« More on Iran | Main | Silver Screen »

10 February 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Ken Hoop


Can an ex Reagan cabinent
man be anti-American? If not, let's admit the truth about our government.


Rather than scat or backstabbing I will just try to ask more clearly, "to your face", whether people here can describe a scenario where nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran leads to anything other than stasis.

If stasis is not good enough, and preserving a "balance of power" means preserving the ability to asymmetrically threaten regime change, then this is an important point. I am not claiming that such an asymmetry is immoral, only that it would be a strange sort of balance of power.

I don't think that this is nonsense, though I respect that you have full control over your own site and make the calls here.

frank durkee

Thank you.
Frank Durkee


I rarely comment because I have not much to add, but if most people are like me, they do find the propagandists interesting. I don't read SST for them, but I enjoy seeing their thinking exposed. That said, it's probably exasperating to deal with them.

Patrick Lang


I will accept that as reasoned. I have never claimed to seek "justice" here. I think that unattainable, although I applaud your aspiration in that direction however unattainable.

This would not be stasis, because Iran's power would be irreversibly strengthened. We do not seek this. We seek a peace in which Israel continues to exist in the long run. pl

Patrick Lang


I have not time and world enough. pl

B. D. Warbucks


Your blog, your rules.

Besides, the propagandists are not coy in their entreaties. It is a crime.

Stay hard.



Dear Col. Lang,

I am relying on you for an answer based on your expertise in military and Civil War history.

I have been reading, "Vietnam's Forgotten Army
Heroism and Betrayal in the ARVN" by Andrew Wiest, foreword by Jim Webb. As you may know it is the story of two young ARVN officers, Pham Van Dinh and Tran Ngoc Hue. They had been friends in the military academy but their lives took radically different directions in the war, with Dinh eventually defecting.

BTW, this book was given to me by my son's Vietnamese father-in-law, who had been a chopper pilot in the VN Air Force before escaping.

Here's my question. I apologize for my ignorance, but were there generals in our Civil War who had been close friends at West Point but who found themselves on opposite sides in the war? I just can't help wondering.

Thanks for any assistance.

John W. Baker


P. Lang wrote:

'This would not be stasis, because Iran's power would be irreversibly strengthened. We do not seek this. We seek a peace in which Israel continues to exist in the long run.'

It's been an interesting blog lately. I don't come around as much as I used to because I don't really know what is acceptable opinion and what isn't. I'm not an ex-government guy with your range of experience in governmental affairs. I'm a businessman who studied economics and physics so I have just a simple question about your statement above.

What happens if our perceived enemies seek a world in which Isreal doesn't exist on what they consider to be their territory? I don't see any posssible way we can outlast their intransigence at this point without bankrupting ourselves in the process. A bankruptcy that would mean the end of the republic as we have known it all our lives.

Have you looked at the federal budget lately? SS/Medicare are financed with dedicated taxes and currently run a surplus. When Obama took out cuts for military/security related items and interest on the previously accumulated debt he proposed cuts on about 500 billion of spending. This with a budget deficit of well over a trillion. If we were to cut ALL government other than military/security we wouldn't come close to balancing the budget. That's with totally abolishing SS/Medicare and the dedicated taxes that finance them; in fact, our budget situation would look worse if that were to occur.

For how long do you think the American people can continue to keep this up? We've spend our money, our children's money, our grandchildren's money and even the so-called Republican alternative budget from Rep. Ryan does't predict a balanced budget for decades. Do we really have a right to do this to our descendants in pursuit of a illusory goal in which, by all accumulated data available, the situation is getting worse instead of better? And after all these expenditures we aren't even close to getting our perceived enemies to accept what you state is the goal.

I won't even go into how the decline of the middle class (which resulted in the current economic problems) can be traced back to increasing military expenditures in the Middle East.

No offense, but I'm not sure there is enough money to achieve your goal. There may never be enough.


You're getting crotchety, Pat, and you need to get out more after we all shovel out. I have Bourbon if you run low.

Patrick Lang


I don't care if you ever come back.

US policy is to support the existence of Israel. What more is there to say?


Patrick Lang


I have to dig out tomorrow to get to the state store. pl

Patrick Lang


Ah, sanity. pl

Fred Strack


Harper has some very good points in his comments on the post "Iran is defiant" and "More on Iran"
I think his comment about US defense spending: "The U.S. defense budget is equal to the rest of the world, combined..."; should give others pause.
US government spending in WWII was roughly 43% of GDP(or more depending on whose numbers you use). The US has not even tried to get fully engaged in a true war effort.

Underwear bombers and box cutters creating fear in 'the home of the brave'? Blame the pandering politicians, media blow hards and the public that keeps them all employed, directly or indirectly.

Readers get straight answers here (even though we might not like them) and few out of D.C. Hopefully more readers will start checking their emotions before getting on-line and start putting in some effort to actually think strategically about a subject few of us have professional training or experience in.

Stanley Henning

These really are times that try men's souls. I feel overwhelmed by the current state of affairs. I'm afraid for America by what I'm seeing - dissatisfaction with the President and leaning toward know nothing and do nothing constructive "conservatives" while neither party appears really to want to work together for the sake of our sick and languishing country. Within all this seems to lie an ignorant and harmful adherence to ideology rather than true cooperative problem solving in the midst of adversity. If this trend continues then America really will slide into the realm of irrelevance.


i hardly ever comment, but i come here to learn from you, Col Lang. you always have a perspective that no one else has.


Cold War Zoomie

Hell, I'm just amazed at your stamina in running this site!

One quibble: Can we have more bikini clad vixens and less Rothko, please?


What more is there to say?

I suppose you'll have to ask the Chinese. When/If they decide we won't be supporting the Israelis any longer then we'll have to change policy. Someone, somewhere, has to produce something that will pay the bills.

I'm sorry if I personally, or the particular question, bothers you. I simply thought you may have some insight into how government types think. Or if the idea that complete intransigence on the part of our perceived enemies is even discussed as a possibility. Societies have to produce enough of a surplus to support the type of military expenditures necessary to implement their policies. We no longer do that. Where does that leave our policy?


I find the conclusion that, since US policy is to support Israel, this will probably reflect itself in an according policy choice inescapable.

Israel receives US support - arms, money, political. Obama's efforts to promote some dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians doesn't mean that this is going to change. The US will continue to support pro-Israeli policies for the time being.

Whether that's good or bad or affordable for America is irrelevant. It simply is. In all its simplicity that is a very important thing to understand.

I am quite grateful for the Col. to spell it out with such clarity: Iran going nuclear would change the regional balance of power. That leaves two choices, acceptance or war. He changed my mind with that.

The US are thanks to their basing and their involvement in Iran and Afghanistan now a strong regional power in the region. Their influence will be relatively limited by a nuclear Iran, as will be the US ability to exert military pressure on Iran and its allies. That is probably not desirable for those US strategists who see the US as a global power or Hegemon.

Israel national security doctrine apparently relies on military dominance as a means to act with impunity and impose their will on their neighbours. That ability will also be reduced if not offset by a nuclear Iran. That is the real threat for the Israeli hawks, not Israel's destruction - but the devaluation of their entire security strategy. If Israel accepted a nuclear Iran they would be forced to, horrors, deal and compromise with their neighbours - and that would mean giving up things they get away with now - no more settlements and creeping territorial expansion, serious negotiations with Syrians and Palestinians and all that. The idea behind it's current posture of dominance is precisely not having to do that at all (cost).

For Netanyahu and his crowd that must be tantamount to the destruction of Israel as a Jewish State. To them this is a zero sum game in which they will have less if they accept Iran as a nuclear power. The current and possible future Israeli governments will not accept that. Their supporters in the US will fight to the death to avoid it from happening.

It really boils down whether the big boys will, accept Iran's ascendancy into the nuclear club. The alignment of interests suggests to me that the global power advocates and the zionist crowd will ally to lobby for military action against Iran. With US support for Israel being a given, it is likely that the US policy choice will reflect that support of Israel.

It is not about what Iran is entitled to under international law, the NPT or what is just or legal among sovereign nations. The Iranians playing their clever games are flirting with doom. There are strong currents lobbying for war, and they might get their way if Iran continues to enable them.

N. M. Salamon

Off Topic, re MSM and reality:

Colonel, please excuse the diversion!
In the last blog Charles I and myself disagreed on MSM {USA] and reality. Please note the disparity in the WSJ USA and European Editions today:
http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6205#comments_top . Illuminating the problem Government policy anjd its echo chamber, the MSM, misleading the USA public.

Sidney O. Smith III


Here is wiki:

Longstreet introduced Grant to his fourth cousin, Julia Dent, and the couple eventually married. Longstreet would serve as Grant's "best man" at the wedding

James [Longstreet] was a poor student academically and a disciplinary problem at West Point, ranking 54th out of 56 cadets when he graduated in 1842. He was popular with his classmates, however, and befriended a number of men who would become prominent during the Civil War, including George Henry Thomas, William S. Rosecrans, John Pope, D.H. Hill, Lafayette McLaws, George Pickett, John Bell "Sam" Hood, and his closest friend, Ulysses S. Grant of the class of 1843.


Cold War Zoomie,

Re: Can we have more bikini clad vixens


Col., sir,

Sorry for lack of intelligent comment. I need ta stop readin' & thinkin' so much & start livin' a lil' more. Bikini clad vixen with heels to match sittin' on my lap would be good for starters. Now that'll really make me feel ALIVE.


Toleration for the propagandists seems to run well beyond toleration for Rothko versus vixens. The site is a gold mine and is quietly read by many active duty military, intelligence and "contractors" who rely on it for a sanity clause in an environment generally over-saturated with shallow propaganda. Whether it's Fox News or MSNBC-ML, it dumbs down discourse, and this site is a welcome haven. Col. Lang, use your best judgment, as you have so far, and keep the site going.


As for the relevance of the question whether the US can afford being a super power in the Middle East or can afford supporting Israel or afford a war with Iran - Michelle Bachmann just a couple of days ago said this:

"I am convinced in my heart and in my mind that if the United States fails to stand with Israel, that is the end of the United States ... if we reject Israel, then there is a curse that comes into play. And my husband and I are both Christians, and we believe very strongly the verse from Genesis [Genesis 12:3], we believe very strongly that nations also receive blessings as they bless Israel."

Does that sound as if she and like minded Americans concern themselves with questions about fiscal fiscal conservatism or doability on these questions? Not in the slightest.

And do they fear regional war over Iran's nuclear weapons? Not at all. To the contrary, if anything, the prospect of war in the Middle East makes them all excited about the rapture.

Nancy K

Civility seems dead in the US. What happened to the time when 2 sides could discuss rationally, maybe not agree but discuss.
I love your site Col. Lang, and I find that I get insight into areas I have little or no knowledge of. Being from California, I most likely am one of the leftists, however when I read something that you write I ponder it deeply.
I may not always agree with you but I acknowledge that you know much more about the matter than I do, that is why I read your blog daily.
Thanks for putting up with all of us.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

April 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    
Blog powered by Typepad