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January 12, 2006

Comments

Lee A. "Spooky" Arnold

Abiola, I'm glad you responded to me first, because it helps me to understand how you are reading the others. I'm afraid you don't read me correctly. The main point was, you're going to have to explain how anything you've said in support of bombing Iran now, is more reliable than anything that was said in support of invading Iraq. That would be the previous "half-baked" action in question, where the U.S. leadership jumped in on trumped-up intelligence, and without a plan for the occupation, indeed denying the amount of troops that would be necessary. Saddam was a vicious dictator yes, it's a good thing he's gone, but he was never irrational, nor does he appear to be so now, at his trial. I suppose if you are stretching "crazy" to include "evil," then you can win rhis argument, --but then we can say anything at all! These are lots of people who have claimed to see auras, a bit of undigested potato perhaps like old Scrooge, but if this guy is Hitler, let's see how he deals with the mullahs first, because lots of them aren't going to like it. As for "messes," you could start with Mossadegh; I'm sure the Iranian historians do. "Collateral innocent people" is never "meaningless;" you began your piece by proclaiming the hope of avoiding becoming one, yourself! Good heavens! I could go on -- your readings are hasty. For one final example, I quite precisely do NOT know what Iran's intentions are; I know what the Western press, and what you, say they are. But even from The Economist yesterday, or the Weekend Financial Times today, it would seem more complicated than that. It should be pointed out that the Soviets were nuclear, and we stood them off while they exported revolution for decades, and now we're all jolly good friends with Mr. Putin. If there comes a good reason to attack Iran, I will support it -- hell, I once believed all the baloney about Iraq -- but for now, we would be far better served to see how the Middle East goes in the post Saddam period, and study it.

Abiola

"The main point was, you're going to have to explain how anything you've said in support of bombing Iran now, is more reliable than anything that was said in support of invading Iraq"

If you think it's up to me to "explain" why what even the IAEA is saying about Iran isn't untrustworthy, it's pointless my discussing anything with you. I'm sure even a personal visit to Iran's facilities wouldn't convince you to change your mind ...

"Saddam was a vicious dictator yes, it's a good thing he's gone, but he was never irrational"

Which is why he attacked Iran, invaded Kuwait, refused to back down twice in the face of American ultimatums, and is now sitting in a jail cell; what outlandish nonsense.

""Collateral innocent people" is never "meaningless;" you began your piece by proclaiming the hope of avoiding becoming one, yourself!"

Now this is just rank stupidity. Does "collateral" mean the same thing in your dictionary as it does mine? What would be a "legitimate" target of Iranian aggression? This statement just brands you as an unserious person.

"It should be pointed out that the Soviets were nuclear, and we stood them off while they exported revolution for decades, and now we're all jolly good friends with Mr. Putin."

More rank unseriousness of the worst kind. Tell this rubbish to the 100+ million who died prematurely under Soviet ruled or sponsored regimes, and the hundreds of millions more who lived harsh lives under them. You've just confirmed for me that it's a waste of time engaging you in further dialogue, as you clearly have nothing worthwhile to say.

dsquared

[ What would be a "legitimate" target of Iranian aggression? ]

Well we would, if we were planning on attacking them. There is a specific provision for this in the Geneva Conventions.

Lee A. "Spooky" Arnold

Almost entirely nonsense. You're not going to get away with calling Saddam irrational. Not up to your standards for scientific thought: perhaps. An absolute evil, well worth disposing of: yes. And on Iraq, was the IAEA untrustworthy? What do they say now, other than Iran has "broken the seals?" Meanwhile, bringing you up to date, in the current vernacular of war, "collateral" and "innocent" have become nearly synonymous. As for the Soviets, we aren't near anything like that yet -- and somehow still we survived! No doubt you stood with Dick Cheney when in the Reagan Administration he advocated fomenting an insurrection in the USSR -- a lunacy that Reagan thankfully dismissed. You are going to have to do a far, far better job of convincing people that the clerics who really run Iran are even as crazy as that.

Sebastian Holsclaw

"It seems more likely that Iran wants nukes for the usual number of reasons, including to be able to act grown-up, and to find diplomatic leverage."

Why do you think so?

Why don't you believe them when they say:

"If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave any thing in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world"

"Jews shall expect to be once again scattered and wandering around the globe the day when this appendix is extracted from the region and the Muslim world"

Why couldn't they want nuclear weapons for the things that they say they want them for?

d-squared:

"Sebastian, if you are claiming that we should invade Iran minus one years from now I have to point out that is not possible."

Quite wise. And I'm always encouraged when you ignore the thrust of my argument to make sarcastic comments. It suggests that you don't have only the response of an intellectual rather than an intellectual response.

Precisely how close to getting a nuclear weapon do you propose we allow? And precisely how do you intend that we make sure we know when that threshold has been crossed? What do you propose we do when the threshold is about to be crossed? If the situation is like your analysis of Iraq I suspect you will want an "international response". Would that be like the international response to genocide in the Sudan?

Lee A. "Spooky" Arnold

Sebastian, my argument is about what is useful to do, and to advocate, at this moment. The evidence for bombing just isn't here, yet. Maybe it will come next week, maybe not. It's possible that Ahmadinejad's speech to the U.N. (which I think is where your quote is from) has become Iranian policy, but the reason I don't think so yet, is because he doesn't run the place, the mullahs do, and they have been fairly rational. (Reports are, he has shocked people in his own country with his statements.) For the moment, we have a better chance with supporting an open dialogue and all the other kumbaya crap, in an effort to prevent other people from becoming harder. The sort of argument which ought to be made to the the mullahs, was given for example in a New York Times op-ed onThursday:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/12/opinion/12MemarianZahedi.html?pagewanted=print

Advocating an eventual bombing seems to me to ensure that it must happen. And after it happens, Iran's attitude is unlikely to change -- far from it. (This does not, as Abiola took it, mean I think we should do nothing.) I wrote above "Iran is going to get nukes no matter what." I meant to write "Iran will get nuclear power, no matter what" --and maybe another country will refine it, maybe not. If we bomb them simply because we don't like their rhetoric, we are virtually ensuring that they will redouble their efforts to get nuclear weapons further on in time. People pro and con the Iraq invasion (and I was in favor of it) still argue whether it is good or bad, missing another possible outcome: that it won't make much difference in the long run. We would do better to develop a Star Wars missile shield for Israel, and defend her without killing others at this time.

Sebastian Holsclaw

Sorry I didn't provide the speaker. It was one of the most important clerics in the land (and former president of Iran)--Rafsanjani. It was said in 2001. That is before the invasion of Iraq. It was said by one of the highest clerics, and by a person who is generally considered to be less extremist than the current president.

Lee A. Arnold

It should be added that Rafsanjani's remarks were met with harsh criticism in his own country.

Sebastian Holsclaw

Bush's remarks are often met with harsher criticism in his own country. They nevertheless often reflect the policy of the United States.

Lee A. Arnold

"the policy of the United States" -- now there's something that doesn't get reversed much!

derrida derider

God, you keyboard warriors are gullible. Haven't you noticed how politicians in trouble always whip up external threats? Its happening in Iran, but it's certainly also happening in the US. This sabre-rattling has more to do with the mid-term Congressional elections than with any real threat from Iran.

And Abiola, if you're claiming military expertise then you should look at a map before you sprout off about "easy insertion", especially when such insertion will take the enemy by anything but surprise (not to mention looking at history - anyone remember the Iranian hostage rescue mission?). Such insertion is gonna be a lot harder with the Straits of Hormuz closed - which will also, incidentally, make life very hard for the US in Iraq. The map tells you that Iran would find it very easy to close them - field artillery, mines and speedboats will be quite enough.

Then there is the small matter of the effects of $150+ a barrel oil.

Not even Bush is that crazy.

Abiola

"Such insertion is gonna be a lot harder with the Straits of Hormuz closed"

Rank idiocy spouted by an ignorant leftist who wouldn't know the butt-end of an AK-47 from his ass, yet presumes to lecture those who know better on the difficulties of military operations. Piss off, why don't you?

derrida derider

Oh dear, Abiola, I didn't realise that you were an expert in strategic planning, the logistics of heavy airlift and combined operations. Not to mention knowing the butt end of an AK47 from an ignorant leftist's ass. What a pity you weren't on the planning staff of Arnhem - you'd have saved poor Monty some embarrasssment.

Oh great general, please enlighten we poor deluded ones just how you'd do an opposed airhead across dispersed and fortified urban sites at long range, including how you'll manage the resupply. And even if you did do it, how will you simultaneously assure carrier groups, military transports and neutral oil tankers can all negotiate those straits afterwards? And of course there's the small matter of a large number of Iranian "volunteers" supporting the new Shi'ite rebellion in southern Iraq (though bombing people tends to anger them enough that there will be no need for the inverted commas).

Or are you afraid your secret plans will fall into the hands of the Iranians if you post them here?

Jim

"And even if you did do it, how will you simultaneously assure carrier groups, military transports and neutral oil tankers can all negotiate those straits afterwards? And of course there's the small matter of a large number of Iranian "volunteers" supporting the new Shi'ite rebellion in southern Iraq ..." blah blah blah.


You are showing your ass with this one. What does some Iranian volunteers in Basra have to do with closing the Straits of Hormuz or interfering with an attack or even a little insertrion into Iran? And what does "closing the Straits of Hormuz" mean anyway? How does Iran do that in the face of a US carrier group offshore?

" This sabre-rattling has more to do with the mid-term Congressional elections than with any real threat from Iran."

Well, that expalins it then - we all know how frantic European governments get about doing well in the mid-term Congressional elections. That explains all the noise out of them. All sorted.

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