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Walking Wounded

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  • Wrong Again, Sen. Graham: Cole in Truthdig
    • Walking Wounded 01/05/2011 at 1:07 pm

      Graham's 'bomb, bomb Iran' war party needs to set conditions such that Iran appears to be the aggressor. The Ayatollah-4-life violently oppressing his own people is insufficient.

      The form of dumbed down US and world history used in mass political discourse has us responding to sneak attacks in nearly every war, even if it's just med students afraid of being hostage in Grenada, or USN ships shooting at ghosts in the Gulf of Tonkin.

      In obeisance to our foundation mythos, we are always Gary Cooper's outnumbered sherif, in High Noon. Wait for it.

    • Walking Wounded 01/04/2011 at 8:57 pm

      Obama's promise of 'all out in 2014' is premised on his admin. surviving 2012, and the durability of any Afghan gov't demanding a SOFA/Withdrawal Agreement, a la Iraq. Many guess that NATO and the UN will be reluctant to continue to war even that long, especially leary/weary if another Republican war party regains the WH and the war budget.

      Speaking of Iraq lessons, and strategic air bases, US tenancy at Mosul, Balad, Baghdad and H3 air bases will expire 2012 (with Obama's first term) under the Withdrawal Agreement/SOFA signed by Bush in 2008. Both Sunni and Shiite pols must support US compliance, and restoration of Iraqi sovereignty over their airspace, the termination of US military air ops.

      If an Iraqi civil/military air forces aren't stood up in 2011, US withdrawal will mean that the IA/IP won't have much in the way of surveillance and close air combat support as we withdraw 2012.

      A sovereign Iraq, facing insurgency and cross-border artillery incidents, needs hundreds of helos, thousands of pilots, jets, transports and drones. And the massive ground support team to maintain them. That's a $100B project, in round numbers. Way more than an impoverished and conflicted Iraq can stand up, without massive foreign aid. Even with unlimited aid, two years is a crash program. Literally.

      Plenty of leverage there for US militarists to use in pressing anew for basing rights, and for nationalists and int'l jihadis to call it imperialism.

  • Saudi Arabia Saves Chicago Synagogue from al-Qaeda Bomb Plot
    • It was a successful information bomb, and the news audience was the target. Perception is the reality here. The shipping label (TO/FROM) was propaganda, known to be trackable, even if destroyed. The publication of any detail by my gov't and media was intentional, bent to the agendas of multiple parties.

      Continuing JamesL's thought, it seems that somebodies found somethings. It came from somewhere, and I'm supposed to reach conclusions and have emotional reactions on the basis of spot reports and details that may change, if they are ever accurately reported.

  • On Juan Williams' Firing for Islamophobia and how Most European Terrorism is by European Separatists
    • Walking Wounded 10/21/2010 at 6:29 pm

      Prof. C, thx for the link to the europol data.

      Robert Pape lays out the rigorous evidence-based US research, that suicide terror isn't a moslem thing. Not even a 'mostly moslem' thing. It's a (perceived) high value territory thing. The linked video is very concise and listenable, obviously a practiced brief that Dr. Pape's done many times.

      link to

      link to
      Robert Pape on Suicide Terrorism
      Oct. 7 2010

  • Demonstration outside US Base in Afghanistan against Quran-Burning Turns Violent
    • Walking Wounded 09/17/2010 at 5:05 am

      This islamophobia and racism thing reminds me of the principle for people affected by problem drinkers and drug abuse; the drinker is an alcoholic when they admit that to themselves. In the meantime, it's up to those being affected by that behavior to take responsibility for steps in their own lives to limit the craziness.

      I wonder how many people spamming '3 reasons to fear moslems' links have payed any attention to the many immigrants in their communities. The cultural moslems (Iranian-Americans, as it happens) that I interact with most frequently are homeowners, into cajun dancing. Another, a palestinian fellow, is a heavy pot smoker, looking to get back into restaurant work, where the moslem-raised are heavily represented as owners and employes.

  • US Drone Strikes Kill 15 in N. Waziristan
    • Walking Wounded 09/15/2010 at 3:55 am

      I suspect that UAV attacks in Pakistan are carried out under a secret Status of Forces agreement with the gov't of Pakistan. It's an open secret that armed UAV's are launched from Pakistani military airfields, going back several years. I believe that the USAF would want a Pakistani officer in the chain of decision to hit a structure in their sovereign territory, or some formal legal authority. After the secret bombings of the VN war, the USAF is attentive to their own legal liability issues.

      Different rules would apply for CIA controlled missiles (or other 'decapitation' attempts), such as a Presidential finding authorizing lethal operations. Recall that signing some of those findings left over from the Bush admin was one of the first items of business for President Obama, on Jan 20, 2009.

  • Schama: Islamophobia Recalls anti-Catholic, Anti-Jewish Nativism of America's Past
    • Walking Wounded 09/14/2010 at 8:30 pm

      Ditto on not letting the mis-characterization stand, it was never a mosque, and apparently is part of a anti-radical/reconciliation mission by a notable American, Faisal Abdul Rouf. His speech/Q&A yesterday at the Council for Foreign Relations is worth listening to (or reading the Q&A) , at:
      link to

      But his Q&A response to the 'why not take a time out, or go to plan B' , which was 'all options are being considered' struck me, a sympathetic listener, as appearing a bit evasive.

      Given his mission, the furtherance of egregious interfaith moderation, I thought Mr. Rouf missed the oppty to throw back the question: If not here/now, then where and when? The folks opposing his project in lower Manhattan (from Florida or Michigan or...) are apposed to any 'molsem mosque' (or a community center that they can mis-characterise) anywhere, in any state. An American leader, even an immigrant ex-science teacher with only a coupla post-secondary degrees, faced with a chorus of 'give up, lie low' vis a project in his own community, is entitled to tell out of state righteous right activists to mind their own community centers.

  • Iraqi Soldier Kills 2 Americans, Wounds 9
    • Walking Wounded 09/10/2010 at 6:33 pm

      The Kurd's have been played by many sides (the CIA/Shah funded a Kurd army agin the Saddam Baathists, who then fled from Khomeini's revolution. Kurds were caught in the middle during the 80's, variously attacked by the Turks, Iran, Iraq, Syria.

      So if Kurd factions play Qods, CIA and Mossad at the same time and against each other, remember that it's a tough league. It's my understanding that some Pesh have cult jihadi tendencies and past connections, including a pre-2003 AlQ-Iraq affiliate.

    • Re Kurd interests vs US interests

      In regard to the Kurdish Regional Gov't, which is dominated by warlord-for life Barzani's clan, a more nuanced view than 'they generally like the US' is in order. I'm not saying that this tragic multi-murder of US special forces is part of a plot, just that 'kurd' does not equal 'US ally', any more than 'muj' equals 'freedom fighter'.

      At this stage of our occupation, the US is actively blocking Eretz Kurdistan ambitions. If, as press and prisoner reports indicate, Team Barzani is willing to murder his internal Kurd opposition, not to mention the Turkmen and Yezidis, motivating our peacekeeping force to leave sooner is not off the table. After generations of insurrections, defeats, terrorism, holy war, and making arms deals with any and everyone, including Tel Aviv and Iran's Qods operatives, I think we can safely conclude that Barzani's multi-generation project is ruthless, corrupt, not to be trusted, and not to be characterized as 'those good Iraqis.'

      The KRG border is the flashpoint. We should expect the max combat risks for our troops there, primarily around Mosul and Kirkuk, according to last years Rand study on the withdrawal.

      If you go to the KRG website, you'll find that they don't show borders on their map. The current failure to form an Iraqi gov't is in large measure because neither Arab block will meet expansive Kurd territorial demands. If things really come unravelled in Baghdad, expect the KRG/Barzanis to attempt some major border adjustments, and not just at Kirkuk.

  • Taliban Ambush Kills 30 on Road Crew in Helmand;
    60% of Americans Oppose Afghan War
    • Re polls show declining support for Af-Pak war:

      Over at Small Wars Journal, the red meat Army field officer types (Col's Gian Gentile, Paul Yingling...) are deeply divided about the Afghan surge, whether there is a reasonable prospect for political progress, let alone anything recognizable as military victory.
      link to

      When Pres. Obama took office, I commented on the LBJ/1964 parallel, with the danger that Afghanistan would become 'Obama's war'. The irony is that this midterm election cycle will likely drag both parties further to the right, continuing the 10 year trend-line towards Carl Rove's dream of a permanent Republican majority.

  • Bolton was Contradicted by Bush on Iran's Bushehr Reactor
    • Re OIL mnemonic:
      Republican banker Alan Greenspan wrote:
      “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil,”

      The Iraq invasion also served a political motive, in avoiding accountability for 2001. Team Bush executives were asleep at the wheel in the Summer and Fall of 2001, ignoring the high level of CIA concern about a domestic AQ hijacking/terrorism, on the heels of the 2000 suicide bombing of USS Cole.

    • Good points, although they tend to carry the discussion away from the Iran debate, and distract from the severity of the mistake, the radiological war crime being contemplated and even encouraged.

      The domestic (and S. Pacific) bomb tests of the late 50's and 60's, part and parcel of the hot phase of the cold war, were horrendously dirty. Sen. John Glenn, after investigating the totality of sloppy fuel processing and downrange fallout mused that 'it was almost like we were making war on ourselves.'

      But a conventional attack on uranium storage and processing that by design would atomize and scatter as much as possible onto 'enemy' territory seems more narrowly a radiological WMD attack, in its output effect. With atomization/conflagration, the danger from inhaling or otherwise internalizing the particles exponentially multiplies. Radioactive inclusion is fundamentally more dangerous than exterior, 'background' radiation.

      The tons of super-hard 'DU' depleted uranium ammunition used by the US in various wars since 1990 would also be considered a radiological WMD attack, if used against an American city. I presume the Israelis would feel the same way. But so far as I know, the Israeli gov't isn't yet guilty of our US dual standard in using DU ammunition.

    • Prof. Cole, thx for "...bombing it would turn it into a dirty bomb and harm large numbers of civilians, which even Bolton isn’t yet in favor of."

      Same goes for loose talk of bombing Iran's enrichment facilities and stocks, which use pressurized U-hexaflouride gas. By design, such an attack would breach containment and scatter tons of toxic and highly radioactive uranium across the Persian countryside, water and people. We regard even the threat of such an attack on us or our allies as terrorism. The act itself would (and should) be condemned as a WMD attack.

      No friend of Israel could logically want them to be the first country ever to engage in radiological warfare. Such an attack would in itself be a landmark and fearfully groundbreaking proliferation event; one that can't be undone, but might be repeated.

  • Repubs Plot Israel-Iran Apocalypse and the Collapse of the US Economy
    • Take it from me, a Conservative Baptist preacher's kid, the 'end times' as painted in Revelations are not a pretty picture. A fundamentalist looking forward to life under the antichrist is a bit like a european jew looking forward to WW2, because it will provide money and populace for zionism. Only the pre-millineal 'Left Behind' cult should anticipate Armegeddon with glee. The biblical text describes a Caligula style oppression, murder, torture of the faithful, not something to relish taking a family thru. Second century Christians thought the Roman emperors were the Anti-Christ described in John's revelations.

      Incidentally, modern Jewish Christians are barred from immigraton by discriminatory practice, and by the latest tests for Jewishness being given over to the ultra-orthodox sects that historically regarded the militant socialist zionists as heretics. Under Israeli law under the zionists and the ultra-orthodox, a jew gives up his ethnicity if he converts to LaHay's religion. I know a fundamentalist Christian Jew who intended to hide his conversion, if he ever exercised his 'ancestral right' to immigrate. Presumable there other closet christian immigrants, which is ironic in Hebrew Palestine.

      As a percentage of population, there were more Christians in Palestine in 1945 than in 1985. The holy land wars have driven most of the maronites and syrian orthodox out of Palestine, just as the Iraq war has nearly driven the Iraqi Christians under. More sad irony.

    • It's amusing, if a bit depressing, to think how easy it is for likudniks and cynics like Boehner to manipulate a population that believes in Creationism, virgin birth, resurrection and a second coming, while rejecting evolution and GW.

      Any Israeli missile or air attack on Iranian nuclear processing facilities will, by design, release large amounts (many tons) of the highly toxic U-hexaflouride gas that is the working medium for centrifuges, onto the Persian land water, food, people and animals. If anyone attacked our nuclear facilities, or even threatened release of radioligical poison from American ships or domestic facilities, we would regard them as nuclear terrorists.

      The attack by nuclear armed Israel on Iran that is being encouraged from the halls of the US Congress would be an act of willful radiological terrorism, nothing like the destruction of unfueled sites at Osyrik in 1983 or Syria in 2007. It would put our poorly guarded facilities, including nuclear-powered ships, in the line of fire. It would certainly require our warplanes to take up permanent combat air patrols over the Gulf oilfields, and be accompanied by a large spike in oil prices that could push a global recession into global depression.

    • It's amusing, if a bit depressing, to think how easy it is for likudniks and cynics like Boehner to manipulate a population that believes in Creationism, virgin birth, resurrection and a second coming, while rejecting evolution and GW.

      Any missile are air attack on Iranian nuclear processing facilities will, by design, release large amounts (many tons) of the highly toxic U-hexaflouride gas that is the working medium for centrifuges, onto the Persian land water, food, people and animals. If anyone attacked our nuclear facilities, or even threatened release of radioligical poison from American ships or domestic facilities, we would regard them as nuclear terrorists.

      The Israeli attack on Iran being encouraged from the halls of the US Congress is an act of willful radiological terrorism, nothing like the destruction of unfueled sites at Osyrik in 1983 or Syria in 2006. It would put our poorly guarded facilities, including nuclear-powered ships, in the line of fire. It would certainly require our warplanes to take up permanent combat air patrols over the Gulf oilfields, and be accompanied by a large spike in oil prices that could push a global recession into global depression.

  • Abbas: Israeli Colonization Impedes Start of Direct Talks
    • Israel's ambassador has stated in unequivocal terms that 'Israel/PM Netanyahu has no desire to rule over Palestinians', and I think that he opined that a return to 1967 borders adjusted by a 1:1 swap for settlement land will form the basis of a 2-state solution. He sounds so reasonable, in his tough professor-paratrooper way.

      I wrote the Israeli embassy last month, and asked how the ambassador proposes to avoid ruling over Palestinians, if E. Jerusalem and its Palestinian inhabitants are retained, as was certainly the intention of every Israeli gov't over the last 40 years. Enforced enfranchisement as Israeli citizens? I got no answer.

      It's hard to imagine the Dome/temple mount Moriah being relinquished by either side, or the Israelis accepting E. Jerusalem in any form as the Palestinian capital. instead, E. Jerusalem is still being intentionally walled in by jewish settlements. It's also hard imagining Netanyahu engaging in the sort of forced 'settlement clearing' of radical Israelis from the W. Bank that will be required in any 2-state solution.

      But then, I thought S. Africa to be intractably headed towards a bloodbath in the 90's; the politicians instead chose life, and the soldiers and fighters stood down. It can happen, if the parties are willing.

      Israel has consistently moved in the Eretz' direction, and some pretty frightening 'clear the arabs out' opinions are now being voiced that never would have seen print or been allowed in the Knesset in the past. That said, I don't think 'bad faith, always' is helpful, or even true. "Always" and "never" are red flag statements. Better to just keep pointing to the map, and stating the law of war as it pertains to conquered population and occupied territory.

      I suggest that we move our country toward compliance with US laws, regarding Israeli nuclear proliferation, present and past. What is our NIE regarding the risks that Israel has posed, still poses, in dragging us toward potentially nuclear military confrontations, not at a time and place of our choosing?

      The foundation of American representative democracy is our right to know what we are voting on. We haven't done our own homework.

    • Re Israeli land/water theft:

      Natanyau's remarks to Council on Foreign Relations (link below) included a remarkable bit on stimulating economic growth by lifting government restrictions on construction, as a way to launch his country beyond 5% growth from their $20-30K percapita position. My guess is that Israeli policy discourages single family dwellings, to preserve land and water for agriculture, and the avoid oil-import costs of sprawl.

      There is no question that Likud policy has been to occupy and annex W. Bank land that the government calls by old testament names. A large fraction of W. Bank 'settlement' construction has been illegal even by Israeli law, in an area under continuous military IDF occupation.

      link to

  • Odierno: Kurdish-Arab Fighting may Require UN Force in post-American Iraq
    • Re US compliance with 2008 Withdrawal agreement:

      Biden/Odierno assurances and an Iraqi imperative for full sovereignty notwithstanding, my guess is that we are working a plan to hold functional control over the strategic Balad and H-3 airbases, in a country that still has no air force. We certainly require a major military presence including armor, airborne and close air support at Baghdad International, to provide overwatch for our embassy 'campus'.

      The alternative to providing security for our very large civilian AID, State and CIA presence in the Baghdad 'Int'l zone'is to let those facilities be targets behind a porous Iraqi screen, our citizens exposed on every trip to the airport. It's possible that the US 'requirement' for protecting our many people in Iraq, and our not so secret desire for longterm airbases, is part of the hang-up in the negotiations between, Allawi, Maliki, and factions supported by Iran.

  • Mystery of Iranian Nuclear Scientist and the Duelling YouTube Videos
    • Anyone familiar with the Curveball (WMD biowar trailers) fabrications has an excellent model for how the 'subject expert' and a cascade of debriefers and analysts can feed each others needs, in the creation of highly detailed and misleading stories.

  • Iran Threatens to Pull out of Nuclear Deal over new UN Sanctions
    • "... sanctions may be intended to mollify Israel and forestall a disastrous military strike by that country on the Iranian nuclear facilities at Natanz near Isfahan."

      Prof. Cole, it's important to stress that any strike by Israel or the US on Iranian enrichment and storage facilities would, by design, release the U-hexafloride working medium, a pressurized gas. Conventional explosives would atomise and disperse tons of highly radioactive and chemically toxic material onto Iranian citizens, animals, agriculture and watersheds. It would, in its intended effect, be a radiological attack, the equivalent of a massive dirty bomb.

      Even threatening such an attack on US facilities and territory would be rightfully interpreted as the imminent threat of WMD warfare. A successful attack of this nature would force the permanent evacuation and disuse of the contaminated downwind and downstream areas. It's not at all like the past Israeli attacks on un-fueled Baathist reactors, in Syria or Iraq.

      It's beyond me how anyone claiming to be a friend of Israel can see a WMD/radiological attack on Iran as being in the interests of nuclear armed Israel. The active threat of WMD/radiological warfare on Iran significantly raises the risk that Iran will prepare MAD-style reprisal options.

  • Iran Announces Breakthrough Nuclear Exchange Deal
    • Without coment on whether this deal will happen, islamic Turkey as a middle-man for an enriched uranium swap works for both countries. It keeps the Iranian side of the interaction within the islamic circle. The Turks also want their own nuclear future, and both countries want to be independent regional powers, as their educated middle classes, geography and history warrant.

      Russia isn't trusted, nor are the European NATO countries.

      England, China, France, Israel, Pakistan and India have demonstrated that true national sovereignty is a function of nuclear power. Why would emerging independent powers like Turkey, Brazil, Arabia, Iran and Indonesia settle for anything less?

      Christian, socialist-athiest, Hindu and Jewish states are nuclear armed. Islam wants some kind of neighborhood nuclear parity for its states. Inshallah, sine qua non. Duh.

      Next up, the Bhuddists and Aussies? I guarantee that they've thought about it.

  • The Horrible Gulf Oil Spill Reality versus the Energy Tomorrow Pantsuit
    • Interesting factoids: Premier Mosedegh of Iran was Time Magazines 1951 Man of the Year in 1951, after coming to the US, and failing to get our support against Brit petro-imperialism. The accompanying article is as condescending a bit of poison-pen lobbying for intervention as ever passed for journalism. Time has the cover pic and the text online. The overthrow of Iran's democratic legislature in 1953 was engineered by Kermit Roosevelt, TR's grandson, in the brave new world of John Dulles and the new American National Security State. Dulles was Man of the Year in 1954.

  • Taliban Resemble Successful Insurgencies
    • Re Obama's 1st term war policy:

      Consider these drivers and factors favoring US war expansion in 2011.

      1. Obama's need to appear consistently 'strong on defense' as he positions for 2012.
      2. Congressional Democrats (Republicans too) have trended to the right for the last decade, thru fear, attrition and candidate selection.
      3. No real alternative to Obama for the left/peace wing of the party.
      4. An Af-Pak COIN/counterterror war strategy that is hugely under-resourced.
      5. A recent history of counteroffensives following Democratic victories in 2006 and 2008
      6. Availability of recently extracted force from Iraq, as required by the 2008 Withdrawal agreement (assuming the Gulf doesn't threaten to blow and drive oil prices up)

      I'm reminded that a 1964 Hanoi white paper was predictive of rapid US war expansion. LBJ's campaign rhetoric seemed to promise peace, but escalation was already in the pipeline. Hanoi was receiving our secret diplomatic threats, and predicted that those would become US policy.

      LBJ's advisors didn't want a bigger war then, and Obama would prefer to use the war money here at home today. But shitty shit happens, when 'the peace candidate' takes over 'the long war' department. It appears to me that the kinds of pressures that influenced LBJ's advisors to keep doubling our losing bet in Viet Nam are operating on Team Obama.

  • Why Economic Sanctions on Iran will Fail
    • Doh, correction: The other RG's. I meant Iran's Revolutionary Guard, not Republican Guard.

    • Re a gasoline embargo:
      Oil leaves Iran in petroleum tankers. There's no way to know whether a tanker coming from int'l waters into Iran is empty or carrying gasoline, without blockade or seizure. That used to be considered an act of war, whether they are empty of gasoline or not. In this scenario we must also apply pressure against the seller of a refined global commodity, and the nation flagging the tanker. Juan's right, gasoline won't work, and the Iranians have probably taken options on tankers for storage.

      Re CJCS Mullen's 'last option'; military attack. Two scenarios there- blow up the enrichment facilities and related uranium feedstock and product, or blow up stuff that has no uranium around it.

      The first sort of attack is going to release the gaseous U-hexafloride working medium, radiologically poisoning a wide area, the watershed, soil, people and animals and sea. In effect, we would use their legal uranium as a 'dirty bomb' against their civilians. A radiological Dresden. Any metalic uranium not burned into toxic smoke will be lying around in valuable bits and chunks, easily collectable. Unless we accomplish all this with a nuclear strike, which only makes it worse.

      The second sort of attack, a 1992-2002 sort of collective punishment, presumes that we can isolate Republican Guard or other military assets and destroy them without killing large numbers of innocents. In this fantasy, Khameini, Amadinijad, and the mullocracy become so sad and poor that they stop making enriched uranium, or maybe are killed by their enraged people, who put someone practical charge like...Rafsanjani?

      As a practical matter, just bombing (and throw in some more sabotage) has the wrong psychology for national behavior mod. Did 9/11 make the US fold up and leave the Gulf? How has bombing the Israelis out of Palestine worked out? Did Bombing Saddam for ten+ years make him want to quit, or his people throw him out? Viet Nam? The London Blitz? The real Dresden? It makes folks that live there mad and stubborn.

      Legally, under the UN Charter, the one we helped write, attacking another country that is not threatening ours is illegal and criminal. I know, we're special and get away with it sometimes, but it's still a crime. Even if we tell them nice we're going to bomb their country ahead of time. If nuclear enrichment is legal for Pakistan, Israel or India (and it is) it is also a peaceful option for Iran. I don't like it, I don't like the nuclear economy in general, but there it is.

      If we want to run this experiment less expensively, apply direct military pressure against a nuclear proliferator that is also selling missile delivery systems, we should do a deal with China, Japan and Russia to invade N. Korea. Pyonyang is already as isolated and poor as a country can be. Why is no one talking about doing that? Because even countries that really don't like the NK's ( Japan and S. Korea) see too much downside to a nearby war.

      Same goes for Iran. Look at the map, and find a single neighbor that would favor a US air strike. Not one. Maybe the Saudis, but not publically. And they are feeling defensive about that whole Saddam invasion and WMD thing, like the US and probably have closet nukes themselves.

      Now, run this analysis again, only have some other seemingly bullet-proof nuclear armed country try to punish Iran, scatter radioactive poison, or bomb them into giving up enrichment. How does that work out for them, and for us, in the long run? Can you multiply $5-10/gallon? Can you say 'omigod, there's a nuke power plant upwind from MY house!' Because that kind of fear is built into our threat of attacking Iran.

  • Gates Worries about Iranian Nuclear Research, while Khamenei blasts US for Hiroshima
    • Spyguy68:
      If you were a Persian nationalist, such as Khameini or Amadinijad, would you want more electricity, or full sovereignty to thumb your nose at superpowers, such as Pakistan and Israel have? Without hate or affection for Iran's regime, I think the latter would have higher priority, unfortunately.

      The most economically valuable use of enriched Uranium of Plutonium is not electrical power. It is fission weapons, reducing the need for expensive conventional arms, granting nuclear deterrence. The nuclear fuel cycle has always been inherently strategic, whatever civil use of 'peaceful atom' power generation or nuclear medicine is demonstrated. Anyone who says different is selling you something.

      Even the inert 'depleted' uranium that is being separated out by Iran can later be converted to plutonium. That is what Israel is doing, as is Russia and the US. The idea that powerplant fuel can be fabricated that cannot be reprocessed to weapons grade, or converted in the reactor to another fissionable element seems specious to me. Difficult is not the same as impossible, when a fear-driven regime is seeking atomic weapons

      The default analysis at this time is that the proliferation genie is already out of the bottle. Google 'Brazil, nuclear', or 'Turkey, nuclear', and see what comes up. Then try Japan, or Argentina. One of the drivers for proliferation is the desire for sovereignty or parity. Govts naturally want to avoid superpower hegemony, as with Japan, India, or Indonesia for that matter. We can hope for change, but need to do so realistically, recognizing our own influences today, as in Iran in 1954.

    • Re the 'all options contingency' of a military strike by the US or nuclear Israel. Nobody who thinks thru the consequences of bombing radiological facilities in Iran will continue to advocate or plan for it as a counterproliferation option. The Israeli strikes on unfinished Iraqi or Syrian reactors importantly did NOT cross the threshold of releasing radioactive toxins. A strike on pressurized gasified uranium centrifuges would release significant radioactive material, amounting to a dirty-bomb radiological attack. That threshold, a radiological attack, has never been crossed by a nation or a terrorist. Doing so would be a grave mistake, whether by the US or Israel. No friend of Israel should advocate such a thing, and even loose talk of such may increase the risks of 'symmetry' in an attack on such facilities elsewhere.

      Let's take Gate's 'worst case' scenario, that Iran becomes a 'virtual' nuclear power, stopping short of final assembly of a weapon. It's likely that there are other countries (Arabia for one) that are already in this position. It's not a good thing, but neither has the sky fallen. Dial back the rhetoric. Iran is not an existential threat to Israel. Israel cannot achieve its own security by threatening radiological terror or nuclear strikes on its neighbors. Once that is accepted, other options become worth considering.

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