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24 May 2007


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narrowing choices for narrow minds. it appears that the argument is over who gets to hold the flag and when the balloon goes up. by the way, do those cruise missles magically avoid overflying sovereign Arab nations? does it matter?

John Howley

Apparently, Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Conyers (Judiciary) both approve of Cheney's highjinks because neither has taken action (like schedule hearings) on H.Res. 333 which calls for Dick's impeachment.

Indeed, that bill has only four co-sponsors and they are all left-wing Dem's. And that's a problem because who in his or her right mind wants to sign onto a bill introduced by perennial presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich?

However, if you think Cheney will respond to anything else (like a think-tank White Paper or even a stern "No!" from GWB), then you are not being realistic.

Sometimes, one must swallow one's pride.


Fortunately, while Bush can't control Cheney, Cheney no longer controls the Pentagon through his fellow Sith Lord, Rumfeld.

If Gates is on board with the realist strategy -- and he practicaly defines the type -- then Cheney would appear to be checkmated. The Vice President's office has no constitutional authority whatsoever over any cabinet departments. Sure, Cheney can continue to plot with the AEI and tie the NSC and the inter-agency process up in knots. But he can't start a war, not without the Dauphin's signature. And, with luck, Condi and company are in a position to keep that from happening for the next 20 months.

Nicholas Weaver

It's hard to argue that there are some who want a hot war with Iran.

I still don't understand WHY?

Even a well-educated private should be able to detail, in nice nifty bulletpoints on a powerpoint presentation, using suitably simple words, all the ways Iran could really REALLY mess us up should a hot war start.



we must not forget the 'backdrop players' right behind cheney's shoulder -- the likud who want american sons and daughters sacrificed instead of their own. there are many who 'think' based on cheney's used to be personality and his today personality, that the israelis are blackmailing him in some form or fashion. again, that is what many think. and there is the mind set that cheney has become so rancid in his inner core that it has affected his humanity or what was left of it.

it looks like another war of heaven brought down into earth's atmosphere where the rebellious ones are working the strings over cheney and the likud.


I expect the tempo of the war drums is going to rise faster as a result of this article, if it has more than a grain of truth in it.

Cheney must know that he, and Israel, have limited time to achieve their aims before the American public wake up.


One could hardly call what Rice has done to date diplomacy. Wheel spinning window dressing and risible cover for ongoing criminality is more like it. If Cheyney et al can all be given "garden view" offices, very good.

But who in the end will constrain Israel, who never met a moment of calm reflection and diplomacy from its "existential threats" with anything but more settlements, more provocations, more extra-judicial murders and kidnapping, more collective punishment. Will the IDF one day say, "Enough", we must force our diplomats to make real peace? Not because of our enemies, but because of ourselves, which one hopes is the context in Bushistan?

The Democrat party is no better, of course. This is not going to stop until war engulfs the entire region, whatever restraint can be applied to the Cheyneyites.

A few weeks back, Debkafile was reporting on how the IDF and the intelligence agencies would cover the lacunae that Olmert's troubles opened up in the war and "defense" fronts with actions independant of any politically weakened or confused civil leadership.

And here we are. Arming of Fatah, intervention in a manufactured civil war in Gaza, air strikes and chaos all around. Kidnapping of Palestinian government Ministers. Whatever it takes, so long as there is "no one to talk to", no option but more destruction all around. And this is imagined as felicitous.

TR Stone

Perhaps Dennis Kucinich is a true Democrat, not a DLCer. HC, BO, JB, JE et al are nothing but a pale imitation of what the Democratic party needs to be to make a real difference is where America goes from here.

AIPAC has the faux democrats by the shorts, they know and we know it!

João Carlos


VP Cheney need only one incident, maybe an attack inside US soil (from anyone, don't need be Iran), maybe an US ship entering at Iran waters and being attacked, for start the war. These incident are easy to make, and with the help of complicit US media no one will know that the polonese soldiers were germans...

You underestimate the Sith power. They are good at create Phantom Menaces.


we must remember that "pumphead's" personality has been changed by his numerous exposure to the heartlung machine making him reckless.

what hypocrites, him and his wife, card carrying members of the neanderthal republican right, having a baby granddaugher born of a lesbian union!

Courtesy of the guild ridden Deutsch, Israeli MarineKrieg has Diesel unterboats which carry the Kruise Missles, and thereby need no overfleug rights.


Maybe I'm naive or 'unsophisticated' when it comes to military strategy, but why wouldn't collusion with another country to provoke an attack on US troops qualify as honest-to-god treason? That word has been tossed around so carelessly over the past few years, but wouldn't it be accurate now if this story is correct? Lying us into war would be bad enough, but deliberately provoking the killing of Americans?

And how could anyone call that 'narrowing policy options' as opposed to simply choosing the option of war for Bush? As if the response would be in doubt?


All it takes is another Tonkin incident and you have a shooting war. The danger with brinkmanship is that it can spiral out of control.

The neocon against realists internal war is the same as always. But a cornered neocon is probably more dagerous. An obvious deadline is November 4.



From the Clemons article:

"This official [the aide doing the leaking] is beating the bush and doing what Joshua Muravchik has previously suggested--which is to help establish the policy and political pathway to bombing Iran."

Prompting Israel to bomb Iran sounds like a secret plan. How is broadcasting it to a public terrified of being sucked into another war going to further that agenda?


The War in Iraq is already threatening the Suburbs and the SUVs with gasoline prices now topping what it cost in the 1980s. If Israel does cruise missile Iran, the suburbs will wither under gasoline lines and crashing housing prices. The only question to decide is whether the US will choose to take over all of the oil fields with millions of draftees and genocide or if America will choose isolation and energy independence. The legacy of the Bush 8 years is that the middle ground of diplomacy and strong man dictators in the Middle East has been blown apart.


I can't but help to think that an attack on Iran will only end up in disaster for the US. The Navy will have a lot of trouble keeping 16MBD flowing out of the Gulf. If the stuff about Cheney is true, we have a government that is out of control. God help us.

robt willmann

1. Almost two months ago, the United Nations voted illegal requirements and sanctions against Iran regarding its nuclear program, about which the I.A.E.A. has found no diversion of nuclear material, to be checked in 60 days. Those 60 days will soon expire.

2. The U.S. troop level in Iraq has been increasing, some think even higher than the advertised escalation.


3. Meanwhile, the following article is entitled, "Neo-cons to Plot Iran Strategy Amid Carribean Luxury". It describes a "workshop" called "Confronting the Iranian Threat: The Way Forward". Among those invited include Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky, and the Iran country director in the Pentagon, Ladan Archin, described as being formerly with the Defense Department's Office of Special (Lying) Plans, of Douglas Feith fame.


Also expected to attend is Uri Lubrani, Israel's Iran advisor to Prime Minister Olmert. And the ubiquitous former member of the Project for the New American Century and now U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Zalmay Khalilzad may attend if his schedule allows, otherwise, his wife will attend.

The above article was posted May 22, and says this meeting will be next week on Grand Bahama Island.

4. An early version of the Iraq War funding bill contained a provision prohibiting an attack on Iran unless permission was first given by Congress. That is already constitutional law, but was good to have. It was stripped from the bill in conference committee. Today, the emasculated Congress is set to pass a $120 billion war funding bill with no restrictions. This will fund the war through September.

In other words, there will be no change in the Iraq War.

The most sinister aspect of this, which is noted in the Steve Clemons article cited by Col. Lang, is that Israel, with the assistance of Vice President Cheney and his group, can launch some type of attack against Iran to provoke it to hit back, thus creating drum beats for the U.S. to attack Iran.

The approach of the Bush jr. administration for the last almost six and a half years is that it will do what it thinks it can get away with, regardless of the law, morals, or public sentiment.

From the viewpoint of the White House, the neocons meeting in the Bahamas next week, and Israel, everything is in place. Congress has backed down this week and has proven to be gutless. Television, radio, and print media are on board with continuing the Iraq War and creating support for a military attack on Iran. Congress has fully funded the war through September. The U.N. 60-day review of Iran and the sanctions is coming up.

What can stop a U.S. attack on Iran?

A determination by enough business people that money-making will be significantly harmed by a strike. Or by blunt, private (or public) pressure by foreign governments. Or both.

Perhaps such influence has been directed at Condi Rice and Robert Gates.

A tough thing to know is the time frame in which the pushers of a war with Iran think an attack has to be launched. Would such an attack be politically impossible in 2008 during election season, or not? The question of available time politically in which to attack Iran is critical.

Leila A.

This may not even be offtopic, but let's say it is: a professor at the American University of Beirut just went up to the camp neighboring the one under fire near Tripoli, Lebanon.


Seems the Islamists were strangers in the camp; and they suddenly attacked LEbanese army positions at the edge of the camp, brutally murdering about 20 soldiers (decapitations etc.)

Put this together with Seymour Hirsh's reporting...

I don't know what it all adds up to, but I do know that once again, Palestinian refugees get beaten up and displaced due to mysterious machinations that are not their fault.

Looks to me like somebody is trying to provoke all-out war in Lebanon. I still don't think Syria is the only candidate for blame...

Chris Marlowe

So this is the end-game for American democracy?

Choose your end: bang or whimper. Looks like the American people don't even have that choice anymore; it's all being fought in the corridors of power in DC...

That's freedom and democracy?

Michael Murry

I usually write my own verse, but this conversation -- both enlightened and scary at the same time -- leads me to think that Robert Frost has already said what needs saying:

"Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice."

So, caught between Israel's "desire" for a postulated 2000-year-old "right of return" (for Jews) and its hatred of displaced Palestinians for demanding a fifty-year similar "right" (for Arab Muslims), I'd say that both Americans and Middle Eastern Muslims (neither of whom had anything to do with Nazi German persecution of European Jews in WWII) should stand by to either freeze or fry each other so that Israel can go on settling the West Bank, ripping off Gaza for its gas, and destabilizing any neighbors who don't much like any of this extortionate divide-and-conquer Zionist stuff.

Fry or freeze:
What a "choice."
As offered up by those who please
To tell us that their smallest sneeze
Rings louder than
Our mute collective voice.

Babak Makkinejad


I cannot take any of this at face-value.

It reminds me of this:

R.N.: "Henry, I want those Russians to think that there is a mad man in the White House with his finger on the button, ready to launch!"

So, someone in USG divulges what essentially amounts to state secrets to Mr. Clemens who then obligingly posts them on the Internet for friends and foes alike.

This just does not jive as reality; it is more like a planted story to try to scare Iranian into committing suicide - or more likely - another attempt at good-cop/bad-cop approach.

And I think that some one is using Mr. Clemens.

I also cannot understand why the Vice President of the United States could be so much against Iran, before his election to the office; Mr. Cheney was an advocate of dialogue with Iran. This leads me to believe that Mr. Cheney is following the President’s policy directives.

Additionally, I cannot see what Israel can achieve from shooting a few cruise missiles at Iran. As far I have been able to surmise, the Government of Israel has been very careful about its statements in regards to Iran - that they do not want to make Iran to an active & direct enemy, in my opinion.

This brings me to US, EU, and assorted Sunni Arab States. All these states have 2 and only 2 choices with respect to Iran: A hostile nuclear-capable Iran or a non-hostile nuclear capable Iran.


im going to go on a limb here and play chene...eh, I mean devils advocate.

just for fun.

first, i'm going to to assume the the U.S. government tends to act out of some sense of its own interest and that the only difference between a 'neo-con' and a 'realist' is in how they define those national interests.

i know its weird.

then, im going to assume something even crazier: namely that our government has NOT been hijacked by an evil, scheming cabal of blood sucking neo-con likudnik nazgul with phenomenal powers to control minds, change their outward form and single handedly influence the course of national history through their inhuman powers of telemetry and mind control.

bear with me here, it gets wackier.

then, just for kicks, im going to assume that dick cheney, the people around him and so on, are at least as smart as the SST readership. (for the record, being an SST reader myself, i like to think that we, as a group, are pretty far above average)

furthermore, I'm going to pretend, in my fantasy world, that cheney, and those around him, think its really important that they enter any negotiation with the Iranians from a position of (what they percieve as) strength and that it is really important that they not telegraph what they will and won't do to the Iranians in advance.

Furthermore, I'm going to say that by playing this role, Cheney is actually doing us, the U.S. a favor- particularly if you happen to be on the state department negotiating team.

they basically get to tell the iranians, "look, we can talk but we better get a good deal done here, otherwise cheney and his nut jobs are going to do something everybody is going to regret."

and frankly, in my fantasy world, i have a hard time understanding how you would ever go into negotiations NOT wanting that.


On first reaction to this, it would seem that Cheney and his cohorts have finally devolved into Strangelovian madness and possible treason. However, perhaps it's a new narrative spun to provide them an edge in the latest round of Administration infighting.

In that context, it's not necessary that the US would actually collude with Israel to provide a pretext for war with Iran. It's enough that the Condi/State faction along with the (allegedly) emerging reality based factions believe that the neocons are genuinely crazy enough to try it, and thus back away from their alternate agendas.

The Jacobins have been losing influence, and fearmongering has worked successfully in manipulating the public. This would simply be applying the tactic at the "insider" level in order for them to continue to enjoy the fruits their influence has brought them.

Or maybe they actually are, finally, insane. A dangerous game, regardless.


"What kid of Democracy is this? When people speak out, and their voices are lost.?

Andrew Bacevich


Suppose that the U.S. or Israel attacks Iran-- what will the consequences be? I forecast these: All Iranians and their Arab neighbors will be miffed. Russia, Europe, India, Pakistan, China and Japan will be almost as miffed. Because neither the U.S. nor Israel have the resources to occupy Iraq, the attack will look both brutal and frivolous. The net effect will be a reduction in U.S. miltary power and influence.


Col. Lang,

This is off completely off topic but is about a military matter of exceedingly great concern to those of us who serve, or have served the Queen.

A 90 year old Nepalese Gurkha, who won the Victoria Cross in WWII storming a Japanese machine gun post in Burma has been denied entry to, and medical care in, Britain "because he has no links to Britain".

This man was presented with his medal in about 1953 and used to have tea with the Queen Mother.

I'd appreciate it if this story could be posted. There are other measures being taken to get this horrific decision reversed. This man should be a Chelsea Pensioner.

I've served with Gurkhas in hot and rainy places and there are no finer men, as I'm sure you know.


Here is his citation:

No. 10119 Rifleman Tullbahadur Pun, 6th Gurkha Rifles, Indian Army.

In Burma on June 23rd, 1944, a Battalion of the 6th Gurkha Rifles was ordered to attack the Railway Bridge at Mogaung. Immediately the attack developed the enemy opened concentrated and sustained cross fire at close range from a position known as the Red House and from a strong bunker position two hundred yards to the left of it.

So intense was this cross fire that both the leading platoons of 'B' Company, one of which was Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun's, were pinned to the ground and the whole of his Section was wiped out with the exception of himself, the Section commander and one other man. The Section commander immediately led the remaining two men in a charge on the Red House but was at once badly wounded. Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun and his remaining companion continued the charge, but the latter too was immediately wounded.

Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun then seized the Bren Gun, and firing from the hip as he went, continued the charge on this heavily bunkered position alone, in the face of the most shattering concentration of automatic fire, directed straight at him. With the dawn coming up behind him, he presented a perfect target to the Japanese. He had to move for thirty yards over open ground, ankle deep in mud, through shell holes and over fallen trees.

Despite these overwhelming odds, he reached the Red House and closed with the Japanese occupations. He killed three and put five more to flight and captured two light machine guns and much ammunition. He then gave accurate supporting fire from the bunker to the remainder of his platoon which enabled them to reach their objective.

His outstanding courage and superb gallantry in the face of odds which meant almost certain death were most inspiring to all ranks and beyond praise.

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