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Why Attacking Iran is a Bad Idea. Again.

David Ignatius adds to the argument against going to war with Iran over their nuclear program with the important point that bombing that country would actually strengthen the position of the mullahs who control it at a time when they may be making themselves obsolete anyway.

Ironically, the worst option in terms of regime change would probably be a unilateral Israeli military strike. Given Israel’s capabilities, a strike would do enough damage to rally political support behind the Iranian leadership (and deflect the Arab Spring) but not enough to cripple the nuclear effort. An Iranian opposition leader told me last week that such an attack would be “a gift from God for the mullahs,” enhancing their political position rather than weakening it.

What has emerged from last week’s U.S.-Israeli discussions is a sort of tag team: The West is moving toward what it describes as crippling sanctions, while Israel waits restlessly outside the ring, apparently eager to jump in and strike a military blow. This combined pressure has already brought Iran back to the negotiating table, which is welcome but hardly a reason for the West to back off.

As the sanctions bite deeper into Iran’s oil exports and revenue, further enfeebling the regime, Tehran may have to contemplate the kind of negotiated settlement that Ayatollah Khomeini once likened to drinking from a “cup of poison.” Or, the regime may lash out with military action of its own — a dangerous course, given America’s overwhelming retaliatory power and the ability of Israel and Saudi Arabia to absorb Iran’s initial punch.

For Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, it’s a double bind: If he offers on the nuclear program a deal that would be acceptable to the West, he risks undermining what he sees as the regime’s legitimacy. But if he doesn’t offer a deal, the steady squeeze will continue. Eventually, something’s got to give.

Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace whose views are closely studied at the Obama White House, argues that the Iranian regime is gradually bleeding itself to death for the sake of its nuclear program. He likens the process to the demise of the Soviet Union, which bankrupted itself in an arms race with the United States.

Sadjadpour likes to invoke an old saying about dictatorships: “While they rule, their collapse appears inconceivable. After they’ve fallen, their collapse appeared inevitable.” Iran, he argues, is “at the crossroads of that maxim.”

And how we have the former head of Mossad urging the Israeli government to show restraint because a military attack on Iran would spark a regional war that serves no one’s interests.

Comments

  1. says

    I am still waiting to understand how the US and Israel’s constant threats to attack are not a violation of UN rules, and how – given that there’s no UN mandate or evidence that Iran is actually attempting to produce a nuke – how any of what they are doing is the US’ business at all. More to the point, why is everyone turning a blind eye to the Israeli state-sponsored terror assassinations of Iranian nuclear engineers?

    I don’t see a good argument why a nuclear-armed Iran wouldn’t increase stability in the area, by making it harder for Israel to just bomb whoever they feel like bombing. That’s the real issue, isn’t it?

  2. lordshipmayhem says

    If we wait long enough, we won’t need to start a shooting war. The mad mullahs will start it for us… with nuclear weapons.

    I think the world is caught between a rock and a hard place. Start a war with Iran, and Israel risks being destroyed in a regional war. Don’t start a war, and Israel risks being destroyed by nuclear weapons from Iran. Sucks to be Israel right now.

  3. says

    lordshipmayhem writes:
    The mad mullahs will start it for us… with nuclear weapons.

    That’s a nonsensical argument. One could just as easily say that the theocratic nutbars who run the US are mad nihilists who are likely to use nuclear weapons, too. What makes the Iranian regime – which, so far, has gone out of its way to AVOID provoking a military response from the over-eager Israelis and US – any different from every other regime on Earth? By the “mad mullah” argument one would be just as justified in claiming that the “crazed rabbis” in Israel shouldn’t have nukes, either.

  4. macallan says

    Of course, attacking Iran would add a lot of credibility to any ‘great satan’ rhetorics.

  5. says

    Of course, attacking Iran would add a lot of credibility to any ‘great satan’ rhetorics.

    The US, with its “we will support Israel, no matter what they do” rhetoric does not need to do anything to make itself more obviously a ‘great satan’. We’re already at 100%. We could even elect Rick Santorum (speaking of “crazed catholics”….) and we couldn’t peg the needle any farther than it already is.

  6. says

    We’re already at 100%. We could even elect Rick Santorum (speaking of “crazed catholics”….) and we couldn’t peg the needle any farther than it already is.

    We may be close, but we’re not at 100% for as long as there isn’t a neocon, or someone who will take advise from a neocon in the White House.

  7. StevoR says

    @2. lordshipmayhem : I think you summed that up very concisely and sadly, very accurately.

    Israel doesn’t want war – neither does the USA but Iran does want war and is determined to get it.

    If we ignore that reality and let Iran have its war on its terms – ie. it gets to nuke Tel Aviv in a first attack then we are condemning millions of innocent people to death.

    Sometimes, it *is* self-defence and like it or not, sometimes you just *have* to be the one to shoot first – or get killed.

    That may not be considered nice and ethical but then the truth sometimes isn’t. Iran has to be taken out before it gets The Bomb and the sooner we do so the better and the fewer innocent casualties are likely to be incurred.

    Those on the political Left hating war *really* need to ask themselves :

    1. How many innocent Isreali lives are you willing to take to salve your unrealistic ideals?

    2. Also what the blazes gives you the right to choose whether Israel and its cities and people get to live or die?

    3. Put yourself in the Israelis position – imagine yourself as one of the worl’d only jewish states generals – your enemy has made it clear that their aim long term is to wipe you out and exterminate your people utterly. History has given you very good reasons for taken threats of genocide seriously. Can you really, honestly, sit back and do nothing and let your nations worst enemy get the weaposn thatwould enable them to exterminate you knowing they are motivated by hatred so fierce that nothing else matters and believe in an ideology that rewrads homicide-suicide “martyrs” with paradise and believ inan apocalpsye worste than the Rapture being ushered in by them ie. its teir religious duty and destiny to literally bring about armageddon by attacking you?

    Some people, some groups are like Daleks and simply cannot be negotiated with or trusted. Iran – its ruling regime and the Jihadists- are such groups.

    There’s no rational dealing with them. History has taught us that. If the left don’t want tobe repsonsible for tehgenocide ofagainst isreal they need inmy view to do one of two things -eitherstadn with usand support us – my first preference – or at the very least shut the heck up and get out of the way and let Israel defend oursleves.

  8. slc1 says

    Re Marcus Ranum @ #1
    given that there’s no UN mandate or evidence that Iran is actually attempting to produce a nuke

    Mr. Ranum is either uninformed or is a liar. There is no doubt that Iran is engaged in, at the least, putting themselves in a position to quickly assemble nuclear weapons if a decision to go ahead is made. Even the wimpy IAEA chief is suspicious of their motives.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/iaea-chief-iran-not-telling-us-everything-about-its-nuclear-program-1.417283

    I don’t see a good argument why a nuclear-armed Iran wouldn’t increase stability in the area, by making it harder for Israel to just bomb whoever they feel like bombing. That’s the real issue, isn’t it?

    Quite obviously, Mr. Ranum doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground. As the president made clear in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon capability, other countries in the area, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, will be under intense pressure to develop their own nuclear capability. The last thing that the Middle East, the most volatile and unstable region in the world, needs is proliferation of nuclear weapons.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/03/obama-to-iran-and-israel-as-president-of-the-united-states-i-dont-bluff/253875/

  9. StevoR says

    IOW, let’s get real.

    The Iran situationis NOtgoing tobe ended withappeasement -diplomacy and sanctiosn because iran isn’t willin g for thast towork.

    It *will* be war – the only question is when, how it goes and which side are y’all taking?

    The side of a sharia law theocracy that wants to bring about Islamic Armageddon and wants all of us dead, enslaved and converted totheir ugly overgrown cult

    OR

    The side of the most democractic , most rule of law,
    secular, good opportunities for all incl. women and minorities Westernised nation in the region?

    Sometimes, like it or not it is zero sum.

    Either kill or be killed – along with your families and others incl. millions of innocents.

    Iran has to be deafeated militarily & ASAP
    or Israel faces extermination and the genocide of its people. Again.

  10. StevoR says

    Correction :

    IOW, let’s get real.

    The Iran situation is NOT going to be ended with appeasement -diplomacy and sanctiosn because iran isn’t willing for that to work.

    You can only have peace when both sides agree.

    Iran does NOT want peace. That’s why it is secretly building its nuclear instruments and stalling with delaying tactics and lies meanwhile.

  11. Chris from Europe says

    Some people, some groups are like Daleks and simply cannot be negotiated with or trusted.

    This, along the dishonest and questions for the left, tells us everything we need to know about you, StevoR.

  12. says

    slc1 writes:

    Mr. Ranum is either uninformed or is a liar. There is no doubt that Iran is engaged in, at the least, putting themselves in a position to quickly assemble nuclear weapons if a decision to go ahead is made.

    They’re putting themselves in a position to make nuclear weapons, that means they’re making nuclear weapons. See how that works? Because everyone knows that enriching uranium to 20% (when you need 85+% to make a bomb) is tantamount to making a bomb, except – uh – that it’s not usable for a bomb.

    And of course we need to just accept your assertion that if they do make a bomb they will immediately use it on Israel. (What would be more likely, by far, would that they would demonstrate that they had it and use the fact that they have nuclear capability to attempt to deter the 2 nuclear-armed superpowers that are currently threatening to bomb them, or attempt ‘regime change’)

    if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon capability, other countries in the area, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, will be under intense pressure to develop their own nuclear capability. The last thing that the Middle East, the most volatile and unstable region in the world, needs is proliferation of nuclear weapons.

    Yeah. Because every nuclear-armed state in the Middle East has been firing them as fast as they can make them, right?

    Saudi Arabia wouldn’t bother building a bomb because they’ve got political top-cover from the US. Egypt might. And so what if they did?

    The reason that Israel and the US don’t want nuclear-armed states (other than Israel and the US) in the Middle East is because then their ‘negotiating strategy’ of “we don’t negotiate” breaks down. That would be a good thing, all around, and more likely to bring peace than not. As it stands we have a situation in which 2 nuclear-armed superpowers are comfortable publicly discussing an illegal attack on another nation – exactly because they know that they do not have to “negotiate” from any position other than naked force.

  13. Chris from Europe says

    Sometimes when discussing such issues you wonder if you are in the movie The Crazies.

  14. says

    StevoR writes:
    You can only have peace when both sides agree.

    Exactly. And when one side is saying:
    – “we will support you whatever you do” to their partner
    – “we will bomb whoever we want if we feel like it”
    – “it’s our way or the highway”
    .. then any possible basis for agreement has been deliberately put off the table. It’s not reasonable to say that everything is non-negotiable and then demonize the other side as a bunch of crazies who won’t negotiate. That’s basically the same thing as saying the other side won’t submit to your boot on their face, therefore you have to shoot them.

  15. StevoR says

    @ ^ Chris form Europe :

    I notice yougail toanswer those questions.

    Go on European.

    How many Jewish lives are you willing to see lost?

    How many Israeli cities would you like tosee lokking like Hiroshima or worse?

    Answer the flippn’ questipon if you can and dare.

    Failure to answer shows us exactly what *you* are too.

  16. StevoR says

    That’s :

    @14. Chris from Europe :

    I notice you Fail to answer those questions.

    Here’s a thought for you “Eurabian” European – if you’re NOT Isreali or Iranian, jewish or Muslim, maybe its NOT your flippin’ business?

  17. Chris from Europe says

    Yeah, that response is even worse. It speaks for itself. See post 16.

    By the way, how many people are you willing to kill for your paranoia?

    But I will try answering one:

    Also what the blazes gives you the right to choose whether Israel and its cities and people get to live or die?

    Nobody, but that’s not the question. We don’t have these two choices. Israel doesn’t have this choice, as Ed previously and here David Ignatius showed. What you want, is an unfounded, preemptive (not preventive) attack that will not even work. Which means that the US would be forced to invade Iran.

    So you want to exchange your unfounded risks with guaranteed mass murder.

  18. harold says

    It’s obvious to me why right wing Americans want to attack Iran.

    It’s just part of the policy of undermining democracy through constant unjustified war with relatively weaker opponents (this statement not intended to imply that the US would perform well in an attempted invasion of Iran). Constant war, and its use to justify attacks on individual liberty and pay off political allies with military contracts, is a major part of the current Republican strategy, and also, of course, imitated by the Democrats.

    Why Israel or Iran would want to attack each other I can’t fathom.

    If we wait long enough, we won’t need to start a shooting war. The mad mullahs will start it for us… with nuclear weapons.

    This statement is nonsensical.

    1) The only definite outcome of a first strike nuclear attack by Iran on anyone would be the destruction of Iran.

    2) Modern Iran has no record of military aggression. (I personally request that irrelevant pedantry about Ancient Persian Empires, Ottoman era wars, etc, NOT be touted in response to this. The statement I wrote is correct – since 1979, and indeed, also under the Shah, Iran was not militarily aggressive toward other nations.)

    I think the world is caught between a rock and a hard place. Start a war with Iran, and Israel risks being destroyed in a regional war.

    A military attack on Iran by the United States or Israel might lead to a harmful situation for Israel, yes, although it might not.

    Don’t start a war, and Israel risks being destroyed by nuclear weapons from Iran.

    However, Iran would gain nothing from this, and would suffer severely.

    Iran is not an Arab country, has no border with Israel, has historically bad relations with many other Muslim countries, and has no modern record of military aggression.

    If you think that Iran should be attacked because it has leaders who make bigoted statements, then the same logic justifies attacks on many other nations, including the US and Israel. To make it perfectly clear, I reject that logic.

    Sucks to be Israel right now.

    It does not suck to be Israel. Israel is a prosperous, relatively democratic nation. Relative to the United States, Israel is not involved in major wars, has lower unemployment, has a massively lower rate of both incarceration and violent crime, has better social programs, has superior education statistics, tends to have better social mobility, has more sustainable energy policy, etc, etc.

    Unfortunately, Israel shares one problem with the United States – the negative impact of religious fanatics and right wing warmongers.

    Ideally, in both cases, those groups will be socially and politically isolated, and gradually lose all influence, while retaining the right to freely express themselves, through the process of democracy.

  19. says

    How many Jewish lives are you willing to see lost?

    I don’t want to see any lives lost.

    From over here it looks like a bun-fight between two theocratic states, both of which have a horrible track record. One of them is making intemperate threats, committing humanitarian crimes and state-sponsored terrorism and the other has a leader that makes intemperate threats.

    Is that about right?

  20. says

    I’m with StevoR! We have to kill them now, before they have a chance to maybe do the bad thing! Sure, they say they’re just pursuing nuclear power, and they say they’re making isotopes for nuclear medicine, but if we let them do that the next thing they’ll do is destroy everything!
    So, who’s with me?! Let’s bomb Canada!

  21. doktorzoom says

    I know there are a lot of serious points that debunk StevoR’s claims, but I would just like to say that comparing Iran to the Daleks has to be one of the least convincing rhetorical strategies EVER.

  22. says

    Iran has to be taken out before it gets The Bomb…

    Just like the USSR and China had to be taken out before they got The Bomb, right?

    You can only have peace when both sides agree.

    Bullshit. We (and lots of other countries) had HUGE disagreements with the USSR, but none of them made a US-SU war inevitable. Are you actually saying we can never live in peace with anyone who disagrees with us? That’s the position of the hysterical bigot.

    Some people, some groups are like Daleks and simply cannot be negotiated with or trusted. Iran – its ruling regime and the Jihadists- are such groups.

    You’re comparing a real human nation to a badly-imagined race of robots in a cheezy FICTIONAL TV show?! Seriously? And you’re telling US to “get real?” I’d call you “stone cold stupid,” but that would be an insult to stones, cold things, and stupid people. I’d also say you’re a self-important ignoramus who understands nothing but force — but you clearly don’t understand how armed force works, either.

  23. Chris from Europe says

    Here’s a thought for you “Eurabian” European – if you’re NOT Isreali or Iranian, jewish or Muslim, maybe its NOT your flippin’ business?

    Oh, you came from Pamela Geller’s blog? There’s news for you: The stuff about Muslim influence and takeover in Europe are lies. It refers all to attempts to treat minorities as equals instead of rightless underclass.

    It’s also refreshing to see you having your coming-out as a full-blown bigot.

    And are you serious? If it’s Israel’s business, how will Israel do anything without the support of its allies (including which they already got)? Who do you think gives them money and material? The US and Europe may have their own interests when doing this (their defense industries), but this also means we are responsible for the results.

    It’s also inconsistent, because you clearly want to intervene and preemptively attack.

    If factions want to risk war for their goals and risk many casualties, I think it’s always our business. I think that’s the modern understand many people in the West have and to which you tried to appeal initially before you blew your cover.

  24. Francisco Bacopa says

    Lots of countries have successfully negotiated with Iran:

    Iraq – Negotiated settlement ending the Iran Iraq war.
    USA – Iran/contra secret negotiations. Secured release of hostages in Lebanon. This one might not have been the best idea.
    USA (again) cease fire after brief naval skirmish in 1988.
    Iraq – Iraq planes allowed to fly to bases in Iran in 1990/91
    China – Oil and technology deals

    There’s probably more. This is just what I know about.

  25. harold says

    StevoR –

    How many Jewish lives are you willing to see lost?

    You are the one who proposes policies that would cost Jewish lives.

    Also, other human lives, which may not be equally valuable under your ideology, but which are to the rest of us.

    How many Israeli cities would you like tosee lokking like Hiroshima or worse?

    I would not like to see that happen to any Israeli cities, nor any other cities, either.

    I totally reject your claim that this is what will happen if the US does not attack Iran. That claim is absurd.

    Answer the flippn’ questipon if you can and dare.

    You are the one who appears to be tormented by irrational fear.

  26. says

    BTW, the US’ role in proliferating nuclear weapons to Israel (via France) should not be underestimated. If we want to play finger-pointing that was a “bit of a blunder.” (… and the global community can thank Israel for proliferating to South Africa) If we want to talk about the destabilizing effect nuclear weapons have had in the Middle East, Israel’s status as sole nuclear-armed power (along with unlimited US top-cover) has emboldened them to bomb whoever they feel like bombing, whenever they feel like bombing, and to get away with it.

    The Middle East would be a more peaceful place if there were no nukes at all, since the lopsided presence of nukes in Israel’s arsenal makes it easier for them to attack other countries, conventionally, without fear of retaliation. All of this complaining really amounts to Israel’s being afraid that their freedom to dictate in the Middle East will be reduced if their neighbors are as well-armed as they are.

  27. Chris from Europe says

    Unfortunately, Israel shares one problem with the United States – the negative impact of religious fanatics and right wing warmongers.

    One could wonder which country finances these warmongers …

  28. says

    The mad mullahs will start it for us…

    How “mad” are the mullahs, really? The guy who was blithering about the Holocaust and wiping Israel off the map was not a mullah, and IIRC, the highest-ranking actual mullah was labelling nuclear weapons “un-Islamic.”

    Seriously, what makes them “mad?” Invading countries they don’t have to invade and saying the combat was over while armed conflict ramped up out of control? Last I checked, it wan’t “mad mullahs” who did that.

    Someone needs to be reminded that Khomeini died more than twenty years ago. And he’s still dead.

  29. doktorzoom says

    StevoR: You seem to have a seriously simplistic notion of the efficacy of strategic bombing that is equal to your cartoonish understanding of mideast politics.

    There’s no way to “decapitate” Iran’s nuclear program in a single strike. Or even in a few raids. At the very least, it would require a weeks-long–possibly months-long– air campaign, and to really bring about “regime change,” a ground invasion as well. I think it’s safe to say that there’d be just a teensy bit of blowback from that approach.

    But sure, keep fantasizing about “taking out” Iran. It’s very studly.

  30. doktorzoom says

    …if you’re NOT Isreali or Iranian, jewish or Muslim, maybe its NOT your flippin’ business?”

    Oh. So if, we’re, say, the United States of America?

    (Not that I actually think isolationism is a valid strategy. But, jeeze, you’re not even INTERNALLY consistent in your argument…)

  31. says

    Raging Bee asks:
    How “mad” are the mullahs, really?

    Well, I’d be pretty pissed off if I was one of them. There has been constant US interference in Iranian politics since the CIA overthrew one of their democratically elected governments and installed a monarchy, then has interfered with their counter-revolution and has been glibly talking about “regime change” ever since. Now we’re talking openly about bombing them, and have them under a constant high level of surveillance, and are implicated as involved in cyberwar attacks against their nuclear facilities.(*) And, of course, we’re leading an economic blockade against them and keep sailing nuclear-armed aircraft carrier task force groups back and forth in their back yard. I’m sure they’re “mad”… But they’ll suck it up because they have to.

    …but I know that’s not what you meant.

    (* http://fabiusmaximus.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/29291/)

  32. slc1 says

    Re doktorzoom @ #32

    A half dozen well targeted 15 megaton bombs will completely destroy any nuclear capability that Iran has. No need for repeated bombing attacks.

  33. says

    Why isn’t anyone talking about decapitating the Israeli nuclear capability?

    Oh, right. It’s because we want our mad puppets in the Middle East to be the only mad puppets with a big stick.

  34. says

    slc1:

    A half dozen well targeted 15 megaton bombs will completely destroy any nuclear capability that Iran has. No need for repeated bombing attacks.

    I see you approve of genoide. But weren’t you complaining about genocide just a moment ago?

  35. doktorzoom says

    You’re talking about mass murder, General, not war!

    Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.

  36. Chris from Europe says

    Re #26
    I should have read it before posting. But it’s still understandable.

    I don’t understand why certain people write stuff that makes them look like psychopaths.

  37. slc1 says

    Re Marcus Ranum @ #37

    If one wants to make an omelet one has to aware that some egg shells will have to be broken be broken.

    Re doktorzoom @ #38

    That was from a movie and referred to an attack on the former Soviet Union, hardly comparable to an attack on Iran.

  38. Chiroptera says

    StevoR, #19: Here’s a thought for you “Eurabian” European – if you’re NOT Isreali or Iranian, jewish or Muslim, maybe its NOT your flippin’ business?

    Actually, a thought for Islamophobic Americans: if you’re not Israeli or Middle-Eastern Arab or Iranian, then it’s none of your business.

    Not that I subscribe to such a thought myself, just pointing out the logical conclusion of such an ill-reasoned “thought.”

  39. slc1 says

    Aside from all the blather here, which is much ado about nothing at all, consider the following notion.

    It may be that what is going on here is that Bibi and Obama are playing a game of good cop/bad cop, where the former takes the part of the bad cop and the latter takes the part of the good cop. I would point out that, if this is indeed what is going on, it has so far been remarkably successful. Obama goes to the European allies and tells them they have to help him out by assisting him in turning the screws on Iran, else the bad cop, Bibi, will launch an attack on Iran that could result in the closing of the Straits of Hormuz and a subsequent world wide depression. Indeed, the European allies have, rather reluctantly, gone along with the good cop.

  40. frankniddy says

    slc1 @ #41:

    Eggs aren’t people. If your omelet requires a nuclear holocaust, maybe you should go without breakfast. But you’re right. An aggressive nuclear attack on a sovereign nation is nothing at all like an aggressive nuclear attack on a sovereign nation.

    StevoR:

    If we invade Iran, do you believe we’ll be greeted as liberators and showered with rose petals and palm fronds?

  41. says

    slc1:

    If one wants to make an omelet one has to aware that some egg shells will have to be broken be broken.

    Monsters make “omlets” with 15mt nukes.

    So you’re in favor of genocide, depending on who it is. So you can join the other historical figures who favor genocide – Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc. They were also aware that some eggs needed to be broken. The only problem withtaking that position is that you don’t have any basis for complaining when the eggs are yours. I assume that you approve of the holocaust. After all, it was just another bunch of smashed eggs.

    You fucking moron.

  42. frankniddy says

    slc @ #43:

    That is actually a distinct possibility, I have to admit. It seems a bit reckless, though.

  43. says

    After all the crap we’ve done in the middle east, I’d need something beyond “they’re fanatics!” to convince me it’s worth yet another war. I admit I’m woefully ignorant of the region’s full history and the tangled webs of alliances of convenience, but that doesn’t mean I’ll swallow the idea of mustache-twirling villains. So please pardon me if I’m missing any big parts of the picture. Connect the dots for me if I do.

    Iranians aren’t Daleks. Daleks are fictional beings created by a sci-fi writer specifically to be as evil as possible, which conveniently allows viewers not to feel bad if they get blown up by the millions. Even if Iran’s leaders were Dalek-level evil, that doesn’t mean the civilians are.

    If we were talking about a mobile terrorist organization, yeah, I’d be worried about them getting their hands on nukes, since I would think a small, nimble, and stealthy group would be harder to fight, and they’d be more likely to use a nuke for that reason.

    But we’re not talking about a mobile terrorist organization. We’re talking about an established, visible nation. That sort of thing tends to be led by people who invest in longer term prospects than simply hurting their enemies any way they can. As I see it, terrorists generally want to destroy, tyrants generally want to control, and I don’t exactly think America could change Iran’s regime for the better by going into a preemptive war.

    They’d be fools to give a nuke to terrorists, since they’d be a prime suspect if it was used or discovered. I’d be more inclined to think they might use it as a shield for a conventional war, but that would legitimize an allied counterattack. If they use nukes directly, what would they gain control over, and would it be worth the cost of enraging many of the major powers?

  44. says

    They’d be fools to give a nuke to terrorists, since they’d be a prime suspect if it was used or discovered.

    The science of nuclear forensics is so good that IAEA and the other boffins can tell the design of a weapon by the emp signature it makes going off. Once some fallout from a weapon is sampled, they can fingerprint it back to the centrifuge cascade that produced the materials, as well as the breeder reactor the raw materials were bred in. No state with enough know-how to build a nuke would ever dream of giving it away because its origin would be very easy to conclusively determine.

  45. kermit. says

    StevoR: Israel doesn’t want war – neither does the USA but Iran does want war and is determined to get it.

    Our (I’m a Yank) country’s recent history indicates that we *do want war. Bush Jr. wanted war with Iraq so badly that he practically peed his pants. As a result 100,000 Iraqis died by conservative count. How many were widowed, orphaned, raped, and displaced? Not to mention several thousand US warriors killed, many more maimed, lost productivity, and much productivity spent making stuff that gets blown up or was used to blow up other people’s stuff. We voted a second time for Bush; it’s not like we didn’t know what we were voting for.

    If we ignore that reality and let Iran have its war on its terms – ie. it gets to nuke Tel Aviv in a first attack then we are condemning millions of innocent people to death.

    [Makes time out gesture] Everybody gets a chance at first shot. Why would Iran attack Israel unless they were very sure that they would win? The greatest danger to the region is religious fanaticism, and the best way of insuring lasting power for the current regime is to confront all Iranians with a common enemy. Why not try something new – let’s (Isreal as well as the US) support democracy for a change? I assume you realize that they are not democratic because of our (the US) previous criminal interference, yes?

    Sometimes, it *is* self-defence and like it or not, sometimes you just *have* to be the one to shoot first – or get killed.

    I’m a martial artist, and I don’t mean sport. I understand very well that first strikes can be self-defense. If a known thug says “You’ve been seeing my girl, and I’m going to kill your sorry ass”, then reaches for his pocket, I’d likely strike. But it may still turn out that he wasn’t reaching for a weapon, but perhaps photographs which he thought proved his claim. First strikes are only justified when we think we are under imminent danger. And we need to remember that we may still be in error. If I strike a thug without cause I could easily set off a chain of events that could lead to dead family members, jail time, crippling injuries, or other undesirable consequences. How about we stop being the Great Satan for a generation or two, hmm?

    That may not be considered nice and ethical but then the truth sometimes isn’t.

    What truth? All I see is an assertion. Here’s another assertion, from me: there is great discontent from the Iranian people. They used to be freer and prosperous. If we leave them be they may toss out the religious fanatics and become a democratic Muslim nation like Turkey or Indonesia. But they won’t if they are dodging our drones.

    1. How many innocent Isreali lives are you willing to take to salve your unrealistic ideals?

    I dunno. How many are you willing to kill because you are projecting your own violent motives onto others? If your assessment is strictly imaginary, what would be the outcome? The financial, psychological, military, and moral repercussions of the US-Iraq disaster will ripple through the globe for generations.

    I can see a number of scenarios here, with the first stage interacting with so many other processes in this chaotic region that it is completely unpredictable. When they start massing troops at our border, come back to me for support of a first strike

    2. Also what the blazes gives you the right to choose whether Israel and its cities and people get to live or die?

    How many Israelis would die in a war that is unecessary? How many Americans, how many Iranians who could have been our friends?

    Nobody here has “chosen” to destroy Israel. Some fo us disagree with your understanding of the situation.

    3. Put yourself in the Israelis position[...]

    If I had been in a position of authority, I would have stopped continual encroachment on my neighbors’ territory immediately. Are you truly incapable of imagining what it is like for a palestinian whose property is taken from him by a “settler”? (We called them settlers in the US, also. That’s not what what the Lakota Sioux called them.)

    One can meet violence with violence justifiably (if other options are unavailable), but one cannot meet evil with evil and be honorable. Especially, one cannot use evil to counter imaginary future evil.

    Some people, some groups are like Daleks and simply cannot be negotiated with or trusted. Iran – its ruling regime and the Jihadists- are such groups.

    The US government is another.

    There’s no rational dealing with them. History has taught us that.
    I know! Overthrow their democratically elected government and establish a US puppet king, and they’re mad for decades! There’s just no pleasing some people.

    If the left don’t want tobe repsonsible for tehgenocide ofagainst isreal

    Even if your assessment of the situtation is correct, the “Left”
    would not be responsible. Are we responsible for Darfur, or Rwanda/Burundi?

    they need inmy view to do one of two things -eitherstadn with usand support us – my first preference – or at the very least shut the heck up and get out of the way and let Israel defend oursleves.

    I am all for a strong defense, truly. But fighting unnecessarily is not good kung fu. It can lead to loss of life, limb, or freedom. The way to deal with thugs is to be strong but polite. If you challenge them, they may feel pressured to fight. On the other hand, if you are strong and confident, they will hesitate themselves to attack. Predators do not go after the strongest prey, but what they perceive as the weakest. But they will fight *anything if cornered. Do you really want to put the Mullahs in a position where they have nothing to lose, and where the democratic activists put their plans on hold to defend themselves?

  46. doktorzoom says

    slc1: Look at my avatar, you doofus. I think I know where the quote is from.

    Also, Kubrick’s satire, while fictional, is a hell of a lot more attuned to reality than your fantasies of casually blowing away millions of people.

  47. says

    StupidLikudnikChickenhawk1 blithered thusly:

    No need for repeated bombing attacks.

    Yeah, because when large sovereign states are attacked without provocation, they always respond by rolling over and doing absolutely nothing to rebuild what the attackers destroyed, or protect themselves from future attacks.

    Seriously, Likud boy, if (I repeat IF) Iran really is trying to build nukes when they haven’t been attacked yet, what makes you think they’ll STOP doing this after they’ve been attacked?

    Your wishful thinking is starting to make Bush Jr. look intelligent. Is that your intent?

    Oh, and here’s a news flash for your fellow chickenhawk: “Dr. Who” is not a documentary (the BBC is not an all-news channel), the Doctor never had to fight Iranians, and the London Underground is not a political movement. Any questions?

  48. slc1 says

    Re Raging Bee, the Fairfax phoney. @ #51

    What the fuck does Dr. Who have to do with anything (maybe I’m missing something as I have never watched that particular program)? The reference was clearly to the movie Dr. Strangelove.

    After an attack with 15 megaton bombs, Iran will not be in a position to build anything for a long, long time.

  49. says

    slc1: doesn’t it bother you at all that the only other person taking your side for a preemptive attack on Iran, is an obvious bigoted halfwit who compares Iranians to Daleks? That alone should tell you how low the Likudniks have sunk recently, and how low you have to stoop to defend them.

    (Will Netenyayhoo stop talking about “nuclear ducks” and start talking about Daleks instead?)

  50. says

    After an attack with 15 megaton bombs, Iran will not be in a position to build anything for a long, long time.

    Didn’t the Japanese think the same thing of us when they made the decision to destroy our naval power at Pearl Harbor?

    If you’re going to advocate unprovoked preemptive war, dumbfuck, you should at least learn from the experiences of others who’ve already tried it.

  51. slc1 says

    Re Raging Bee, the Fairfax fucktard @ #55

    The attack on Pearl Harbor hardly compares to a half dozen 15 megaton bombs on Iran. That’s like comparing a slingshot to a machine gun.

  52. says

    No state with enough know-how to build a nuke would ever dream of giving it away because its origin would be very easy to conclusively determine.

    And besides, what self-respecting leader would give so much destructive power to people he couldn’t control?

    Which terrorists would Iran give a nuke to? Hezbollah? They’d most likely nuke Israel with it (if anyone), and Israel (not to mention the US) would nuke Iran just for having any visible link to them. Al Qaeda? They hate other Muslim regimes almost as much as they hate America, so there’s no telling who they’d nuke. You really think the Shiite mullahs in Iran would place so much trust in a secretive network of violent Sunni theocrats?

  53. says

    slc1 writes:

    After an attack with 15 megaton bombs, Iran will not be in a position to build anything for a long, long time.

    You’re just a fucking racist slug who believes it’s OK to commit genocide against one people, but not against another — because, presumably, you identify with the latter. And, in spite of several of us pointing out your hypocrisy, you appear to oblivious to your moral shame. You’re quite disgusting and I wish you’d go away; you don’t have anything to contribute to a conversation with decent human beings.

  54. says

    Well, the stupid Likudnik chickenhawk totally missed the point of my historical reference. (Was anyone else not clear about what I was trying to say there?) I’ll take that as an admission that he knows he’s lost the argument.

  55. says

    PS – Nobody currently makes any 15mt devices. Even for nukes, they are overkill. The last 15mt device, I believe, was Castle Bravo. Most warheads nowadays are in the 200kt range, now that the former soviet “city killers” have been decomissioned.

    The idea that anyone would contemplate using such weapons in a speculative, pre-emptive attack leaves a taste of vomit in the back of my throat. If anyone needs to be pre-empted, it’s the kind of monster who’d say such things in a public forum. “Mad mullahs”, indeed.

  56. says

    Nuclear weapons have inherently indiscriminate destructive power. This means they a tendency to cause unnecessary civilian casualties, which is why most people I care to know are against hurling nukes.

    Here, we’re facing someone who seems eager to hurl a nuke and cause an indiscriminate slaughter of civilians in order to prevent someone from possibly, maybe, having a chance of hurling a nuke and causing an indiscriminate slaughter of civilians.

  57. doktorzoom says

    Possible slc1 responses:

    Look, it’s not genocide if you don’t kill every last Iranian…

    Look, it’s not genocide if they aren’t really people

    Look, it’s not genocide if it prevents a different genocide, maybe.

    Look, it may be genocide, but we’re good people, so no big whoop.

    Look, it’s not genocide if I’m just an idiot troll.

  58. says

    Bronze Dog “Here, we’re facing someone who seems eager to hurl a nuke and cause an indiscriminate slaughter of civilians in order to prevent someone from possibly, maybe, having a chance of hurling a nuke and causing an indiscriminate slaughter of civilians.”
    Now you’re just being ridiculous. It’s not “indiscriminate”. slc’s quite discriminating. He only wants to murder Iranians.

  59. says

    It’s depressing how the pro-war with Iran rhetoric is practically indistinguishable from the pro-war with Iraq rhetoric. It’s all there: WMD related program activities; a crazy ruler who for some strange reason is going to launch attacks against adversaries who would annihilate his country; the first warning will be a mushroom cloud; dissenters are anti-Israel; we don’t really want war, they’re the ones who want war; etc. I guess the only thing that’s missing is the claim that the Iranians will welcome our attacks with open arms. The right has at least dropped the pretense that we’re trying to do middle easterners good.

    This would be slightly more forgivable if the greatest foreign policy debacle since Vietnam wasn’t less than 10 years ago. Conservatives are incapable of learning from their mistakes. You can’t set them straight, you can only keep them as far away from power as possible. They are psychologically unfit to lead.

  60. says

    Area Man “It’s depressing how the pro-war with Iran rhetoric is practically indistinguishable from the pro-war with Iraq rhetoric. It’s all there…”
    You know what they say…
    “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. Unless you keep them scared.”
    “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history something something something.”
    “When all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a swarthy man with the Bomb.”
    “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…ff…foolmuh…can’t get fooled again.”

    “Conservatives are incapable of learning from their mistakes. You can’t set them straight, you can only keep them as far away from power as possible. They are psychologically unfit to lead.”
    And the same pundits who were so wrong last time are still accepted as Very Serious People.

  61. says

    “Since Vietnam?” Are you kidding me? You really think Vietnam was a worse debacle than Grudge Match Iraq? At least in Vietnam we invaded the right country — there was a “communist” insurgency in Vietnam, and we went to Vietnam to fight it. That’s more than Bush Jr. can say.

    I guess the only thing that’s missing is the claim that the Iranians will welcome our attacks with open arms.

    Give them time, I’m sure they’ll find plenty of Iranians complaining about their government, and then they’ll say “See — they don’t like their government, they WANT us to nuke ‘em!”

  62. says

    It’s depressing how the pro-war with Iran rhetoric is practically indistinguishable from the pro-war with Iraq rhetoric.

    Well, yeah, they only have to change ONE LETTER and all their asinine speeches become reusable, with no further effort or revision. It’s part of their “No Stupid Bigoted Shrieking-Point Left Behind” policy.

    You should be grateful they’re not mentioning Elian.

  63. says

    Or don’t. I might have been misreading your misreading, and stopping my post before it posted failed to stop my post from posting.
    In any event Vietnam was worse.

    Raging Bee “At least in Vietnam we invaded the right country”
    Tell that to Cambodia and Laos.

  64. says

    Here, we’re facing someone who seems eager to hurl a nuke and cause an indiscriminate slaughter of civilians in order to prevent someone from possibly, maybe, having a chance of hurling a nuke and causing an indiscriminate slaughter of civilians.

    And just to add another layer of stupid, he’s afraid someone will hurl a nuke, so he wants to do something that will give that someone EVEN MORE REASON to hurl a nuke.

    Oh, and how sure are we that Iran is even trying to build a nuke in the first place?

  65. says

    Modus: all I was saying is that we at least started out in the right country. I’m sure you’ll agree that ain’t saying much.

    Also, I think Vietnam did less damage to America’s power, credibility and long-term interests than Iraq did; but that could be because Iraq is more recent.

  66. says

    At least in Vietnam we invaded the right country — there was a “communist” insurgency in Vietnam, and we went to Vietnam to fight it. That’s more than Bush Jr. can say.

    A fair point, but the cost (in terms of GDP) and body count were much, much higher, and the outcome was even worse than in Iraq. At least Saddam didn’t actually win.

  67. says

    Put yourself in the Israelis position…

    If I were in the Israelis’ position, I’d probably be asking myself why my government ever thought the US-Iraq war was a good idea, now that it’s left Iran with one less country able to resist it.

    I’d also be thinking terrorism was still the biggest problem in my life, not Iranian nukes that didn’t even exist yet.

  68. slc1 says

    Re Raging Bee @ #73

    Actually, the Government of Israel, in the person of then Prime Minister Sharon, didn’t think that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea for precisely the reason that Mr. Bee says, namely that taking the Iraqi military off the board only strengthened Iran. This is the claim of former Colin Powell aide Lawrence Wilkerson who states that, in a meeting with Sharon where he briefed the latter on the proposed Iraq adventure, Sharon specifically advised against the exercise.

  69. says

    slc1: thanks for the clarification. I’ll take it as a reminder that the Americans who so pompously claim they’re advocating what’s good for Israel…aren’t. And they’re the same idiots who advocated that preemptive attack on Iraq, and now advocate a preemptive attack on Iran. They were dead wrong then, and we have no reason to think they’re any less wrong now — especially since they’re saying exactly the same things as before, with only one letter changed.

  70. Chiroptera says

    StevoR, #9: Put yourself in the Israelis position….

    Which Israelis? The non-majority that supports an attack? Or the equal number that is against it?

  71. says

    I’d rather not see Iran get nukes. The more of them we have in the world, the more chance for an accident. But the idea the Iranian leadership, even bigmouth Ahmajinedad, would promptly attack Israel the instant they got a nuke is stupid. They want nukes so they can show the world they’re a Big Boy just like the other members of the nuke club. They can also look at the same sources as everyone else, sources that indicate the strong possibility Israel’s subs carry nuclear armed cruise missiles. Nuke Tel Aviv, and they’re likely dead within an hour or so when several Popeye Turbo SLCMs drop nukes on their heads. And that’s in a lucky Iranian nuclear strike that somehow manages to destroy Israel’s land based ballistic missiles and nuclear capable aircraft. Or that some other country doesn’t decide to nuke Tehran to make sure they’re not the next Iranian target.

  72. abear says

    #72; “At least Saddam didn’t actually win.” The real winners in the Iraq war were the Iranian regime and the Taliban.
    The current Iraqi regime is financially and otherwise supporting Assad in Syria as well as having forged a strong relationship with the Iranian regime. The Iranians also control the Sadr contingent, one of the strongest opposition groups whose militia is currently continuing its’ murder spree of sectarian opponents and now young people that copy western fashions.
    It’s argued by many the Iraqi invasion is the major factor in the Afghan war going sour.
    Trillions of dollars and a river of blood later, America has made their enemies stronger and more numerous.
    Wars have a way of going very wrong, and I expect that nuclear wars are no exception.

  73. Cliff Hendroval says

    timgueguen @ 77 seems to be the first to point out the obvious: that Israel has nukes (the fourth largest nuclear arsenal in the world, IIRC) and would definitely counterstrike – not only against Iran, but in all likelihood Damascus, Riyadh, and Baghdad, possibly Beirut and Cairo/Alexandria, and you know they’ve got a few missiles aimed directly at the Kaaba. Even the “maddest mullah” knows this, and no, they don’t hate Israel that much that they’re willing to destroy most of the Arab and Iranian worlds.

  74. davem says

    …if you’re NOT Isreali or Iranian, jewish or Muslim, maybe its NOT your flippin’ business?”

    I’m going to have to stop looking at the interwebs. I bought a gross of irony meters at a sale last year, and I’ve nearly used them all up. Damn things keep exploding.

    The side of the most democractic , most rule of law,
    secular, good opportunities for all incl. women and minorities Westernised nation in the region?

    Have you seen the nutjobs that keep the current government in power? Have you seen the encroachment of the religious right in everyday life in some towns? They mad mullahs seem, well, ordinary. Good opportunities for minorities? You’ve got to be fucking having a laugh. Rule of law? This is another joke, right? AS to ‘Westernized Nation’, WTF should a westernised nation be in the Middle East anyway? They’re out of place, out of time. The Israelis of today are not the same people that wandered off 2,000 years ago. It’s a great pity that back in 1948, they didn’t all go to America (as most of them did).

    PS I always think of Ahmajinedad as ‘Armoured Dinner Jacket'; it’s the only way I can remember his name. Is this relevant to the discussion? :0)

  75. laurentweppe says

    If we wait long enough, we won’t need to start a shooting war. The mad mullahs will start it for us… with nuclear weapons.

    They won’t.
    What they might do is build an handful of nukes and use them as a life insurance for their regime. This would be definitely bad news -for the Iranians themselves- but Iran starting a war with the much bigger, richer, and way more powerful Western World with just an handful of nukes? That’s not even wild speculation: that’s mental masturbation at best, and a bald faced lie meant to justify one’s genocidal intent at worst.

    ***

    You are the one who proposes policies that would cost Jewish lives.

    Aww, come on harold: you need to shed the preconception that StevoR gives a fuck about jewish lives: patiently explaining him that his murderous fantasies are going to kill Jews as well is like patiently explaining to a sociopath that starting a killing spree will hurt the whole neighborhood: he already knows, and he does not give a fuck.

    ***

    Someone needs to be reminded that Khomeini died more than twenty years ago. And he’s still dead.

    Also: Khomeini was not a mad man: he was a privileged member of a clerical aristocracy who led a power struggle between Iran priestdom and the Shah in order to preserve and expand his caste’s privileges: there’s a difference between a wicked knave fighting for his own interest and a raving mad man about to start a suicidal temper tantrum.

    ***

    A half dozen well targeted 15 megaton bombs will completely destroy any nuclear capability that Iran has. No need for repeated bombing attacks.

    Yeah, and the very same day, Israel’s neighbours, thinking “We’re screwed anyway” will throw all their considerable convential arsenal at Israel, effectively destroying the country. You know, I’m starting to suspect that your noisily proclaimed love for Israel is as fake as StevoR’s

    ***

    I don’t understand why certain people write stuff that makes them look like psychopaths.

    Because not all psychopaths are smart enough to hide it.

  76. Aquaria says

    “Since Vietnam?” Are you kidding me? You really think Vietnam was a worse debacle than Grudge Match Iraq?

    58,000 Americans and at minimum 4 million Vietnamese died, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Cambodians and Laotians who lost their lives. America had more casualties from the end of January through March of 1968 (the Tet and its immediate aftermath) than it has had in all of the Iraq conflict.

    In body counts alone, it was far, far worse than Iraq.

    At least in Vietnam we invaded the right country

    It wasn’t the right invasion, and it was for a stupid, stupid reason.

    there was a “communist” insurgency in Vietnam, and we went to Vietnam to fight it.

    What did Diem think would happen when he refused to hold nationwide elections, like the Geneva Accords of 1954 demanded? Did he think the north, or Ho Chi-Minh, would take it lying down? Or did he believe all those American “advisers” that the US would march in, take over the whole country in a few weeks, and be greeted as liberators?

    Wait–doesn’t that sound just a tad familiar to you?

    I guess America didn’t realize the Vietnamese communists weren’t just a bunch of backwards peasants, but had quite a few advantages from a) being the locals, b) pissed off the most (Diem’s betrayal), and c) battle-hardened from playing the leading role in d) kicking a major super-power’s ass only a few years previously. It also didn’t help that they thought commie brutality was oh-so-horrible, but were peachy keen with South Vietnam being monsters themselves.

    All those factors should have been a huge honking sign to leave Vietnam alone, at least a tad longer. It might have been a sign to intervene only to make the country hold those damned elections, then deal with a communist victory, if it happened.

    But Americans are arrogant and stupid. What can you expect?

  77. says

    A half dozen well targeted 15 megaton bombs will completely destroy any nuclear capability that Iran has. No need for repeated bombing attacks.

    Not that I comment – or read comments much anymore, but I am emailing myself a permalink to that comment. I’ll be pulling it out the next time I ever see anyone thinking about taking that sick fuck seriously.

  78. says

    If one wants to make an omelet one has to aware that some egg shells will have to be broken be broken.

    I meant to include this one with my previous comment – not that the first statement wasn’t enough, but you – people = fucking eggshells…Never mind that the vast majority of those “eggshells” want something better than we caused them to be stuck with in the first fucking place…

  79. dingojack says

    Also, SLC seems to think fallout stops neatly at the border, and that there are no long-term world-wide effects from small nuclear wars.
    He also tried to argue that: ‘there wasn’t any long-term effects of bombing in WWII, despite being equivalent amount of explosive force’.
    For the record SLC:
    15Mt (conventional load) equivalent
    2,362,095.366 Lancasters
    1,503,151.596 Lanc B1s
    1,653,466.756 B49s
    472,419.0732 B52s
    Raid on Cologne 30/31 May 1942 (1037 RAF Bombers)
    (Assuming all were Lanc B1s:) total explosive power, about 10.348Kt
    (ca. 2/3 of Little Boy)
    Total Allied bombing effort WWII in Europe
    ca. 2.815Mt

    Dingo
    —–
    Yep I kept the spreadsheet.

  80. slc1 says

    Re Aquaria @ #83

    Interestingly enough, Ho Chi Minh, shortly before his death, gave an interview with a western reporter in which he opined that the biggest mistake the US made in the Vietnam war was to participate in the removal of Diem. In his considered opinion, Diem wasn’t so bad and the US had a better chance of prevailing with him then with his successors.

    Re ArabiaTerra @ #86

    A few such bombs could be assembled very quickly, as the technology for making them is well known.

    Re Dingojack @ #87

    Fallout can be minimized by setting off the bombs underground. The actual amount of radioactivity produced by a thermonuclear bomb is no greater then that produced by a fission bomb with a fraction of the yield. All the radioactive elements in the former are produced by the fission reaction which is required to start the fusion of hydrogen. The hydrogen to helium fusion reaction produces little or no radioactive elements itself.

    Re laurentweppe

    In his well documented distaste for the State of Israel, M. weppe fails to understand that the Arab states are just as terrified of Iran obtaining a nuclear capability as Israel is. They would like someone, anyone, to prevent this catastrophe from occurring.

    Re Duwayne Brayton

    Because Mr. Duwayne Brayton is the brother of our distinguished host, my policy is to refrain from responding to him in kind.

  81. says

    In his well documented distaste for the State of Israel…

    Specific citations, please, or admit you’re full of shit.

    And the fact that other Arab states don’t want Iran to get a nuke, does not justify a preemptive attack that isn’t likely to succeed in its stated objective. No one wanted the USSR to get a nuke either, but that didn’t make a preemptive attack on them a good idea.

    Also, the Arab states’ distase for Iranian bullying would serve as an added deterrent to any nuclear aggression the Iranians might contemplate: whoever they threaten — even if it’s Israel — they can’t expect their neighbors to tolerate or support them. All of which makes the case for a preemptive attack weaker, not stronger.

  82. says

    Because Mr. Duwayne Brayton is the brother of our distinguished host, my policy is to refrain from responding to him in kind.

    You advocate unprovoked use of nuclear weapons more powerful than what the US even has, with shameless depraved indifference toward the human cost, and now you’re pretending you’re the tactful one in this argument? You can’t even channel Wormtongue competently. You’re not fooling anyone. Go fuck yourself.

  83. says

    Fallout can be minimized by setting off the bombs underground…

    How deep underground? Nuclear TEST explosions minimize fallout because they’re done WAAAY underground — probably much further underground than any likely targets in Iran will be. If we nuke an Iranian facility that’s either on the surface, or much closer to the surface than most test-explosions, then we could have MORE fallout than we’d get from an aerial blast, not less.

    You hide from the reality of what you advocate in technical niggling, and you can’t even get the technical bits right! As others ahve said, you’re really too retarded, both morally and mentally, to have anything worthwhile to say in this debate.

  84. laurentweppe says

    [M. weppe] In his well documented distaste for the State of Israel…

    Specific citations, please, or admit you’re full of shit.

    Well, I confess having shared a few meals with members and sympathizers of Peace Now and being absolutely remorseless about it. I’ve also said very “anti-israeli” things like calling its right-wing parties “notoriously corrupt”, committed the sin of quoting Avraham Burg about his pessimism about Israel’s long term survival, as well as quoting Einstein and Hannah Arendt about the repugnance they felt toward israeli far-right, arrogantly admited that a treasonous critic of Israel’s policy like Isaac Asimov was my favorite novelist and also once sarcastically asked if having jewish and romani ancestors gave me the right to murder my neighbour and take his home.
    *
    Also, I once commited the unforgivable crime of saying that the best way to end the conflict was to let jewish israeli and palestinian youths have as much sex as they wanted with each others until the half-breeds outnumbered the bigots and other inbreeding festichists from both sides: apparently, wishing young israeli citizens lots of enjoyable exogamous sex is in some circles viewed as worse that wishing to slaughter them all.

  85. StevoR says

    Okay, I’ll admit I was posting drunk the other night & may have got a bit carried away. This is a “hot button” issue for me which I feel pretty emotionally about.

    I could go over a whole lot of things but I’ll just say that this is an issue where there is a distinct line :

    Either you support Israel’s right to exist and defend itself from those who want to exterminate it – or you don’t.

    Either you stand with an imperfect but reasponable and democratic secular jewish nation of six million people whose culture values human life and freedom of expression and who are our allies.

    Or you stand with a nation run by a theocratic Jihadist dictatorship that murders its own people and that believes in some “Hidden Imam” apocalpyse vision that is even more nightmarish than the horrensously blodthirsty & insane Left Behind LaHaye & Jenkin’s “Rapture” fantasies, an Islamist culture that is misoynyst, homophobic, anti-semitic, taliban-esque and bigoted to its its very core.

    I suggest those commenters here who have been supporting Iran and its bleedingly obvious goal of stalling for time until it has aquired its nuclear arsenal capable of carrying out its threat to exterminate the jewish state – another six million innocent Jewish and Israeli lives – and usher in (they think) their Muslim Armageddon take a really good hard look at just who and what they’re supporting. Please.

  86. Michael Heath says

    StevoR writes:

    Either you support Israel’s right to exist and defend itself from those who want to exterminate it – or you don’t.

    I nominate this for the biggest fallacy of false restrictions of 2012.

    It appears StevoR you recognize, perhaps unconsciously, you have no compelling argument to make but don’t want to adapt your position to one that has merit and can be defended without relying on logical fallacies. But your own demonstrated incompetence is surely not going to resonate with a reasonable audience.

    Promoting arguments which are fallacious won’t get you far in this venue; regardless of which tribal camp’s arguments you’re promoting.

  87. StevoR says

    @ ^ Michael Heath : How the blazes is that a fallacy?

    Iran – and the Muslim world generally – have made no secret of the fact that they want to wipe Israel off the map, “driving the Jews into the sea” and essentially destroy an entire nation and group of people utterly. (Something that is still in the Hamas charter and “Palestinian”* constitution btw.)

    Just how ignorant are you that you are unaware of this reality?
    You never heard how they chant “Death to Israel” in their regular hatefests over in all the Jihadistans?

    Iran wants to destroy Israel and launch a genocide against it -and is stalling for time until it has the weapons to accomplish that.

    You either want to stop Iran do this – and military force is the only way that’s going to happen – or you don’t and would rather see Israel and another six million innocent Isrealis murdered instead. (Then Iran would probably get detsoryed in response too so heck, if you’re *really* pro-Iran you logically have to support taking their current theocratric dictatorship out anyhow!)

    Like the Coatathanger lobby Vs the pro-Choice lobby or the God exists / god doesn’t exist issue; this is a stark zero / sum topic – where you are standing either with Israel or with Iran.

    * BTW. Newt Gingrich is quite correct in stating the “palestinians” are a made up people.

    Travellers to the region that would become Israel before the large scale Jewish settling noted an absence of people living there – the original Zionist movement slogan wasn’t “A land without people for a people without land” for nothing as you, well, clearly don’t know.

    FYI : Following Jewish industry and settlement Arabs immigrated there in their wake from their homes in Syria, Egypt, Iraq and other Arab states to land that had been lying fallow before the first wave sof jewish settlers arrived. Even up til the mid 1960’s or so the non-Jewish population in Israel were just called ‘Arabs’ generically and theer has never in all of history been an independent state of Palestine. The idea of a “Palestinian” people was invented by Yasser Arafat’s** Arab terrorists following the failure of massed Arab armies to committ that genocide Iran still wants to committ today.

    Guess you also in wilfully ignorant bliss of the reality that two-thirds of the original British mandate was split off and given to the Arabs at the time and is now called Jordan. Not like there wasn’t already an excess of Arab dictatorships even then. Just how much land will the Arabs demand before they’re satisfied? How much land do they need to get before people say, okay some of this goes to the Jewish people – who y’know are actually from there originally too – now? Care to award the Arabs Czekoslovakia too by any chance? (Look it up dimbulb.)

    ** Care to guess Yasser Arafat was born?

    Jerusalem? Bzzt! Guess again. Two more chances.

    Gaza? Bzzt! Guess again, last chance.

    Ramallah? Bzzt! Aww. You struck out.

    In fact, the late and unlamented “Palestinian” terrorist and dictator Yasser Arafat was born in Cairo to a wealthy Egyptian family!

    Handy tip for ya, toknow what you are talking about you and other anti-semtyic pro-Iran Far-Leftists need to put aside your love of Islamic bigots and liars and start looking at what the actual truthful side of this story – the jewish one – says before you comment any further on this.

  88. StevoR says

    @ArabiaTerra :

    @ slc1 : “A half dozen well targeted 15 megaton bombs will completely destroy any nuclear capability that Iran has. No need for repeated bombing attacks.”
    The US doesn’t have any 15 Mt bombs.

    I’m pretty sure the US (& Israel) does have plenty of “daisy-cutter” fuel air bombs and incendariaries as well as some pretty great “bunker-busters” (conventional and not) however which should work just fine.

    My preference would be a decapitation strike on the leadership and Iran’s nuclear sites hidden and otherwise but I’m sure the Israeli generals now what they’re doing and already have some good plans ready and waiting to be put into effect.

    Ultimately, it is Israel’s generals who – quite correctly – will make the decision on what to do here for the sake of their nation and people being saved from the current existential threat posed by Iran’s nuclear nightmare.

  89. StevoR says

    PS. @ ArabiaTerra – Gee, I wonder what planet you’re from – the Jihadistani parts of the world or maybe Mars by any chance?

    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabia_Terra)

    Plus citation :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasser_Arafat#Birth_and_childhood

    Arafat was born in Cairo to Palestinian parents

    Except of course they weren’t “Palestinian” but by definition Egyptian since whole notion of a “Palestinian” nationality was only invented in the 1960’s or thereabouts post the Pan-Arab armies failure to exterminate Israel in a long series of wars (which are still happening today really) starting in 1948 – the second Israel was declared a nation.

  90. StevoR says

    @ 53.53. Raging Bee says:

    slc1: doesn’t it bother you at all that the only other person taking your side for a preemptive attack on Iran, is an obvious bigoted halfwit who compares Iranians to Daleks?

    Because the daleks and tehMuslims have about thesame level of tolerance for others and are about equally bigoted incaes its escaped your notice!

    I’m NOT tehone defending bigotry here -that would be those siding withIran’s dictatorship which is fundamentalist, homophobic, misognist, anti-semitic, murderous and oppresive toits own people, threatening to the rest of the world even its fellow Jihadistani neighbours like the Gulf States and, oh yeah, Arabia.

    Calling people “bigots” is easy – go look in the mirror, buddy!

    Backing up those false assertions, OTOH, is something else again!

    @47. Bronze Dog :

    Iranians aren’t Daleks. Daleks are fictional beings created by a sci-fi writer specifically to be as evil as possible.

    No, indeed. Iranians are *worse* because they are real beings brain-washed by their Jihadist death cult and insane leaders into being as evil as possible. Also the Dalek mentality was inspired by another real world ideology, I’ll leave you to guess which one..

    @ Chris from Europe – March 15, 2012 at 11:46 am :

    Oh, you came from Pamela Geller’s blog?

    Never heard of it or her.

    “Eurabian” is a common term seen in many places both print and online based on the reality that Europe has a large and ever growing Muslim population and is getting increasingly Islamicised thus therefore unduly influenced by the Islamic idelogy. Do you actually deny this basic fact?

  91. dingojack says

    Stevo – lay off the beer mate (I know you need the barrels for the acid baths, but really!) :)

    Palestine (from wiki article of the same name):

    “The term Peleset (transliterated from hieroglyphs as P-r-s-t) is found in numerous Egyptian documents referring to a neighboring people or land starting from c.1150 BCE during the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt. The first mention is thought to be in texts of the temple at Medinet Habu which record a people called the Peleset among the Sea Peoples who invaded Egypt in Ramesses III’s reign. The Assyrians called the same region Palashtu or Pilistu, beginning with Adad-nirari III in the Nimrud Slab in c.800 BCE through to emperor Sargon II in his Annals approximately a century later. Neither the Egyptian or Assyrian sources provided clear regional boundaries for the term.

    The first clear use of the term Palestine to refer to the entire area between Phoenicia and Egypt was in 5th century BC Ancient Greece. Herodotus wrote of a ‘district of Syria, called Palaistinê” in The Histories, the first historical work clearly defining the region, which included the Judean mountains and the Jordan Rift Valley. Approximately a century later, Aristotle used a similar definition in Meteorology, writing “Again if, as is fabled, there is a lake in Palestine, such that if you bind a man or beast and throw it in it floats and does not sink, this would bear out what we have said. They say that this lake is so bitter and salt that no fish live in it and that if you soak clothes in it and shake them it cleans them,” understood by scholars to be a reference to the Dead Sea.[Later writers such as Polemon and Pausanias also used the term to refer to the same region. This usage was followed by Roman writers such as Ovid, Tibullus, Pomponius Mela, Pliny the Elder, Dio Chrysostom, Statius, Plutarch as well as Roman Judean writers Philo of Alexandria and Josephus. Other writers, such as Strabo, a prominent Roman-era geographer (although he wrote in Greek), referred to the region as Coele-Syria around 10-20 CE. The term was first used to denote an official province in c.135 CE, when the Roman authorities, following the suppression of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, combined Iudaea Province with Galilee and other surrounding cities such as Ashkelon to form “Syria Palaestina” (Syria Palaestina), which some scholars state was in order to complete the dissociation with Judaea.
    The Hebrew name Peleshet (פלשת Pəlésheth)- usually translated as Philistia in English, is used in the Bible more than 250 times. The Greek word Palaistinē (Παλαιστίνη, “Palaistine”) is generally accepted to be a translation of the Semitic name for Philistia; however another term – Land of Philistieim (Γη των Φυλιστιειμ, transliteration from Hebrew) – was used in the Septuagint, the second century BCE Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, to refer to Philistia. In the Torah / Pentateuch the term Philistia is used 10 times and its boundaries are undefined. The later Historical books (see Deuteronomistic history) include most of the biblical references, almost 200 of which are in the Book of Judges and the Books of Samuel, where the term is used to denote the southern coastal region to the west of the ancient Kingdom of Judah.
    During the Byzantine period, the entire region (Syria Palestine, Samaria, and the Galilee) was named Palaestina, subdivided into provinces Palaestina I and II. The Byzantines also renamed an area of land including the Negev, Sinai, and the west coast of the Arabian Peninsula as Palaestina Salutaris, sometimes called Palaestina III. The Arabic word for Palestine is فلسطين (commonly transcribed in English as Filistin, Filastin, or Falastin). Moshe Sharon writes that when the Arabs took over Greater Syria in the 7th century, place names that were in use by the Byzantine administration before them, generally continued to be used. Hence, he traces the emergence of the Arabic form Filastin to this adoption, with Arabic inflection, of Roman and Hebrew (Semitic) names. Jacob Lassner and Selwyn Ilan Troen offer a different view, writing that Jund Filastin, the full name for the administrative province under the rule of the Arab caliphates, was traced by Muslim geographers back to the Philistines of the Bible. The use of the name “Palestine” in English became more common after the European renaissance. It was officially revived by the British after the fall of the Ottoman Empire and applied to the territory that was placed under The Palestine Mandate.

    Some other terms that have been used to refer to all or part of this land include Canaan, Greater Israel, Greater Syria, the Holy Land, Iudaea Province, Judea, Israel, “Israel HaShlema”, Kingdom of Israel, Kingdom of Jerusalem, Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael or Ha’aretz), Zion, Retenu (Ancient Egyptian), Southern Syria, and Syria Palestina”.

    All that since the 60’s. Who knew?
    Dingo
    —-
    Everyone else sorry about the TL;DR

  92. StevoR says

    @77. timgueguen :

    I’d rather not see Iran get nukes. The more of them we have in the world, the more chance for an accident. But the idea the Iranian leadership, even bigmouth Ahmajinedad, would promptly attack Israel the instant they got a nuke is stupid.

    It would be *IF* Ahmadinehjad was a rational, reasonable human being who behaved logically and put his own people first.

    Sadly that isn’t the case. Ahmadinehjad believes in some even crazier and uglier than the “rapture” rubbish about him bringing
    about the Muslim version of the Apocalypse.

    Ahmadinejad *isn’t* rational and wants to destory the world to make it a Muslim paradise. Furtyhermore, he has already shown thathe is quite willing to massacre his own people for hispolitical ends or did you forget about /miss the Iranian attempted revolution a year or two ago that he brutally crushed?

    That irrationality is exactly why Iran getting The Bomb is unacceptable and catastrophic in a way that the more rational but still hostile USSR and PRC getting the Bomb never was.

    @49. kermit. says:

    StevoR: Israel doesn’t want war – neither does the USA but Iran does want war and is determined to get it.
    Our (I’m a Yank) country’s recent history indicates that we *do want war. Bush Jr. wanted war with Iraq so badly that he practically peed his pants. As a result 100,000 Iraqis died by conservative count.

    Bush peed his pants and that killed 100,000 Iraqis? Hah! He should’ve peed his pants more often and killed all their insurgent terrorists that way! (Joke.)

    Seriously our greatest mistake of that war – and Afghanistan and well, all the other fronts in the War against Jihadists that has been going – started by them – since the Cold War ended really was NOT recognising the reality that we (Westerners, non-Muslims even really) *are* at war with Islam.

    We should have – should start now to – honestly and starkly face up to that reality and then respond and set out to de-islamicise the world just as we de-Communist-ised and de-Fascist-ised the planet. Those other horrific and entirely comparable ideologies are now seen by all but a few isolated fringe hold outs (eg. North Korea, Cuba) as totally false and harmful and unacceptable ideologies that have been thrown into history’s trash bin. Islam – at least Jihadism – should be thrown into that same bin, ASAP.

    Once occupied we should’ve destroyed every last mosque, burnt every koran and banned the practice of Islam totally in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The world would be a much better place without Jihadism – for everyone.

    We should’ve made a major point of noting that “Allah & Mohammad” as well as his current “earthly representatives” hasd been crushingly deafeated and shown to be useless and mythical.

    If only we had.

  93. StevoR says

    @100. Dinojack :

    The first clear use of the term Palestine to refer to the entire area between Phoenicia and Egypt was in 5th century BC Ancient Greece. Herodotus wrote of a ‘district of Syria, called Palaistinê”

    The geographic term “palestine’ for a provinc eor district or colony or mandate is accurate – but there was never inallof histry actuallya nation of Palestine or a nationality of “Palestinian”.

    When the Arab side controlled Gaza and Judea & Samaria (The so-called “West Bank”) in the span 1948-1967 when they could have created a “Palestinian” state for the “Palestinians” they chose to reject that option with Eygpt controlling the Gaza strip and Jordan – which incidentally killed more “palestinians” in one one rebellion in the late 60’s / early 70’s than Israel did in pretty much its entire history – controling the historical parts of the Jewish homeland called Judea and Samaria that they misleading term the West bank – the East Bank btw is the rest of Jordan.

    BTW. Whose side are you on – Irans or Isreals?

    A democratic state that only wants to exist in peace or a genocidal theocracy that wants all non-Muslims dead and thinks the USA is the “Great Satan”?

    As for what and how much I drink, well that’s up to me mate! ;-)

  94. dingojack says

    Stevo* –
    According to a Pew Research Centre report of 2010, the world average Muslim population by country is 23.4%.
    The highest percentage in Europe is France at 7.5% then Belgium with 6.0%, higher than the European average of 6.0%, all the rest are lower (by necessity), down to the Vatican with <0.1%.
    Source: "Muslim Population by Country". The Future of the Global Muslim Population. Pew Research Centre. http://features.pewforum.org/muslim-population/. Retrieved 22 December 2011.

    You were saying?
    Dingo
    —-
    *(I just wanna say thank-you for all you've done for me/ My life's sad and lonely when you're not on TV)

  95. StevoR says

    PS. Also note :

    Herodotus wrote of a ‘district of Syria, called Palaistinê

    Emphasis added : Note – Syria – NOT Israel.

    See also :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Monarchy

    the united Kingdom of Israel was a kingdom that existed in the Land of Israel, a period referred to by scholars as the United Monarchy. Biblical scholars have dated the kingdom from c.1026 BCE to c. 930 BCE, though there are differences of opinion as to exact dates.

    So the Jewish history of Israel goes back to at least the Davidic Kingdom (well okay Saul’s Jewish kingdom and the Judges-ruled Jewish Israel before that even!) preceeded everyone else by a light years long margin!

    Herodouts and the Greeks came much later – by many centuries look him up but c. 484 BC – c. 425 BC from his wikipage.

    IOW, The Jewish people were there first and foremost and have the priority claim!!

    They also actually had a proper internationally recognised *nation* there as opposed to wandering into an occassionally Muslim (& others) conquered province

    Also Dingojack are you trying to delegitimise Israel and deny the worlds one and only Jewish state its right to exist here? Really? What would doing that make someone who tries to do that?

    There’s another sharp dviding line here ;

    Philo-semites and anti-semites (aka Judaeophobes) : Please think about which side of *that* line you want to be standing on!

  96. StevoR says

    @103.Dingojack :

    From your source I see the US has 0.8 % and Australia (My nation) 1.9%.

    So where do youlive and were would yiurather live -and note tahtthere’s plentyof undocumented illegal Muslim immgrants that wouldn’t cover and we’re talking Europe combined rather than just individual Eurpoean semi-autonomous states.

    Of course any percenatage is really too high given what being Muslim means – and how it threatens everyone else.

    Or don’t you believe in women’s rights, gay rights, freedom of expression for all, safety from homicide-suicide bomber “martyrs”, the brutality of sharia law, ad nauseam ..

  97. StevoR says

    Oops, sorry about the typographical errors – hope y’all get the gist of it anyhow.

  98. laurentweppe says

    The highest percentage in Europe is France at 7.5%

    No: that’s the number of people of muslim descent: you can take away two fifth who are either non-religious or converts to other religions. I know that it’s fashionable in some circles to treat Islam like an ethnicity, but that’s not a reason to imitate them.

  99. dingojack says

    And there never was a country called ‘Greece’, ‘France’, a country called ‘the Roman Empire’ or ‘The Netherlands’.
    Until recently the idea of a ‘country’ (except as a vague geographical term) was unknown. They are a very modern set of concepts (possibly c 1648 or even later).
    The point is that the designator ‘Palestine’ existed 200 years before ancient Israel and at least 20 years before modern Israel.

    Whose side am I on? – Neither. But I think histrionic hyperventilating over a supposed threat that exists only in the minds of right-wing chickhawks and their spin-doctors is hindering real discussion of real problems.

    Show me the hard evidence.

    Dingo

  100. dingojack says

    Stevo – Archaeologists (you know people who actually study the evidence) find no trace of ‘Israeli’ settlements until in the mid 9th century bce (c 850 bce) at the end of the Bronze Age Collapse/ begining of the Iron Age.
    Dingo

  101. says

    Okay, I’ll admit I was posting drunk the other night & may have got a bit carried away. This is a “hot button” issue for me which I feel pretty emotionally about.

    And the rest of that comment proves you’re still too emotional to think sensibly about the issue. You really should just shut up and let the grownups do the talking — you might actually learn something. Is Israel important enough to you that you’d be willing to take such a risk?

    Just how ignorant are you that you are unaware of this reality?

    You admit you “got carried away,” you admit you were being hyperemotional, and you completely ignored ALL of the common-sense points we made in response to you; but you still think you can call us ignorant?

    Because the daleks and tehMuslims have about thesame level of tolerance for others and are about equally bigoted incaes its escaped your notice!

    You really don’t understand how stupid it is to compare real people in a real place to badly-imagined robots in a low-budget fictional TV show? Are you even able to distinguish reality from fiction?

    Seriously, boy, we’ve been talking about some very real problems with the sort of preemptive strike you advocate — problems that could cost a LOT of innocent lives — and you’ve shown yourself completely unwilling to address them at all. Do you actually think all your recent blolviating about who was on that land first has ANYTHING to do with whether a preemptive attack would do any good? Those two issues are even more unconnected than quantum physics and piano-tuning.

    You got carried away by drink, you’re getting carried away again by anger that clearly has overpowered whatever capacity for reason you have, and you are just as clearly unable to follow this dialogue or engage with what we’re saying here. You have an obvious self-control problem, and probably an alcohol problem as well. You have no place trying to influence matters of state. Grow up two decades and come back tomorrow.

  102. says

    So where do youlive and were would yiurather live -and note tahtthere’s plentyof undocumented illegal Muslim immgrants that wouldn’t cover and we’re talking Europe combined rather than just individual Eurpoean semi-autonomous states.

    What does any of that have to do with whether or not an unprovoked attack on Iran is a good idea?

    Of course any percenatage is really too high given what being Muslim means – and how it threatens everyone else.

    An angry drunk loser who can’t take responsibility for himself resorts to mindless bigotry. Why am I not surprised?

  103. Chiroptera says

    StevoR, #94: Okay, I’ll admit I was posting drunk the other night & may have got a bit carried away.

    Holy crap! Your subsequent comments were even more incoherent, fact free, and illogical than your previous ones. And this is after you sobered up?

    My advice to you: keep drinking.

  104. says

    Actually, Chiropetra, that’s really bad advice. When a drunk gets sober, he gets a lot angrier in the short term because he’s going through withdrawal and being forced to deal with his issues without the lousy self-medication he’d chosen for himself. The last thing we’d want him to do is go back to his failed self-medication — that would only put off dealing with his problems, and even make them worse.

    This guy clearly has serious anger and self-control issues. Alcohol is the WORST medicine for such issues.

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