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05 February 2012


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Morocco Bama

Exactly, PL. Ironically, another commenter on one of the other threads provided a David Duke link. I say ironically, because we are all aware of who DD is. Who can forget his little trip to Iran for the Holocaust Conference. Ahmadinejad played the bright shiny object well on that one...well, it was more like a clown suit, since it played into the hands of the propaganda machine here in the U.S. Either way, though, the irony is that if Duke were Iranian, and attempted to do what he has done here in the U.S., he'd have been tortured and then murdered by now.....and to further layer some more irony on this cake, DD is okay with that.

It's important to keep our eyes on the ball, and Ahmadinejad is not necessarily the ball, but rather the package the ball came in. The media continually obfuscates the issue by focusing on Ahmadinejad, giving the impression he is symbolically comparable in power and status to the POTUS, and that's simply not true.

Charlie Wilson

Mr Vincent, formerly Graywolf and even more formerly an artist called Prince, is likely edentulous. His bigotry against Obama and those that follow Islam and his saccharine and cloying love of all things Israeli is emblematic of the problems of this great country of ours.

Doug Tunnell

But what I do not see on the accompanying chart is the one institution that I've been led to believe is increasingly Iran's Big Dog : the Revolutionary Guard Corps...

John Kirkman

I regard Israel as a bigger threat to my personal security than Iran. This is based on past personal experience with Iranian officers, trips to Tehran and Tel Aviv, and just watching the operation of the U.S. Congress, which is surely the most corrupt, cowardly incompetent bunch of slime balls to ever saddle the citizens of this country with certain disaster. AIPAC has clearly demonstrated that money buys power among the spineless and dishonorable “leaders” of our country. As a former military aviator and a past pilot with Pan Am it was my unfortunate lot to witness first-hand the result of incompetence in leadership positions, in and out of combat.
The military power of Israel is a creation of the United States, and if there is a war between the Persians and the Israeli’s, I hope the Persians kick their ass. Not only did we murder their president, have the US Navy shoot down one of their airliners - which led directly to the tragedy over Scotland which killed my union president who was in command of that aircraft – but we have supplied Israel with nuclear and other weapons to murder the Iranians and any other victim of the month chosen by the savages from Tel Aviv. We have created a monster that is about to turn on us, and we so deserve it for electing the most graceless bunch of scum balls to leadership positions in the history of our country.


Adam (and others), you may find this useful:

Thaler, D.E. et.al (2010). Mullahs, Guards, and Bonyads: An Exploration of Iranian Leadership Dynamics. RAND Corporation.

It's available for download, feee, from: here


It is very interesting to the those of us that have not served in the Armed Services -or elsewhere -to try to at least keep up with current events . To we semi informed civilans here in the 'cheap seats ' - this looks and feels almost exactly like the same trajectory we wore on before we went to Iraq . Except maybe we have a President that is trying to resist the neo cons -and the neo liberals- that would drag us into another misbegotten war. Again it looks & feels like from the cheap seats-- that so far President Obama may be winning the argument and keeping in check the blood lust for an 'excellent Persian adventure "
But what is very worrisome is how much political capital this young President will actually have to deploy against the neo cons. Moreover will the millions of dollars that casino owner and BiBi confidant -Adelstein is putting into Newts super pac , and now is reported that he would also support Romney the same way in the general election.
My question - from the cheap seats - is there enough of us opposed to the coming war with Iran to stop it .( As a moderate Republican - I really wish we had leaders like Poppy Bush & Sen Hagel in charge. )


For me the most important conclusion of the Iran NIE is that the US intelligence community agrees unanimously that the Iranian leadership is composed of RATIONAL ACTORS.

However, the Iranian leadership has been reported to question whether the US leadership is capable of acting in a rational way.

Given the power of certain foreign, special interests over US decision making, I have deep concerns about what the US can act in its own national interest.

FB Ali

So Mr. Vincent's concerns are well merited....

Frankly, I don't understand what Adam Silverman is getting at. The discussion on the other thread related to the possibility (likelihood?) of an Israeli attack on Iran. Almost all those who posted comments were alarmed at the likelihood of this dragging the US into the war -- another war in the Middle East -- and expressed concern at how the Israeli leadership was suborning the US policy-making process to suit its agenda.

Such concerns about, and exasperation with, the Israeli leadership is fully justified in the context of that discussion.

What has all this got to do with the Iranian leadership? Why do "we need to pay attention to Iran's leadership" in this matter? Iran is not threatening to bomb Israel or the US, or drag the US into a war.

I agree that people generally need to understand how the Iranian government functions, but that was not what Tim Vincent said. Why peg your post on his rather childish tit-for-tat response?


I concur. Iranian leadership should not be the focus, whereas the errant misconceived Israeli inspired Iran war that drags U.S. into it should be the focus.


At a minimum, it might be nice to have a general idea how much control senior leadership has over "Iranian hotheads". (Prior experience and the shifting, situational nature of power would seem to indicate it's less than complete.)

Adam L Silverman

Mr. Tunnell,

It falls under the military. It is (supposed to be) under the control of the clerics.

Adam L Silverman

Brigadier Ali and J,

I am not disputing that Israeli behavior is a huge problem here. I am stating that regardless or aside from that we would be well served to try to achieve a better understanding of Iran's leadership, it's strategic cultures, and it's decision making. They do have the ability to close the Straits, which would be catastrophic for the global economy. They are much more regionally powerful since our adventure in Iraq. If we want to really ensure that military options are only a last resort, then actually understanding who and what we're dealing with is a good immunization against getting dragged into something by the current Israeli leadership.


How come our "leaders" don't seem to consult genuine experts (without foreign interests) in making decisions. I fear they are all programmed. Actually, perhaps we should institute some form of procedural requirements for leadership to reveal who they consulted in key decisions, especially those involving commitment of military forces which could result in serious casualties and economic chaos. Actually, the Iraq affair should still be investigated in this manner to set the example and cause leadership to take their responsibilities more seriously.

FB Ali

As is reasonably well-known, and as Adam has reiterated, the top authority in Iran is the Supreme Religious Authority and not the President. In this situation, the operative aspect is that the Revolutionary Guard Corps comes under the Ayatollah. However, the latter is not well-versed in issues of military strategy etc, and is likely to depend heavily on the RGC top command's advice.

I do not know how prudent or 'strategic' they might be under an attack. The trouble with people who are deeply religious is that they tend to delude themselves that (a) God is on their side, and (b) that martyrdom is a sure way into Paradise.

The consequences of such beliefs usually is a lot of 'martyrdom' all around, including friend and foe.


The org chart wire diagram is well known. Actual practice at any given point in time is not. Iran does not function as a nice, predictable unitary state.


I wrote this philosophy for affairs of state piece a few years ago when I was looking for jobs. I think it describes how our leaders both should and should not act and that we need to somehow include this in a civics course in our school systems nationwide.

Generally, relationships should be governed as George Washington noted in his Farewell Address: “...nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded, and that in place of them just and amicable feelings toward all should be cultivated.” That having been said, we must also heed, with thoughtful moderation, Theodore Roosevelt’s approach to “speak softly and carry a big stick”. However, we should seek to set the example, not attempt to force it on others, and we should understand that, while technology has advanced exponentially in recent decades, human affairs have not kept pace, and it is ultimately our handling of human affairs that will more likely “make or break us”. We need to base decisions on a thorough assessment of facts, not ideological preferences or preconceived notions, and we need to exercise the mechanisms within our established system of decision making, not circumvent them. As for our own internal human affairs, we need to reassess the role of civics in our educational system to include emphasis on the duality of civil-military affairs and a leadership environment that encourages willingness to question rather than merely accommodate crucial decisions.


The bazaars of Iran have a lot to do with who runs the country. It's a unique place and an org chart is insufficient

Doug Tunnell

Thank you, but to what degree is it believed that the IRGC has morphed into a power center independent of oversight and on par with the President and Supreme Leader ?

William R. Cumming

Just out of curiosity what is the last aggressive or preemptive war launched by Iran since its creation as a modern nation-state if that is what it is today?

Post MONGOL invasions, what is best open source book on Iranian foreign affairs? Who are these people really?


Re: the military options for 'dealing with Iran's alleged nuclear program:

There are some lessons that the Israelis apparently did not learn, not then and not now. Here's from an School of Advanced Airpower Studies grad student paper, titled "Falcons against the Jihad" [PDF]:

Key Lessons

Clifford Wright would observe in an article published in the Journal of Palestine Studies: "The fact that a state-organized military apparatus of massive proportions waged war against a non-state guerrilla group was, as one American analyst put it, like 'the Wehrmacht against the Apaches'."2 The irony of this observation is that the Palestinian and Shi'ite "Apaches" won.

With no air force, no navy, and no mobile armor to support them, Palestinian and Lebanese fighters were successful in forcing one of the world's largest military powers to bend to their will. There is a valuable lesson in this for American policymakers who seem ever willing to use American airpower to deal with similar situations. Simply stated, that lesson is: Technology and size does not guarantee "coercive" victories.

Even though the Israelis possessed the most advanced aircraft in the world, capable of delivering an impressive array of technologically advanced weapons, these advantages meant little when it came to coercing the Palestinians and the Shi'ites. This was because Israeli strategy was based on the assumption that air strikes could inflict such pain on the target organizations that they would give in to Israeli demands rather than suffer at the hands of Israeli airmen. What the Israelis did not count on was the fact that the PLO and Shi'ites were already paying tremendous costs, and precision guided munitions and iron bombs could not add to these costs in any significant manner. In fact, as stated in chapter 3, even if all 28 air strikes had been directed at the Shi'ites (who were causing most of the damage against the IDF) it probably wouldn't have changed the outcome.

One factor which clouded Israeli thinking was an over reliance on technology. This was identified by one Israeli analyst, who conceded ". . . the tendency of the (Israel Defense Force) IDF to concentrate on technological solutions, at the expense of tactical originality that constituted its traditional forte, led to a relative decline in the quality of its performance against the Arabs."3 This is an important lesson for the United States — a country which currently possesses the most technologically advanced air force in the world, and appears ever willing to use it to make recalcitrant nonstate actors conform to internationally established codes of behavior. Our experiences in Somalia and Bosnia appear to reinforce the IAF "lessons" from Lebanon — that massive technological advantages do not translate into coercive victory.

Given that many experts believe we will face more, not less, of these situations in the future, US policymakers must understand that the ability to destroy targets with surgical accuracy does not automatically translate into the ability to inflict "significant pain" on an adversary. We must be selective in choosing where we employ our "shrinking" air forces, or risk squandering the few advantages we enjoy. The bottom line is that "high-tech aircraft and weapons" can never substitute for sound thinking and clear judgment.Recently, it seems as if the success airpower enjoyed in the Gulf War, and the feeling that "we have the technology so we must use it," have clouded our judgment about where we want to commit our air forces, and what they can do for us once they get there. Giving in to these urges, without first establishing a clearly defined strategy, is a recipe for disaster which allows "the Apaches" to win every time.

Emphases mine. It is hard not to concur with that assessment. As 'Cast Lead' indicates, the Israeli strategy is still based on the assumption that air strikes do inflict such pain on the target organizations that they would give in to Israeli demands. It didn't work in Lebanon then, it didn't work in Lebanon in 2006 and it didn't work during 'Cast Lead' in 2008.

Well, obviously it is time to try the same approach against Iran!


In the context of AIPAC ,and Adelstein the Supreme Courts Citizens United decision is now a strategic fulcrum that could very well be used to start a shooting war with Iran . How is one man's Millions of Dollars used to foment false realities by his Neo Con Sock Puppet Newt really 'free speech ' & not agitprop ? Makes me long for Senator McCain version 2000 - when we are all talking about money polluting our politics. And for those who remember -many of us said if we must have a Son of Bush - please run Jeb he was the smart one . IMO opinion Romney will just be another neocon Sock Puppet - Mitt has already said he would make Mr John Bolton his Secretary of State .


Wanted to correct the spelling its Mr Adelson that is the SuperPac billionaire for the American Likud . Huffpost is reporting that he attended the Koch brothers confab recently where he and others pledged one hundred million dollars in SuperPac money to defeat President Obama. Now I am not necessarily a President Obama fan - but at least this President appears willing to puch back against the American Likud .What I don't understand is why the Board of Directors of these different companies allow this much money to go to Super Pacs ?

Morocco Bama

Yes, we need a man of John McCain's character right about now. Take a look at this and tell me if he's not perfect for the job.


João Carlos

Strangelly, maybe the iranian religious leaders be the most rational actors at all this mess. More rational than a lot of republican candidates certainlly.

John Stack

If IRAN attacks ISRAEL the USA et al will attack it, remove all its heavy weapons and have regieme change.
If ISRAEL attacks IRAN the USA et al will attack it, remove all its heavy weapons and have regieme change.
If you spot the problem with this - you spot the problem.

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