Iran Hype undermined by Obama Administration Admissions

The announcement of the Iranian government that it will activate its Fordow nuclear enrichment site has predictably drawn forth a new round of war propaganda from the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In contrast, the Chinese media accurately report Iran’s affirmation that the new site will be subject to UN inspections and so is perfectly legal.

Ironically, what Clinton says is diametrically opposite from the repeated assurances given by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, that Iran is not trying to construct a nuclear warhead. True, he put it in a misleading way, saying that Iran
“is not yet building a bomb,” as though it is only a matter of time. But in order to build a bomb, Iran would have to deny access to UN inspectors and, well, initiate a program to build a bomb. That it has not done so is covered up in mainstream US political and journalistic discourse, to the point where the NYT had to apologize for stating (contrary to Panetta) that Iran has a nuclear weapons program (it does not, as far as anyone can tell).

And now, it turns out, the Obama administration is even willing to admit the truth. The sanctions regime on Iran is not even primarily about the civilian nuclear enrichment program (to which Iran has a right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), but about causing the regime to collapse. (Apparently the appearance in print with its admission of illegal motives provoked a sharp set of phone calls and a revision of the statement to merely a collapse of the nuclear program. I believe WaPo got it right the first time.)

I think blockading a civilian population for the purpose of instituting regime change in a state toward which no authorization of force has been issued by the UN Security Council may well be a war crime. Even advocating a war crime can under some circumstances be punishable, as happened at the Nuremberg trials.

Unlike Israel (Egypt 1956, 1967; Lebanon 1982, 2006) or the US (Iraq 2003), Iran has not unilaterally attacked a nation that had not attacked it, and Iran has not occupied other states’ territory. Both Israel and the US have stockpiles of nuclear warheads. Iran doesn’t have a single one and doesn’t even have a nuclear weapons program. Since Iran has not attacked anyone (and hasn’t done so for over a century), and since the UNSC has not authorized the use of force against Tehran, it would be illegal under the UN Charter for the US or Israel to attack Iran.

Moreover, the toxic and radioactive materials released on civilians in Isfahan as a result of an attack on the Natanz facilities would pose a significant hazard to civilian life in that city– another war crime.

It will not be remembered by most Americans that the Truman and Eisenhower administrations imposed a boycott on the sale of Iranian petroleum in 1951-1953, at the end of which Eisenhower sent in the CIA to overthrow the elected Iranian government. The US, having “caused the regime to collapse,” turned Iran into an absolute monarchy under Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who instituted an authoritarian, crony-capitalist state that mainly benefited a few billionaires at the top. In 1978-79 an enraged Iranian public overthrew the US-installed Shah and established a government that is zealously independent of Washington.

So if the US does cause the regime to collapse, as it did in 1953, can’t we just expect another round of pro-American dictatorship and then anti-American revolution?

Clinton says that the Fordow enrichment facility near Qom was not declared as it should have been, but rather was revealed by US satellite surveillance. But after it was declared, the then head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed ElBaradei, was allowed to inspect it and found nothing there, just “a hole in the mountain.” This finding suggests that Iran was within its rights not to declare it was opening a new enrichment site, since it had not done so, just dug a hole in a mountain. There was no nuclear material there when Elbaradei visited in fall, 2009.

The Iranians say that they will try to enrich to 19.75% at the Fordow site. This enrichment level is still that of low enriched uranium, and is the level of enrichment necessary for fuel for Iran’s medical reactor, which produces isotopes for treating cancer. Iran had acquired fuel for the medical reactor, which was given to it by the United States, from Argentina. But it has run out, and Argentina got out of that business. It is not clear why the West wants Iranian cancer victims not to have access to isotopes for radiation treatment.

While enriching to 19.75% LEU is an increase in Iran’s enrichment capabilities, it is nowhere near the 95% generally needed to make a bomb. Moreover, Iran says it is not trying to get a bomb, and the IAEA has acknowledged repeatedly that no nuclear material has been diverted from the civilian program.

If Iran does not permit inspections of Fordow, now that would be suspicious and really would be a violation of NPT obligations. But they seem perfectly willing to let inspectors in.

Clinton said, “There is no plausible justification for this production. Such enrichment brings Iran a significant step closer to having the capability to produce weapons-grade highly enriched uranium.”

But every clause of this statement is false, and it is contradicted by Secretary of Defense Panetta. There is a perfectly legitimate reason for Iran to enrich to 19.75% for fuel for the medical reactor. That level of enrichment is not categorized as “high enriched uranium” (it is still LEU). And enriching to that level has nothing to do with making weapons. A) You can’t make weapons with LEU and b) Iran intends to use up this fuel in the medical reactor. Not sure how that could turn into a warhead.

48 Responses

  1. The Washington Post article has been rewritten to remove the statement that the US is aiming for regime change. Now the argument is that the US is trying to increase the cost of Iran’s nuclear program, and the regime failing may be the cost.

    If that’s different.

    But I have never before seen a public US intelligence assessment that Iran is already technically nuclear weapons capable:

    Although Iran has continued to develop its nuclear infrastructure — including a recently revealed second uranium-enrichment facility — the “pause” in the nation’s direct march toward a weapon continues, the intelligence official said.

    “Our belief is that they are reserving judgement on whether to continue with key steps they haven’t taken regarding nuclear weapons,” he said.

    “It’s not a technical problem,” he said, adding that Iran already has the capability to build a bomb.

    If Iran is already there, there can be no threat that Iran will be bombed before it becomes nuclear capable. The red line now can’t be anything other than tangible steps to deploy an actual weapon.

    The most likely course of events from here is that Iran’s legal nuclear weapons capabilities will settle over the next few years and eventually be accepted the same way it is accepted for Japan, Brazil, Canada, Germany and many other countries.

    We’ll get there with or without sanctions and increased hostility between the US and Iran. It is better to get there will less rather than more hostility.

    • Regardless of a 5 year stockpile, Iran has no business enriching uranium to 20% in an underground militarized bunker when commercial light water reactors only require uranium enriched to 3-4% and research reactors can get by with as little as 12% enriched uranium. That’s the point. Everything else you point out is tangential.

      As the WashingtonPost editorial highlighted, “the opening of Fordow represents the launch of an Iranian plan to triple this form of uranium enrichment — and to do so in a facility that may be nearly invulnerable to attack from the air. When uranium is enriched to 20 percent, 80 percent of the processing needed to produce bomb-grade material is complete. So if it goes through with its plan, Iran could have enough of the 20 percent material by the end of this year to produce a bomb core very rapidly — perhaps even between visits of U.N. inspectors.”

      The only purpose the Iranians have in mind is a military application.

      • Interesting, that would seem to buttress the idea of “Nuclear Latency” or the Japan option that Prof. Cole has spoken about in the past. The idea being that if war was imminent and inevitable, Iran would have the existing technology to create nuclear weapons from scratch in only a few months.

      • Sorry Saalim but the Tehran Research Reactor DOES use 20% enriched uranium, and furthermore the Iranians were FORCED to make 20% enriched uranium as a result of US sanctions which prevents Iran from simply buying the fuel. Iran has already offered repeatedly to cease 20% enrichment if it can buy the fuel it needs to help treat Iran’s 800,000 cancer victims. It is weird to repeatedly threaten to bomb Iran, and then claim that Iran’s attempts at avoiding being bombed are themselves proof that iran seeks nukes.

  2. Still, Iran’s nuclear energy program will be lethal to Israel. As fossil fuels are depleted, nations that export petroleum will have cash, probably not dollar but real cash, and nations (Israel) that depend on the oil hog U.S. will lose influence to the point they are no longer able to pay their bills. When Israel can’t pay its bills, it will cease to exist.

  3. Excellent piece Dr. Cole, thank you.
    Of course, the idea is regime change or better destabilizing Iran in the Iraq-Libya fashion. The overall goal is the Euphrates.

  4. While watching Imus this morning the news anchor read a report stating that another Iranian scientist was killed by an explosion attached to his car by motorcyclist.He added that Israel was suspected. One of Imus’ sidekicks yelled…”Yeah! That’s the way to do it. No need for an invasion, just kill all of their scientist!”

    I’m afraid this idiot’s reaction is the result of the constant propaganda our nation has been fed, with very little or no oppostion allowed.

    • The assassination of the scientist, coupled with Israel proclaiming successful attack simulation against Iran. From link to thinkprogress.org

      “A a group of Israeli analysts and former government officials” took part in a simulation that concluded that Israel could effectively strike and dismantle Iran’s nuclear program even after a successful nuclear test. “The simulation shows that Israel’s military option continues to be a significant lever…this option, or the threat to use it, is also relevant after an Iranian nuclear test,” said the report by Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies.

      Why doesn’t this group allow Iranian analysts to play a two way simulation and see how Iran would react. I don’t think they’d like it though.

    • It’s almost like Israel (this looks like Mossad work to me, altho’ they could also be working with the CIA) is daring Iran to retaliate to these constant provocations, perhaps to then justify the full military strike so many in Israel would like to see.

      Given this legacy of murder, what sort of harvest does Israel expect to reap, should Iran or another hostile Muslim state ever truly gain nuclear weapons? It’s not like they might not bear a grudge after all this terrorism.

      It’s very sad to see the Israelis, of all people, become a mirror image of the evils they have historically faced.

  5. It will not be remembered by most Americans that the Eisenhower administration imposed a boycott on the sale of Iranian petroleum in 1951-1953, at the end of which Eisenhower sent in the CIA to overthrow the elected Iranian government. The US, having “caused the regime to collapse,” turned Iran into an absolute monarchy under Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who instituted an authoritarian, crony-capitalist state that mainly benefited a few billionaires at the top. In 1978-79 an enraged Iranian public overthrew the US-installed Shah and established a government that is zealously independent of Washington.

    Rinse, whitewash, and repeat.

    There, in a nutshell, is what sure seems, to the moderately attentive US citizen, to be the main thrust of “US foreign policy.” Follow the money, and gee, what do you kind of have to see? Maybe that Maj. Gen Smedley Butler was absolutely spot-on when he reported that “War [American-style] is nothing but a racket.” Short-term benefits for a very few, and exacerbations of “tensions,” the seeds of violence sown in exported oppressions, and “What, me worry?” mindsets by the players in the Game, as immune to fallout as a couple of old codgers knocking chess pieces off the board in a city park.

    Our great propagandized National Behaviors sure seem to be about creating opportunities for enormous wealth transfers to a very few, people who have no regard for the future derangements their “plays” render inevitable, and who even diligently create the preconsitions as fertile ground for new wealth extractions, with no regard for present pain of the many. Because they know they can indulge themselves to the nth degree, and like Charlie Wilson and his Texas connections, or “Iran-Contra” (remember that?), start wars and promote violence hither and yon, with no fear that they will suffer any personal consequences before a comfortable, timely death finally takes them. (Among other things: What did April Glaspie really tell Saddam Hussein, and did Madeleine Albright really say that “we” find the “sanctions-”induced deaths of Wog children in Iraq “an acceptable cost?” Enquiring readers would really like to know…)

    I wonder if anyone will follow and report, where any effective number of others will hear, the careers of our leading general officers, the Wise Initiators of Grand Doctrines of Warfighting, as they cycle out of uniform and into expensive suits, or make any effort to track the gains of those who profit in money and “careers” from embargoes and “cold conflicts” and active shoot-em-ups.

    The career plan and business model sure seems to be to make a nice safe space for those who can manipulate those inevitable levers of power, so they can enjoy their private islands and private jets and the other emoluments of membership in that trans-national club.

    Why are fraudulent forensic exercises like the current shiny object, “them hated Iranians,” so seductive to people whose real, physical and spiritual interests would seem to be antithetical to hammering the war drums? How stupid are we, as a species? Why do we have to waste so much energy, that could be directed to so many better pursuits that would make life more broadly better for all of us, flinging propaganda mud and “killing insurgents” that turn out to be wedding partiers or oops! political rivals of “our friends” in foreign places, or trying to chip the obscuring crap off the walls? Gee, I wonder…

    Recognize what we humans are, and are capable of. And always follow the money. “And that’s the way it is.” Right?

    • Very good JT. I suggest you consider that each person has a spirit; which is either oriented to controlling one’s destiny (the vast majority), and sees the accumulation of money, power, and fame as validation of one’s success, and leads to increasing stupidity the longer this is maintained. Or oriented to optimizing each activity (get as close as you can to an excellent result and thoroughly enjoying the process), and optimizing every area of one’s life (a small minority). Throughout history, the majority gain control and screw everything up, every time. As they are now doing in this country.

      However, all people now know that life can be optimized, and maybe the majority will opt for that, and put away these power hungry elitists before they destroy this country.

  6. As much as I preferred Clinton over Obama pre-2008, I believe Clinton would have initiated this coming-war much earlier in her presidency. …This current escalation is so frustrating to watch unfold and it is immensely unfair to the people of Iran. Thank you for the frank and honest analysis here.

    • No doubt Mr. B. Hillary is bought and paid for by the Israeli lobby.

      I remember during her campaign for the senate charges were dropped against a group of Orthadox Jews in upstate NY. Seems some federal dollars were missing.When asked if this was a bribe for votes…Hillary looked like a little angle and said she really didn’t know what the reporter was talking about.

      Hillary, much like all of the Republican candidates and Obama, would throw this nation under the bus in a heartbeat if it meant gaining political influence with a powerful segment of the population.

    • I agree with you in all points. And I’d add, as one who lived and worked for years in the Middle East (albeit the Arab world, not Iran), I appreciate Prof. Cole’s antidote to the ridiculous nonsense I hear from most of my fellow Americans and pretty well all of the “pundits” in the national media.

  7. Israal is determined to maintain itself as the dominant regional power which means having overwhelming military superiority and surrounded by weak emasculated states with caps on their technological capacities which excludes a technical capacity to produce electric power by nuclear energy, even if there is no diversion to nuclear weaponry. Iran supports Hebollah in Lebanon, Israel’s only real military competitor. If Iran is weakened or collapses, then Hezbollah would also be weakened significantly. I doubt Israel intelligence even believes it own propaganda about Iran so called nuclear weapons program.

    There has not been one shred of evidence produced that Iran is pursuing such a program. But, with the US Congress in the pocket of Israel, reality is what Israel says it is.

    • ‘Israel is determined to maintain itself as the dominant regional power’ …( you could change Israel to US, and to a lesser extent – UK , France etc etc)
      However , this line in its various forms is repeated often but doesn’t make sense and isn’t correct.
      In the search for influence and maybe safety, these countries seek ( and achieve) Military Hardware Superiority – but nothing else.
      I remember reading a quote somewhere ,sometime which went something like ” when all you’ve got is a hammer every problem will look like a nail” – well, the the US has some big sledgehammers but whats it managed to make???
      My point I guess is that Peace though Power is a well discredited illusion by now and it’d be nice if we could all grow up and move onto more positive models?

    • William, I like that. Regional dominance; which, according to them, will take away the motivation for anyone to seriously challenge anything they do; not just militarily, but also economically. Unfortunately for them, Mother Nature always has a way for bringing such hubris crashing down. So I’ll sit back and wait for the crash.

  8. Yes, good job today. I hope that you use every opportunity to speak out against this war ramp-up since, as the US election nears, the Israelis will be increasingly likely to attack Iran.

  9. I might add that the collapse of the government in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, engineered by Israel for the reasons expressed above, eliminated a regional deterent to Iran’s regional spread of power and influence, and, in fact, replaced Iran’s adjacent enemy with a government ont only friendly but with one containing componants willing to act in sympathy with Iranian interests.

    Thus Israel, which engineered the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein government to eliminate a regional competitor, now envisions the nightmmare of two governments with common interests and with a simmering hostility toward Israel.

    This is why we are hearing the drumbeats of another Gulf war.

  10. Hi Dr. Cole, I really love your compilation of material for this article. I find it incredible though how our politicians-almost across the board- and our media have misrepresented the truth to us in so many ways.

    Considering that bills like NDAA, SOPA, the Arizona immigration one, etc, are becoming laws and that incredibly biased information has totally overtaken our media make it seem as if America’s in for a drastic change. I’m not sure though however if our foreign policy stances under Obama have really been any different than from Eisenhower’s time. What America’s trying to do with Iran right now seems like history repeated so many times.

  11. Dr. Cole, do you have any comment or enlightenment regarding the recent wave of Persian rescues at sea by the US Navy? There have been 2 in the last week.

    While as a librul, I applaud the humanitarian side of it, I can’t help but worry that there’s a cynical, self-serving motivation that’s driving these apparent “rescues.”

  12. BLAM!! Another Iranian civilian scientist, plus his driver, murdered by obvious foreign or foreign-sponsored assassins.

    Really, these are acts of covert war. If Iran doesn’t respond in some way, they only invite more of the same (that’s always been Israel’s policy toward aggression, anyway). You have to ask, how long would the US tolerate the assassination of its nationals on its own soil by foreign provocateurs? What an ugly double-standard is at work in the world.

    • And what kind of response would you suggest- I think we can guess how the US or Israel would respond – and it would result in the death of many innocents.
      Personally I think it would be nice to see an article in a major news paper with a title like …”No War – Iran showing remarkable restraint against deadly provocations”

  13. JC: “I think blockading a civilian population for the purpose of instituting regime change in a state toward which no authorization of force has been issued by the UN Security Council may well be a war crime. Even advocating a war crime can under some circumstances be punishable, as happened at the Nuremberg trials.”

    Perhaps you are right. How about blockading a country to persuade its citizens and their government to stop engaging in war crimes? Even w/o UNSC blessing?

    I envision a BDS action against Israel, with nations cutting off trade and so forth as pressure to end the illegal occupation (siege, settlements, settlers, wall, internal checkpoints, water-stealing, etc.)

    I’d appreciate your thoughts on this.

  14. Just FYI about declaring Fordo. Under Iran’s standard safeguards agreement with the IAEA, Iran is only required to formally declare nuclear sites 180 days prior to the introduction of nuclear material into the site. Under a Modified version of the safeguards that Iran in the past temporarily agreed to implement as a good faith gesture, during the course of then-existing negotiations, Iran agreed to declare sites earlier: at the time that the site was planned.

    This time difference allows the US to “expose” a yet undeclared site, and claim that the site was “discovered” despite the fact that iran had “failed to declare it”, the implication being that the site was necessarily intended by Iran to remain secret.

  15. Speaking as a retired FSO who is very glad not to have to speak for US policy under Clinton (who’s proving to be just as morally bankrupt as Condi Rice), her saber-rattling on Iran was just one of the reasons why I could not support her in 2008 and hope she is not going to continue in this or any role past 2012.

    I don’t think I have ever heard anyone offer a vision of what Iran might have come to be if the two Dulles brothers had not induced “regime change” in 1953 at the behest of the oil companies, and installed the Shah and his cruel regime – which in turn set the stage for the Iranian Revolution. Imagine how the Mossadegh government might have led to decades of democratic, parliamentary democracy and what this example would have meant for the rest of the region!!! But no, we destroyed the future to ensure that the greed of the oil companies would not be restrained.

    And we could consider Guatemala as well…but no need to go there. The issue is simply that regime change has always been about ensuring that the One Percent continues to have its disparate share of the wealth, regardless of what damage is done to the welfare of the rest of us. If we do this again, it will be at the behest of the neoconservative supporters of Israel’s increasingly fanatic government, and for the benefit of the “defense” industry – and the increase in petroleum prices will certainly be to at least the short-run benefit of Big Oil. The damage done to true US security and the welfare of the 99 percent of its citizens, not to mention the rest of the world, apparently is not of concern to these folks.

  16. Actually, the work needed to enrich a ton of natural Uranium to 19,75% (795 SWU) is really close to the work needed to enrich it to 95% (888 SWU). However, you need to start with five tons of natural uranium to get the same amount of 95% HEU.
    link to wise-uranium.org

  17. There is only one explanation to the sanctions against Iran: neocolonialism. One law for us the enlightened, another law for the native savages. We’re allowed to have guns, the natives are allowed to have bows and arrows.

    Hypocrisy alone is not enough to explain how the country pushing for the sanctions against Iran is a country that is not a NPT signatory, possesses illegal nuclear weapons, has proliferated nuclear technology to S. Africa’s Apartheid regime, is occupying its neighbors land and is practicing what can only be considered Apartheid. And then there’s the US which has actually used nuclear weapons on a civilian population….

    If this is not the old colonial rule “one law for us the enlightened, another for them the natives”, I don’t know what is.

    • Ron, I suggest an alternative; they are still revengeful for the embassy take over in 1979; even though that take over was a result of 50 years of actively suppressing them. And will do anything to make them squeal. After all, we have done the same to a multitude of other countries; and so have many other colonial powers throughout human history.

  18. Dear Professor Cole:

    Another terrific blog. Would you let us know in a future blog the date when Iran/Persia did initiate an attack on another country? That would be helpful ammunition for us in an argument with warmongers. Thank you, Peter.

    • You could make a case for the Iranian Herat campaign of the early 1850s, but my Iranian historian friends maintain that Khurasani Herat was Iranian territory at that point, so it is not clear it was an invasion of Durrani Afghan lands.

      If Herat is excepted, then the last war of aggression fought by an Iranian government would have been Karim Khan Zand’s capture of Basra in the 1780s.

      • So it is more than two centuries! Also, the US invasion of Iraq may have been the first this century, but what about fifty or so since WW2? (listed by William Blum in “Rogue Stat”, a book full of useful info.) The US hubris is staggering.
        Thanks for the great blog, Juan.

        • US ‘hubris’ might be a diplomatic way of putting it but I think its time to be honest and call it what it is – hypocrisy, lying and deceit.

  19. It’s amazing, and more than a little depressing, that the NYT and the Washington Post (let alone the rest of the US media) have clearly learnt *nothing* from how they were played by the Bush administration in the lead up to the Iraq war. They seem perfectly content to make all the same sort of mistakes, allow their reporters and editors to be misled in much the same way, by the Obama administration over Iran.

    Enquiries were held, some reporters were criticised and/or dismissed, and yet here we go again with stories of hyped-up threats of non-existent WMDs based on unsubstantiated and often contradictory claims by administration officials. You’d almost think they don’t care as long as it makes for a more dramatic story.

    • “It’s amazing .. that the NYT and the Washington Post .. have clearly learnt *nothing* from how they were played .. in the lead up to the Iraq war.”

      .. but that assumes they were innocent fools.

      The major news corps weren’t fooled, they were (and are) an essential part of the strategy to create a veil over reality and popular support for war. The major news corps are essentially one of the branches of corporate government. Elected government being another branch.

  20. I seriously doubt any one in Iran really believes the sanctions are because of fears of Iranian nuclear program. They see this as nothing more than an excuse to interfere in Iranian affairs. Iranians have issues with their government, but US is forcing them home. Iranians fought hard and long to get their independence. Maintaining independence is more important than the uncertainty of change given US desire to take advantage it. The sanctions on basics will simply underscore the lack of trust worthiness of western suppliers. In a future democratic and independent Iran, western suppliers would have a hard time proving their reliability all thanks to idiotic short term political games.

  21. The “regime change” charge is based on a single retracted statement from the WaPo, and the additional quotes from that same source make it pretty clear that the Post got the statement wrong.

    You really shouldn’t include it.

    • It hadn’t been retracted when I wrote it. But I am suspicious of retractions under duress and don’t trust this one. Is it really controversial that USG wants a different regime in Tehran?

      • “regime change” is not the idea. The idea is to destabilize, to create self feeding chaos in “uncooperative” countries.

      • Wanting something and trying to make it happen are two different things. I wanted the Saddam government to go away, but that doesn’t mean I supported the Iraq War.

        Also, the regime-change claim doesn’t fit in with the rest of what the source said, which was about creating public pressure for POLICY, not REGIME, change.

        • I also believe that by following Dr. Cole’s argument from above, he offers a lot of support of the idea of “regime change.”

          If you also look online, you’ll find many articles which are talking about the changed Washington Post words (Al Jazeera has a pretty comprehensive article on this).

          In the past, America has instated several dictators in Iran and actively tried to do a regime change there several times (there’s no reason for this statement to now be invalid).

          In 2005, Rick Santorum called for the Iran Freedom & Support Act which sent $10 million towards regime change in Iran. The law passed with great support in congress; mind you, America’s undergoing quite a bit of turmoil too ($10 million’s a lot to give up).

          In 2008, US trade with Iran was at about $623 million; by 2010 it went to $281 million.
          America has also recently freed its soldiers of Iraq, has many Americans calling for war with Iran, and now has instituted a form (or tried to at least) of international economic boycott on Iran as well. The American/Iranian relationship’s going really sour, really fast and America has tried to institute regime changes in history many times.

          Remember for instance how the CIA released the different ways they tried to assasinate Fidel Castro for instance? One of the guards of Castro, Escalante, had estimated this number to be 638 attempted assassinations. They’d even convinced Castro’s lover (Marita Lorenz) in 1959 to try to kill him, and he realized this and gave her a gun and told her to shoot him and she didn’t (I’ve seen this in so many movies nowadays!). He allegedly even said, “If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal.”
          There’s many scenarios like this in history.
          Thus, regime changes in US history are nothing new.

    • The “regime change” charge is also well supported by a long history of relations between the two parties – a long history, for example, of Iranian making significant compromise offers over its nuclear program which were either totally ignored or actively undermined by the US. If the nuclear issue was really at stake, the US would have taken these opportunities but instead the US at every instance simply moved the goalposts.

      • It’s almost the same policy as viz. Cuba — once Uncle Sam takes an irrational hatred against a government (“regime” is usually trotted out to indicate a government we don’t support — no one in Washington talks about the British “regime” or the Canadian “regime” — there’s nothing that government can do, short of unconditional surrender, that will please the US.

        If Iran didn’t want nuclear weapons before, this past decade will have underscored why they should covet them. Only then would the Americans and Israelis back off.

  22. Wow, I look around at this thread and wonder who you all are going to vote for? Which of the candidates is talking about pulling back from the Middle East, and stop beating the war drums about Iran, and end the use of foreign policy as a tool for the moneyed elite? Only one I hear saying stuff like that is that non-mentionable name. The guy they call the kook. The guy who has the audacity to say things like end the bailouts–including the secret bailouts,let the TBTF fail, bring the budget under control and actually genuinely reduce spending, admit that we’re bankrupt and find a way to clean the debt off the books that is strangling not only the national economy, but the world economy, bring the troops home, bring the currency back into the possession of the American people, etc. etc. etc.. You know, THAT guy, who I don’t see mentioned here at all, either, even though he’s the only one talking a lot like many of you are talking.

    • THAT guy favours a radical devolution of power to the state level and the axing of a wide number of federal programs and agencies. In reducing government to its 18th century size and capabilities his program would eliminate what little restraint already exists on the corporations and, by extension, the 1% that control them. Several kinds of profiteer would lose out, of course – such as the military ones, and many in the finance community – but profiteering in general would be utterly unrestrained.
      Libertarians should stop going on about fiat money and strict constructionism and instead look around at the rest of developed world… and see that government tends to work, if coupled to a proper Keynesian policy (eg: don’t inflate during the boom times, contra Greenspan).

      Given how many wars have been started by the profiteers, I think that unshackling them altogether would be no recipe for peace.
      -An Australian

    • Well, Representative Paul’s foreign policy positions are only a small part of the whole back-to-the-gold standard, test your own food and drugs if you expect them to be safe, mandatory pregnancy, KKK-friendly package. Moreover, you can hear similar foreign policy pronouncements at any neighborhood bar – and the half-pissed speakers at said bar would have about as much influence, were they President, as Rep. Paul would.

      Seriously – Paul Senior, like Dennis Kucinich on the left, talks a good game, but has managed to come through with action basically never. It’s NOT just what they say (on one particular subject at this particular time) – it’s what they will be able to achieve.

      If you’re angry with the current President, for example, just think of what he might have been able to accomplish with a lefty Democratic House and Senate, and strong lib-pro encouragement to do much MORE. (I’m going to forego the opportunity to whap on the Republican Congress, but you probably get the point!)

      In short, I suspect that Ron Paul was left out of the discussion because he’s not really credible.

      • Same old, same old, with the half-informed, ignorant attacks on Paul. Us Paul supporters get these every time and everywhere, and it’s getting pretty old and tiresome to have to counter them in their long successions. The first place to start, of course, is here, the greatest threat to national security and world stability:
        link to youtube.com
        All brought to you by that wonderful fiat monetary policy coupled with Keynesian philosophy, and I wonder which developed nations you’re talking about where it’s working so well. Europe–nuff said? China, Canada, and Australia with their pumped-up balloons. Japan with it’s “two lost decades?” Oh, of course, if there’s problems it because those central banks aren’t getting the Keynesian philosophy correct–like they’re capable of doing anything else. You’re right, though, about how people’s fears are based on some complete ignorance of the powers of the President, and the idea that a President could return the government to an 18th Century size and eliminate all the safeguards put in place by the federal government–as if, this is what the man actually wants–another half-informed fallacy. I’ll tell you one safeguard he has fought for strenuously–the safeguards against the enslavement of the U.S. taxpayer. One can look to his voting record and to his arguments against Graham-Leach-Bliley for examples of that. Unbelievably, that evil would-be unrestrained-Capitalism-enabler didn’t vote for that bill, neither did he vote for the CMFA. Yeah, he talks a good talk but doesn’t get things accomplished when the majority is always intent on the opposite. It’s pretty hard to get things passed in Congress when your proposals run contrary to the nefarious purposes of the powers that be. We get the Patriot Act, and things like that, instead. That’s what gets passed in Congress, not things like auditing the FED to see what’s going on with our money and good credit and the heart of the financial crime syndicate. But I don’t think Juan wants this thread to turn into a heated Paul debate, so I’ll point you to this recent article that spits out the usual Paul-basher preconceptions and then suggest you read the many comments at the bottom of that article that counter his arguments:
        link to blogs.independent.co.uk

    • Well, thanks to the electoral college, there’s not much point in WHO we vote for in all but a handful of states. Since I live in a deep Red state, I can vote for Nero or Minnie Mouse for all the difference it makes.

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