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22 February 2012

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John Howley

Reluctantly I concur with your "greater than 50 percent" assessment, based on a political analysis.

Bush's popular support has shrunken to his 25-30 percent base. These folks are attached to Dear Leader via the irrational modalities of authoritarian psychology. They support his "on 'tll victory" rhetoric.

If Bush were to adopt a more reasonable posture by falling into the arms of the Baker-Hamilton crowd, then he would cut himself off from even his shrunken base and gain no supporters nearly so loyal.

Bush is smart enough to know that Baker-Hamilton and the rest of the establishment now view him with total contempt and just want him to go away.

Without his loyalist base who are chanting "Surrender monkeys!" at Baker-Hamilton, Bush is nothing.

Will the Establishment sit idly by while Bush shoves all of our national chips out onto the pokwer table on more time?


Babak Makkinejad

This reminds me of the following stroy:

A fellow goes hunting. He sees a grizzly bear, aims, shoots, and misses. The grizzly runs after him, grabs him, fucks him in the butt, and lets him go.
The guy is mad. He goes home, grabs a machine gun, and goes looking for the grizzly. He finds the grizzly, aims, fires, and misses again. The grizzly runs after him, grabs him, and fucks him the butt again and then lets him go.
Now the guy is really mad, He goes home, grabs a rocket launcher, and resumes hunting the grizzly. He find the bear, aims, shoots, and misses again.
The grizzly runs after him, grabs him, looks him in the eye and says: “This ain’t about hunting, is it?”

This is not about the Iranian nuclear capability the power to undo which does not exist.

clio

Babek,

I'm still laughing. After that post I need to. Explains Bush more clearly and succinctly than anything else I've read.
Now I just have to make it church-worthy...

arbogast

Your article begins with a blood-curdling assessment of Iran's nuclear capabilities.

I would say that assessment would have more weight in the public mind than what follows, rational and accurate though it may be.

Additionally, it is frankly inconceivable to me that the Iranians have not made their nuclear program holographic, that is, able to be reconstructed out of fragments of the original. If that is the case, then any attack will be followed by resumed nuclear activity by Iran.

And, thus, we are left with the Iraqi dilemma. Do we want to undertake another colonial war in the Middle East?

Well, we can't, as you point out.

So, it's going to be diplomacy.

And, I would add, that the Reagan myth is what has gotten us into this mess. People actually believe that Reagan defeated the Soviet Union and somehow transformed the world. He didn't, and it isn't. We are still one power among many.

chimneyswift

ROFLMAO. Now that's funny, Babak.

There's no question any longer that the White House policy makers aren't looking at the same world the rest of us are. If they really decide to go on the offensive with Iran I just can't see anyone sticking with them. It may even force the Dems to go for impeachment (which I don't think they want to do) and furthermore force the establishment to go along with it.

You know, in my mind, this just becomes more and more about Iran-Contra, and the fact that so many people learned that they would not be punished no matter how blatantly they lied, no matter what sort of grossly unethical things they took part in/orchestrated/facilitated (eg death squads, coke smuggling, arms embargo breaking, etc...).

When I look down the list and see so many of the same names, the current mess just seems so preventable.

dan of steele

today I completed my 52nd orbit around the sun and one thing I have picked up while being on this satellite is a giant dose of scepticism.

when I hear phrases such as His determination to unseat the present Iranian government in favor of one that he finds more "modern," humane, and democratic seems to remain undiminished. and He, and his "team" apparently remain convinced that the Iranian masses are a "captive people," awaiting the call to revolution, westernization and globalization. I ask myself, what does this really mean?

Obviously he and all the others who actually make policy in the US don't believe that. If they really do than I can only surmise that they are total morons.

If it is something they say to put the masses at ease while they plunder and pillage (as I suspect) then my question is what is to be gained?

Is it possible that the oil in Iran is worth so much as to justify a trillion or so dollars from the treasury? And if the money is not there which appears to be the case in light of a multi trillion dollar debt, are they borrowing money from China in an attempt to control oil that China needs worse than we do?

any way you look at it, it seems like a rather flawed plan.

W. Patrick Lang

Helios (Dan)

Glad to hear that Times Winged Chariot is carrying you along so well. I would like to get off or at least have the damned thing slow up.

You, my friend, like so many who write to me, are far too willing to attribute basic cognitive skills to world leaders and shakers. pl

Frank Durkee

My sense is that the present leaders are captives of their rhetoric, their anaytic modalities, and their conclusions. To support this you build a supportsystem among those who advise that rewards those who go along and hurts thos who do not. the simple inertia of such an arrangement combined with the personal characteristics that created it and only 2 years left makes change very difficult , if not out of the question. The cost of admission of error is probably too great to be bourne. Especially when there is the internal and external system operating against it.
When I look at this from my organizational development experience [ some years back ] I' at a loss to understand why we haven't fired a whole slew of leaders in a number of high level posts. However you crunch this has been a very costly exeercise, if we succeed, and much worse if we don't.
If it appears that some sort of Iraanian adventure is moving toward operational status we will need more than impeachment, we will need nation wide citizen action of massive proportions.

canuck

Leave the Iranians to their own fate. There is a growing movement that ignores the Mullahs and just goes about the business of earning their living and looking after the family's they produce. There is nothing different about Iranians, Chinese and North Americans who need to put food on the table, and a roof over their heads. Big deal, so Iranians are of a different religion. Who cares? There are many religions in the world. Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Juda, and Animists to name the six most popular.

India, Pakistan, North Korea, Japan, France, Britain, Israel and several other nations have nuclear power. And undoubtedly, more countries will aspire to have nuclear weapons because it insures countries that have them will not attack them. The proliferation of nuclear weapons was a mistake that America made and they'll just have to learn to how to live with the error they made.

pbrownlee

They ARE total morons -- and lacking in social skills, physical agility, empathy, personal courage, sympathy, irony, modesty and any trace of humility.

Industrialisation and globalisation (and 9/11 and a supine media) have permitted the egregious errors of such unfortunates to have far greater consequences than were possible hitherto. It's what checks and balances were supposed to deal with -- when there were checks and balances.

Government by inept narcissists is a worldwide phenomenon and of very long duration; those who seek power are usually the least qualified to deal with its consequences so that Plato's guardians would have to be compelled actually to govern. They would not normally be drawn from the wimp, loser or chickenhawk brigades of the John Wayne Division.

Let us not forget the sage
Mencken (Baltimore Evening Sun, 26 July 1920): "The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron".

Any Persian polemics will undoubtedly be designed to save the American people and the world from their own foolhardiness in voting other than the straight Likud ticket.

Soonmyung Hong

Babak:

I heard Iran will hold an election for the Assembly of Experts on Dec. 15.

Are there any emerging political figure?

Babak Makkinejad

Soonmyyung Hong:

I am unaware of it.

I would discount the purely scholarly types and consider only those scholars that have had government experience.

Ayatullah Rafsanjani could be a candidate but I am not sure that he is running. Mr. Khatami and Mr. Rohani also come to mind but they are not Ayatullahs (and they are not candidates).

Matthew

Two humble thoughts: (1) like a wounded animal, a politically injured Bush is more dangerous. It doesn't matter what the objective risks of taking on Iran are, this is all about how he looks. (If it wasn't he would have attended some military funerals. Hasn't. Won't. Like Douglas Haig, I guess he doesn't want his "objectivity" challenged by visitng the front, as it were. (2) Bush can't fathom a Muslim country that can actually say no...and mean it. Even Pakistan bombs its own villages when Washington turns on the heat. Bush is so used to the British toadying up to him, that he just can't accept a world where a 3rd World, oil rich country can opt out of the American Empire. And Iran just gave us the real middle finger by opting out of the dollar for oil transactions. If that idea catches on, we will definitesly feel the pain. I see a perfect storm coming, made up of three smaller squalls (a) Bush needs a "win'; (b) Democrats are so beholden to AIPAC that they will acquience to attacking the "evil" Iranians and many Israeli operatives are already here spreading the news; and (c) without the "war on terror" Bush and Congress have to talk about Social Security. You know they would rather go on hunger strike that touch that 3rd rail. If Bush does go for it, I hope and pray at least a few of our generals resign before, not after, Bush takes us into the abyss.

zanzibar

There's something I don't get.

Can the Decider just order air and missile strikes on any country at his whim and due to the chain of command such strikes would be carried out?

Are any congressional approvals or authorizations or resolutions necessary?

With two-thirds of the American people now opposed to the Iraq "war" and a significant majority believing that invading Iraq was a mistake, would they now be gungho to attack Iran? It seems that what the American people care about is irrelevant. The Decider decides and thats that.

soar

I cannot fathom the hysteria over the Iranians. Come what may, the doctrine of MAD still applies. They know that and so should we (especially Bush, but then he may not). The Israelis have ordered a pair of Boomers from the Germans, and the Iranians know that too. I figure the Iranian leadership are knowingly provoking us, and particularly our irrational & impulsive idiot leader who will take the bait, and unleash a free-for-all in the ME. The iranians are anything if not shrewd.

Curtis Byford

Col. Lang,

What noticable steps could we look for in the run-up to a military strike on Iran? What would make you move the threat-curve from 50% to, say, 60%, or higher?

Curtis

ali

I think it's fairly likely the US will be dragged unwillingly into a land war in Iran. It will make the current unpleasantness seem like a church picnic. But that's few years down the line.

To complete his follies Bush may open that gate of hell. It will be a symbolic demonstration of strength aimed at the 08 US voter rather than anything of practical value for that's all the dithering deciders ever done in Iraq.
The USAF/IAF will bust some bunkers but not break a sweat. Then the Qods force chaps will then cause far more effective Hizbullah style havoc in the Iraqi South in response.

It may happen anyway as Iraq implodes. I'd worry more about that imminent threat than the rinky dink Iranian nuclear program.

MarcLord

Dick Durbin's account of Bush's latest take on Iraq in front of the Dims, in Mclatchy article Democrats Frustrated By Bush Response to ISG Report:

'Bush began his talk by comparing himself to President Harry S Truman, who launched the Truman Doctrine to fight communism, got bogged down in the Korean War and left office unpopular.

Bush said that "in years to come they realized he was right and then his doctrine became the standard for America," recalled Senate Majority Whip-elect Richard Durbin, D-Ill. "He's trying to position himself in history and to justify those who continue to stand by him, saying sometimes if you're right you're unpopular, and be prepared for criticism."

Durbin said he challenged Bush's analogy, reminding him that Truman had the NATO alliance behind him and negotiated with his enemies at the United Nations. Durbin said that's what the Iraq Study Group is recommending that Bush do now — work more with allies and negotiate with adversaries on Iraq.

Bush, Durbin said, "reacted very strongly. He got very animated in his response" and emphasized that he is "the commander in chief."'

http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/16198013.htm

robt willmann

The propaganda campaign to acclimate the public for a military attack on Iran started to intensify at the beginning of this year (2006).

Part of the technique is what was used on Serbia/Yugoslavia before that illegal war and on Iraq: you make them an offer they have to refuse. Then you say they are not cooperating, and that you have tried, but the military option is the last one left, and it is ``their fault'' that we have to attack.

Remember that ``proposal'' to Milosovic that included the right of outside countries to put tanks and other military material anywhere in Yugoslavia and not just in Kosovo? Even an insane person would not have agreed to that, and Milosovic was far from being nuts.

The same scam is being run on Iran. The hook is the absolutely illegal and unauthorized ``resolution'' pushed through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that
Iran ``must'' do various things that under the NPT it does not have to do. Neither the IAEA nor the U.N. can unilaterally make changes to the NPT signed by Iran, the U.S., and many other countries. But of course ``Bonkers'' Bolton, Condi Rice, Robert Gates, and the broadcast and print media do not tell you that.

I have taken a little time to read the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and a couple of the resolutions of the IAEA.

In none of the news articles, radio and television reports (although I see little TV), or radio talk show programs, have I seen or heard the language of the NPT quoted. And we are not going to.

Because it says this---

``Article 4: Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.''

Article I says that nuclear weapon States will not transfer nuclear weapons to a non-weapon State or help it make one, and Article II says
that the non-weapon States will not receive the transfer of nuclear weapons or help in
making one.

Article III says that the non-weapon States will work up a safeguards agreement with the IAEA to verify that it is using nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Iran did
that, and has been inspected.

The NPT was signed on July 1, 1968, in London, Moscow, and Washington.

The law (the treaty) says that
Iran can enrich uranium 24 hours a day if it wants to, without interference or sanction,and does not have to change any terms of the NPT or its safeguards agreement if it does not want to.

Remember the voluntary ``confidence-building''
measures that Iran agreed to on November 15, 2004, with Britain, France, Germany, and the EU (although the EU is not yet, thank God, a country)? What does that agreement say?
You have not and will not see it quoted, either.

It says, in part---

``The E3/EU recognise Iran's rights under the NPT
exercised in conformity with its obligations under the Treaty, without discrimination.''

And--

``The E3/EU recognize that this suspension is a
voluntary confidence building measure and not a legal obligation.''

What have the negotiations over the last year with the E3/EU been about? Let's let the language of the Nov. 2004 agreement say it---

``. . . have agreed to begin negotiations, with
a view to reaching a mutually acceptable agreement on long term arrangements. The agreement will provide objective guarantees that Iran's nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes. It will equally provide firm guarantees on nuclear, technological and economic cooperation and
firm commitments on security issues.''

That sounds like a nice goal. Have we heard or read what was proposed over the last year in
all these areas? No. And we will not.

I heard a rumor that the reason the IAEA passed its illegal resolution demanding that Iran stop doing what the IAEA knows it has a right to do was that the resolution was the price the U.S. extracted in exchange for ElBaradai
being reappointed to another term as head of the IAEA.

But trying to set Iran up for a fall is proving tougher than it was for Yugoslavia and Iraq. Russia, China, and perhaps some others have caught on to the technique I described above (making the target an offer it has to refuse), which technique is coupled with cleverly worded U.N. resolutions that either contain vague language (``serious consequences'' in the case of Iraq), or multiple provisions loaded in one party's favor, as in the U.N. resolution establishing a cease-fire after the Israel-Hizbullah conflict.
Russia and China have insisted on limiting language in any U.N. statements about Iran and its nuclear program, so that the language cannot be interpreted as authorizing the use of force.

So what are the promoters of the U.S. gangster foreign policy going to do now to create fervor for an attack on Iran? The options are dwindling. Senator Robert Byrd asked Robert Gates at his
sickeningly scripted confirmation hearing whether the existing Congressional resolutions about Afghanistan and Iraq could be used to justify attacking Iran.

Because the Iraq tragedy is sinking into obscenity, and there is some Congressional awareness that Iran cannot be attacked without a new resolution, I fear either (1) an attack by Israel on Iran,
agreed to by the U.S., to try to sucker-punch Iran into attacking Israel, which could then try to be used to leverage a U.S. attack on Iran, or (2) a false flag, large scale act of violence that will (falsely) try to pin the act on Iran. These two are the most likely to intimidate Congress into authorizing an attack on Iran.
Or perhaps to be an excuse to attack Iran without a decision from Congress first.

Are the policy-making people in the White House and their supporters on the outside capable of such deceit and destruction?

Look what has happened regarding Iraq before and after our invasion of it.

The answer is yes.

Leila

Oh wow. That bear story... and I thought I had said "damn" too often in a previous post. I even went back and put asterisks in so I wouldn't be cussin' up a storm. Col. Lang is a Virginia gentleman and I didn't want to swear too much in his presence. Oh well.

cynic librarian

Pres. Bush is a dangerous man at this moment. While his lackeys may try to salve his pride with the idea that he's Truman, the only give em hell that George has left is the last sick gasp of a fool running from the derision of history.

Let's hope George listens to his toadies, for if he doesn't then I fear that Mr. Lang is right--we are looking at a man who wants desperately to mean something in the world and to do so he just might take us all with him as he jumps off the next cliff. The drug of power may have just put the type of delusion in this man's mind that LSD used to evoke.

There's something sinister in looking at the video of George sitting next to James Baker as Baker reels off the mistakes that little George has made. You can actually see George shrinking in his skin as the living ghost of his father looms before his eyes and reprimands him for having done something stupid.

But there's even more than this, I fear, lurking in George's shriveling spirit. There's the look of nishilstic fury that a man who believes that heaven is nigh gets when his God has let him down. As that world-shattering vision fades before his eyes and the fatal brutality of the hells he has spawned in his fanatical belief in apocalypse rises up like so many hundreds of thousands of terrorized children there is truly the fear that a sucicidal mania will grip his weak mind.

God save the republic. And may those who believed in this man and brought him to power find themselves rooting for salvation in the ruins they have made of a once great country.

dan

I'm somewhat skeptical about the odds being quoted here. Frankly, I've always thought that an attack on Iran was a long-shot in the first place, and the post-2003 trajectory has lengthened these odds even further.

Given that Gates, in his confirmation hearing, expressed the opinion that attacking ( ie going to war with ) Iran was not an option, and that the current AUMF did not permit it anyway, it seems to me that there are some significant bureaucratic obstacles for those who would go down this route.

I get the impression that with just 2 years of his presidency to go, a politically-weakened Bush will be utterly consumed with the task of trying to keep his current no-exit Iraq policy runnning; this will leave little scope for additional military action.

jamzo

let's review the major initiativees bush has undertaken

get al queda for 9-11

destroy the axis of evil (iraq-iran-n.korea)

make iraq democratic

overturn chavez

overturn the syrian government

peace between israel and palestine

no child left behid

post katrina rebuilding of gulf coast
privatize social security

get a mexican guest worker program

institutionalize the republican party as the dominant political party

get elected

get re-elected

Nancy

What would happen if Iran had all of it's nuclear facilities within it's oil fields. What would we do then? Does Israel really have that much power in the US? Various writers have stated AIPAC controls the Democratic party, I thought it was the neocons who were the zionists. It is a bit confusing. Oh the tangled web we weave.

Got A Watch

Soar - from various media reports, Israel now has 5 Dolphin-class ICBM submarines, all paid for by German taxpayers, and armed with American supplied long-range missiles of varying types. The 2 you refer to are in addition to the 3 now in service.

I have argued this point (in vain) before: the Iranians may be crazy like a fox, but they are not stupid - the principle of MAD has been discussed in Tehran, I am sure. Those who contiue to claim that Iran wants to nuke Israel ASAP willfully ignore the fact that this attack would be a quick form of national suicide. These are the same wily Iranians who can clone major weapons systems from other countries and domestically manufacture them in large numbers, but they are too stupid to realise Israel has nukes and will use them. Go figure - sounds like classic "neo-con anti-logic" to me.

Never under-estimate the anger of people who have been judged incompetent by actual events. When their carefully constructed fantasy world is torn down, they have nothing left but retribution against everyone who "wronged" them in the past by failing to support their idiotic military/political adventurism. The "special swagger" has gone, leaving only the bitter tase of total defeat and historical irrelevance. Not that any of these factors would stop them from "rolling the dice" one more time.

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