Barry Eisler

Monday, October 01, 2007

Getting Closer to War with Iran

I've written before about the chances for war between the US and Iran. Seymour Hersh lays out the latest in the October 8 New Yorker.

Consider a few items. First, the January 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which provides in part:

Whereas, the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States...

Next, the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, passed on September 27, which designates Iran's Revolutionary Guards as a foreign terrorist organization.

Third, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker have both testified that Iran is arming Iraqis against the United States (President Bush has made similar points, of course, but his credibility on such matters isn't high, which is why the White House has gone to such lengths to build up and rely upon the credibility of General Petraeus).

Add it all up, and you can see what's coming. The White House, claiming inherent authority under the Constitution, plus statutory authority pursuant to the Jan 2002 AUMF and Kyl-Lieberman, launches limited air strikes inside Iran against what it claims are terrorist targets. Iran hits back. America's blood gets up, and the White House now has the political capital to widen its campaign against Iran. Congressional Democrats, already caving in to Republican pressure on such nonsense as a bill suggesting that every single member of the US armed forces is possessed of unassailable honor and integrity and on Kyl-Lieberman itself, do nothing -- or perhaps pass a few new enabling resolutions. The situation worsens in Iraq, and the White House expands its rhetorical campaign against Iran, arguing that success in Iran has become the key to success in Iraq (and perhaps in Afghanistan, as well). The worse things become overall, the more important it becomes to escalate (sound familiar, albeit strange? It's the history of the political-military dynamic in Iraq). The war with Iran, ostensibly initiated to protect our troops in Iraq, is now about the destruction of Iran's nuclear program. Because Iran really has such a program, the ostensible purpose of the war with Iraq -- WMDs -- is, in a byzantine way, fulfilled.

How can you tell the war is going to happen? First, ask who wants it to happen. Then ask who could stop it.

Who wants it to happen? President Bush and Vice President Cheney, as described here.

Who could stop it? Congressional Democrats? Based on their supine record since taking both Congress and the Senate, I think not.

Congressional Republicans? Maybe, because they have the most to lose, electorally speaking. But do they? The Republicans are already going to be hammered in '08... so why not play double or nothing, shake up the state of play and see what happens? When you look at it this way, you realize that Congressional Republicans might look at gambling on another war as worth a roll of the dice.

Who's left? Possibly the US military itself, strangely enough. But by starting small and claiming strikes inside Iran are only in support of US forces in Iraq, the White House could bypass and ultimately co-opt military objections, too.

It's hard to imagine a war with Iran will go well, given the Bush administration's demonstrated incompetence in waging the two currently on its plate. If things go badly, I wonder what sort of societal backlash we'll see domestically. Supporters of the White House, the war in Iraq, and a new war in Iran will need to find a reason for our failures. What will they seize on?

Get ready.
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10 Comments:

Anonymous jeff42 said...

Barry,

I don't at all disagree with what you're saying. My fear is that a war with Iran will start a World War. I have a 15 year old son and I worry that by the time he's 18 the draft will be back and he'll have to fight in one of these wars that didn't need to happen. I'm going to be holding my breath for the next year.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 3:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Pat/Captiva said...

Bush and his cronies won't be happy until we're at war with the entire Middle East. Who didn't see this coming?

I don't doubt a word you said and Republican or Democrat, Congress does nothing to stop this insanity.

And so it goes...Just think what could be accomplished by Election Day?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 7:34:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

Sy Hersh has an unfortunate habit of being right about these things... My hope is only that the Democratic Congressional delegation recognizes (or is forced to recognize) the gross stupidity over, absolute impossibilty of, and public distaste for the idea of expanding the US military's involvement into yet another morass of potentially truly epic proportions. Where the heck do they think they're going to get the troops, given that they don't want to turn to a draft (which would make the public's antipathy overt)? And why is Petraeus, who -- as everyone always points out -- has a fine reputation, pulling a Powell and playing into the Administration's line?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Maximus said...

There are two sides to every coin:

A literal reading of Ahmadi-Nejad's UN address suggests that he is predicting a total war coming soon.

The key is in his invocation and his conclusion. Normal official communications by Muslims start with, "In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful." A'jad followed that formula immediately with:

"Oh God, hasten the arrival of Imam Al-Mahdi and grant him good health and victory and make us his followers and those who attend to his rightfulness."

Sounds like a pretty standard invocation, but it's not. It is a specific call for the Shiite Messiah, who will bring a final holy war, the final jihad, which in the Khomeini cult implies all-out war with the infidels to bring about the Millenarian Age of Paradise on Earth. (For Khomeini, the term "infidels" includes Sunni Muslims, who do not recognize the Mahdi). That is why Khomeini started the nuclear program twenty years ago, and why it has been pushed consistently by all the major cult leaders.

A'jad put the message explicitly in his peroration, i.e., his summary and conclusion.

"I officially declare that the age of relations arising from the Second World War as well as materialistic thought based on arrogance and domination is now over." Translation: The West, and particularly the United States, emerged dominant after World War Two. Israel declared independence in 1948. The dominance of the West is now over.

A'jad's use of the phrase "I officially declare" indicates how he views himself as Allah's representative on earth; a very common paranoid fantasy, but one that is taught by the Khomeini cult as part of its explicit doctrine. Cult members who are otherwise quite sane can believe such things (as in the Rev. Jim Jones' suicide cult following.)

This declaration is followed by A'jad's messianic prediction.

"Humanity has passed a perilous precipice and the age of monotheism (i.e., Khomeini Shiism), purity, affinity, respecting others, justice and peace-loving has now commenced." (i.e., the End of Times is at hand).

"It is the divine promise that the truth will be victorious and the earth will be inherited by the righteous." Translation: We will win the coming war.

"The era of darkness will end, prisoners will return home, the occupied lands will be freed, Palestine and Iraq will be liberated from the domination of the occupiers, and the people of America and Europe will be free from the pressures exerted by the Zionists." (That's clear enough.)

"Without any doubt, the Promised One who is the ultimate Savior will come. ... This is the promise of God, and therefore it will be fulfilled." The "Promised One" refers to the messiah, the "occluded Mahdi," who disappeared in the 9th century as a five year old child, and whose return Khomeinists are imminently expecting. This passage is notably blasphemous to the Sunni wing of radical Islam, which admits of no equals to Allah and his Prophet Mohammed. A'jad is saying that the Mahdi will indeed transcend Mohammed, who did not bring about Paradise on Earth. But the Mahdi will not come without actions of the believers.

"Let's play a part in the fulfillment of all this glory and beauty."

"I wish for a bright future for all human beings and the dawn of liberation and freedom for all humans ... A wish which I expect will be fulfilled in the near future."

Don't forget that A'jad already fulfilled his Islamic obligation to send an ultimatum to the leaders of the infidel nations to convert to Islam or die (As did Osama Bin laden in his last video). He sent personal letters to President Bush and German Chancellor Merkel saying exactly that. In his version of Islamic law, he has fulfilled the requirements for starting his holy war against the West.

Or, to put it in his typical threat language, he has said, "If you would like to have good relations with the Iranian nation in the future... bow down before the greatness of the Iranian nation and surrender. If you don't accept [to do this], the Iranian nation will... force you to surrender and bow down."

The Columbia University talk now also falls into place. In A'jad's deeply indoctrinated mind, the students laughing at his absurd claim that there are no homosexuals in Iran simply confirmed how steeped they are in sexual sin. Columbia was Soddom and Gomorrah in this world view, and God destroyed those cities after their inhabitants refused to repent from homosexual activities. In his eyes he gave them their last chance.

The fact that many Jews demonstrated against him in the streets of Manhattan, and that President Bollinger asked some sharp questions, will also confirm his existing beliefs.

The UN talk therefore becomes a final notice to the nations of the world. Khomeini himself set the conditions for total war: "I say let this land (Iran) burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world."

That is the description of an all-out nuclear war.

How would that war start? Michael Medved claimed on the radio that Israeli intelligence expects an Iranian nuclear device within the next 18 months. The CIA supposedly claims about five years. The IAF air attack on a putative Syrian "agricultural research station" on the Euphrates River may have hit nuclear materials or missiles. It also demonstrated that the vaunted Russian air defense system just purchased by Iran and Syria does not work. A follow-up attack into Iranian airspace may therefore occur soon, before the Iranians change their codes and defense configuration.

In A'jad's world, it is desirable to be attacked first, so he can point the finger of guilt at the attackers. His is a martyrdom tradition, and it is essential for there to be plenty of martyrs on his side. It motivates the cult followers to greater sacrifice -- see the Iran-Iraq War, and repeated statements by A'jad that "martyrdom is powerful." By openly claiming to have 3,000 working centrifuges in Natanz, he is in effect inviting an attack on that facility, putting the US and Israel in a cleft stick. At some point they cannot fail to attack and try to destroy the centrifuges.

Dr. Jack Wheeler of "To the point news" reported that, "One of India's top generals assigned to liaise with the Iranian military recently returned to New Delhi from several days in Tehran -- in a state of complete amazement." [....]

"Everyone in the government and military can only talk of one thing," he reports. "No matter who I talked to, all they could do was ask me, over and over again, ‘Do you think the Americans will attack us?' ‘When will the Americans attack us?' ‘Will the Americans attack us in a joint operation with the Israelis?' How massive will the attack be?' on and on, endlessly. The Iranians are in a state of total panic."
This is important, because in its public propaganda, the Tehran regime has been telling its people that they are just seeing "psychological warfare" from American and Israel. But internally, the military and government in Iran seem to have a different and more serious interpretation. Wheeler argues that after the IAF attack of September 6, both Syria and Iran were shown to be defenseless against air attack, even with their brand-new Russian Pantsyr anti-air system.

The implication is for a quick attack on Iran. But it is vital to keep in mind the classic joke about the sadist and the masochist, where the masochist yells out, "whip me! whip me!" and the sadist answers, sadistically, "no!" So there is a case for taking the sadist's point of view, and continuing to threaten the Tehran regime without actually striking it. That would upset their expectations, and indeed their psychological need to be provoked into justified rage. For that reason, rather than overt air attacks, under-the-public-radar sabotage operations are always preferable.

It must be said that there is a real possibility that the martyrdom regime has planted retaliatory dirty bombs in various places around the world, to go off if Iranian targets are hit. A'jad has said that, "The anger of Muslims may reach an explosion point soon. If such a day comes [America and the West] should know that the waves of the blast will not remain within the boundaries of our region."

That warning could not be clearer. Retaliatory bombs could exist in small coastal freighters or other delivery vehicles in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf, and in or near the US. The regime has been signing up hundreds of Basiji for martyrdom operations. Those are cheap cannon fodder for them, like the teenagers who were trained to move right into minefields in the Iran-Iraq war, wearing green plastic "keys to paradise" around their necks, to clear the way for assault troops. That is the environment in which A'jad developed his understanding of war.

Sending hundreds of kids to martyrdom on the orders of Ayatollah Khomeini must play havoc with anyone's mind. Ahmadi-Nejad may not have been directly involved in doing that, but he must certainly have known about it during the Iran-Iraq War and approved of it, else he would not be trusted by the Khomeinists who run Iran to become president.

Psychologically, that life experience implies immense personal survival guilt, along with a readiness to commit suicide oneself to bring about the messianic age of the Mahdi. That is an almost inconceivable state of mind for Westerners who have grown up in a generally peaceful world.

What are the implications for the West? First of all, any action against the cult regime should come at a time and place of our choosing, if possible different from the cult predictions. But our hand is being forced by unverified claims by A'jad to possess 3,000 centrifuges. Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other countries may have good intelligence sources in Iran, which are needed to check this astonishingly bizarre, dangerous and secretive regime.

Second, it is critical to neutralize the fanatical leadership which sustains their delusional system in any major attack. That in itself is very difficult, since humans are easier to hide than industrial facilities. But special ops teams must silence the command, communication and control capacity of the regime instantly.

During the Syrian bombing operation, reports suggested that the entire Syrian communications grid was knocked out. Even cell phones connections in neighboring Lebanon were disrupted. Special Forces were believed to be on the ground, laser-designating the target, and supposedly smuggling out samples. They may also have sabotaged the communications grid, including hardened communications between Pantsyr anti-air defenses. It was a successful dress rehearsal.

Thirdly, unlike the one-shot Israeli attack in 1981 on Saddam's Osirak nuclear reactor, any attack on Iran today may trigger extended hostilities, including assaults on civilians far away from the theater of war. Previously the Iranian Guard (including Ahmadi-Nejad) committed attacks on Jewish synagogues in Buenos Aires. The people who did that are in charge today in Tehran. So this time there will surely be a barrage of Hezb'allah missiles directed at civilians in Israel, like last summer, but possibly much more accurate.

As soon as military action starts, pressure will be brought to bear to shut it down prematurely. For once that pressure must be resisted. This gang is too dangerous to leave them with any of their total war capacities intact. A'jad just flew to Venezuela to arrange for added supplies of refined oil products which Iran cannot make at home. He is planning for a long war. He may increase Iranian meddling in Iraq, but a conventional Iranian invasion of Iraq is unlikely, since conventional forces are highly vulnerable from the air, and the US controls the air.

It seems vital for the West not to take military action until the Iranian nuclear plan has become quite clear. As suggested previously, one possibility is for the IAF to attack several established nuclear targets in Iran, with the United States allowing Israeli overflights of the Gulf. If and when Iran attempts to retaliate against Israel, or even Saudi Arabia, using missiles and aircraft, USN Gulf defenses would be automatically triggered, bringing US forces into the fight. The Saudis would not be happy with Iranian military overflights, since Khomeini fanatics believe they must eventually rule the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Iran may try to blockade the Straits of Hormuz, leading to US actions to open the Straits as the guarantor of free shipping through international waterways.

Contrary to the Saddam war, today we have France and Germany in support. Whether that actually means anything, or whether they will bend to domestic opposition, is anybody's guess. They could turn out to be weak sisters. But at least they are not actively sabotaging us, as they did with the overthrow of Saddam.

A very dangerous time is coming up. If we are very lucky, the world will be saved by some brilliant secret raids and naval actions along the lines of the Tanker War of the 1990s. With even greater luck there will be a military coup d'etat, throwing the Khomeinist fanatics out of power. But these are extremely ruthless people. Right now it seems more likely there will be an extended conflict, along the lines that the West and Israel will find most difficult to deal with.

If a major Israeli city is severely hit, Israel may respond with massive retaliation. In the Osirak reactor strike of 1981, Israel managed to kill only one person. The coming battle with Iran may make that impossible.

If this interpretation is correct, we have some very difficult times coming up. Our domestic political dialogue has been utterly immature since 9/11. But the prospect of hanging in a fortnight concentrates the mind wonderfully, and it is possible that some on the Left will wake up.

The Iranians are quite capable of stirring up terrorist retaliation in their war of Armageddon. They are suiciders, like the kamikaze cult of WW Two: Very difficult to deal with indeed. Making adequate civil defense preparations may become a crucial part of everyday life, even in the United States. Our feeling of immunity to direct attack is simply out of date. I wonder whether Democrats will allow us to improve protection against domestic attacks?

In making rational predictions of danger we always hope to be wrong. But we cannot plan based on hope alone.

by James Lewis dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 12:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not sure why you posted this as a bulletin; for opinions about the blog entry or opinions about an impending war with Iran… So, I will post my opinion about both.

The blog entry is wonderfully written your opinions on what you believe congress, the president, and the military may do seems to be well thought out based on media research and historical facts. Kudos for the blog!!

Now, you MAY delete me as a friend when you read my opinions on politicians, the war on terror, terrorists, terrorism, the previous leaders of Iraq, and the current leaders of Iran and Afghanistan.

The decision is yours. I respect every one of my friend’s opinions even when I disagree with them and I hope to get the same courtesy in return from all of them. If not, while it will disappoint me; I am sure I will survive. ;o)

First, I have yet to observe a totally honest politician/president. Not one.

My opinion on this; anyone who leads so many diverse people with so many different opinions about how a course of action should take place is, in reality; NEVER going to be able to make all of them happy all of the time. Therefore, politicians try to please the majority with various versions of truth, most of the time; while also trying to improve their image. Some take this to extremes to further their own success and flat out lie or act like total morons; this is why I check histories on each candidate before I vote. (We haven’t had much to choose from for a long time, and it doesn’t look to improve any time soon.)

With that said; let’s look at my reason for supporting the current war on terrorism.

The majority of America wanted justice for the attacks on American soil. (9/11) Our government was bombarded with these demands. Who was guilty? Was there one person to blame? Was there only one group? Should we have settled for the deaths of the lone hijackers? These questions and the history of terrorism as well as countless other attacks against freedom by terrorists had to be taken into consideration in order to make a rational protective decision.

Do I object to the claim of going to war in Iraq FIRST because of WMD? I do NOT, due to the FACT that Sadam Husein intentionally wanted us guessing as to their existence or impending use. Had we gone elsewhere FIRST to collect the justice demanded by America’s citizens, and he DID have these weapons; he may have used these weapons against America, (in fear of attack.)

He WAS a self proclaimed terrorist leader, he enjoyed the fear he provoked, he enjoyed the credit for the millions of deaths he caused, he enjoyed the hate he received. Psychotic/psychopathic killers are like that, in my opinion…

According to MANY Americans NOW (I will narrow my views to this country‘s citizens opinions) peace is the answer. (Many whom I have spoken with on the subject lean with their favorite media source.)

When I ask; How do you have peace with a neighbor(’s) who is/are continually abusing the people of his/their own country and neighboring countries and continually threatening yours because of your interference in his/their abuse? Or… Should we sit idle until these terrorists tire of their current victims and then attack us? (As was done on Sept. 11.) These people are at a loss, but many stick by their opinions; which is fine with me.

I support peace, I support freedom, I support non violent action; ALL within reason.

I support peace for ALL, (not just for the people of this country. I am not the type of neighbor that watches while a tyrant next door punches their two year old in the face. I would do all I could to help/save them.) I support freedom to choose when your freedom does not harm another’s rights to peace, (No one should be free to harass and physically torment anyone.) I support non violent action until you are forced to defend/fight for yourself and the lives of your loved ones. (If someone comes to my door with the intent of harming me or my loved ones; I will defend our right to live.)

In my opinion the terrorist attacks against innocent, peaceful, freedom loving people in this country and others have become more violent, more aggressive, and more tragic over the years that I feel it is past time for us to show these terrorists we will not be victims because we love freedom and long for peace.

We have been forced to choose, in my opinion; to turn the other cheek (if you will) and take the deaths of our fellow Americans as a warning of things to come if we interfere in their agenda to rule all nations in a terrorist fashion OR prove to them we are willing to fight to preserve peace and freedom from terror for the future generations of this WORLD, if need be. (I don’t take warnings well and I am not one to be "ruled" by this government let alone a new future terrorist government.)

Should the tyrants of Iran and Afghanistan be worried about the War On Terror? In my opinion that is why we are hearing all the noise coming from the current leaders of those countries. These leaders know what they are doing and allowing to be done to their people and the world is considered wrong in the eyes of freedom and peaceful loving people.

Will the people of those countries welcome our interference? Like Iran, the ones that are tormented, tortured, hated, and ridiculed for their beliefs and actions that harm no one will be thankful; and they are the only ones I am concerned about. (Just as with the two year old neighbor, above. I would not be worried about the disruption to his sister‘s life because the tyrannical parent who continually punches or kicks ONLY him ends up in jail and both children end up in foster care. She need not grow up observing the abuse. In my opinion observing is almost as bad as living it. Fear, tolerance of abuse, or being abusive; are more than likely the end result for the adult. )

I support the War On Terror for the reasons above. Not because of the president or any other politician claims I should and not because of the media. (To be honest, I trust the media less than politicians.)

I trust my own research on the history of the terrorist offenders in question and my belief that all human beings should be humane to each other. Those that refuse to be humane should have no place in a peaceful society. (Incarceration and hopefully psychiatric therapy; is my first choice. Tragically, the terrorists seem to wish to force only one option upon the peaceful. It saddens me to support the death of anyone but, I adamantly refuse to lose my life or the lives of the people I love to indulge ANYONE’S narcissistic behavior or actions and I am not one to sit idle while someone I don’t know personally, is being abused at the hands of a violent person or group of people.)

Do I believe that there have been mistakes made in Iraq? The mistakes that I have read about that concern me are those of the humanitarian nature not those of the political nature the media uses to crucify politicians.

Our troops without proper gear and protection against attacks, concerns me. The faulty equipment our troops have been harmed with. Those few members of the military who use their authority to abuse their prisoners outrages me. (To stoop to a terrorist’s level is pathetic and asinine, it undermines the peaceful efforts of our whole military. Those that participate in such actions should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Or put another way; they should be humanely treated the way the terrorists they are acting like SHOULD be when they’re captured.)

To the big media concerns (no exit plan, not finding WMD, etc.)

to the first I say; it is impossible to plan when you’re fighting unpredictable psychopaths whose numbers are unknown.

To the second I say; THANK GOD!

The rest are unimportant to me because my objectives above (proving to terrorists we will fight for our right to live free without terror or the threat of death) are being fulfilled to date.

Do I look at Iraq as a failure? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Sadam Husein and his sons are gone, their terrorist group has been scattered to the four winds, and I couldn’t be more happy for the people of that country and this one. A lead psychopath was delivered to justice and that was one of my objectives.

Do I find it a surprise that Iran may be a future target? No, not with all the terrorist activity spawning within it’s borders. It was announced on the news to every nation that we are at war with terrorists and those harboring terrorists. If Iran leaders are smart and peace loving they will throw the terrorists in Iraq where we can pick them up for their trials or contend with The terrorist activity themselves. ;o)

Will I need new reasons to justify my opinions if a mistake is made in Iran, like no exit plan? My reasons are stated above; I need no new ones unless the terrorists decide to give me more. (I hope this does not happen.)

I am sorry for the length. I tried to keep it short but, when writing about something so important to me I find I can be longwinded. ;o)


Thank you for reading and I hope this doesn’t harm our future friendship. Again, I enjoyed reading your blog entry bulletin and look forward to reading more, if you choose. Have a great rest of the week!

Sincerely,
D

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 1:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Patrick Pricken said...

Well, I'm not US-American, I'm German, but even from a distance the Democratic Party has a really bad track record since the last election. While the Republicans seem to represent something, at least – even if they're representing faith-based initiatives and closeted toilet sex – the Democrats come across as nothing more than power-hungry and untrustworthy. I'm glad I don't have to vote in the US :)

As for Iran, I'm still not convinced, even though all signs point to war. The lead-up to the Iraq War (the second) was so much more obvious and direct, I think. Then again, the German chancellorette said in the UN that it was up to Iran to prove that it didn't want the atomic bomb. How do you prove that? And considering North Korea, why wouldn't Iran want the atomic bomb?

What's bad is that according to a Persian friend of mine, the situation in, for example, Teheran is not as bad as you may think (despite the lock on gatherings). People listen to Western and Western-style music, they have Internet access, and a lot of the younger population really want a change and regard the old men of the revolution with skepticism. (See also: We are Iran: the Persian Blogs). This reformatory movement which might lead to democracy in a few or a few more years would probably be crushed under a war and its accompanying solidarity with the government. But who cares, right?

Oh, by the way: is the discussion on the blog entries supposed to be in the forum, or on the blog proper?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 4:39:00 PM  
Blogger PBI said...

Barry,

Your assessment is largely in line with my own. My fear however, is that we are not looking at the implications of political weakness that forces the military to act independently to - in the words of Admiral Fallon - "put the crazies back in the box." As I wrote in my own last post, Laying the Foundation for a Coup D'Etat, if the armed forces become an active player in politics, this country as we know it is finished, and we'll find ourselves on equal political footing with Pakistan, Thailand and Turkey.

Something needs to be done to end this insanity before the guys who are being asked to die for the stupidity and arrogance of our elected leaders take matters into their own hands.

Best,
Paul
Sensen No Sen

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 8:04:00 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

Patrick pricken said: "The lead-up to the Iraq War (the second) was so much more obvious and direct, I think.

The German media must have filtered out the overall rhetorical BS about freedoms, phantom WMDs, and liberation from Saddam to paint a more accurate picture about the "situation" surrounding Iraq/America before the invasion. I'm just saying, it's no accident that Germany and France are involved in Afghanistan and not Iraq.

As far as in the US, the reasons President Bush gave for going to war changed with each passing week and were different according to which of his subordinates was acting as the Presidential Republican mouthpiece at the time. And as each position was solidly and soundly defeated by whatever counter, the position changed yet again until it reached this highly ambiguous and relative position of "fighting terrorism", "freeing the Iraqis" and "liberating" them from Saddam. So ambiguous, so vague, you can easily build a case to invade any country without really concreting your justification at all.

Hell, I would've been failed in nearly any college course for providing as vague of arguments in my research papers.

Then again, the German chancellorette said in the UN that it was up to Iran to prove that it didn't want the atomic bomb. How do you prove that?

Open up your country's nuclear research facilities to inspection; as well as the military sites suspected of harboring additional related research. The situation isn't all that dissimilar to Iraq before the invasion. Hans Blix and his inspection teams had had made quite a bit of progress in opening up Iraq's alleged WMD research sites and storage facilities before Bush became impatient. The military had already been mobilized and deployed in October of 2002 in preparation for invasion anyway, so it's probably laughable to say no military action of any sort could not have taken place anyway.

That said, and as Mr. Eisler has pointed out before, what would the benefit be for Iran to open up it's nuclear program for world inspection? From President Ahmadinejad's point of view, he sees a cowboy and his regime at the helm of a country who shoots first and asks questions later (excuse the cliche), considers foreign diplomacy largely unnecessary except for countries the US is indebted to, and has the capacity to invade your country whether or not you abide by international sanctions. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.


And considering North Korea, why wouldn't Iran want the atomic bomb?"

I fully concur there. Iran has a sizable and allegedly potent military complex, which if you're going to use the US and Russia as a yardstick for measuring arms races, it's not a long stretch to assume they're doing lateral research in nuclear arms. Why not? The additional cost is mitigated as an additional supplement to the conventional forces. Especially diplomatically, Iran is not in a completely undesirable position. It's staring back at the United States as a potentially unwarranted aggressor. Given it's history with the US, the hypocritical way the US has handled and labeled terrorist nations in the past and the way the US has handled Iraq - Iran can keep on denying the existence of a nuclear arms program.

Regarding what Paul said in the last post:

With all due respect (and that's quite a bit!), your comment about about the implications of military politicization in regards to the United States does not recognize a few key elements that aren't that comparable to the military parties of the countries you list. You would be more apt in comparing such a thing to China's political regime, but even that isn't wholly accurate.

In Pakistan you have an Islamic country permanently mobilized in a perceived fight for it's survival against India, a country of 1 billion.

Thailand - one of the last Asiatic kingdoms left where the military cleared the civilian government, but remained subordinate to the kingdom. As I recall from reading the various blogs of expatriates living in Bangkok, prices in the markets were vaguely driven up by the increased military presence and roadblocks.

Turkey - ironically one of the more liberal Muslim nations, also seeking membership into the European Union. They've traditionally held as much political clout militarily as the US has held strategic interest in the region. With their interest wavering to Europe politically, the claims that a military junta within Turkey are as influential as say...during the 1970's during the woolly days of the Cold War are tenuous at best.

The US is a whole different animal altogether. Our modern military and economic influence literally was birthed in the aftermath of WW2. As with all things in war, you can find economics as a root cause and the Soviet Union provided a damned good reason for an arms race to keep an economy flowing. Hence the vast bulk of machinery behind the Cold War.

To say the American military isn't an active player in politics is simply wrong. It just hasn't happened in the models you compared and described in other countries.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007 2:34:00 PM  
Blogger PBI said...

Sean,

Thank you for the kind words!

I think, however, that you may have taken what I wrote as expressing a higher probability than I actually conveyed. I agree that (quoting myself here) "Given the history and tradition of both this nation and its military, it is unlikely in the extreme that a coup d'etat would ever take place on American soil."

No disagreement that we are not Thailand or Turkey or Pakistan or Fiji, but I don't believe my main point is off the mark, and that point is that in order to have a military coup, the FIRST thing that has to happen is that the military has to become a direct force in politics. What we're seeing today in the U.S. is the precursor to that; the dissident generals likewise.

A lot of things have been done incrementally by the Bush Administration to erode the foundation of the United States, and I count this as another. As I wrote, "... major crises are generally the product of smaller steps - of the combined weight of incremental failures - than of single catastrophic events," and my point in writing this post was to call attention to the implications of dissidence in the military, not to warn of impending rebellion.

Finally, it might not be that a group of officers would need to be patriotic to lead a coup. I think that in the tiny realm of possibility in which one could occur, it would be much more likely to happen out of a desire to preserve the institutions of the armed forces. Colin Powell, for instance, believes that the Army is already, in his words, "broken."

Again, I'm not saying any sort of coup is imminent. Rather my belief is that we are taking the first step on the path towards conditions that are necessary for one to take place. The path to that spot might indeed be very long, but as Lao Tzu said, "A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step."

Best,
Paul
Sensen No Sen

Tuesday, October 09, 2007 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Bernie Dowling said...

It's funny.
People think the Iraq debacle will mean something like ``won't get fooled again.''
History shows us the exact opposite is true and the people of Western democracies will get fooled again and again.
I finished my crime thriller Iraqi Icicle with two words and not one person commented on it. No one I asked got what I was on about.
The two words which finished my novel? I ran.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 10:39:00 PM  

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