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12 August 2010


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Norbert M. Salamon

It is impossible for Israel to attack Iran [by air] without covert or implicit permission by the USA:

1., USA troops are in Israel re fancy radar pointing East, thus USA knows if Israeli planes go East or Iran sending presents to Israel via air.
2., USAF in Iraq, airlanes either closed or open for Israeli planes.
3., USN is in Persian Gulf with 1 or carrier groups full of planes, which can block any Israeli attempt at Iran.

If any planes reach Iran,. the USA involvement is implicit; therefore all USA assets are open to attack.

Submarine launched nuclear attack by Israel is the end of that nation, for even the USA can not condone such unproviked action [else, the USA economy is toast].

No power of AIPAC NEOCON can force a SANE PRESIDENT to gamble the economic health [and possibloy the lives of millions of USA citizens] to appease any MINORITY group. NO SANE JEWISH LEADERSHIP in USA can gamble on any new anti-Jewish progrom, a necessary consequence if Israel sucks USA into economic suicide.


Thanks, David Habakuk, for a kind mention. I'd like to clarify that I think Iran might show restraint in the event of a single strike by Israel. They will not restrained in the face if multiple strikes. And if the United States initiates hostilities, Iran would have a strong incentive to hit back as hard and fast as it can.

My point was in regards to an Israeli strike designed to maneuver the US into war. This posits that 1) the US does not want a war with Iran and 2) the Iranians actually believe point #1. If either if those assumptions are wrong, then so will be my conclusion.

If the US really wants war then any excuse will do. I do not believe that is the case. If, however, Iran seriously threatens the American position in Afghanistan, then the US is certain to respond. OTOH, if Iran keeps it's ability to kick the hornets nest as a threat in being, then the us will have a keen interest in deescalation. In other words, Iran would create a situation where American and Iranian interests coincide, and where Israel would be the odd man out.

Then there is the fact that a minimalist response looks weak. True. But Syria didn't respond at all to an Israeli attack in 2007. Iran can up the ante just a hair by firing a few rockets at an Israeli airbase. That will be good enough.

And while I have nothing to back this up, I can see Iran raising the heat simply by offering to rejoin the NPT if and when Israel does. If Iran follows this strategy, it would be placing the entire political burden of escalation squarely on their opponents' shoulders.

None of us, least of all me, know how this would play out or what exactly Iran would do. From an Israeli perspective, they would be foolish if they didn't game out this very scenario.

Mark Logan


Heinlein quote: "Never scare a small man. He'll kill you." Israel has a very bad case of small man disease.

Their fate may rest on whether or not they are aware they are playing a game of chess against a something like a Wookie, only not as smart.

Patrick Lang

Mark Logan

And America is the Wookie, right? pl

Patrick Lang

Mark Logan

The image of the Iranians trying to play chess with the American wookie (but not as smart) is so delicious that I cannot think of anything else. This is ruining my compulsory viewing of "Project Runway." pl


In chess one sacrifices pawns readily. I expect the current Israeli government thinks that's what we are. Hopefully Obama doesn't think the same of Pakistan, which has nuclear weapons, and who's government wouldn't survive a US war with Iran.

BTW didn't Gwynne Dwyer do a series entitled 'WAR' in the '80s?


I thought it was a good idea to let the Wookie win, lest he be tearing your arms off.

Roy G

I have thought about this scenario before--it's intriguing, but as others have already noted, it would be a huge stretch to pull off. Too bad, because that's their best option, imo. What this scenario really points to is the need for the US to STFO of this no-win situation.

Regarding other actors, I wouldn't be so quick to assume that Hizbullah is automatically going to go off if Iran is attacked. They are very disciplined--remember their takeover of West Beirut, and that they held off during the Gaza turkey shoot. Nasrallah is a chess player too.

Medicine Man

I can't help but wonder if folks aren't giving Iran a bit too much credit. With due respect to those here who know more about the ME than I—which is admittedly most everyone here—the Iranians don't strike me as being the grand masters of their situation.

Domestically, they seem mostly concerned with enriching themselves and holding onto power. They don't show much guile in dressing up their motives from either their own people or the international community.

Internationally, they seem to have only two tricks: sick proxies on their foes in the region and engage in the stall-for-time two-step*. They're better at the first than the second but not really clandestine about either.

*ie. Offer to talk about whatever issue is the public reason for cold relations du jour and then have their sockpuppet president say something stupid enough to retard any chance of actually having a dialog. Repeat as needed.

So while I'm duly chastened about the probable consequences of racing into an ill conceived war against Iran, I just don't see a lot of evidence that their leadership are masters of 14-dimensional, judo-chess.


Fred: Yep. Here's the first episode. He and his crew got shot at by Israelis in Lebanon while making it.



Correction, the video I linked to was part 4. Watching it it really makes sense why he got the nickname "Grim Dire".


I doubt Iran would chem Israel. In Israel gas doesn't go so well emotionally, and the response would be excessive - i.e. probably nuclear. The Iranians probably know that.

That said, that is if Iran has chemical weapons at not far from clear. Iirc the Ayatollah's consider chemical weapons unislamic.

Also, Iran ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1997, which is verified though inspections etc. pp. Now of course they could always be accused of lying and cheating, but ...

Clifford Kiracofe

So what is the nature of political reality in the US? Presumably this would give an indication of what might be "rational" for decisionmakers on the matter of peace and war.

1. At least 75% of the US House and Senate are decisively influenced by the pro-Israel Lobby. This is demonstrated by the voting patterns and speeches in debate which are a public record and thus subject to analysis.

2. The WASP "ascendancy" is long since dead, in its grave, and the subject of quaint museums in New England: Sturbridge Village, Mystic Seaport, etc.

3. The present political Establishment is not WASP of either an "isolationist" or "internationalist" inclination. Nor is it some deep conspiracy of Papists or Freemasons.

4. The present US political Establishment is quite evidently and ably represented by AIPAC, for example.

5. What is "rational" for the present political Establishment in the US appears to depend on what it perceives is "good for Israel" and other related transnational concerns.

6. If the present US political Establishment deems it necessary to whack Iran back, it will with or without Israel.

7. As I have often noted before, the Brits and French were only to happy to conspire with Israel in 1956 at Suez. The stratetgy included a "first strike" by poor little Israel (as David) to draw international sympathy against the big bad "Hitler-like" Nasser and those dark and evil "Arabs-Muslims" (Goliath)...

8. I expect the present US political Establishment to simply follow in the Anglo-French-Israeli Suez tradition anent Iran if so inclined.


Col: As you may recall, Hans Solo warned C3PO that Wookies ripped the arms of droids that beat them at chess!

Clifford Kiracofe


The Israelis cannot effectively defend against chemical, IMO. Reaction time, gas mask issue, population density and so on.

Why would Iran need to use nuclear against Israel if chemical would do the trick quite well indeed?

I have no idea whether or not Iran has chemical weapons. But I would think that if they felt that some "existential threat" from Israel was underway they might revise any religious inhibitions and use whatever they might have.

I am somewhat amazed to find comments on this thread to the effect that Iran would "turn the other cheek". Did Hussein, son of Ali, grandson of the prophet, turn the other cheek?

It seems to me with the flood of language and threats from Israel and elswehere, Iranians might begin to feel an "existential threat."

And that raises another issue...what damage level for Iranians would constitute an "existential threat"? Losing say 50,000 people, 100,000, half million or so? With the nuclear weapons "all options on the table" rhetoric how would you calculate if you were in Iran?



Your insight is truly frightening and I am afraid true:

After going through three lines of thunderstorms in one day, the Northwest Passage about to open this year, Pakistan flooded, and Russia in flames; denying human impact on climate is firmly placing one’s head deeply in the sand.

With the economy again in decline, proposing to cut government spending is criminal.

To acquiesce to the bombing of Iran is crazy.



Thanks. Watched some of this earlier today, found Dyers comments, I'm paraphraising here, 'that people without a nation have not power, which the jews have know for centuries and the Palestineans are only now finding out', to be quite appropriate.

The comments by Soviet General Simonyan always stayed with me from seeing this in the '80s. I remember the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Now I'm just more cognizent of what a disaster it has been for them.


I would say that what Isreal can't defend agaisnt is a growing Palestinean population with no home and no future anywhere on earth.


I wonder if this affects Israel's plans:


Clifford Kiracofe


1. Yes the Palestinian demographics are against the Jewish population numbers in Israel over the course of the next 25 years.

At present rates, Palestinian Christians and Muslims will be the majority population leaving the Jews in Israel the minority population.

Jews became the majority population in what was historic (pre-partition) Palestine by about the mid-1940s through mass immigration from Europe.

Present day Zionism demands a "Jewish State"...which is a specific coded phrase. Phrase of art as lawyers would say.

One option to keep a "Jewish State" is to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from Israel...this is the so-called "Transfer" option. They would be thrown out into Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and so on.

IMO this would occur during a major Middle East war scenario. A major war involving Iran might offer such an opportunity for the ethnic cleansers in Israel to implement a "Transfer" policy.

Official US policy supports a "Jewish State" and that phrase of art is often used by members of Congress, Secretaries of State, and Presidents.

I presume that the US would not block a Transfer, particularly if in the context of a regional Middle Eastern war.

2, My point on chemical is that it poses a more serious threat in real terms to Israel than some notional "nuclear" threat down the road from Iran.

Again, why would Iran use nukes against Israel if chemical warfare would kill plenty of people.

The Israelis know very well they cannot defend against chemical warfare...

3. I agree with Col. Lang that war releases demonic forces. And I agree with Brig. Ali that martyrdom is a core element in the Shia psyche. [I have visited the mosque at Kerbala where Hussein, son of Ali, is laid to rest. I have also been up at Masada.]

Mark Logan

"The image of the Iranians trying to play chess with the American wookie (but not as smart) is so delicious that I cannot think of anything else. This is ruining my compulsory viewing of "Project Runway." pl"

The keyboard ruined by "...and this is a change they will believe in." has been avenged!

Yes, I was thinking of America as the Wookie. Contemplated what sort of "chess" players they are and what sort of game they are playing right now and the image sprang to mind. Had to share that one.

But I have much to learn about Iran, and how having a nuke and being at all concerned with the Levant fits into their "key squares" is still something of a mystery to me. The risk/rewards appear simply awful to me.

Cloned Poster

billions squandered on Iraq and Afganistan, more of the same Iran.

Norbert M. Salamon

Interesting take on the Goldman article:



Norbert M. Salamon

The Atlantic is plnning a "PANEL???" discussion on the Goldman article. Appears that the panel is made up of Iraq warmongers. Might be interesting for some of the learned readers here to attempt interruption of further distortions.



Clifford Kiracofe

1. Perhaps we might examine Mr. Goldberg's bio data:

"Goldberg was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Malverne, New York[3] in a socialist home.[4] He attended the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), where he was editor-in-chief of The Daily Pennsylvanian.[5] While at UPenn he worked at the Hillel kitchen serving lunch to students. He left college to move to Israel,[6] where he served in the Israeli Defense Forces as a prison guard during the First Intifada.[7] He later returned to the United States to continue his journalism career, and now lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and three children.[8]"


2. And who owns the Atlantic?

"In 1980, the magazine was acquired by Mortimer Zuckerman, property magnate and founder of Boston Properties, who became its Chairman. On September 27, 1999, ownership of the magazine was transferred from Zuckerman to David G. Bradley, owner of the beltway news-focused National Journal Group. Bradley had promised that no major changes were in store.

In April 2005, however, the publishers announced that the editorial offices would be moved from its long-time home at 77 North Washington St. in Boston to join the company's advertising and circulation divisions in Washington, D.C..[8] Later in August, Bradley told the New York Observer, cost cutting from the move would amount to a minor $200,000–$300,000 and those savings would be swallowed by severance-related spending. The reason, then, was to create a hub in Washington where the top minds from all of Bradley's publications could collaborate under the Atlantic Media Company umbrella. Few of the Boston staff agreed to relocate. Bradley embarked on an open search for a new editorial staff.[9]

Bradley, who has described himself as "a neocon guy" who came to regret his support for the Iraq invasion,[10] hired James Bennet as editor, who had been the Jerusalem bureau chief for The New York Times. He also hired writers including Jeffrey Goldberg and Andrew Sullivan[10]."


Bolton says the Israelis have till Aug 21st to make their attack:


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