The Generals try to stop an Iran War

It has leaked that US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Gen. Martin Dempsey warned the Israelis that if they launched a strike on Iran that spiralled into a war, they would be on their own.

Gareth Porter’s report, based on conversations with former officers in the administration of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who claim knowledge of Dempsey’s emphases, comes on the heels of controversial assertions by US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta that Israel may strike Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities this spring or summer. The press, and Panetta, keep reporting that Iran will ‘have enough enriched uranium to make a bomb’ in a year or two. But this assertion is so misleading as to be a lie. What Iran would have enough of is uranium enriched to 3.5% for reactor fuel. Only by embarking on an active program to turn this ‘seed stock’ into highly enriched uranium of 95% could they get material to make a bomb. Since UN inspectors are still visiting the enrichment sites (they were there this week), and since they specify that no civilian nuclear material has been diverted to military uses, we know that Iran is not taking this step. In order to take it, they’d have to kick out the inspectors and go for broke. We’ll know if they decide to do that. If they don’t do it, they just have LEU or low enriched uranium, which can be used to boil water but not for much else, and certainly not for a bomb.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Right wing, and their American backers in the Israel lobbies desperately want the US to go to war with Iran. Iran poses no real threat to Israel, but it does limit Israeli adventurism in Lebanon and elsewhere, and the Likud Party is all about no limits on its ambitions. Netanyahu and his American acolytes, such as the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, keep rattling sabers, not because they likely intend that Israel will go to war with Iran, but to put pressure on Washington to do it for them. If you have never heard of WINEP, just take it from me; your representatives in Congress care what AIPAC organs think far more than they care what you think. WINEP poobah Dennis Ross put out a rumor that Obama was ready to strike Iran. This disinformation 1) put pressure on Iran; 2) put pressure on Obama and 3) legitimized before the fact any aggressive Israeli action.

But the Obama administration is taking no chances that Netanyahu is bluffing. Hence Dempsey’s strict warning.

Obama wants to get the US out of fruitless Middle East wars, not plunge the US into new ones.

Moreover, campaign manager David Axelrod would have a cow at the thought of a war being launched in the midst of a presidential campaign season. Bombings can easily beget wars. Wars are unpredictable, and could spin out of control. You never want to do anything in a campaign season that you can’t control. Search on the Web for ‘Carter and Tabas” or “Operation Eagle Claw” if you want an example of why not.

High Israeli retired officers, including a former chief of staff are also warning against a strike on Iran. Being high officers, they have a realistic assessment of the disaster that could well ensue. Another former chief of staff, Lt. Gen (ret.) Dan Halutz, has just cautioned that Iran is a ‘serious’ but not an ‘existential’ threat to Israel. He is clearly disturbed that tossing around the phrase ‘existential threat’ about a country distant from Israel with very limited military capabilities sets the stage for more self-defeating adventurism.

What is striking to me is the glibness with which the Right wing speaks of an attack on Iran. The UN Security Council has not authorized the use of force against Iran, and Tehran has not attacked any other country. A strike on Iran is therefore a war crime, more especially since it would release radiactive toxins on the people of Isfahan and of the Middle East more generally.

Besides, proponents never say how they would pay for such a war. Iran is three times as populous and geographically much larger than Iraq. So multiply everything in that war by three to get the cost.

Immediate cost: $3 trillion
Long term cost, including veteran care: $9 trillion
US troops killed: 15,000
US troops fairly seriously wounded: 100,000

Iranian dead: 1 – 3 million
Iranian displaced: 12 million

Anyone who advocates such a thing is a sort of monster, in my view.

92 Responses

  1. The cost of a war with Iran is not likely to be 3x the cost of a war with Iraq.

    The primary costs in Iraq were the cost of creating and sustaining a system of occupation within Iraq. It required maintaining 150,000+ troops and another 100,000 contractors within Iraq and completely rebuilding the Iraqi infrastructure.

    There is absolutely no one, even in WINEP that would suggest the prolonged occupation of Iran. The proposed options for dealing with Iran stop at air strikes on Iranian military facilities and nuclear sites. The cost of such an operation is not likely to be anywhere near the cost of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

    You are using a straw man argument and it is intellectually dishonest.

    • Dear Mr Wolfowitz: You said the same thing about Iraq. Once you initiate hostilities, you don’t know what you will be required to try to do.

      • Kolumn9, your point appears to be the actual straw man argument. I say “appears” because you seem to be insinuating that attacking Iran is no problem, basically, because it would be a limited strike to remind Satan of its bad intentions, ergo do it. This is a valid argument? With no consideration of consequences? A bold “straw man” charge ought to have a little more to it, seems to me.

        Further, why aren’t we paying more attention to the parallel with WMD in Iraq and what lies behind all this aggression–regime change once again, the long-standing neo-crazy policy of the Right grounded once again in a) full spectrum dominance and b) the quest for oil and resource dominance–capitalism not merely gone astray but gone insane?

      • That’s not quite fair. A massive ground invasion and long-term occupation and military presence was the plan right from the beginning of the Iraq War.

        Looking at Libya (1986 and 2011), I don’t think we can reflexively assume that a bombing campaign will inevitably turn into a ground war. You need to fill in the blanks.

        • Seems to me the key question is to what extent the Netanyahu leadership coordinates with the long-standing neo-con US leadership toward regime change in Iran. (I’m assuming the current crop of GOP politicoes is hand in glove with this neo-con full spectrum dominance crowd, with the exception of Ron Paul’s foreign policy notions.)

          Various ruses or covers are handy to conceal the underlying motives as we’ve seen historically, going back at least to the Gulf of Tonkin. To suggest a) that’s there’s actually a problem with Iran getting a nuke anytime soon is false, as Prof. Cole has pointed out earlier in this column. The patent unreality of the threat indicates all the war drum beating is for something else in the Right wing playbook; b) that there’s any comparison between Libya and a possible limited bombing campaign in Iran–although removing Gaddafi did fit with aspirations toward regime change–seems to me superficial. There was first of all the R2P issue; secondly, the various rebel forces and their motivations, don’t add up to being the kind of resistance and consequences we could expect from an attack on Iran.

          It is not unreasonable to suppose that a parallel with false WMD in Iraq exists (i.e. a large war), vs. a limited bombing campaign against developing nuclear sites. The notion of a “limited” bombing strike on Iran assumes very little consequence from that action. To begin with that would mean non-response of China and Russia, and not much of a response from Iran. This kind of optimism seems naive, in my view, if I’m reading responses in this thread correctly.

          It’s amazing that we talk about the possibility of an Israeli strike in order to bring on a US strike a) based on the pretext of non-existent nuclear weapons, and not even the capability of getting them for a long time to come; b) a lunatic right-wing Israel government that is not representative of all Israelis; and c) the realpolitik of GOP war talk for the purpose of getting elected and serving the shadow plans in the neo-con playbook, for example expertly cooperated with by Bush and Cheney.

          Most disturbing to me is how all the war talk and rabid right wing response, reminding of Nazi Germany, could sway a Panetta or Obama to comply in an insane and unnecessary attack on Iran. Secret diplomacy using all this alarm to motivate getting somewhere? I hope so. But a mad dog slant-eyed and growling, waiting for you to think you’re getting somewhere before attacking your back is more likely. Panetta and Obama need to convert NO to NO WAY, and that might be a position of strength for re-election vs.
          weakness.

    • Prof.Cole’s cost estimates might just seem like pocket change compared to the damage done to the world’s economy should the Strait be mined. Such a disaster would sink Europe’s fragil economy into a full blown depression, a depression that could reach all corners of the world. And why…for what reason should so many people lose their lives or face loss of jobs and income? Because Israel is paranoid about Iran refining uranium. Not a good enough reason!

      • Yep, the global cost of such a war would be beyond any attempt to actually put a price tag on it. Which is why I have to believe nobody would be insane enough to do actually do it.

    • Who completely rebuilt the Iraqi infrastructure ??? I’m pretty sure the US just destroyed everything, said ‘job done’ and then handed over the mess.
      And keep in mind the cost of the Iraq war was AFTER Iraq had already been severely degraded by decades of war and sanctions AND the majority in that country opposed the leaders.

      As for the point made by JfL that we cant “reflexively assume that a bombing campaign will inevitably turn into a ground war” because we have the glowing example of Libya ( and yes there were ground troops ie special forces and no, we haven’t heard the end of that adventure yet) …well one would have to assume you’d be advocating a massive and extensive bombing campaign or there certainly would be a response and what then when you’ve bombed that country and destroyed its infrastructure ?
      And the question would remain …would Israel feel any safer with a damaged and unstable Iran in the region?

      • A survey at link to commondreams.org today indicates only 17% Americans and 43% Israelis support the Right’s desire for the attack.

        Leaving possibly a strategic problem on how to whip up enthusiasm and change the sentiment, since the various barking dogs of the GOP political candidates might be getting fatiguing. A changed public sentiment (get the survey numbers up) would at least be useful to obscure the truth and promulgate the knee-jerk military response thought desirable.

        Enter Arbabsiar-like plots (interesting that has gone completely away now, as indication of the BS toxic level on that one). But we might hearken back to 1962, the Kennedy administration, and tensions with Cuba and the Soviets, leading at that time to the same dark war clouds as now, including the bright idea to assassinate a few Americans in America and lay it on Cuba. There would be the pretext for “defense.”

        Paranoia? Possibly. Given, for example, that it is now known how the CIA hated Carter for being a history book president who naively believed in such things as the constitution, instead of following power-reality for the special interests, we should continue skeptical on Arbabsiar-like ruses to serve MIC and full spectrum dominance intentions.

    • @Kolumn9, regarding your straw man argument, this is all irrelevant, since assuming the cost of an attack on iran would be 0$, it would nevertheless constitute a crime. Forget any cost debate.

  2. “Anyone who advocates such a thing is a sort of monster, in my view.”

    Not “sort of” any such thing. Such a person IS a monster, and worse.

    • Former Secretary of Defense said that anyone thinking of starting another war in the Middle East should have their head checked.

      Although Iran is more on the periphery of the Middle East, I think the same could be said about anyone wanting to start a war with Iran.

  3. It was back in 1971, that my father, who had started off working for Chevron after WW2 and built a business as a specialized supplier to refineries and cement plants, told me “tighten your belt,” that a huge increase in the price of oil was coming.

    Calculate the worldwide opportunity cost of gasoline at $6. a gallon. In one way it might provide good effects, as a lot of manufacturing of metal and heavy items moved back to the USA and provided jobs here, because the cost of bringing in pottery and furniture from Vietnam and metal gadgets from China in freight charges alone would act as a tariff. But the many people in America and worldwide who couldn’t bear the transport cost to their jobs, the costs of transport to our current food industries, the global 99% couldn’t bear the cutbacks in everything else to keep up their transport, food & heating comforts, this would be an immense social and developmental cost. A whole bunch of “frothy” social software and game-playing internet-type investments and dreams could suffer just because of the pressure on all “non-basic” activities.

    And progressive American political junkies would go nuts, we would see if America’s middle and lower classes are smart enough to tough out a radical-Republican-involved crisis no matter how much it hurt, and keep the faith of (relative) democracy and hopefulness against the flaming rhetoric and hatred of the even-more-enraged conservatives.

    Eventually, one of these crises will be bad enough to convince us to get off the petroleum economy for our own sustainability and peace of mind. I hope.

  4. Professor Cole’s numbers are far too low.

    Per the US Army’s own planning documents, a fairly submissive population requires one US soldier for every 20 humans to be oppressed. That is, taking and holding Iran would require a MINIMUM of 3.5 MILLION US soldiers. Using any less would just mean the Americans would be pure cannon fodder.

    BUT …

    note the little note that these planning numbers are for a “quiet” population with no major weapons access. Iran should probably be considered to be a very HOSTILE place with over 35 million potential combatants, so the number of troops needed would be closer to one US soldier for every TEN humans to be oppressed (over 5 million).

    Also per the US military, it costs between USD 500,000 and USD one million per year for every pair of US boots on the ground in the ME. This is the cost of fuel, material, food and all the other stuff that a soldier needs to do their job.

    If we just multiply 500k times 4 million, the number is USD 2 TRILLION MINIMUM for one year.

    As far as deaths and major injuries per month, one percent is a very conservative number. Assuming 4 million soldiers that equals 40,000 per month. Given how effective IEDs are and how many AK-47s are on earth at this moment, it is very reasonable to there to be thousands of death/injuries every month.

    Per C. J. Chivers well researched book on modern personal weapons, there are over 100 MILLION functional AK-47s on earth, with thousands more being made every single day of the year. This is about one AK-47 for every 50 humans on earth.

    Of course when the war mongers are faced with these numbers, they immediately fall back on using only aerial weapons. The problem is aerial weapons will NOT stop the Iranians from destroying the world energy economy, only a massive invasion can do that.

    The bottom line is no matter how the numbers are manipulated, the US and Israel can NOT “win” in any sense of the word and will in fact end up destroying both the US and Israel.

    Iran has successfully checkmated the US and Israel and the US is going to have to forcibly muzzle Israel to keep the US from being destroyed.

    • “Per the US Army’s own planning documents, a fairly submissive population requires one US soldier for every 20 humans to be oppressed.”

      Your statement, cited above, is misleading at best and false at its worst, SpyGuy. The U.S. Army’s Counter-Insurgency Handbook does not contemplate a one-to-twenty ratio of counter-insurency assets to total population in order to subdue and “oppress” an entire population, submissive or otherwise. That ratio is meant to subdue an insurgency that is not only operating against U.S. forces, but also attempting to gain control by terrorizing the local population as well.

      It is nothing new. The only truly successful counter-insurgency operation was that spearheaded by the British in Malaya during the Malayan Emergency, an effort that lasted from 1948 to 1960. The Malayan Communist Party was terrorizing both the British and the local Malayan population at the time. The British fielded a combined counter-insurgency force of sufficient numbers to reach the one-to-twenty ratio. It was not all military. It included intelligence experts, police, and others, as well as British Army personnel.

      Nevertheless, just reaching the ratio of one-to-twenty probably is not sufficient in itself. The British were in control of Malaya and governed it, so they could have their way. Additionally, they erected “new villages” and moved much of the population into them, in order to deprive the “Communist Terrorists” (as they insurgents were called) from the ability to demand support and “taxes” from the local population. The combination of British counter-insurgency maneuvers and depriving the insurgents of a base of local support resulted in defeat of the insurgents.

      Great Britain granted Malaya its independence in 1957, at a time when the insurgency was reeling. Today, Malaysia is a thriving, multi-ethnic country, due in no small part to the British success against the Malayan Communist Party’s insurgency.

      • Bill, got an issue with the statement that the US and Israel cannot “win” in any land-war-in-Asia spasm involving Iran as the locus belligerentiae? And that there’s no way in hell, short of using nukes and other unconventional weapons, or a lot more than 20 to 1 “assets” and likely national US bankruptcy, to “subdue” all those Persians? Or are we just straining after gnats and a spurious definitional perfection in the Great Gamespace as to what the War Department documents say?

        Don’t know your personal politics or preferences when it comes to lighting the fuse on another Imperial adventure (MY definition, of course,) but if you favor “engagement” of the martial sort with Iran, maybe you could lay out, in layman’s terms of course, what might be the US “national interests” involved, and a statement an achievable set of goals for our squirming Generals to apply their Networked Complex Battlespace Competencies to?

        • Read my post above carefully, Mr. McPhee, and you will note that I did not tie the “one-to-twenty” counter-insurgency ratio to Iran at all. I have never suggested and do not favor a land-war in Iran. My comment was in response to SpyGuy’s contention that U.S. Army counter-insurgency doctrine “requires one US soldier for every 20 humans to be oppressed.” His statement reflects his own ideological preconception, not U.S. Army doctrine. “For every 20 humans to be oppressed” (emphasize on “oppressed”)is pure ideological spew.

          The one counter-insurgency asset for every twenty members of the local population is a ratio that has been recognized since the Malayan Emergency. I think I made it clear that the British operated under special circumstances that contributed to their victory over the Malayan Communist Party insurgents. These circumstances included controlling the colonial Government of Malaya and developing “new villages” to separate the local population from the insurgents.

          Again, if you read my post carefully you will note that I did not suggest any land war or occupation of Iran. I was addressing SpyGuy’s misleading (to put the best face on it) description of U.S. Army counter-insurgency doctrine.

      • Today Malaysia is a multi-ethnic tenderbox in which ethnic equality is a distant dream and, as Wikileaks revealed, it is not out of the question that the Malays might go on another rape and murder spree (like in 1969), sending masses of ethnic Chinese and Indian refugees to Singapore, hoping to be let in. Thanks, British!

        (To translate into American political terms, imagine that the USA had a black majority, and that a draconian set of Affirmative Action laws and Political Correctness legislation served to redistribute resources away from whites, and punish anyone who complained about it.)

        • No, Orville, Malaysia is not an “ethnic tenderbox.” Your statement makes me wonder if you have ever set foot in the country. I lived there for four years and have followed it closely. Have you ever been to Malaysia?

          Malaysia is not perfect, but it is a pretty good example of a multi-ethnic country that has made a go of combining various ethnic groups in a reasonably working political and economic system.

  5. Frightening. The generals who are speaking out will have no chance with Romney. The public,and yes even wise professors, have little understanding of the storm that began to develop
    decades ago in our country.

  6. “a sort of monster, in my view” Mine too!
    The Monsters are Armchair Warriors who’s businesses benefit from others dying

  7. “Anyone who advocates such a thing is a sort of monster”

    You have no idea what some are capable of. I doubt even some every day average people in Israel understand, and more than likely would be shaken to learn.

    • When any of my Jewish friends and family start their “support Israel at any cost” rant, I remind them that two of our Israeli cousins (one of whom is orthodox) are big fans of Marwan Barghouti. Then I get to explain who Marwan Barghouti is, and that Netanyahu = G. Bush.

  8. I have been shocked, no I shouldn’t say shocked, maybe angered is the better word, watching Andrea Mitchell’s afternoon program on MSNBC. Ms. Mitchell, who is the heir apparent to Judith Miller and who would feel right at home in the company of Avigdor Lieberman, unashamedly presents misinformation about Iran and it’s nuclear program. Mitchell, whose husband is the notorious Alan Greenspan, features guest such as Mr. Berman, whose book was featured this week in the NY Times magazine section…go figure… and retired CIA agents who are now on the dole from neocon think tanks.

    It’s almost laughable to see Ms. Mitchell quoting Mossad…that’s right Mossad…and Netanyahu as a sources concerning Iranian nuclear intelligence. Unfortunately, these lies are not only presented to her small audience on MSNBC, but also during her reports on NBC nightly news.

    As in the case of the run up to the war against Iraq, dissenting commentators need not apply.

  9. By now anything goes: THE MAN THAT CALLED FOR THE ASSASSINATION OF THE PRESIDENT REMAINS FREE.

  10. Prof Cole said: “Obama wants to get the US out of fruitless Middle East wars, not plunge the US into new ones.”

    I wish you were right, but I think Obama will do anything his Wall Street and AIPAC masters tell him to do.

    With the exception of Iraq, where the SOFA expired and we HAD to leave, Obama has more troops doing more bad things in more places than Bush.

    The FT had an exit interview with Condi Rice in January 2009. She said that she did not see Obama’s foreign policies diverging significantly from Bush’s. I didn’t believe what I was reading…

    How wrong I was.

    • I think Obama will do anything his Wall Street and AIPAC masters tell him to do.

      You know, like cancel the joint military exercises with Israel. Or support the Skeery Al Qaeda Mooslems in the Libyan resistance. Or push hard for a strong consumer protection office in Dodd-Frank. Yup, he’s just a big ol’ patsy for those Jewish bankers.

      With the exception of Iraq…

      We have a saying in this country: “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”

      • Obama has lost most of the street cred he had three years ago in the Arab/Moslem/Palestinian world. Abbas said O let him down three times, he refused to criticize Israel for Gaza, wouldn’t stand behind the Goldstone report, he pressured the Iraqi government behind the scenes to extend the stay….and the Dodd Frank bill is not a particularly strong bill.

        I don’t believe Israel cared much whether Khadafi went or stayed.

  11. I wonder how many of my fellow former servicemen with time in a “war zone” are experiencing the other kinds of nightmares, the personal ones, that the runup to and denouement-by-inevitable-”withdrawal”-once-again-without-honor-or-”victory,” that every one of the Imperial Assininities of the last five decades has brought so many of us.

    Of course, when there’s raw red meat being waved in front of the War Beast, the few people still trying to hang on to the leash are also losing their grips. Our Leviathan is actually a Juggernaut, shuddering downhill toward a cliff — too bad so few have any interest in, or realistic and not Flag-obscured idea of, the scale and inevitable fate of that enormous, clumsy, inertial complexity of the whole bureaucratized, deceptive, military-industrial-commercial-academic-political apparatus. That Behemoth, made up of hundreds of millions of humans, whose “wants” all congregate and conspire to keep all of us skating ever closer to the ragged edge of disaster.

    I wonder: Do the Experienced Players think, believe, and sleep on both ears thanks to, the comforting notion that they have this all Under Control? Several of them apparently find what’s posted here sufficiently of concern to inject little toxic prions of their own selection or manufacture into the discourse. We are supposed to argue, by their lights, about whether, short term, the price of Iranian oil will go up or down, what “sanctions” might or might not do to achieve unspecified “results” with respect to those Uppity Iranians (forget about the nature of humans, the wisdom of Sun Tzu, and the most effective way to encourage actual asymmetric “terror” retaliations in the Homelands of America and Europe, which would be only the working out of their self-fulfilling “doctrine,”) and whether the cost to the American society will be $9 trillion+ or “only” $3 trillion (plus ever tighter State Security thumbscrews,) and how many dead and wounded, on all “sides,” does it take to make a Baker’s dozen.

    May Freddie Kruger visit, terminally, all of those war wimps and chicken hawks and war profiteers and cheerleading go-alongs and oil speculators, et Karma cetera, in THEIR dreams…

  12. William Luers and Thomas Pikcering wrote an interesting piece on the Op-Ed page of today’s “New York Times,” suggesting that Pres. Obama take a page out of Richard Nixon’s book and begin direct, high-level but secret discussions with Iran as Nixon did with China, asking three crucial questions: “What does Iran want, what do we want and what do we both want?”

    Perhaps the ruling clerics in Iran won’t be as open to such an approach as Mao was with Nixon, or leadership of the Revolutionary Guards may prove to be a major stumbling block even if the leadership is receptive to a quiet American approach. And, for all we know, such an effort may already be underway. But since the administration keeps saying “all options are on the table,” this kind of diplomatic opening may be the most viable – and least costly or damaging to Iran, to America and even to Israel.

    • Mr James makes a good argument. At this point, it’s difficult to think of Israel as an “ally”.

      The Arab Spring is shaking up the situation in the middle east and the US needs to realign its alliances and try to make new friends. In spite of verbal frictions over the years, Iran has arguably been less hostile to the United States than “its closest ally.” Dr Cole has, I recall, argued that Iran would be a better partner to the US.

      I hope the administration is going for it. If normalization with Iran comes through, the Congress will – eventually – come along. When President Obama enters his second term, with nothing left to lose, we could see some major changes in our relationship with The Zionist State.

      • I guess before 1972 our alliance with Taiwan was considered untouchable. However, only a schemer with Nixon’s putrid witchhunting credentials could disarm his own party’s extremists to abandon Taiwan.

        I recall they actually did call it a Taiwan Lobby, but it was nothing compared to what we now merely call THE Lobby.

    • Our DC “leaders” likely remember the last time “we” tried secret, high-level “negotiations” with elements of the Iranian polity. I believe the headline for that activity was “Iran-Contra,” complete with delivery of Bibles and Hawk missiles and lots of wealth transfer and once again proof that the Experienced players really have a hard time finding their backsides with both hands. Having once sat on the fire ant hill, yet again.

      And remind me how well “we” did in those “negotiations” ol’ Henry “Power is the ultimate Aphrodisiac” Kissinger engaged in with Le Duc Tho, over there in Gay Paree? I guess now that Walmart is loaded up with nice shirts and slacks made by Commies in Vietnam, and “our” navy is doing joint maneuvers with the navy that was falsely claimed to have attacked “our” ships in the Gulf of Tonkin, “we” are on the upside, right? After $4 trillion and counting to do THAT stupid, feckless, uncontrolled War thing? To keep the Commies from taking over the Boardwalk at Huntington Beach?

      Not picking on you, Charley — just wondering if there is any way out, at least given “our” rulership, other than the whole bomb-invade-absorb the asymmetric damage-strip-the-wealth-out-of-our-economy thing. “We” seem to be kind of like the Cave Troll in that scene in “The Fellowship of the Rings:” link to youtube.com

      • Sorry but Iran Contra can HARDLY be compared to any Nixon-China negotiations. IRan Contra was from the start a “one off” with a brand new revolutionary government in Iran.

        • And Nixon-China was not also the start of a “one-off” that’s keeping the Experienced Players well stocked with lots of opportunities to screw up again? And Iran-Hillaryorwhoever would not also be a “one-off” like China-Nixon and Ho Chi Minh-Johnson, with long-view-subtle on one side and klutz’n’hubris on the other once again? (Looks to me like China, like Vietnam, came out with the long, non-poopy end of the stick, on the Great Game Board…)

          They’re all “one-off,” all subject to chaotic fractal looniness and mischance, driven by myths and huge military establishments banging their be-ribboned chests together, and greedy “interests,” all hostage to ego and macho and greed. Elephants trampling the corn fields, and us mice and rabbits, who plant and harvest and see a fourth or more of all we create going to fund Planet Fortress, trying to keep ourselves and our little warrens and offspring from being crushed…

        • Some folks think Iran-Contra was a “two-off”, or even a “three-off”. I’ve read allegations that Reagan not only used Bush Sr. as a go-between (while still running for office) to talk Khomeini into holding the hostages just a little bit longer, but also that Israelis were present at those meetings. Israel was quite friendly with Khomeini that year; it wanted Persians to butcher Arabs that year. Other years, it wanted Arabs to butcher Persians.

    • > Obama take a page out of Richard Nixon’s book and begin direct, high-level but secret discussions with Iran as Nixon did with China, asking three crucial questions: “What does Iran want, what do we want and what do we both want?”

      that’s crazy .. that’s like threatening to kick someone’s door down and kill everyone inside, but pausing to ask them “What do You want, what do we want and what do we both want?”

  13. Obama administration has nobody by itself to blame for this situation.

    In Libya, they hacked quite a number of procedural mechanisms which are supposed to make starting a new war more difficult.

    They take drone warfare and assassinations like that of Bin Laden as their major achievements. No concern that this is nothing else than creeping warfare.

    Not to mention their enthusiasm about sanctions which are acts of economic war.

    Now Israelis and GOP pay them in their own currency and want to start a war which Obama would like to avoid, at least for now. Apparently, Obama has outmaneuvered himself – once again.

    • So your theory is that the “assassination” of bin Laden and the drone strikes against al Qaeda targets in places like Pakistan and Yemen represented a new war.

      That’s odd, because the United States has been legally at war with al Qaeda since September 2001.

      I wonder: did Obama’s actions during his first term also open the door for Israel’s strike against Osirak in 1981?

      The notion that an Israeli strike against Iran would be something novel, only possible because of some unprecedented American actions in the second decade of the 21st century, seems bit far-fetched. There are plenty of things that happen in this world that aren’t caused by Barack Obama.

      • [That’s odd, because the United States has been legally at war with al Qaeda since September 2001.]

        Not so fast :) If this happened in Afghanistan or in Iraq, then it would be nothing new. But it was done in Pakistan just near their main military academy, not in some lawless zone near the Afghan border.

        This means that the Afghan war has effectively spilled over the whole territory of Pakistan! I know, this sounds only fair for the US interventionists, and they think this is a very smart alternative for the real occupation of Pakistan.

        But no, I don’t think that the policy of lightweight strikes like this one is sustainable. Sooner rather than later, it will result in a real big war.

  14. I think a key issue is how a war/attack will impact oil prices and probably tank the struggling economies of Us and Europe. This would not be good for Obama reelection campaign, but that may just be what metastasis and others hope for. Or the Israeli right may force him into a deal to agree to an attack after reelection. I agree with others that it would be a human and strategic disaster.

  15. In 2010, Jeffrey Goldberg wrote an alarming piece in The Atlantic that an Israeli attack was imminent. Others pushed back on it immediately. Today’s debate is deja vu. The Lukid and other parties are in the midst of electing their leaders and Netanyahu may call for early elections this year. So domestic Israeli positioning is in high gear. That has to be considered in assessing the situation.

    And remember Bill Gates’ parting words: anyone who wants to start another war in an Arab country would be insane. Lastly, George W. Bush had himself and his entire cabinet pushing public opinion towards war. Compared to the actual war preparations under Bush, the Republican push today is meaningless.

  16. So, Iran is a huge scary existential threat to our very existence, but we can take them out with a few well-placed smart bombs.

    They’re somehow a monster and a pushover at the same time.

    Is it just me or is the cognitive dissonance really loud in here?

    • “So, Iran is a huge scary existential threat to our very existence, but we can take them out with a few well-placed smart bombs.

      They’re somehow a monster and a pushover at the same time.

      Is it just me or is the cognitive dissonance really loud in here?”

      It’s just you Keith. There is no cognitive dissonance, loud or otherwise. No one has called Iran an existential threat to the United States. Concern about a potential Iranian nuclear weapons program is based on the threat it could pose for U.S. interests, not on the continued existence of the U.S.

      And your statement implying that there are those who think “we can take them out with a few well-placed smart bombs” is way over the top. No rational “Experienced Player” (to borrow a phrase from Mr. McPhee) has ever suggested that Iran could be “taken out” with a “few well-placed smart bombs.” Even those who advocate bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities mean just that, targeting the nuclear facilities, not “taking out” Iran itself. Your hyperbole completely undermines what might have been a reasonable argument.

      • Ah, the voice of sweet reasonable didacticism… Good thing the teacher is not in the room with us, with a long ruler to correct our every excursion from the precise text of the assigned narrative…

        And why do I have little hope for our species? Gee, could it have something to do with the nature of our behaviors, displayed small and large, even in “rational” places like this (let alone the comments and text over at Red States and other vigorously partisan webspaces, or even below every Youtube video or every article in Yahoo!space or The Economist or the NYT or you name it)? Or how about them Egyptian soccer fans, hey? Or GIs killing Afghan non-combattants out of boredom, or all those errant Hellfire strikes. Violence is the nature of the beast, and putting a nice condescending pseudo-academic pseudo-diplomatic polish on it hardly conceals the nature of the corroded base metal underneath it all…

        • > … And why do I have little hope for our species? Gee, could it have something to do with the nature of our behaviors …

          personally, i feel reluctant to blame the entirety of humanity for that ability of psychopaths to manipulate and control corporate and national forces.

      • But surely targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities does mean ‘taking out’ Iran itself ??…I mean noone really thinks that Iran – having had its nuclear facilities bombed ( and probably other sites ) would just sit back and say “ouch that hurt …betta completely fold and throw myself on the tender mercies of the US and her allies”?
        A more easily imagined response would be ‘Ouch that hurt…see how you like it when its done to you’ before firing off numerous missiles and ensuring the devastating war some seem to be thirsting after.

        • You apparently do not see the contradiction in your post, Janine. How is Iran to fire off “numerous missiles,” that have been already been taken out? More to the point, your premise is entirely wrong. Taking out nuclear facilities in Iran no more means taking out Iran than taking out the nuclear facility in Iraq in 1981 meant taking out Iraq, or taking out the nuclear facility in Syria meant taking out Syria.

      • I’m a 21-year retired Air Force O-5 with 500 combat hours in my logbook. That “experienced player” enough for ya?

        Any air campaign against Iran would likely be much larger than “just targeting the nuclear facilities”.

        We would likely try to target their capability to retaliate. Unless you don’t think they would retaliate, which takes us back to my original statement about them not being much a threat to anyone.

        Once you start doing that, the target list expands almost exponentially.

        We would end up with something more on the scale of the 1991 air campaign against Iraq than Osirak Part II.

        • Your original statement, Keith, was that those advocating targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities consider Iran an existential threat to the U.S., and that they think a “few well-placed smart bombs” could take Iran out. My response to your statements stands. No one I know of believes Iran is a threat to the existence of the U.S. And certainly no one thinks “we can take them [Iran] out with a few well-placed smart bombs.”

          Your reply to my response indicates you may be adjusting your thinking in order to dispense with the hyperbole that undermined your original post. If so, I commend you for it.

      • But you’re admitting, then, that after we attack the reactor, we will be in a state of war with a still-functional Iranian military, right? So logically, we will have to defeat that military to protect our client states in the region. And since we can’t send troops to Tehran, we will have to bomb its command and control centers. To which Iran can reasonably retaliate with everything it has, if international law still means anything. So we really have no choice but to pursue regime change rather than spend a decade worrying about Iran’s retaliation.

        You’re so 2003, Bill.

        • SUPER390, where on earth did you dredge up your statement that I am “admitting, then, that after we attack the reactor, we will be in a state of war” with Iran? I never made such a statement. You are creating a straw-man to fit your ideological predisposition. You may think we would be in a state of war with Iran, but don’t project your assumptions on to me. When Israel targeted the Iraqi Osirak nuclear facility in 1981 and the Syrian nuclear facility in 2009, neither action resulted in a “state of war.” Whether there is a state of war or not would largely depend on Iran, and we cannot know what Iran’s reaction would be at this point, regardless of the Ayatollahs’ bluster.

          Also, don’t engage in mental gymnastics by assuming that I am advocating targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities. This a question that is being discussed, and whose feasibility is being debated, on this forum. Discussion and debate do not equate with advocacy. You must learn to distinguish between the two.

          Your comment about being “so 2003″ demonstrates how little you know and does not deserve a riposte.

    • Bill,

      Yeah, I used some hyperbole, but you can bet that when the time comes Iran will indeed be portrayed to the American public as an “existential threat” and the worst thing to come down the road since the Third Reich.

      Just look back on what was said about Iraq circa 2002-2003.

  17. It is unlikely that the US will stand still if Israel strikes and Iran retaliates, no matter what the generals say now. As a matter of fact an Israeli strike and ensuing Iranian retaliation would bring the perfect opportunity for the war lords to satisfy their thirst for blood and oil. There is nothing honorable about wars of aggression. Thank you for keeping the public informed on this important issue.

    • It’s a good point: if Israel does bomb, will the US have ‘no choice’ (politically) to back them up. Although Obama has caved into Netayahu’s strategy on settlements, etc., intentionally bombing Iran despite US warnings would cross a line even Bibi wouldn’t cross. It’s one thing to build illegal settlements, quite another to start a war, endanger US lives and ruin a presidency.

      • If Israel does bomb, how else can Iran retaliate except against US forces in the region? If that happens–Iranian antiship missiles hitting US warships in or around the Persian Gulf–the US would have to respond militarily.
        So the Israelis entangle the US in a war which they can let the US fight.

  18. last year we were assigned the following article. it basically explains that when israel and it lobby say Iran Iran Iran and Iran they in fact have in mind cleansing in the west bank. the links between israel’s domestic and regional dots do not seem to be linked enough. best anyway

    link to tandfonline.com

  19. Obama has managed to cull a few of the more dangerous Likud agents from his staff, such as Dennis Ross, but that doesn’t mean he would be getting the staff support he needs to develop and implement saner options.

    Sanctions, and Iranian responses to them, amount to a game of Chicken. Thinking positively, current events could be setting us up for reaching an overarching peace with Iran, but there simply is no staff support for that scenario. Obama can not develop it all by himself, even if he drafts Michelle, Beau and the Girls. So, there is only one way this logically ends.

    Said staff has been increasing US military presence in the Gulf to the point that a war could be started at any point by some overenthusiastic NCO or Jr Officer, never-mind the Revolutionary Guard folk, who I understand dominate their coastal patrol boats. Should Israel take its shot first, its hard to imagine the US not being immediately drawn in tactically. The direct costs wouldn’t be that much, but the fallout would be mind-boggling. Not that the Likud would care, and therein lies the danger that cannot be managed.

    This confrontation has always been about Israeli freedom of action, as noted, as another Israeli “red-line” has an effective Iranian air defense. Would they start such a war to preserve this ability if they didn’t know the US would finish the job? Look to their history and trust your read on the true leadership of the Likud, knowing Netanyahoo is really more of a tool. The context for all this, depressingly enough, is precisely how ineffective the IDF and coercive measures generally have become. The real question to ask here is what does a certain type of person do when they feel cornered?

    Ehud Barak recently minimalizing the Iranian threat, after years and years of doomsday comments. When the dog quits barking is when you should start to worry. That said, the manipulation of the public by our administrations has gotten to be an art form, and his comments could well have had exactly the intent of eliciting my reaction. It strikes me this is ALL part of a organized PR campaign, from the Greenberg article in the Atlantic during the fall, to that obvious reprisal that came out last week. Ditto the ambiguity of Panetta’s comments. The underlying intent is to ratchet up the pressure on Iran to cave in, but given Iranian nationalism how conceivable is that? And with Iran not buying into the posturing and ready to play out this little game of Chicken to the end, it leads in only one direction. The knot could be cut, but as said before, who can see Obama’s staff doing what needs to be done, and finding willing interlocutors on the other side. Possible, true, but what are the odds?

    All this artful maneuvering appears to be disguising an inexorable drift. The zero-sum personalities running things in Israel have a mind-set that is hard to overestimate in its capacity, and their disrespect for the US and the rest of the world is similarly profound. Nobody can predict precisely how things are going to unfold, but where events are leading us appears clear. Invest accordingly.

    • ‘The underlying intent is to ratchet up the pressure on Iran to cave in’…what would that look like? I mean they keep saying that their nuclear program is non military , they have inspectors …what would they have to do to remove the threat/s against them at this stage?
      I suspect it just isn’t possible – and not because of ‘Iranian Nationalism’ – they are being asked/confronted with proving a negative when the other side has already decided that everything they say is a lie.
      We’ve been there before with Iraq but apparently that wont stop the same gambit from working again.
      And that is what happens when countries are not held accountable for their crimes.

      • Since their growing ability to constrain Israeli freedom of action, capitulation on the nuclear issue appears to be a smoke screen for what is being advocated by the more plain-spoken neocons: regime change. Short of that, effective capitulation would be to surrender in as many words….forfeiture of sovereignty to the point Israel would not feel pressured, constrained, or somehow threatened.

  20. Yea perhaps we should just the Iranians get a nuclear weapon so they have more leverage over the entire Middle East. Once they get a nuke, regardless of who is in power there – it will be impossible to influence them. Then perhaps they will nuke the Israelis as they have threatened in the past and kill them off. The Saudi’s and Iraqis will line up behind them and they can do what they wish as they will control most of the fuel that runs the world. Middle East problems – all solved!

    • You do have a point in there. Were Iranian power allowed (somehow) to slowly grow, it would put increasing pressure on Israel, curtailing their current omnipotence and freedom of action but inspiring them to negotiate more wholeheartedly. Something there has been very little of in the last 50 years.

      Under such circumstances Israel would eventually have to reach a fair and abiding peace with the offsetting power. Peace could be achieved, in theory anyway. Would Israel allow that to happen? Could they tolerate a fair peace, given the commitment they appear to have made to their current way of doing business and underlying regional dominance?

      As Thucydides said, discussions of fairness are only possible between equals….

    • Of course, the Iranians are so fierce and fanatical that they would attack without provocation even if it meant certain national suicide.

      However, they are so meek and easily cowed that they will sit quietly on their hands when attacked by Israel and/or the US.

      Once again, they’re somehow a grave threat and a cakewalk at the same time.

      Sounds awfully familiar.

    • Well, Mo, after Iran launches its only nuke against Tel Aviv (since nuking Jerusalem would be apostasy), Israel will still have 200 nukes left to launch against Iran. So the rest of your laughable scenario is invalid.

      Oh wait, you actually believe Israel doesn’t have nukes? Based on what? Israel NEVER denied having nukes! Anyone who accuses it of having nukes, like Jimmy Carter, is simply smeared as an Arab-lover without the accusation being addressed.

      You want to believe Israel has no nukes to justify America going to war to kill every Moslem that Israel says is a threat, and then giving the wasteland to more Jewish settlers.

      And the fact that Israel co-developed its bomb with apartheid South Africa (Mandela dismantled SA’s program after he won) says so much that you don’t want said.

      • Button, button, who’s got the button?

        link to guardian.co.uk

        It’s only the rag called the “Guardian,” but it sure seems like a laydown, [challengable only by obfuscatorialists repeating a Big Lie, Ad Anuseam (typo, but I like it in context),] that Israeli military forces, with “covert” US help and in cooperation with other apartheid “states,” or the war-loving fractions thereof, has a preeeeetty beeeg and growing set of deployed Nukular Weapons, which, mirable dictu, the Loonie Toons on “their side” are (or, pace Bill, at least pretty clearly WERE) happy to spread around. To the “Right” people, of course. And what was the Big Experienced Player Plan behind that (among all the other) destabilizing, life-threatening Great Gamery Megaplans? Must have been a real Doozy…

        I wonder if “Listen Carefully, Children, And Only Color Inside The Lines” Bill has some Experience that leads him to a conclusion or certitude or even opinion, one way or the other, regarding the existence and maybe even targeting of those nukes. I mean, it’s not like the Israeli spy apparatus has not acquired all the latest in Really Smart US Military Contingency Planning Documents covering the Area of Operation that includes their space, and probably the rest of Our Most Secret Stuff too. Jonathan Pollard? And who were the other guys and gals? Do you suppose OUR Experienced Players have the same degree of skill in peeping into the war planning of the IDF? Or do Our Big Brains just go with the assumption that “we’re on the same side…?” (Probably not, but you never know with all the Rapturists in the upper ranks.)

        Last I checked, there’s still no predicting the future positions of even a dozen identical billiards balls interacting via relatively simple collisions. When the numbers of interactions, collisions, frictions, inertias and other relationships get as big as they are today, any condescension and pretense to High Knowledge is hubris in the extreme. Even Malaysia and Algeria are exceptional special cases, compared to the Consumer Combustion Culture that blankets the rest of the planet.

  21. In these comments, as in the piece on Israel’s Iran strategy published in last Sunday’s _New York Times_ magazine, there is no mention of one of the most important actors in this crisis: China. This oversight shows the extent to which the American media continue stupidly and, one fears, willfully, to view this as a story exclusively about the U.S, Israel, and Iran. China does not want another war in central Asia and is certainly acting behind the scenes to prevent an attack on Iran, because 1) any war in central Asia risks further inflaming ethnic tensions in China and destabilizing the country; 2) as Professor Cole reminded us earlier this week, Iran is a key oil supplier for China; 3) the economic consequences for China would be catastrophic; and 4) the last thing China (or Russia, or India) wants is an increased U.S. military presence in its neighborhood. How ironic if China (once again) saves America’s economy (if not its democracy) despite America’s own best efforts to the contrary.

  22. Thinking rationally, if Israel cannot more or less permanently neuter Iran by itself, and it cannot get the US to finish the job, its regional power…especially given all this posturing…will be on a path to nowhere. Unless, of course, they want to do what it takes to reach a fair peace with the Palestinians and their neighbors, and that doesn’t appear to be up for negotiation.

    So, how can Israel get out of the corner their attitude has left them in? Manipulate the US to do the job? Maybe, but that’d only be a temporary fix (remember the Clean Break Memo?). But if you believe in a US determination not to commit economic harri-kari, it occurs to me they could have another idea in-mind that would be consistent with the mindset of those running the Likud:

    Conventionally, the IDF would be capable of making only one half-assed mess attacking Iran itself. Even with the ongoing support of the KSA (which I suppose is plausible), they’d still have to rely on drawing the US in. But, objective, tactical Nukes get an undeserved bad rap, and they could be just the tool. Aside from released radiation, civilian damage could be quite minimal, and even the fallout wouldn’t be all THAT bad, at least from the Likud’s perspective, if the winds took it out to sea. Pick a number from 10-20 warheads, that can land within a hundred yards of their targets. Think of the MESSAGE that would send within 20 minutes. When people speak of how an attack would only set them back a few years, would Iran or anyone DARE think developing a counter after such a demonstration of Israel determination? And what other option does Israel really have, when you think about it, when their existence has always been premised on domination, rather than working for a true and full acceptance of its legitimacy? One way or the other they have to continue to dominate, or capitulate (to their way of thinking), and the conventional tools are no longer working.

    More informed speculation could nail down the specifics, but this scenario wouldn’t be all that bad, from THEIR perspective, compared to the alternative of losing their freedom of action and where that would inevitably lead. And when you consider the history and mindset of the people in power, it becomes a plausible contingency.

    • OMG!! that is the scariest thing I’ve read …and scarier still is that it doesn’t sound like something so inconceivable given those in power.

    • I am sorry but when did the Iranians or Syria or for that matter the Palestinians ever (in history) express an interest in making peace with Israel?

      • Many many many times. Abbas was willing to practically sell out all of Palestine for next to (or less than) nothing, and that’s just one example (of many).what have you been reading that leads you to believe the shite you say?

  23. If you read the Ignatius article, you’d see that Panetta specifically said “No Comment” to the question of an alleged Israeli attack. The view that such an attack is imminent comes from an “anonymous official” who attributes it to Panetta. Not Panetta himself

    In short, BS.

  24. I think a lot of the depressing uncertainty in this situation is due to Obama’s lack of, or disinterest in, leadership.

    War would be another national tragedy for the US, and a massive crime against humanity perpetrated on the eighty million inhabitants of Iran. But Obama has never struck me a someone who would save the day by making a clear declaration that the US has no intention of attacking Iran, and that an attack by Israel would not be supported by the US. But he is the only person that can make and enforce such a declaration, and short of such a declaration there is enough blood lust here and in Israel to drag us into war.

    It is in Obama’s hands. If he wants “four more years”, a singular act of true courage could win it for him. He doesn’t deserve four more days if war with Iran breaks out.

  25. oh boy another war. more dead children and young men whose parents will rally round their Leader to demand vengeance and kill the “Other.”

    just what we need.

    to listen to those who “minimize” and “strategize” the options Israel and the US have against Iran is a basic step sanctifying the WAR on Iran.

    call it what you want using fancy phrases and words. this is the basic line/truth involved.

    War for Israel on Iran and America will pay with soldiers, money and blood, once again. America is seen as the real force behind Israel, they use America weapons, bullets, armaments, jets, and so on.

    my only question is when will Netanyahu start it. it really is only a matter of time. since he hates Obama, what better way to get Obama out of the White House. Obama is so useful to his Masters. that Obama will go down in history as the “Kenyan Muslim Usurper” says it all.

    just like Iraq, Iran is next. Remember the Axis of Evil, Iran,Iraq and N.Korea.

    well Iran makes number 2 out of the 3. does anyone wonder why N. Korea pushed for Nuclear Weapons. Iran started too late, that’s all.

    • Israel has sold missiles and our airborne early warning radar system System to China. Attacked us in 1968 and has been friendly to regimes hostile to the U.S.

  26. 9/11 broke me financially, I had just put all my money in a UK travel business; but worse it seems to have broken the US’s ability to accurately define the enemy and how to attack/defeat them. 15/19 Saudi origins beats me too, methinks groups pressing their version of their religion seem afoot on deadly business not whole counties with hosts of innocents. So, a follow up of a nuts selfish attack by Israel only serves some interests not the whole and makes a huge mess for everyone. Jaw Jaw not War War – get Iran benefiting from terrorist suppression/elimination. Saudi beats me too – how deep is the oil business complicit? And in what? Just oil? Israel? Version of Islam?

  27. Actually that should be : “oh boy another war. more dead women and children at the hands of young men who have the courage to fight a war but not to ask if they should – whose parents will rally round their Leader to demand vengeance and kill the “Other.”

  28. [...] Pres. Obama has shown his Bushesque colors throughout his foreign policy decisions, with an election year bringing even bigger challenges to him. As many of you remember, he ducked an important vote on Iran as a senator running for president. There has been much criticism on his Israeli policy as president, most undeserved. Pres. Obama has been a steadfast friend to Israel, as all American presidents must be, with Romney’s “appeasement” lines absurd. It has leaked that US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Gen. Martin Dempsey warned the Israelis that if they launched a strike on Iran that spiralled into a war, they would be on their own. – Juan Cole [...]

  29. Ronen Bergmann, in his NYT Sunday magazine piece last week, offered the opinion that Israel could absorb anything Iran would throw at it in retaliation. I doubt this; the sight of bodies being pulled out of destroyed apartment buildings from missile attacks would generate enormous pressure to end the war for sure- with nuclear weapons.

  30. This is just a huge scam to drive up the price of oil and gold and to bust the US dollar.

    Does anyone really think that Israel is stupid enough to unilaterally launch a long range air raid in defiance of the entire west.

    Does anyone really think Eric Cantor with his gold futures doesn’t want to see the $ tank.

    Does anyone really think the Koch bros aren’t part of this.

    The price of oil will over $4.00 a gallon (highest ever) just in time for the election. That will be a huge huge huge tax increase on the working class . . . and who would want that ….. huh….right. This is class warfare by a greedy international cabal intent on destroying the dollar and the US.

    This is a scam and the way to deal with it is to dismiss Israel (really the cabal manipulating several governments in the name of Israel) in regard to the air raid. “Go ahead if you want – don’t call us, we’ll call you”

    Division, rhetoric, panic and mostly fear of the closing straight of Hormuz is what the cabal wants – not a unilateral air raid. They want to drive up the price of oil and gold and to control or destroy the value of the dollar.

    Dismiss them and let toady Republickers accuse of not taken the fear of Iran seriously enough.

    THIS IS A SCAM. THERE IS NO NEAR TERM THREAT TO THE USA OR ISRAEL FROM IRAN.

  31. The question I have about possible Iran nuclear weapons is one that I think is central to the whole imbroglio, yet you will rarely if ever see it approached anywhere, and that is, why can’t Iran have them? What is it about Iran that it’s so obscene that it should want to develop such weapons when for years many countries that historically have acted much more nastily toward their neighbors than Iran has, complete with outright invasions and occupations, nevertheless can have such bombs and warheads coming out of their ears, yet few utter so much as a peep? What is it about the U.S., Russia, Britain, France, China, Pakistan, North Korea, and other countries that it is alright for them to have those obscene nation-wreckers and earth poisoners, but that a populous and sovereign country like Iran, with no record of having attacked another nation in modern times, cannot under any circumstance be allowed to have any at all? I don’t get it.

    With only about a tenth of the population of Iran and little to none of the treasures of the earth that anyone would want, tiny Israel has nevertheless long been widely believed to have a nuclear arsenal already, consisting of, according to estimates I have seen, as many as 200 warheads, though the Israelis steadfastly and slyly neither deny nor admit that they have any. Furthermore, in its brief existence of little more than 60 years — and much unlike Iran — it has openly attacked the majority of its neighbors at one time or another, while treating its closest neighbors, the Palestinians, in ways suggestive of how the Germans treated the Jews several generations ago, complete with Warsaw-type walls. And now it is threatening Iran with all its might and main, ascribing motives to Iran that arouse the suspicion that these are actually the acts Netanyahu & Co. would want to commit if they were in Iran’s shoes.

    The rationales behind all this and the punishing of the so far innocent with endless sanctions and threats while honoring and acting on behalf of the guilty are gigantic puzzles to me, on which it would be great to see some kind of sensible light shed, provided that there is any rationality to it at all, though I strongly doubt that, and that is probably why one seldom if ever sees any kind of at least a stab at such a thing put forward.

    • Why, or Why, so much hand-wringing here and now with Iran? The answer is Israel’s power over US domestic politics and thus its foreign policy. And that power is supercharged by how it taps into an underlying racism, which certainly exists when considering NKorea/China, but the thought of those Crazy A-Rabs (sic) getting The Bomb is a emotional button with power to support Likud interests that’s hard to minimize.

    • Thank you Carl.

      At last someone hits the nail on the head. Not the intellectual hyperbole of hidden agendas inaccordance with the War Game Conference of 1812, the Bank of England Conference or whatever.

      Are most of the intellectual, expert commenters just pawns in a game they don’t control?

      Who are the small group of rulers silently controlling the Federal Reserve, the oil industry, the military-industrial complex and the major industries and corporations of the world? Who corrects these dictators?

      Israel with a population of 8,800,000 and 7,992 sq miles compares to the state of New Jersey with 8,900,000 and 7,354 sq miles. Why does Israel continue to receive about 3 billion dollars of foreign aid every year?

      Why does the US keep arming Israel? Ya. It keeps peace?

      Nuclear weapons are beyond insanity, suicidal.

      Shouldn’t the U.S. deal with the fact that three nuclear powers Israel, India, and Pakistan have not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty?

      Iran has not attack any country for centuries, peaceful. Israel not so peaceful. The US must stop Israel from threatening Iran. A missile from Israel must be stopped and the individual source eliminated. What would the release of a second missile be the start or end of?

  32. Three times the (visible) cost of the Iraq doesn’t begin to encompass the cost of a war with Iran. What is the cost of America’s “professional” army with loaded weapons confronting American citizens “peaceably assembling” at empty gas pumps? What is the cost of war to America’s semi-vibrant online economy when UPS delivery costs 50% of the total cost, rather than the 20% that is now not uncommon? What is the cost of spreading hunger, malnutrition, and want as transportation, fertilizer, and maintenance costs push food prices beyond more American families declining income? What costs do you assign the continued postponement of maintenance of fundamental societal infrastructure including bridges, highways, and water supplies? The long list only begins with those costs. Oil prices are not linked to supply and demand as much as to the cattle prod of speculator fear, and the Hormuz sphincter, and the Mid East in general, is a very sensitive place.

    People who beat the drums for war, or can’t get enough of the adrenaline rush of battle, or who aren’t yet old enough to understand they are mortal, willfully choose to ignore the cost of war. Nations that continue to spend more than they can afford simply cease to be. If Scrooge, rather than Rambo, was counting the shiploads of thousand dollar bills, caskets, and deferred debt destined for war-for-no-reason, there would be a quick end to shipments.

    >… possible Iran nuclear weapons is one that I think is central to the whole imbroglio….

    “Imbroglio” is a good term, vague and misleading from the fundamental issues. The fundamental issues are that the US is an increasingly fragile nation; that war in the Mid East is Pandora’s box; that nuclear weapons are defensive, not offensive, by nature; that Israel by holding Jerusalem holds—and enjoys squeezing—the hearts of Christians and Muslims alike; that war profiteering funds sufficient social science necessary to maintain war as an acceptable choice; and that Iran, no less than any other nation on earth, must look beyond oil as an energy source.

    >So, how can Israel get out of the corner their attitude has left them in?

    Change their attitude. Remove Israel’s manipulative hold on both Christianity and Islam’s heart: Declare Jerusalem a universal, sacred, open, international city with unfettered access by all. Assure Iran, as well as Israel and every nation, of its right to exist and its right to plan and act for a future that assuredly will not be a reiteration of the present.

  33. Anyone who seriously thinks Obama wants war with Iran is categorically off their head.

    Anyone who wants to bomb Iran for one nuclear bomb that does not exist is even more abjectly insane.

    The only reason Iran would consider building a bomb at all would be to invoke such an attack as an excuse to cause chaos in the Straits or Hormuz because they know they cannot harm Israel or the US so the only way they can cause harm is to trick Israel and the US to start a war that would destroy the global economy.

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