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21 October 2007


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Pre-emptive war is illegal.

Launching an attack on a country that 1. has no intention of attacking our country, and in fact has no intention of attacking any country near us and 2. cannot possibly be a military threat to us, in addition to being illegal, is immoral.

And yes, what you are seeing is a replay of the effort to sell the Iraq war.

And all the players (read: contractors, oil companies, and Bush family business concerns) who made billions of dollars in Iraq are thinking "hey, this pre-emptive war stuff is pretty good for business".

This time however, given the mood of the public, they are not going to be able to sell the war.

At a certain point, Cheney is just going to say "To hell with it, we have to have this war", and he'll tell W to go ahead and make the world's dumbest phone call and order the troops into action.

Like Iraq, it will be a failure.

Like Iraq it will make the contractors and Bushies lots of money.

Just think - one phone call and Halliburton, Blackwater and all the rest are in it for Billions. And the oil companies may not have their contracts yet, but the war caused a big spike in gas prices, so they made record-breaking profits.

The facts that it is a political disaster, an economic disaster for most Americans, illegal, and morally wrong, I expect will take a back seat to the God of Bush (not that God, I'm talking about MONEY).

So many billions in profits will be lost to the Bush network, that they simply can't afford NOT to.

Argue geopolitics until you're blue (or red, whichever) in the face.

This is about war as business opportunity. There's money to be made, lots of it.

Martin K

The real nasty twist here is what happens if *Iran* becomes convinced that its about to get hit? What options does it have, and what preemptive-strike capacity does it have? I am relieved to hear about the carriergroup pull-down, wildly speculating I would say that this sounds like Fallon making good on his promise.

In an interesting paralell, you (the US) just lost the polacks in Iraq, it will be interesting to see the development there.


This article by Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria sums the Iranian issue better than anything I could write:


Sidney O. Smith III

Fascinating article at Esquire re: Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann. It’s titled in part, “The Secret History of the Impending War with Iran…” All the usual suspects are present. (hat tip awc).


Re: Zakaria's article referenced by Jose

We need seriously to take stock of the absurdity of the premises underlying the Iran debate within the ruling political class (Dems and Repubs alike) and the media punditry.

One example cited there is Podhoretz' claim about the Iranian threat.

Something is rotten in the republic when we don't see challenges by the political class to these absurd claims.

Something is rotten in the republic when Bill Kristol can get away with saying, with a straight face and unchallenged on what amounts to state-run TV (Fox News), that we are winning in Iraq, and the only obstacle to american victory is Iranian intervention.

If these lies go unchallenged, the republic is lost.


Personally I found the www3 comment telling to the state of mind of President Bush. Everything else is in place for an all out war with Iran. Now the world are waiting for the decider. Personally I wonder about the carriers everyone seems so eager to count. Are they really needed especially if you want a strategic surprise?

Something like the Israeli attack against Syria seems to be more likely. Which makes the current situation in Turkey somewhat problematic.

Whats missing is a Gleiwitz moment I think without any other comparisons. A smoking gun as a reason to justify the attack.



Stirling Newberry has an interesting essay over at The Agonist on this subject... as something of an inevitability. He takes a view beyond the culpability of the usual suspects...basically that there is going to be violence and conflict when society changes from one energy economy to another. Of course humans don't have to take the violent path, but historically they have. Definitely worth reading.

Charles I

Well, here's the irrefutable logic offered at Debkafile today:

"DEBKAfile’s US military sources disclosed previously that if, as widely reported, Syria is in the process of building a small reactor capable of producing plutonium on the North Korean model, Iran must certainly have acquired one of these reactors before Syria, and would then be in a more advanced stage of plutonium production at a secret underground location."

Sort of a bastardization of cognito ergo sum. Because I THINK somebody reported (after I called and suggested a lead) that ‘A” MIGHT be true, I AM certain that “B” MUST be true. Well, true enough to bomb the hell out of it, anyway.

Gee this does sound awfully like Iraq. Jonst has it right on. This is just the old the One Percent Doctrine: if = must, no ifs ands or buts. Whatever the carrier status, The Joint Chiefs just announced all systems go, a big strike no problemo, ready aye ready, all hail to the Chief. Dick emerged this week to work the existential threat thingy. Al Baredai's disclaimers are passing trifles reported well below the fold.

Iran’s erstwhile nuclear patron Putin has recently been given the treatment for the temerity of complaining about American forces at his borders whilst talking to Iran. Having recently manifested a few career-lengthening plays one might find in the PNAC/Permanent Majority/GOP playbook, he can now be loudly vilified as, heresy of heresies, anti-democratic (which he is, but that’s beside the point, he’s in his own civil war with the oligarchs and fights for his country, not lucre.) He must be shouted down and made to toe the line if the U.N is to be pimped out in support of the further spread of Freedom and Democracy. Debkafile reports him as telling Teheran that he cannot shelter it from the storm without utter compliance with Washington. Mission Accomplished!

The Christian conservative posse, unsated by the pale offerings of last weekend's parade of pious wannabes, are no doubt fervently praying, phoning and frothing in expectation and support of a firm line from the last redoubt of the true believers fighting WWIII from the barricades at 1600 Pennsylvania .

Between the the puff of smoke in the Syrian desert (where there’s smoke there’s fire, even if I lit it), the Minot affair and The Contractors, well there's barely enough ink - let alone reporters - in all of Christendom to find out what’s really going on anywhere. Optimal conditions all around.

Ergo, I think I am certain that this really is déjà vu all over again. Maybe get it out of the way by Halloween, unless Walmart et al decides they can’t abide the promised blowback until after Boxing Day sale week. The more oilier inclined of us would welcome a big, big spike in the cost of oil during prime heating season as well. Last and first quarter reporting are so important, and there IS a presidential election going on - one hopes. At a billion bucks a pop, that’s a lot of donations.

And , marquer when you are the # 1 or 2 pariah, and the mightiest threaten you with even a nucular strike, NOTHING is obviated. Would you sell everything you have today in hope that the Decider will deal with you tomorrow? If so, I have a bridge for sale. . .


CSTAR, IMHO, this quotes explains America's current foreign policy:

Who controls the past controls the future
Who controls the present controls the past

George Orwell, 1984


Charles I

Whatever the carrier status, The Joint Chiefs just announced all systems go, a big strike no problemo, ready aye ready, all hail to the Chief.

Perhaps not. From today's NY Times:

"The new chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, expressed deep concerns that the long counterinsurgency missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have so consumed the military that the Army and Marine Corps may be unprepared for a high-intensity war against a major adversary.

He rejected the counsel of those who might urge immediate attacks inside Iran to destroy nuclear installations or to stop the flow of explosives that end up as powerful roadside bombs in Iraq or Afghanistan, killing American troops.

With America at war in two Muslim countries, he said, attacking a third Islamic nation in the region “has extraordinary challenges and risks associated with it.” The military option, he said, should be a last resort..."


Cold War Zoomie

After thinking about where we're heading, sometimes I just daydream...


New roof, no TV, pint of 80/-...

80 Shilling


Martin K

CW Zoomie: Come to Norway! Plenty of work in the peacekeeping business.


Re Jon's post on probable international reactions to a US attack on Iran - "What supporters could we gain in the world? Maybe India?" .... Somehow doubt whether India would be supportive: latest is that the US-India nuke deal's off, the India-Pakistan-Iran pipeline deal's back on and India's not supportive even towards the US sanctions-push:

"How India handles ever-tighter US-led sanctions against Iran will determine whether a degree of strain is injected into the Indo-US strategic relationship just as it is beginning to unfold,” said N.K. Singh, a political analyst. “There are 40m Shias in India and I don’t think the political parties will be unmindful of how all this plays out in terms of the Muslim vote in general and the Shia vote in particular.”

Re EU attitudes - they're far from monolithic but I seriously doubt whether any EU country would back a US strike. UK PM has just declared he's in favour of extra (non-UN) sanctions also "no option off the table"; Sarkozy is extra-sanctions friendly but not - faik - US airstrike-friendly; Italy is strongly against any extra sanctions, strictly "diplomacy only" and has lotsa-trade and non-hostile relations with Iran - we even swap presidential/PM birthday greetings, have "Iran-Italy Parliamentary Friendship Committee" love-fests. Prodi just hosted a friendly negotiations summit between Solana and Larijani-and-successor in Rome, results said to be "constructive"; Austria's position is the same as Italy's - between the two of them they just squashed Sarkozy's attempt to get the EU to agree to extra sanctions; Germany's position is midway between the French and the Italian one... dunno about the rest but I think most of the Mediterranean countries (Greece, Spain in particular) would be closer to Italy's friendly-negotiation-only position than to the UK's hard-line one. I don't think many EU countries view Iran as a "threat", many would be perfectly happy with an IAEA-agreed solution - including one allowing Iran to produce its own enriched uranium under agreed safeguards. What we are worried about is the prospect of armed conflict between the US and Iran with relative regional consequences, wish both would cool the rhetoric-etc. and act reasonable. Iran's a permanent "neighbour" of ours, we have nothing to gain from the even-further-increased "East/West" bad feeling a US strike would produce.

Stephen C

It is obvious to the most supine armchair dullard able to nose beyond the 24/7 propapunditry that a vigorous shock-and-awesome "decapitation" of Iranian nuclear sites, command-and-control infrastructure, fixed and mobile missile launchers, naval anti-ship and other forces, military operations centers and bases, fuel depots, transport and pipelines, military leadership, (etc.) would evoke horrific 'unknown knowns and visa versa.' A sampling of such is unnecessary because most of our clans here probably have researched and contemplated the flathead fantasia.

I'd like to suggest several ways of vectoring timing only with respect to the domestic polical season. The first axis unfolds between first quarter 2008 and third quarter 2008. The second axis unfolds between the Republican faithfull and bluedog dems and center-right indies rallying around the flag, and, an imploding center-right of any stripe pulling their support from the Napoleanic fever dream put into play.

The vector thus depicts: first quarter/lots of support; first quarter/collapse of support; third quarter/lots of support; third quarter/collapse of support. It depicts these factors at the point of initiation.

I have two thoughts on timing. First quarter timing is a 'devil-may-care' instance of not being concerned with the presidential race at all, and, being willing to turn over the whole mess to a Democratic President. Whereas third quarter timing best jibes with a hoped for flag rally able to elevate a Republican to be lord over the inevitable hellward journey. However, third quarter timing could also promote a drastic backlash. Presumably such an attack would be politically timed to roll out the immediate blowblack after the election is over; happy halloween.

Leaving the unmentioned second quarter of 2008: May-June-July-August. Weather prime; after the Democratic nominee has secured the delegates if not post-convention; after a battle royale-post-convention for the Republicans; but also where the blowback rolls right through the prime campaign period. One of the known unknowns is whether Iranian proxies have the ability to attack within US borders.

Whether most likely voters would care that those attacks wouldn't have happened sans provocation is another known unknown.


On Iran's nuclear intentions, from the latest Newsweek:

While Bush administration officials insist that Tehran intends to build a bomb, Mohamed ElBaradei, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is concerned that Iran wants eventually to become a "virtual nuclear- weapons state," like Japan. That is, it wants to have the technology, industry and expertise to produce a bomb on short notice, but doesn't necessarily want to make or test one. ("Yes, that is what we are doing," a senior Iranian envoy, who was not authorized to speak on the record, told NEWSWEEK last week.) Many Iranians hint that this would be a sufficient strategic deterrent, unless the United States attacks first. But only real negotiations can clarify whether there remains any potential for compromise. As another Iranian diplomat told NEWSWEEK, "Nothing short of negotiations as equal partners, like what we have with Europe, will solve Iran's problems with the rest of the world." Such talks, however, are looking less likely than ever.


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