December 4, 2007

"President Bush got the world's attention this fall when he warned that a nuclear-armed Iran might lead to World War III."

"But his stark warning came at least a month or two after he had first been told about fresh indications that Iran had actually halted its nuclear weapons program."

So: Bush is devious and incompetent? Or: Bush's public statements were part of what has been a brilliant strategy for controlling Iran?
Critics seized on the new National Intelligence Estimate to lambaste what Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards called "George Bush and Dick Cheney's rush to war with Iran." Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.), echoing other Democrats, called for "a diplomatic surge" to resolve the dispute with Tehran. Jon Wolfsthal, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, termed the revelation "a blockbuster development" that "requires a wholesale reevaluation of U.S. policy."

But the White House said the report vindicated its concerns because it concluded that Iran did have a nuclear weapons program until halting it in 2003 and it showed that U.S.-led diplomatic pressure had succeeded in forcing Tehran's hand. "On balance, the estimate is good news," said national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley. "On the one hand, it confirms that we were right to be worried about Iran seeking to develop nuclear weapons. On the other hand, it tells us that we have made some progress in trying to ensure that that does not happen."
Is anyone switching sides over this? You can read the spin elsewhere. I'm just putting up this post so you won't keep talking about this in the comments to other posts. 

I feel I have nothing I can contribute at this point. I don't understand why reports like this come out when they do, in the form they do or how these things play behind the scenes and are coordinated with the President's public statements. I'd like to see some expert discussion about that. Let me know if you see any.

207 comments:

1 – 200 of 207   Newer›   Newest»
Rich B said...

I would like to know why NIE's are released. Are they mandated by Congress or the President? How long have they been issued and released?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Well the one thing that makes me wonder about the NIE report is whether or not Britain, France or Germany’s intelligence agencies come to the same conclusions. I would have thought that if any one of them had doubts, they would have made them known rather than continue trying negotiations for the last 3 years.

I for one have little faith in what the intel community has to say. They seemingly got Iraq WMDs all wrong and I find it amusing that many Bush critics are quick to accept this latest report as gospel. Perhaps it is but as was mentioned in a previous thread, it is incredible that many of the anti-nuke types of the 1970s and 1980s (including anti-nuke power) are completely at ease with Iran building a reactor or even nuclear weapons. It simply proves to me that many are ok with those types of actions unless of course the USA follows the same path.

Freder Frederson said...

He's simply a liar.

Freder Frederson said...

I for one have little faith in what the intel community has to say. They seemingly got Iraq WMDs all wrong and I find it amusing that many Bush critics are quick to accept this latest report as gospel.

So what the intel community had to say was a good enough reason to go to war, now it shouldn't stop us from going to war? Is that what you are saying?

Freder Frederson said...

Bush and hoosier believe in the truthiness of Iran's nuclear weapons programs. Their guts tell them that Iran is working on a nuclear weapon, therefore the facts, which have a well-known liberal bias (after all the facts support evolution, the big bang and even global warming), can safely be ignored.

Paddy O. said...

Did we bomb Iran without me noticing?

As far as I can tell our reaction to them has been based on the fact they're mucking around in Iraq.

They pester us. We pester them as we can, trying to push them back a little.

And a nuclear armed Iran might lead to WW III, as would a nuclear armed Syria. So keep pushing back against them to move them farther and farther from it.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Having read the NIE on Iran's Nuclear Capabilities, here's my take:

1. Apart from its civilian nuclear program, Iran had a nuclear weapons program that at least to a substantial degree, it shut down in response to international pressure/U.S. military action in 2003.

2. Iran could obtain and/or generate enough highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon by 2009, but is unlikely to develop the technological capabilities to make a weapon before 2015.

3. Iran is responsive to deterrence and diplomacy, and any decision by Iran to develop a nuclear weapon would be a contingent political one.

This suggests that engagement, scrutiny, and sanctions work, but it also implies Iran at present could have an active nuclear weapons program of substantially reduced scope that could produce a nuclear weapon if Iran increased its capacity to enrich uranium (by tweaking its civilian program) and purchased abroad the requisite technologies (e.g., from Russia or Pakistan).

The question for me, then, is how we would determine whether Iran (i) has decided to restart its nuclear weapons program; or (ii) has begun to accelerate its enrichment of uranium; or (iii) is seeking the acquisition of the requisite technologies. Certainly we aren't going to send over Joseph Wilson.

rhhardin said...

Diplomacy works great when you have a capable army in the area. Disbanded in 2003, you say? Hmm, what happened in 2003? So hard to remember back that far.

It's amazing how 3rd world countries tend to take the best option available to them. You'd think they'd stand on principle.

Mortimer Brezny said...

http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/i_video/main500251.shtml?id=3570495n?source=search_video

Crimso said...

"Iran could obtain and/or generate enough highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon by 2009, but is unlikely to develop the technological capabilities to make a weapon before 2015."

I think the major technical hurdle in building a gun-type bomb (uranium bomb as opposed to plutonium bomb) is the enrichment. Getting it to go boom is much less difficult. The opposite is true for a plutonium bomb (implosion-type). What sorts of technical issues would require 6 years of development after obtaining the uranium? Delivery systems, perhaps?

Hoosier Daddy said...

So what the intel community had to say was a good enough reason to go to war, now it shouldn't stop us from going to war? Is that what you are saying?

I never advocated war with Iran in the first place. I simply said I don't have a lot of faith in what US intel has to say. If they bungled intel on Iraqi WMDs, why are you so quick to assume they have it right with Iran?

You really need to take a reading comprehension class.

Fen said...

moderate confidence: generally means that the information is credibly sourced and plausible but not of sufficient quality or corroborated sufficiently to warrant a higher level of confidence.

high confidence: generally indicates that our judgments are based on high-quality information, and/or that the nature of the issue makes it possible to render a solid judgment. A “high confidence” judgment is not a fact or a certainty, however, and such judgments still carry a risk of being wrong.

http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2007/12/trust-the-times.html

/via instapundit

[...]

And if NYTs and Wapo can use anonymous sources, so can I:

"Former CIA Offical: while this NIE does confirm Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons in 2002 and 2003, its conclusions that as to why it may have stopped the program and why this halt may have continued are debateable and speculation. These KJs [Key Judgments] have too much political spin. This assessment was strongly influenced by two hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials who oversaw it, both former State officials who fought tooth and nail against Bush WMD policies, especially Iran.”

[...]

And re the anti-war crowd spinning this:

"These findings are startling, not least because in key respects they represent a 180-degree turn from the conclusions of the last NIE on Iran’s nuclear program. For that one, issued in May 2005, assessed “with high confidence that Iran currently is determined to develop nuclear weapons” and to press on “despite its international obligations and international pressure.”

In other words, a full two years after Iran supposedly called a halt to its nuclear program, the intelligence community was still as sure as it ever is about anything that Iran was determined to build a nuclear arsenal. Why then should we believe it when it now tells us, and with the same “high confidence,” that Iran had already called a halt to its nuclear-weapons program in 2003?"

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/podhoretz/1474

[...]

And the take-away quote from the NIE that people like Cyrus ignore:

We do not have sufficient intelligence to judge confidently whether Tehran is willing to maintain the halt of its nuclear weapons program indefinitely while it weighs its options, or whether it will or already has set specific deadlines or criteria that will prompt it to restart the program.

Fen said...

Freder: He's simply a liar.

High Confidence: generally indicates that our judgments are based on high-quality information, and/or that the nature of the issue makes it possible to render a solid judgment. A “high confidence” judgment is not a fact or a certainty, however, and such judgments still carry a risk of being wrong.

http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2007/12/trust-the-times.html

Freder Frederson said...

Diplomacy works great when you have a capable army in the area.

You know this kind of comment just leaves me speechless. It is absolutely stunning to think that anyone thinks we have an army in the area that is capable of putting pressure on Iran. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Isn't that what we have been bitching about in Iraq?

ricpic said...

International diplomacy is an incredibly complex game. For example: MB asks some pertinent questions about the internal situation in Iran. We might be in a better position to gauge how nuclear capable Iran is, or will be in the near future, if our relations with Russia had not deteriorated so markedly in the last few years. This is not to say that Russia would ever share its intel on Iran, which is almost certainly more thorough than ours. But if we had not deeply alienated Russia by pushing aggressively for the expansion of NATO right up to its borders, Russia might be less likely to assist Iran's nuclear program and more likely to maintain a neutral stance in that part of the world or even act as an inhibiting influence on Iran. Anyhow, to be simply pro or anti Bush is stupid when it comes to these complex problems.

Fen said...

You know this kind of comment just leaves me speechless: "It is absolutely stunning to think that anyone thinks we have an army in the area that is capable of putting pressure on Iran."

/fixed

Fen said...

Anyhow, to be simply pro or anti Bush is stupid when it comes to these complex problems.

Echo.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Delivery systems, perhaps?

Yes, and warhead design. Also, they do not have the enrichment capacity. They would probably need a heavy water reactor.

Zeb Quinn said...

As Charles Krauthammer pointed out, it just proves that taking a very aggressive stance and otherwise holding Iran's feet to the fire is the approach that works.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Zeb,

But if the status quo is working, why pile on another round of sanctions? (That may be the argument.) However, the Financial Times is reporting that China supports another layer of sanctions against Iran.

reader_iam said...

Rich B: An NIE can be requested by the executive branch, a senate or house member, or a military commander.

As for history, I suggest you do some poking around. (That's not snark, I just don't have time to regurgitate info that's pretty accessible online already.) Here's a place to start: National intelligence Council homepage

Under the "about" section, there's a history subsection, and more.

reader_iam said...

This CFR backgrounder describes the NIE process.

/Tips for the day. : )

Doyle said...

Bush is devious and incompetent?

Yes. Both.

Tim said...

"However, the Financial Times is reporting that China supports another layer of sanctions against Iran."

Indeed. Everyone knows the Chinese are the first to call wolf.

Zeb Quinn said...

Mortimer Brezny:

Seems like this is one issue that calls for relentlessness.

SteveR said...

In the Christmas spirit, the intelligence community, the gift that keeps on giving.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Bush is brilliantly stating his case in this press conference on the NIE.

Roger said...

I think Mort has summarized the NIE and the overall situation very nicely.

As far as the NIE goes, the document itself serves many purpopses, one of which is to provide cover for the intel agencies and give them a mechanism to cover their previous bad assessments. It is a document whose content includes some 16 different intel agencies, each of which has its own view point. The end process is a document characterized by a lot of weasle wording meant to mask differences rather (IMO) to highlight assessments. It is relatively useless as a document upon which to base policy (again, IMO). The consensus approach is necessary because each of the 16 agencies knows that any other agency can and will leak their assessment to some media source if the final NIE doesn't reflect their agency position. The result is a wishy washy, CYA document. And as an aside, now that we have, supposedly, a unified Intelligence Directorate, I think the question about the process of creating the NIE is one that could stand some scrutiny.

Doyle said...

I'm just putting up this post so you won't keep talking about this in the comments to other posts.

Note Ann's disappointment at not being able to see her toy soldiers get to fight another war!

It's okay, Ann. The preznit did his best to hype WWIII. Maybe next time, huh?

Mortimer Brezny said...

Everyone knows the Chinese are the first to call wolf.

Well, no. China and Russia have proxy fights through their client states. Iran is a Russian client state, not a Chinese one.

Roger said...

The relationship between Russia and Iran seems to me to be one of the critical elements in the mix. For much of the 19th century, Russia sought access to a warm water port thru Iran and was largely unsuccessful. Subssequent Iranian/shiite militancy I suspect gives Russia and some of the republics considerable concern given their muslim populations. This has, perhaps, subsided a bit since the break up of the USSR.

I guess I would rather see us working with Russia as a counterweight to Iran rather than not dealing with Russians. Russian support with respect to Iranian "containment" seems critical to me.

Sloanasaurus said...

Wait, just because Iran temporarily halted their program in 2003, doesn't mean that they aren't continuing the program now. It's my understanding that North Korea halted and started their nuclear weapons programs numerous times on their way to exploding a bomb.

The rhetoric out of Iran is that the nuclear program is going full steam ahead.

If this is their rhetoric, our rhetoric should be equally forceful.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Buish just offhandedly said "codicils".

former law student said...

Listening to W. just now, I amused myself by substituting the name of another rogue nuclear state, influenced by a primitive religion, a destabilizing force in the middle east, Israel. Here, try it:

As Charles Krauthammer pointed out, it just proves that taking a very aggressive stance and otherwise holding Israel's feet to the fire is the approach that works.

Wait, just because Israel continued their nuclear program, and now have at least 200 warheads... help me finish the sentence here. It's my understanding that North Korea halted and started their nuclear weapons programs numerous times on their way to exploding a bomb.

The rhetoric out of Israel is that the nuclear program went full steam ahead.

If this is their rhetoric, our rhetoric should be equally forceful.

Roger said...

With respect to the performance of our intelligence agencies, I remain baffled about the silence surrounding the Israeli bombing of the Syrian facility in September. Is it possible our intelligence agencies had no knowledge of its existence? That certainly appears to be the case. I contend that intelligence agencies are simply not equipped (lack humint, language, and cultural awareness) of the majority of middle eastern (read Islamic) states.

If we are going to muck around in the mid east, I don't see where US intelligence is going to be a big help.

Mortimer Brezny said...

the silence surrounding the Israeli bombing of the Syrian facility in September. Is it possible our intelligence agencies had no knowledge of its existence?

I read somewhere that we carried out that bombing and Israel took credit for it.

garage mahal said...

As Charles Krauthammer pointed out...

Oh Christ. So they've suspended a clandestine program the world knew virtually nothing about because they're afraid of Kraphammer and his friends, and instead are sending convoys of arms and supplies over the border, in plain view, to Iraq to fight us.

knoxwhirled said...

He's simply a liar.

fred,

A sparse, definitive statement like this loses ALL its impact when you breathlessly follow it up with two more comments in a row--before anyone else can even get a word in edgewise. Commenting 101.

Robert Cook said...

The oft-repeated meme that "the intel community got it wrong on Iraqi WMD" is baloney. The intel community never asserted Iraq had WMD, and in fact the only intel that presented such a thesis with any air of certainty was the cherry-picked and manipulated intel that derived from the Cheney-and Rumsfeld-led camp in the Pentagon. At most, there was contradictory and ambigous data that no serious analysts interpreted to be "proof" of anything. There was also Scott Ritter, (a former UN Inspector in Iraq through much of the 90s), asserting that Iraq had been subtantially disarmed and Hans Blix and his U.N. Inspectors on the ground in Iraq who, after three months of new inspections were reporting findings of, uh, NO FINDINGS (of WMD).

The days before we were embroiled in our ongoing war crime in Iraq are not so far ago, and I can certainly remember hearing caveats and even outright repudiations at the time to Li'l Butch's rhetoric about Iraqi WMD. Such caveats and repudiations did not, of course, get the headlines that the administration's assertions did, but then, the MSM has ever been a cheerleader for America's imperial adventuring. However, if one looked past the front page or listened to "boring" (sic) radio talk shows where serious disagreements with the administration's claims were discussed, one would have had the same read on the situation as I did at the time and as did many, many others: the administration's case was oversold on faint (or no) evidence, and their urgency and rush to convince us that war was not only necessary, but necessary NOW, could only have aroused skepticism in anyone paying attention. After all, when you step onto a used car lot, and the dealer is attempting to convince you that you MUST buy this "peach of a deal" NOW or miss it forever, do you turn away in sensible suspicion of being conned, or are you a sucker?

There were a lot of suckers around a few years ago, but it wasn't because the intel community was at fault.

I'll second the motion: they're just liars.

Roger said...

Mort: I hadnt heard that; rather, I thought we tried to talk the Israeli's out of it... whatever, the silence surrounding the operation really impresses me. Its not like we have a leak proof capitol. With respect to intel failures, were we not surprised about the Libyan progress in WMD when they stood it down.

To respond to Fred's question about reliance on Intel above: we should not rely on it at all it appears.

Zeb Quinn said...

The intel community never asserted Iraq had WMD, and in fact the only intel that presented such a thesis with any air of certainty was the cherry-picked and manipulated intel that derived from the Cheney-and Rumsfeld-led camp in the Pentagon.

My how quickly and conveniently the philistines do their forgetting. The entire Clinton administration was saying it in the 1998-2000 time frame, and they continued to say it right up to the 2003 invasion. And it was based on the intel that they had.

P. Rich said...

Once source data has been subjected to "analysis" and released to the consumer, it becomes questionable to some degree by definition. We should also keep in mind that the President has regular access to other information that does not get released in some bulky report. All of which makes comments regarding global strategies, policy decisions, the timing of public statements and the content of those statements little more that idle speculation by the ignorant.

Doyle said...

Once source data has been subjected to "analysis" and released to the consumer, it becomes questionable to some degree by definition.

Translation: Once we find out that the consensus of the intelligence community is that the Iran hawks are full of s---, we have to disregard their findings.

AlphaLiberal said...

Well, Bush's position here doesn't make sense. If they succeeded in making Iran stop, why continue to beat the drum for war? (An American President mentioning WWIII is an international event that shakes up other nations).

Why all the threats of military action if the nuclear threat is not there?

And, if they do bomb Iran anyway, what will they bomb?

As I mentioned in that other thread, this decision by Iran came in the wake of international pressure and right before A.Q. Khan, the Pakistani nuclear proliferater with ties to Iran, was busted.

Bush is incompetent, bungling and his only tool is military action. His team thinks diplomacy is for sissies and they lust for more war.

p.s. And if someone evokes Iranian action in Iraq as an excuse for war, then you must be ready to support an invasion of Saudi Arabia, which is much more active (mostly nonofficially) and funding the Sunni's, who hate our asses and kill our soldiers. Funny how Saudi influence is not so discussed.

Roger said...

Doyle: which intellligence reports would you rely on? Any? All? the ones you are predisposed to agree with? It isn't exactly like a buffet lunch, you know.

Kevin said...

Frederson:

It is absolutely stunning to think that anyone thinks we have an army in the area that is capable of putting pressure on Iran.


We conquered Iraq in 2003 with four divisions. Of course, the occupation became messy.

Could we drive into Iran in strength to their facilities and destroy them? Absolutely. We surround them on two sides. Drive in, wipe them out, drive out and let them deal with the consequences.

Doyle said...

I won't be lectured by wingnuts on my analysis of intelligence findings. I thought the Colin Powell case was bogus at the time, and I was right.

Doyle said...

I've also said on this board on several occasions that Iran did not have a nuclear weapons program.

I was called hopelessly naive.

AlphaLiberal said...

Another point about external pressure from the USA:

It makes life more difficult for reform movements inside Iran. Pointing to an outside threat allows governments to crack down on dissent and paint dissenters as tools of the foreign governments.

When people are afraid of outside forces, they rally around their leaders more and question them less (haven't we seen this here?)

If we want to see Iran liberalize, we should be the sun, not the wind.

AlphaLiberal said...

"Could we drive into Iran in strength to their facilities and destroy them? Absolutely. We surround them on two sides. Drive in, wipe them out, drive out and let them deal with the consequences."

Um, dumb shit, we'd all be dealing with the consequences. You don't like $3/gallon oil? How $6-10/gallon?

Have you ever heard of the Straits of Hormuz? Think Iran has some guns there? Plans to take out tankers?

Really, this statement is breathtakingly stupid and irresponsible but dismayingly typical of the right wing.

Belligerence does not make us safer. It creates more enemies and more problems for us.

Really. Dumber than a post.

Crimso said...

"I've also said on this board on several occasions that Iran did not have a nuclear weapons program"

According to this latest NIE, you were wrong.

Doyle said...

Currently, moron.

Crimso said...

"Have you ever heard of the Straits of Hormuz? Think Iran has some guns there? Plans to take out tankers?"

Uh, dumbshit, have you ever heard of the Iran-Iraq war? Reflagged Kuwaiti tankers? The 1980's? Think they had the same ideas then? Think it worked?

Crimso said...

Gee, moron, guess I missed that word in your comment.

Roger said...

Ddoyle: so in other words you dont accept ANY intelligence reports; rather, you rely on your insight, acumen, education, charm and wit to make decisions involving the national security. Please stay with baseball analysis.

And lest I be misinterpreted: I contend that intelligence should be only one of many considerations in making political judgments about going to war.

Crimso said...

"Iran did not"

Hey moron, "did not" and "does not" don't mean the same thing.

Robert Cook said...

"My how quickly and conveniently the philistines do their forgetting. The entire Clinton administration was saying it in the 1998-2000 time frame, and they continued to say it right up to the 2003 invasion. And it was based on the intel that they had."

Even if the Clinton Administration said it then that didn't make it so, and I'll point out the Clinton Administration didn't launch an illegal war of aggression against Iraq, (although their sporadic bombing sorties in Iraq and ongoing sanctions against Iraq throughout the 90s constitute war crimes in themselves). It's easy to make assertions if you don't intend to follow them up with action, and in such cases one must assume the assertions are usually intended to play to the base at home or to serve some other political purpose; just because they said it at the time doesn't prove they believed it or that they had intel to support it.

Had Clinton proposed invading Iraq during his term, he would have been as obligated as Li'l Butch to support his claims of necessity with necessary proof, and he would have been as unable to do so. But, as he didn't do so, there's no point in referencing him in trying to excuse Li'l Butch's crimes.

Doyle said...

It's like if I said "I told you the Knicks were not good"

The assessment took place in the past, but the condition persists. You wouldn't think I was saying the Knicks have never ever been good. Even though it seems that way.

So I said Iran "didn't" have a nuke program. Which was true when I said it and remains true.

But cheer up this means no catastrophic invasion of Middle Eastern countries under false pretenses!

Kevin said...

AlphaLiberal, I'm not part of the right wing at all, but please feel free to believe it if it makes you happy and warm inside, "defending the world against right-wing lies".

I'm merely pointing out that Frederson's breathless assertion that we can't do anything to Iran is bogus. We can hurt Iran very badly, especially with the forces we have in Iraq already, even though it would weaken their mission in Iraq. Note that I am not necessarily advocating that we do this. But the fact that we can is not lost upon Iran and to unilaterally disavow this capability is stupid diplomacy. The mullahs are not happy peaceful Canadians and we shouldn't treat them as such.

Calling me a dumbshit and then talking about Iran's fantastic capabilities in the Straits of Hormuz just exposes your own ignorance. Iran has tried this before during the TEN years of the Iran-Iraq war and it didn't work all that well.

But hey, what do I know, I'm just a right wing liar. This is the amazing part about uber-liberal partisans - you don't have to engage with your opponent's arguments just because he is a right-winger. You just get to ignore the arguments instead.

Kevin said...

Re: The Straits of Hormuz, here is an interesting read:
Operation Praying Mantis

Roger said...

Doyle: without getting involved as to the when you said what, I really am curious: how did you KNOW (100% sure) that Iran didn't have a nuclear weapons program, and upon what did you base that?

Doyle said...

I doubted their technical capacity to do it and I believed that from the Iranian standpoint the cost/benefit of doing it was unfavorable.

I'm also one of those people who doesn't think that the people in charge of Iran are really suicidal.

But I didn't claim 100% certainty.

Sloanasaurus said...

So I said Iran "didn't" have a nuke program. Which was true when I said it and remains true.

If they don't why do they continue to enrich uranium?

The NIE report is just a dopey parsing of hairs designed to allow the left in this country to pounce of something that is meaningless.

So Iran has two things going on: 1) a nuclear weapons program and 2) a uranium enrichment program.

If 95% of exploding a nuclear weapon is having the fissurable material to do it, what difference does it make if they "halt" the nuclear weapons program since in this case the weapons program does not apparently include the uranium enrichment part. What then is Iran's nuclear weapons program other than a program set up to build a weapon once they have the material to do it with - i.e. the rest of the 5% of the 100% required to get a nuke.

Therefore, it seems natural that you would halt such a program before you complete the uranium enrichment program.

Why then is the left jumping on the Administration for this. Does the left think they we should let Iran enrich uranium carte blanche? Is the left so filled with BDS that they are easily fooled by Iran into believing that halting the nuclear weapons program means they have stopped pursuing nuclear weapons?

Hmm...

Crimso said...

"But cheer up this means no catastrophic invasion of Middle Eastern countries under false pretenses!"


Why would this cheer me up? You know that I love the prospect of GWB killing more "brown people."

knoxwhirled said...

from the Iranian standpoint the cost/benefit of doing it was unfavorable.

Sure, it might be--while their hold on power is firm.

But the Iranian people are not so happy of late with the ultra-fundamentalist regime, and its grip is considered increasingly tenuous.

Seems to me this should drastically inform anyone's estimate of what Ahmadinejad et al are prepared to do with nukes, should they get the chance to make them. Because, really, it turns it into a what do we have to lose scenario for them, should the Iranian people decide to kick them out of power.

Rich B said...

Estimates of AL's and Doyle's intelligence are being revised downward, based on careful analysis of their recent posts.

George said...

We now interrupt this regularly scheduled debate for the following message...

Last night I started reading Reclaiming History, Vincent Bugliosi's 1,612 page anvil hard report of the Kennedy assassination.

A few items:

* A month before JFK's trip, a mob spit on Adlai Stevenson and hit him on the head with a picket sign.

* The morning of the assassination a full-page ad in a Dallas paper essentially accused Kennedy of treason.

* Evangelists had called JFK "the antichrist, an enemy of God and religion" and that vulgar jokes about him were commonplace, according to an Atlanta Constitution editorial. "This hatred could focus on almost anything the President proposed."

* The Dallas FBI office knew of Oswald and suspected he was dangerous but did not share this information with the police, as this was not FBI policy.

* Public trust in US leaders has fallen from 76 percent in 1963 to 36 percent in 2004.

* Since Lincoln, one in three Presidents has been the target of an assassination attempt.

* Of course, Oswald did it. Warren Commission Report? Incredibly thorough. Tons of evidence. Motive? He was a self-avowed Marxist-Leninist who hated the US and its leaders and wanted to change history.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I'll point out the Clinton Administration didn't launch an illegal war of aggression against Iraq

You’re correct. He did that against Serbia.

Hoosier Daddy said...

It makes life more difficult for reform movements inside Iran. Pointing to an outside threat allows governments to crack down on dissent and paint dissenters as tools of the foreign governments.

Alpha, the Iranian government hangs gays as a matter of law. Do you honestly believe the mullahs require outside pressure to crack down on a reform movement?

Sloanasaurus said...

Of course, Oswald did it. Warren Commission Report? Incredibly thorough. Tons of evidence. Motive? He was a self-avowed Marxist-Leninist who hated the US and its leaders and wanted to change history.

It's worthwhile for anyone interested in this subject to view the actual autopsy photos of Kennedy. One of the conspiracy theories is that the exit wound did not match the entry wound on the back. The theories were based on the picture drawn by the medical examiner. However, when you see the photos, it is obviously clear that the drawing was wrong and that there is a clear path for the bullet, debunking totally the conspiracy that there was another shooter.

SGT Ted said...

Seeing as how Iran is already commiting acts of war by killing our troops in Iraq and arming Al Queda, I could give a shit about Irans nuclear program being "used" a a reason to escalate.

I agree with Joe Leiberman; It's a disgrace that you leftards are more concerned about what President Bush *might* do to Iran than you are that Iran is killing American soldiers in Iraq.

AlphaLiberal said...

Kevin:

I took your words at their rather shocking face value, rather than reading less malicious intent into them. Glad you're not really calling for an invasion of a third Muslim nation.

But, taken at face value, your words were crazy.

And, I did respond directly to your point. I may have gone over the top in terms of calling you a dumbshit, but we have a lot of people who seem to think that foreign policy starts and ends with the military and are eager to attack a long list of nations. That's dumb. Not in our interests.

We should learn that belligerence in foreign policy is not helpful (and, granted, in net discussions, also).
----
I'm reviewing the praying mantis link. Will remind you that there is a danger in fighting the last war and expecting an enemy to repeat their tactics.

Henry said...

One thing that the U.S. military has demonstrated that it can do very well, almost under any circumstances, is decimate an enemy's command and control system.

Enemy leaders being part of that.

If Iran's leaders are worried about being attacked (and if they believe the Doyles and Freders of the world, they must be), I doubt they are reassuring themselves with the thought of eventual U.S. humiliation long after they've been pulled from their individual spider holes.

Personally I think military action against Iran would be unbelievably stupid. I also think it is extremely unlikely, despite the (paranoid/eschatological) fantasies of the far left and right. But our refusal to rule it out is to the benefit of the diplomatic solution.

SGT Ted said...

illegal war of aggression against Iraq

What complete horseshit. You sound like those Communist loons from ANSWER.

SGT Ted said...

We should learn that belligerence in foreign policy is not helpful.

This is ignorant conjecture.

SGT Ted said...

We should learn that belligerence in foreign policy is not helpful.

Are really that dense?

Because everyone knows that Neville Chamberlin was right and Winston Churchill was wrong.

Freder Frederson said...

I'm merely pointing out that Frederson's breathless assertion that we can't do anything to Iran is bogus.

I said our army (and I'll add the ground forces of the Marine Corps) can't do anything--or very little. We certainly have the capability to bomb the hell out of Iran and conduct some special operations. But to claim that we have the ability to launch any kind of ground offensive is just sheer fantasy.

Our forces in Iraq are 100% occupied with their current mission. Not to mention that, even if it were possible, I doubt the Iraqis would take too kindly to us using their country as a base to launch incursions against Iran.

former law student said...

I'll point out the Clinton Administration didn't launch an illegal war of aggression against Iraq

You’re correct. He did that against Serbia.


Do you mean when NATO forces intervened in Kosovo? Because otherwise this statement makes no sense at all.

We should learn that belligerence in foreign policy is not helpful.

Are really that dense?

Because everyone knows that Neville Chamberlin was right and Winston Churchill was wrong.


I don't see your point. If you're saying that it's vital to stop invaders of sovereign nations, like the Third Reich, you wish that the US invasion of Iraq had been stopped by Iraq's allies?

jeff said...

"Do you mean when NATO forces intervened in Kosovo? Because otherwise this statement makes no sense at all."

Yes. Because that's what happened. Clinton was just pulled along for the ride.

"I don't see your point. If you're saying that it's vital to stop invaders of sovereign nations, like the Third Reich, you wish that the US invasion of Iraq had been stopped by Iraq's allies?"

Yeah you do. I assume there is a reason you're playing stupid. No idea what the reason you are comparing the USA with the Third Reich. Astonishing on many levels, one of the least is the shallow thinking that equalizes the two entirely based on invasion.

Fen said...

AlphaLiberal: Well, Bush's position here doesn't make sense. If they succeeded in making Iran stop, why continue to beat the drum for war? Why all the threats of military action if the nuclear threat is not there?

Very simple really.

1) We haven't succeeded in making Iran stop its WMD program. Its only been suspended. Iran is counting on another 12 years of UN diplomacy & 14 resolutions.

2) When riot police are called in to intimidate anarchists, they don't leave after the anarchists are cowed. This should be obvious to anyone.

Alpha: but we have a lot of people who seem to think that foreign policy starts and ends with the military and are eager to attack a long list of nations. That's dumb.

No, that statement is dumb. 12 years of UN scrutiny re Iraq, along with 6 months with the UN Security Council before the liberation. A push for multilateral negotiations between N Korea and its regional neighbors. Funding and covert ops for revolutionaries in Iran... Its hyperbole to claim we don't apply soft power to these problems. The use of force is always our last resort, despite your distortion.

Fen said...

But our refusal to rule it out is to the benefit of the diplomatic solution.

I would say that ruling out the use of force weakens our hand re any diplomatic solution. Paper Tiger and all.

What I din't get is why the anti-war crowd doesn't champion the use of soft power more vigorously. The UNs approach to Iraq was broken. If people want to avoid war with Iran, they should hold US/Euro diplomats feet to the fire. The UN diplomatic approach to Iran is a joke.

Hoosier Daddy said...

You’re correct. He did that against Serbia.

Do you mean when NATO forces intervened in Kosovo? Because otherwise this statement makes no sense at all.


Oh yes silly me. I didn't realize that Kosovo was a NATO member and that the NATO charter required our intervention on thier behalf when Serbia attacked them. Of course we also got Congressional approval and UN authorization as well.

Wait....

Nice try but we have a bigger NATO contribution in Iraq than we did with Kosovo. A reading of the NATO charter certainly doesn't lend any legitimacy to Clinton's decision to start bombing the Serbs.

Your serve.

SGT Ted said...

I don't see your point. If you're saying that it's vital to stop invaders of sovereign nations, like the Third Reich, you wish that the US invasion of Iraq had been stopped by Iraq's allies?

My point is that promises from dictators are empty.

That you compare the perfectly legal liberation of Iraq to the Nazi invasion of France proves that you are pretty dense. Or maybe just confused. Good thing you are a *former* law student.

Henry said...

I said - But our refusal to rule it out is to the benefit of the diplomatic solution.

Fen said - I would say that ruling out the use of force weakens our hand re any diplomatic solution. Paper Tiger and all.

Fen, you and I have now said the exact same thing.

Freder Frederson said...

You’re correct. He did that against Serbia.

We intervened in Kosovo to stop an ongoing genocide, a legitimate justification for war. What was the legitimate justification under international law for the invasion of Iraq (and don't say the breach of the UN sanctions, they didn't authorize the use of force)?

Kevin said...

AlphaLiberal, there's no need to find my words about how to invade Iran shocking. I mean what I said. Frederson notwithstanding, it is possible to invade Iran from Iraq and Afghanistan and destroy their nuclear weapon facilities and withdraw. I do not advocate it at this time, but I do not rule it out either. There may come a time when it is necessary. That you find it shocking to "invade a third Muslim nation" (whatever that means) says more about you than about me.

Kevin said...

Frederson:
We intervened in Kosovo to stop an ongoing genocide, a legitimate justification for war.

According to who? Why are we not invading Sudan now? Would you support that?

Doyle said...

it is possible to invade Iran from Iraq and Afghanistan and destroy their nuclear weapon facilities

You mean the facilities that would be used to make nuclear weapons if that's what they were doing?

Fen said...

/my bad Henry, I read your post wrong.

You are right: Keeping the option of Force on the table makes our diplomatic hand stronger.

Its odd that those who strongly advocate a diplomatic solution instead of war don't seem to appreciate that. Maybe its because
they want Diplomacy instead of War, but then Appeasement instead of Diplomacy once War is taken off the table ...

Ann,
Best analysis of NIE I've seem today.


/via instapundit

Hoosier Daddy said...

We intervened in Kosovo to stop an ongoing genocide, a legitimate justification for war.

Under which aspect of 'international law'?

What was the legitimate justification under international law for the invasion of Iraq (and don't say the breach of the UN sanctions, they didn't authorize the use of force)?

Interesting because the UN didn't authorize the use of force against Serbia either nor did the US Congress.

Also under what part of the NATO charter authorized NATO to enagage in hostilities for a non-NATO member?

AlphaLiberal said...

There's the right wing fantasy world, as so often provided by Fen:
"The use of force is always our last resort, despite your distortion."

And then there's reality:

'One source, who has close links to US intelligence, said that members of Vice President Dick Cheney’s staff continued to call for military strikes against Iran “on a daily basis”.'

Link

More reality:

* - Weapons inspections were continuing in Iraq, had found nothing, but Bush had the inspectors yanked to launch his invasion.

* - The right wing continues to demand that our government not talk to our enemies. That rules out most diplomacy in favor of violent means.

Doyle said...

I'm surprised the "best analysis" of the NIE that Fen has seen came via Instapundit, and in that very post the "Classical Values" guy links back to Instapundit!

It's nice that the heartbroken chickenhawks have such a close-knit support system.

Fen said...

Freder: What was the legitimate justification under international law for the invasion of Iraq

Uh Freder... are you claiming our ability to project force should be limited by the People & Nations that write & vote on International "Law"?

they didn't authorize the use of force)?

...and are you claiming our ability to project force should be limited by a UN "AUMF" [Authorization for Use of Military Force]?

If so, you just disqualified yourself from this conversation. We have to have a common set of reference. And yours is waaay out in Left Field.

Have a lovely day.

Freder Frederson said...

Could we drive into Iran in strength to their facilities and destroy them? Absolutely. We surround them on two sides. Drive in, wipe them out, drive out and let them deal with the consequences.

As we used to say in third grade. "We and whose army?" Iraq has almost three times the population and much tougher terrain. Almost all of our ground forces are tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan. Where exactly are these four fresh divisions (assuming that would be sufficient) going to come from? Not to mention their supplies.

Kevin said...

AlphaLiberal, I suspect that you think that your frequent use of "right wing" makes your point more credible. It probably does - on democraticunderground.com

Over here, it may have less impact. However feel free to continue to use it - it brings levity to the discussion.

Revenant said...

Is anyone switching sides over this?

Well, I imagine members of the side that is eager for war with Iran will likely switch. Of course, that side doesn't actually exist, at least not outside of the imaginary world of Democratic talking points.

The two actual sides -- the people concerned about Iranian nukes versus the people who aren't -- have no reason to switch. The former will remain concerned (since the NIE simply says that Iran mothballed its nuke program for the time being) and the latter will remain unconcerned.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Almost all of our ground forces are tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We have 160K in Iraq and another
30K in Afghanistan. Are you saying that almost all our ground forces constitute 190,000 troops?

AlphaLiberal said...

Belligerence is not helpful.

And, once again, Sgt Ted, we are not fighting Hitler. This is not WWII and the Islamic terrorism is no where near the threat that Hitler, Tojo and Mussolini were.

Really, you guys keep seeing Hitlers behind every tree and you try to inflate the power and influence of our opponents beyond all reason. There's no comparison between al Qaeda or Iran and the Axis Powers.

And, belligerence toward the Muslim world, when dealing with a marginal group, plays into the hands of the militants. It makes them more sympathetic, more of their David to our Goliath.

Belligerence also drives away the civilized world who, correctly, see our leaders as favoring war and violence over diplomacy and peace.

Joe said...

I will go with Sloan in suggesting that Iran's suspension of their nuclear weapons program could simply mean all the engineering and manufacturing work had been done and all that was left was obtaining fissible material. So why not suspend it? (But why not, then, brag about it? Well, because it's a suspension in name only--clearly the Iranians still had something to hide.)

Freder Frederson said...

Uh Freder... are you claiming our ability to project force should be limited by the People & Nations that write & vote on International "Law"?

Considering that the U.S. was the prime force in shaping the current rules for what constitutes a legal war, yes.

The rules are pretty simple, defensive, preemptive, and wars to stop an ongoing genocide are justified. Wars of aggression and preventative wars are not. Granted there is a fine line between a preemptive and preventative war (and we can argue until doomsday which the Iraq war was), but since the U.S. is the country that pretty much insisted on the standards after WWII, we should have the good grace to live up to them.

And just like we don't torture, Bush has insisted all along that the war against Iraq was one of preemption, and thus legitimate under international law.

AlphaLiberal said...

Hoosier Daddy, please pay attention. Our ground force are over-taxed by the occupation of two countries. That's why people are on their third tours.

Plus, we have a lot of equipment and munitions being depleted. Good for the war contractors to keep blowing that stuff up, but bad for our readiness and bad for our treasury.

AlphaLiberal said...

I will go with Sloan in suggesting that Iran's suspension of their nuclear weapons program could simply mean all the engineering and manufacturing work had been done and all that was left was obtaining fissible material.

Speculation, meaning nothing.

There are a dozen explanations.

Freder Frederson said...

We have 160K in Iraq and another
30K in Afghanistan. Are you saying that almost all our ground forces constitute 190,000 troops?


Add another 75K or so immediately outside those countries supplying logistical support. Multiply that number by 2.5 (and that number should ideally be 3) to account for those preparing for deployment or just returning from deployment, and you get an idea of how short on ground troops we are. Not to mention the vehicles and other equipment that are waiting for depot level maintenance stateside.

AlphaLiberal said...

Kevin: "right wing" is a legitimate term and describes a common way of thinking.

In the modern context, right wingers espouse fantasy world views where Osama bin Laden dwarfs Hitler, Plame didn't work for the CIA, WMD were actually in Iraq and deficits don't matter.

It also reflects an increasingly authoritarian and anti-democratic mindset that is anathema to the American value system.

"Right wing" is much shorter.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hoosier Daddy, please pay attention. Our ground force are over-taxed by the occupation of two countries. That's why people are on their third tours.

Alpha, save your smartass comment for your kid or pet. Freder stated that almost all our ground forces were committed to Iraq and Afghanistan. That comes to 190,000 troops.

If the committment of 190,000 soldiers in a 4 year period in what amounts to a low-intensity counter-insurgency is over-taxing our military, there is something seriously wrong.

jeff said...

In my fevered imagination, I see a stereotyped world where "right wing" is a legitimate term and describes a common way of thinking.

In the modern context, right wingers espouse fantasy world views where Osama bin Laden dwarfs Hitler, Plame didn't work for the CIA, WMD were actually in Iraq and deficits don't matter.

It also reflects an increasingly authoritarian and anti-democratic mindset that is anathema to the American value system."

Fixed that for you. Oh, and who said Plame didnt work for the CIA? I missed that memo.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Islamic terrorism is no where near the threat that Hitler, Tojo and Mussolini were.

19 Islamic terrorists killed more people in less time than the Imperial Japanese Navy did at Pearl Harbor.

A couple of Islamic terrorists and a speedboat almost sunk a US destroyer.

You know, technology certainly allows a terrorist organization to achieve a certain parity that Hitler or Tojo would have appreciated had it been available.

All it takes is one with a nuke but I guess that's a fantasy scenario, like flying planes into buildings or something.

Fen said...

alpha: Weapons inspections were continuing in Iraq, had found nothing, but Bush had the inspectors yanked to launch his invasion.

Wrong. Saddam didn't start cooperating fully with weapons inspectors until American troops started pre-staging next door to him. Bush "yanked" the inspectors because Saddam was playing them to delay/stop the imminent invasion. He would then outlast sanctions and UN scrutiny, and eventually restart his WMD programs. Worse, we gave him a good look at our inspections regimes over the years, which showed him how he could defeat them next time around. He would have broken his word as soon as we dialed down our projection of force.

We eventually would have been looking at 1) a rogue nation that 2) is seeking WMDs 3) for use by terrorist orgs in proxy attacks against the West.

The right wing continues to demand that our government not talk to our enemies. That rules out most diplomacy in favor of violent means.

Yes Alpha. See, when your enemy is AT WAR with you, they are not interested in resolving the conflict with "talk". We've gone beyond the Damnit Iran! Stop killing American citizens and American troops! part of Diplomacy.

...so it would be really helpfull if Democrats like Pelosi DO NOT meet with Iran and encourage "peace talk", as she did when visiting Iran's proxy, Syria.

Defining Leftist Treachery

I have been to Paris, Kerry said. I have talked with both delegations at the peace talks, that is to say the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Provisional Revolutionary Government and of all eight of Madam Binh's points

AlphaLiberal said...

Revenant sez:
"Well, I imagine members of the side that is eager for war with Iran will likely switch. Of course, that side doesn't actually exist, at least not outside of the imaginary world of Democratic talking points."

TIME magazine disagrees:
"Prelude to an Attack on Iran"

Then there's
"The Case for Bombing Iran"

Care to retract your argument?

Doyle said...

They (i.e. Novak) claimed Plame wasn't covert, which was false.

AlphaLiberal said...

Fen foams:
'...so it would be really helpfull if Democrats like Pelosi DO NOT meet with Iran and encourage "peace talk", as she did when visiting Iran's proxy, Syria. '

Who else will you have peace talks with? People at peace? Kind of defeats the purpose.

Plus, why didn't you attack Rice/Bush for talking to Syria what, just last week?

Freder Frederson said...

If the committment of 190,000 soldiers in a 4 year period in what amounts to a low-intensity counter-insurgency is over-taxing our military, there is something seriously wrong.

It isn't a low intensity counter-insurgency but a rather intense one. By focusing on deaths(and only U.S. deaths at that), rather than overall casualties, the so called liberal media has played beautifully into the hands of the administration that this war is a low-level, pain free war that is almost completely cost free. "Hey, less than 4000 people have died". If instead we said "There have been 35,000 U.S. casualties", people wouldn't be so passive.

Fen said...

freder: Wars of aggression and preventative wars are not. Granted there is a fine line between a preemptive and preventative war (and we can argue until doomsday which the Iraq war was)

Not us Freder, the international lawyers. You really don't get it, do you?

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

Look, AlphaLiberal and Freder are right on the ground force question. It will never be considered until and unless our military commanders felt that Iraq was secure. Whatever the reported yawping from Dick Cheney's staff, the Bush Administration has alway aligned itself to the strategic concerns of the Defense department.

Rumsfeld stubbornly tried to fight Iraq with a light, agile force, to preserve the option of a second front (a lesson learned from Vietnam -- just not the right one), but with the surge on, you can forget about that option now.

But in no way can you preclude the use of military force from the air or with special forces, targeted toward reactors or command centers. Yes, we do have a military in the area that is capable of putting pressure on Iran.

Freder Frederson said...

so it would be really helpfull if Democrats like Pelosi DO NOT meet with Iran and encourage "peace talk", as she did when visiting Iran's proxy, Syria.

Hey fen, didn't you get the memo? Ever since Syria showed up at the Peace Conference in Annapolis last week, you're supposed to give this particular talking point a rest (at least for a couple weeks).

Crimso said...

"This is not WWII and the Islamic terrorism is no where near the threat that Hitler, Tojo and Mussolini were."

How many innocent Americans were killed by the former vs. the latter?

AlphaLiberal said...

Hoosier Daddy: No shit. We all know that small groups with big financing can wreak havoc.

But the comparison to Hitler is a joke.

And the lesson is:

- Presidents shouldn't ignore warnings from the intelligence services like the August 6, 2001 PDB bin Laden determined to strike in US. If Bush had acted, 9/11 might never have happened. But he was on vacation and no-one acted.

- We should address a root cause of the problem: Saudi Arabia. But just this morning, Bush couldn't even be bothered to speak out against the lashing of the rape victim there.

- We should not make al Qaeda's job easier by invading and occupying an oil-producing Arab nation on false pretenses.

Now the right wing wants more war and somehow you think this will reduce hatred of our nation. Amazing "thinking" process.

Freder Frederson said...

Not us Freder, the international lawyers. You really don't get it, do you?

Yeah, that's right, when Justice Jackson went to Nuremburg and demanded that the charges include waging aggressive war, he was a loose cannon advancing the agenda of a cabal of international lawyers, not the U.S. government.

Hey was he Jewish or just a Jewish stooge? I'm sure Cedarford can fill us in on this.

SGT Ted said...

Yea I've heard all the twaddle that Bin Laden isn't such a big threat. It sounds just like the isolationists prior to our entry into WW2. That you can't or won't recognize the threat shows your ignorance and not any insight into anything. Bin Laden had one country doing his bidding, we squished them there, Now, the leftovers are in Pakistan (nukes) and were active in Iraq.

They fight low intensity conflict because it works in fooling people like you into thinking its not that big of a deal. Or that it's little isolated incidents with no connection. Nevermind how the intel community and the military community had been warning of these threats for around 35 years, amongst the bombings of our embassies and attacks and kidnapping sof our servicemen and women. Nothing to get excited about; those lives aren't worth stopping them.

Besides, if Bin laden isn't such a threat, then what's the big deal about him flying a couple of jet liners into just 3 of our buildings? Whats the big deal if W didn't see it coming? So what, right? We should just sweep up the debris and let the FBI deal with it, right?

Besides the surge isn't working because there's no threat to America. Yea.

Again, your the type who thinks that Iran killing our soldiers is better than Bush using military force to stop it. You are a glittering jewel of collosal ignorance.

Fen said...

Alpha: Who else will you have peace talks with? People at peace? Kind of defeats the purpose.

Now Alpha gets to tells us what concessions Democrats would offer Iran to not dominate the Middle East with nuclear weapons... This should be good.

Plus, why didn't you attack Rice/Bush for talking to Syria what, just last week?

Because 1) Syria is on a different track than Iran. We have a different approach for proxies, and 2) its the Bush administration's Foreign Policy, not the micromanaging congress.

Crimso said...

"Plus, why didn't you attack Rice/Bush for talking to Syria what, just last week?"

For the obvious reason that it is their place to do so if they so choose. Pelosi, not.

AlphaLiberal said...

"How many innocent Americans were killed by the former vs. the latter?"

I don't know and doubt you do, either. Are you claiming innocent (civilian probably better term) Americans weren't killed in WWII?

How about civilians of any nation? Hmmm?

Now, ask yourself:
- How does the al Qaeda air force compare to the Axis air forces? Navy? Army?

- How does the weapons manufacturing capability compare, AQ vs Axis?

- GDP, AQ vs Axis?

Really, your argument should be an embarrassment to you.

SGT Ted said...

But just this morning, Bush couldn't even be bothered to speak out against the lashing of the rape victim there.

I'll start worrying about that after NOW gets involved with womens rights in Islamic countries.

Crimso said...

"Presidents shouldn't ignore warnings from the intelligence services like the August 6, 2001 PDB bin Laden determined to strike in US. If Bush had acted, 9/11 might never have happened. But he was on vacation and no-one acted."

I am certain FDR knew Japan was going to attack U.S. interests (but probably never dreamed it would be Pearl Harbor). If he had acted , Pearl Harbor would never have happened.

AlphaLiberal said...

For the obvious reason that it is their place to do so if they so choose. Pelosi, not.

Really? Where did that rule come from? It was invented out of whole cloth to bash Pelosi. Because members of Congress, of both parties, have been visiting other nations for a very very long time, including Republicans.

Pelosi's visit was coordinated with the administration. It's just another right wing smear job to make up this new rule.

Fen said...

You know what, its not worth wasting my time explaining all this to Alpha and Freder - their opposition is not based on some objective principle.

Crimso said...

"Yeah, that's right, when Justice Jackson went to Nuremburg and demanded that the charges include waging aggressive war, he was a loose cannon advancing the agenda of a cabal of international lawyers, not the U.S. government."

And when you read Telford Taylor's writings, you really have to smile at the hopeless naivete. These guys really thought they could make war a thing of the past. The fact that it continued contemporaneously in spite of their efforts would have been enough for most people to realize the foolishness of such an idea.

AlphaLiberal said...

"I am certain FDR knew Japan was going to attack U.S. interests (but probably never dreamed it would be Pearl Harbor). If he had acted , Pearl Harbor would never have happened."

See, you have this idea with no basis in fact.

Me, I cited a well-established fact that Bush received warning about the 9/11 attacks more than a month in advance, as Condi Rice admitted before Congress.

And he did nothing after being warned except tell the agent, “All right, you’ve covered your ass now.”

And Americans died for his incompetence.

Crimso said...

"How does the al Qaeda air force compare to the Axis air forces? Navy? Army?"

How many divisions does the Pope have? (if I may be permitted to quote a hero of the Left)

SGT Ted said...

Since Alpha can't grasp the methods of low intensity conflict used in the furtherance of Islamists stated goals, I really can't have much of a discussion with it.

It wants to ignore what has been working to help them take over countries in the ME without the need for all the trappings of conventional warfare. Which plays right into what the Islamists WANT Alpha to think; no threat here, move along. At least, until they have acheived their goals.

Sure they can't beat our military in a stand up fight, but they don't have to. They have willing tools like Alpha and Freder in their enemies nations to argue against fighting them at all, or to argue that fighting them makes "more of them", so we better not fight them, which is a backwards and unproven assertion by people with no experience whatsoever with the military, much less counter-insurgency warfare.

It like argueing with a "special perosn". I say "Tomaytos", they say "Bowling Ball!"

jeff said...

"They (i.e. Novak) claimed Plame wasn't covert, which was false."

So one guy says she wasnt covert (which is still up in the air as regards to the statute) and that means right wingers say she didnt work for the CIA. Got it.

Crimso said...

"Really? Where did that rule come from?"

I think it's in the Constitution that the President gets to determine who the Secretary of State is. Did you vote for Pelosi to conduct our foreign policy? I didn't. In fact, I didn't get the opportunity.

AlphaLiberal said...

Sgt Ted, the reference to WWIII, "appeasing" and other comparisons to Hitler are not mine, they are standard fare from the right wing, repeated here.

It's silly, absurd, stuff, and an easy target for well-deserved ridicule.

SGT Ted said...

Me, I cited a well-established fact that Bush received warning about the 9/11 attacks more than a month in advance, as Condi Rice admitted before Congress.

And he did nothing after being warned except tell the agent, “All right, you’ve covered your ass now.”



And Americans died for his incompetence."


So what? There isn't any real threat. Big deal. Get over it already. It's no excuse to do anything about it. I mean, thats your arguement. You are essentially argueing with yourself. When you have it resolved, let me know.

AlphaLiberal said...

crimso please cite where the Constitution says only the President conducts foreign policy.

It's a manufactured issue meant to damage Pelosi.

And, the initial reasoning was that we shouldn't talk to Syria. Now, it's that Congress should not talk to other nations.

Will you also be disbanding the Foreign Relations Committees?

p.s. What about all the Republicans who visited Syria?

Revenant said...

I don't know and doubt you do, either. Are you claiming innocent (civilian probably better term) Americans weren't killed in WWII?

Not by Germany. The only American civilians the Germans managed to kill during WW2 were members of the merchant marine -- who arguably weren't civilians at all.

The Japanese killed some American civilian, though.

AlphaLiberal said...

"There isn't any real threat."

Lame and dishonest. I never said that.

I said that it is not of the scale of Hitler and the axis powers, as the panicky right wing so often claims.

Crimso said...

"See, you have this idea with no basis in fact."

You can start with Costello's "The Pacific War." Quite accessible for the novice.

AlphaLiberal said...

Valerie Wilson worked for the CIA on nuclear proliferation, focused on Iran.

Only in the Right Wing Fantasy World is this not an accepted fact.

Link to a letter from CIA being read to this effect.

Revenant said...

please cite where the Constitution says only the President conducts foreign policy.

Article 2, Section 3:

[The President] shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers

The power to receive ambassadors is not listed among the powers of either Congress or the Judiciary. Ergo only the Executive may receive foreign diplomats.

Congress does have powers which impact foreign policy, of course -- they regulate trade, declare wars, and ratify (or refuse to ratify) treaties that the President gives to them. But they have no Constitutional power or right to negotiate with foreign powers, which is what is generally meant by "foreign policy".

jeff said...

"Me, I cited a well-established fact that Bush received warning about the 9/11 attacks more than a month in advance, as Condi Rice admitted before Congress."

How are you doing with the well established fact that we receive hundreds of warning about attacks and the only way to be sure is to clamp down on everything. How about the well established fact that you would have been screaming impeachment and throwing scorn on the idea that a few people will crash planes into buildings using box cutters?

jeff said...

"Valerie Wilson worked for the CIA on nuclear proliferation, focused on Iran.

Only in the Right Wing Fantasy World is this not an accepted fact."

Saw where your link was to so I didn't bother. The question was: did she fall under the statute as written. Since no one has been charged and since we know where the leak was from in the State Department, I would assume no.

SGT Ted said...

No one competent from the right argues Valerie Plame didn't work for the CIA as an analyst or that even at one point she had been covert. What has always been disputed is her status as a covert agent when her identity became known thru Bob Novak, who was told by Richard Armitage, as it applies to the law. Joe Wilson is a liar who contradicted himself in sworn testimony in front of the 9/11 commission.

You know that too, but you choose to ignore it.

Crimso said...

"What has always been disputed is her status as a covert agent when her identity became known"

As I often have to remind some of my family members, when you're doing something you're not supposed to be doing (or, in this case, something covert), best not to attract attention to yourself.

Revenant said...

I love the idea that "Osama bin Laden plans to attack the United States" counts as a warning about 9/11.

Three hundred million people. tens of millions of square miles of land. Target unknown, attackers unknown.

I guess Bush could have just thrown all of the Muslims in America into prison (without charges, of course) and that would have stopped the attacks. But would the people who can't stop sniveling about Guantanamo Bay -- after 9/11, during a war against those who staged it -- really have accepted Bush's unilateral decision to do such a thing?

Oh, wait, there was also that rumor that bin Laden planned to "hijack airliners". So I guess Bush could have assumed that was the attack, and could simply have forbidden any Muslim in America from boarding a plane. I'm sure the folks who shit their panties at the thought of subjecting an Arab Muslim male to higher scrutiny than a 70-year-old white Baptist woman would have been totally willing to go along with that plan.

Yeah... right. A good chunk of America is still too willfully stupid to see radical Islam as a threat to America after 9/11 happened. The idea that Bush could have taken strong action against them before 9/11 is laughable.

garage mahal said...

Saw where your link was to so I didn't bother. The question was: did she fall under the statute as written. Since no one has been charged and since we know where the leak was from in the State Department, I would assume no.

How bout this -- don't out anyone working at the CIA period. Sound reasonable? Or is there is a secret list known only to the Right that has the appropriate personnel vetted for media release?

Freder Frederson said...

They have willing tools like Alpha and Freder in their enemies nations to argue against fighting them at all, or to argue that fighting them makes "more of them", so we better not fight them, which is a backwards and unproven assertion by people with no experience whatsoever with the military, much less counter-insurgency warfare.

You know when have I ever objected to fighting Al Qaeda (and not wanting to torture them doesn't count)? The war with Iraq had nothing to do with Al Qaeda or OBL. In fact, in my opinion, it harmed our efforts against AQ.

You need to focus. That is also the problem with Bush, he doesn't even finish one fight before he is picking a fight somewhere else.

AlphaLiberal said...

Revenant huffs:

"I guess Bush could have just thrown all of the Muslims in America into prison.."

That's all you can think about? You go from "go cut wood and play with Barney" to "lock up all the muslims in the country?"

Nothing occurs to you in between? Glad you're not in charge. Yeesh.

Here, I'll quote Richard Clarke:
"Well, I think that's facile to say that, but I will contrast for you the period December 1999, when we had similar information that an Al-Qaeda terrorist attack was going to take place, and President Clinton ordered his national security adviser to have meetings almost every day with the head of the FBI, head of the CIA, the Attorney-General. They would then go back to their departments and shake the trees and find out every little detail, and we succeeded in stopping three planned attacks that were going to take place around the Millennium. Contrast that with June and July of 2001, when we had similar information that something was about to happen, but the President did not ask the national security adviser to run any meetings. She did not run any meetings with the Attorney-General and the head of the FBI and the head of the CIA, and the defence department, to try to stop the attacks. I did what I could at my level, but there is a big difference between having the national security adviser holding meetings every other day at the request of the President, and having me do it."

Revenant said...

How bout this -- don't out anyone working at the CIA period. Sound reasonable?

It sounds entirely unreasonable. There's this little thing called the first amendment -- perhaps you've heard of it?

The law against identifying CIA staff was narrowly tailored for that exact reason. It was meant to protect the lives of overseas covert operatives. It was not meant to spare Joe Wilson from embarrassment. The former is a valid reason for restricting speech; the latter is not.

Or is there is a secret list known only to the Right that has the appropriate personnel vetted for media release?

Novak got the name from Richard Armitage, checked it with the CIA, and was not told that releasing it would be illegal -- for a fairly obvious reason, which is that releasing it wasn't illegal. That's why Armitage isn't currently in Federal Pound Me in The Ass Prison right now.

Revenant said...

Nothing occurs to you in between?

Describe exactly what you would have done to prevent 9/11, Alpha.

I'll be patiently waiting. It'll be interesting to hear you come up with someone other than your usual two responses of "kiss terrorist ass" and "blame Bush for everything".

jeff said...

"How bout this -- don't out anyone working at the CIA period. Sound reasonable?

Works for me. Hasn't worked for your side in the past either though. And would you suggest we not know the identity of the director? Should that be done in secret?

"Or is there is a secret list known only to the Right that has the appropriate personnel vetted for media release?"

You DO know the reason why that law was past in the first place, right? But to answer your question, I expect there is a secret list out there somewhere. Or I hope so. The problem in this case is it wasn't known only to the Right (if that is how you define those who work in our state department, if only that was so) Otherwise none of this would have come up.

jeff said...

"They would then go back to their departments and shake the trees and find out every little detail, and we succeeded in stopping three planned attacks that were going to take place around the Millennium."

Tell us about those planned attacks and how they were foiled. How did they possibly miss the 9/11 planning as it was clearly going on during this time.

jeff said...

"I did what I could at my level, but there is a big difference between having the national security adviser holding meetings every other day at the request of the President, and having me do it.""


IT'S NOT MY FAULT! IT'S SOMEONE ELSES! NOT ENOUGH MEETINGS! Because if they had more meetings someone would have said "Hey, if someone is planning this huge terrorist attack, we should probably know about it so we can stop it" And the people in the meetings would then say "Why yes, we think some people are going to fly airplanes into the WTC on 9/11. Are you asking us to look into this?"
"If it isnt too much trouble. OK people, we are going to make this a action item for the next meeting and put it in our powerpoint presentation"

Yes, that should have done it.

AlphaLiberal said...

Sgt Ted dishonorably LIES:
They have willing tools like Alpha and Freder in their enemies nations to argue against fighting them at all,

I've never argued against attacking al Qaeda. I supported invading Afghanistan.

Invading and occupying Iraq is another question.
Invading Iran is another question.

You do understand that these are separate things? Al Qaeda is not a nation, Ted. It's a band of thugs and killers. And it's not running Iraq or Iran.

And for you to accuse people of working for the enemy is scurrilous.

AlphaLiberal said...

Here's the video of Condi admitting Bush was warned of the al Qaeda attack, from Youttube

hdhouse said...

It appears that the defense against the content of the NIE is "well they bungled Iraq" so why believe them now. I've read that through the entire thread.

Those speaking out in Washington fall into two camps:

1. the president is a liar
2. the intelligence community is to blame.

I just watched a round of talk shows and have had internet radio on out of Washington all day while working.

The third opion being tossed around is from the White House which says this report justifies the president's position.

I understand all positions, I think and I worked for the government in the 80s and was involved in both security and intelligence. At that time, although we had one central evil focus (soviet union) there was no politicizing and spinning the intelligence to the extent we find it today and perhaps that is the rub and the root here.

We can fairly safely say that nothing has gone right or been called on the basis of facts since perhaps the first gulf war. Clinton should had his screw ups and I'll certainly grant the right wing in here that things started to run amuck under his leadership and have just gotten worse under Mr. Bush.

One central fact however is that the military/pentagon now is in control of a vast majority of the intelligence efforts of this country, CIA/NSA notwithstanding. The friends who I talk to about this, cocktail/coffee table talk and nothing more, are of an opinion that the intelligence/political/military communities are or should be patterned after a check and balance system so that no one runs to far ahead without discussion or correction.

Could we not think about that for a bit and see if that check - now missing - might be a problem that is causing some of these issues?

jeff said...

"You do understand that these are separate things? Al Qaeda is not a nation, Ted. It's a band of thugs and killers. And it's not running Iraq or Iran.

And for you to accuse people of working for the enemy is scurrilous."

Well, we know for sure it isnt running or being supported by Iraq.
So your opinion is that even if Iran is supporting terrorism and is directly or indirectly responsible for American deaths, since it isn't Al Qaeda brand terrorism, it should be left alone?

Did Chamberlain work for Germany? Did he facilitate Germany's plans?

Two completely different questions, which of course you know. But the feigned outrage was pretty good.

John Stodder said...

The war with Iraq had nothing to do with Al Qaeda or OBL. In fact, in my opinion, it harmed our efforts against AQ.

This is a very truthy statement, but I've never seen any evidence to support it. Has anyone? This never gets challenged no matter who burps it out.

As the war unfolds, in fact, I think this substanceless rhetorical trope has become absurd. Regardless of the circumstances in the beginning of the war, right now the US is doing immense damage to AQ.

AlphaLiberal said...

Revenant and Jeff:

You're really going into hysterics over the fact that your Dear Leader is skewered by his own inaction in the face of danger.

You're actually arguing there is nothing we could have done with over a month's warning of the AQ attack.

The Richard Clarke post lays out actionable items that worked in the past and here are some of those and more:
- Rattle the agencies and put them on alert.
- Provide more staff and other resources to intelligence agencies working the AQ beat.
- Warn airlines and airports.
- Consult with allied nations and raise the alert.
- Ask the FBI if maybe they've heard anything like, I dunno, weird flight training reports.
- Ask the FBI "what can be done?"
- Ask the CIA "what can be done?"
- DO SOMETHING ELSE BESIDES STAY ON YOUR LAZY ASS VACATION.

Here's the memo Bush received. The warning specifically states "bin Laden wanted to hijack a US aircraft." As the 9/11 Commission found, there were warnings int he system.

OK, keep on defending this loser.

SGT Ted said...

AQ came to Iraq to kill Americans. You deny they did this. You are in denial as it conflicts with your leftwing construct of "Bushes illegal war of aggression, man!"

I never said AQ was a nation, but you torched that strawman good.

AQ are trying to get a nation as a base of operations. Afghanistan used to be it, they tried in Iraq and have been crushed. There are reports that AQ is in northern Pakistan.

Al Quds and Hizballah have sent units, operative and trainers to Iraq. They have killed Americans and Iraqi civilians or assisted Iraqi terrorists to kill Americans and civilians. You don't seem to want to stop them, or to deny they exist, or to claim that we can't therefore we need to go home.

Like I said, you guys are more interested in stopping Bush from attacking Iran than Iranians from killing US soldiers. That has nothing to do with AQ in and of itself. It has to do with your continued support of a troop pullout. That means surrender.

But to deny that the Islamist don't work together is to deny reality for the convenience of your construct. You won't entertain that you might be wrong, because if thats the case, Bush is right and that cannot be.

You unwittingly do the enemies psyop work by calling for a halt on the war against other terrorist groups, when there is alot of evidence that they help each other when they think it is to their advantage. You claim that they have nothing to do with one another. Based on what expertise?

You say "The war with Iraq had nothing to do with Al Qaeda or OBL. In fact, in my opinion, it harmed our efforts against AQ."

I say: you don't know what the fuck you are talking about.

If I am wrong about your positions, what the fuck are they, other than 'Bush is stooopid'?

You tell me.

SGT Ted said...

hdhouse,

Good post.

SGT Ted said...

Oh, just so you know, I'm glad that I was part of the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein. The people I know there think that those who opposed the liberation and oppose the current stability operation are terrorist sympathizers. What do you think of that, Freder and Alpha?

jeff said...

"You're really going into hysterics over the fact that your Dear Leader is skewered by his own inaction in the face of danger.

You're actually arguing there is nothing we could have done with over a month's warning of the AQ attack."

Lord. I'm not going over this again. Pull off your "I hate Bush" glasses and read all this again. Then, assuming you work for a reasonably large corporation, see what the volume of information you get in that corporation. Then ask if daily meetings telling people to do their jobs help.

If the investigative arms of the US are so inept that they require daily reminders of what their job is and why it's important, then the game is over. We might as well give up. Just rattling around papers and wasting time calling daily meetings, while comforting to you as it has the appearance of DOING SOMETHING.

Jimmy carter held daily meetings on schduling the tennis courts. So what?
It is so easy to go back in time and cherry pick good intel based on what you know now. So answer the question. With all the information coming in, there is something about hijacking airplanes. WHAT WOULD YOU DO????

If the solution is to call TSA and tell them not to let on any hijackers, even after 9/11 that wouldnt work. All sorts of stuff still getting on the planes.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Presidents shouldn't ignore warnings from the intelligence services like the August 6, 2001 PDB bin Laden determined to strike in US. If Bush had acted, 9/11 might never have happened. But he was on vacation and no-one acted

Determined to strike the US? Well that certainly narrows it down to a couple thousand targets. I'm certain that had Bush began his first 100 days wiretapping suspected terrorist phone calls, shut down all domestic air travel and had started rounding up all usual suspects you all would have been on board with that.

Wait

Alpha, you might want to realize that the ideology of Islamic terrorism is indeed just as big a threat to us as Nazism was. You might want to open your eyes and see that for the 8 years prior to Bush taking office, we were the target of numerous terrorist attacks on US soil and abroad and our only response was blowing up some tents in Afghanistan and an aspirin factory in Sudan. Do you honestly believe that had AQ owned an nuke on 9/11, NYC would be inhabitable right now?

So while you think all the hatred is because of Bush and Iraq, the rest of us grownups have memories that go father than just last week.

Revenant said...

Alpha,

Still waiting to hear what exactly you would have done to prevent 9/11 from happening.

We're all fascinated by the news that Bill Clinton's chosen terrorism expert is defending Bill Clinton -- but that doesn't answer the question I asked you, now does it? They would have "shaken the trees". They would have "asked some questions". I can see how those cutting-edge techniques were able to foil Tim McVeigh and the WTC bombing. Oh wait, they didn't.

Let's hear some details, Alpha. We know the answers to the questions now. We know what they would have gotten if they'd pressed the FBI for details: nothing. We know what they'd have gotten if they'd pressed the CIA for details: nothing. We know what the effect of "warning" airlines and airports would have been: nothing.

Oh, but those techniques "prevented three attacks". Nice lack of detail. The Bush Administration claims they've prevented dozens of attacks using the techniques you're demanding they stop using. Still think they should close Gitmo, end the wiretapping and stop waterboarding detainees?

Let's hear your plan, Alpha. We've heard Clarke's plan; we know it wouldn't have worked. What's the plan you have that would have worked?

former law student said...

AQ came to Iraq to kill Americans.

True that there was no group called "al-Qaeda in Iraq" till after we invaded Iraq.

But to deny that the Islamist don't work together is to deny reality for the convenience of your construct.

Of course Muslims work together. I remember Malays collecting for Serbian relief back in '93.

Oh, just so you know, I'm glad that I was part of the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein.

A very bad man. On a smaller scale, as bad as Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot. Which evil dictator should we go after next?

Revenant said...

Determined to strike the US? Well that certainly narrows it down to a couple thousand targets.

Also note the irony that Iran is also determined to strike the US. Alpha's chosen response? Be nicer to them. Pull all our military out of the area. Stop being mean to the terrorists they employ.

Revenant said...

A very bad man. On a smaller scale, as bad as Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot. Which evil dictator should we go after next?

I'd recommend Assad, but I doubt we could get Congressional support for it. :)

former law student said...

Also under what part of the NATO charter authorized NATO to enagage in hostilities for a non-NATO member?

Article 4.

our ability to project force should be limited by the People & Nations that write & vote on International "Law"?

The law between nations is based on custom -- what nations do. And if invading sovereign nations and tossing aside the Geneva Conventions should bite us in the ass some day -- well, we started it.

Further, the US never "appeased" Iraq, so the Chamberlain/Churchill reference is irrelevant. When Iraq attacked Kuwait, we went in and repulsed them. There was not even a credible threat of Iraqi attack when W. invaded.

Belief that the United States is a good guy should not make us assume everything we do is good.

jeff said...

"A very bad man. On a smaller scale, as bad as Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot. Which evil dictator should we go after next?"

The guy in North Korea. The one now with the nukes. Still, might be a mild winter. Maybe only a few thousand will starve.

Whoever the head prick is in Darfur.


Or we can go with the "can't get all of them, so don't get any of them".

jeff said...

oh, and those were just wishful thinking. I am not seriously suggestion we invade. Well, not North Korea anyway. Now that they have nukes.

former law student said...

My understanding is that the 190,000 ground troops in Iraq/Afghanistan are matched by a comparable number of troops back home, resting up and training for another tour of duty.

And, although the notion of a fixed one-year "tour of duty" arose during the Vietnam War, the tour of duty of WW II GIs fighting in Europe was some 270 days -- less than a year.

jeff said...

"Belief that the United States is a good guy should not make us assume everything we do is good."

The idea was not that Iraq was going to attack us tomorrow, it was that the potential was growing.

Suppose we had not attacked. In your mind, what do you think Iraq and that area are like now? Sanctions were wavering 6 years ago. Gone now? We still guarding the no fly zone or have we been pulled? How are the Kurds doing today? What's Libya doing now? North Korea? How are the Iranians and Iraq getting along? Anyone test launch anything in the direction of Israel? How is Saddam regarded now that he stood off the USA despite breaking countless resolutions, shooting at our planes, and trying to kill a (at least) one ex president? What is your basis that things are so much better in the world right now since we didn't attack Iraq?

SGT Ted said...

If we were treating this like WW2, we would have about 1 million as we would call up the guard and reserves for the duration. We would probably have either shorter tours (Marines currently go for 6 months a pop) or we would have longer periods between tours for rest and refit.

jeff said...

"And, although the notion of a fixed one-year "tour of duty" arose during the Vietnam War, the tour of duty of WW II GIs fighting in Europe was some 270 days -- less than a year."

Whats your source for this? All I can find is duration plus 6 months, but I don't find those sources credible. Are you talking 270 days of combat, or 270 days away from home? If so, wouldn't that be comparable to the actual war part, and not the occupation part?

I know my Uncle was in Europe fighting Germans and when they surrendered he was put on a boat to invade Japan, not come home. To the day of his death he considered Truman to have saved his life by using the bomb(s).

former law student said...

Suppose we had not attacked. In your mind, what do you think Iraq and that area are like now?

Saddam was killed in the 2004-2005 Iran-Iraq war.

Crimso said...

"don't out anyone working at the CIA period"

Only so long as they and their, I don't know, um, SPOUSES keep a low profile.

Crimso said...

"started rounding up all usual suspects you all would have been on board with that."

Wait, are we talking about GWB here or FDR?

Revenant said...

Saddam was killed in the 2004-2005 Iran-Iraq war.

So in that alternate history Iraq has collapsed into sectarian and ethnic strife, only with extra Iranian involvement and no US there to help a democratic government form and stabilize the nation? That doesn't sound too great to me.

Revenant said...

the tour of duty of WW II GIs fighting in Europe was some 270 days -- less than a year.

I guess that depends on how you define "tour of duty". My grandfather got shipped off to Europe in 1942 and, aside from a brief personal leave to bury a family member, didn't see home again until the war was over.

He might have only been being shot at for 270 days at a time, but given that he took part in the invasions of Africa, Sicily, and Normandy I'm skeptical that he could have had THAT much time off.

Hoosier Daddy said...

former law student said Also under what part of the NATO charter authorized NATO to enagage in hostilities for a non-NATO member?

Article 4.


Really? Well allow me to retort.

Article 4

The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.


So can you again please let me know when Kosovo was admitted to the UN? I don't believe the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties [was]threatened. during the Kosovo war.

Try again, third times a charm

Eli Blake said...

The Israelis don't believe it:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20071204/wl_mcclatchy/2773393

The Exalted said...

The NIE report is just a dopey parsing of hairs designed to allow the left in this country to pounce of something that is meaningless.

lordy, this is dumb.

The Exalted said...

hoosier daddy, there are arguments to be made under the NATO charter, i believe one was that the refugee crisis endangered the security/integrity of the region

The Exalted said...

Freder said...

The rules are pretty simple, defensive, preemptive, and wars to stop an ongoing genocide are justified.


well that's just wrong. under the UN charter, only wars in 1) self defense, or 2) with the UN Security Council authorization can be legally pursued. the intervention in Kosovo had neither. therefore, under the UN Charter, it was illegal.

however, scholars tend to think the Security Council gave the intervention retroactive legitimacy through ratification measures.

Hoosier Daddy said...

hoosier daddy, there are arguments to be made under the NATO charter, i believe one was that the refugee crisis endangered the security/integrity of the region

That's pretty weak don't you think? Considering that the vast majority were fleeing to Macedonia. I know NATO made the case that the war threatened the region but then again, that certainly isn't what the charter stipulates.

Then again using that logic, I could plausibly argue that 15-20 million illegal immigrants flooding across our borders endangers the security and integrity of this country thereby justifying us closing the borders and/or enforcing a buffer zone.

My point over Kosovo is that many like to hammer that Iraq was illegal yet twist themselves into pretzels justifying an war against Serbia that had zero threat to the US, no UN authorization and no Congressional approval. The only difference is it was done under a President they approve of.

Opposition to the Iraq war is fine with me. I only ask form some consistency. Complaining about lack of 'imminent threats', no UN authorization and legalities gets tiresome.

The Other Steve said...

My point over Kosovo is that many like to hammer that Iraq was illegal yet twist themselves into pretzels justifying an war against Serbia that had zero threat to the US, no UN authorization and no Congressional approval. The only difference is it was done under a President they approve of.

I think you shall find that not many liberals/democrats/Clinton supporters really give a rip. They'll defend the war against attacks coming from supporters of the Communist regime, but overall most people don't understand the details and aren't strongly tied to it in terms of identity politics.

This is quite a different case with Republicans and Iraq, where they fear having to admit they were wrong.

Robert Cook said...

I'm the one who made the original comment on this thread about our illegal invasion of Iraq, and I'm perfectly willing to accept that Clinton committed a war crime in taking us into Kosovo. I frankly don't know enough about the details of what happened to assert it was a war crime, because I wasn't paying close attention at the time, but I don't reject the idea that it was a war crime...as I said, Clinton's bombing sorties in Iraq were criminal acts. I am a registered Democrat--although their collaboration with the Republicans in the rape of our Republic disgusts me, and I may leave the party to become an independent--but I don't care whether the President is Democrat or Republican--an illegal use of military power is still illegal.

I'll see what I can learn about our involvement in Kosovo and see what I think about it...however, I have seen references to Clinton's war crimes in Kosovo on Counterpunch, a progressive, or even leftist, website, so don't assume Clinton gets a free ride from the left.

garage mahal said...

Complaining about lack of 'imminent threats', no UN authorization and legalities gets tiresome.

I bet. I would too if I had to keep explaining that Howler.

former law student said...

twist themselves into pretzels justifying an war against Serbia that had zero threat to the US, no UN authorization and no Congressional approval.

The US had obligations for the defense of Europe under the NATO Treaty. The NATO treaty was approved by the Senate in a vote of 82 to 13 on July 21, 1949. A vote of the NATO membership considered the existing war in Kosovo a threat to the peace of Europe. Unless Hoosier Daddy advocates that the US shirk its treaty obligations, I don't see what choice we had. The NATO member state most directly affected was of course Greece.

In contrast, there was no war in Iraq until we invaded it. We did not invade it pursuant to any treaty obligation, only to distract the minds of Americans from the US's inability to track down one terrorist mastermind, a bearded man on dialysis, a member of the Bin Laden family, long-time friends of the Bushes.

Cedarford said...

Hoosier Daddy said...
Well the one thing that makes me wonder about the NIE report is whether or not Britain, France or Germany’s intelligence agencies come to the same conclusions. I would have thought that if any one of them had doubts, they would have made them known rather than continue trying negotiations for the last 3 years.


They don't have doubts in that they all have come to believe that Iran's enrichment program is for weapons material, not peaceful nuke power. They believe this because yet another multi-billion enrichment program makes no economic sense, and would not make Iran autonomous of foreign suppliers since they make virtually nothing of the components and consumables used in a modern nuclear power generation plant. They cannot make replacement parts, they have not spent anything of the 3-4 billion needed to fabricate their enriched fuel into high tech zircalloy leak-free fuel assemblys.

Mortimer - Iran could obtain and/or generate enough highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon by 2009, but is unlikely to develop the technological capabilities to make a weapon before 2015.

You misread. Once they have the fissile weapons grade U-235, they could make a gun-type bomb in a few months. It's basic artillery engineering. What the 6-year delay infers is they will be a while before they develop a missile warhead delivered by ICBM or by accurate MRBM in region. Also the Mullahs seem to have been convinced that use of only a few nukes on NATO or their mortal enemy the Paks would be met not by "proportional response" but by thermonuclear obliteration of most of Persia...

What happened in 2003 was not just the US showing it could wipe out an opposing conventional military that made Iran hesitate on their nuke. It was also Libya coming clean and exposing the AQ Khan Network that gave us and the Pakis the smoking gun that AQ was providing bomb designs to Libya, Syria, N Korea, and Iran. Iran knew they were fingered and backed off their bomb work.

********************
Freder - Yeah, that's right, when Justice Jackson went to Nuremburg and demanded that the charges include waging aggressive war, he was a loose cannon advancing the agenda of a cabal of international lawyers, not the U.S. government.
Hey was he Jewish or just a Jewish stooge? I'm sure Cedarford can fill us in on this.


Jackson avoided the more blatant appearance of "victors justice" that the Soviets engaged in, but like the Soviets, our war crimes lawyers were heavily Jewish. In fact, Major Thomas Dodd, in a letter, warned Justice Jackson, that with his legal staff 75% Jewish, there was danger of them pursuing Jewish internationalist interests over American interests or the interests of Justice. Dodd, later Senator from CT and father of current Senator Chris Dodd, was wary of such Jewish internationalist lawyers grounded in inter-nation commerce law and many with Communist ties. They had recently had a role in drafting the UN CHarter and it's idealistic bans on all future wars.
In Germany, they mostly behaved in America's interests as Jackson and their military command (that era's version of JAG) directed.
The Soviet ones later went on to liquidate the Soviet POWs, liquidate class enemies in East Europe, and set up "organs of state security" in occupied East Europe - so Dodd's wariness was justified, just on the wrong set of lawyers.

Though the Germans were barred by the victors from defending themselves on charges of aggessive war, the Yale Avalon Project shows thay had excellent causus belli for their basis of declaring war against the Soviet Union (Communist treachery repeatedly breaching the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact) and America (blatant violations of Neutrality). And the UK and France declared war on them over the friction of the Germans and their latter "dear Soviet comrade allies" agreeing to invade and carve up Poland.

Jackson did err in not working to more narrowly define agressive war against what the international lawyers thought it should be. Jackson believed it was to take and own territory or resources from a peaceful people. The Internationalists wanted it to be any infringement of another nation's sovereignity no matter what the provocation short of actual attack - because they believed that the UN and Law would adeptly adjudicate issues short of war to "the world's satisfaction".

Thus Lefties counted too much on the UN and "law" to restrain barbarous people or nation given their ineffectual "teeth". And consider common sense interventions by the US to save people (Grenada) or property (Dominican Republic) or ally (Kuwait) as "aggressive war" when we should just do endless diplomacy...while loyally remaining silent when their friends like China or VIetnam invade and rule Tibet, Laos, Cambodia...

********************

They have willing tools like Alpha and Freder in their enemies nations to argue against fighting them at all,

I've called out Freder on being an obvious traitor and enemy sympathizer.

Alpha liberal, no, but he seems to be really disappointed we were not defeated in Iraq, and has crawled further out on the Lefty limb of "post-marxist faith-based arguments" on why we would easily lose to Iran, Iran is good, Bush is bad, "the more terrorists you kill the more you create", nonsense.
He does seem to be edging closer to Freder, though.

former law student said...

I know NATO made the case that the war threatened the region but then again, that certainly isn't what the charter stipulates.

I wouldn't dismiss the significance of the Kosovo War. Remember, World War I was started by one Serb with a revolver.

Gary Rosen said...

"Patriotic" C-fudd defends Nazi Germany declaring war on the US,
then "calls out" Freder as an "enemy sympathizer". Way to make yourself look good, douchebag. Jews have survived for 4000 years because their enemies are invariably misfucks and born losers like C-fudd.

Revenant said...

The US had obligations for the defense of Europe under the NATO Treaty. The NATO treaty was approved by the Senate in a vote of 82 to 13 on July 21, 1949.

You haven't read the treaty, obviously. We had no treaty obligations in Kosovo. It doesn't matter what the majority voted; NATO members are only obligated to provide military assistance if a member is attacked or militarily threated. The Serbs posed even less of a threat to the NATO nations than Iraq did to America. Clinton and the other fans of war in Kosovo justified our attack by claiming that the war "threatened the territorial integrity, political independence or security of [NATO signatories]". That was, and is, a transparent lie; no such threat existed, nor was there any credible way in which it could.

In summary, the war in Kosovo violated:

(1): American law, because Congress didn't authorize it (and its authorization would have been necessary even IF the NATO treaty obligated us to help)

(2): The NATO treaty, which forbids NATO military action unless its members are directly threatened or attacked,

(3): International law (not that I care), and

(4): The UN Charter (about which, again, I do not care, but which most of the people lining up to kiss Clinton's ass do)

All this, to help a group of murderous Muslims fight off a group of murderous Serbs. Whee.

Cedarford said...

Rosencrank - The question was about "aggressive war". At Nuremburg, the charge was made, but the accused were prohibited by judges from defending themselves on that specific charge. We do know that in WWII, that the Nazis did "aggressive war" in the full sense on Poland then later on Norway and Greece, but not on the 4 victors. France and the UK declared war in Germany for invading Poland but conspicuously not on their Soviet Comrades. Soviets, who before then had initiated aggressive war on the Baltic States and Finland.

The official German declarations of War on the USA and the Soviet Union were quite detailed. Neither the Russians or the Americans had a leg to stand on. The Russians subverted the Ribbentrop Pact and led to HItler & Co determining coexistence with the Soviets was impossible because they could not be trusted, and setting up Operation Barbarossa.
The case against America was even easier, as for 6 months FDR had blatantly violated laws of neutrality to help Britain, Canada and the Germans thoroughly documented each breach. For those 6 months, the Germans hoped against hope that they could avoid fighting America and maintain neutrality. Then Japan attacked and Germany figured that it had to war to cut war supplies America was sending the UK and the Soviets.

Scholars call the German case against America "ironclad".

As for all your Chosen People gibberish, Jews like all today's people on the planet, are here because their ancestors survived. BFD.

4000 years?

You're nothing special in that sense.

And the irony about the Nazis is that if wild-eyed radical Jews had not been principals in creating the Red Terror, killing millions, and launching the transnational Communist Revolution and scaring the shit out of the rest of Europe - chances are the Nazis would have never arisen as a political entity in reaction to the Terror and the people behind it. Nor the Fascists of Italy.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Unless Hoosier Daddy advocates that the US shirk its treaty obligations, I don't see what choice we had. The NATO member state most directly affected was of course Greece.

You clearly have not read the NATO charter and what it requires for the use of military force.

Please cite the references in which Greece was under attack or threat of attack from Serb forces.

I'm perfectly willing to accept that Clinton committed a war crime in taking us into Kosovo. I frankly don't know enough about the details of what happened to assert it was a war crime, because I wasn't paying close attention at the time,

Funny how few people really paid attention to what Clinton did or did not do during his tenure.

don't assume Clinton gets a free ride from the left.

No of course not. The mass protests, demonstrations and outcry over the illegality of the war are seared, seared into my memory.

former law student said...

Unless Hoosier Daddy advocates that the US shirk its treaty obligations, I don't see what choice we had. The NATO member state most directly affected was of course Greece.

You clearly have not read the NATO charter and what it requires for the use of military force.


You sound like one of those pro-life cranks who can't find the right to abortion in the Constitution. The former Yugoslavia -- a historic part of Europe -- was going to hell. NATO members thought the war was a threat to the peace and stability of Europe, and voted under Article 4 to stop it. We are a NATO member state, so we took our share of responsibility.

Further, because you apparently think, for example, that civil war in Mexico would not have any harmful impact on the US, you will not care that the same year Nato added three Eastern European countries, including nearby Czechia and Poland.

And I was entertained by the notion that fulfilling our NATO obligations would require the approval of Congress. All through the Cold War I read novels about WW III; that the President could push the button at any time. I never realized he'd actually have to wait for Congress to assemble itself and give him the go-ahead.

SGT Ted said...

All through the Cold War I read novels about WW III; that the President could push the button at any time. I never realized he'd actually have to wait for Congress to assemble itself and give him the go-ahead.

Yes becasue everyone knows that the President derives his war powers thru what contemporary novelists use in their thrillers as a plot device.

Hoosier Daddy said...

You sound like one of those pro-life cranks who can't find the right to abortion in the Constitution.

Well I am agnostic on the whole abortion issue but now that you bring it up, I certainly am not aware of which amendment covers it.

The former Yugoslavia -- a historic part of Europe

Yeah, historic since what 1919?

-- was going to hell. NATO members thought the war was a threat to the peace and stability of Europe, and voted under Article 4 to stop it. We are a NATO member state, so we took our share of responsibility.

NATO members ‘thought’ like the US and the Coalition thought Saddam had WMDs. Have you actually read Article 4? If so you will see it has nothing to do with Europe and everything to do with the parties of NATO, of which, Kosovo was not a member. We had a better casus belli against Iraq just based upon violations of the no-fly zone than the NATO charter provided against Serbia.

Further, because you apparently think, for example, that civil war in Mexico would not have any harmful impact on the US, you will not care that the same year Nato added three Eastern European countries, including nearby Czechia and Poland.

Well considering there ISN’T a civil war in Mexico currently, that hasn’t stopped some 15-20 million illegal immigrants flooding the US yet the left goes into convulsions when someone mentions closing the border much less using military action. And what if there was, do you honestly believe we could get NATO to help us police that up?

By the way, who is Czechia? Do you mean Chechnya or the Czech Republic cause only one of them was invited.

And I was entertained by the notion that fulfilling our NATO obligations would require the approval of Congress.

Glad you were amused. Guess we simply have a difference of opinion as to what our NATO obligations are, insofar as the Charter is pretty explicit in when military force is to be used. I mean I can see if say, Italy or Greece was being flooded with hundreds of thousands of refugees or Serbian artillery was shelling across their borders but they weren’t. NATO intervention on legal grounds was tenuous at best, certainly in lieu of the reasons for going into Iraq.

All through the Cold War I read novels about WW III; that the President could push the button at any time. I never realized he'd actually have to wait for Congress to assemble itself and give him the go-ahead.

Clearly your understanding of the NATO charter is based upon novels as well.

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