The Great Iran Debate

The combination of reaction to news reports of U.S. plans for military strikes on Iran and Iran's claim to have mastered uranium processing brought out the best (and worst) in the comments section.

"Robert Rose" likens a Bloomberg wire story headlined "Iran Could Make Nuclear Bomb in 16 Days, U.S. Says" to the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident in which an exaggerated North Vietnamese attack on a U.S. ship prompted Congress to authorize President Johnson to expand the Vietnam War.

The headline is misleading. The U.S. official said that if Iran had 50,000 nuclear centrifuges to process uranium it could produce a bomb in 16 days. Iran has less than 200 centrifuges today. It seeks to have 3,000 by next year. The Bloomberg article quotes one expert as saying that, if Iran reaches that goal, it could produce enough fuel for a nuclear weapon in 271 days.

But to Rose's point, is the U.S. attempting to exaggerate Iran's capabilities? The U.S. has maintained all along that Iran is masking sinister ambitions in their nuclear efforts and after Iran's latest claims, Condoleezza Rice called for the U.N. to take "strong steps." What do you make of Rice's handling of U.S. policy?

"Oscar Mayer" makes an important point when he writes that "this constant tension [over Iran] adds at least $15 a barrel to the price of oil. This translates to over 200 billion dollars of our annual trade deficit or about 600 billion dollars since the Iraq invasion. Add the cost of the Iraq war and we are close to one trillion dollars that this adventure is costing us."

The geopolitics of attempting to transform the political order of the Middle East as the Bush administration seeks to do not only has the direct costs of intervention but the indirect costs associated with the region's primary exports: oil and natural gas.

"What is swept under the carpet by the US," contends HJ Pfau, "is the fact that Iran has every right to nuclear energy. This constant harping about a nuclear bomb, based on no facts whatsoever, is an American diversion designed to isolate a regime they don't like."

Not quite. Iran, as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, does have every right to nuclear energy for civilian purposes. But in 2002, IAEA inspectors discovered a secret parallel program in Iran that seemed to be aimed at creating weapons, not energy for civilian purposes. That is why the IAEA still says it cannot be certain that Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons. The Bush administration may be "harping about a nuclear bomb," but the concern is not "based on no facts whatsoever."

Kris says, "I have no doubt that, barring mainstream opposition from either the US military, or the right-wing, Bush can engineer another rush to war in Iran. While a certain subset of the US population will cheer on such an avenging mission of justice and righteousness, an attack on Iran might swing the 2006 elections, but will otherwise be a devastating act of self-sabotage, on the part of America."

This is the central question raised by the talk of military strikes on Iran. Would any U.S. military action be an act of self-defense or aggression? David Patrick says, "Perhaps the last chance for a peaceful solution has already been passed."

Has it?

Finally Brian asked yesterday if there was any way to "restrict some of the vitriolic and hateful language that finds it's way onto these blogs? "

The answer is yes. Review our rules on posting to blogs and discussions -- racial insults, vulgarities and ad hominem attacks will be be removed. If you see comments that are offensive, please e-mail us.

Otherwise all points of view are welcome, especially questions.

By Jefferson Morley |  April 13, 2006; 7:55 AM ET  | Category:  Readers' Day
Previous: Russia Downplays Iran's 'Good News' | Next: Why the Iraqi Impasse Continues

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Mr. Morley,
I am impressed that you do respond to the questions and issues in the postings. It's nice to see someone paying attention unlike one of your "early warning" WaPo colleagues, who seems to be "mailing it in."

Posted by: CWS | April 13, 2006 11:28 AM


Washington Post's Fred Hiatt fails to read his own newspaper, again
by John in DC - 4/13/2006 08:48:00 AM

What must have been yet another Fred Hiatt editorial in Thursday morning's Washington Post tries to strike fear in the heart of every American over Iran getting nukes in MAYBE JUST A YEAR!!!!!!

Of course, Iran getting nukes in a year is not what the experts in our government say - they say it's gonna take ten years, and that's if Iran gets lucky - but far be it for Hiatt to rely on a sane analysis when we can scare people into yet another unnecessary disaster of a war.

My favorite part of the editorial is the following:

Some in Washington cite a U.S. intelligence estimate that an Iranian bomb is 10 years away. In fact the low end of that same estimate is five years, and some independent experts say three.

Uh, not according to your own newspaper, Fred.

In fact, the Washington Post reported that the low end of the estimate is TEN YEARS, not five years. The Post also reported that the estimate in question says it's unlikely Iran will even be able to develop nukes in ten years - ten years is only if EVERYTHING goes right and if Iran goes full blast towards building nukes, and everything reportedly never goes right in these cases.

So where did Hiatt get this ridiculous notion that the "same estimate" says five years? He's probably confusing the previous - now discredited (gee Fred, who did you learn that trick from?) - estimate of five years that the US government had long believed was the time necessary for Iran to develop a nuke. That five year estimate was superseded by the ten year estimate just last year when the entire US intelligence community prepared a new National Intelligence Estimate - the NIE is the US intelligence communities BEST ESTIMATE, period.

Fred would have known all of this had he simply read his own newspaper, and I quote:

Until recently, Iran was judged, according to February testimony by Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, to be within five years of the capability to make a nuclear weapon. Since 1995, U.S. officials have continually estimated Iran to be "within five years" from reaching that same capability. So far, it has not.

The new estimate extends the timeline, judging that Iran will be unlikely to produce a sufficient quantity of highly enriched uranium, the key ingredient for an atomic weapon, before "early to mid-next decade," according to four sources familiar with that finding. The sources said the shift, based on a better understanding of Iran's technical limitations, puts the timeline closer to 2015 and in line with recently revised British and Israeli figures.... The timeline is portrayed as a minimum designed to reflect a program moving full speed ahead without major technical obstacles.

As for Hiatt's contention that "some experts" say it could be only 3 years, or even ONE YEAR before Iran gets nukes, I'd like to know why we should trust "some" experts when even the hawkish we-really-want-to-blow-up-Iran Bush administration can only muster a best estimate that says Iran won't be able to produce nukes for at least ten years?

Posted by: from AmericaBlog | April 13, 2006 11:59 AM

I think the Persian situation is a very difficult one to get to the bottom of. On the one hand the nuclear question seems to be paramount but on the other hand there are alternative reasons for the US to be challenged by Iran. First of all the discision for Iran to sell oil in Euros is a one not to be taken lightly. Iraq had done the same before it was invaded. To do this is to threaten the strength of the US dollar and to do so is to tempt the lion from his slumber.
Second is the mid term election in the US coming up this fall. If Bush loses his majority the opposition has promised to spend the next two years investigating the goings on within the Bush administration. There is a lot to hide under the guise of this War on Terrorism and Homeland Security and I would dare to say a war may guarantee he keeps his majority and neck out of the Clinton Impeachment waters.
And finally it would apear that the Isreali's are itching at the trigger. Some may sugest strongly that the US will use and Isreali pre-emptive strike as a context to enter into the arena of war with Iran. Using the defence of little brother routine. Little brother gets himself in trouble with a bully and must be defended.
Regardless there is much more to the debate that is introduced to the public. Iran is a complicated situation that will yeild a lot of stress and death if handled incorrectly, which it will.

Posted by: John Veilleux | April 13, 2006 12:09 PM

Here's the Post story about Jacoby's testimony: "Iran Is Judged 10 Years From Nuclear Bomb."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/01/AR2005080101453_pf.html

Dafner Linzer wrote, "The carefully hedged assessments, which represent consensus among U.S. intelligence agencies, contrast with forceful public statements by the White House. Administration officials have asserted, but have not offered proof, that Tehran is moving determinedly toward a nuclear arsenal. The new estimate could provide more time for diplomacy with Iran over its nuclear ambitions. President Bush has said that he wants the crisis resolved diplomatically but that 'all options are on the table.'"

Posted by: Jefferson Morley | April 13, 2006 12:10 PM

I've heard it said that the current war in Iraq has done 2 things successfully: It's eliminated the implied threat of our power while sumltanteously revealing the limitations of our actual power, hampered as it is in the web of geopolitical issues of the day. Which brings us to Iran and North Korea. Are we more compromised today, with an administration whose every move is questioned by both the international community and it's own citizenry, than with Hussein in power, subjected as he would have been to some degree of international pressure if not a UN mandated war?

Posted by: Al | April 13, 2006 12:15 PM

Good question Al. It goes to the heart of the situation and can only be answered with a political judgment.

It can be safely said that all polls and reporting show that the popularity of, credibility of, and respect for the United States has declined in most countries of the world in the last five years.

We'll never know if continued U.N. inspections and sanctions would have produced a better outcome.

It seems likely that the cost for U.S. taxpayers would have been less, though supporters of the war might argue that a catastrophic terror attack, mounted with the support of Saddam Hussein, might have had incalcuable costs which have been avoided.


Posted by: Jefferson Morley | April 13, 2006 12:23 PM

Yes a Zionist lie...because anything that disagrees with your ideas should not be considered or discussed. Even if it's true. Rather then just blindy labeling it a lie, try letting people know why you believe it is a lie and on what grounds.

Posted by: James | April 13, 2006 12:41 PM

Your World Opinion column negates to mention foreign reporting of America's Israeli lobby in fostering the drumbeat to war with Iran!

Posted by: David G. Ward | April 13, 2006 12:48 PM

Although I find it mildly ironic that one scenario envisions the US. using nukes on Iran to prevent it from developing nukes, I think this is the preferred option.

A country like Iran, at least with its current insane leadership, should never be given an opportunity for nuclear development. If the country was not the #1 terrorist supporter in the world, I might well feel differently, but...

You reap what you sow.

Posted by: Howard | April 13, 2006 12:54 PM

James, could you clarify? What is the Zionist lie in your view?

As for your comment David Ward, you are mistaken. I have reported quite extensively on the foreign reaction to two U.S. professor's paper on the Israel (not Israeli) lobby.

See my recent recent post on "Global Divide on Israel Lobby Study"
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/worldopinionroundup/2006/03/global_divide_on_israel_lobby_1.html

Posted by: Jefferson Morley | April 13, 2006 01:02 PM

here we go again,the spin masters of lies and deciet are showing up openly, beating the drums of war,the last days of the world are here as foretold by the prophets of all the religions,the time has come to bring satan to down on its knees,god willing.

Posted by: hafiz | April 13, 2006 01:08 PM

I am crazy to think that while we are still slogging along in Iraq except with new and very public squabbling amongst the Pentagon brass that Congress would convene public hearings (bipartisan) and actually listen to the current administration make a case for ANY type of military action against another Mid East country?? Who picks up the briefcase full of evidence and trots in now that Mr. Powell is long gone? It may very serve as a defacto Deocratic primary for 08.

Posted by: bruce | April 13, 2006 01:10 PM

Washington Post's Fred Hiatt fails to read his own newspaper, again
by John in DC - 4/13/2006 08:48:00 AM

When Fred Hiatt in his Thursday morning's Washington Post editorial writes that Iran may be getting nukes in MAYBE JUST A YEAR, he is only exercising his right to free speech!!!!!! The fact that he is uninformed is largely irrelevant. Many a great outcome is the result of fortuitously misinformed opinion carried to its logical conclusion. Napoleon's opined he could invade Russia in the middle of winter and win. Fortunately for the world, that lunacy saved us from having to endure the endless monotony of french baguettes and foie gras.

So let Fred Hiatt have his say. Who knows what serendipity lies in store for us!

Posted by: Oscar Mayer | April 13, 2006 01:33 PM

"Although I find it mildly ironic that one scenario envisions the US. using nukes on Iran to prevent it from developing nukes, I think this is the preferred option."

So says a commenter here, someone who thinks the leadership of Iran is 'insane'. What's insane is thinking that we can nuke Iran and nobody will mind. There will be no retaliation from Iran or any other country.

There is no way we can hit their weapons installatiions without killing hundred of thousands of their citizens. Do you really think that they won't hit us back, on our ships, on our citizens, on our own soil? The iranians, perhaps joined by the Saudis, Pakistan, the emirates, who knows?

One certain fact is that our economy will be destroyed because oil shipping lanes will be shut down and OPEC will turn off the spigot. Not only that, but we are deeply in debt already, and we are talking about challenging the wealthiest nations in the world.

We have no allies left who will join this reckless endeavor. We will be isolated and deplored.Iraq is not a war and never was. But this will be something else altogether. It makes me physically sick that people are even discussing this rush to suicide. If you were actively trying to destroy this country you couldn't do a better job than Bush and company are doing already.

Posted by: Drindl | April 13, 2006 01:34 PM

Mr. Morley
It is encouraging that you actually read the responses to your article, unlike most other media, particularly on the internet.

So, please allow me to correct an inaccuracy in your responses. Iran is indeed 100% within their legal and national right and there is NO EVIDENSE to the contrary.
The 2002 evidence you refer to, was associated with minute traces of higher grade enriched Uranium etc. which was subsequently formally confirmed by IAEA as having come from the contaminated equipment bought on the black market etc. as per Iran's assertion from the outset!

Please review the IAEA documents again, you will see there are no outstanding questions or concerns about Iran's program (NONE)! Except, questions associated with the Blackmarketeers! As much as Iran has answered much of these questions, they are clearly protecting someone or some organisation/government which they do not intend to sell out!
This is being played upon by the US administration as none-compliance!

Indeed, IAEA and all NPT Nuclear members, including America are guilty of none-compliance, as under the NPT charter, they are "obliged" to support and assist the none-nuclear signatory members in use of peaceful nuclear technology.
America and IAEA, did not fulfill their obligations to NPT members (namely Iran). America also positively obstructed and blocked all attempts by all countries (including Germany and France) who tried to help Iran to gain such assistance for over 25 years. All this, while Iran was attempting to do everything openly and in compliance with NPT!
Indeed, this was the cause for Iran having started to hide their activities in the first place!

It is fascinating how the American administration has created a “self-fulfilling prophecy” and yet, most of the media seem to be either oblivious or blind to it, or maybe “none-sensational facts don’t sell papers?”!

This is similar to the current assertion of the American administration, stating that “Diplomacy is their priority”! Who are they kidding?

TELLING IRAN TO DO IT MY WAY OR ELSE, (THROUGH A THIRD PARTY) IS NOT DIPLOMACY!

Diplomacy means “trying to be” respectful, reasonable, logical, fare and negotiate for a mutually acceptable solution! You decide how many of these attributes does the current American Administration qualify for!

Posted by: FT | April 13, 2006 01:48 PM

Drindl,

You need a positive mental attitude. I realize that a strike on Iran will cause many casualties. The trick here is to mak eot so massive that they won't be able to respond.

The key to peace is through superior firepower and the willingness to use it against the bad guys.

I will agree with you though that the Iraq war was never justified and made things worse.

Posted by: Howard | April 13, 2006 01:48 PM

Uhm, Sir...

1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident was not 'exaggerated'...

It was MADE UP. Do you understand this? Declassified records indicate that it NEVER HAPPENED.

Warmongering is the biggest export my beloved US of A offers.

www.truthring.org

Posted by: Zlatko Grozl` | April 13, 2006 02:24 PM

I saw an estimate on CNN's Your World Today that the U. S. has 10,000 nuclear weapons. Israel was rated the biggest nuclear power in the Middle East. I am not too worried about Iran having nuclear weapons. I was not worried about Iraq having nuclear weapons. Either nation would have a long way to go before catching up with U.S. with 10,000, or Russia with 20,000.
Does any sane person think any state is going to use nuclear weapons against a nation with 10,000 nuclear weapons, and not expect to be wiped off the face of the earth. I spent most of my time in the military during the Cold War. Mutually Assured Destruction and Containment kept the U.S. and the Soviet Union from destroying the world with nuclear weapons. I never had to fire a shoot, and had a very good time in Europe. Don't try to tell me we have to go to war because some little country has a few nuclear weapons. Been there , done that!

Posted by: P. J. Casey | April 13, 2006 02:30 PM

howard wrote:

"The key to peace is through superior firepower and the willingness to use it against the bad guys."

ahh, yes. when all else fails, all you have to do is dehumanize the people you don't like. its all about the "good" guys and the "bad" guys, isn't it. there can't possibly any inbetween.

have you considered that maybe WE are the "bad" guys in the view of the entire world. we are bad for smashing a country for no good reason, torturing its citizens, and leaving it to rot?

what is so "bad" about iran. have they invaded another country, or have we? have they talked about using WMD's on another country, or have we?

Posted by: Fahd | April 13, 2006 02:36 PM

Iran has not attacked any country in 250 years. Everything it is doing right now is LEGAL. Infact Russia has encouraged and supprts Iran on its RIGHT to get energy.

I know USA makes a war every 5 years to make its economy move faster, but Iran isnt one to do it for USA. We should attack another country.

Posted by: Booz | April 13, 2006 02:43 PM

It's all about the Euro vs. Dollar oil trading currency. The nuke thing is just something everyone can agree on, like WMDs were something everyone could agree on for the Iraq invasion. The so-called "leaders" of the US are driving the country off a cliff, and the average person is totally unaware of what is happening. It's amazing.

Posted by: Mickey | April 13, 2006 03:13 PM

I get it... if I don't agree with all you liberals I am dehumanizing the Iranian people.

Iran's government supports terrorism. Iran's governments makes incredibly aggressive threats. An Iran with nuclear weapons should be stopped.

Iran has absolutely nothing to do with the Iraq fiasco. That, is a separate issue.

Just because we screwed up there doesn't mean Iran shouldn't be nuked.

Posted by: Howard | April 13, 2006 03:38 PM

For me the real issue is a simple one. DO we want to risk an fundamentalist islamic regime which is already the biggest sponsor of worldwide terrorism (second only to syria) to obtain enough nuclear technology and enriched uraniam to be able to make a Nuclear bomb, if they should wish to do so.

I think most people would agree that is something we need to avoid. How we achieve that aim only time will tell but in my optinion if it needs to be with an air strike, then so be it.

Posted by: Oliver | April 13, 2006 03:39 PM

If the USA wants to drop mini nukes on Iran's nuclear power plants and national labs, I look forward to the pre emptive bombing of nuclear power plants and national labs inside the US homeland! Does Dick Cheney really think the USA is the only nation on this earth with bunker busting bombs! The US Government is bankrupt and on the edge of collapse. We are neither very super or powerful!

Posted by: Zionist Hoodlum | April 13, 2006 04:05 PM

If Israel has a secret nuke program and ignores the UN and bullies its neighbors, why shouldn't Iran have different rights?

Jesus drifting through the easteregg carbomb!

Posted by: Boom Goes The Dynamite | April 13, 2006 04:07 PM

I get it... if I don't agree with all you neo fake conservatives I am dehumanizing the American Troops.The US government supports state terrorism. The US government makes incredibly aggressive threats. A crusade with nuclear weapons should be stopped.?Iran has absolutely nothing to do with the Iraq fiasco? That, is a separate issue? Why should one more American die for the Shiite Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq allied with the Shiite Mullahs in Iran???

Just because we screwed up there doesn't mean Iran shouldn't be nuked.

Posted by: Stupid Ugly Fat American | April 13, 2006 04:10 PM

You are being misleading about the "secret parallel program" that was discovered in 2002. FIrst, it wasn't a "parallel" program. Second, it has hardly a secret. Iran's intentions to obtain enrichment technology was widely reported, even in Iran, and Iran had entered into a number of contracts with foreign governments -- such as CHina-- to build enrichment plants. All of these contracts were reported to the IAEA, and in fact the Iranians had invited IAEA inspectors to visit Iran's uranium mines in 1992. WHen the US ILLEGALLY pressured the other countries to withdraw their LEGAL nuclear cooperation with Iran, Iran resorted to the black market to obtain centrifuges. If that was a "violation" of Iran's safeguard agreement, then there are several other countries that have done much worse (S. Korea, Egypt) but of course since they're US allies we don't hear a fuss about their "secret nuclear programs"

And in any case, after inspecting Iran's "secret parallel programs" the IAEA concluded that it had NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM -- a fact that YOU"RE INTENTIONALLY NOT STATING.

After three years of intensive inspections, and despite the speculation about “secret nuclear sites” and “parallel weapons programs”, the only real conclusions the IAEA inspectors have been able to reach with respect to Iran are that there is no evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran: the IAEA reported in November 2003 that "to date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities referred to above were related to a nuclear weapons programme." One year later, the IAEA Director General El-Baradei confirmed that "All the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities." As a result of publishing these findings, the IAEA drew a serious rebuke from the Bush administration and prominent Neoconservative think tanks, and the Bush administration even for a while to remove El Baradei from his position.

Indeed, politicians in Iran uniformly and quite vehemently deny seeking nuclear weapons, and have consistently pressed for the creation of a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East, only to be rebuffed by the United States and Israel. Iranian authorities have consistently and repeatedly stated that a nuclear weapons would not improve their security environment, and have offered to implement measures which go far beyond any legal requirements to ensure that the enrichment program in Iran cannot be diverted to military use. These offers, which have included operating Iran’s enrichment facilities as joint ventures with foreign investors and subject to intensive monitoring by the IAEA, have been rebuffed off-hand by the US and EU-3, along with Iran’s offer to suspend industrial scale enrichment for another two years (see 4/6/2006 New York times op-ed by Javad Zarif)

Posted by: Hass | April 13, 2006 04:20 PM

Isn't ANY country just "10 years away" from potentially building nukes?

Posted by: Willimna | April 13, 2006 04:22 PM

Boom goes the dynamite wrote:

"If Israel has a secret nuke program and ignores the UN and bullies its neighbors, why shouldn't Iran have different rights?"

I disagree. Israel does not bully its neighbors. It defends itself from Islamofascists.

Without Iran and Islamofascism, Israel wouldn't need nukes. The interests of the USA nad Israel coincide here.

Posted by: Howard | April 13, 2006 04:24 PM

Mr. Morley,

For the record, the Bloomberg “misleading title” could be found, yesterday, on the Internet, as the very first entry of the first, amongst “Top Stories”, in Google News. Misleading as it was (by omission), it could not be missed. Please notice that some could possibly argue that title could have been interpreted in a non-misleading way (“Iran could... if only....”) and that it was not intended (of course!) to mislead anybody....

That way of practicing journalism, especially in critical times, has me very worried. Indeed, such misleading titles can have us thrown into hell. How many people will, from now on, only remember “Iran could make a nuclear bomb in 16 days”? Who has a vested interest in people believing something like that? One more reason we ought to be most vigilant at the present time, I believe, regarding what gets communicated worldwide. That explains why I thought I should post that piece of "news" under “World Opinion Roundup”, yesterday, with reference to the Gulf of Tonkin incident which, we learned many years (and 3 million Vietnamese deaths) too late, had never happened!...

It is therefore comforting and somehow reassuring to see that you keep an eye on the comments to your media reviews and that you do not hesitate to react to them whenever you consider it appropriate to do so. I did not expect that much, I must admit. And although it may not be quite proper for me to say that, given I am one of the participants you have referred to above, I do want to say just the same (after CWS and FT) that I am impressed by how much you care about the opinions expressed under “World Opinion Roundup”. It is remarkable, in this instance, that you cared enough to review some of the comments, analyse them, put them into perspective, come up with more questions to give the debate new impetus and direction, and then even participate yourself in the conversation, today. It is because of journalists as dedicated as you are, I presume, that “moderators” will, some day, be a thing of the past...

I have invited others, in the media, to review closely your “participatory style and techniques”. I sincerely hope they get adopted more widely.

Regards

Posted by: Robert Rose | April 13, 2006 04:31 PM

It does seem that if you do not agree with a liberal point of you, then you are evil or wanting to somehow start a war or destroy something. Far as I can tell, war is a last resort even for Bush.
Question? Why do liberals always want to point any blame at the United States?

Posted by: phil | April 13, 2006 04:35 PM

I think it’s time for us all to take a deep breath and look at the situation as it is. Clearly, the Bush Administration has a stake in whipping us all into a frenzy. This allows them to introduce opinions as evidence; ignore, distort and manufacture facts; exaggerate claims; create fear; and likelihood of a dire outcome if they fail to act.. Sound familiar, it should.

As of today, the charge against is being lead by none other than “Kinda Sleazy,” “Smoking gun as mushroom cloud” Rice with “Shotgun Dick” Cheney in a supporting role. Bush has denied that an attack on Iran is in the operational planning stages. However, George “I Want Humble Foreign Policy” Bush stated that there were no plans to attack Iraq when in fact a plan to attack Iraq had been in the operational planning stages for 6 months. This is group reprehensible incompetents should not be believed under any circumstances. Everyone, particularly those in the press, should approach the members of this administration with the following … “How do you know when they’re lying? When their lips move.” Nothing they say should be taken at face value. Nothing that any member of this administration says should be printed or broadcast without qualification and fact checking. Period.

Now, I want to refocus on Iran. Forget the hype. It’s true that the leader of Iran, Ahmadinejad, has problems with reality. He’s showman and frankly a jerk. He’s also incompetent. Perhaps as incompetent as Bush – although Bush has reached new heights in defining incompetence, Ahmadinejad is same league with Bush. (Bush league?) But consider what Ahmadinejad has just announced … he announced that Iran has the most minimal of means to enrich Uranium to create a small – I’m talking real small – nuclear reactor. Not a bomb. Iran’s not even close. A decade is a pretty good number if everything moves along without a hitch.

Ahmadinejad wants this confrontation with the US. Remember I mentioned the man is incompetent? Since he’s unable to make life better for the Iranians, he’s decided to raise the perceived standing in the world that Iranians have of themselves by creating this nuclear standoff. Even if the US attacks, the US can’t attack with ground forces, only air. That would raise Ahmadinejad’s standing in Iran by creating a backlash against the US. The destroyed facilities could easily be rebuilt and this time, more deeply hidden. It gives Ahmadinejad the standing to unleash his own terrorist forces, this time to attack inside the US. The Shi’ia inside Iraq will become angrier than they already are at the US. We’d start to see US causalities in Iraq skyrocket. The likely horrors are documented in other publications, but you get the picture.

And let’s look at what they could do if they had an atom bomb. What could they do? Not much. For those who have suddenly gone senile, I’d like to remind you that the US has the largest thermonuclear arsenal on the planet. Not atomic – fission – bombs, but fission-fusion-fission bombs with megatons, not kilotons of explosive power. Iran could be vaporized in a matter of hours. I think the Iranians

So, attacking Iran now or anytime in the near future would be stupid, actually beyond stupid. But I believe it’s something this Administration is perfectly capable of doing. These people do not think about the consequences of their actions. They’ve proven this time after time.

According to Sy Hersh, Bush as a “Messianic” complex regarding Iran. Bush believes that only he can deal forthrightly with Iran and Ahmadinejad. Frankly, I’m inclined to believe Hersh. So, I think we need to start digging into this Administration over Iran at every turn. Iran is indeed a threat. It’s a threat to our way of life because we have an Administration that manufactures crises and then plunges headlong into “solving” the nonexistent crisis and creates an even bigger crisis.


Posted by: InChicago | April 13, 2006 04:45 PM

Phil.

We don't care about liberals and conservatives. We don't care if you do agree or not. We don't care about the United States either. We don't even care about Israël, would you believe it?

We only care about the issues, the arguments and, above all, about what supports those arguments. I am sorry to point out there is nothing of the kind in your post, as in many similar ones.

Posted by: Robert Rose | April 13, 2006 04:48 PM

Phil, liberals hate our country. It's always our fault, we were asking for 9/11, our actions provoke others, etc.

Once you accept that, it all falls into place.

Posted by: JD | April 13, 2006 04:48 PM

"Without Iran and Islamofascism, Israel wouldn't need nukes."

Howard, you doofus, Israel built its nuclear arsenal when Iran was run by the Shah, a US ally, and when Arab states were all highly secular, and Islamists were a discredited fringe movement.

Why am I even talking to someone who says nuking Iran is a good idea? Of course you acknowledge now that Iraq was a "fiasco". Bet you weren't predicting that in 2003.

But this time is different you say. I won't feel like accepting your apology in three years when you turn around and say: "Oops, Iran was a fiasco too."

And Phil, you people ARE always trying to start wars. Haven't you noticed? Isn't that why you're here right now? To argue for war against Iran?

War is all we ever hear from you people. It's all you've got.

Posted by: OD | April 13, 2006 04:57 PM

I say to the USA, the -Don't do as I do, do as I say - policy will never solve the nuclear problem. Choosing who has the right to defend themselves (Ex: Israel, Pakistan, India etc..) and those who has not (Ex: Iran , North Korea, etc..)is bound to failure.

From Canada

Posted by: Yvon | April 13, 2006 04:59 PM

The logical step for the US to take that would suck the wind out of Ahmadinejad's sails is to say "You're right, you do have the right to nuclear power". Having the right to generate nuclear energy doesn't necessarily entail the right to produce nuclear material. Why the Bush administration hasn't come out and made this distinction explicity, as opposed to vague agreement with Russia's proposals is beyond me (oh, wait, now I remember, Bush and Co. are idiots). This clearly says to the rest of the world that we're not interested in necessarily depriving a nation of something guaranteed in some antiquated treaty. I personally believe that Iran should have the right to use nuclear energy.

The problem, of course, that everyone seems to be forgetting, is that we don't want Iran to have the right to the enrichment process, which I do not believe is part of the NPT. Why does Iran insist on wanting control over enrichment? Because they want to make bombs. What other explanation can there be?

Now, the next step in diplomacy is to try and get Iran to forsake the enrichment process. I think this is the true test of their willingness to negotiate and ultimate intentions. I think the US administration has been a bit thuggish and crude, but so has the Iranian regime. There's a lot of bad blood there. Heck, if the US administration had any brains they'd say "OK, you can keep SOME enrichment, especially concerning medical and experimental uses, but WE want to monitor ALL enrichment activities 24/7 and we want the right to go anywhere in the country unfettered." I could live with a deal like that. Even showing some flexibility on both sides of the fence would show a willingness to negotiate in good faith and this has been the critical piece missing to the situation so far. I just don't understand why practical solutions cannot be suggested and implemented by both parties.

Posted by: Brian | April 13, 2006 05:19 PM

Brian, do you honestly believe that Iran would go for that deal, letting the US monitor all enrichment, with unfettered access to the country? Or that if they accepted it, they wouldn't be cheating in the background (see: North Korea hoodwinking the Clinton admin).

Even Saddam eventually kicked out the UN inspectors, with a dozen resolutions in his face and our sabre rattling all the while.

Posted by: JD | April 13, 2006 05:24 PM

Hi Hass.

It is simply not true that I am "deliberately" not stating the facts of the IAEA's findings. The fact that I emphasized is that there were aspects of the Iranian nuclear program that were kept secret, those aspects concerned contacts with the Khan network based in Pakistan which was instrumental in Pakistan's production of nuclear weapons. It is is true, as you said (and I stated) that the IAEA has found no evidence of that Iran now has a nuclear program. But the IAEA is not satisfied with Iranian compliance which is why ElBaradei is in Tehran today. He is not there because he is the Bush administration's pawn.

Thank you Robert Rose for your comments.

As for those who have used this space for the meta discussion of what liberals "always" do (hate America etc) or how neoconservatives "always" do (deceive America), I understand that you have strong convictions THAT YOU CONVEY BY CAPITALIZING THEM. Ok Ok. We get it.

I think I speak for other when I say these exchanges are probably a lot more interesting to you than to other readers.

Ditto for addressing people as "doofus." That may be persuasive in junior high. It doesn't really work here.

References to historical facts are more interesting, especially when they are linked to credible sources.

Posted by: Jefferson Morley | April 13, 2006 05:28 PM

Dear OD:
I'll thank you to not call me a doofus. The fact is that before Islamofascism the secular arab states wanted to destroy Israel too. So your argument that Israel needs no nukes is ludacrous.

You are falling in th eliberal trap of thinking you know all that i sbest for somebody else.

As a matter of fact, I have always opposed the Iraq war, in 2003 included. It always seemed unnecessary to anyone with common sense.

I still maintain Iran is a different matter. Would you feel better if a Democrat made the decision to push the red button?

Posted by: Howard | April 13, 2006 05:30 PM

When Cuba REALLY had nukes the USA was able to navigate away from a war because of the implied force of our millitary. We are faced with the same situation again... a rogue state seeking to level the playing field by developing nuclear arms. The Middle East is a tricky situation...but the threat is not in our hemisphere, unlike the cuban threat in the 60's. Our national focus needs to be on our nation...longterm infastrucute/schools/tech/medicine, being dominate in these areas will ensure our power and global reach more than being one of the handful of nations that can weild the nuclear threat.

Posted by: Chicken Little | April 13, 2006 05:34 PM

Nuke Iran...and North Korea while we are at it. Who else could be a threat in 10 years? Strike first to protect our national interest...and then build permanent millitary bases in those hostile lands sounds awfully imperialistic...and short-sighted.

God bless the USA...we need it!

Posted by: $5.00 a gallon for gas | April 13, 2006 05:47 PM

Amazing, Howard, how even war-hawks like yourself now maintain they opposed the Iraq invasion. In fact it's practically impossible nowadays to find an American who'll admit to having supported it.

Where did GW get that 76% approval rating on the day Baghdad fell? Illegal immigrants? Pixies?

Not Americans, it seems. The whole country is adamant that it opposed the invasion.

It's like Germany in 1946. It was impossible to find a German who would admit to backing the Nazis.

Morley reminds us all to be polite. But when I'm confronted by an American who says let's nuke Iran, and maintains that they opposed the invasion of Iraq, my automatic reaction is: You're lying.

Posted by: OD | April 13, 2006 06:02 PM

And as for Israel needing nukes, since the US overthrew Iranian democracy and forced a KING upon them, since it helped Saddam invade their country and kill hundreds of thousands of them, since it shot down one of their civil airliners killing 300 people, since it has now invaded both of their neighbours and is constantly rattling the sabre against them...I guess by your logic we can conclude that Iran needs nukes too.

Posted by: OD | April 13, 2006 06:05 PM

Howard, the Israelis don't bully their neighbors?? What is that vile action in Palestine. Fun and games? Sweetness and light? What was it in Lebanon. The invasion by Sharon, in which he got the title Butcher, like Milsovich. What was the bombing in Iran in the early '80s...of reactors. Always called defense. Why do you think the world hates Israel?

Posted by: lenardo | April 13, 2006 06:07 PM

to OD:

when reading your blog I have to agree with alot of what you represent. But in the end I will trust the US and Israel to do more good for the human race than the current Iranian leadership. If those people get nukes the world will be a scary place

Posted by: the greater evil | April 13, 2006 06:10 PM

As for you Morley, you may find the word doofus offensive.
What you don't find offensive is somebody saying: "Just because we screwed up there (in Iraq) doesn't mean Iran shouldn't be nuked."

That seems to be the current American morality. Naughty words (even as harmless as 'doofus') are wrong and immoral, but calling for genocide is just part of the debate.

Speculating about incinerating more foreigners is what passes for polite conversation amongst Americans these days.

Posted by: OD | April 13, 2006 06:12 PM

The Iranian leadership clearly is seeking nukes for its survival.

A nuke-armed Iran would be impossible to constrain and better able to risk confrontation (e.g. terror-funding)with the West.

The West and UN (deeply divided between nervous US hawks, Spanish-surrender-types, liberal ostriches, blame-America-for- everything-lefties) will dither and do nothing.

The nation MOST threatened will respond. Hint: The one already demonized and threatened with destruction by Irans messianic Leader.

Israel will respond with or without nukes likely taking out the biggest targets and starting a cycle of war escalation that will drag in the US.

It will be very messy with or without nukes. As the martyr-types will fling themselves at American forces, and try to block the Persian Gulf.

Ironically, the world which openly deplores the current heavy American military presence in the Gulf region will nervously look to those same forces to keep their lights on.

The great Satan Bush of course will be villified! by all for having started it all trying to protect America and save Arabs from their own despots.

Posted by: Will fromCanada | April 13, 2006 06:12 PM

Howard--you are delusional. All of you here, who say, 'liberals' hate the US' have clearly never had an original thought. What 'liberals' hate is stupidity. It would be gross stupidity to unilaterally bomb Iran, let alone nuke.

Retaliation would be massive-not just from Iran but other states who fear they would be next. It'll be a lot like the officer in Dr. Stangelove who says, 'I'm not sayin we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But we'd lose 10, 20 million tops'. Have we come to the point of insanity that says that's acceptable--just so we can be top dog?

Posted by: Drindl | April 13, 2006 06:15 PM

Tell me Morley, if you were reading an Iranian blog, and one poster suggested nuking America, and another called him a doofus, which one would you jump on?

Thought so.

When foreigners speculate about killing Americans, is that also just polite debate?

Thought not.

Posted by: OD | April 13, 2006 06:17 PM

My tke on this is that we are getting exactly what we deserve. The CIA continues to "gather intelligence" (now, putting "CIA" and "intelligence" in the same phrase is too much of an oxymoron, but there you go...) the IRanian government, via independent comments on various Arabic news outlets, has announced that "of course" their intention is to build nucelar weapons. The problem with all of this is that they got the technology for this, indeed much of the equipment, from American companies. The list reads like a Who's Who of the top technological companies. Much of that technology was redirected through their Indian subsidiaries and THAT is why, more than anything else, this debate needs to involve our nations polcies (or lack thereof) with regards to immigration, outsourcing, work visa's and guest workers.There are literally thousands of reported cases of Indian and Chinese guest workers carrying plans, circuit boards, even complete equipment back to their home counntries where that technology has been resold on the world market. Iran would not have a nuclear program and we wouldn't be having this debate if it were not for that simple fact. Indeed, we could still throw a wrench in their missile and VERY DANGEROUS underwater missile-torpedo program if we simply cut off all technology transfer to China imediately. Do I think we will do that? No. There is too much money involved. What I do expect to happen is either a major confrontation between the U.S. and China over Iran if we do use any force or, the Bush Whitehouse will quite literally trade Taiwan to China in exchange for their remaining relatively silent while we attack Iran and create havoc in the Middle East.

What I am waiting for is all of the "bubba"s" who are currently waving their made in China flags and cheering on the Bush WHitehouse to reap the utter diaster they are sewing. $5 a gallon gas will be a wishful dream, their jobs will evaporate along with the U.S. economy and we will be darned lucky if much of our west doesn't "evaporate" in a real live nuclear exchange.

Posted by: Mike Brooks | April 13, 2006 06:22 PM

I think that if we dont strike now we will really pay later. If we followed McArthur's advice an nuked China in the 50's we wouldnt be worrying about them today. Let Israel start the Iranian conflict and drag us into it...so we can finish those vile persians off for good

Posted by: bring it on | April 13, 2006 06:26 PM

There are a few other aspects of the Iran nuke issue that aren't being adequately addressed in the US media, namely...

-Estimates of "collateral damage". I believe that Iran has deliberately placed some of its nuke facilities close to civilian residential areas, and I assume that DOD planning for a tactical strike would involve estimates of civilian casualties. Where are those numbers?

-Analysis of fault lines within Iran's political structure - my impression is that there are various factions, representing different interests, fighting for turf and influence within the Iranian Gov't. The WH tends to protray Tehran as a homogenous sect of rabid Islamic fundamentalists bent on Israel's destruction. The Bush Administration's current hard line on Iran might be a tactical ploy intended to support or assist internal power plays, but absent a more nuanced discussion of the factions within Tehran, it's looking like Iraq all over again...

-Iran switching to Euros for her oil bourse. Currently, America's Achilles heel is financial, due primarily to outsourcing, externally-held debt, and the trade deficit. Iran moving from the usd to euros could trigger a cascade of decisions on the international financial market that would suddenly devalue the US dollar, and severely impact both the health of the US economy, as well as her influence and relevance in the world.

A responsible White House would address these concerns and issues, instead of avoiding and obfuscating them. At this point, I have no faith that Bush and his advisors are acting in the best interests of America. Their actions and decisions are supported and implemented by capable, loyal, well-intentioned patriots who are doing their duty (ie the military). At this point, unfortunately, dissent is the best possible expression of patriotism.

Posted by: Kris | April 13, 2006 06:27 PM

To Bring it on

I agree with you 1000%

Posted by: USA | April 13, 2006 06:36 PM

WHY DON't those on this post who advocate the "nuking" of Iranians and Chinese realize that's exactly what those who creamated Jews thought? Howie, answer that please.

Posted by: sherad | April 13, 2006 06:41 PM

totally different scenerio

The jews never threatened world domination or the genocide of peaceful nation states...to compare the holocaust with the Iranian conflict is a crime

Posted by: sherad | April 13, 2006 06:48 PM

the 6:48 posting was not by sherad... I meant to address him, not post under his name. My apologies sir.

Posted by: sorry sherad...i meant to say to: Sherad | April 13, 2006 06:51 PM

Dear OD,
If I was reading an Iranian blog, and one poster suggested nuking America, and another called him a doofus, I would "jump on" both of them for lazy, unreflective remarks that don't convince anybody of anything.

I don't find the word "doofus" offensive, just unpersuasive, just like I don't find this reductivist style of debate aimed at asserting the illegitimacy of the other person's point of view particularly interesting.

Your rhetorical questions demonstrate your own self-confidence but not a lot more. So you ask, "When foreigners speculate about killing Americans, is that also just polite debate?"

No, that's as despicable and unreal as casual demands that Iran be nuked.

What's your point?

Posted by: Jefferson Morley | April 13, 2006 06:59 PM

I can just see it now. "Don't call him a doofus for saying his country should nuke America. It's rude."
Consider me clarified. I call people who demand casual nukings 'doofuses'. You call them 'despicable and unreal'.

So we agree on their personalities, just not the words we can use to describe them.

Posted by: OD | April 13, 2006 07:04 PM

hey morley.... know where i can score some weed? From reading your column I think you must have the good stuff.

let me know

Posted by: seattle Dude | April 13, 2006 07:06 PM

Genocide is genocide. And those who advocate it, anytime,anywhere, including "nuking" any group or nation of people are
beneath beneath contempt. Vile.

Posted by: sherad | April 13, 2006 07:08 PM

To enter into thoughtful debate with people over whether we should, for example, "finish those vile persians off for good", is to credit their argument with respectability it doesn't deserve.

There's no logic in that argument to address. And none in the person advancing it either.

People like that don't need to be convinced. They need to be ignored and marginalised.

If people on your page were calmly discussing wiping out Jews you'd put a stop to it pretty quick.

I don't suggest for a minute that you block or delete such comments. But you can't make the rest of us treat them seriously. We have a vested interest in not letting the debate drift into Crazyland.

We don't need the American public getting the idea that starting a nuclear war is a sane available option.

Even Britain's foreign secretary doesn't feel the need for self-restraint or diplomatic language on this issue. He very publicly describes the idea of nuking Iran as "completely nuts".

Posted by: OD | April 13, 2006 07:13 PM

And now here's somebody saying that advocating the nuking of Iranians is not like advocating the gassing of Jews because the Jews didn't threaten world domination.

Funnily enough, Hitler, being a deluded psycopath, did think the Jews threatened world domination. He was wrong, of course.

Since when did Iran, a middling-sized third world country, threaten global domination?
Where are you guys getting this stuff???

Oh yeah. From the same people who brought you "Iraq threatening the US with WMD".

Posted by: OD | April 13, 2006 07:22 PM

Your apology is accepted, certainly. But one wonders what they teach you? Your nuking propensity--your claim that Israel is a "peaceful nation state"...
This blog isn't worth it. Bye.

Posted by: sherad | April 13, 2006 07:27 PM

Since Iran is now threatening world domination, I guess they're planning a big hike in military spending.

Maybe even a big drive to double their defence budget.

Scary. Just think, if the Iranians doubled military spending they would cross the dreaded 1% of US military spending red line.

The poor, threatened, peaceloving Americans would actually be spending LESS than one hundred times as much on weapons as them.

What a terrifying prospect. Let's have a nuclear war instead. Or as well.

Posted by: OD | April 13, 2006 07:40 PM

Iran has never premptively attacked another country. It has had no military engagement with its neighbours either. Iran defended itself only AFTER it was attacked by Saddam's Iraq. We all know who the US supported during that war.
The US should look at its own history of the last 50 years (and also count the number of nuclear warheads it has but refuses to give up) before getting all self-righteous about Iran's nuclear ambitions. The double-standard here is enough to make a whole nation - from Hawaii to Long Island - puke!

Posted by: Dang | April 13, 2006 09:27 PM

If you nuke Iranian nuclear facilities you'll kill thousands and probably leave a Chernobyl-like legacy of cancer for decades to come. Do you really [REALLY?] think that this won't set the clock ticking for a mushroom cloud over a US city? Any Iranian is going to make it their top priority to redouble their efforts and get a nuke from somewhere / anywhere [Korea, Pakistan?] and pay you back in your own coin. I'm sure there are plenty of Islamic nuts who'd be happy to carry the appropriate suitcase to a city near you.... Are you quite mad? They don't want nuclear weapons to attack the US or Israel. They want them to make themselves invulnerable to inteference from YOU! And getting to the bottom line, that is what the Neocons can't stomach.

Who has bases all around the region? Who invades oil-rich states that don't give US Corporate interests free-rein [or dare to trade in Euros]? Who invades oil-rich states that don't have WMD? Who DOESN'T invade despicable despotic countries that DO have nuclear weapons? Who is the only country that has nuked cities before and talks blithely of doing it again for some strategic, selfish reason..... Any Iranian leadership who wasn't trying to get nuclear weapons would not be serving their people adequately.

And it's all YOUR fault!

Posted by: Rhiannon | April 13, 2006 09:35 PM

I want to ask a ? to OD...why does he support the Iranians? The people of the middle east are the most backward people on the face of the earth. The divisions in thier society are unequaled anywhere else in the world. The tolerance they show to other faiths is terrible. The way they treat thier women is an even greater crime. The oil revenues these evil islamic facist rulers receive is enough to create a truly utopian society for all thier people.. yet the divide between super rich and super poor is so great. The bloggers that have said that Iran does not pose a threat to anyone are in the dark. The daily ranting from the Iranian administration calls for the destruction of Israel and the west... the poor persian people, I feel for them. I pray that they find the strength to revolt.

Posted by: Toni | April 13, 2006 10:34 PM

The idiots in the Bush administration brought this whole nuclear crisis upon themselves and the world by repeatedly threatening and demonizing Iran with ill-conceived axis-of-evil rhetoric, leaving its leadership fearful of a U.S. invasion and determined to head one off by going nuclear. Why George W. Bush, his then speechwriter David Frum, Rumsfeld, Cheney and all the other ideologue dolts in that circle felt it wise to prod and provoke Iran in this way is beyond me. You don't use rhetoric like "axis of evil" unless you're planning to go to war. Casting out provocative utterances of this sort and then doing nothing got us where we are today with Iran. Its leadership had every reason to fear a U.S. unilateral strike, and so reacted as any rational national leaders could be expected to react: they went nuclear.
One more example of how George W. Bush has bequeathed us an ever more dangerous and unstable world.

Posted by: Tony Wilson | April 13, 2006 11:24 PM

“I want to ask a ? to OD...why does he support the Iranians?”

I don’t support the Iranians. I oppose criminal and idiotic wars.

“The people of the middle east are the most backward people on the face of the earth.”

What, more backward than Rwandans? I thought they were about to develop a nuclear weapon.

“The divisions in thier society are unequaled anywhere else in the world.”

I completely disagree. Catholics and Protestants have a far more violent history than Sunnis and Shiites. And the middle eastern peoples’ sectarian differences pale in comparison to India’s. The Iranians are certainly fairly unified. I guarantee one thing, if America does bomb Iran, never mind nuke it, you’ll find Iran a hell of a lot less divided on the issue than the US will be.

“The tolerance they show to other faiths is terrible.”

In the last middle eastern sectarian conflict involving Muslims and Christians, in Lebanon, it was the Christians who committed all the worst massacres. The Christians were behind all the worst crimes in Bosnia, too, for that matter. And I've seen plenty of genocidal Christian Americans who want to wipe out Muslims. Including right here on this page today.

But yeah, some middle eastern countries are intolerant of other religions. Iran is one of them. Pretty much all the others are America’s Gulf State allies. For some reason America never complains about it there, and never fixes it where it does invade. Afghanistan, as we’ve graphically seen, still persecutes Christians, and now Christians are also victimised in Iraq, where previously they lived in peace.

“The way they treat their women is an even greater crime.”

Yeah. What are you proposing to do about it? Women are still treated like crap in Afghanistan. They’re also now hidden and oppressed in Iraq, where once they had the highest status in the Arab world. Nowadays it’s safe for a woman to go out in just a headscarf in Tehran, but not in Baghdad or Basra. Again, you are best friends with the worst practitioners. I haven’t heard America propose a crusade to liberate the women of Saudi Arabia.

“The oil revenues these evil islamic facist rulers receive is enough to create a truly utopian society for all thier people”

No they aren’t. The entire Arab world, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Bahrain, and all the other Arab states, from Iraq to Oman to Morrocco, comprising over 300 million people, has a GDP smaller than that of Spain, a country of 40 million.

“.. yet the divide between super rich and super poor is so great.”

In a few places, especially your buddy states on the south coast of the Gulf. Is that an American thing? I know America has the biggest such gap in the G8. I ask because since America controls Afghanistan the gap between rich and poor has apparently grown there, according to the SF Chronicle.

Gap between rich and poor widens in Afghanistan: Some buy watches for $4,000, others heat homes with dung
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/01/21/MNG34GR14C1.DTL

All of these problems, religious intolerance, oppressed women, huge rich-poor gap, are present in abundance in the states on the south coast of the Gulf, but America has never bothered about social justice there, because the US pretty much has what it needs strategically on the south coast. It’s the north coast that America covets, so it’s their societies that are identified as the problem cases.

“The bloggers that have said that Iran does not pose a threat to anyone are in the dark. The daily ranting from the Iranian administration calls for the destruction of Israel and the west.”

I don’t like Ahmadinejad or his comments either, but Iran is not going to attack Israel, the west, or any other country. As several people here pointed out, Iran hasn’t attacked any foreign country in centuries. Nuclear deterrence will deter Iran.

Someone could just as easily have seized on Kruschev’s “we will bury you” as a reason to attack, and then we wouldn’t be having this debate, because we would all have been blown up 40 years ago.

Moreover your argument still depends on the premise that an attack can stop Iran developing these weapons. Iran can easily build more centrifuges now it knows how. An attack would actually speed up Iranian nuke development, unless you’re planning to annihilate them.

Iran is surrounded by nuclear-armed powers and is bound to nuclearise, the world being what it is. NPT is dead because the great powers killed it. When they signed up, they agreed to negotiate in good faith towards complete disarmament at an early date. Instead they announced their intention to keep nukes forever. Why then would the other signatories respect NPT? It was never supposed to create a two-tier international system. Read it and see.

“.. the poor persian people, I feel for them. I pray that they find the strength to revolt.”

Do you? Do you also pray that the Iraqi people find the strength to revolt? Both countries are led by Shiite Islamic parties. Both base their constitutions on Koranic law. Both countries have police forces that torture and execute their citizens (Iraq also has highly active roaming government death squads). Both barred international election monitors from their last elections – though in Iran the majority of voters at least got the leader they voted for, while in Iraq the election hasn’t produced a government because GW doesn’t like the winner.

The major difference in Iran is that they don’t have foreign troops in the streets who blow your head off if you drive too close to them. And Iranians know that the people who really run their country, bad as they are, are at least from that country.

So you hope Iranians revolt. Do you hope Iraqis revolt? Or do you call them ‘anti-Iraq forces’?

Posted by: OD | April 14, 2006 01:25 AM

By the way the Iranians have already had a popular revolution, remember? In 1979. To be rid of the KING that America imposed on them, and of his murderous secret police.

But they weren't supposed to revolt against that oppression, were they? That's why America punished them, by helping Saddam kill nearly a million of them.

I don't think the people of the middle east - the "most backward people on the face of the earth" as you call them - are very interested in your prayers for their welfare.

Posted by: OD | April 14, 2006 01:46 AM

My God! After reading all this crapola, I think I need to score some weed too!

Posted by: Ghost In The Machine | April 14, 2006 02:05 AM

A question for Mr. Morley.

Both Bush and Kerry stated during the televised debates that the War in Iraq was at least partially justified by the fact that it was keeping Israel Safe. Please get the Transcripts and check it out. Both Dems and Republicans party officails are united in the belief that it is fine to send thousands of Americans to their deaths to defend a country whose behaviour in the region has been so aggressive and despicable that not a single one of our other allies in the world will join us in supporting them in U.N. Vetos. Please also keep in mind that
There is not a single Israeli soldier fighting in Iraq nor is Israel participating financially in the war. Rather, we are currently GIVING billions of dollars a year to Israel in the form of foreign and miltary aid, as we have been doing for the last 40 years.

Now the money we send them goes to cover the tremendous economic shortfall caused by the occupation and settler movement. It is absolutly the case that the occupation is designed solely to allow the optimum growth of the settler movement and the occupation and settler movement are without a doubt one of the primary causes of middle eastern terrorism.

So both parties are happy to continue paying for the greatest inspiration of middle eastern terrrorism and then fighting wars with countries in the region that Isreal considers to be a threat.

This behavior has led many countries to consider the U.S. to be just as responsible for the plight of the Palestinian people as the Israelis are. In fact, it could be argued that Israel could never afford to keep this awful state of affairs financially afloat if not for the U.S.

So, here we are again. Iran does not care for the occupation and the settler movement and their politicians and people often condemn these actions. Rather than isolating them from other countries in the region, this unites with most of their neigbors and in fact with most countries in the world!!! This is in fact the official view of the U.S. Government as well, although for some reason Congress ensures that we continue to pay for polices that we officially condemn.

Now, one of the reasons that president Bush is said to have given for his consideration of a nuclear strike on Iran is that Iran threatens Isreal and that their current leader is the "New Hitler". So far, no one has questioned why in gods name we would preemptively strike a country that is 10 years away from having nuclear weapons and that despite any radical sounding Rhetoric has not attacked another country in over 200 years
(Rhetoric, which by the way is in fact identical to that which comes from many of the people of our great ally Pakistan, which already has nukes and in fact exported nuclear technology to North Korea and Iran).

The terrosist organizations that are constantly refered to in Iran are organizations that struggle against the occupation and the settlement movement, and not against American interests. I repeat, our government also officially condemns the settlements and the occupation.

So, how many more wars for Israel are we to engage in before someone who is not a wholly owned subsidiary of the Isreal Lobby says enough is enough.

How much American blood should be spilled in defense of Isreali policies that literally the whole world (and in fact a great many Israelis )condemn?

This is all quite related to the theme of Walt and Mearsheimer's (U of Chicago and Havard, respectivly) paper The Israel Lobby.

My question to Mr. Morley is: In light of the terrifying prospect of protecting Israel with the worlds first preemptive nuclear strike, Are you not ashamed that the first article the Washington Post ran on Walt and Mearsheimers paper was a smear job that relied heavily on discreding the authors through association rather than employing any actual analysis of their very timely and accurate assertions? How can you defend this type of journalism?

J

Posted by: J | April 14, 2006 03:36 AM

Today I read that 'Secretary of State' Rice says that Iran should 'OBEY' the international system. What Hubris! Who is she to tell anyone to OBEY? With all her deceptive pronouncements on WMDs she has lost all credibility. The only club she weilds is the fear of America's inane bumbling military strikes.
Who are we to demand that other members of the international community OBEY? If I were Iran and she were within arms reach I would have slapped her in the face for such outrageous pomposities.
What else can we expect from our international neighbors when we act like stupid spoiled American parents.

Posted by: Andy | April 14, 2006 07:48 AM

For all you blind people,there is no longer any Israeli "occupation" of Gaza. The so called West Bank apprently is mostly negotable with Ohlmert.

Palestinians don't know how to negotiate. They simply whine until somebody gives in.

To clear up any misconception, I do not advocate nuking Iran in a widespread fashion. I would simply like to see its nuclear facilities destroyed. This is absolutely not the same thing as advocating genocide. I refuse to be accused of such.

No matter how much the know-it-alls in this column want to deny it, there are many people in this country who are Conservatives who feel grossly betrayed by GWB who is anything but a Conservative. I have never supported the Iraq war and I also think we have been fed many lies about what happened on 9/11.

But, I submit to you that a nuclear Iran, whether now or in 10 years is unacceptable and must be stopped.

Posted by: Howard | April 14, 2006 10:02 AM

Howard--The "so called" West Bank is mostly negotiable with Ohlmert? WHERE do you get your information? Who teaches you that stuff? WHAT are they teaching you. And read your own posts about nuking Iranwith such superior force that they can't respond. Genocide. But Thank God, The posts above and on other sites show that people have had about enough of
that. And know from whence it comes.

Posted by: Lenard | April 14, 2006 10:31 AM

And PS, your nasty little comment about how Palestinians can't negotiate is typical of those who advocate genocide. You scream when anyone lumps you and yours into a group but it's your daily conversation...hatred of other groups. Congratulations on being so typical, so very you.

Posted by: Lenard | April 14, 2006 10:36 AM

Iran most likely does not have a nuclear weapons program. Even if they make nukes, they won't be much of a threat. And that's precisely why they probably won't make them in the first place.

A nuclear attack by Iran on Israel wouldn't have any influence on Israel's capability to hit back. Israel has many hundreds of thermonuclear weapons that are thousands of times more powerful than anythting Iran will be able to make in the next few decades.

Iran already has a very powerful means of retalliating against any attack. They have missiles that are capable of destroying all of the oil installations in the Mid East. They could launch their missiles within one hour of a US attack. After the oil installations in Iraq, Kuwait, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Bahrein are all gone, it will be ''game over'' for Bush.

Iran is thus more likely to invest in their missiles than in nukes.

Posted by: Count Iblis | April 14, 2006 10:38 AM

OK, prove me wrong. What have Palestinians successfully negotiated?

Posted by: Howard | April 14, 2006 10:48 AM

To go back to the comments regarding using nuclear weapons against Iran, China, etc.:
There was an interesting article on www.cfr.org about how the Bush administration has been actively working towards "nuclear supremacy", meaning that the United States would be able to perform a crippling "first strike" against any opponent, with little or no response possible. The two major sources of concern are Russia and China of course. The article illustrated how decrepit and inept the current nuclear arsenals are of these two nations. Most of Russia's ballistic missle sub fleet is rotting at port and their mobile land launchers are breaking down. There are massive gaps in their early warning system that the US would most certainly exploit. The supposed bunker buster tactical nukes are being developed to destroy silos before any response could be launched. And the missle defense system is being put into place to protect against any stray missles that could be launched. Russia's situation is precarious vis-a-vis the US, but China's situation is even worse. China only has roughly 200 warheads, all of them much more ineffective than our own. Their nuclear response systems are even older or more ineffective than Russia's. They have no working ballistic submarines and they do not keep their weapons armed and pointed at targets. In other words, they would have to be deployed following a command issued by the CCP. (By the way, Russia and China would not get involved in any conflict against Iran. They'd certainly complain a lot, but they have more to lose by getting involved than not.)

I don't think people who are advocating the attack of Iran with nuclear weapons fully understand the impact of what these weapons do. Before you are so quick to make up your minds, pick up a copy of Richard Rhodes' book on the making of the atomic bomb, go to the last chapter, and read the accounts given by Japanese who survived the devastation from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If you can actually finish reading the descriptions, come back and give your opinions then.

Hiroshima killed 75,000 people instantly and that was 20 kilotons(?). The average yield on our warheads these days is around 2 megatons. The MX markIV missle packs 12 of these warheads into the nose cone (these are supposedly being dismantled, but I wouldn't be surprised if we still have quite a few). The MX is a three stage missle with a range of over 12,000 miles. As the rocket approaches a target, the nose cone opens up and scatters the 12 warheads over a target (a city) and the warheads detonate between 2-4,000 feet above the target, providing maximum effect. A target is instantly heated to about 10 times the surface of the sun, vaporizing everything.

Even with nuclear weapons, Iran would certainly not be a threat. Not only would they have to develop the warhead technology (in addition to making sufficiently enriched uranium, you have to design the conventional explosives to set off the nuclear reaction, the detonators necessary to time the explosion properly, the rocket technology able to carry the warhead, the guidance systems to make sure the rocket goes where you want it to, etc. etc.) Iran could be a threat to Israel, but I think the Iranian regime is mainly interested in propping itself up with these weapons rather than attacking another country. Also, you can forget packing a warhead in a suitcase. Warheads are actually rather large and heavy, unlike what silly movies like the Peacemaker try to portray.

Any nuclear war is completely devastating and totally pointless. We would literally have to destroy 60-70% of the Iranian population if we were to employ nuclear weapons. Can we really live with the idea of instantly murdering 40-50 million people, the same number that died in all of WWII?

I'm not saying Iran should be allowed to proceed with developing weapons, but they have to be pursuaded that the US is not going to attack them if they play ball and that it would be best to consider the interests of the entire nation over those of the regime; that all Iranians could benefit from partnership and common ground with the US and its allies.

Posted by: Brian | April 14, 2006 11:54 AM

The B61-11 can carry a nuclear charge with anywhere between a 1-kiloton (1,000 tons of TNT) and a 300-kiloton yield.

This is the kind of weapon that would be used in a "bunker buster." If it works and buries itself deep in bunker, there is little risk of genocide.

Nuclear weapons offer a range of options that do not destroy entire countries.

Posted by: Howard | April 14, 2006 12:10 PM

Four things that we're not supposed to talk about in the Iran-nuclear debate:

One, that the whole "War on Terror" is actually a war that has been foisted on the US by the pro-Israeli lobby, to get US Marines to die for Israeli interests in the Mideast.

Two: that the people of Iran broadly support their nuclear program regardless of their views of their government, and resent foreigners trying to dictate to them or threatening to bomb them.

Three: that there's no evidenceof a nuclear weapons program in Iran, and Iran's attempts to OPENLY cooperate with the IAEA in obtaining the technology which it was ENTITLED TO HAVE was undermined by the US.

Four: The US encouraged and supported Iran's nuclear program, because it makes economic sense.

Posted by: Davis | April 14, 2006 12:12 PM

El-Baradei's statement that he can't be sure that Iran doesn't have a hidden nuclear weapons program -- is bogus. His inspectors have done their job, and concluded that there is no evidence for any nuclear weapons program in Iran.
Obviously, El-Baradei has made it clear that he has a personal agenda and thus he has made demands on Iran which exceed his authority, or the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. He's just trying to keep the Iran file open without justification. In fact, there was no legal basis for the referral of Iran's file to the UN Sec Counsel either, which is why the IAEA did not explicitly invoke Article 19 of the Safeguards Agreement, which only permits a referral to the UNSC if there was evidence of diversion for a weapons program (and there's no such evidence, according to the inspectors)

Posted by: Bobby Sands | April 14, 2006 12:37 PM

Howard

Throughout the last 40 years of occupation, the Israelis have continued to expand the settlements, encroaching further and further in palestinian land. There are currently more than 400,000 settlers spread out all over the west bank in more than 100 settlements. Their numbers are growing even now, and they are currently in the process of stealing more land in order to expand.

Now before you go pointing your finger at the Palestinians inability to "negotiate" with the Israelis to stop this behavior, consider that the U.S. has always officially condemned the settlements and the occupation and has tried on numerous occasions to "negotiate" with the Israelis to pull out of the occupied territories.
We have never been successful and the very simple reason is because the Israelis intention has always been to steal as much of this land as possible and they could care less what we or the Palestinians
think about it.

Now the reason that we condemn the occupation and the settler movement it supports is because we realize that they violate every principle that America is based on and to openly support them would be to deny our own deeply held principles. That's why the Hacks in Congress and the Senate make sure that we pay for them to the tune of about 3 to 6 billion dollars a year (for the last 40 years) without ever consulting you or I and without ever engaging in an open debate of the subject. As I stated earlier, they realize that it is a debate they could never win and one that would make them look like as morally corrupt as they actually are, in that they are simply catering to AIpac and the Christian right who provide them with political support and money.

Now a little geography and history lesson you won't hear on Fox News. The Gaza Strip is the most densely populated place on earth. More than a million people live inside it's tiny confines. The settlers who were finally forced to leave numbered only 8000, yet they occupied %30 of the Gaza. So in a place that is more densely populated than anywhere on earth, 8000 people, surrounded by an army of israeli soldiers, took up %30 of the space, and that %30 was situated in such a way as to cause maximum hardships upon the free movements of the million plus rightful residents. In the end those 8000 people did not leave due to any outside negotiations, but because normal Israeli people were sick of providing their children as human military shields to stand in a circle around people whose fanatical religious and nationalistic beliefs make the KKK look like the NAACP in comparison.

Post 9/11, when most experts agree that the terrorism in the Middle East that is directed at the U.S. largley stems from the hatred that has been inspired by our participation and support of the occupation and settler movement, (which we officially condemn) the real question should be why WE can't force the Israelis to stop This brutal behavior or Force Congress to stop paying for it!!!!

How many "Wars to protect Israel" must we fight before we realize that we are not "protecting Israel" but protecting the Settlers, whose views and actions are offensive to moral and thoughtful Israelis and Americans alike?

J

Posted by: J | April 14, 2006 12:55 PM

I don't agree that the so-called palestinians are the rightful inhabitants of Israel or the territories.

Let's call a spade a spade shall we? The palestinians are nothing more than transplanted Jordanians. Look at what passport most of them hold.

They are not refugees. You cannot be a refugee for about 50 years. Only the United Nations and the arab countries perpetuate that myth.They are just ungrateful houseguests in the Jewish nation.

If they had any sense at all they would stop blaming their woes on Israel and the United States and establish themselves as a real nation.

Posted by: Howard | April 14, 2006 03:00 PM

“To clear up any misconception, I do not advocate nuking Iran in a widespread fashion. I would simply like to see its nuclear facilities destroyed. This is absolutely not the same thing as advocating genocide. I refuse to be accused of such.”
Posted by: Howard | April 14, 2006 10:02 AM

Gee, Howard, how could we possibly have misconstrued you so unfairly? Maybe it has something to do with this:

“You need a positive mental attitude. I realize that a strike on Iran will cause many casualties. The trick here is to make ot so massive that they won't be able to respond.”
Posted by: Howard | April 13, 2006 01:48 PM

You most certainly did advocate genocide. You floated it as a trial balloon and are now backing off because everyone else is disgusted by the idea.

As for the B61-11, your claim that its explosion can be safely contained underground is completely false and has been debunked by hundreds of American physicists, most notably the Federation of American Scientists (fas.org).

Due to the physics of long-rod penetration, there is no way such a bomb can penetrate more than about 25 feet even in soft soil. Far from being contained at that depth, a 1Kt warhead would eject a shower of fantastically radioactive fallout. It would be vastly more radioactive than normal fallout because it has been exposed to the nuclear fireball itself rather than being sucked up into a mushroom cloud by convection after an airburst.

The Pentagon knows full well than the nuclear bunker-bunker without collateral damage is not possible, so they never even tried building one. The Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP) program, mercifully now cancelled by Congress, was slated to hold a citykiller-size warhead of 1-2 Mt. Its detonation would have looked like the Sun crashing into the Earth.

Posted by: OD | April 14, 2006 03:55 PM

Massive strike on military facilities is what I meant. I don't care if the populace shoots their AK's in the air. Stop putting words in my mouth.

I do not back off of advocating a massive strike on Iran's miltary.

As far as how dep the bunker busters go, we won't know until we try them.

Posted by: Howard | April 14, 2006 04:31 PM

Howard,

Please, regarding Israels ungrateful houseguests, could you illuminate this blog and retell for us the story of how they came to be there and how the current population of israelis came to "invite" them.

And after that, would you do a little reading or listening and check out how in fact not one other country in the world agrees with your analysis? And officially, neither does the united states.

When we cast vetos against actions condemning israels treatment of the Palestinian people, we are usually part of a group of 4 mighty nations. Us, of course. Then, not suprisingly, Israel. and finally we are often joined by those great bastions of all that is right in the world, Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands. Virtually every one else either disagrees or abstains. Not one of our other allies. Not one other country in the E.U., Asia, the Russian Republics or or The middle east. No one. Nada.

So please work hard to detail the story of the bad house guests, and please if its not going to be "factual", then at least try to make it as funny as some of your other misaprehensions.

J

Posted by: J | April 14, 2006 04:45 PM

...of course, Iran could do just like we have done, and "opt out" of any treaty they want to.

Like we did with the ABM treaty, and like our "amendment" of the Geneva conventions.

Maybe that's why Bush is so afraid of Iran. They might actually play by his rules.

Posted by: cc | April 14, 2006 05:06 PM

"But they weren't supposed to revolt against that oppression, were they? That's why America punished them, by helping Saddam kill nearly a million of them."

...with US CBW. Supplied by Rummy!

But that was Reagan, not Bush. A long time ago, in a political atmosphere far, far away.


Posted by: cc | April 14, 2006 05:15 PM

o.k. a vote:

who seriously is considering using nuclear weapons to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons?

isn't a conventional strike enough for you people? Yes or no?

If we have to nuke them to stop them, then perhaps it is not worth stopping them, yes or no?

Posted by: cc | April 14, 2006 05:19 PM

to InChicago

...very good post...

but still, you can easily see what they are thinking, yes?

And I don't think they will fool/browbeat/intimidate Congress into going along with it again.

Yet on the other hand, we see yet again that Bush believes that a foreign country is a threat yet he is reduced to babbling like a chicken that we need to do something about it...instead of just doing something about it.

Trying to drum up popular support, again, but who can take this seriously when we have yet to even extract ourselves from the last debacle he led us into.

The funny thing is, the man is so prescient, yet, for some reason, couldn't forsee 9/11. Nobody could have. It was unimaginable!

Must not have reminded him of a golf ball, I guess.

Posted by: cc | April 14, 2006 05:24 PM

...I mean, if we say Iran is a threat, then we should either take it out, or admit that it is not a threat.

Enough with this silly public-relations campaign.

Posted by: cc | April 14, 2006 05:27 PM

I wasn't putting words in your mouth, Howard, I quoted you verbatim, calling for a "massive" strike that "will cause many casualties."

Did you say that or not?

"As far as how dep the bunker busters go, we won't know until we try them."

Cmon, Howard, these things have been tested. In fact the B61-11 was deliberately dropped into the softest Alaskan mud they could find, and still only penetrated 20 feet.

There are set laws of physics that govern penetration. Even the Pentagon is bound by the laws of physics.

Are you seriously proposing testing a nuclear weapon for the first time by dropping it on a foreign country?

There is no wonder weapon. Just brute nuclear force. Go do some reading on this.

Posted by: OD | April 14, 2006 05:52 PM


CC

I think any type of strike is ridiculus and a nuclear is as Jack Straw said "just nuts". I am a republican, I voted for this crew and I am horrified at their inability to see even a few minutes into the future.

I really believe that we are being misled by political cowards who are too afraid to cross the israel lobby.

J

Posted by: J | April 14, 2006 06:28 PM

DEAR OD:

YOU ARE A VERY INTELLIGENT PERSON. I AGREE WITH YOU ON SEVERAL ISSUES. HOWEVER, YOUR OPINIONS ON IRAN NOT BEING A THREAT ARE TOTALLY WRONG. THE INSANITY OF THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT IS BROADCAST EVERYDAY IN THE WORLD'S MEDIA. IF THEY DEVELOP NUKES FORWARD THINKING WESTERN GOVERNMENTS ARE IN REAL DANGER. THE US SHOULD ACT NOW WHILE THEY ARE JUST A CONVENTIONAL THREAT.

HAPPY EASTER TO ALL, USE THIS WEEKEND TO REFLECT AND PRAY FOR THE SORRY STATE OF THE WORLD.

Posted by: CAPITAL GAINS | April 14, 2006 07:06 PM

I'd like to know what's supposed to happen to us if and when Iran DOES get nuclear weapons. For, as at least one person already pointed out, WE have 10,000 nuclear weapons. So if the Iranis blow up Chicago, we wipe their country off the map with 50 or a hundred nukes -- and STILL have enough left to blow up the rest of the world 20 or 30 times.

It's clear enough to me at least that there is no sane rationale for Uncle Sam going to war with Iran over the mere chance that the Iranis MIGHT be trying to acquire nukes. There's got to be more to it than that.

Some say Uncle Sam is trying to save the Zionists bacon, but that makes no sense either. The Zionists already have 200-odd nukes and so the same scenario applies: Iran nukes Jerusalem, then the Zionists wipe Iran of the map with 50 or 100 nukes and STILL have enough left to blow up the rest of the Muslim world.

Some say that the Bush dictatorship is trying to jack up the price of oil by scaring the markets. I don't think the markets are scared at all. If the markets were SCARED, investors would dump their petroleum futures in a panic. So it's more likely, I think, that the markets are taking advantage of the situation to bid the price of oil artificially high -- and keep it that way.

I predict that the "crises" Uncle Sam allegedly faces in the Middle East will continue until Americans are used to and tolerant of gasoline at $5.00 or $10.00 a gallon, whereupon a settlement of some sort will be achieved. There's just no other way to explain what's happening -- unless it's to say that W. is insane AND stupid.

And now that I think of it. . . .

Posted by: Jimmy Montague | April 14, 2006 07:29 PM

To: CC. First, thank you for the compliment. Second, you asked a question of me regarding whether our Congress would stop Bush from attacking Iran? I think our Congress would be about as effective as stopping an attack by Bush on Iran as they have been with stopping the NSA spying program. I'm sure you've noted how effective they've been at that endeavor. The "brave" members of Congress would likely try to retroactively find a way to make the whole thing "legal." In short, I have no faith in the group think process of our Republican-led Congress.

With this Administration, the lying, cheating, covering up, distortions, sleight of hand, politics of personal attacks, etc. doesn't end. Even when Bush knows that his Presidency lacks any popular support. (It's fallen so far that it could be argued that Bush's Presidency lack legitimacy.) But, as I'm sure you have noted, as the polls go down, Bush's sense "messianic" purpose increases. Hersh has noted this, so has Kevin Phillips. But the rest of the press does seem to see it. I'm not sure that they want to see it.

There were recent editorials in the Washington Post and the New York Times about how our less than popular President has been weakened. And to some degree that's true. Bush's domestic agenda is off the Congressional radar. But, with the few brain cells that Bush has left, he has realized that he still commands the military and the intelligence community, and he's going to exploit that for all it's worth. Mark my words. That's why I think he's serious, I mean dead serious about attacking Iran. He's hearing the "divine words" and just like everyother psychopath who hears such words, he's going to act on them.

Posted by: InChicago | April 15, 2006 03:07 PM

Please consider a few basic facts about Iran and the middle east in general.
First, If the media reported on every instance of middle eastern politicians condemning Israel and it's actions in the occupied territories, there would be little room or time to report on anything else. So to make such a big deal about Irans leaders railing on the same thing that everyone else does seems way over the top. Even histrionic.

They are not saying they are going to attack Israel. They have not attacked another country in over 200 years. Yes the current leader is a bit of a moron, but he is not saying anything that the general population of every other country in the middle east isn't saying. Thats why he's saying it. he's a politician. He's catering to the common discourse.

In many repects, our official policies agree with Irans regarding Israel. We also condemn the occupation and the settlement movement. We just use other words to describe it. The reason that we do is because the occupation and the settlememt movement it protects are morally reprehensible. But since we also pay for it and protect Israels crimes in the U.N.,
we also have become equally despised in the middle east. A pretty bizzare juxtipositoin of policy and action I would say.

Finally, The plight of the Palestinians is a huge concern for just about every country in the middle east. So any country that killed say 80% of them by attempting a nuclear strike on israel would not only be subject to the wrath of the U.S., the most powerful military force in the world, but also the wrath of every other country in the middle east. In fact I think it's safe to say that it would never happen. They want to free the palestinians and allow them to have a country, not kill all of them.
As a little aside, the last rounds of critical comments about Israel were made at a huge rally that convened to support the Palestinians that was attended by representatives of just about every country in the middle east.
So remember, If your a middle eastern country, and you nuke Israel, you also Nuke the Plaestinians, and therefore bring about destruction upon your own country from virtually all sides. If you put only a few moments thought into this, you see how utterly ridiculus a preemptive strike on Iran would be. The only people it might benefit would be the Israelis, because from that point on, it would literally be Israel and us against the entire wourld for a very long time to come.

J


J

Posted by: J | April 15, 2006 09:53 PM

There's the hate-monger Howard claiming "so-called Palestinians" don't really exist. So much easier to exterminate a people if you first deny their existence.
Transplanted Jordanians? Please, Palestinians are refugees because they were forcibly expelled from their homes and their lands by Israelis, many of whom used terrorist tactics to achieve this ethnic cleansing.
Typical, ignorant Palestinian hating American.
And we wonder why Americans are so hated in the Middle East.

Posted by: John | April 16, 2006 04:37 PM

Oh come off it, Jefferson Morley: "...supporters of the war might argue that a catastrophic terror attack, mounted with the support of Saddam Hussein, might have had incalcuable costs which have been avoided."
Yeah, sure, a "catastrophic terror attack mounted with the support of Saddam Hussein..."
Why are you peddling such discredited nonsense? This kind of mushroom-cloud propaganda was peddled by the Bush administration and its apologists before the war, with zero basis in fact. It has since been totally debunked. Why do you persist in raising it?
The odds Saddam, hemmed in as he was by U.N. inspectors and bereft of WMD, would have wanted, or even been able, to launch such a "catastrophic attack" on America were nil, and you know it.
One doesn't wage a "pre-emptive" war because something totally unproven - and for which there is not a scintilla of evidence - "might" happen.
It's quite clear that "Al," above is entirely right when he observes that the U.S. is far more compromised today - in light of its discredited, shoot-first-ask-questions-later conduct in Iraq - than it would have been with Hussein in power, hemmed in and pressured from all sides as he would have been.

Posted by: Art Cohen | April 16, 2006 11:03 PM

...almost like an insane man who wants to do something insane. He knows he shouldn't do it, but can't stop himself...so he edges slowly towards the cliff, talking himself into doing it.

Iran is either developing nukes or they are not. And it does not look like they are going to worry too much about the desires of the international community (which naturally does not want Iran, or any Muslim state, to have nukes).

And if Bush can back out of international treaties, so can the Iranians.

They don't owe anything to anyone.

Sounds like it's time to call or fold.

...oh but we're still working-up plans for an invasion of Iraq. That really oughta bring some sense to this entire problem.

Posted by: cc | April 17, 2006 10:24 AM

to Howard -

You really are a dumb ass mo fo.....

Posted by: Auntie zionist | April 19, 2006 02:10 PM

If we are so wrong in thinking Iran is a threat then why is Europe so worried about Iran? Why have they reported Iran to the securiy council? It is not so much the fact of Iran having a nuclear program it is their ties with terrorist organizations such as Hamas and other Islamic fundamentalists. We are afraid of the proliferation of nuclear weapons as Iran stated they would do if we place sanctions upon Iran. Iran is afraid because they know they cannot win. They use empty threats to try and get the US and the EU and Russia and China to blink. So far it has been a stalemate but by the 28th we will see what will happen. However i think the US is still using diplomacy and not being a warmongering state some people claim we are. This threat must be taken care of because of the threat to not only the middle east but also the rest of the world.

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Posted by: William | September 18, 2006 05:47 PM

Wether or not Iran intends to get a bomb should not be in question. It is their stated intent in many circles. Common sense says they have no need for an expensive nuclear program with all the oil they have. Should we nuke em though? Don't have to. Conventional will do the trick and set them back many years if done right. It will also keep the allies happy that we didn't resort to nuclear warfare ourselves.

Posted by: bewerrycareful | September 30, 2006 11:49 PM

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