April 9, 2006

Nuking Iran.

I'm trying to get my mind around this story. It can't be, can it?

72 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Well come on! Bush and those who work for him have done a heckuva job in Iraq! I suspect the drumbeat for war will start in plenty of time for the election. We certainly can't decide something like this using anything close to quiet reflection!

But seriously -- I agree with you. This can't be true. Really -- it just can't. The Israelis say that Iran will implode. Why would the USA open up another front?

Scott said...

I don't think there is much to it. I have a funny feeling that the guys at Pentagon have dozens of plans on file for dealing with Iran and the is probably the 'worst case senario' plan. I have a feeling this was leaked to attempt to put the fear of Allah into the Mullahs in hopes that the will reign their President in. Question is, will it work?

chuck b. said...

Is using bunker busters to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities the same thing as "nuking Iran"?

With the bunker buster, most of the explosion happens underground. I think that means it's not so much a Hiroshima/Nagasaki scenario.

(I'm not saying it's okay...I haven't wrapped my mind around it either.)

Sean said...

If you have followed Seymour Hersh over the years, he is phenomenally unreliable. Yet his work keeps getting printed. So it must be that his stories check out, i.e., that he explains his sources to his editors and they are real. That being the case, my theory has always been that certain sources within the military-intelligence bureaucracy use him primarily as a conduit (witting or unwitting, I am not sure) for disinformation.

Goatwhacker said...

I have to agree with Sean, Seymour Hersh is wrong a LOT. I'm not sure I've ever seen him use an attributed source. I will say he seems to hate all presidents equally.

I believe he was the guy that said the Army wouldn't make it halfway to Kabul before we went into Afghanistan, though I'm just going by memory here.

ignacio said...

Hersh has a known agenda, is unreliable and never called on his exaggerations or misstatements later on, but in any case -- get ready for War with Iran.

This isn't exactly news to anyone who's been paying the tiniest bit of attention. Moreover, the mullahs believe they can win.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Nukes are on the table. How else do you take out the facilities? Every military blog I've read says that other then invasion, bunker-buster nukes are the only sure way. We should take Bush at his word. He will not allow Iran to get nukes.

Iran must not get nukes. Diplomacy will fail. Where does that leave us? Invasion or nukes. Choose.

Alan said...

It's better them than us. Come on, this whole thing is about nuclear weapons. We can't play De'tente with friggin religious whack jobs.

Captain Ned said...

If you've got a better way of dealing with ImAMadDinnerJacket that doesn't consign Israel to destruction, I'm all ears.

quietnorth said...

its funny how people are responding to the topic:

1. Hersh is unreliable, nothing to look at here!

2. Of course we have to nuke Iran!

From everything I read, most people in Iran hate the current Iranian regime. The Bush administration seems determined to do everything it can to put the Iranian people in the Mullah's corner.

chezDiva said...

Ann,

The operative word is "plan". In the military there are two types of "planning". First there are the plans that you will definately carry out. Second are the contingency plans which are based on possible scenarios. Good contingency planners look at worst case, best case and most likely scenarios.

Planning occurs at different levels such as at the Pentagon and at the Combatant Commands (e.g. CENTCOM). You could easily imagine a scenario where Iran has used a Nuclear weapon and the USA retaliates. That could legitimately be called a "plan". That doesn't mean that we plan to attack Iran only that we have contingency plans in place to handle that particular action by Iran.

HaloJonesFan said...

It's been said, but I'll say it too: I read up until "Seymour Hersh", and then I stopped reading. Honestly, the guy's as bad as Pete Salinger.

Alan said...

QuietNorth, I'd be happy if the Iranian People overthrew their whack job government. But there's a tipping point for when we need to act. I don't know when that is, but to deny its existence can be fatal to many people besides Iranians. And I'd be more inclined to believe Bush more capable of seeing that tipping point than the current Democratic Party leaders, who collectively seem to be staking their hope for political power on the failure of the United States in the Middle East.

Balfegor said...

1. Hersh is unreliable, nothing to look at here!

2. Of course we have to nuke Iran!


I'd stop short of the full "we have to nuke Iran!" but we'd be fools if we didn't make perfectly clear that ultimately, that option is on the table. We have nukes as a deterrent. A deterrent is worthless if no one actually thinks you'll use it.

On the other hand, given Hersh's record, we can't take anything in the article as substantiated. The Bush administration is probably seriously considering detonating nuclear warheads across Iran. And perhaps some military personnel really have tried to take that option off the table, and been overruled by the civilian authorities. But I doubt the option has been finalised.

On yet another hand (the gripping hand?) we've had experience threatening prospective nuclear powers with nuclear oblivion if they didn't abandon their nuclear program. South Africa -- I think it was the USSR that first verified a successful nuclear detonation in South Africa, and then we and the USSR made plain that if South Africa did not abandon their nuclear ambitions, we would destroy them. They made a great show of filling in their facilities with cement, but they kept at it anyhow, and even developed a number of sophisticated implosion-type devices, only giving them up, at the end, because they did not want the Black governments after apartheid to have nuclear weapons (or so I understand). From this we might draw a conclusion: that threatening to blow them up isn't going to work. They know what happened in South Africa, and they know they can wait us out. So that inclines against Bush's threat. But what we also know (from just about every proliferation incident in the past 40 years) is that diplomacy doesn't work either -- there's just no meaningful downside to having nuclear weapons, especially for Iran, given the proximity of the Arabian oilfields. Nukes are a blank check for them, if they care to cash it.

Now, if Bush can convince them that he's crazier than they are, then possibly Bush's threat-strategy will succeed. But I don't think he can do that, because they know (or will think they know, like Saddam Hussein) that before any American nuclear attack, we need to clear things with China and Russia, both of which are quite friendly with Iran.

I think that our best bet, as always, is for concerns about domestic instability to incline against the regime's permitting the successful development of doomsday weapons with which they could someday be threatened (a la South Africa). But the regime does not seem to have reached that conclusion, and given the kinds of people they've got in power, I don't think we can expect them to show much restraint, once they have nuclear weapons.

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't find it credible that the Administration is seriously considering nuclear weapons. I do find credible that the military has contingency plans for using them, as it does for hundreds of other scenerios, including what can/should we do if the PRC invades Taiwan, N. Korea invades S. Korea, etc. That is what planning staffs do, and occasionally, but very rarely, do these plans get dusted off and used.

I also question the "General" speaking. If he is indeed in active service, he is in the know, and if the plan is real and imminent, look for a military court marshal - which is why I doubt his credentials. This would be the illegal disclosure of classified information, including war plans, and isn't taken lightly by the military, at least in this Administration.

If the rumor did indeed originate within this Administration, I expect that it is intentional misinformation aimed at pushing the Iranians into giving up their nuclear ambitions.

Simon said...

It's never going to happen. Now, I can believe that the Israelis will do so, a rerun of the Osirak strike. I can even believe that they would do so as surrogates for the United States (certainly, that will be how it will be interpreted on Al Jazeira) rather than purely of their own motives, but I simply don't believe that we will see a direct U.S. strike on Iran.

It's just a little too tinfoil-hatted, it smells a little too much of these "Bush is eveil" types - "what can we say he's planning next?" Prior to the last election, there's a chap I know passingly out from California who predicted stridently that the election would never happen. It happened. Shortly thereafter, he declared that Bush would never leave office. Bush will, at the end of January 2009. There was a chap who posted "uncontrovertable evidence" that there would be a skills draft on February 1st, 2005, to be followed by a general draft that summer. Neither took place. Now the same sorts of people who brought us these blockbusters are saying that we're about to nuke Iran. Forgive me if I don't get up.

Sloanasaurus said...

It is good to have someone like Bush whom people may think would be crazy enough to nuke Iran. The Russians thought Reagan was crazy enough to use nukes which is why they took Reagan seriously.

Instead if Hearsh was writing articles saying bush was a big wussie, we would have many more problems then we do with the nuclear threat.

Maxine Weiss said...

USA should take the lead. No one else is going to clean up the Mid-East. Better to get it over with sooner rather than later.

And, it's no scarier than Clinton's bombing Kosovo, or Britain's bombing the Balkins.

Sometimes you have to force a confrontation....

Peace, Maxine

Brando said...

We can't play De'tente with friggin religious whack jobs.

and when the friggin religious whack job is the president "god speaks to me" of the united states?

Finn Kristiansen said...

I presume then that everyone has bought into the premise that some nations should have nukes, and that others should not?

Is the primary purpose of getting nukes to use them? Or to keep other nations from interfering in one's own country?

There is probably no tactical or practical value to any nation actually using nukes after aquiring them. It means instant death of that nation (if used against the U.S. or the other major powers).

It takes a certain level of superior thinking to just assume that much of the world, even the Arab/Persian world, is filled with crazies.

The policy of trying to keep nations from acquiring nukes is outdated and defies human nature. To maintain a no-nuke stance will mean fighting real battles that cannot be won. And bombing alone won't do what needs to be done in any conflict with Iran.

I suspect someone in the government is just floating a balloon, or trying to provoke actions and reactions in Iran.

Johnny Nucleo said...

"I presume then that everyone has bought into the premise that some nations should have nukes, and that others should not?"

Are you suggesting that the nuclear club be opened? This is madness, man! When tin-pot dictators get nukes we will have nuclear war.

Even if nukes are the best option, we won't use them because we are a rational power. We will choose another way, a way that will cost many American lives (and we will blame Bush) but we will not use nukes.

We cannot allow non-rational powers to get nukes.

Jacques Cuze said...

You lawyers should consider reading the articles before you post on them.

One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites.

This is not nuclear weapons as a deterrent or a contingency.

This is the use of a nuclear weapon as a first-strike tactical method to destroy an Iranian facility.

Google up more on this bunker-buster and you will find that it can only penetrate 20 feet into dry ground and that it will create quite an enormous amount of fallout. It is very dirty.

Osama's nuclear device is labelled a "dirty bomb" conveying the impression that America's B611-11 is "clean" The "dirty bomb" is developed from nuclear waste.

America's tactical nuclear weapons are said to be "safe" in comparison to those of Osama. Administration statements suggest, in this regard, that a so-called "low-yield" earth penetrating tactical nuclear weapon such as the B61-11 would "limit collateral damage" and therefore be relatively safe to use.6

These new buzz words are being spread by the US media to develop public support for the use of "tactical nuclear weapons" against an an opponent which now possesses nuclear capabilities. Yet the the scientific evidence on this issue is unequivocal: the impacts on civilians of the "low yield" B61-11 would be devastating "because of the large amount of radioactive dirt thrown out in the explosion, the hypothetical 5-kiloton weapon ... would produce a large area of lethal fallout."


Hey, don't look at me, all you poor victim Christian nutjobs are happy with the President that God speaks through.

And you insist that at 36% approval, the President and your own views are the American mainstream, and the other 64% of America has Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Well Madisonman, at 36%, maybe the President is thinking that if he invades Iran he can get the country to support him once again.

Suddenly even Ms. Althouse is tasting a bit of vomit in her throat.

Jacques Cuze said...

Are you suggesting that the nuclear club be opened? This is madness, man! When tin-pot dictators get nukes we will have nuclear war

Did you read the article?

Jacques Cuze said...
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Jacques Cuze said...

I'm trying to get my mind around this story. It can't be, can it?

The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

For the past two years, U.S. military leaders have been using Iraqi media and other outlets in Baghdad to publicize Zarqawi's role in the insurgency. The documents explicitly list the "U.S. Home Audience" as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign.

Chum said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jonathan said...

Did someone leave the door to the bat cave open?

Johnny Nucleo said...

Quxxo,

The Hersh article is propaganda. Wheels within wheels.

If we use nukes to take out Iran's nuclear program I won't be surprised. I think it's unlikely and probably dumb, but it might not be.

Do we have to stop Iran from getting nukes or don't we? If we don't, you're right, we should do nothing. If we do, then what should we do?

anonymouscoameq said...

Using nuclear weapons on population centers is not being considered, only on burried underground facilities for which there are no other weapons that can destroy them.

The decision to attack Iran is a difficult one.

The events of 9/11 should make us aware that the unthinkable is possible. If the 9/11 terrorists had nuclear weapons would they have used them? Those terrorists sincerely believed that they were doing something good and would go to heaven for it.

Iran has already attacked Americans with proxy terrorists. The president is responsible for protecting the country and its citizens.

Palladian said...

Jonathan, they're attracted to quxxo's stench. Like flies on sh... well, you know.

Jacques Cuze said...

Do we have to stop Iran from getting nukes or don't we? If we don't, you're right, we should do nothing.

You have fallen into the fallacy of the excluded middle. It is not an either/or situation.

We should do what we can and what is reasonable to keep them from getting nukes. We should not do what is not reasonable and we should not do what is detrimental. As we did in Iraq.

It should be noted that respected experts believe that a nuclear Iran is not the problem that it is made out to be. And I am Jewish and a supporter of Israel, and fully aware what a nuclear Iran with missiles can do to Israel. But it is also noted that Israel is currently not was worried about a nuclear Iran as the United States is.

It is also signifant to note that many experts believe Iran is 5-10 years away from getting a nuclear weapon.

Remember President Rice telling us "But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." Turns out Saddam had no WMD and no WMD program.

It is also noted that the Iranian people are not Arabs and the people themselves are very educated, relatively western, and were not too long ago (as in 4 years, not 30 years) reforming and democratizing.

Rather than beome the first nation to NUKE another nation in 60 years, and in fact the only nation to do so ever, a situation which would certainly make the United States a pariah across the world, it may be better to try alternative plans.

Encourage trade. Encourage westernization. Encourage democracy. Ratchet down the threats. Encourage Iran's participation in the NPT. Strengthen the IAEA as is needed. Hold a regional summit on the problem of Iraq and invite the Iranians.

Get better intelligence. Use the time to create better, non-nuclear bunker busters.

Do not threaten to use nukes which will only Iran hardliners into a froth and increase the chances of attacks against Americans in Iraq, and Jews in Israel, and increase the speed in which Iran seeks WMDs (NBC) themselves.

Or, you can have a dickfight with the hopes of keeping the House, the Senate, and the Presidency.

The Axis of Evil speech was probably provably the most detrimental speech to world peace and nuclear non-proliferation since Kruschev slammed his shoe on the table. The Axis of Evil speech and the Iraqi war is directly responsible for incentivizing Iran and North Korea to seek nuclear weapons as fast as they can, and is directly responsible for strengthening crazies and hardliners in those countries.

You're doing a heckuva job Chimpy McBushitler!

Chum said...

Palladian and Jonathan you make my point beautifully.

Thank you.

Jacques Cuze said...

TIME.com: Why Iraq was a mistake Two senior military officers are known to have challenged Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the planning of the Iraq war. Army General Eric Shinseki publicly dissented and found himself marginalized. Marine Lieut. General Greg Newbold, the Pentagon's top operations officer, voiced his objections internally and then retired, in part out of opposition to the war. Here, for the first time, Newbold goes public with a full-throated critique: ... In 1971, the rock group The Who released the antiwar anthem Won't Get Fooled Again. To most in my generation, the song conveyed a sense of betrayal by the nation's leaders, who had led our country into a costly and unnecessary war in Vietnam. To those of us who were truly counterculture--who became career members of the military during those rough times--the song conveyed a very different message. To us, its lyrics evoked a feeling that we must never again stand by quietly while those ignorant of and casual about war lead us into another one and then mismanage the conduct of it. Never again, we thought, would our military's senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It's 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again.

Johnny, Ann, Illudium-Q36, you owe it to your families and your country to not be fooled again.

Newbold's critique is very germane to the notion of letting President Cheney nuke Iran.

It's not that long Ann, you can get read this.

Chum said...

'It should be noted that respected experts believe that a nuclear Iran is not the problem that it is made out to be.'

Hans Blix says Iran is at least 5 years away from developing a nuclear bomb. Plenty of time to negoiate a peaceful settlement.

'Do not threaten to use nukes which will only Iran hardliners into a froth and increase the chances of attacks against Americans in Iraq, and Jews in Israel, and increase the speed in which Iran seeks WMDs (NBC) themselves.'

This assumes that this administration wants peace.
Not much profit margin in that I'm afraid.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Quxxo said: "It is also signifant to note that many experts believe Iran is 5-10 years away from getting a nuclear weapon. "

Just so I'm clear. If the happy scenerio you hope for doesn't come about, you're in favor of taking decisive military action against Iran's nuclear program in 5 to 10 years. Am I wrong?

Jacques Cuze said...

Johnny, I have spent the majority of my career in the defense industry. Reread my earlier message in this thread. And do read Newbold's critique.

You have asked me for a hypothetical. So yes, hypothetically I can envision a situation in which we need to take decisive military action against Iran. I cannot imagine such action including the use of nuclear bunker busters in a first strike tactical action.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Quxxo,

Let me attempt to stimulate your imagination. It is possible to build nuke factories underground. The only way to disable these factories is to send lots of soldiers in or to nuke them.

The Cranky Insomniac said...

Having senior officials "leak" the "fact" that the use of nukes is being seriously considered is a great piece of psyops if you want to scare the hell out of Iran and bring them to the bargaining table.

In fact, almost all of the hyperbolic claims made by Hersh's anonymous sources fit this same pattern, raising the question: in writing this article, did Hersh unwittingly help a brilliant Bush administration psychological warfare campaign aimed at convincing the Iranian leadership that the "cowboys" in DC will do whatever it takes to remove them from power (and in all likelihood send them straight to Allah) if they don't end their nuclear program?

Consider how much of the information (in addition to the nuclear option) given to Hersh has either a "this is a done deal," or a "he's just crazy enough to do it" vibe to it. Hersh tells us that:

* US special ops troops are already in Iran and could be in position to "lase" targets, to insure bombing accuracy and minimize civilian casualties.
* The Air Force is already drawing up lists of hundreds of targets, and that “ninety-nine per cent of them have nothing to do with proliferation,' but more to do with regime change.
* Bush will never let the Iranians begin a pilot program to enrich uranium that's scheduled for this spring.
* Bush views Iranian President Ahmadinejad as "a potential Hitler."
* Bush "believes that he must do 'what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,' and 'that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.'”
* A former defense official, when told that current US military planning is "premised on a belief that 'a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government,'" asked himself, ""What are they smoking?'"
* A member of the House Appropriations Committee says there's “'no pressure from Congress'” for the US not to take military action, that the pressure is only "'from the guys who want to do it.'” This same House members adds his scary take on President Bush: "'The most worrisome thing is that this guy has a messianic vision.'”
* The Europeans, whom the Iranians might be counting on for their usual willingness to achieve appeasment at any cost, find themselves "rattled...by their growing perception that President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney believe a bombing campaign will be needed, and that their real goal is regime change."

Maybe I'm being overly optimistic in believing that the Bushies are capable of such a grand deception, but even if I'm wrong, doesn't Hersh's article help the US by telling the Iranians that we mean business? I know they're not the most rational people in the world, but even crazy people often have a strong sense of self-preservation.

So if you're part of the current Iranian regime, do you read Hersh's piece and think America is a paper tiger that doesn't have the will to pick a fight, or do you get the message that if forced to go to war, we will, as Ralph Peters urges, "make the conflict so devastating and painful that even our allies are stunned"?

More at The Cranky Insomniac

Wickedpinto said...

The Same guy, said the SAME thing a year ago.

This is news? is this NEWS? or is this a NEW way for someone to be wrong?

It's like millerite morons, if you KEEP predicting the end of the world every year, ONE year, you will be right.

Ernst Blofeld said...

Hersh is notoriously unreliable on military affairs because he usually bungles the story. He seems to be more connected to the diplomatic side and probably some civilians in the Pentagon; his contacts in the active SF world seem to be nil.

As pointed out by another poster, I don't doubt that there is a contingency plan somehwere in the bowels of the Pentagon for using nukes to take out the Iranian bunkers, just as there were contingency plans to invade Canada. Probability of execution of the plan is nil.

The "message sending" aspect is probably over-determined; both the people wanting to send the message and the people who want to derail the message would benefit by the leak. Given that it's Hersh, it's probably the latter group who leaked, because those people are more friendly to him. The hawks would leak through their own preferred reporters.

Noumenon said...

The only reporters at the New Yorker whose names I know are James Surowiecki and Seymour Hersh. Surowiecki because he wrote Wisdom of Crowds and Hersh because I noticed his name, all by myself, on every completely damning and completely unreliable article about Abu Ghraib or whatever. I believe most articles about Abu Ghraib and secret CIA prisons, too, but his are just over the top.

He does make a good Tokyo Rose to the Iranians, though...

dick said...

As someone who used to work in the intel area of the Pentagon, this is not news at all. One of the primary functions of the intel areas is to have plans for all possible scenarios that the military might run into. There are probably still plans there for invading Russia, the Baltic states, the Balkans, etc. Of course there are plans for dealing with Iran and the nuclear plans. The US would be totally insane not to have plans for this scenario. If you wait for the situation to start before you start to plan, then by the time you have a plan in place you are already out of date to start with. All Hersh is doing is blowing smoke to get an article out there and make some money. The man is a ludicrous fool who gets an idea and blows it totally out of proportion.

I notice that someone mentioned the Abu Ghraib story that Hersh wrote. What Hersh did not include in that story is that the military had already dealt with most of the problem and was on the way to dealing with the rest of it before he even wrote his bit. The military had also already put out the story for the MSM 4 months earlier and the MSM did not publish it. The man is a total tool of the anti-US establishment and does not even realize it.

Simon said...

"'One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites.' This is not nuclear weapons as a deterrent or a contingency . . . This is the use of a nuclear weapon as a first-strike tactical method to destroy an Iranian facility."

I agree that it isn't deterrence, to the extent that to be a deterrent, the U.S. would have to have a declared policy that should Iran continue production of nuclear weapons, we will destroy their nuclear sites. That would be a deterrent. But I think you're dead wrong to suggest that this can't be a contingency plan merely because it calls for a first strike.

HaloJonesFan said...

dick: I'm sure that he would rather say that he's the spokesperson for a massive groundswell of anti-Bush, pro-Iraqi opinion, and you don't see more of it because it's being suppressed by dirty descendants of McCarthy.

TWM said...

Seymore Hersh is about as an unreliable reporter as there is in the world today. AND he is politically biased. Put the two together and his report is trash.

That being said, the military plans for all sorts of things. That is their job.

Still, if it came to keeping Iran or any other rogue nation from having nukes, then all bets are off. If it was good enough for Truman . . .

Jacques Cuze said...

So educate us then with specifics. What specifically has Seymour Hersh gotten wrong about Abu Ghraib?

jeff said...

Better to have a plan and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

As for Seymour Hersh, I believe that the investigation into the Abu Gharib thing was almost a year old when he "broke" it, was it not?

Jacques Cuze said...

Hey Ann,

Check out your blogroll buddy, Stephen Green as he says we are losing because we are not ruthless enough and killing enough people.

Then after talking about the need to be ruthless, he goes on to intimidate anyone that dissents for, wait for it, you'll love it Ann, partisan reasons.

Dissent is a necessary good in a free country. Mindless harping for minor partisan advantage entails great danger in time of war. I certainly don’t want anyone to shut up. I just wish they’d sometimes keep the big picture in mind.

Ann, read the comments in your own echo-chamber, and read Stephen Green. Try to wrap your mind around that the genocidal mindsets inherent in your buddies, and then consider, if the people you hang out with Ann, are this whacked out, why wouldn't you think that the Administration has a plan for a first strike nuke against Iran?

TWM said...

I hope they have a plan to first-strike Iran. Hell, I hope they have a plan to first-strike any potential enemy, and some of our so-called friends.

You act like planning for stuff like this is a bad thing, quxxo. Better to have a plan that you never use than needing one when it is too late to use.

BTW, if there is any nation that has a genocidal plan it is Iran. They would love to wipe out America down to the last conservative and liberal alike.

Jonathan said...

-The Hersh article does not make sense to me at face value or as an attempt by the Bush administration to scare Iran. It seems much more likely to be an attempt to weaken Bush by making him appear reckless and stupid. It's certainly no secret that many of our intelligence bureaucrats are hostile to Bush's program and that some of them have been using the press for years to undermine him.

-Quxxo, the problems with your nice plan are that 1) it weakens us, because the mullahs are going to know that we're avoiding some options, which inherently puts us in a weaker position and 2) it does not allow for surprises. If you don't think there are unpleasant surprises ahead you aren't thinking realistically. If you're in a fight, the priority has to be victory. Excluding particular options from consideration in a fight with a determined adversary raises the question whether victory really is your goal. Part of the reason we're in the current situation is that for years we ignored or responded minimally to Iranian attacks (the embassy hostages, Marine barracks bombing, etc.). You seem to want more of the same, or to think that we can deter Iranian aggression by means (diplomacy, self-limited military operations) that have failed so far.

BTW, your comments about "genocidal mindsets" on the part of some people you disagree with reflect more on your own mindset than on anything else. I realize that you enjoy the drama of speaking truth to power in Ann's McCarthyite echo chamber that tolerates no dissent. However, is it not possible that you share most of the same goals as the rest of us but differ merely on how to achieve them (that is, on the particular set of tradeoffs that is desirable), rather than that the other guys have bad motives? Just asking.

Jacques Cuze said...
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knoxgirl said...

All you anti-Bush, anti-Iraq-War commenters decided long ago that it was a big, incompetent mistake to *actually* believe that Saddam had WMDs.

So how can you even have an opinion--now--on the subject of Iran's nukes? Do you believe that they do? WHY?????

Why don't you just wait to see how it all shakes out in the end, and then you can just state your 20-20 hindsight then.

In the meantime, if we get nuked, well, whatever...

madisonman said: "I suspect the drumbeat for war will start in plenty of time for the election..."

This is exactly the sort of statement that makes people not trust democrats to be in charge of national security.

Are you saying 9/11 happened to help Bush's political prospects?

Are you saying Iran doesn't have nukes, it's just being said to help Bush/Republican political prospects?

Because it sounds like you don't REALLY think there's an enemy, there's just fearmongering for votes.

-----

How do you type the sound you make when you spit in disgust?!

Jacques Cuze said...

is it not possible that you share most of the same goals as the rest of us but differ merely on how to achieve them (that is, on the particular set of tradeoffs that is desirable), rather than that the other guys have bad motives?

Oh I agree with you entirely, but I am neither the one saying we should preemptively nuke another country, nor am I the one that constantly talks about the treasonous pussy Democrats that are too ready to sell out the country.

1) it weakens us, because the mullahs are going to know that we're avoiding some options, and 2) it does not allow for surprises.

So what do the mullahs do after observing what we did in Iraq, after realizing how over-stretched our military is in Iraq, and after realizing how much we have caved in North Korea, how much we have ignored AQ Kahn in Pakistan, and how we have accepted India's nuclear ambitions nukes without requiring India to sign the NPT?

And what do the mullahs do after hearing that we are going to nuke them?

Do they suddenly cave against an enemy they perceive as insane, immoral, weak and pinned down?

Do they make good backups of their materials and distribute them across the country? Do they distribute even further their weapons facilities and go so far as to place them in urban and residential settings in order to protect them (and to generate massive unrest with the US should the nuking take place?)

And how do they respond after the nuking? With conventional weapons? By taking us to court? Or with dirty bombs and other NBC elements directed against our civilian population?

And okay okay, we nuke Iran and the Iranians say "uncle." And Osama? What does he do? What does the "arab street" do? What is China's reaction to a first strike by the US?

April 27th last year, the NRC released a study saying, "Current experience and empirical predictions indicate that earth-penetrator weapons cannot penetrate to depths required for total containment of the effects of a nuclear explosion ... casualties ranging from thousands to more than a million."

Have you thought this out?

Jacques Cuze said...

All you anti-Bush, anti-Iraq-War commenters decided long ago that it was a big, incompetent mistake to *actually* believe that Saddam had WMDs.

So how can you even have an opinion--now--on the subject of Iran's nukes? Do you believe that they do? WHY?????


So let me see if I have this correct.

We learned from public sources that Iraq was not a threat, we learned from experience that Bush was incompetent and duplicitous, we listened to current and former US Military tell us that Iraq did not have these weapons, and so we concluded that Hussein did not have WMDs, and we did that a year before the war.

And you did just the opposite. You listened to Bush, and excoriated anyone that disagreed, and you made a big mistake since it turns out that Hussein did not have WMDs.

In fact over 60% of America now agrees, the war was not worth fighting.

And so us dissenters have no credibility now and we should be listening to people like you.

This is what passes for moderate logic on the mainstream Althouse blog.

Go figure.

Simon said...

"Check out your blogroll buddy, Stephen Green as he says we are losing because we are not ruthless enough and killing enough people."

This is basically the thesis of Imperial Hubris, by Michael Schauer - something that, I suspect, came to the chagrin of those leftists who bought the book expecting it to be an anti-Bush polemic.

Jacques Cuze said...

Are you saying 9/11 happened to help Bush's political prospects?

No, we are saying that Iraq happened just to help Bush's political prospects. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, even Bush has said so. As I pointed out earlier, the US Military is admitting they are participating in a propaganda campaign aimed at YOU to hype Al Qaeda in Iraq to make YOU think there was a connection between Iraq and 9/11.

Are you saying Iran doesn't have nukes

Are you saying they do? Because absolutely no one else thinks they do.

Jacques Cuze said...

The Nuclear Power Beside Iraq

Now that Iran unquestionably intends to build a nuclear bomb, the international community has few options to stop it—and the worst option would be a military strike

by James Fallows


Don't bother reading Fallows, before Iraq he wrote this:

The Fifty-first State?

Going to war with Iraq would mean shouldering all the responsibilities of an occupying power the moment victory was achieved. These would include running the economy, keeping domestic peace, and protecting Iraq's borders—and doing it all for years, or perhaps decades. Are we ready for this long-term relationship?

by James Fallows


Clearly knoxgirl, by your axioms of logic, since he got it dead on absolutely correct before Iraq, he is just a spitting, weak, absolutely wrong traitor liberal on Iran.

Kirk Parker said...

Dick,

You and I appear to have the same opinion of Hersh and his material--but what has he ever said that makes you think he's an unwitting tool?

Simon said...

"A[m] [I] saying Iran doesn't have nukes? Are you saying they do? Because absolutely no one else thinks they do."

I think everyone else absolutely thinks they are trying to develop them, which in practical terms - depending on how far along in that program they can reasonably presumed to be - may amount to the same thing. There is a fairly strong argument that a nation such as Iran should be denied access to nuclear weapons; I personally don't entirely buy that argument, and doing so will be painfull for me, since I strongly believe that Iran has an important role to play in the advancement of democracy in the middle east. But despite my personal misgivings, I'm not - and surely you aren't - so blind as to believe that Israel wouldn't be acting in self-defense to eliminate an emerging Iranian nuclear progam if it turned out that they were approaching viability?

Jonathan said...

"Are you saying Iran doesn't have nukes"

"Are you saying they do? Because absolutely no one else thinks they do."
--

Are you saying they won't have them?

What if you are wrong?

What if the best estimates are wrong?

You have hubris. The intelligence services of the USA, UK, France, Germany and others thought that Iraq had WMD. They may (it's still unclear) have been wrong. The reasonable response is to note how imperfect the best information was and try to do better the next time. That's one of the reasons why the Bush administration is being so circumspect in its approach to Iran. Your response is: Nyah, nyah, somebody made a mistake.

Another reason behind Bush's caution on Iran is the fact that hindsight critics like you have raised the political cost of false positives. Now we aren't likely to try to stop the Iranian nuke program until there is absolutely no choice and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are clamoring for Bush to do something. Because if we bomb Iranian nuke facilities and oil terminals without knowing for a certainty that Iran will bomb NYC on July 4, 2011 (or whatever) the mullahs might, you know, get angry at us, and that would be bad.

The big risk, as all along, is that one or more of our cities will be nuked. The mullahs would be happy to do it, and I for one am not so clever as to second-guess their statements. You seem to be willing to risk a lot of American lives in order not to risk killing Iranians. That's the tradeoff here, and unlike you Stephen Green is honest enough to make it explicit. Some of the people who casually toss around terms like "genocidal" don't seem as concerned about genocidal risks to Americans.

Perhaps you should reevaluate your position.

Jacques Cuze said...

Oh I think they are trying to get them alright. I think BushCo had a window of opportunity to head that off, but that he screwed that pooch.

And I am saying nothing about Israel in this regard, Israel isn't the one with the B61-11 massively dirty bunker buster.

I am merely asking a question of knoxgirl who seems assured that Iran already has nukes, that anyone that opposes Bush is a deranged spitter, and that individuals that were absolutely right about Bush and Iraq 3 1/2 years ago have blown all of that credibility by the mere fact of being right.

Jacques Cuze said...

You seem to be willing to risk a lot of American lives in order not to risk killing Iranians. That's the tradeoff here

Uh, that's not the tradeoff at all. That is nowhere near the tradeoff.

Read Fallows. Rinse. Repeat.

dick said...

I don't think he is an unwitting tool. I just think that he has his own agenda for the articles and does not see that the others are using him for their agenda.

As an example, take the Abu Ghraib story he wrote. He wrote it as if it were brand new news that only he knew of instead of being old news from 4 months previously. He got his story from the uncle of the sergeant who was being brought up for a court martial for what he did there in hopes that the court martial could be squelched. The article was then used by Al Qaeda to paint the US as being torturers in the prison worse than Saddam. In the US the tools like Qxxxxo went along with this because it became an anti-Bush story in our media that was repeated and repeated on the front page of the anti-Bush media. End result was that the story that the military had found out and were taking note of the Abu Ghraib activities and were court martialing those responsible and demoting others who were in the chain of command was blown totally out of proportion and even today you see the Qxxxxo class of anti-Bush people trying to paint the administration and the military with this overblown story from Hersh that misrepresented what was going on and Hersh is now treated as if he were a credible source of military intelligence instead of just a tool for those who are anti-Bush.

In the present case the fact that the military has plans for almost any eventuality that are likely to be activated and other plans that are not likely to be activated is misrepresented by Hersh to play up the idea that the administration will bomb the country of Iran back to pre-civilization with nukes. Totally irresponsible reporting by Hersh and totally irresponsible referencing by the anti-Bush people.

Sigivald said...

Man, quxxo is goint to town with this one.

The Axis of Evil speech was probably provably the most detrimental speech to world peace and nuclear non-proliferation since Kruschev slammed his shoe on the table. The Axis of Evil speech and the Iraqi war is directly responsible for incentivizing Iran and North Korea to seek nuclear weapons as fast as they can, and is directly responsible for strengthening crazies and hardliners in those countries.


Really? That assumes that neither nation was attempting to acquire nuclear weapons before that speech, or that somehow something would have changed if they'd been treated more "nicely".

Do you have the tiniest bit of evidence for the latter? (The former being undeniably incorrect, as both nations had long-running nuclear ambitions before Bush was elected.)

Of course, Bush's policies seem unquestionably linked to Libya's WMD-abandonment, Syria's pullout from Lebanon (and Syria's general desire to not do anything that might attract unwanted attention), Pakistan being much more careful with its nuclear technologies, and Iran being increasingly isolated in the same context.

And this is detrimental to peace and antiproliferation? As if somehow the only reason Iran and NK might want nukes is because Bush made a speech?

Not to achieve their own regional goals, bully their neighbors, and have an ironclad way to really laugh in the face of the UN/EU/etc. if they ever grew a spine and attempted actual sanctions?

Please to explicate; here on planet Earth that sounds pretty ludicrous.

knoxgirl said...

I meant do you think they're not trying to get nukes not do they have em

Jacques Cuze said...

"The Axis of Evil speech and the Iraqi war is directly responsible for incentivizing Iran and North Korea to seek nuclear weapons as fast as they can, and is directly responsible for strengthening crazies and hardliners in those countries."

That assumes that neither nation was attempting to acquire nuclear weapons before that speech, or that somehow something would have changed if they'd been treated more "nicely".

Do you have the tiniest bit of evidence for the latter?



I said "as fast as they can" and history shows that I am right, esp. wrt NK. NK and the US engaged in a bit of two-sided blackmail for 17 years: money and food and energy in exchange for signing the NPT and limiting their nuclear ambitions. Within 12 months of being called the axis of evil, and watching Iraq (a state without nukes) be invaded, NK dramatically ramps up its rhetoric and its activities and exits the NPT.

Since then, after the US pledged to respect North Korea's sovereignty and to take steps to normalize relations with the country, NK agrees to return to NPT.

So we have a historical trend. We have a step function applied to the body. We see the body's reaction. We remove the step function. We see the body return to the historical trend.

There's no control, so there is no experiment here, but that's about as close as we can get, right?

Bush's policies seem unquestionably linked to Libya's WMD-abandonment

Read the full debunking of that

http://www.slate.com/id/2103989/

and

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0325-03.htm

and

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0111-02.htm

You're dreaming Sigi.

Balfegor said...

Really? That assumes that neither nation was attempting to acquire nuclear weapons before that speech, or that somehow something would have changed if they'd been treated more "nicely".

The bit you excerpted from quxxo's ravings doesn't quite imply that, though. Note what he says:

incentivizing Iran and North Korea to seek nuclear weapons as fast as they can, and is directly responsible for strengthening crazies and hardliners in those countries.

I'd quibble with the second bit, at least with respect to North Korea (I know and care rather less about Iran), but that they have been incentivised to seek weapons as fast as they can seems an entirely commonsensical conclusion. I think drawing the line of causation to the Axis of Evil speech is kind of silly (I think it was the Iraq War, which demonstrated that it wasn't just the usual blather for domestic consumption) but the general sense is quite right, I think.

Iran and North Korea have been actively pursuing nuclear capabilities for some time. In the case of North Korea, I think they've actually had nuclear capabilities since the early 90's -- this I understand to be the conclusion drawn by the South Korean and Japanese intelligence agencies, as opposed to our own, which are evidently incompetent -- but have probably not been able to miniaturise the device for delivery on the Nodong or Taepodong ballistic missiles, so as to threaten Tokyo properly (Seoul, of course, is already targeted by several thousand pieces of heavy artillery, so a nuclear weapon would just be overkill).

But after the Iraq war, it's been made crystal clear to both the Persian and the North Korean regimes that if they don't get operational nuclear weapons soon, they have to get rid of their nuclear programs pronto, and do so verifiably (i.e. not just for pretend, like South Africa), and the verification process will involve significant encroachments on their ability to exercise total control over their subject populations.

Suppose you were them. Wouldn't you be throwing every resource you had towards development of a nuclear weapon?

[Oh, it looks like quxxo has replied already. Well, I'll post anyhow]

Jacques Cuze said...

Ravings! Why you @#@#!! /drools, slams table, spits in disgust, walks away.

Balfegor said...

So we have a historical trend. We have a step function applied to the body. We see the body's reaction. We remove the step function. We see the body return to the historical trend.

This is only the case if you actually think North Korea joining or leaving the NPT has a strong connection with their internal nuclear development. I don't. During the 70s, when reunification talks were going on between the North and the South, the North was digging invasion tunnels under the DMZ. In addition to which they have 11,000+ pieces of heavy artillery ranged along the border. Which does not endear them to me. Frankly, I think they are completely untrustworthy. Maybe that's just because my family are GNP all the way, but their joining or abandoning the NPT seems like a cost-free carrot for them to dangle in front of us to make us dance to their tune.

On the plus side, KEDO has taken away their Light Water Reactor.

Jacques Cuze said...

Frankly, I think they are completely untrustworthy.Maybe that's just because my family are GNP all the way, but their joining or abandoning the NPT seems like a cost-free carrot for them to dangle in front of us to make us dance to their tune.

Well, I am certainly about as far from an NK expert as you could find. I will agree that they certainly seemed to have blackmailed us many times over these issues, and it's because they seem so completely crazy that in large part we seem to have agreed to the blackmail. But up until now, they had not left the NPT, and they had agreed to our terms.

But this is a really dead thread now, and I need to get back to work, so I am willing to agree that the case is ambiguous, and I do agree with you that the reality of the Iraq war was probably a far bigger incentive than the speech itself.

sparky said...

Though this thread appears "dead" thought I'd say--
What exactly is the basis for dismissing Hersh? He's not always right, but he's right quite frequently. So far as I know, none of his Iraq stories have had serious errors. The initial impression sometimes is that he's wrong because the administration gives out carefully worded denials but if read closely they don't actually deny the substance of the report.

Relatedly, today the Washington Post carried a story that indicated the administration did not deny the essential accuracy of Hersh's story.

My own guess is that the military people leaked this story to Hersh as a kind of pushback against the civilians in the administration. It's probably the best avenue they have for airing a disagreement.

Oh, and by the way, there are plenty of "nuke Iran" comments floating out and about in the ether. Redstate had a number of people supporting the proposition that Tehran be turned into "a sheet of glass."

J said...

quxxo, thanks fo the link to the Time article. Everybody here should read it. How long do you think it will be before Gen Newbold runs for political office?