can be expected to use all kinds of grotesque means to keep their heel on the people -- are they planning to murder their own people to frame up the West -- perhaps -- I would not put it past them -- Stalin and Mao murdered many millions to secure their rule when threatened from the inside.

The way I see it, is that Old Europe needs to be allowed to spin their wheels as far as is reasonable and prudent in order to naturalize their propaganda and obstructionist tendencies before any serious move is made, The current system that supports their propaganda against America is collapsing, and will not last for long.

The trick is knowing when the socialist Europeans are spent, and when it is time to make a move in the Iran situation that will matter.

No move the US makes in Iran will be 100% effective unless European socialism is allowed to run its dire course.

Some say we have five years time with Iran -- some say a year. Socialist Europe is entering a severe crisis due to this external threat -- but really we must make sure that they go down before their weakness creates a situation in which a nuclear exchange between the two might take place.

The extreme hostility that European socialists hold toward America is in its own way as caustic and dangerous as that held by the Iranian Mullahs -- and by letting this conflict escalate between them we are both tempting a dangerous fate and allowing a window of opportunity to open.

The trick is to know when to act -- and to act decisively.

God's speed to those charged with this dangerous task.

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 01:01 AM

"Many Iranians and other Arabs "

JR, there are about 2% Arabs in south western Iran. The largest group in Iran are Persians. Next are the Azeris, Kurds, Gilaks, Baluch, Turkamans and a number of other people who you might say think of themselves as Iranians.

Not a big deal, just wanted to make a minor clarification on some thing that ticks off a lot of Iranians.

Posted by: | January 23, 2006 01:02 AM

Sorry, the last post was mine.

Posted by: (I)nsider | January 23, 2006 01:03 AM


Dorood Doost,

I heard you loud and clear...and by the way...so has America heard the voice of Iranian patriots like yourself.

I won't sell you fairy tales, freedom won't come cheap, nor will it be easy or painless, but do not think of your self or your felow Iranians as powerless to effect change without help.

You'll have it, but your people must do this for themselves...time as I indicated in my previous post is quickly running out to do so of your own accord without intervention, or via war.

We do have VOA broadcasts into Iran, the internet ( I assume you have access ) , and of course there is old fashioned word of mouth to get a couple million folks into the streets all at once on a set date.

Now is the time if there ever was one to do so.

Ba Sepaas,

EJ

Posted by: Eric Jette | January 23, 2006 01:13 AM

I just read your post Will -- and I thank you for your support -- and you are right I do try to be civil. But I have a bad feeling about this thing -- and I feel it is my responsibility as an American and a human being to put the whole thing, warts and all out in the open before we come to regret our actions or inactions.

Imho this thing is not as simple as sending in some bombers to blow up some nuclear plants -- or alternatively accepting Iran building nukes to threaten Europe with.

What is happening imho, is the possible end of a Western European system that has existed since the end of the Cold War, and a new beginning for the people of Iran -- if only America knows when make the right move at the right time.

We have played this game masterfully up to this point as far as Europe goes -- but from here on out the situation gets a lot more complicated and dangerous.

Bluster and avoidence can only lead to disaster.

And disaster is very bad for the hullabalution.

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 01:20 AM

Thanks insider for the information. Knowledge is strength, and strength is power. Oil is a weapon, lets free ourselves of oil by utilizing other resources for transportation etc. Lets really set the world arena with a new world order that cares for the people, and the environment.
We would be all much better off. Economics have lead to all past wars. The U.S. has the ability to lead the world into a new era.

Posted by: JR | January 23, 2006 01:37 AM

Will,

With respect, let me clarify your quote here:
"Either Ahmadinejad is representative of the Iranian people or he did not win a legitimate election. You cannot have it both ways. In this thread people have argued one and then the other. It is unfortunate that many in Iran do not support this nutjob, but the fact is he wont the vote (much like a domestic nutjob here in the states) and must be dealt with."

1. He is not "representitive" of the Iranian people, either in mindset, or politically.

2. Actually it is fortunate that many in Iran do not support this S.O.B.

3. He didn't "win" any vote...only 15% of the population voted, the rest boycotted that sham election...the man was hand picked by the guardian council, and if you thought the 2000 US election was a basket case...here's a little inside vinette of how an Iranian election works:

Friend of mine has family there...one of them, well placed in gov. service made a comment regarding the June election...he was overheard, arrested....then released on the day of that sham election on the conditions that he get 30 family members to vote...three times apiece...or else...

Gives new perspective on the old Chicago machine line..."vote early...vote often." eh?

Posted by: | January 23, 2006 01:49 AM

The Iran issue is being trumped up during an election year. If you can't see this, Will, then you need to be more knowledgable in how politicians and political advisors operate. Civility or no, Gotham has an agenda behind his overblowing this Iran situation. It is hard for me to buy into him acting as though he cares about Iran and the Iranian people when it is obvious he just thinks it's an issue that will score Bush & Co some points this year. I'm skeptical of the timing of all this. The Republicans trumped up the Iraq threat during 2002, so do you mind telling me why I shouldn't be suspicious of them trumping up Iran as a threat this time around as well? And what exactly do you disagree with Bush on, Will? You seem to always want to qualify how non-Bush you are right before you launch into a pro-Bush diatribe, so I'd like to hear how you disagree with Bush and his policies for once. How do you excuse the corruption that's gone on in recent years? How do you excuse Karl Rove using OUR national security as a pawn in his political chess game? Do you excuse the Katrina incident the same way Gotham does? We've heard plenty from you in support of Bush and the Republicans... let's hear some criticism if you really want to qualify yourself as the impartial person you claim to be.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 01:54 AM

Some say we have five years time with Iran -- some say a year. Posted by: Gotham | Jan 23, 2006 1:01:09 AM

Says you. The common assessment is 5 years. 1 year is way too early; You're just desperate to trump this up for more than it is. We've heard this same tune about Iraq in 2002... that it was going to have nuclear capability far sooner than it ever was. It didn't even have WMDs... Iraq's threat was overblown for express political purposes.
Every post from you is chomping at the bit to overblow the Iran situation, Gotham. Do you mind putting forth anything from 2005, the NON-election year, wherein you expressed the same sentiment for the Iranian people? Are we really to believe a blindly loyal Bushie like you cares for the Iranians beyond them being a means to your political goals here at home? You've already shown that you will say ANYTHING to blindly defend George Bush and the Republicans, so how can we consider you to be truly sincere about the wellbeing of the Iranians? Spin and partisan politics is what tops your agenda, not human compassion. Again, you insult people's intelligence with your blatant agenda and inability to be honest and straightforward.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 02:09 AM

Erin,

You already have my up against the wall as an 'enemy of the people'.

Why the hell should I listen to anything you have to say any longer?

Your hate consumes you love -- and your blindness defines you.

You have revealed more to the people here then is good for you -- it is a sad thing that you have done this to yourself -- but with knowledge comes sadness. It is an unavoidable process that is as old as the world.

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 02:26 AM

"Does anyone think that Ahmadinejad is the type of person who should have The Bomb?"

I know there is a lot of strong feelings about the leadership of Islamic Republic here, but please don't lose sight of the fact that it is Ayatollah Khamenei who is ultimately in charge (http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ir.html) and he has been there even when Mr. Khatami was the president. Furthermore when it comes to centers of influence, Iran and America rival each other in informal, and ambiguous structures. How many people had heard of Scooter Libby or knew the official responsibilities of Wolfowitz when they played such central roles in taking your country to war?

Having said that, Iranian position has been consistent throughout the years and is not driven by the individuals. May be we should invite an Iran specialist from Mosad or the CIA who no longer has agency obligations and can speak freely and honestly to tell you Iran has no active program for nuclear weapons. As bad as you think your intelligence services are, you can't tell me that neither the US nor Israel, having tried as hard as they have can not present an iota of public evidence pointing to a military nuclear program. Remember Iran is not North Korea, millions of expatriates and foreigners come and go and NSA listens to every cough, and yet, there is zilch, nada, no evidence.

And by the way I think it is very bad of the US government to blame the Iraq war on the CIA. Most people in intelligence services live and die anonymously and to take advantage of the fact that they cannot speak up for themselves is very unmanly.

And EJ, I should be the last one to give you a tip, but to be a good problem solver, first you need to be an excellent listener and I think you heard from other people today that as long as the west presses on the nuclear issue people won't come to the streets; also read (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/22/AR2006012200808.html). When we get close to that day, I'll post you an update. If you wish I might even send you an sms from the crowd. Who knows I might be even holding hands with Behrouz and the other guy.

Posted by: (I)nsider | January 23, 2006 02:34 AM

He's a rebel and a runner
He's a signal turning green
He's a restless young romantic
Wants to run the big machine

He's got a problem with his poisons
But you know he'll find a cure
He's cleaning up his systems
To keep his nature pure

Learning to match the beat of the old world man
Learning to catch the heat of the third world man

He's got to make his own mistakes
And learn to mend the mess he makes
He's old enough to know what's right
But young enough not to choose it
He's noble enough to win the world
But weak enough to lose it ---
He's a new world man...

He's a radio receiver
Tuned to factories and farms
He's a writer and arranger
And a young boy bearing arms

He's got a problem with his power
With weapons on patrol
He's got to walk a fine line
And keep his self-control

Trying to save the day for the old world man
Trying to pave the way for the third world man

He's not concerned with yesterday
He knows constant change is here today
He's noble enough to know what's right
But weak enough not to choose it
He's wise enough to win the world
But fool enough to lose it ---

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 02:36 AM

"Having said that, Iranian position has been consistent throughout the years and is not driven by the individuals."

Right -- and this means telling the EU to piss off on the nuke issue, demanding that they take all their Jews back, and pledging material support for terrorists against the Europeans is broad government policy for Iran -- yah?

If the government of Iran pushes the stumbling socialists in Europe hard enough quickly enough one dangerous situation will end up annihilating another.

Mission accomplished...

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 02:46 AM

Yes, Gotham, I believe that people like you who blindly support George Bush to the point of dishonesty are enemies of the people of this country. You seek to manipulate them with spin rather than be open and honest with them; You desire to manipulate our national security for your political goals. You simply have not been on the level in this debate, and truthfulness is treated as a hindrance by you.
I do not hate you. I am merely disgusted by your mindless conformity and the bold-faced lies you put forth to further your transparent agenda. I haven't lost any ground to you or hurt myself in the process, and the majority of people here have been disagreeing with you, not falling for your desperate attempts to make a storm-in-a-teapot out of this Iran situation. I'm here to be honest while you're here to spin. You really think people respect your opinion when it is so glaringly obvious that you will misrepresent and manipulate others with the party-line bullshit you spout forth? Give it a rest, Gotham.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 02:55 AM

Was that a serenade from you to your beloved George Bush, Gotham? LOL! : )

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 02:58 AM

You have me up against the wall as an enemy of the people Erin -- why try to argue with me any longer -- offer me a cigarette -- but don't pontificate any longer -- I have already made peace with my maker.

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 03:01 AM

"pledging material support for terrorists against the Europeans"? Hum. Some how that memo didn't make it to my desk!

But I won't be surprised if Europeans blame their domestic challenges on Iranian subversion. Did'nt Hitler blame the burning of the parliment on Jews? And yah, that Brazilian electrician who got his head blown off on London metro last year he must have been an Iranian agent too, not to mention those British born idiots who blew themselves off. And yah, don't forget Mc Veigh and Eric Rudolf or whatever his name was. And yah, John Allen Muhammad. Then there was our super agent Ted Kaczynski and the list goes on and on.

Posted by: (I)nsider | January 23, 2006 03:15 AM


Dear JR,

You wrote:

"I just can't believe that Iran is and is going to do the things you are alledging."

First JR, you should understand that the mullahs and Antar ( Farsi for monkey, and the Iranian president's most commonly refered to "title" among Iranians) represent an extreme mindset based on the 12th Imman...who is supposedly to return to right injustice in the world, for seven years until the end of days...the "end times"

The circumstance surrounding that mythological "return" are the most grevious imaginable...war, pestilence...vast destruction on a global scale.

The sole stated (publicly) intent of this current regime, is not changed from any other since 1979, when the Islamic revolution occured in Iran.

It is to hasten and creat the conditions for the mahdi's ( the 12 Imman) return.

Supposedly this child Imman dissapeared in 961 AD down a well, and that well and the mosque nearby has been granted millions of dollars (in US value) of Iranian government money. ( just a side note )

More to the point, Antar claimes that during his UN speech, he was "surrounded by green light" and the presence of the Mahdi held all the world's leaders in rapt attention..."without blinking their eyes"

Funny that, the US walked out...I guess he didn't notice....chuckle.

I digress...let me repeat:

The circumstance surrounding that mythological "return" are the most grevious imaginable...war, pestilence...vast destruction on a global scale.

The sole publicly stated policy of this regime is to hasten and create the conditions for the mahdi's ( the 12 Imman) return.

--------

200,000 Iranians per year came to America to study and earn their degrees prior to the 79 revolution (the largest number from any country to do so at that time)

95% of the current population of Iran (some 70 million people total) is in opposition not only to the regime, but is fully aware of the threat it represents to them, as well as the family of nations.

Why then one may ask, is this regime still in power?

Fear, repression, the power of the gun.

------

To try and rationalize the intent of this regime by western standards of thought is not possible, just as it is not possible to comprehend Pat Buchanan's mindset..chuckle..one could say he's off his nut...insane...but that's not the case with the regime...there's a logic...a calculated concious intent to the regime's intent and behavior, both domesticly and internationally.

you state:

"Nuclear War is not on their agenda."

That is a false and dangerous assumption, based on the evidence of statement alone coming consistantly from this regime.

You state:

"They understand as well as we do the consequence of war. Total war would illiminate them."

If you mean by "they" being the people of Iran, that is correct. But we are talking about a regime that is less than 1/10th of 1% of the population, weilding absolute power over the rest, who state publicly that the greatest contribution an individual can make is to seek martyrdom.

A regime which by the way posts public advertiszments seeking martyrs for suicide opperations against the west, has no regard for the welfare of its people, and violates their human rights and dignity in every aspect.

You state:

"Nuclear power and possibily weapons may be on Iran's agenda. But that is more for their defensive needs than anything else."

Again, you are trying to rationalize this regime via western standard...this is a theocratic megolomaniacal regime which seeks to expand it's influence in the region, and spread it's warped interpretation of Islam globally.

To do so, they have publicy stated their intent to create a world without America or Israel, or western civilization which the include all of in their definition of "the evil of Zionism".

you state:

"The Power of the World is in the West's hands. It shall remain there in my opinion until the end of days."

Perhaps, but the point is that this regime is doing everything possible to create those "end of days", as a matter of policy.

Thus, when you understand these things, (and you are welcome to do your own research into it, like I have) then you will perhaps be able to do the kind of "red-team" thinking that has enabled me to crawl into the warped and twisted reality in the head of "monkey boy" Nejad, and the sect of Shiite Islam he belongs to, along with every member of his apointed cabinet, the Ayattollah, and the Quods force (an elite part of the Revolutionary Guard).

Posted by: | January 23, 2006 03:17 AM


Oops, forgot to imput name on that last post to JR

Posted by: Eric Jette | January 23, 2006 03:21 AM

"pledging material support for terrorists against the Europeans"? Hum. Some how that memo didn't make it to my desk!"

Oh yah, in Syria two days ago, Iran's glorious leader again delivered his taunt to Europe that they should 'take their Jews back from Islamic lands' followed closely by a pledge of moral and material support for terrorist groups.

Now, we might take this as simply the usual admonition to murder Jews in Israel, but if you look at the thing closely you will see that the real message is that if it were not for the Europeans there would be no Jews and no Israel in 'Islamic lands'.

The Iranian leadership is telling the Muslims that it is the Europeans that have thrust this 'Jewish scourge' on the Muslim people, and promising that they will provide material support for them to hit back at these European rogues, who lie about the holocaust in order to murder Muslims.

Iran is encouraging an attack on Europe and promising that they will provide them with the means.

At the same time, France is promising that any large scale attack on them could trigger a nuclear attack on Iran.

One bunch of nuts poking the other with a stick that is.

Out of control I say -- lets hope this whole thing don't end in tears -- eh?

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 03:35 AM

The chamber was in confusion - all the voices shouting loud.
I could only just hear, a voice quite near say, "Please help me through the crowd"
'Said if I helped her thru' she could help me too, but I could
see that she was wholly blind.
But from her pale face and her pale skin, the moonlight shined.

Lilywhite Lilith,
She gonna take you thru' the tunnel of night
Lilywhite Lilith,
She gonna lead you right...

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 03:59 AM

You have me up against the wall as an enemy of the people Erin -- why try to argue with me any longer -- offer me a cigarette -- but don't pontificate any longer -- I have already made peace with my maker.
Posted by: Gotham | Jan 23, 2006 3:01:57 AM

A few others and I have you up against the wall for what you are, Gotham. A person that views the American electorate as something to manipulate through spin and dishonesty is certainly not a friend of the people, especially saber-rattlers like you that trump up national security situations with an express purpose of political manipulation. Why, look at your attempts right now to overblow and distort this Iran situation... you care nothing about being honest with people, but would rather dishonestly make an issue out of Iran right now, creating a false urgency where there is none. You know, like the false urgency over Iraq in 2002, only it's Iran this time.
Let people like Will think of you as civil. You are a troublemaker and an instigator, Gotham, trying to manipulate the Iran situation in a way so blatant that it insults our intelligence. Problem is, the Iran situation is something best handled by removing agitators like you from the equation. Believe it or not, there is more to national security than it just being a political tool for people like you. If Iran is as serious a problem as you claim it to be (overblow it to be, that is), then all the more reason to remove partisan rabblerousers like you from the equation since you solely want to twist the situation to your own political designs and thereby compromise our national security interests.
You are a Bush apologist and a partisan conservative extremist, Gotham, and that should be weighed in by everybody when they read your posts, as you have a political agenda that you're willing to lie for. I realize you Republicans are desperate this year and have your corrupt backs to the wall, but you will not be able to manipulate the American people through fear and military aggression this time around. You certainly haven't been very successful with the arguments you've been making here, nor has your party been very successful in governing. The GOP can only be trusted to politicize the Iran issue, and to compromise our national security for their own political goals (not too mention that the rampant corruption in their ranks compromises our national security as well). I'll save you a cigarette to smoke come Election Day, Gotham.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 04:04 AM

Here's some more lyrics for you, Gotham. A song called 'Think For Yourself' from a band called the Beatles:

I've got a word or two
To say about the things that you do
You're telling all those lies
About the good things that we can have
If we close our eyes

Do what you want to do
And go where you're going to
Think for yourself
'Cause I won't be there with you

I left you far behind
The ruins of the life that you had in mind
And though you still can't see
I know your mind's made up
You're gonna cause more misery

Do what you want to do
And go where you're going to
Think for yourself
'Cause I won't be there with you

Although your mind's opaque
Try thinking more if just for your own sake
The future still looks good
And you've got time to rectify
All the things that you should

Do what you want to do
And go where you're going to
Think for yourself
'Cause I won't be there with you

These lyrics fit you much better than the ones you've posted. : )

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 04:14 AM

Lock and load Erin, as an enemy of the people I am ready for your summary justice -- but I will simply not listen to your pontifications any longer.

What drives you to torture me with your bland rhetoric before you order the firing squad to fire?

Is it a pang of guilt that drives you to impose on me such rhetorical horrors?

In these last moments I have in this world I am reminded of the child poet;

Once, if my memory serves me well, my life was a banquet where every heart revealed itself, where every wine flowed.

One evening I took Beauty in my arms - and I thought her bitter - and I insulted her.

I steeled myself against justice.

I fled. O witches, O misery, O hate, my treasure was left in your care!

I have withered within me all human hope. With the silent leap of a sullen beast, I have downed and strangled every joy.

I have called for executioners; I want to perish chewing on their gun butts. I have called for plagues, to suffocate in sand and blood. Unhappiness has been my god. I have lain down in the mud, and dried myself off in the crime-infested air. I have played the fool to the point of madness.

And springtime brought me the frightful laugh of an idiot.

Now recently, when I found myself ready to croak! I thought to seek the key to the banquet of old, where I might find an appetite again.

That key is Charity. - This idea proves I was dreaming!

"You will stay a hyena, etc...," shouts the demon who once crowned me with such pretty poppies. "Seek death with all your desires, and all selfishness, and all the Seven Deadly Sins."

Ah! I've taken too much of that: - still, dear Satan, don't look so annoyed, I beg you! And while waiting for a few belated cowardices, since you value in a writer all lack of descriptive or didactic flair, I pass you these few foul pages from the diary of a Damned Soul.

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 04:19 AM

(I)nsider
=========================================================
Iran meant business, and all it got in return was foot dragging. It is pretty insulting telling another nation what they can or cannot do, coming from countries whose military adventurism is only limited by their capabilities.
=========================================================
I've no way of assessing the first 3 words, but I can certainly agree with the second sentence. But this still leaves the world to find some common agreement on what the limits should be and how to enforce them, particularly with respect to nuclear weapons which at heart terrify the super, not so super, wannabe super, and never will be super, equally. Yes?


=========================================================
Whatever one thinks of Bush, at least we know the guy is single minded in staying his course, right or wrong, and people in the Middle East respect that. Chirac and most Europeans change their mind more often than they change their underwear. Fogive my rudeness
=========================================================
I grant the President the same respect for the same reason, though I differ with his choice of course. As you may have noted (hopefully with more amusement than insult) we have a considerable degree of difficulty focusing on any particular alternate course, either on this blog, in our legislature, or within our opposition political party. Do you have any constructive suggestions for us. Certainly you will find we have many such for you, though I can't say you would necessarily see them as constructive.


Going back to your earlier posts. I am curious to know, from your perspective, what took the life out of the reform movement which Mr. Ahminijhad so unexpectedly (here anyway) trounced in this last election. Was it disillusionment with the former President's leadership, disaffection with the economy, resistance born in religious conservatism throughout the country, Razfanjani himself (not so sure of that spelling)? It puzzles me a bit because this guy was the Mayor of Tehran and hardly an unknown quantity in the main metropolis of young people.

I'm also curious about the "Supreme Council", or whatever it is formally called. We usually just say "the mullahs", not always respectfully either. But I'm sure it has its own politics, its own supporting structure. What we don't have is any idea of how uniform it is, what their perspective is, what kind of issues divide them, what kind unite them, looking outside or domestically. So anything you might have or be able to share about that would be very illuminating. We occasionally get documentaries on the plight of women there, student groups, start up newspapers being shut down, etc., but its always difficult to assess whether these are really representative or not. All of these take money, and some special interest(s) provide it. There is always a piper somewhere. Our general media find nothing newsworthy in the doings of the mullahs on a day by day basis until a few thousand people find something worth protesting, preferably with placards saying "Death to America", in English of course. So really, if you can illuminate, please do. I do know that my favorite species tulips have their origins in Iran.

Personally, it is difficult for me to see how the NPT treaty can possibly be made to work in the long run. It rests on the fallacious assumption that we will get to total nuclear disarmament. We won't, less because of US unwillingness, than because of Russian unwillingness. Russia has a big border with China, which has a billion people on the move. In the due course of time Russia will not be able to defend itself conventionally against China. Russia really does need nuclear weapons for defensive security purposes. Pakistan has a nearly identical relationship with India. So as long as there are nations which could be overwhelmed by neighboring nations using conventional forces, there is compelling logic for nuclear weapons for defensive security purposes, as Israel claims its are, or would be if it acknowledged having them. Doesn't everybody?

For this reason I don't see how we will rid the world of the weapons themselves. They actually can serve a perfectly legitimate purpose and looking at Iran's geopolitical situation a legitimate purpose for them is hardly deniable, and no one has outlined that case better than Chris Ford. One only has to think back to the early 90's when Saddam's nuclear program came to light, surprising intelligence services everywhere. Now Iran's intelligence service may have been better, may not have been surprised. I couldn't possibly know. But certainly there must have been among the mullahs, the government, the populace, a level of fear justifiably much more direct and immediate than ours would be. This is the same fellow who rained Scuds on Iranian territory and gassed thousands of Iranian infantry just a few years before, right? I doubt if that would have happened had Iran nuclear weapons then and I can't imagine that no Iranian is bright enough to figure that out. So I think it is pretty silly for everyone to go around denying the obvious.

So I think NPT is, at its heart, a fool's errand. Unless the world can offer the same level of defensive security provided by nukes, and no one has come even close to doing that, we are going to have nukes and we better get used to it.

The better control target is not the existence of nuclear weapons, this has some merit, but rather, the offensive use of them. We could all, without exception, probably agree that the latter has no merit, none, ever. We might even be able to agree that the only justifiable defensive use of a nuclear weapon would be in direct defense of an invasion across a nation's physical borders or a direct nuclear attack......none of this self-defense pre-emptive future threat BS. We might even be able to agree that any nation that violates this rule is assured of destruction as a nation, i.e. is simply executed. This would have to apply equally to France of course, should it respond as it has hinted without actually suffering an invasion or a nuclear attack. And to Israel should it launch a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran's nuclear infrastructure. And to Iran should it launch a nuclear attack on Israel. And so on, and so on. This is simply an extension of the concept of mutually assured destruction which, whether we like it or not, has ultimately brought stability to the SuperPower Club. Even when it is mutual, it is the assured destruction part that puts a clamp on the use of the damn things.

Assuming, for the moment, that execution in these circumstances was indeed assured (and yes, that is a separately debatable assumption), can you see a good reason why any nation should not agree, should take exception to it? Is there any reason why any nation should fear nuclear weapons in Iran's or Israel's hands under this regime? Is there any reason why the IAEC need go any further than to ensure the proper physical control and security of all nuclear materials and weapons within the state?

Take care ...... and please keep writing on this or later threads. It's a relief to read common sense once in a while. :o)

Posted by: Cayambe | January 23, 2006 04:21 AM

I've always thought these lyrics about George Bush were insightful, too, Gotham. Enjoy this description of the politician you worship as a flawless hero:

The prince was in his castle when I drove up to the gates
In my '99 Surburban, forest green with Texas plates
I brought a bag of money, Krugerands & blue chip stocks
And he said, "Let's have a party, shut the doors so we can talk"
He put my cash into his Bible, said a prayer for our survival
Cut a line on Genesis, held my hand and whispered this:
Relax, there'll be no warning for the next attack
Relax, and there's a discount on your income tax
Relax, if they're suspicious we'll just change the facts
Relax, 'cause once we've started, no, we can't turn back
We can't turn back, relax...
The people need a leader who is confident & strong
So I get so lifted that I can do no wrong
If they got questions, I tell 'em what to think
And when it gets too much for me I have another drink
I didn't need to get elected, when I was born I was selected
To lead you to our destiny, The Prince of Lies claims victory
Good night, sweet prince

Thanks to the talented Bobby Conn for those lyrics to his song 'Relax'. I think George Bush is more akin to the Machiavellian caricature in the song rather than the boy scout Gotham tries to make him out to be.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 04:28 AM

By all means, Gotham, disengage from debating with me. You've been a minor distraction, and I'll gladly go back to making my points about Iran, saber-rattling, and Karl Rove without you trying to interfere with them. You've been an excellent platform for me to put forth my views on the matter (indeed, you are a fine example of politically manipulative saber-rattling), but it's not like I need you to put forth my views here. I look forward to making all my points about the shameful conduct of Republicans of late without you trying to defend the GOP. Thanks for the re-assurance that you conservative types are going to have a rather tough year ahead of you, one that will culminate in a loss of political power. It made me very happy to see you throw in the towel when it comes to debating me point for point, Guess the ol' spin machine isn't as effective as it used to be. Pity. : )

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 04:43 AM

Insider,

You wrote:
"And EJ, I should be the last one to give you a tip, but to be a good problem solver, first you need to be an excellent listener and I think you heard from other people today that as long as the west presses on the nuclear issue people won't come to the streets;"

Oh, I heard that, and I happened to read the article as well...

Maybe you arn't as "inside" as you claim...see, there's been ongoing protests, a near total rebellion in Kurdistan, Balochistan, and other areas...the problem, and why I said a couple million...en mass is that's the number I figure it would take to be self sustaining without being crushed by the regime as these other protests have been.

So please don't try and tell me the people won't go into the streets, they have been on a regular basis for some time now, as a matter of near tradition at this point...

The press, especially foreign, cannot report if it makes derogatory remarks against the regime...even Al jezeera was banned for reporting on the unrest in southern Iran..So I don't take the Wash Post article as anything more than a manipulated regime sponsored "set-up" theater.

The other fact is the west isn't opposed to nuclear power, it is the fuel cycle in the hands of a regime that sponsors terror, threatens to wipe other UN member states off the map, that concerns them because it is that fuel cycle enrichment that can produce weapons grade fissile material.

In addition to the UN condemming the IRI's human rights record, the annual release of the State Dept's human right report noting Iran as one of the globe's worst offenders, the public call for ganji's release, along with all political prisoners, the EU has as well laid the regimes record out front and center...condeming the IRI unanimously as well as Canada (who tabled the UN resolution on human rights in Iran).

If the Iranian people don't know this...then that is the fault of western media's inattention to these facts, and the lack of reporting on them.

But I've seen every one of those stories covered by pro democracy Iranian press outside Iran...including regime's response to these measures in support of the Iranian people.

VOA broadcasts, Persian language TV, all covered these events.

I laugh when I hear someone has taken a poll in Iran...like the people have the ability to freely express themselves or something, or that it's any more accurate, free and fairly done than the apointment the regime tried to pass off to the west as some kind of excercise in democratic electorial politics...complete with Campaign posters in ENGLISH on the streets of Tehran.

Here's a tip: The regime is desperate for legitimacy, because it HAS NONE with the people....

So it pushes the west to condemnation, and a war, to bolster domestic support.

It won't work...the people have been there done that before....How many plastic keys did the regime pass out to the kids they martyred in the minefields during the Iran/iraq war? Those Chinese made plastic keys to paradise?

"give us Nukes" the regime cries today, and yeah perhaps some will think they are the new keys to paradise....Russian made.
The regime is counting on that, in more ways than one.

Any intelligent Iranian has to ask themselves if they can trust the freindly folks that brought the world Chernobyl to built them nuclear power plants, in an earthquake prone nation.

Be careful what you ask for is my advice to those that have been sucked into the regime's propaganda.

Because wanting something is a whole lot different than having it and having to live with it.

Posted by: Eric Jette | January 23, 2006 04:50 AM

Cayambe

You have left one question out of your post that is the true burning issue -- and that is why are the mullahs seeking nukes as they taunt the Europeans in the worst possible way and promise moral and material support to terrorist groups?

Is this not a threat to Europe?

And if a large attack should come to pass on European interests out of these loud admonitions from Iran's leadership to Muslims at large for action -- are the mullahs truly ready for what comes next?

You have not asked if Insider feels that Iran's current rhetoric against Europe and promises of material support for terrorists might trigger a disaster of biblical proportions if such a thing is carried through by those who look to his guidance.

Isn't this the pertinent question here?

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 04:52 AM

"By all means, Gotham, disengage from debating with me."

Does this mean reprieve from the firing squad -- even though I am an enemy of the people?

From whom do you derive such authority -- are you risking your own life to save mine?

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 04:56 AM

Eric Jette wrote:
"The circumstance surrounding that mythological "return" are the most grevious imaginable...war, pestilence...vast destruction on a global scale."

Sounds like something the Reverend Robertson might say to the voters of a town in Pennsylvania. :o)

And lay off Pat Buchanan will you? Every once in a while he is on my side.

Posted by: Cayambe | January 23, 2006 05:24 AM

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!

The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me
That with music loud and long
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 05:25 AM

I didn't think you'd revert to pointless babbling, Gotham. Our debate is truly over now that you've backed down from me and instead obsess about some weird firing squad and being the 'enemy of the people'. You're not even making sense anymore. and your spin is starting to get downright weird.
This is how the conservatives are going to handle themselves in 2006, Gotham? Folding as easily as you fold?
Keep hiding behind your bizarre firing squad fantasy. It doesn't mask the fact that you have thrown in the towel when it comes to debating me. Way to cut n run like a paper tiger Republican.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 05:25 AM

Some firing squad you are -- what about protecting the people from their enemies?

Has all that gone by the boards now Erin?

When you have an enemy in your grasp you should destroy them -- because if you don't you run the risk of having the tables turned on you in a bad way.

I waited for the shots as an enemy of the people -- and they never came...

What do you suppose will come next?

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 05:39 AM

And lay off Pat Buchanan will you? Every once in a while he is on my side.
Posted by: Cayambe | Jan 23, 2006 5:24:02 AM

Every once in a while, Cayambe, Pat Buchanan is eerily omniscient. At the end of every year on the McLaughlin Group, participants are asked to make predictions about the next year. Here's an excerpt from the last McLaughlin show of 2004:

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Macro prediction, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, I believe that by the end of 2005, George Bush will be in the low 40s. I think his administration will be afflicted with scandals. I think their deep divisions inside the Republican Party will have surfaced. And I think we will have ourselves a hellish situation that will divide the country on Iraq. It's not good news, but I sense it is coming.

Basically, Pat Buchanan called 2005 perfectly, the only thing missing was Hurricane Katrina, but even then he essentially foresaw something like that coming along to spell bad times for the Republicans. So, I don't know if you were joking about Buchanan or not, but he does actually say things of interest now and then.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 05:43 AM

I waited for the shots as an enemy of the people -- and they never came...
What do you suppose will come next?
Posted by: Gotham | Jan 23, 2006 5:39:57 AM

I don't know... maybe you making sense and being cohesive? Instead we get this obsessive tangent from you about firing squads and enemies of the people. You don't want to debate with me, then you do want to debate me with me, then you don't... I think I need to consult the grand swami Pat Buchanan to see if he can predict what the hell you are talking about lately, Gotham. You sure have degenerated from putting up any sort of real fight. Is your will broken, or has your mind just snapped?

Posted by: | January 23, 2006 05:50 AM

That last one was mine, of course. : )

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 05:51 AM

What's all this Pat Buchanan stuff all about Erin -- what has this to do with protecting the people from their enemies?

You are protecting the people from their enemies aren't you Erin?

The Central Committee does not want to hear about apparatchicks who do not follow through with their duties.

Failure in an endeavor like that is a grave sin you know.

A grave sin....

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 05:53 AM

You labeled me an enemy of the people Erin -- that is a serious charge -- one that is not to be taken lightly.

Who am I to belittle a charge like that?

Who are any of us to brush off lightly a charge that we are an enemy of the people?

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 05:57 AM

Amazing, just amazing that a Lib would think of Pat as being "spot on". Traditional conservatives have warned about that junk for years, and the neocons and Left wing fringe elements keep ignoring it. Now the Left wing fringe elements want to ride our tide?

Get lost and find your own ideals, don't *steal* them from others and pimp them like they're your whores.

Only Traditional Conservatives haven't forgotten about the Constitution; what small government means; what immigration can do to wreak our country; what unprotected borders can bring; what a country that's federal military, if too large and too powerful, can do to the States and their residents; and what is lost of our national soul when 200 years worth of good principles are washed away by communist/socialist/terrorist friendly anarchistic fifth column types.

All those values have been a platform l-o-n-g before today. And they're tried and true to keep a nation fit, not divided into little Balkan states based on race and socio-economics.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 23, 2006 06:01 AM

Sandy

I am just trying to get over the fact that I have been fingered as an enemy of the people, yet I am still breathing.

You are going too fast for me.

In time I will regain my composure, but for now I am simply happy that I can marvel at the glory of the starry sky.

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 06:07 AM

Gotham, you've cracked. I have indeed said that your stance of blindly lying for political purposes puts you at odds with the American people. You care more for the political class than you do about the people of this country. You spin and lie and insult the intelligence of the voters. Anybody can take a look at your manipulative nature and see that you are more of an enemy to all of us than a friend. That's all I ever said, not the weird firing squad scenario you are obsessing about. The way you desperately cling to that scenario now is pathetic. As usual, all your words have a self-serving agenda. You are here to engage in sophistry, not honest debate.
To re-iterate, the American people are tired of political operatives like Gotham that declare war on their own people every election year, seeking to take their votes by any manipulative means necessary, from bold-faced lies to trumped up military crises. No firing squad is necessary; The ballot box will take care of the likes of Gotham come Election Day 2006.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 06:21 AM

Gotham wrote:
===========================================
"In time I will regain my composure, but for now I am simply happy that I can marvel at the glory of the starry sky."
===========================================

Hello, friend! :D

Amateur astronomer with cloudy skies and rain here. :cry: And it's a prime time to see the last of Orion before it hides below the horizon again. :cry: :cry:

Just think of it, our little solar system is in the Orion Arm of this "Milky Way" SBb galaxy. And by a miracle, we can see outside the dust lanes enough to see our place in the universe.

Yep, it's a great way to compose oneself.

BTW, just ignore ErrinF. Usually she's okay, but she's playing to her fringe pals that's angry with WP, so is thumping her small chest to "fit in". :o

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 23, 2006 06:22 AM

I have been watching Mars arc his way across the southern sky for quite some time -- sometimes he rides shotgun with the moon -- when he dips below the horizon I know that soon the sun is bound to show her face.

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 06:29 AM

Once again, SandyK can't leave me alone. All I ever said was that Pat Buchanan was eerily omniscient in his predictions about 2005. That's a far cry from me advocating his politics. Sheesh. I'd love to know why *good* debater Sandy can't seem to post a topic these days without including my posts constantly. Really, I'm flatterred at this point, Sandy, but please stop depending on my posts as inspiration for your own. Like Gotham, you're getting weird at this point. If you're going to claim to be a pro, start acting like one, Sandy.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 06:33 AM

I think you might like this site Sandy -- you can set the thing to any spot on the earth -- but the particular link I have given you is set for the Gotham sky. The background changes color as the sun rises and sets.

http://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/uncgi/Yourhorizon?lat=40.751700&lon=73.994200&azimuth=0&z=2&elements=

Enjoy my friend.

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 06:34 AM

Gotham,
I'll answer you, but in return I expect you to make good on your promise to ignore Errin. It just eats up too much bandwidth for no purpose whatsoever.

"You have left one question out of your post that is the true burning issue -- and that is why are the mullahs seeking nukes as they taunt the Europeans in the worst possible way and promise moral and material support to terrorist groups?"

"Is this not a threat to Europe?"

I thought I explained pretty clearly why they ought to be seeking nukes, and that had nothing to do with Europe, so it is entirely incidental that taunting the Europeans coincides and support to terrorist groups is going on, as it has been for more years than I care to count. Also it is not actually the Mullahs who are taunting Europe. It is their elected President doing the taunting. Not to unlike our President's "Bring it on" comment is it? I think Kerry did the same to Bush at one time, didn't he? Actually, what offends people the most seems to be his request that Europe take back its refugees who happen to be Jews. Not that we don't have plenty of folk here trying to send our refugees back to Haiti, or Mexico, or Nicaraqua, or China, or whatever. I don't suppose that the Mexicans might think we are threatening them, or that we are racist or anything? What do you think?

No, I would not say that this is a threat to Europe. Neither the rhetoric (come on free speech is free speech isn't it? Are you a threat to Errin or she to you from your rhetoric?) or the nukes which don't even really exist yet. Even if they did, lets face it, between the Brits and the French they have more than enough nukes to blow Iran away 10 times over, don't they? Do you really believe all those Mullahs are into martyrdom for themselves?


"And if a large attack should come to pass on European interests out of these loud admonitions from Iran's leadership to Muslims at large for action -- are the mullahs truly ready for what comes next?"

No, they aren't, and that is why you won't see any nukes headed in Europe's direction out of Iran.


"You have not asked if Insider feels that Iran's current rhetoric against Europe and promises of material support for terrorists might trigger a disaster of biblical proportions if such a thing is carried through by those who look to his guidance.

Isn't this the pertinent question here?"

No, I don't think the question you outline is pertinent. First, we would have to establish what "such a thing" really is with a bit more precision. If by "material support for terrorists" you mean Iran slips a nuke into some terrorist cell in Paris and they blow up the town with it, then yes, both Paris and the whole of Iran will experience a disaster of biblical proportions, and I don't need Insider to tell me that. France will survive, Iran won't. France will know real quick where it came from based on the signature of the bomb itself. The rest of us will be terrified out of our soiled pants. If you mean Iran slips some C-4 or better Czech stuff into a terrorist cell in Paris and they blow up the Lourve with it or the subway or something, then I imagine you will see a disaster of something less than biblical proportions; something more along the lines of Madrid or London. The Iranians are awfully good at what they do in this area. They have had an awful lot of practice, and its like anything else, skill comes to those who practice, practice, practice. So you are not likely in this case to find fingerprints and a trail leading back to Tehran. Unlike Binnie, you won't see them jumping up and taking public credit to energize recruiting. No, France will be stuck with doing oodles and oodles of policework and local manhunts trying to get enough evidence together to justify squishing someone somewhere. Who knows. Maybe the Iranians slip it in to one of Binnies cells and send the French chasing after him. If it is Chirac, he will hate twisting in the wind but that is how it would be.

We really do need to settle down a bit Gotham. We seem to be working up the same kind of mindless frenzy in Europe vis a vis Iran as we went thru in 2002 vis a vis Iraq. Isn't once enough? Trust me. Europe is not going to fall apart this year because Iran might get nuclear weapons some time in the next few years.

Posted by: Cayambe | January 23, 2006 07:04 AM

BTW, just ignore ErrinF. Usually she's okay, but she's playing to her fringe pals that's angry with WP, so is thumping her small chest to "fit in". :o
SandyK
Posted by: SandyK | Jan 23, 2006 6:22:30 AM

Whatever. Just follow your own advice and stop obsessing about me, Sandy.
And since when do you have to be dishonest, Sandy? I admonished the trolls just like you did, and you know that. You're being petty and childish when you accuse me of the opposite of what I really did. I don't think you're the great debater you imagine yourself to be, but you're good enough not to be lying about me being in cahoots with the very trolls I took to task for the other day. It's particularly unfair in that we were both admonishing the trolls at the same time, and that I made my statements in support of yours (and vice versa). If you think I trash blogs, you are entitled to your opinion, but that is simply untrue that I have any connection to the disruptive trolls from the other day. It'd be great if you could act like an adult for two seconds and recognize that, but I won't hold my breath.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 07:05 AM

Gotham, I'll answer you, but in return I expect you to make good on your promise to ignore Errin. It just eats up too much bandwidth for no purpose whatsoever.
We really do need to settle down a bit Gotham. We seem to be working up the same kind of mindless frenzy in Europe vis a vis Iran as we went thru in 2002 vis a vis Iraq. Isn't once enough? Trust me. Europe is not going to fall apart this year because Iran might get nuclear weapons some time in the next few years.
Posted by: Cayambe | Jan 23, 2006 7:04:48 AM

Thank you, Cayambe. As I expressed before, I'm more than happy to make my points without Gotham being involved. He said he was going to ignore me, then he suddenly switched to clinging on to me vehemently. Typical of those that spin... they'll tell you one thing one second and the opposite the next second as long as it helps perpetuate their agenda (truth be damned). But enough with wasting bandwidth...
I also appreciate the way you ended your post by pointing out that nobody wants Iran to be handled like Iraq was, especially when it comes to politicizing national security. Like I've been telling Gotham all along, the Iraq playbook of 2002 just isn't going to cut it in 2006. Gotham's blatant attempts to trump up the Iran situation along those lines continue to fail, just like it will fail for the GOP if they adopt such a strategy this election year (which I think they will). Not only will saber-rattling be ineffective in 2006, but it will also be counterproductive when it backfires upon the Republicans. I look forward to posting further on the subject without Gotham being included. : )

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 07:22 AM

"The Iranians are awfully good at what they do in this area. They have had an awful lot of practice, and its like anything else, skill comes to those who practice, practice, practice. So you are not likely in this case to find fingerprints and a trail leading back to Tehran."

If many thousands die in a city like Paris in some terrorist outrage there is no chance that the crime will be 'untraceable'.

If you think this is the case you don't understand how western governments operate.

Massive retaliation in such a situation is a given.

And don't say 'against who?' -- it will be against those who are taunting them and promising material support for those who would attack Europe.

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 09:14 AM

Eric Jette , thanks for the feedback. I would be more than happy to do some research into the area. The end of days are also spoke in the book of Revelations. Many fanatical christians believe Bush is the Anti Christ. Religion is dangerous; I understand your position and respect it. However, at this point, without researching further, I do believe firmly that Iran is not dangerous. Israel is the country that is dangerous. But I will look into your analogy.

Posted by: JR | January 23, 2006 10:16 AM

Gotham, Read-READ-READ. Your beginning to appear like the Bush-Cheney group. If your proud of the leadership, so be it, but please read and open your mind ( get out of the brainwashed box) to the other side. The other side does have facts you know.

Posted by: JR | January 23, 2006 10:19 AM

Gotham wrote:
===========================================
"Massive retaliation in such a situation is a given."
===========================================

Yep. Like making Iran a glass parking lot the minute they have a nuke, as they can't be trusted (for 20 years they've been supporting terrorists, and they're not going to stop with nukes).

But I'll be more interested which country would demand Iran being nuked. France? Germany? Spain?

When terrorism is in their backyard, it's amazing to see how fast backstabbers will whistle a different tune.

Karma is sooooooo sweet!

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 23, 2006 10:20 AM

JR wrote:
===========================================
"If your proud of the leadership, so be it, but please read and open your mind"
===========================================

A mind so wide open is at risk of loosing it's brain. ;)

What's important is to see both sides, but not to persuade a person to make up their own mind. That's propaganda and indoctrination.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 23, 2006 10:26 AM

Cayambe-

You said: Actually, what offends people the most seems to be his request that Europe take back its refugees who happen to be Jews. Not that we don't have plenty of folk here trying to send our refugees back to Haiti, or Mexico, or Nicaraqua, or China, or whatever. I don't suppose that the Mexicans might think we are threatening them, or that we are racist or anything? What do you think?

What offended me most was probably "Israel should be wiped off the map." An empty threat, without nuclear weapons. An achievable goal, with them. Are you willing to marry yourself to that claim, that Israel should be wiped off the map? Aren't country-ending imperatives precisely the type of thing we do not want to hear from nuclear wielding world leaders?

There's a large difference between his claim, that Europe should adopt Israel (which I don't think can be called a "refugee" state at this point) and the United States immigration policy or even the racist ramblings of any particular American. Iran's President has issued Iran's official position: That Israel is a sham state and that all the people in it should be moved elsewhere (or the country eliminated all together). The better analogy would be if President Bush told Mexico that this Continent belonged to us and that all the Mexicans should be moved to Spain. And that Mexico should be wiped off the map.

You said: No, I would not say that this is a threat to Europe. Neither the rhetoric (come on free speech is free speech isn't it? Are you a threat to Errin or she to you from your rhetoric?) or the nukes which don't even really exist yet. Even if they did, lets face it, between the Brits and the French they have more than enough nukes to blow Iran away 10 times over, don't they? Do you really believe all those Mullahs are into martyrdom for themselves?

The answer to your final question is that we really don't know. Hopefully (I)nsider can provide some insight on the composition of the Mullahs which, as you've said, is severely lacking over here. I'm just not sure what drives them, and I am unwilling to gamble on their nuclear rationality.

You said: No, they aren't, and that is why you won't see any nukes headed in Europe's direction out of Iran.

But this seems an unnecessary risk. What interest does the international community have in Iran's nuclear defense? It's clear why Iran feels the need for nuclear power, but why should the rest of us sign on?

Perhaps the West and others have stuck their nose in other people's business unlawfully. If this were Iceland, however, we wouldn't be having this discussion. Iran's President is as much to blame as anyone for this fiasco. If the international community is questioning the legitimacy of Iran's nuclear program, they are doing so because of statements made by Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

You'll forgive me if my tone is aggressive, Cayambe. I am admittedly rattled by the direction this debate has taken (though not by you). You have been imminently reasonable and polite and deserve to be treated the same. That cannot also be said for others.

If there is to be any common ground in this debate we need to separate the issue from the politics. There is no doubt that the course of events will have an affect, good or bad, on our elections in 2006. That is a domestic issue.

This debate, at least in my opinion, is about nuclear proliferation more than it is about Karl Rove or George Soros. This is not to say that the political machinations and implications are unimportant. American voters need to think long and hard about the similarities between Iraq in 2002 and Iran in 2005.

If the debate focuses on that narrow of an issue, however, this entire dialogue will turn into the predictable partisan garbage that we all profess to hate yet participate in shamelessly. Isn't it possible that whether or not Iran gets nuclear weapons is a more important issue than which party gains ground in the 2006 American elections?

When the potential consequences of nuclear weapons can only be measured in the amount of Civilizations Destroyed, then shouldn't we do our very best to examine the issue non-partisanly? Isn't any introduction of Karl Rove or Hillary Clinton purposeful water muddying?

There are some issues that are too important to play politics with. I happen to think that Nuclear Proliferation is one of those issues. You are welcome to disagree.

Posted by: Will | January 23, 2006 11:39 AM

Errin,
"I look forward to posting further on the subject"

I certainly don't. As usual, you missed the point.

Posted by: Cayambe | January 23, 2006 12:37 PM

"Either Ahmadinejad is representative of the Iranian people or he did not win a legitimate election."

Will I'm not sure I agree with this statement. A strong middle seems to be absent in the ME (and in the US too). People are unfortunately too easy to manipulate with the values/common enemy/fear buttons, as we have seen right here at home - ever read What's the Matter with Kansas? If you can push the right buttons, particularly in the absence of a viable moderate alternative, or when people are you can get some strange electoral results. But then, I also can't verify that the elections were fair.

"And here we have Gotham, who is more civil than Chris Ford. If for no other reason than our own intellectual enjoyment, I think he deserves a level of debate-"

Whoa, are we on the same planet? Why don't you try engaging with Gotham yourself for a little while. He started by calling me ignorant, and it went downhill from there. Any point you make is responded to with multiple strawmen, and if there's a message in his posts this is all I can figure out that it is: Europe is weak and stupid and botched negotiation with Iran. Hillary Clinton is either the devil or a diabolical genius and she had her ultra liberal friends have the ability to weave some sort of control spell over the BA, where they made him send Europe to negotiate with Iran insted of the US doing so, and the Dems did it for the wrong reasons, but suddenly after Bush did it it turned out that doing what the Dems told him to do was a brilliant strategery that Bush thought up all by himself so the Dems were wrong in what they made him do but Bush is brilliant for doing it.... If there's more there I can't find it but if you can then I think you should give ErrinF and Sandy and JR a break and take him on yourself, then see how you think about this.

I think WE deserve better.

I remember when people exchanged ideas on this thread, not inane nonsense.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 23, 2006 12:50 PM

Come on guys, we're here to debate the topics, not each other. So far the content is quite interesting (i.e., a good read), so let's not blow it on egos, or just plain partisanship.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 23, 2006 01:21 PM

Will wrote:
===========================================
"If the debate focuses on that narrow of an issue, however, this entire dialogue will turn into the predictable partisan garbage that we all profess to hate yet participate in shamelessly. Isn't it possible that whether or not Iran gets nuclear weapons is a more important issue than which party gains ground in the 2006 American elections?"
===========================================

If politics would only operate like that. That folks can *talk* about the issues, instead of screaming partisan talking points. Since that's not the case (and pleas are normally excused -- "If so-and-so can do I, so can we" scenerio) we'll have to debate the issues as is, with all the junk attached.

What's needed is a concensus of what folks agree on, because there are viewpoints that overlap. From there the differences can be ironed out, and compromises made.

As much as folks don't like extremism, each side serves a purpose. Because neither side will get all they want, the compromise will have to be a sum of both parts, instead. The poles serve as a litmus test of what issues are a concern, and what issues that can be negotiated to a working agreement.

Problems arise only when extremists refuse to compromise, let alone to stick with their agreements. Otherwise, in any extreme conflict resolution(s) can be made.

In the Iran situation, all sides (even Russia) are concerned of Iran getting nukes. Their concern is that Iran is unstable, and funds terrorism worldwide. Because other nations can't negotiate with a country that's largely a rogue one, other nations have little choice but to mark that country as a bad neighbor. Trust is important, and once gone, it's very difficult to regain it again (despite many government changes over decades).

That countries can agree on that part the major hurdle is over. What's left is how to discipline a wayward child. Sanctions we learn in Iraq do little, and corrupt enterprises will milk the underhand monies (and the UN just talks and sends in "peacekeepers" who are powerless to stop anything -- e.g., Bosnia and Rwanda). That means the only other alternative, other than a wholesale blockade, is a military action. With a ground war being so difficult on resources and loss of life, it'll be an ungodly fight that'll span for years, house to house. Iran will be defeated, but the gains worldwide will be little but some oil (civil stability will be as unstable as Afghanistan and Iraq, and risk another civil war and it's ramifications of plight, strife, disease and famine). Because the outlook is bleak either way they slice that loaf, this crisis, is going to change our world in untold ways.

Take this for example: the threat was made to wipe Israel off the map. Which Muslims live nearby Israel? To wipe out Israel would mean the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Egyptians, the Jordans and the Lebanese will get the same fate as well. What's the religion of those nations again????

Iran isn't only proclaiming it's defiance as a country, it's planning to cause another religious war we haven't seen in 1000 years.

It's not the time to argue partisan points, it's time to ensure the entire region doesn't blow up, and take everyone down with them. Iran is a rogue state, with a government that has shown it'll sacrifice not only it's own people, any other state and people as well. It's current regime needs to be abolished BEFORE they get that first nuke -- because once they do, and use it, the kindling is going to ignite and the world we once knew will be gone.

So folks put down the iPods and XBoxes, this isn't a movie or game, this is about our very survival.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 23, 2006 01:59 PM

Patriot-

You said: Will I'm not sure I agree with this statement. A strong middle seems to be absent in the ME (and in the US too). People are unfortunately too easy to manipulate with the values/common enemy/fear buttons, as we have seen right here at home - ever read What's the Matter with Kansas? If you can push the right buttons, particularly in the absence of a viable moderate alternative, or when people are you can get some strange electoral results. But then, I also can't verify that the elections were fair.

I was trying to make a weaker claim then I think you took it as being. Others have said that Iran's President is a legitimately elected person and still others have suggested that he is just some nutcase on the fringe of even his own constituency. This seems inconsistent.

But even so the more important fact is that he *is* the President, lawfully elected or not, and he has made some very troubling political statements. These statements might not reflect the attitude of the majority of Iranians, but they reflect the President of Iran's position, which means they reflect the majority of voter's position.

Furthermore, claims such as "He is only trying to mobilize his base..." or some comparable statements are just as troubling as his direct statements. If his constituency united behind statements like "Israel should be wiped off the map" then it is reason enough for us to fear that constituency. The larger question is whether that fear should motivate us to work towards Iranian nonproliferation. It sufficiently motivates me.

As for Gotham I won't disagree. We are now in the 200s of posts and I doubt many of us could claim a spotless record of civility. What I have noticed is that too often Gotham's points are dismissed because he is a BA shill, or because Karl Rove something something, or because he thinks Hillary Clinton is devil/genius or whatever.

Let's move past it, you do deserve better Patriot and I'll drop the Gotham issue (it was largely dropped already on my end).

Back to the original point, which is relevant to the Iran issue, are you troubled by what the Iranian President has done/said?

Are there types of people who you would be weary of giving the bomb, and if so, what types of things would these people have to say/do?

I have repeated in the past a claim that has gone relatively unchallenged. Isn't proposed state-elimination *precisely* the kind of statement we wouldn't want to hear from a nuclear power?

Posted by: Will | January 23, 2006 02:17 PM

I am indeed troubled by the Iranian president. I am indeed troubled by the fact that even though OBL is Sunni and Iran Shia, the 9-11 commission found evidence of collusion in the attack on America - blood is thicker than water when you have a common enemy.

Therefore I do find it worrisome that a country with proven ties to al Qaeda would have the capacity to make a nuclear bomb and have HEU lying about that could be shared with friends. I don't know if some have ties to al Qaeda that are stronger than their ties to Iran and thus would not be deterred by MAD. But I do know that even our own Tim McVeigh seemed eerily unconcerned about the children he murdered as "collateral damage". But Tim McVeigh didn't have buddies with fingers close to the launch button. Thus I remain concerned about nuclear material in the hands of those with ties to al Qaeda and a common enemy.

On the other hand I do not believe that the vast majority of Iranians wish to blow up the United States. Our enemy is not the regular people of Iran. I do not think we should compound our problems there by slipping back into our belligerent posture of the past few years or our "our interests trump your land" behavior of the past century. Its really only made things worse.

So what kind of policy recognizes the sovreignity of the Iranian people but doesn't put me at further risk from the small percentage of Iranians who wish me dead? OOh, if I knew the answer to that one I'd be in Stockholm accepting my Nobel Peace Prize right now.

But seriously, this is what I think. First we need to stall for time. Hey, we stalled N Korea for decades, and I think would have gotten at least another decade out of them if we hadn't appeared so belligerent in Iraq. Money talks, money stalls. Trade, humanitarian aid, call it whatever you want.

Meanwhile I think the US needs to make serious, credible moves toward energy independence. It will take us decades at least to get there, less if we actually make it a "manhattan project" style national priority. (Actually more than nuclear power and wind farms and hybrids it will take new discoveries in manufacturing of plastics and similar materials, which is where half our oil goes).

Once we are credibly seen to be on the path to energy independence with industrial ideas that can be given to or stolen by China, India, etc, there will be a lot more interest in goodwill toward the Great Satan. The collapse of the oil market won't bother OBL in the least, but it will be something the Saudi and Iranian and other oil countries would like to avoid. The ME will be in turn trying to buy us off our energy independence path by teaching their children to be nice to the customers and dropping the price of oil until it becomes damn tempting to stop investing in alternate technology rather than just buy the oil. Then it will get interesting, with us oldtimers saying remember 9-11 and the other side aruging that we liberals want to spend their money on unnecessary alternate energy strategies while oil is so cheap. etc etc.

So, should I buy my ballgown for Stockholm yet?

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 23, 2006 03:03 PM

I can understand why the Iranians want to stockpile nuclear weapons. However, at some point, and to put it simply, doesn't a line have to be drawn in the sand?

I know it sounds smug to aspiring nuclear wannabes that the current members of the club do not want newbies, but in my opinion, Iran would be a valid case for very serious proliferation deterrence(since it is too late for North Korea).

Iran appears unstable. Its government is fundamentalist Islamic based, and of the worst kind. Furthermore, it appears too young and inexperienced to be trusted to handle these things. Is there any reason to assume that the Iranian government would safeguard nuclear weapons from the nuts within (the president included)?

I have no facts here, but serious doubts based on the current rhetoric coming out of there, and from the past 25 year "relationship" they have had with the US.

I thought the Europeans were with us on this one, aren't they?

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | January 23, 2006 03:23 PM

Will,
You are not in the least disagreeable, so I am always happy to disagree with you.

"Are you willing to marry yourself to that claim, that Israel should be wiped off the map?"
No, of course not. On the other hand, do I have to take seriously what every blowhard politician spouts into the wind? What was it Nikita said? Oh yes, "We will bury you!" And he had plenty of nukes at the time; they still do. So do we. So does Israel, well maybe not comparatively, but enough that it just isn't going to be wiped off the map anytime soon.

"The better analogy would be if President Bush told Mexico that this Continent belonged to us and that all the Mexicans should be moved to Spain. And that Mexico should be wiped off the map."
Please Will, if you don't mention these kinds of things, they might not occur to him. What better payback to the Spaniards for yanking their forces out of Iraq, and pulling the rug out from Pat Buchanan as a bonus prize. Why stop at Mexico, there is Venezuela right across the Caribbean lake and they have oil too. :o)
Seriously though, you really do kind of need to put these things in context. Once upon a time the West Bank, primarily inhabited by Palestinians, was part of Jordan. Along came a war and Israel occupied it. Israel took the position that the Palestinians already had a state, called Jordan, and the Palestinian refugees should return to Jordan and leave Israel, to mean all of Israel including the West Bank which is part of the land God gave the Jews even before Muslims were Muslims. So for every tit, there is a tat, and its hard enough to deal with the reality of the facts on the ground without going off on tangents when the right buttons are pushed.


"I'm just not sure what drives them, and I am unwilling to gamble on their nuclear rationality."
As to the first clause, I'm not either. But it does seem to me I'm not going to find out if I'm not willing to inquire, and I'm not willing to listen, to perceive, to consider. As to the second, fine, lets suppose you are not willing to gamble; precisely what do you propose we do instead? Further, just exactly what chips are they you are not willing to put on the gambling table? Your own personal physical security here in the USA? Our US national security? Israel's physical security? Some European's physical or national security? World security? Our comparative standard of living in this world? What? Then ask yourself, "Are these really my chips to bet or someone elses?" At some point we really need to come to some mutual understanding of where our national responsibilities begin and end vis a vis the rest of the world, particularly when we start talking about using the Big Stick we are so convinced we wield.


"It's clear why Iran feels the need for nuclear power, but why should the rest of us sign on?"
Give me a break Will. Why should they ask you to sign on? Who said they have to have your permission? Did we ask anyone's permission before we marched down this path? It really puzzles me where we have managed to pick up this notion that we have this kind of moral authority in the world. Are we specially touched by God or something? Seriously, we don't represent the international community. For goodness sakes, we must surely admit that our invasion of Iraq would not have been endorsed by a vote of the UN General Assembly had such been held. No, what we have is a Big Stick, but look, we are just 300 million among some BILLIONS, so there are really limits to its bigness.


"You'll forgive me if my tone is aggressive, Cayambe."
There is nothing to forgive. The basic issues are absolutely worth everyone's best argument.


"If there is to be any common ground in this debate we need to separate the issue from the politics."
Actually, these basic issues are at the very heart of politics in the best sense of the word. Unfortunately our political parties and understandings of what right/left and conservative/liberal really mean are not very well aligned with these kinds of questions. A lot of people just can't get beyond the labels.

"Isn't it possible that whether or not Iran gets nuclear weapons is a more important issue than which party gains ground in the 2006 American elections?"
All things considered, I would feel less threatened if divided government could be restored. But I don't feel so terribly threatened by Iran as others seem to. To me the most important issue is how you put nuclear weapons into a framework that reduces risk, that promotes stability in place of instability, security instead of insecurity. In reality, all political systems, the good, the bad, and the ugly, yearn for that much. Why think small, right? :o)


"I happen to think that Nuclear Proliferation is one of those issues. You are welcome to disagree."
I don't. I just think the proliferation genie is hopelessly out of the bottle and we need a more practical mechanism to achieve the common objectives.

Posted by: Cayambe | January 23, 2006 03:24 PM

Errin,
"I look forward to posting further on the subject"
I certainly don't. As usual, you missed the point.
Posted by: Cayambe | Jan 23, 2006 12:37:24 PM

I got your point entirely and tried to appease you on this Gotham thing, Cayambe. This is your response? You condemn me for engaging with Gotham; You condemn me for dis-engaging from Gotham. I'm reminded of the perfectly civil second amendment debate that you felt an impetus to interrupt to re-hash old complaints. I get it... you like bitching and moaning about me, and will never give me a fair shake.
If your point was that I cannot post any further on the subject of Iran, then your point was wrong. I of course can post all I like here. Like it or not, I've had plenty of opportunity to expouse my views here. Taking flack from people like you just comes with the territory. Spare me the schoolmarm bit, Cayambe; I've written you off just like you've written me off, so you're wasting your time and mine at this point.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 03:39 PM

"You'll forgive me if my tone is aggressive, Cayambe."
There is nothing to forgive. The basic issues are absolutely worth everyone's best argument.
Posted by: Cayambe | Jan 23, 2006 3:24:40 PM

I agree with this standard. I don't agree with double standards.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 03:42 PM

Cayambe wrote:
===========================================
"Seriously, we don't represent the international community. For goodness sakes, we must surely admit that our invasion of Iraq would not have been endorsed by a vote of the UN General Assembly had such been held. No, what we have is a Big Stick, but look, we are just 300 million among some BILLIONS, so there are really limits to its bigness."
===========================================

Seriously, just like Rome, we influence the world like no other. From culture, law, ideals, innovations and outlook. Since we're also the only Superpower left, we also have the burden to keep the kids on the straight and narrow, since time has changed where whole nations can be wiped off the map if no one will be the parent (and the UN doesn't have the backbone, let alone forces to do it themselves).

Secondly, the tiny isle of Britain ruled the world until WWII, so population size doesn't count when a country has the money, brain power and WMD stockpile (in Roman times it was it's legions; in British times, it's navy; in American times, it's superior weapons and trained troops).

The reason Iran wants the nukes is to bargain (ah, bully) itself into the league of nations, even though it doesn't conduct itself as a nation, but a rogue state. It thinks if they can't terrorize enough with homicidal bombers, nukes will do the trick. But they're kids who don't know much about diplomacy or how to conduct themselves among nations (that takes many, many, many years to develop efficiently, and with honest players, not rogues ready to slit throats at any moment).

Iran has zero business with nuclear arms, let alone a state. If it's people don't have the backbone to deter thugs, we can't do much to help them overthrow them -- but we sure can protect ourselves, our allies and the world from Doomsday.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 23, 2006 03:51 PM

Cayambe this was well said:
"All things considered, I would feel less threatened if divided government could be restored. But I don't feel so terribly threatened by Iran as others seem to. To me the most important issue is how you put nuclear weapons into a framework that reduces risk, that promotes stability in place of instability, security instead of insecurity...I just think the proliferation genie is hopelessly out of the bottle and we need a more practical mechanism to achieve the common objectives.

But rational talk like that doesn't sell newspapers or TV advertising. And apparently, it doesn't win elections either. I think we need strategies on how to make reason "sexy" enough for the MSM

Posted by: patriot1957 | January 23, 2006 03:56 PM

This debate, at least in my opinion, is about nuclear proliferation more than it is about Karl Rove or George Soros. This is not to say that the political machinations and implications are unimportant. American voters need to think long and hard about the similarities between Iraq in 2002 and Iran in 2005.
If the debate focuses on that narrow of an issue, however, this entire dialogue will turn into the predictable partisan garbage that we all profess to hate yet participate in shamelessly. Isn't it possible that whether or not Iran gets nuclear weapons is a more important issue than which party gains ground in the 2006 American elections?
When the potential consequences of nuclear weapons can only be measured in the amount of Civilizations Destroyed, then shouldn't we do our very best to examine the issue non-partisanly? Isn't any introduction of Karl Rove or Hillary Clinton purposeful water muddying?
There are some issues that are too important to play politics with. I happen to think that Nuclear Proliferation is one of those issues. You are welcome to disagree.
Posted by: Will | Jan 23, 2006 11:39:11 AM

Well put, Will. Despite my scuffle with Gotham, my main point was that the American people should make sure important national security issues are not used for political games in an election year. I feel it was apt to focus on Karl Rove because he played politics with Iraq in 2002, and is going to try to do the same with Iran in 2006. Hillary Clinton muddies the water... equating her to the main political strategist of the GOP is innaccurate. Hillary didn't orchestrate the 2002 elections.
But enough about Rove and Clinton... this does indeed go beyond them. No politician or political advisor of either party should be playing politics with national security. It is OUR national security, and the American people should not allow it to be compromised by being politicized like it has been since 9/11. It is enough that we have rampant corruption in our government compromising our national security; We don't need political operatives to compromise it any further.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 03:59 PM

Iran has zero business with nuclear arms, let alone a state. If it's people don't have the backbone to deter thugs, we can't do much to help them overthrow them -- but we sure can protect ourselves, our allies and the world from Doomsday.
SandyK
Posted by: SandyK | Jan 23, 2006 3:51:34 PM

There is no Doomsday scenario here. You're just a hawkish militant making a storm in a teapot, Sandy. Try being more rational and less dependent on histrionic Doomsday scenarios.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 04:03 PM

Patriot 1957 wrote:
===========================================
"But seriously, this is what I think. First we need to stall for time. Hey, we stalled N Korea for decades, and I think would have gotten at least another decade out of them if we hadn't appeared so belligerent in Iraq. Money talks, money stalls. Trade, humanitarian aid, call it whatever you want."
===========================================
Stalling for time isn't the answer, as you know darn well they'll just develop a nuke. NK isn't looking for money, it's looking for power -- just like Iran. With power they can shape policy, and for mad men, they want to *control* and leave a destiny. They don't care how, just when. Stalin and Mao killed millions of their own for power and control, and NK and Iran won't think of killing billions for it too.

===========================================
"Meanwhile I think the US needs to make serious, credible moves toward energy independence. It will take us decades at least to get there, less if we actually make it a "manhattan project" style national priority. (Actually more than nuclear power and wind farms and hybrids it will take new discoveries in manufacturing of plastics and similar materials, which is where half our oil goes)."
===========================================

Not happening within our lifetime, as the technology won't be discovered by then. The problem we're facing isn't who controls oil, it's kilowatts. We're just producing enough to get by, not enough to get to the next stage of our development. Until we can produce much more (10x more), we're stuck in this rut of limited energy, and will remain in limited technology because of it.

It's proposed making something as complex as a Dyson sphere may be the answer, but the cost for such a project would take worldwide participation, and we're not ready in our evolution to be neighborly, let alone commit that much capital to that project. Only the US and Japan have the capital to even start the project, and unless it's a dire emergency, neither country is going to commit 30/40/50% of their GNP to fund a Dyson project. So that means all the hue and cry of space travel/colonies is out of the question as well (since the cost for fuel would be too high to make it feasible, especially with the dangers and no terraforming abilities).

So the short answer: no, we're not going to find a kilowatt replacement/addition for oil in the next 50 years (forget hydrogen and fuel cells as it's finite energy sources. We need infinite resources, and that technology won't exist until we have the energy reserve to get to the next level of our development -- and get out of the Information Age).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 23, 2006 04:11 PM

You know, it is very difficult to talk about Iran when Erin keeps making the issue Karl Rove et al. It is even worse when you actually take the time to answer her repeated accusations against Bush and Rove and Kristol and pronouncements on Katrina and wire taps and Jack Abramoff - only to be labeled an 'enemy of the people'.

What do the rest of you make of this -- is this a legitimate debate tactic when the subject is supposed to be Iran? Do you folks think I am an 'enemy of the people' for daring to enter this debate without adhering to Erin's views on the matter?

Now I know there will probably be a series of screechy posts consisting of a laundry list of accusations against all kinds of Republicans for all kinds of 'crimes', and demands that I answer every one, and taunts that I am a 'paper tiger' and some kind of criminal from Erin after this post -- but I just figured I'd ask you folks what you really think about her tactics.

Isn't all this simply a form of harassment?

I think perhaps the best thing for us to do now is just give up on all this silly talk about Iran and nukes and threats to Europe and instead concentrate on talking about Erin.

What do you guys know about Erin -- has she been around long, does she talk about Karl Rove all the time, or just when I come calling, does she have a pet, and if so is she a dog or cat person? Has she ever posted under a different name? Why does she spell her name with two r's? Is she young old? Coffee or tea? Does Erin know what marmite is? Has she ever tasted it? And treacle, what does Erin think about treacle? Spit, swallow? Did she go to college? Is she in college? Does she work for any political organizations? Or does she volunteer her time to charity? Has she ever been on a big boat -- or a big plane? And if so, how big? Can she ride a bicycle? Can she ride unicycle? Can she do that thing with her tongue that junior high science teachers use to teach genetics? Fish, does she like fish? Has she ever gone fishing? What about skiing, does Erin ski? White water rafting, has Erin ever white water rafted, did she have fun? And newspapers, what newspapers does she buy? Has she been to the Statue of Liberty? What about the Arizona Memorial? Does Erin ever drive long distances on secondary roads, or is she an Interstate woman all the way? Has she ever owned a convertible? What about a motorcycle -- and if so did it have a side car? Is Erin an Episcopalian or a Socialist, or a Catholic, or none of the above? Does she use generic tooth paste to save money? Does she thing monkeys are cute? What about penguins, does she find them luuverly? And baseball, what about baseball, does Erin like baseball? Is she a Mets fan? Dodgers? Is Erin going to watch the Superbowl? Does Erin ever read romance novels? How about biographies, is she a biography fan? Does she like pizza? How about snails -- has Erin ever eaten snails? Does Erin think serving a fish with the tail and head still attached is gross? What kind of television does Erin have, one of those wide screen jobbies, or just a small set? Does Erin ever lose the remote for her tv? Does Erin prefer CD's or MP3's? Does she have an MP3 player? What a about a wristwatch -- does Erin wear a wrist watch?
Did Erin wear leg warmers in the 80's or was she too young for all that? What about hats, does Erin think that people aren't wearing enough hats -- or too many?

I will come back later with some more interrogatories -- and please answer them all, if not I might think you are a 'paper tiger'.

;)

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 04:26 PM

Cayambe-

You said: "No, of course not. On the other hand, do I have to take seriously what every blowhard politician spouts into the wind? What was it Nikita said? Oh yes, "We will bury you!" And he had plenty of nukes at the time; they still do. So do we. So does Israel, well maybe not comparatively, but enough that it just isn't going to be wiped off the map anytime soon."

And no one speaks fondly of the Cold War. How seriously are we to take the soundbites of politicians? Drastically more seriously the closer they come to nuclear power (and logically nuclear weaponry).

There are serious differences between Kruschev's "We will bury you" and Iran's President claiming "Israel should be wiped off the map." Let's discuss a few:

1) Kruschev was not motivated by religion which has driven people to end their own lives in order to kill thousands of others in the last 4 years.

2) Kruschev's famous quote did not mean "We will kill America", rather it should be interepted as "We will outlast you" an interpretation he himself supported later in a speech in Yugoslavia. Iran's President is unambiguous about his treatment of Israel because his anti-semitic statements have been prolonged and reiterated by him. Even his "apologies" are scary "All I meant was that Israel should be moved to Europe" ok?

3) Kruschev already had the bomb, so for all our frustrations with a comment like that there was nothing that could be done about it. The genie really *was* out of the bottle. Iran does not have the bomb so there is at least the possibility of a peaceful negotiation that leaves Iran Bomb-Free. This was not possible in 1956 between the United States and the Soveit Union.

You said: "Seriously though, you really do kind of need to put these things in context. Once upon a time the West Bank, primarily inhabited by Palestinians, was part of Jordan. Along came a war and Israel occupied it. Israel took the position that the Palestinians already had a state, called Jordan, and the Palestinian refugees should return to Jordan and leave Israel, to mean all of Israel including the West Bank which is part of the land God gave the Jews even before Muslims were Muslims. So for every tit, there is a tat, and its hard enough to deal with the reality of the facts on the ground without going off on tangents when the right buttons are pushed."

This is all understood by me, but past failures by so many parties (Europe and the US in force fitting Israel where it is, Israel in its multiple indiscretions since, so on and so forth) are important history lessons but they do not tie our hands to future policy. That gives us a context for the comments themselves, or why an Iranian might feel that way (and they are entitled to that opinion) but not whether or not we should endorse the attitude.

Clearly you do not think Israel should be wiped off the map or moved ot Europe (or do you?). If you want me to heed history, you've got it. I recognize that Iran has every reason to fear/hate Israel.

I'm sure I've missed the point, all apologies.

You said: "As to the first clause, I'm not either. But it does seem to me I'm not going to find out if I'm not willing to inquire, and I'm not willing to listen, to perceive, to consider. As to the second, fine, lets suppose you are not willing to gamble; precisely what do you propose we do instead?"

Responding to two issues, I am willing to learn and listen and I think Iranian non proliferation needs to work diplomatically first. We should hear Iran's reasons for wanting Nuclear power.

What do I propose? I propose that the international community does have a say in whether or not a country gets to have nuclear bombs because once upon a time the United Nations at least pretended to have a say in that.

Russia has offered a proposal such that Iran enriches on Russian soil. I'm for any solution that puts more countries involved in the activities of Iran. I'm for any solution that forces Iranian transparency. I'm for any solution that doesn't just "hope" Iran pursues peaceful nuclear interests but one that ensures *only* peaceful nuclear interests. I apologize about not having a more substantive solution, but I think one may present itself shortly. This issue is ongoing as we speak and I'd prefer to get more information before I marry myself to one view or that. I am not preaching all out military invasion of Iran.

"At some point we really need to come to some mutual understanding of where our national responsibilities begin and end vis a vis the rest of the world, particularly when we start talking about using the Big Stick we are so convinced we wield."

The chips gambled are human lives and I have no restraint in arguing against gambling with human lives. I believe the Big Stick is wielded not solely by the United States, but by an international community that has created the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency. If these entities do not have the right to restrict the exchange of nuclear weapons to people who have called for, among other things, the complete destruction of another country, then why do we have them?

Is it at least *possible* that a community of sovereign nations can decide, against the will of one of those sovereign members, that country X does not get nuclear weapons? What kinds of qualities would country X need to have in order to restrict its access to nuclear weapons?

Here is a short list I propose (arbitrarily, you will probably add):

1) Country X must not already posess nuclear weapons (because you cannot prevent a country from aquiring weapons that already has them.

2) Country X must not make genocidal claims against other countries.

3) Country X must transparently disclose information about their nuclear program.

I'm sure there are additional ones, and I'm sure you have problems with the ones above. But please provide your own so we can evaluate what kinds of countries (if any) can and should be restricted from having The Bomb. Do you think all nations have some kind of inalienable right to nuclear weapons?

"Why should they ask you to sign on? Who said they have to have your permission? Did we ask anyone's permission before we marched down this path? It really puzzles me where we have managed to pick up this notion that we have this kind of moral authority in the world. Are we specially touched by God or something? Seriously, we don't represent the international community. For goodness sakes, we must surely admit that our invasion of Iraq would not have been endorsed by a vote of the UN General Assembly had such been held. No, what we have is a Big Stick, but look, we are just 300 million among some BILLIONS, so there are really limits to its bigness."

Because in a shrinking planet the actions of one nation have impacts on the actions of others. This attitude of "why should they ask the international community for permission..." smells like the Bush Administration's reasoning for rejecting Kyoto. The reason Canada can ask the United States to pay back the 5 million we essentially stole from them in lumber tarrifs is because our action affected them.

It is not from some egomaniacle American perspective I say "Why should we care what Iran wants??" I ask legitimately, why should the international community (which has rejected Iran's nuclear pursual overwhelmingly, barring Venezuela and Syria) accept Iran's terms? If 10 sovereign nations see trouble abrewing from the actions of 1, don't they have a right to act on it?

We need not even frame it in terms of "rights". From a realpolitik perspective, many countries have vested interests in difusing Iran's nuclear program. I don't expect sovereign nations just to say "Oh fiddlesticks, Iran has a right to nuclear power and therefore we can't do anything about it."

Given the opportunity, how overwhelming do you think the international vote would be to eliminate all of Americas nuclear arsenal? Life isn't fair, so this proposal isn't viable, but it *is* a possibility with Iran. The international community might just have the clout to force Iran to meet reasonable terms.

"All things considered, I would feel less threatened if divided government could be restored. But I don't feel so terribly threatened by Iran as others seem to. To me the most important issue is how you put nuclear weapons into a framework that reduces risk, that promotes stability in place of instability, security instead of insecurity. In reality, all political systems, the good, the bad, and the ugly, yearn for that much. Why think small, right?"

I think there are future tangible benefits from taking a hardline with Iran. It sends the message that if you want to play with the big boys, you have to accrue all the costs necessary to do so in secret or you have to at least pretend to playball: no "Israel should be wiped off the map." It certainly doesn't help that the democratically elected President made this not-so-passive remark at a conference titled "A World Without Zionism."

I think the international nuclear framework most likely to reduce risks is the one that punishes religious radicals and rewards countries who are willing to exhibit a level of reason and responsibility. If tomorrow Iran held elections and its new government was young, progressive, and embraced the international community (not necessarily American-loving, either, just some semblance of respect for people outside its own borders) then we probably wouldn't be having this debate.

What "framework" could possibly increase stability that rewards equally all countries that pursue nuclear weapons? Are you suggesting a framework without guidelines and if not, what kinds of guidelines should we have in place?

I've offered a few (country shouldn't make genocidal comments about others, shouldn't attend conferences titled A World Without Zionism, etc.) so throw me a counteroffer. I do not profess to have all the answers, but I know interminable nuclear proliferation is *NOT* the answer.

If Iran hasn't already voided their legitimate claim to nuclear weapons, who possibly could? What would they have to say???

Some of the logic of the NPT, which you legitimately point out the shortcomings of, is that the argument for why any particular country needs nuclear weapons always depends on the presence of nuclear weapons in other countries. Unquestioning nuclear proliferation then runs into a troublesome burden... if Iran only needs nukes to defend it from the United States and Israel, who will need nukes 10 years from now to protect itself from Iran? And what country will need it after that to protect itself from that country? And the next...

I am compelled by nuclear nonproliferation.

That's all I've got for now. Cheers.

Posted by: Will | January 23, 2006 04:35 PM

On a serious note -- did you see Condi today with Italy's foreign minister at her side saying that the time for talking with Iran is over and that the matter will be referred to the UNSC?

Every nation in Western Europe is on board for punishing Iran in this situation -- and Russia is hinting that it will support them rather then risk a rift with the US and the EU.

China is the only unknown at this point it seems. They are a major importer of Iranian oil, and have expressed reluctance to come down on Iran.

If a UNSC resolution against Iran is actually passed, do you think the wording will leave the option of military action on the table without a second resolution -- or do you suppose it will be worded in such a way as to force a second resolution?

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 04:36 PM

Sandy,
===============================================================
Seriously, just like Rome, we influence the world like no other. From culture, law, ideals, innovations and outlook. Since we're also the only Superpower left, we also have the burden to keep the kids on the straight and narrow, since time has changed where whole nations can be wiped off the map if no one will be the parent (and the UN doesn't have the backbone, let alone forces to do it themselves).
===============================================================

I really like this post. I do not, of course, agree with you; but your view is a perfectly legitimate one and frankly described, well described. Nicely, it is, for all practical purposes, the polar opposite of mine, so we might have a very good discussion. As it happens it is exactly here, in our concept of ourselves as a nation, of our view of the role we should play, of the role we can play vis a vis the rest of the world, that I think we need a more deliberate debate. It is a matter of coherent common values we do or do not subscribe to. It transcends the labels of political parties. Everything else really flows from this. I do not concede that ordinary Americans are too dumb to engage these matters.

Meanwhile, I have to go get my wife's car fixed. :o)

Thank you Sandy, that really was well written, well thought.

Posted by: Cayambe | January 23, 2006 04:40 PM

You know Gotham, it would be funny if she ever tried to post under another name. Indeed, I have come to the realization that Errin is the debate's comic releif.

Believe me, you are not the first to be accused.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | January 23, 2006 04:43 PM

Sorry Will, that last post of mine was not a response to yours -- it was a follow on from my last post. (Crosspost you know).

Your post is very interesting, and I think you are absolutely right about the differences between Kruschev and Iran's leader -- they are not really the same kind of thing and their rhetoric doe not really match up that well.

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 04:45 PM

Gotham wrote:
===========================================
You know, it is very difficult to talk about Iran when Erin keeps making the issue Karl Rove et al. It is even worse when you actually take the time to answer her repeated accusations against Bush and Rove and Kristol and pronouncements on Katrina and wire taps and Jack Abramoff - only to be labeled an 'enemy of the people'.
===========================================

Spot on!

Here we're talking about policy and consequences (god, even getting into Dyson spheres) and she comes in to just spew partisanship talking points. It's out of context and off base, and just looking for a fight (just like a troll).

Unless she can spew more than lyrics and DU junk, she's really out of her league.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 23, 2006 04:45 PM

"Believe me, you are not the first to be accused."

No! You mean that I am not the only enemy of the people here? Get the frig outta here!

Oh man, that just cheapens the whole thing.

I am going to go back to sleep now.

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 04:50 PM

Stick to the topic, Gotham, which is no playing politics with Iran in 2006, Rove or otherwise. I realize your attempts to overblow this Iran situation have gone nowhere, but this new tact of focussing solely on me isn't going to go anywhere either. Let's see... you failed in your saber-rattling attempts to instigate fear and paranoia about Iran, so now you have decided to focus entirely on attacking the messenger. You spin and distort, Gotham, not knowing how the rest of us have caught a glimpse of your forked tongue. It'd be nice for once if you didn't have a political agenda behind everything you say and do. How can we trust somebody who said they were going to ignore me yesterday and now says today that I should be wholly foccussed on? Make up your mind; Stop insulting people's intelligence by saying things you don't really mean. Don't just spin and say whatever is politically expedient at the moment. Your behavior in this debate has been downright two-faced, Gotham. I will continue to voice my opinions here despite your weak attempts at distraction from the topics at hand.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 04:51 PM

Gotham wrote:
===========================================
"China is the only unknown at this point it seems. They are a major importer of Iranian oil, and have expressed reluctance to come down on Iran."
===========================================

China will get onboard, if for anything to be in favor for more trade. If trade sanctions are threatened worldwide for allying with Iran, it's economy will tank, and it's efforts to beat India as the next Superpower will be thwarted.

A lot of folks aren't paying attention to India, but it has the potential to be another Superpower and one edgy to overtake China (and it can, as Japan has done with less people and natural resources).

So in the competition to get on top, China has to play by the rules to get there, or the rug is going to be pulled from under her feet.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 23, 2006 04:53 PM

Sandy and johnnyg's bruised egos may be effecting their opinions on the current matter. LOL! : )

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 04:54 PM

Yes Sandy, that is a key difference between China and the other phycho countries, because they have been around for a while longer and are slowwwwly learning.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | January 23, 2006 05:02 PM

SandyK

You are correct that we can't be oil or even fossil fuel free in our lifetimes. But we don't have to be totally oil free to make this work, just committed to it and making steady progress.

We use about 50% of our oil for transportation and about the other 50% for manufacturing, mostly things in the plastics family. The amount of oil we use in heating or electricity generation isn't much in this country, these are largely natural gas and coal, etc (although that's not true in Europe). So we can, for now, talk about "oil" and not "energy"

No one ever really looks at the manufacturing half of our oil consumption, just the half we burn. That's a shame. In WWII we had huge rubber recycling drives. What about massive plastic recycling drives for the WWT (war on terror)? Recycled plastic uses a lot less oil. After 9-11 the President got Americans to swallow lots of things in the name of "patriotism" and "safety", but recycling plastic wasn't on that list.

A decade or so ago manufacturers tried to take advantage of the "greens" by selling shampoos and things in thin plastic sparing recyclable plastic bags that you used to refill the big bottle already in your shower/laundry etc - but they jacked the price up so they were a lot more expensive and they killed their market through abuse.

The truth is if it takes them 1 cent and a little oil to make the cheap thin bag, and 10 cents and twice as much oil to make the thick bottle, and if they sell the thin bottle for 5 cents less than the thick they make more profit and still discourage people from buying the thick bottle. And how many people realized that when they chose the big Downey bottle over the cardboard refill they were washing with Osama! So, public education is important here, too. Starbucks already discovered it can sell just as much coffee in paper cups with a small cardboard finger protecter than it did in styrofoam cups. So why are millions of restaurants and family picnics serving beverages in oil requiring styrofoam cups? We're drinking with Osama too. One little change is a drop in the bucket. Many changes can change the water level by inches and that gets people's attention.

Or look at it this way, if people are willing to throw their civil rights out the window in the name of "patriotism" and "security" and the "war on terror', why wouldn't they be willing to drink coffee from paper cups instead of sytrofoam, and buy thin/non plastic refill bottles and participate in plastic recycling drives "for the troops"?

With a good energy strategy we could make a dent of perhaps up to 10% of our industrial oil use without any new far off technologies that would give us oil free or oil reduced plastic. We had Billions and Billions to spend in Iraq, a temporary solution to a long term problem (that turned out to be a farce). Yet we apparently have no money for a permanent solution to our problem with ME terrorism, including to develop a think tank for scientists and industrial engineers to work on alternate manufacturing strategies requiring less oil in manufacturing. I'm not buying it.

Further, good hybrids could take a significant chunk out of our transportation oil use without even asking people to take the bus. My Camry gets 23 mpg in commuting, my friend's Prius gets 70 mpg commuting. I'm saving for a Prius, although I have to confess the fact that they are uglier than sin is testing my will to be green. But if Detroit made a car as reliable and with those mileage standards I'd buy it over a Prius just to buy American. But at this point I think its more patriotic to buy with Japan than to ride with Osama in an American made gas guzzler. If some of those tax cuts went to people junking SUVs to buy a hybrid car with guaranteed minimun twice the mileage, Detroit would be booming with all those nice trickledown effects you guys keep crowing about and our transportation oil use would be slashed.

So you can see that we don't need to be completely oil free to make the bottom of the oil market wobble and get the ME attention. We just need to be doing most of the things that are already within our technology and demonstrating a national committment to keep improving on it step by step. And when they see how that starts to bring the prices down, China and India and Europe may well follow our lead. And when the demand for oil slacks off even 10% it will be an emergency of the ME. Better start being nice to the customers or they might really mean it that they're going to decrease their oil imports by 5% a year.

As for the rest of your post on the threat from Iran, I agree with you that this puts nukes near the fingers of people who want to kill us, and who might not be deterred by MAD. But really, we have no military solution there. Been there, done that, learned from the mistake. Time to develop plan B.

Posted by: patriot1957 | January 23, 2006 05:04 PM

China is usually very cautious about things and does not like to make sudden moves. They are very deliberate in the way the go about things -- and I think they will probably go along with the rest of the UNSC if all the others are on board.

The real question will be the wording of the resolution, how far will it go, and will it allow for military action without the need for passing another resolution.

Once the will is found to pass a resolution the wording becomes crucial. For instance, in the Hussein thing France insisted that an other resolution was needed against Iraq before military action could be taken, despite a fist full of existing resolutions, some of which had wording that would allow a military intervention. It turns out that they apparently had sold their UNSC veto to Hussein and wanted a chance to cast their veto for him. The US/UK and her allies never gave him the chance.

Watch closely how the Iran resolution is worded, it will tell you a lot about where the most reluctant UNSC member stands.

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 05:08 PM

"As for the rest of your post on the threat from Iran, I agree with you that this puts nukes near the fingers of people who want to kill us, and who might not be deterred by MAD. But really, we have no military solution there. Been there, done that, learned from the mistake. Time to develop plan B."

My, that is a bold statement. If Iran plows ahead with her nukes despite an escalating regime of sanctions, and continues her highly inflammatory rhetoric, and especially if large terrorist attack occurs somewhere in the West, I'll bet a large scale military action against Iran will follow.

The most dangerous thing this Iranian president has done for Europe and Iran is to demonize Europe to Muslims and then promise them means and funding to carry out terror attacks.

It is the words of this man that has caused the Europeans to reject their offer to come back to the table.

Europe just don't want to hear it any longer -- they have been insulted and threatened and are going to hit back at Iran in a way that they figure might help spare them some huge terrorist outrage in the long run.

If a really big terrorist attack happens in Europe, 911 scale or larger, Europe will most likely feel that a military response is their only option. Because if the leaders in Europe allow many thousands to die and do not act to defend her interests and people, they will have lost the mandate to rule.

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 05:19 PM

Patriot 1957 wrote:
===========================================
"With a good energy strategy we could make a dent of perhaps up to 10% of our industrial oil use without any new far off technologies that would give us oil free or oil reduced plastic."
===========================================

That won't even make a dent in what we need to get to the next technological age. We need 10x more energy, and energy that's cheaper to produce and "get online".

What we have now that's cheap is fossil fuels (and to date wind and solar can't produce the same about of kilowatt energy we need -- nevermind it's not portable, and can be taken on the road feasibly). And we have to be even more efficient than just recycling and using other materials for plastic production (some plastics will have to remain petroleum based due to sanitation, overcoming heat, and expense to convert to another technology [which is quite expensive which reneges it's usefulness for decades]).

What we need is an infinite and portable power supply, and one that produces even cheaper energy than alternatives we know now.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 23, 2006 05:28 PM

Yeah man, I'm ready. I purchased a Vespa last year, which will let me continue to put around as gas prices skyrocket. Also upgraded the entire heating system in my home. Very efficient.

But don't you think that a huge united coalition would scare the bejesus out of the people of Iran, causing the much hoped for counter-revolution?

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | January 23, 2006 05:32 PM

Gotham wrote:
===========================================
"The most dangerous thing this Iranian president has done for Europe and Iran is to demonize Europe to Muslims and then promise them means and funding to carry out terror attacks."
===========================================

France saw what can happen if Muslims are upset in their own back yard. It was their own 9/11 that spilled into neighboring countries as well.

That's what this radicalism will bring all over the world with a population of Islamic extremists. Give them any form of nukes (be it suitcase nukes or ballistic missles) and they'll try to gain control worldwide and make anyone who's not a Muslim dead or a slave.

But believing is seeing for partisans, and we'll get to see this in the next year or so in action, and it'll be a sadder sight to see these apologists making excuses even then.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 23, 2006 05:35 PM

These hypothetical situations put forth about Iran hide a deliberate desire to march to war among the militant in America. Only, the hawks don't seem to understand that we are bogged down in Iraq and the American people have no desire to march to war against Iran, especially if it's for some political party to use the war to it's political advantage. Europe has also demonstrated no desire for a military solution to Iran, despite what has been claimed here. Iran is not Iraq, and this is 2006, not 2002. This Iran storm-in-a-teapot is just a pig-in-a-poke.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 05:35 PM

Coal, the US has the mother load of coal -- hundreds of years worth by most estimates.

The problem with coal extraction is that it is dirty gas emissions-wise and a way would be needed to make the process more efficient.

There is a test mine in Australia where they are using robotic equipment in a mine which also captures the gas released as the seam is cut. The gas is used to power the robotic equipment.

Once you had a process like that going on a grand scale, you could start liquefying the coal for use in automobiles and trucks. This coupled with a revitalized nuclear industry would make the US energy self sufficient for centuries while things like fusion power are worked on and perfected.

For the US it is really not a matter of us not being able to become energy self sufficient -- is a matter of cost.

Costs are a tricky thing to get a hold of. For instance, you have the dollar amount comparison between the price of extracting oil and refining it and extracting coal and liquefying it. Right now oil is far cheaper because the infrastructure already exists -- the coal thing would take a huge initial investment -- so large in fact that the government would have to pay for a lot of it. Then you have the hidden costs, like US Navy operations to protect the world's oil tanker fleet, the cost of military actions to secure oil supplies etc. It is a matter of bean counting really, although we all know that eventually such a thing will come to pass in the US.

The other factor is that if the US were to "Moonshot" the coal thing, and sell the tech, it would greatly reduce the demand for oil, as nearly every nation has coal -- and the US has plenty to spare. If you recall, when oil was very cheap places like Saudi Arabia were heavily in the red -- a collapse in oil prices greater then the ones we have seen in the past might collapse a whole bunch of Arab societies and create a security problem for the world which will cost everyone a ton of money -- and probably a river of blood to deal with.

So you see, the issue of oil an whether we should stop using it is not so simple as it might appear. There are up-front costs, and hidden costs.

And so it goes.

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 05:46 PM

Coal also is an finite energy source, and one that also doesn't have a high kilowatt production.

Nuclear does have very high kilowatt production, and it's waste can be contained, yet it's still too expensive to mass produce.

What I like to see is STEAM power to return. V-e-r-y powerful and very efficient power, and we have it in abundance on Earth (which can offset more portable finite resources to mobile products). That's a good stop gap until some new and cheap fuel technology emerges, or the Dyson sphere project becomes reality.

Then we can truly kiss Saudi Arabia and the whole Middle East goodbye! :D

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 23, 2006 06:10 PM

In discussing Iran, we should include how much the Iraq war has empowered Iranian influence within the Middle East region. Here's an excerpt from a piece about how the Iraq invasion has benefitted Iran:

5) On Iranian influence. Iranian leaders see US policy in Iraq as being so much in Teheran's interests that they have been advising Iraqi Shiite leaders to do exactly what the Americans ask them to do. Elections will allow the Shiites to take power legally. Once in charge, they can settle scores with the Baathists and Sunnis. If US policy in Iraq begins to undercut Iran's interests, then Teheran can use its growing influence among Iraqi Shiites to stir up trouble, possibly committing Shiite militias to an insurgency against US forces there. The US invasion has vastly increased Iran's influence in Iraq, not sealed it out.
 Questions for the administration: "Why do the Iranians support our presence in Iraq today? Why do they tell the Shiite leaders to avoid a sectarian clash between Sunnis and Shiites? Given all the money and weapons they provide Shiite groups, why are they not stirring up more trouble for the US?  Will Iranian policy change once a Shiite majority has the reins of government?"

For more, here's the link:

http://www.niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=ask_this.view&askthisid=129

The people that propogateded the Iraq War in 2002 didn't give a damn how it would strengthen Iran then. How are we supposed to trust them now that they suddenly claim Iran is a problem now? If Iran is a problem, it's partly because our actions in the Middle East have empowered them so.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 06:14 PM

Cut and paste partisan talking points...

http://blony.com/index.php/2005/08/12/a_stupid_hyperpower_there_is_no_such_thi

The bell jar must've broke, and now it's just partisan swill being regurgiated.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 23, 2006 06:27 PM

"But really, we have no military solution there. Been there, done that, learned from the mistake. Time to develop plan B."

Let me clarify that my statement of no viable military option meant an American unilateral action in the face of world disagreement, i.e another Iraq. A viable plan B might well be a world military solution. But I also I agree that China and India need to get off the pot and stand with the "world" team or we could be setting off the law of unintended consequences again in a much bigger way. I like the "parent" analogy, but when parents don't have a united front against their kids more trouble is sure to follow.

SandyK, just because the road to energy independence doesn't look easy and is long doesn't mean we shouldn't start on it. We should have started on it 9-12.

But we are actually not debating the same energy issue. I agree with you that K-watt hour POWER production is a long term problem that requires long term solutions - wind and water and nuclear help but won't get the job done alone, and the new technology isn't invented yet. But we damn will ought to be making it a national priority to invent it. When the Manhattan Project and the moon shot and the Human Genome Project (which I worked on) were initiated the technology to complete the jobs weren't invented yet either - I personally thought they were nuts to think we could do the HGP in ten years but it was finished early and under budget. Its amazing what money placed in the right places can accomplish.

But the energy I'm actually talking about is not power but OIL. And the US uses only a small fraction of our oil to produce K-watt hour POWER or heat. So we can discuss OIL without really getting into our other long range issues with POWER. We spend about half our OIL on transportation and about half on synthetic manufacturing. We import half our OIL from the ME. It is a project of more manageable size to consider how to cut our imports of ME oil in a meaningfull way both short and long term and does not require our K-watt hour problems be solved to do so.

When half your oil is used for transportation(air, trucks and a big chunk for commuter cars), and hybrids can double or triple gas mileage, you can make a difference in oil use. So driving hybrids could indeed take a noticeable bite out of our OIL use and thus OIL imports (and the stimulated economy from their manufacture might fund more research). Further, the other half of our OIL use is for synthetic manufacturing. Recycling surely is only a small part, but its a start. Funding a "Reduced Oil Synthetics Project" akin to the HGP or moon shot or Manhattan Project Human Genome Project style project could go a long way. We can't afford not to do this. We need public education that when you drink from a sytrofoam cup you're drinking with Osama. Few people realize that's where half our OIL goes. If there was an American consumer demand for less packaging (in a way that didn't rip consumers off), we'd see less packaging. That's where leadership comes in. But when your family profits from oil, why would you lead your country to want to use less of it?

So, we can take small but meaningful steps to cut our ME OIL imports NOW even if we can't achieve a fossil fuel free world in our lifetime. If we had the national will that is, and a president who didn't personally profit from the oil trade.

I believe that if our OIL orders from the ME fell even 5% it would get their attention. Look at the way our retailers panic if their profits "only" go up by 1% each Christmas. If the ME thought China and India might follow suit, I think there would be a full scale panic. They would eventually have to choose pleasing their customers or pleasing OBL. .

Then of course they'd cut prices to try to entice us back and break that national will for independence. That would make for some lively debates on this forum.

Posted by: patriot1957 | January 23, 2006 06:28 PM

Patriot 1957 wrote:
===========================================
"But we damn will ought to be making it a national priority to invent it. When the Manhattan Project and the moon shot and the Human Genome Project"
===========================================

The Mahattan Project and the Human Genome Project could be produced with our energy levels and technology. This is the *Information* Age afterall. The next technological age will require *10x* more energy production to get there.

Each tech advance requires roughly 10x more energy production. Thus, the idea of a Dyson sphere for society to get out of the Information Age to whatever new tech age we'll be advancing too.

Until then we'll be limited on new tech advances, as we don't have the power production to impliment it (chances are it'll be more dynamic than fusion or fussion), let alone discover this new technology.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 23, 2006 06:38 PM

The invasion of Iraq empowered Iran. There's nothing partisan about that. If the leader of Iran has been emboldened of late, it is because our actions in Iraq have given Iran greater standing in the Middle East region. What IS partisan is that the same people talking about how Iran must have it's power kept in check now are the same people that argued for an Iraq war that increased the power of Iran then. Why was it never factored in just how much invading Iraq was in the best interests of Iran?

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 06:53 PM

I don't know if you're pushing my buttons adn muddying the water or just not getting that I am not talking about POWER production. But I'll make one last stab at it.

We don't need to be free of fossil fuel dependency to be rid of ME OIL dependency. We don't burn OIL to make POWER much in this country. (Europe does a lot more of this though). Only a tiny fraction of our OIL is burned to make power. Here is a link to a chart of the fuel sources to make power in the US, at the bottom is the percent of fuels used to make energy in the US - oil isn't even listed - its in the "other 5%" after coal 50%, nuclear 20%, natural gas 18% and hydroelectric 7%. http://www.plunkettresearch.com/Industries/EnergyUtilities/EnergyUtilitiesStatistics/tabid/187/Default.aspx

I am arguing about OIL use in the US, which as you can see from the link is only minimally related to POWER use in the US. So I hope we are on the same page now because you can't debate apple and oranges.

IN the US we burn the vast majority of our OIL to push ourselves from one place to another and we put it in synthetics, plastics etc we manufacture.

So if we could find a way to push ourselves from one place to another using less OIL, or if we could make synthetics/plastics that require less oil, we could decrease our OIL imports without affecting our POWER production. No need for a Dyson sphere, or more nuclear power plants, or wind farm, etc. to be free of ME oil.

Since we import about half our OIL, if we could cut OIL use by 50% we could make ourselves energy independent of the ME without affecting POWER production or other fossil fuel issues.

Of course we can't get to 50% cut soon. And as Gotham reminds us we want to get there in a measured way lest we destabilize the ME too much. But that doesn't mean we should be defeatist about it as a moderate term goal.

There is much we can do to decrease our dependence on ME oil imports NOW, TODAY, without waiting for John Galt to drop off his static electricity machine (and modifying it to run a car/truck/jet engine). Since half our OIL use is for transportation, and lot if which is commuting cars, we could make a measurable difference by running hybrids. We could make a measurable difference by educating consumers that when they drink from a styrofoam cup or buy a new whole bottle of whatever when they could have refilled the old one from a reduced plastics package, they drink/wash with Osama. If consumers demanded less packaging, and if it costs the manufacturer less to decrease the packaging while selling the product at the same price, we'd have less packaging. Its not rocket science. If the President said it was patriotic to recycle plastic and to demand less packaging and paper cups/plates instead of styrofoam, etc, it would happen. All this without a single new discovery.

A national will to cut ME oil imports by even a few percent would get their attention without destabilizing the region. Oil was at $40 a barrel just recently, its not like putting it there again is going to ruin their economy.

The ME will then have a choice - go with Osama or teach kids to be nice to the customers instead of wanting to kill them. They will lower the price to try to kill our will to cut back. It worked like a charm for them after the 70's oil "crisis', but 2000 everybody was driving an SUV. We get to decide if it will work again.

Posted by: patriot1957 | January 23, 2006 07:48 PM

Let me finich my rant before I go to dinner.

When people saw that our oil imports were going back up in the 90's they suggested ways to fix the problem. One was a 50 cent gas tax that would prompt consumers to think about public transportation, better mileage standards, less packaging, etc. Well, you skewered them good, and oil imports continued to rise as cars got bigger, mileage standards went to hell and public transportations systems crumbled.

Then we had 9-11 which showed us the price of our reliance on imported OIL.

Now we have a President with a bully pulpit. People are willing to toss aside their civil rights on his say so. And still, no national will to decrease our dependence on foreign oil. Not even any taxes involved this time. All we get isa call for "more drilling", but not a word about maybe we should stop burning. But we can't drill our way out of this, there's only just enough oil in ANWR to bring down the price of gas just enough that people go out and buy more Suv's, not enough to make us OIL independent. Its criminal

Posted by: patriot1957 | January 23, 2006 08:03 PM

Whoever the stargazers were posting earlier, what is that huge planet following Orion across the sky. I'm pretty sure Venus is up at sunset in the SW sky, and Mars leads Orion and its pretty easy to pick out since its reddish. So is the very bright blue-white planet following Orion? Is it Jupiter?

Posted by: | January 23, 2006 08:29 PM

That last post was from Jack Horkheimer, Star Hustler. He was too busy looking up to sign it. : )

Posted by: ErrinF | January 23, 2006 08:36 PM

My best guess is that the planet you are seeing is Saturn.

Take a look at the sky chart and you will see Saturn following Mars -- which is setting in the west now, not the south (or south west really) like I said earlier -- I was thinking back to the summer.

http://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/uncgi/Yoursky?z=1&lat=40.7517&ns=North&lon=73.9942&ew=West
Enjoy!

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 10:20 PM

In 1971 a Friend of mine had a patent on a carburetor that got 50 miles to the gallon. GM bought the patent from him. You guys must realize that the technology has been around for years for better gas mileage. Along those lines, with the problems in the past with oil shortages, it is beyond my comprehension that the U.S. hasn't done more to find alternate sources for transportation and energy. Really now, its that simple. Where is the American ingenuity? Where has it gone?

Posted by: JR | January 23, 2006 11:22 PM

Oh, yeah, I heared about your friend with the miracle carburetor, he is quite a fellow,
http://www.snopes.com/autos/business/carburetor.asp

Posted by: Gotham | January 23, 2006 11:32 PM

Gotham, I honestly am telling the truth. I read your link. Makes no sense to me,however, let me ask you, If I were President Bush, would you believe me?

Posted by: JR | January 24, 2006 12:26 AM

That is an urban legend bro -- the first time I heard it was out of the mouth of my 6th grade teacher, too long ago -- it intrigued me at the time, and I was shocked to find out that it was a bunch of hooey.

The way my teacher told it, it was a friend who bought a car with a miracle carburetor during the gas crisis in the early 70's -- he got 50-60 miles to the gallon -- but after a few weeks the car company came and paid him a lot of money to take the car back.

The story of hiding fuel efficient cars makes no sense at all -- what reason would any car company have to hide such a thing -- and if it is US government 'Stone Cutters' who keep the thing down, then how are they also doing it in the UK, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Brazil etc. etc.

If such a device existed, and was possible, how it works would be found out eventually by many manufacturers.

Besides, why spend all the dough on developing fuel injection systems when you have a miracle carburetor that can do the job 5 times better.

This story just does not makes sense I am afraid, even though you might like us to think that some evil government conspiracy is lurking out there to 'keep the oil companies in business'.

Did you hear the one about a dusty car that was parked at a railroad crossing where a bus load of children had died in a train wreck -- it rolled off the tracks slowly and the driver and his passenger who parked it there because they had heard the spot was haunted found a bunch of little hand prints on the back of the car?

Or the one about a couple who went on vacation to one of the Islands for a week and when they got home and developed their film it contained pictures of a maid wiping her butt with their tooth brushes?

Posted by: Gotham | January 24, 2006 12:44 AM

It's official -- Liberals out of power in Canada -- Conservatives in with minority government.

Posted by: Gotham | January 24, 2006 01:09 AM

I'm listening to you; although I am in belief of my friends patent. I do know that in the late 80's Toyota cards would get over 32 on the expressway. I could tow a 14 foot boat with the camry, and still get 34 to the gallon. The Corolla was not as good as the camry. Again, making cars get better mileage is one thing, getting us to utilize alternate sources to power our cars and energy would be the most prudent thing to do. Don't you think?

Posted by: JR | January 24, 2006 01:28 AM

Europe's been making cars that get 50 mpg for years - no, not the V8's of the pre 70's gas shortage. Little cars. Their governments didn't subsidize cheap gas. So people still live in the cities and public tranpsortation is everywhere. You don't need to invoke urban legends for 50 mpg claims, they're already here.

Buying out competitors happens every day. And if profit is higher on your product, you shelve the new product.

Did more research on imported oil - turns out about 25% of our imports come from places like Nigeria and Venezuela. Fuel efficiency is at a 24 year low. And there is data that we could decrease imports substantially using hybrids alone. Here's a site and a quote from it: http://www.nrdc.org/air/transportation/gasprices.asp

"But just as we did in the 1970s, America can break OPEC's grip on the oil market by using well-known technologies and policies. The most crucial step on the path to independence is to raise the bar on energy efficiency of our cars, pickups, minivans and SUVs. These passenger vehicles currently account for 40 percent of our petroleum consumption,24 and the transportation sector as a whole is projected to account for a whopping 89 percent of the growth in petroleum demand through 2020.25 Raising fuel economy performance to 40 mpg over the next 10 years alone could cut passenger vehicle oil demand by about one-third or 4 million barrels per day by 2020. By 2015, increased fuel efficiency would save 2 million barrels of oil each day (see Figure 5, below) -- about equal to current daily imports from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (see Table 1).

No Dyson sphere needed. No uninvented technology needed. Just the national will. Fat chance.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 24, 2006 02:15 AM

Good morning. I think Senator McCain is right on the money. America must minimize its dependence on foreign oil. And nuclear is a great way to go. Even Iran has to race to catch up with its own internal demand, which today, takes over 40% of its production. Oil is just bad news for everyone. Imagine if demand for oil keeps dropping. Countries of OPEC have to consider developing other sources of revenue. That can't be bad. Also, the countries of the Middle East (or south west Asia as I would like to call them) would feel less threatened that someone is trying to do evil to them because of their natural resources. I think it's about time for everyone to start seriously looking at alternative sources of energy. Tehran, must have one of the worst air pollutions anywhere in the world. I say it's about time to go nuclear, and that goes for America too. I didn't know Canada is such a major exporter energy to the US. Well, at least with a conservative government we can all sleep better at night. I am out of here.

p.s. If I were you I would be more worried about safety than nuclear weapons. Planes seem to be falling off the air in Iran, left and right. How the hell are we gono keep our act together with plant safety.

Posted by: (I)nsider | January 24, 2006 02:59 AM

Gotham wrote:
===========================================
"It's official -- Liberals out of power in Canada -- Conservatives in with minority government."
===========================================

Happy, happy, joy, joy!

My conservative Canadian friend is in clover now. The Libs almost killed him with their "universal healthcare" (quickly corrected in the USA), and I'm sure he's savoring their demise.

Now probably Canada will get tough on drugs over the border and terrorism as well.

Happy, happy, joy, joy!!

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 24, 2006 05:23 AM

Patriot 1957 wrote:
===========================================
"I don't know if you're pushing my buttons adn muddying the water or just not getting that I am not talking about POWER production. But I'll make one last stab at it."
===========================================

Only person who can push your own buttons is yourself. No one has that power unless you allow it (basic responsibility for one's actions thingee).

Secondly, I don't believe you're understanding what I'm stating: it's worthless to just conserve, and use finite energy sources. Both will be used up quickly, leaving us in the same pickle again.

Thirdly, because we're at the end of this technology age we're hitting the wall with energy technology. The contraptions needed to produce ***infinite*** energy takes tremendous capital to produce, and beyond our GNPs and technology now to produce.

Fourthly, if we are really serious about energy production, we have to commit to an infinite power source, one that won't have the limitations of the power technology we have currently (and in the next 50 years). Fuel cells are just technology testing, no one with a bit of sense will claim they're a solution (as they depend on finite energy to power them).

Fifthly, there's 2 sources of natural and infinite power. Externally would be a Dyson sphere (a massive solar energy collector that spans the sun); internally would be steam power supplied from the Earth itself (natural steam from faults all over the world). External power production can get us to the stars; internal can operate Earth. Both can be made in our current technology age, but the cost at this time is astronomical.

Whoever owns this infinite power technology will be the next Superpower (or if us, we'll seal our Superpower status for another century).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 24, 2006 05:35 AM

It's official... the party that was in power in Canada was just put out of power. Same will happen to the party currently in power in the U.S. come our election time.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 24, 2006 06:28 AM

"it's worthless to just conserve"

Well, I guess that depends on what your goals are. If you primary goals are to burn our fossil fuel with abandon until a crisis forces us to find another source, then conservation only prolongs the pain. But if your primary responsibility is to "protect the people" today (today, not next century), and you believe the primary threat to the people comes from ME terrorism, and if the reason you have your boots in the ME is to get oil, then no longer needing their oil would mean you could get the hell out of the area. Don't even have to give up any civil rights! What a concept! I mean, we were friends of the Brits and how many IRA bombs went off in the US? Out of sight out of mind. And if all it takes is making every vehicle in the US get 40 mpg in order to no longer need to import any oil from Saudi Arabia (see the link I posted yesterday), and the vast majority of the 9-11 terrorists were Saudi, what would be stopping you?

Hmmm. I suppose you could argue that we want to do it 'gradually" to allow the Chinese and Indian markets to keep up with our declining purchases so we don't "destabilize" the region. Do you suppose that was what Congress was thinking when they voted down increased mileage standards in 2002, after 9-11? And what the President was thinking when he sat backed and watched silently as mileage standards bottomed out and cars got bigger and bigger and oil imports went up and up under his watch?

Or could it be that one of the premises is wrong? Or could it be that having a common enemy to fear is useful? Hmmm, which do you suppose it could be?

Insider, how much oil does Iran use to generate power and heat? Until you can put a nuclear reactor in cars, trucks, buses, trains, jets, etc, you're going to be burning your own oil for transportation. How much manufacturing of synthetics does Iran do? Without recycling, reduced packaging, public education and yes, some new technology, you'll still need oil to make synthetics. All that going nuclear will get you is sparing oil for heat and power.

Now perhaps since oil is so plentiful Iran burns it to make power and heat. That's the part of your oil consumption you can save by going nuclear. How much is it?

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 24, 2006 08:49 AM

Christian Science Monitor has a great article on why the USA doesn't trust Iran with nukes (let alone access to nuclear technology)...

http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0124/p01s02-usfp.html?

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 24, 2006 08:59 AM

It's amazing how these things turn into partisan talking points, instead of discussing the issue out of the boxes partisans place anything in (i.e., Us vs. Them idealogy)...

Patriot 1957 wrote:
===========================================
"Well, I guess that depends on what your goals are. If you primary goals are to burn our fossil fuel with abandon until a crisis forces us to find another source, then conservation only prolongs the pain. But if your primary responsibility is to "protect the people" today (today, not next century), and you believe the primary threat to the people comes from ME terrorism, and if the reason you have your boots in the ME is to get oil, then no longer needing their oil would mean you could get the hell out of the area. Don't even have to give up any civil rights! What a concept!"
===========================================

Oil isn't the reason to be in the Middle East, nor the real reason for the war in Iraq. What the propagandists don't talk about is the price tag to drill and ship oil over to refine, will dig into investor's pockets (who really run oil companies <-- or any company at that). War is an investor's nightmare, and despite high gas prices, that segment of the market is quite jittery as they know how it can tank overnight in a scare. No one wants to lose their shirt.

If it was Saudi Arabia (with established drilling wells and refineries) critics would have a bone to chew on, but Iraq's wells and refineries weren't up-to-snuff, and will require tedious renovation/upkeep to get the oil out, to a capacity worth the beans and bullets spent.

The market is quite self-regulating on the cash front (which Commies/Socialists still don't seem to understand). If the ROI is quite low, they'll not be very partial of their investments tanking due to infrastructure problems/upkeep.

===========================================
"I mean, we were friends of the Brits and how many IRA bombs went off in the US?"
===========================================

Brits were the victims of the IRA. They, like the USA in 1861, are trying to keep Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales within their union. Much like Putin is doing the same with Russia.

It's well known that Irish Republican sympathizers help fund the IRA from the USA (especially from Boston). They funneled monies to Sinn Fein and the IRA to buy guns and explosives.

You don't bite the hand that feeds you, ya know?

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 24, 2006 09:23 AM

I believe you guys are on the same page. For principle, you not agreeing it seems. Prudent decision making comes from starting the ball rolling and cutting down on ones consumption of oil. The U.S. has known this for 30 years or more now. What have we down in 30 years to conserve energy? We have allowed our automotive companies the leeway of making inefficent cars for decades now. For what? Ford and GM now are having major economic troubles with their profits in the U.S. Overseas they are doing well. I wonder why??????? We gave these companies breaks in the polution and mileage of cars for years now, and even with those deeds by the government, they are losing their butts in the U.S. market. There really is too much government in with business. ( unlike the scenario as is in Europe). The U.S. must cut back on consumption of oil. We can do that with prudent decisions using existing technology and good decisions. The future would certainly require a whole new source of energy and may require alot of funding for that. But instead of wars, all that money could be used for technology research in new energy. This is a very simple formula for one to make. One shouldn't complicate it with this or that.

Posted by: JR | January 24, 2006 09:27 AM

Cars, truck and airplanes aren't the only thing that depends on oil.

How many of you will be willing to give up your TV and internet access to be a "green"? Will you bike 40 miles to work each day? Will you only eat what you can produce in your own back yard (and from the well your dug to get "free" water from), and use only organic fertilizers from some animal your zoning laws don't permit on your property?

The hypocrisy in this whole conservation game is quite transparent. It's always someone else has to bite the bullet, but you'll be the first one to whine if some service that's "MY RIGHT TO HAVE!!" is denied.

Until folks are willing to live like our Stone Age cousins, we're not going to conserve, especially in a country that expects so many rights as a given (and without paying for).

If folks truly want to conserve, put your cars, central heating/air, jet travel to Timbuktu, computers, food production, and TV's in mothballs.

When you finally figure out society won't devolve, you'll finally understand the ideas about Dyson spheres and all.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 24, 2006 09:39 AM

SandyK-

That approach sounds melodramatic. There is a very tangible political policy that could reduce our dependence on foreign oil; the United States Government could tax the price of oil.

The market price of oil facilitated the purchasing of fuel efficient cars just after Katrina. Economy car sales skyrocketed, and big SUV/truck sales plummeted. These sales were responsive to a market, because people finally put a price tag on the convenience of being able to fit 15 people in their car.

You seem to suggest that we cannot conserve oil consumption in transportation without also turning off our internet. Why is that?

Posted by: Will | January 24, 2006 10:28 AM

Read slowly: o-i-l isn't the issue.

Oil is an finite source of energy, it will not be around for long, as our zest for new fangled things increase, stripping oil production and reserves.

A society needs 10x the amount of energy to get to the next technological age. We don't even have 1x reserve.

So oil isn't even a player in the real scope of our development. It's but a horse in the late 19th century.

Taxing, and conservation, and alternative FINITE fuel are just bumps in the road. What we need is 9x more energy, and it's not coming from oil, solar, wind, hydrogen and turning off the light switch quicker.

As for your question: folks aren't going to conserve anymore than they can spend, nevermind what freedom they'll have to give up to do so. It's like asking a pot smoker to give up his weed for public health.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 24, 2006 11:07 AM

More hostage taking and issues over oil...

http://allafrica.com/stories/200601240168.html

===========================================
"The activist said the best concession the kidnappers could get was to drop their demand for the release of Chief Alamieyeseigha, but certainly not Asari. "The real issue here is resource control and not the release of people," he said"
===========================================

It's all about fuel. Every country has to have it, and which country that controls it has the real power.

Which makes folks question why folks question the USA quest for fuel, and it's citizen's questioning on our access to it. For if we don't have it, we're doomed.

That fuels the suspicions of fifth columnists, or at least some very naive idealists (like Westerners who embraced Communism in the 30's). Neither are good for USA's health and well being.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 24, 2006 11:49 AM

SandyK, As stated by me, we need to take a start on conservation. Oil, which is causing world conflict presently, ( and in the past) should have been dealt with 30 years ago already. It wasn't. The idea of cutting back on oil use serves the purpose of cutting back on the buying of oil from nations that are beginning to blackmail us. Isn't it common sense that we become more independent from the sources that are causing us problems in the international arena? I don't know how internet service got into your comments. I'm talking about oil. This thread is talking about Iran conflict. We can illiminate conflict by simply becoming independent from these countries that are causing economic problems out there in the world. Why would anyone want to be blackmailed because they depend on that party to provide a natural resource that is needed for that country to survive. I'm sure you are a gardner, plant your own greens, and are efficient with energy from your comments mentioned above. Indpendence is what my analogy is about.

Posted by: JR | January 24, 2006 12:06 PM

SandyK-

I wasn't suggesting that we "ask" americans to conserve, I was suggesting that we make conservation financially feasible by increasing the cost of oil (for example).

While I agree that any solution that ultimately depends on oil as our main fuel source is finite in scope, because oil is a finite resource, policies that eliminate our dependence on oil also increase the profitability of non-oil research.

There is no incentive to develop oil-independent energy programs because right now it's just cheaper to buy the oil. This need not be the case. There are also more direct government programs, like doing the research inhouse (which you seem to suggest is needed for the Dyson Sphere).

Posted by: Will | January 24, 2006 12:12 PM

Thirty years ago wouldn't have helped, as technology moves on (and one of the most energy hungry contraptions made -- the personal computer -- was emerging in the marketplace then).

Anytime conservation ensues, technology takes a back seat, for it becomes too difficult to develop a product under outside restrictions (think of Stem Cell research and government regulations). Development will continue, but not at the pace it was designed.

Every 50 years we go into another technological age, and we're alittle late on the next one, as energy production isn't enough.

Controlling energy, controls development. With all the infighting about conservation, and demanding it on the ebb of a new age, is criminal in my book, as it robs us of our destiny (our future developments).

Remember our end goal is to get off this rock. And if we don't start now, we maybe too late too.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 24, 2006 12:16 PM

I understand that.30 years ago, if the U.S. would have started to push for energy efficient cars, ( good mileage) that would have been a start. Your right, technology takes time. However, in the mid 70's while in college, solar energy was big in talk around the circuit. However, no one wanted to do anything about it. Wind power, and other things. Again, Oil was cheap; however, it is finite. Sometimes, Government must step in and lead. Polution; I remember days in Europe, 1970, when cities like Hamburg were shut down due to polution. Yes, shut down. Small steps lead to better management, rather than a complete changeover all at once. But I do agree with you on your last post SandyK. Lets hope the greed of capitalism doesn't destroy our way of life as it is doing now.

Posted by: JR | January 24, 2006 12:32 PM

Freedom wrote:
===========================================
"I wasn't suggesting that we "ask" americans to conserve, I was suggesting that we make conservation financially feasible by increasing the cost of oil (for example)."
===========================================

And replace it with what again????

Out of the frying pan into the fire.

There is no viable energy source in the pipeline to replace oil. To tax it out of existence would slow tech down to a crawl, and be a disservice for all Mankind for delaying our development.

And we need 9x more energy to get to the next tech age to get the power source folks are seeking -- because capital, and high capacity energy development would be very difficult to produce in our age.

As much as folks dislike it, we have to depend on fossil fuels for at least 50 more years, as that will be as long as it'll take to know, test, market and supply the world with something more than an experiment (nevermind discover something that'll give us that 9x energy reserve to do so).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 24, 2006 12:32 PM

And I throw this into the ring to debate as well: the problem isn't discovering the fuel source, nor collecting/producing it, but the transportation of energy across the distance.

There are many avenues to tap to get that 9x reserve, but transporting or using that energy efficiently is the problem.

Let's say the world got together to fund a Dyson sphere. How will the energy collected be deposited on Earth, and used in mobile devices/vehicles? One of the problems is energy loss over time/distance, so what is collected/produced can/will be lost once delivered. Fuel cells run into this problem, and fuel cells are on the roadmap of our portable energy means. If the fuel cell loses it's charge it's like an empty gas tank, and it'll empty it's cell without even using it (discharging on it's own) unlike gas will (evaporation occurs, but at a nominal rate compared to cell discharges).

Because the models we now have, we can't store it for enough time to have the reserve. And transporting massive energy arrays (or light arrays) saps overall energy harvesting (the loss can be quite great over vast distances).

It's find to explore, test and develop, but until we have an alternative *in place*, oil will have to be our main source of fuel.

This is the reality of the situation, not "green" pie-in-the-sky ideals. Pure science based on our technological know-how and abilities.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 24, 2006 12:48 PM

SandyK-

"And replace it with what again????

Out of the frying pan into the fire.

There is no viable energy source in the pipeline to replace oil. To tax it out of existence would slow tech down to a crawl, and be a disservice for all Mankind for delaying our development."

It wouldn't need replacing. A car that gets 50 miles away on one gallon of gas does so no better or worse than a car that gets there on 5 gallons. Nothing is sacrificed.

Incentives do not need to bankrupt anyone. We give people a reason to drive an efficient car, namely we tax the price at the pump only.

I'm all for forward thinking, though. We need a permanent solution and I support that, but it isn't a reason to ignore our immediate options on the consumption end.

I am not saying replace oil with wind turbines, which seems impractical, I am saying that if we can decrease oil consumption by, say, 10% at no cost to the actual person (because they still get from point A to point B) then oil exporters must take note. It will give us *some* leverage, which is better than none.

Posted by: Will | January 24, 2006 12:59 PM

Still sacrificing, because fuel economy is just a bump in the road. It won't curb the energy consumption (like the next iPod like device that hits the market and what it'll drain out of our power grid), which is the main problem.

To make conservation work takes collective appeal, which won't work on an independent based society. You're asking folks to reform behaviors that naturally Mankind fights against and repels (like picking up after himself, and being polite and orderly 24/7).

You're asking for an evolutionary change that is beyond our sociological knowledge to impliment. Furthermore, you'll get caught in the "I HAVE MY RIGHTS!!" wall, from folks who don't/won't "reform" as they don't care (and if you toss them into jail for not complying, will cause another Pot Rights type backlash).

So, no, taxing fuel more isn't going to curb the comsumption. Time and growth will eat that reserve in itself (more products are made that just have to be bought/used; with more folks born to do so; with more industry online to build the products that those more folks got to have), even with a 100% tax, jail time and societal pressure to conform.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 24, 2006 01:19 PM

It wouldn't need replacing. A car that gets 50 miles away on one gallon of gas does so no better or worse than a car that gets there on 5 gallons. Nothing is sacrificed. SandyK, it would make a big difference, we wouldn't need to import as much oil. Buy doing that, we wouldn't be in the predictament of foreign countries blankmailing us, or having the ability to black mail us.

Posted by: JR | January 24, 2006 01:59 PM

I have to agree with JR (who I think quoted me?). There are certainly "sacrifices" that people could be asked to make and would refuse to take. Utilizing already existing technology because it is financially feasible (the government can make this happen) is not one of them. No one sacrifices anything of significance by driving a car with 50 mpg vs. one with 10. In fact, they save time with the better car because they have to fill up less.

I'm not suggesting state enforced recycling programs, or voluntary power shortages. We are using outdated technology that requires more oil because it is cheaper to do so. The government can make fuel-efficient vehicles financially reasonable and generate some much needed revenue (aren't we running another 400 billion dollar deficit???)

This collectivist appeal is unnecessary. What inalienable right does anyone have to drive a 1988 Ford Bronco (I drove one once)? And anyways, we wouldn't be restricting anyone from driving a Ford Bronco, we would just make them pay more to do so (which they already do today, those idiots, because Ford Broncos break down and get 10-15 mpg)

Posted by: Will | January 24, 2006 02:11 PM

Yes Sandy. Oil is indeed the issue today. We have no troops in Burma liberating the people from their oppressive government. We have no troops in Rwanda. We sent no troops to save democracy in Peru when they were tottering on fascism. Although we've helped Israel substantially in other ways we don't send troops to her wars. We have boots on the ground in the ME because we have oil interests there.

It is simple math. About one fourth of our oil imports come from the Middle East according to the Air Force http://www.afa.org/magazine/June2002/0602chart.pdf

We import about 2.4 million barrels of oil a day from the ME. By 2015 if the average mileage of passenger vehicles was 40 mpg (very doable with today's technology) we would save 2 million barrels a say, about 80% of our ME imports. Without conservation, without walking, without giving up the vacations, without giving up the car or riding the bus. China and India will be happy to pick up the slack over the next 10 years.
http://www.nrdc.org/air/transportation/gasprices.asp

So to be totally free of ME oil imports by 2015 we'd have to find some way to save another 0.4 million barrels a day. Well, it turns out that if we increased ethanol use, educated the public about proper use of motor oil and engine maintenance, improved the fuel efficiency of replacement tires and kept them properly inflated it would save about 0.68 million barrels per day. Again without major sacrifices to the public, and without even considering the 50% of our oil use in synthetics/plastics and the utility of reduce/reuse/recycle campaigns.

I have to confess it came as a huge surprise to me when I started researching this. I had absolutely no idea that being totally free of ME oil imports was essentially within our grasp within a decade with modest changes readily available at today's technology. And without major public sacrifices. I feel betrayed. I'm an educated person who reads and watches the news, how did I not know this? How many of you knew it?

Now Sandy if the US doesn't burn oil to make electricity and only a tiny percentage to make heat, how is increased fuel efficiency leading to decreased imports going to make me have to give up my lights, heat, TV and internet?

Posted by: patriot1957 | January 24, 2006 03:16 PM


You wrote - There is much we can do to decrease our dependence on ME oil imports NOW, TODAY, without waiting for John Galt to drop off his static electricity machine (and modifying it to run a car/truck/jet engine).

Who is John Galt?

Posted by: | January 24, 2006 03:19 PM

(Lights a cigarette with a dollar sign printed on it.)

Posted by: Gotham | January 24, 2006 03:39 PM

"There is no viable energy source in the pipeline to replace oil. To tax it out of existence would slow tech down to a crawl, and be a disservice for all Mankind for delaying our development.""

Why did you ignore my post on coal? The process of liquefying coal was invented by the Germans in the late 19th century. The US is by some estimates sitting on 500 years worth of coal that can be liquefied.

We could cut off all oil imports if we retooled toward liquefied coal as we built up our fission sector researched fusion technology. Hasn't Bush pushed for new nuke plants, and made this a priority - isn't the UK doing the same now?

Once oil gets expensive enough in real and hidden costs we are going to switch to coal - and give ourselves 500 years to develop an alternative.

Posted by: Gotham | January 24, 2006 03:48 PM

Coal's an finite fuel supply, Gotham. The goal is to get a infinite fuel supply (and one cheaper to produce or collect).

Everything currently in the pipeline is limited, and can't replace oil without a considerable price tag (and one investors would be edgy to invest in, considering it's finite outlook).

BTW, look at the map for coal reserves and their BTU rating for each reserve. Due to it's impure state the energy produced is less than oil, too. Ounce per ounce it can't compete.

Nuclear has very good kilowatt production (I live close to the last nuclear reactor build in the USA, and those reactors produce beau coup amounts of power), and uses very efficient steam turbines, but nuclear leaks (which occurred here, even into water wells), doesn't make it a very safe alternative, even in a nuclear friendly area.

So it's oil for now, until we can devise a fuel supply that can get us over the hump until we can make a massive energy array.

I really like steam power. Very clean and efficient power -- some of the most powerful conventional engines the Navy used was from steam ships -- and we have a gigantic reserve of it just 5 miles below the surface anywhere on Earth, just ready to be tapped and hooked up to turbines. No refinery costs, no transportation of fuel costs, no environmental contamination, and as cheap as to build a power station and drill.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 24, 2006 04:16 PM

"Coal's an finite fuel supply, Gotham. The goal is to get a infinite fuel supply (and one cheaper to produce or collect)."

Even the sun and the ocean is a finite supply of energy eventually. While I agree with you that using fission, and eventually fusion, and thermal and wind and water are good ways to lessen energy dependence on oil imports, I am also telling you that the US has 500 years of energy in coal that can be liquefied into a gasoline-like substance that can be burned in internal combustion engines.

If oil was cut off to America, this country would just start liquefying coal in a big way and not every single car in the nation would need to be junked and every industry retooled.

Eventually, cars will be electric, as will everything else, but this is decades in the future.

The fact is that the US has a huge fossil fuel supply in coal that can be tapped if only the will existed -- and that will does not exist because oil is still cheap when one looks at the steep initial investment it takes to move to liquefied coal and away from imported oil.

When the costs, up front and hidden, become too much for the US government, they will start funding coal conversion.

At the same time fusion is being researched, which is being hailed as 'inexhaustible energy', but the problem there is getting the hydrogen to run it -- un-burning H2O back to H2 (or D20 back to D2) takes a lot heat (thus of energy) -- and although efficient ways of abstracting deuterium are being researched, it is not all that efficient just yet -- and takes burning something else to get the stuff.

These energy issues are not so cut and dry -- and the science involved can be misleading to those who are not familiar with it.

To run a fusion plant you need hydrogen or deuterium -- and to get a hold of the stuff takes energy. The goal is to make the fusion plant so efficient that there will be a net gain in energy after the fuel for the thing is produced via energy from some other source.

Will the power from fusion plants be sufficient to make enough fuel to power the fusion plants and still have energy left over to use for things like toaster ovens? No one has made a 'perpetual motion machine ' yet, and this probably wont happen for quite some time -- if ever.

the heat required to making the fuel for fusion will come from other sources, perhaps fission, perhaps thermal, perhaps coal. And the power needed to make the fuel for fission will come from other sources, and the power to make liquid coal will come from still other sources (like perhaps burning the gas released when you cut the seam to run the equipment). Thermal seems to be a source of heat in which we don't need to burn anything to generate heat -- so perhaps eventually we will have fission run on fuel that is made with thermal energy, or perhaps simply hydrogen to run fuel cell powered vehicles and factories made with thermal.

The equations involved are many -- and the complications involved in the thing intense.

It is simply not so easy to say that 'the government is not doing enough' -- perhaps they are not -- but the subject when you look at it closely tends to be a lot more complicated than all that.

Posted by: Gotham | January 24, 2006 05:08 PM

The thing is coal is a very dirty (too much inert matter, sometimes taking up to 80% of the volume) and labor intensive fuel to produce energy with. It has to be mined, transported out, processed, retransported back, just to use. Not cheap, and wasteful of *energy* to produce.

Think of...

1. Least expensive to extract/collect.
2. Least equipment needed to extract/collect/process.
3. Least personnel to operate/distribute the product.
4. Least energy needed to produce a fuel (transportation costs; plant; refining, etc).

Coal is not the least of the criteria above. It also not friendly to the environment (in extraction and usage).

I know what you're saying, and in a pinch it could work, but only as an emergency measure (it costs too much to produce).

The problem with any radioactive fuel sources is we have to live with it's effects. Now the sun is a wonderful furnace, and generates a heck of a lot of energy, but go outside in July without SPF 30 on for 3hrs and see how fast you'll be going, "ouch, ouch, ouch" and looking like a boiled lobster, too. ;) Any fusion/fussion reactor/accelerator is going to have the potential of doing the same with a whole geographical area -- but worse. One mistake, and it's sign your will and get your funeral arrangements made as you're going to die within hours/days. The immediate dangers to life make any nuclear power too dangerous to be comfortable with (and ungodly expensive to upkeep -- even converting the waste into glass/cermanic pellets and encasing them in stainless barrel, buried in a salt mine won't protect us -- takes one barrel to leak into ground water to KILL thousands if not more. That's much greater than a refinery blowing up, or 100 mines collapsing.

Neat a cheap, clean, powerful and easier to manage fuel source. One that's also not tied to current technology and it's limitations.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 24, 2006 06:23 PM

Were finally working together! If we all here can to some degree agree on the above issues, anyone can!!! You folks are very intelligent and appreciate your candidness to the discussion.

Posted by: JR | January 24, 2006 07:17 PM

I was so flabbergasted to learn that we could be totally free of ME oil imports in a decade simply by increasing the average mileage standards to 40 mpg and a few simple things like keeping tires properly inflated (see prior posts), that I decided to investigate how much oil we could save by altering our behavior surrounding plastics and recycling. Since half our oil use is to make plastics etc, its a big chunk.

So here goes. Remember for context that we import 2.4 million barrels of oil per day from the ME
The US uses 85 million tons of paper each year. A ton of recycled paper saves 380 gallons of oil (42 gallons = 1 barrel). If 50% of that paper was recycled it would save 1 million barrels a day. The US puts one billion tons of plastic into landfills - 1 million in plastic bottles alone. If half of that was recycled it would save nearly 1 million barrels per day of oil.
Americans recycle 54 million aluminum cans every year but toss 46 billion aluminum cans in the landfill every year. Same with glass. The oil saved from recycling the aluminum cans and recyclable glass is also not chump change - could save up to 20% of our ME imports a day.

This is absolutely mind boggling. The conservation we've been told was "spitting in the ocean" could have us free of ME oil simply from recycling half of the paper and plastic we put in landfills every year.

If only an additional quarter of Americans got on board with hybrids/improved fuel economy measures, recycling paper, plastic, glass and aluminum could still be free of ME oil imports.

Its positively astounding. Who knew this? (I"m serious, who of you knew this?)How did this message get lost in the spin?

Posted by: patriot 1957 | January 24, 2006 09:48 PM


Do You'all know how many times I can reuse a paper coffee cup, and not bother to do the dishes...LOL!

Hell, I can boil water in it too...

Hey and as an after thought, I planted so many pine trees in the American Southwest, I sure as heck don't need to worry that I'm offending the "Forest Guardians" ecological conservation group.

But back to the issue of Iran the world's fourth largest supplier of crude, and the leading supplier of social crudeness popping off randomly in bloody detail on global TV...

Did anyone know that they must IMPORT most of their refined petroleum products?

Yeah, dig it....They don't have the refining capacity to handle domestic demand.

IE> They cut of crude, they cut their own necks...there's INSTANT Karma for you...

In any event, The whole issue of supply, should things go totally south...is being addressed...

The Saudis are talking to China, and one of Ghaddfi's little perks for getting with the program...giving up his WMD's and his renouncement of terrorism was trade in crude with the US...and he "let" most of the leasing and development contracts to the US..

Thing with Venezuala is that due to the high sulfer content of their crude, the only folks that have the capacity to deal with it is the refineries in the US...thus, he's not about to stand with Iran during an embargo...

All in all though, I think energy diversity is a good thing...I'm personally waiting for them to come out with the hybrid "Hummer" so I can trade in my Dodge Neocon...that gets a half mile per....all that armor plating you know...think I'll keep the .50 cal though, and mount it on the new ride.

Well, that's life in the wild, wild west I guess.

Change comes to us all...

Bicycles on the beltway? I don't think so...oops, my paper cup is leaking...where's that darn DHS issued duck tape anyway...I know it's around here somewhere...

Gotta go..

Posted by: Eric Jette | January 25, 2006 01:31 AM


Dear Sandy K,

Iranian Hardliner Says Iran will Produce Atomic Bomb

February 14, 2005
IranMania
IranMania.com

LONDON -- A leading member of Iran's Hezbollah, Hojjat-ol-Islam Baqer Kharrazi after years of silence delivered a harsh speech against the reformists and the administration in Iran, Iran Emrooz reported.

"I kept silent over the past 14 years, because Hezbollah needed to be restructured and I was busy with training the forces. Although no Iranian media reflected Hezbollah leaders' recent meeting with head of Iran's State Expediency Council, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, I should say we elaborated on Hezbollah's activities for Rafsanjani in detail and the former president was amazed with our progress." Kharrazi claimed.

"We don't need any guardian. And if necessary we will select our own president, ministers and parliament members. For without the Hezbollah forces the Islamic Revolution will collapse from within." the hardliner added.

Referring to the Sunni population in Iran's western, eastern and southern borders, Kharrazi said: "Presently the country's borders are controlled by Sunnis. We have to counter their growth in the country."

On Iran's nuclear issue, Kharrazi noted: "We have oil, gas and all other natural resources and thus we don't need interaction with other countries. We are able to produce atomic bombs and we will do that. We shouldn't be afraid of anyone. The US is no more than a barking dog"

Pointing to Iranian Peace Prize Laureate and human rights advocate the Hezbollah member noted: "Shirin Ebadi should not think that she can act as Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan. Hezbollah just needs a wrong gesture from her to shoot her. It was the leader's blessing that has kept her alive to this day."

----------------end----------------

That's Iranian Hezbollah, not their mullah backed namesake in Lebanon...though both are intimately connected.

If you note the date, you'll see that they in fact did exactly what they told Rasfanjani they would do.

Traditionally The grand Ayatollah would be "supreme leader" and the president more or less a "puppet" , but for years the mullahs have been on life support with the machine keeping them alive being the Revolutionary Guard...and within that the Quods force/Hezbollah special forces...(I.E. elite foreign opps ...terrorism)

The current president is from that branch, as is virtually every member of his cabinet, and ministers.

All have long records of terrorism, tourture, suppression of dissent, and what you have today is now the roles reversed, but as such, they kept the old structure as a means to create an air of "stability" having arrived at a symbiotic relationship.

Rasfanjani "lost" the electon...as was planned in advance..now apointed head of the expidiency council that oversees all aspects of government including their version of parliment.

These S.O.B.'s are all on the same page.

And in a sort of comic theater, "disagree" to give the west an illusion of a "split" within ranks.

Iranian "good cop, bad cop"...bipolar diplomacy at its very dysfunctional best, is the result.

The recall of Ambassadors is more realignment to rid the regime of any "moderation" with the west, as per their foreign policy.

Which by the way if you think about it, is no different than UBL's in word or deed.

In fact Suni or no, UBL and the regime, being "an enemy of my enemy, is my friend" are arm in arm, with UBL being a chief foreign policy consultant.

All this hooy about the Admin "dropping the ball" is bunk, it takes time to build international consensus like we see today.

Not many know this, and it's not been reported in the western press as far as I know, but Tehran has been training terrorists for opps in Checnya against the Russians...The arms sales the russians were about to do ..anti-arcraft missiles to Iran...they got up from the table "unexpectedly"...and left.

Russian workers at Bushir (A-plant) are packing bags....nor will a fuel shipment arrive to start it up, as the Russians know that will trigger an Israeli response.

There won't be a plant to deliver it to if they tried, and the Russians don't wish to be responsible for instigating hostilities by shipping it.

Russia is a really pissed off Bear, having now gotten a real wake-up call as to the nature of the regime...slapped in the face by the rejection of the enrichment deal, the training of terrorist to opp on their soil, and while they don't want to bend over backwards for the west, they have incentive to cooperate.

China's energy supply concerns are being eased by the Saudis in the meantime, along with the Aussies and the US.

In all cases those nations having trade ties with Iran, have come to a new understanding that their long-term investment lies not with the regime, but with the people of Iran, and the hopes of a free trade situation without instability, or sanction involved as soon as the Iranian people have their own "flower revolution".

The differences in approach is simply a matter of how to get there from here.

Quite a feat of diplomacy I'd say, for someone folks were accusing of being unilateralist not long ago.

We have the votes, and to the UN we go.

Definately the trigger point for the regime, so hang on...it's going to be one hell of a ride.

Posted by: Eric Jette | January 25, 2006 03:05 AM

Eric Jette wrote:
===========================================
Not many know this, and it's not been reported in the western press as far as I know, but Tehran has been training terrorists for opps in Checnya against the Russians...The arms sales the russians were about to do ..anti-arcraft missiles to Iran...they got up from the table "unexpectedly"...and left.
===========================================

Political types know this, and have known it since the wars in Russia. Same can be said of the funding/training/alignment with al Qaeta in the Bosnia region and Somalia (and other hot spots in Africa).

Their design is to make countries unstable so anarchy will govern. Once weaken they can exert control because the population is too disenfranchised to care (they're trying to keep this arms/legs and head, let alone keep from starving instead).

Iran is anything but a proper government, it's a rogue state that's alittle better off than Afghanistan was (college kids are a little smarter to gut out the entire government to live in the Stone Age). The thing the USA can hold for that it'll crumble from inside out (like it's doing in China). But that takes patience to wait out, which with the nuclear arms problem the world may not have a chance to see unfold.

If you think about it, probably the reason North Korea and Iran are trying to get nukes is their last ditch effort to gain a bargaining chip before their regimes fall. Mad men want $$$$$$$$$ and power, and nukes they think are the best cash on the barrel approach to achieve both aims. Other thug nations are watching too, and how the world responds to this blackmail will determine how the budding rogue states will play that card as well.

Political intrique, indeed.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 25, 2006 06:14 AM

Dear Sandy,

With North Korea, the whole underlying intent is about "reunification". But on their terms.

With the IRI, it's about ending western civilization as we know it...period.

In both cases, "the end justifies the means" is an opperable phrase in aquisition of nuclear weapons.

You wrote:

"Iran is anything but a proper government, it's a rogue state that's alittle better off than Afghanistan was"

From the standpoint of the regime's repression and treatment of the people yes, but as far as infrastructure, Iran is well developed and certainly not in "the stone age" as you put it.

It would be dangerous for anyone to underestimate their capacity to wage war, or their intent to do so.

Posted by: Eric Jette | January 25, 2006 01:11 PM

Eric,

Insider can't say the following himself I say that may be for him as well me and many people. We all acknowledge your characterization of the Iranian system. COMPLETE, ABSOLUTELY, with one exception I will detail later. And we ask for your forgiveness that these are not meant to be a personal insult to you. Forgive us a lot. God willing we are all come good friends.

Your passion and fire bring me a picture a bit about our own zealots. You talk and write as if the US government and people like you who apparanenty advise them are these grand chess masters who can lay a plan and execute it with perfection or near perfection, like Iraq.

I work with in the system, under the system, over the system, around the system if you understand my goal and I have not any loyalty, passion, or belief. A lot of people do this work because we have work we need to complete after the storm. I am too old for those great things and have seen several generation of people of my country in action. My father taught me that Iran is like a Bamboo tree, it may bend but it will not break. That's how we operate. You (my target is not you as a person) are crazy to take Iran's file to UN, because you think the outcome will be hardship for the system, pressure on the nation and revolt. Not so fast, would you say.

When you get to my age you will find that world is not idealistic and only two colors. We talk about the hardship to children of Israel. Well how about the children of Iran. We have been raped and massacred by Alexander the Macedonian Thug who burned and plundered our great civilization and is admired in the West. Then, the Arabs in the invasion of Islam, then Chingiz Khan, Then Taymor Lang, and many other calamities include in it the Islamic Revolution, and invasion of Iran by Iraq. 2500 years of invasion, torture, rape, injustice, disloyalty of our allies, etc. With the existence of this experience Iran has survived, its people are independent, FIERCELY and don't trust foriegner's "good will" and intention.

Don't be too excited about your chess plan. Taking Iran to the security council will make nation circle the wagon (just showing off my English) as millions did in the Iraq war when millions of people died compliment of chemical weapons and indirect support of the US and France. You people are extending the life of Akhunds (so you can practice your Farsi).

Do you remember when Father Bush decided US can not actively support the Shiaas after liberation of Kuwait? It was not important, Saddam massacred 320,000 of them who were counting on US support. I can say the same for Kurds when the US government even betrayed their own local CIA few years later and let Saddam attack and kill many more Kurds. Now you are asking Iranian nation to come out while you cheer from CNN.

There are a lot of people who don't like this system, but when you laugh at people expressing their opinion about nuclear issue, that you can't take a pole in Iran, it shows that your extreme desires are blinding you to complexity of the environment. From one side of your face you say people are just too afraid to express their opinion in a poll and from the other side you are saying that same people have already revolted in so many places. I know Iran is a confusing and contrasting place, but not quite in the way you think. Just take a cab to hear how people openly scold the system with open and very profanity words. You may know many Iranians with them you drink coffee latee on comfortable chairs and you may have read every bit of written word on Iran, have analyzed every satellite photo, and have heard every thing to hear. If after that you have not come to the conclusion that this is one fucked up situation with no clear and easy get away you are letting your emotions cover the reality.

You characterize the Iranian regime in ideological terms as an enemy of the western values, because it serves your objectives. Reality is that IRI is really Islamic Republic of Medelin, because first and foremost it is driven by greed, corruption and everything material. If Iran was this Taliban like country that you want to describe, our second export would not be Iranian women to whore houses of your gulf allies. If Iran stands against everything western, then girls would have not outnumbered men in universities, hundreds of universities, more than all the schools combined in all the countries who are US ally in the Middle East. If Iran is this dark age anti progress country you are describing it would have not championed the Islamic world's desire to promote stem cell research.

Yes, Iranian government is corrupt, repressive and murderous, but you misrepresent the reality when you say they live to destroy west. They live to monopolize their excessive control of material wealth of Iran. Repression of freedom and democracy is only a means to that end. There use of Islam is just a notch more pathetic than relying on Catholicism by all the dictatorships you supported in South, and Central America in the 60s and 70s.

I am very very regretful if I harm your feelings but having lived in the course of many systems and their cells too, and witnessing many students hanging of the lamp posts with their broken necks, and their shit dripping from their trousers, not just in Iran, but also in few other countries allies of the US, I don't assume simple game plans work well, even if the greatest chess champion has calculated the next fifty steps.

I am sure the great knowledgable and researcher as you are , and I sincerely admire you for that, will be able to go back to your database information and statistics and come back with ten times more arguments on why your way is right. They says just tell the truth and it shall set you free. We don't need you to help us. I have friends too who have friends in the rooms of right wing tink tanks in Washington and North Virginia itself and I tell you, you don't have an Iran policy, you have a set of goals directed by Israel's defense requirements. Nothing is wrong with that. I admire loyalty to friends. We just wish you had a real plan, not what we call adaptive tactical moves. It's more smoke. You guys couldn't fix Haiiti, now with $30M want to "save" Iran? My goal here was not to make personal insult and please many many forgiveness. It is just that America is screwing us by playing Ahmadinejad's game. Of course west is too macho to think that possibility.

Posted by: Insiders barber | January 26, 2006 12:52 AM

Now we are seeing this Iran thing bleed into other areas.

For instance, in the Palestinean thing -- it seems to me, with Fatah pulling out of the PA government and handing it all to Hamas by rejecting a coalition government, Hamas will actually have to govern.

Now when Hamas fires rockets into Israel or sends suicide morons into pizzarias it will be the sovereign government of Palestine pulling the trigger -- not some marginal group who are demanding 'concessions' in Palestine politics.

What Hamas does now are the acts of a sovereign government, and if those acts are war-like there will no longer exist an excuse of hiding behind their 'marginalization' in Palestine.

If Hamas want to team up with Iran's crazy president and take pot shots at people in Israel and Europe the Palestineans cannot claim that Hamas are 'merely a terrorist group' -- they are the duly elected government.

So, have Hamas really won anything, other than the chance to start a war with Israel without the ability to hide behind their supposed 'powerlessness'?

The West is likely to cut off the Palestinians of funding now, Europe included, unless of course Hamas stop acting like terrorists and start acting like a government. Iran is Hamas' role model, and Iran is taunting, ridiculing and threatening the Europeans on a daily basis -- watch how quickly the Euro well dries up for the Palestinians now.

A pyrrhic victory if I ever saw one.

Oh, btw, the new Hamas regime is a strict Islamic one -- that will impose Sharia on the Palestineans -- yah?

Lets see how fast Europe will be to continue funding a regime that denies women even the most fundamental of human rights.

Europe will now be forced to put their money where their big fat mouth's are.

Good luck in all that.

The reality is that Europe cannot hand over €280 million (like they did last year) to a government that refuses to renounce terrorism and is aligned with a nation that is taunting and threatening them on the world stage.

Europeans tend to be a bunch of assholes when it comes to the US -- but the US is not in the lead on this thing -- not anymore.

It is Europe who have been slapped down in the worst way by Iran in the nuke thing, it is Iran who are backing Hamas, and it is Hamas who will be spending the hundreds of millions Europe sends their way. What guarantee will Europe get that they are not paying for their own deaths eventually if Hamas does not renounce terrorism?

Europe is not going to fund a terrorist attack on themselves -- and if they do -- shame on them -- it is time for a new set of governments on the continent.

Not many Europeans will give European governments a pass if they die by thier thousands in an attack financed by thier own governments.

Some might like to think that Europans are this stupid, but I don't think this is a realistic scenereo.

My bet is that the Pals get cut off of funding before long -- if for no other reason then European governments figure that they will not know how to justify giving €280 million to a terrorist supporting government who are aligned with an Iran who is encouraging terrorist attacks on Europe for having 'thrust her Jews on the people of the ME' if such an attack actually occurs.

Let Iran fund the Pals from now on -- this is where all thier bluster is leading, yah?

Posted by: Gotham | January 26, 2006 06:18 PM

Yeah, yeah, let 'em in.

I'm all dressed up with nowhere to go
Walkin' with a dead man over my shoulder

Waiting for an invitation to arrive
Goin' to a party where no one's still alive

I was struck by lighting
Walkin' down the street
I was hit by something last night in my sleep
It's a dead man's party
Who could ask for more
Everybody's comin', leave your body at the door
Leave your body and soul at the door...
(Don't run away it's only me)

All dressed up with nowhere to go
Walkin' with a dead man
Waitin' for an invitation to arrive
Walkin' with a dead man... Dead Man ...

Got my best suit and my tie
Shiny silver dollar on either eye
I hear the chauffeur comin' to my door
Says there's room for maybe just one more . . .

I was struck by lighting
Walkin' down the street
I was hit by something last night in my sleep
It's a dead man's party
Who could ask for more
Everybody's comin', leave your body at the door
Leave your body and soul at the door...
(Don't run away it's only me)

Don't run away it's only me
Don't be afraid of what you can't see
Don't run away it's only me...

Posted by: Gotham | January 26, 2006 06:48 PM

Since my last post; there has been alot said. You leave for a couple of days, and it takes awhile to catch up. As one gets older, it becomes more clear ( hopefully) that man just lacks the inability to understand and to trust oneanother. Whether it be by perception of color, race, age, religion, and anything else; man continues to divorce himself from others in the reality of international relations. The country having the iron fist usually prevails. The will of a nation is very difficult to kill. In fact, if lessons are correct from the past, the will of a nation usually never dies even if the war is lost. Most wars are fought based on economic issues. The present and future may hold different religions for countries to go to war. Nuclear proliferation as an example. I have no answers to speculative issues, I rather have an opinion of myself that I could fix any problem out there if given the chance. (international relations, that is) We endeavor between ourselves to entertain and stimulate, educate, and at times, try to inimidate each other based on our own perceptions. Whether good or bad, we do all have a right to an opinion. From the readings above, there is many dedicated, intellectual folks here who commit themselves with their opinions. For that, I thankyou. I don't like war, and never liked war. Gotham, I liked your comments on the Palestinian issue of the new elections. I agree with you on that. This will be a major development in that relationship between Israel and the Palestinian people. You are right on what you said. Iran is powerful, economically powerful. China, India, and Russia and a few other countries have major trade agreements with them. Economics will cause division amonst the world super powers at the UN. I guess if we can't even solve or stop the killings in this country ( USA) which is approx. 15,000 a year and the rapes, and other violent crimes that happen, I guess the USA will always have a hard time overseas with their ability to diplomatically resolve world conflicts. Maybe the Bush Religious Crusades is of war and not of democracy.

Posted by: JR | January 26, 2006 10:34 PM

When Hamas send all the little girls home from school to 'act like little women should' and then stretch out their hands for the usual European largess won't it be at the expense of the last shred of dignity Europe possesses?

Posted by: Gotham | January 26, 2006 10:47 PM

Gotham, you don't to have worry so much about the Europeans. They will do fine as they've done for generations.

Posted by: Jr | January 26, 2006 11:12 PM

Albert Einstein
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

Ernest Hemingway
Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.
Gandhi
What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?
George McGovern
I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
An unjust peace is better than a just war.
Gregory Clark
Are bombs the only way of setting fire to the spirit of a people? Is the human will as inert as the past two world-wide wars would indicate?
Albert Einstein
A country cannot simultaneously prepare and prevent war.
Benjamin Franklin
Never has there been a good war or a bad peace.
Emperor Hirohito
All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?

Posted by: JR | January 26, 2006 11:31 PM

"They will do fine as they've done for generations."

Oh really, and you call Americans dying in their thousands in two world wars 'doing fine'?

Who really trusts Europe - in America or anywhere else -- there is no reason whatsoever to trust Europe's word, or their diplomacy -- it has been a dismal failure for centuries.

What single event gives you confidence in European diplomacy. -- Seriously - what has Europe ever done to engender confidence in 'lowly Americans' such as we are. Nothing - fuck all - not a scrap of European brilliance has been tossed our way in more then two hundred years - outside of the feats of European brilliance demonstrated by scrappy Britain - the pee-on shop keepers - fighting off lunatics like Boney or Hitler.

Europe has not done fine for generations - in fact they have been a bunch of genocidal lunatics for most of the time.

Europe can take it up the ass for all I am concerned - it is the US and the UK and her allies like Italy and Poland and the rest of the non German French Axis that I beat to quarters for.

The rest of them can Póg mo thóin.

Posted by: Gotham | January 26, 2006 11:56 PM

She grew up in an Indiana town
Had a good lookin' momma who never was around
But she grew up tall and she grew up right
With them Indiana boys on an Indiana night

Well she moved down here at the age of 18
She blew the boys away, it was more than they'd seen
I was introduced and we both started groovin'
She said, I dig you baby but I got to keep movin'
...on, keep movin' on

Last dance with Mary Jane
One more time to kill the pain
I feel summer creepin' in and I'm
Tired of this town again

Well I don't know what I've been told
You never slow down, you never grow old
I'm tired of screwing up, I'm tired of goin' down
I'm tired of myself, I'm tired of this town
Oh my my, oh hell yes
Honey put on that party dress
Buy me a drink, sing me a song,
Take me as I come 'cause I can't stay long

Last dance with Mary Jane
One more time to kill the pain
I feel summer creepin' in and I'm
Tired of this town again

There's pigeons down in market square
She's standin' in her underwear
Lookin' down from a hotel room
Nightfall will be comin' soon
Oh my my, oh hell yes
You've got to put on that party dress
It was too cold to cry when I woke up alone
I hit the last number, I walked to the road

Last dance with Mary Jane
One more time to kill the pain
I feel summer creepin' in and I'm
Tired of this town again...

Posted by: Gotham | January 27, 2006 12:21 AM

Have faith Gotham, After all, what did we do to the Indians in this country and to the wild life? Are we any better?

Posted by: JR | January 27, 2006 12:48 AM

Here's a scene
You're in the back seat laying down
The windows wrap around
To sound of the travel and the engine
All you hear is time stand still in travel
And feel such peace and absolute
The stillness still that doesn't end
But slowly drifts into sleep
The stars are the greatest thing you've ever seen
And they're there for you
For you alone you are the everything...

Posted by: Gotham | January 27, 2006 01:01 AM


Dear Insiders barber,

Regarding the State dept spokesman's comment when asked if "regime change" was policy...replied "we seek a change in behavior of the regime."

I note for clarification that the anouncement of such a major shift in US policy would be one that the president himself would make...meaning not through a spokesman to a reporter's question.

That anouncement may come sooner than you might think, as the State of the Union speech is always a major policy speech by a president, and it's only my hunch, but I can't think of a better time to anounce "regime change", just before the IAEA meets....

Would the regime view it as 'interference in their internal affairs" ? without a doubt. Would they view it as an "act of war" ? most probably.

But then they have already declared war on the US haven't they?...Israel wasn't the only nation to be "wiped off the map".

Now that the EU3 negotiations are at a "dead end" and "next steps" in a "new phase of diplomacy" bringing the matter to the UN for "coercive" diplomatic efforts, there really isn't much reason not to declare "regime change" as policy.

But then, that will be "at a time of our choosing."

So, just because it hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't...would anyone have known last year at this time we'd be where we are now?

I don't know, but I'll tell you where I think we'll be a year from now...

Celebrating a world free from mullacratic stupidity.

You wrote:

"Now you are asking Iranian nation to come out while you cheer from CNN."


What's important to remember is that I don't state what I do to produce a "sign" for the int. community, so the free world can be a chearleader from the sidelines, in support.

What you and the entire opposition need to produce is a situation whereby you produce a "sign" to your fellow Iranians that "we can do this, by the numbers" and help those who are opposed yet afraid to act that not only is their safety in numbers, but that they may lose their fear in the process.

You put a million on the streets on the first day, 5 million will join by the end of the week if those initial million are willing to take what gets thrown at them by the regime... for as long as it takes....this is no "protest action" this involves a takeover of Parliment, radio and TV stations, police and goverrnment buildings....the calling for true sons of Iran to abandon their support for the mullahs...for the Rev. Guard to join the people via broadcast....and it is based on "live free or die" as a premis of the reality of the situation, not a theory or nice words, waiting for outside financial support, or any other....failure to act on your own behalf.

Yes indeed I have faith that the bamboo tree will not break, even having been under the "occupation" of the last 27 years by those that deny the children of Iran a prosperous and hopeful future.

I can't tell you whether to take this American's assessment as the truth or not...that is for you folks to decide for yourselves....you do this for yourselves, not us, not for the west ...but for yourselves.

If it is as I posted(as I believe it to be), a true and correct assessment of regime intent, then you have all the incentive you need.

All I can say more is that as an American , one who has been on a number of forums like this one, having many conversations with similar experience as you're own, and as one who stands with the Iranian people's aspirations for freedom....not only do I understand those doubts you express on behalf of the opposition generally, I've taken an immense amount of crap over the years personally because of them, not from you personally now but in general terms, by and as I've experienced it.

I'll stand on a track record of accuracy, and the assesment as delivered here.....again it is up to others to judge its merits.


You state:

"You characterize the Iranian regime in ideological terms as an enemy of the western values, because it serves your objectives."

Well my friend, I have to push back and say that the Akhunds have characterized themselves in idiological terms as being not only an enemy of western values, but western civilization itself (and I do make the distinction between the people of Iran who the majority of do appreciate western culture and science. And also value a free, secular society which they wish they had but are denied, just as the regime has forbidden western music)

This is no "chess game" There is nothing so simplistic about it, nor do I see it all in 2 colors, there are a thousand shades and permutations of cause and effect. I'm simply posting a few that I believe play a significant part in the future, and yes, the regime's greed factors into it...they don't call them "millionare Mullahs" for nothing.

All the while the people suffer 25% inflation, a crashing stock market, and a living standard 30% below where they were in 1978.

"They deserve better" as Condi Rice put it.

--------

Posted by: Eric Jette | January 27, 2006 01:32 AM

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