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20 September 2007


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In the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, amid the Tom Clancyesque stories of Aluminum tubes, uranium from Niger and portable CBW labs, my dear and now departed Father turned to me one day and said "I hope for all our sakes that all this is true", because he was skeptical of both the reliability of the sources and the accuracy of the statements being made.

Now Dad was an intelligence officer, and he hadn't lost his touch, and I'd like to think that a little bit has rubbed off on me. I believe the same hoo haa is being played again, although with subtle script differences to throw a more discerning audience off the scent.

The rubbish being doled out is predictable, and again when one tries to run down the sources, they are either unreliable or inaccurate and sometimes both.

The giveaway that we are being fed disinformation by the thinktanks and the Israeli cheer squad is that in all of it the inferences drawn are based on "negative" intelligence that is calculated to reinforce the "Woodenheadedness" of the decider and the more gullible of the public.

For example the IAEA's negative conclusion that they can find no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program is spun as "Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program".

Iranian words to the effect that Israel is an historical aberration that predictably will fail is spun as "Iran is going to destroy Israel". Hitler famously interpreted British reticence before WWII about engaging in another war the same way - "A nation of shopkeepers" he called them.

Then of course there is the nonsense about Iraq's inability to build IED's, despite the fact that only six years ago the same pundits were telling us that Iraq had the required sophistication to make nuclear weapons.

The chorus is building to a crescendo and what concerns me is that one of the participants, Syria, Israel, America or Iran is going to twitch and set off a regional war, and after that, arguments about whether pressure was simply being applied to force Iran to the negotiating table are going to be rather academic.

Furthermore, I am not enamoured of airpower and I'm concerned that we have dangerously underestimated the will and capabilities of both the Iranians and the Iraqi people.

William R. Cumming

Might get vetoed but Congress conceptually could prohibit in advance expenditures of funds for armed attacks on Iran. Clearly you are right that 1976 War Powers Act is pretty meaningless as presently constituted. Still does raise the issue of what do you call a country's political system when a single individual, even the President, can personally start wars. Perhaps question that should be asked of all candidates of both parties.
The interesting thing is that Congress has even shied away from oversight hearings on the War Powers Act. Reading the recent book "Nixon and Kissinger" by Robert Dallek and the discussion of use of the so-called "Mad-man" theory of threatening nuclear attack by both should really terrorize the US public.


Pl wrote:

>>>>I learned recently that Dick, when fishing in his native mountains, has the guides herd the fish towards him "just to make sure."<<<<

That is friggin priceless, PL! One could conjure up a novel out of that sentence. Its perfect. Perfectly appropriate. Fits the man. By the way all, I'm just lovin the battle over preventing Ahmadinejad from visiting 'ground zero'. The dehumanization process at full blast. Oh, think of the cable show diatribes this will create as the link to Iran and 9/11!?? begins to get weaved together by, as Pl calls them, the 'Italian letter' crowd. Man, they are gonna run with this story.

Clifford Kiracofe

Here is an interesting paper on the topic by Sir John Thomson:


The org tracks the issue here:



Israel and Oil. They are and always have been the 2 things that matter to any US administration in the ME. Protect the 2, make sure the oil is delivered and controlled. Any threat to either must made to sign up to the agenda or eliminated (or if you were Arafat, both). American support in the ME doesnt go to those in the moral right, or those that support democracy or human rights or democratically elected parties. It goes to the people who sign up to the agenda.

Iraq was phase one of the supposed end game. Control a country that is central to the area and use it as a base to take out the rest of the problem nations. Israel and other US allies in the region would take out the small fry such as Hamas and Hizballah while the US and its allies in the rest of the world would see to the big guns, namely Syria and Iran.

Of course, the grand plan didn't pan out so well. Iraq has US troops bogged down and Israel, the Lebanese March 14th movement and Fatah were unable to do their part (but they are still trying god bless them). So how does Team America salvage the plan? An Israeli strike on Iran that sees the Iranians attacking American troops and thus giving Bush the causa belli? A good a plan as any. But transparent enough for Iran to see through it this week to announce that any attack on Iran by Israel will be responded to by attacks on Israel. This would be more than enough for the US, with the backing of an AIPAC driven pr campaign, to launch an attack on Iran. But are the Israelis ready for this? If the trauma caused by Hizballahs missiles last summer is anything to go by, I doubt it. While it is reasonable to assume that Irans threats of using its airforce to retaliate is unrealistic seeing as they would have to pass through a wall of unfriendly skies to get there first, it is equally unrealistic to assume that they can do nothing.

So while Dick and George want, probably more than anything, to launch missiles at Iran, they still have to come up with a plan that doesn't totally destroy the Republican partys support and allows its worldwide allies to be supportive.

Lets see how clever they are this time.

Mad Dogs

I've become much more appreciative this time around as to just how those Jacobin neocons have striven to paranoically narrow and frame any discussion of Iran to that "bleak binary choice: bombing vs. appeasement."

That this is the mantra taking hold in both the Republican and Democratic Beltway political circles as they continue to partake of the very same Kool-Aid they drank the last time around, I'm not so appreciative.

Sure hope Iran doesn't have any holidays planned that entail the use of fireworks.


Peter Galbraith, The Iranian Conundrum


In short, George W. Bush had from the first facilitated the very event he warned would be a disastrous consequence of a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq: the takeover of a large part of the country by an Iranian-backed militia. And while the President contrasts the promise of democracy in Iraq with the tyranny in Iran, there is now substantially more personal freedom in Iran than in southern Iraq.

Iran's role in Iraq is pervasive, but also subtle. When Iraq drafted its permanent constitution in 2005, the American ambassador energetically engaged in all parts of the process. But behind the scenes, the Iranian ambassador intervened to block provisions that Tehran did not like. As it happened, both the Americans and the Iranians wanted to strengthen Iraq's central government. While the Bush administration clung to the mirage of a single Iraqi people, Tehran worked to give its proxies, the pro-Iranian Iraqis it supported -- by then established as the government of Iraq -- as much power as possible. (Thanks to Kurdish obstinacy, neither the U.S. nor Iran succeeded in its goal, but even now both the US and Iran want to see the central government strengthened.)

Since 2005, Iraq's Shiite-led government has concluded numerous economic, political, and military agreements with Iran. The most important would link the two countries' strategic oil reserves by building a pipeline from southern Iraq to Iran, while another commits Iran to providing extensive military assistance to the Iraqi government. According to a senior official in Iraq's Oil Ministry, smugglers divert at least 150,000 barrels of Iraq's daily oil exports through Iran, a figure that approaches 10 percent of Iraq's production. Iran has yet to provide the military support it promised to the Iraqi army. With the U.S. supplying 160,000 troops and hundreds of billions of dollars to support a pro-Iranian Iraqi government, Iran has no reason to invest its own resources.

Of all the unintended consequences of the Iraq war, Iran's strategic victory is the most far-reaching. In establishing the border between the Ottoman Empire and the Persian Empire in 1639, the Treaty of Qasr-i-Shirin demarcated the boundary between Sunni-ruled lands and Shiite-ruled lands. For eight years of brutal warfare in the 1980s, Iran tried to breach that line but could not. (At the time, the Reagan administration supported Saddam Hussein precisely because it feared the strategic consequences of an Iraq dominated by Iran's allies.) The 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq accomplished what Khomeini's army could not. Today, the Shiite-controlled lands extend to the borders of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Bahrain, a Persian Gulf kingdom with a Shiite majority and a Sunni monarch, is most affected by these developments; but so is Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, which is home to most of the kingdom's Shiites. (They may even be a majority in the province but this is unknown as Saudi Arabia has not dared to conduct a census.) The U.S. Navy has its most important Persian Gulf base in Bahrain while most of Saudi Arabia's oil is under the Eastern Province.



the acquiescence of the American people to their possible impending economic suicide is simply disheartening. One man, our Imperator, although cloaked in titles such as pontifex maximus and POTUS, can set this great country on a risky course.

Presidential Temperament, by David Keirsey and Ray Choiniere explores the first 40 presidents in light of Keirsey's temperament sorter. Some of it is available online at http://keirsey.com/presidents.html

Keirsey's work correlates but is not identical to that of Isabel Briggs Meyer The four temperaments are Artisan (SP), Guardian (SJ), Rational (NT), and Idealist (NF).

There is a chart that sorts them thru Clinton, vir, the breakdown was 13 artisans, 21 Guardians, and 8 rationals.

There has never been an Idealist president.

About half of the population are solid Guardians, 40% or so flamboyant Artisans.

The thinking rationals are about 8% and the spiritual idealists round it out.

The four divisions are further divided according to informative or directive communicative style. Further divided into expressive- reserved to yield 16 classifications just like Briggs-Meyers.
See Wiki on Keirsey

Dumbya is of course a risk taking Artisan as was Clinton, Vir (latin for husband). George, No. 41 was a Guardian. Our misfortune to have an Artisan at the helm rather than a Guardian or Rational in these critical times.

i don't know that i buy into all this Keirsey stuff, i think we are all a percentage of all those temps and it varies with time. But it's fairly interesting and it goes all the way back to Hippocrates and Galen. Sanguine (SP), Choleric (NF), Phlegmatic (NT), Melancholic (NJ)- influenced by the body humours.

Sidney O. Smith III

Clemons mentions Wurmser’s reasons for launching an attack on Iran. Question: Why isn’t Wurmser’s “option” considered an act of treason? Here’s Clemons…

"One member of Cheney's national security staff, David Wurmser, worried out loud that Cheney felt that his wing was "losing the policy argument on Iran" inside the administration -- and that they might need to "end run" the president with scenarios that may narrow his choices. The option that Wurmser allegedly discussed was nudging Israel to launch a low-yield cruise missile strike against the Natanz nuclear reactor in Iran, thus "hopefully" prompting a military reaction by Tehran against U.S. forces in Iraq and the Gulf. When queried about Wurmser's alleged comments, a senior Bush administration official told the New York Times, "The vice president is not necessarily responsible for every single thing that comes out of the mouth of every single member of his staff.""

The quote includes the words, "hopefully prompting a military reaction by Tehran against US forces in Iran." Can you damn believe it? What a kind of bastard would say that? Wurmser...and, for the record, Cheney doesn't deny Wurmser's statement. Uh…does anyone in Washington remember that those fighting in the US uniform are our nation’s youth? Is Wurmser suggesting that Israel should do everything possible to make sure that more of our American youth are killed senselessly? Nothing would turn the US against Israel more than Wurmser's option. Maybe Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum of Satmar was right all along -- a true prophet of the Exile. He warned us of people like Wurmser.

Again, with people like Wurmser working within the USG, safeguarding our Baghdad - Basra supply becomes paramount and, in my opinion, our nation’s highest objective at this time in the Middle East. Two reasons. One reason is to protect, at whatever cost necessary, US troops from the likes of Wurmser. Second reason is to protect and provide an exit for those Iraqis who have aligned themselves with us. At this point and time, whatever else is accomplished in Iraq is a lagniappe.

It is one strange historical circumstance we find ourselves in. But, best I can tell, the USM is our best hope to prevent the spreading of war. In my opinion, it sure would help matters if the JCS took Wurmser to task...publicly.

Dana Jone

You know, Just Plain Dick may get his wish. There has been much speculation about the Israeli violation of Syrian airspace on Sept. 6, with the Syrians claiming that the IDF planes were detected and forced to turn back and dump thier bombs in the desert. Israel has been unusually quiet about he whole thing, allowing speculation about bombing a suspected Syrian nuclear or missile site. Now usually the IDF would be bragging to the whole world about an attack if it was successful.
I suspect however that they were actually on the way to IRAN when detected and forced to abort the mission. The only proof lays in the Syrian desert, IF they dumped "bunker busters" when forced to turn back. Only the Syrians (and I presume the Iranians by now) know for sure (and of course the IDF and US). If it was an unsuccessful attempt on Iran, well, it looks like its our turn now. I'd keep an ear & eye open for any provocation that will be used for a US attack on Iran very soon.


Let's hope that Cheney's latest "fishing expedition" turns out better than his ill-fated hunting trip with Harry Whittington last year. It would do none of us any good for Israel to take a face full of buckshot fired from the VP's gun (so to speak).

We've all heard of "taking one for the team", but intentionally provoking an Iranian response against Israel seems like the last act of a raving lunatic.


If the Col finds it informative or entertaining.

The Artisan Presidents are divided twofold, on their communication preference- Directive or informative. The Directives are called Operators. The Informatives are Entertainers.

The last 4 Entertainers have been Arthur, Harding, Reagan, & Clinton the husband.

The last 4 Operators have been, FDR, JFK, LBJ, & Dumbya.

from the Wiki
# Operators are observant, pragmatic, and directive. Crafters and Promoters are two of the four role variants of the directive Artisans.
# Entertainers are observant, pragmatic and informative. Composers and Performers are two of the four role variants of the informative Artisans.

in my mind eye (obviously I'm a dyed in the wool rational) Dumbya is not an idelogue but a promoter. He was a cheerleader in college. He's there to promote whatever team he's signed on and who's he's identified with. But then again that's where the pop psychology begins to break down- he has to be partly a pragmatic idealogue.

João Carlos

I saw a news yesterday saying that some syrians and iranian thecnicians died at an acident while instaling WMD on a missile. http://oglobo.globo.com/mundo/mat/2007/09/19/297786841.asp (sorry, it is a brazilian news, so portuguese language)

No way to verify the news veracity.

I fear the propaganda machine started to move.

João Carlos


Bush must be amused (his ego satisfied) by all of the effort, brainpower, and analysis put in to devine what he will "decide" regarding war with Iran. Certainly more effort will be expended by others portending his decision than he will put into making it. Steve Clemons "on the one hand, on the other hand" article is a perfect example. Clemons says "no he won't" while staring at the same set of tea leaves that plenty of other smart people (like Bryzinski) conclude mean "yes he will". Clemons might as well definitively predict which toy a two-year old will pick up, the blue one on the left or the green one on the right.

The problem is that the choice between "war with Iran, no war with Iran" has no more consequence to Bush than the green or blue toy does to the child. Unlike the rest of the world, Bush is ambivilent about what choice he makes, the only thing he cares about is that he is the one who gets to make it. Just like every child, the world only revolves around his choices.
I call what he will do a "choice" not by accident. Bush may puff himself up by calling his capricious actions "decisions" but all they really are is "choices". Calling what he does a "decision" is as ridiculous as calling what the two-year old did a "decision". Bush is not "The Decider", he is "The Chooser".

The "decisions" are made by those who present the options from which to "choose". And that is Cheney's (and Rice's?) job. Just like most adults know how to rig the game to get a child to make the choice they want, Cheney knows how to rig a game too. Great analogy about herding fish, BTW, quite apropos.

In the Kurosawa film "Sanjuro" there is an excellent scene where two corrupt underlings discuss manipulating their less competent (but also corrupt) boss. The dialogue goes along these lines.
"Just remember that he thinks he is an able man."
"Ha, ha. Yes, just stroke him like a kitten and he will purr."

Babak Makkinejad

Mr. Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, was at Iran-Iraq War front. And he also lost the use of his right arm in an assignation attempt by the MEK organization while serving as the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Dr. Ahmadinejad is a veteran of actual infantry fighting (as opposed to rear support) in the Iran-Iraq War.

These men and men like them are in positions of power in Iran. They cannot be intimidated into committing suicide.

If all this talk of war part of an orchestrated propaganda effort to cause them to surrender it will not succeed. In fact, this type of campaign only convinces the typical fellow in Iran or citizens of many any other states that they need to get their hands on WMD to counter Jacobin powers of this world.

If, on the other hand, this is part of a propaganda campaign to soften domestic public opinion in UE & EU, I fail to see its relevance. Those who are opposed will remain opposed and those who are for war will continue to do so. There really is not such a large population of people in the middle ground that would require this campaign - in my opinion.


Carlos, it has been in the news. If you want all the syria news go to syriacomment.com
professor joshua landis's blog- for a sympathetic point of view.

Less sympathetic but comprehensive mideast news

then, there's always debka.com
your story was on all three at one time

"DEBKAfile: Janes Defense Weekly’s “revelation” of an explosion at a Syrian military plant was first aired by Syria radio and TV on the day it happened"


To provoke a response by Iran to launch missiles against our troops as a reason for us to attack them is one of the most immoral things I have ever heard. Our military is not expendable no matter what Cheney & Co. may think. I would expect nothing less from someone who never served in the military though. I thought we were suppose to be the rational ones and the Iranian clerics were suppose to be the irrational ones?

I know the military is suppose to follow the orders of the civilian leadership appointed over them, but is it not also the responsibility of anyone in the military to question orders that are immoral or violate one's conscience? I think this situation would qualify. What a quagmire this government has put this country in.


The media has already picked up on Iran's president's request to visit ground zero. Shame on them for dissiminating such propaganda. Anyone who knows anything about Iran knows that he holds no power, it is the religious clerics who hold all the power. I don't think he should be allowed to visit Ground Zero but I do think that we should not lead people to believe he is something that he is not. IMO, the American media has failed miserably in being the watchdog and whistleblower against this government.


emptywheel at The Next Hurrah points to this piece in the Telegraph today:

For the first time the Saudis are not racheting their interest rate in step with the Federal Reserve, and indication they are on the verge of moving away from dollar-based investments and perhaps oil pricing as well. And if they do it, other countries, including the Chinese will probably follow suit. See ya down there, dollar!

In the mid 1970s Emmanuel Todd, then a mid-20s guy of French and American parentage who was studying for an advanced degree in demographics in France, wrote a book predicting the imminent demise of the Soviet Union based on his analysis of various statistics about that state. Needless to say he was ridiculed for his impertinence. Five years ago he wrote a similar one entitled After The Empire asserting, as the title implies, that the USA's years as the proprietor of an empire were also nearing an end. That end is now in sight.

Here's a link to the Amazon page of that book:

Babak Makkinejad


Iran was not involved in the 9/11/01 attacks on the United States. In fact, some of her citizens in Tehran held a candle-light vigil for the victims of those attacks.

Mr. Ahmadinejad's request was a deft political move by him; if accepted he would put his werath over there and thus counter USG propaganda against Iran and cast himself in a better light.

If denied, he would still be the Muslim leader who was willing to pay his respects to the memory of the victims of the 9/11/01 attacks but was thwarted by vindictive war mongers.

Either way he wins.


João Carlos, I read your article and basically it is a copy of this article:


There was a similar article in Haaretz but I didn't save it and it's not in my history cache.


Excellent, educating blog today!


Don't think the US people would stand for this? Either do I but the people of this country will be "tossed" into war.

The administration is just getting Iran into the news everyday and associating it with the words nuclear, 9/11, iraq, IED, security council, etc.

All it takes is a spark and the administration is just waiting for the fumes to sufficiently lift off the poured fuel.


Of course Bush will do what he pleases with our country, his toy. In today's press conf, he referred to the United States of America as "my government" numerous times. There is hope for his government only if Condi can stay out of trouble for her Condo and Gates can rise to become more than a super-bureaucrat. Do those guys in desert camo who talked Warner out of voting with Webb have a care? Anyone else out there who can save us? Bueller?


On Cheney's fishing trip, remember the "Teddy Bear?" This got its start when President Theodore Roosevelt was on a hunting trip. Some members of his entourage--including some reporters--caught a bear cub and tied it to a tree. When Roosevelt returned from the field they suggested that he shoot the bear cub to give them a story. T.R. was no tourist, he was an OUTDOORSMAN who had had a ranch out West for many years. He gave them a story by indignantly refusing to shoot the helpless thing. The story became so popular that toy manufacturers made little stuffed bears to commemorate T.R.'s mercy--which came to be called "Teddy Bears." I guess they don't make Republicans like they used to.

Brad K.

Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson appearing. Please, don't bother trying to tell me they care about justice. Sharpton and Jackson have impressed me over the years mostly with their apparently empty and self serving gestures.


Our political class seems to think that we are like Britain before WWI ("Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set. God who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.") Maybe they are right. Or maybe we are like the French and British in the 1950s: The Middle East is our Algeria or Indo-China and Dien Bien Phu is just around the corner.

"...Think now,
History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors
And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,
Guides us by vanities."

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