Iran: Is the Media Ready to Supply the War?

Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi thinks he's seeing deja vu all over again in the way the Iranian threat is being spun. Some details:

As a journalist, there’s a buzz you can detect once the normal restraints in your business have been loosened, a smell of fresh chum in the waters, urging us down the road to war. Many years removed from the Iraq disaster, that smell is back, this time with Iran.

You can just feel it: many of the same newspapers and TV stations we saw leading the charge in the Bush years have gone back to the attic and are dusting off their war pom-poms....

The news “hook” in most all of these stories is that intelligence reports reveal Iran is “willing” to attack us or go to war – but then there’s usually an asterisk next to the headline, and when you follow the asterisk, it reads something like, “In the event that we attack Iran first.”

An NBC report [Salon's Glenn] Greenwald also wrote about put it this way: “Within just the past few days, Iranian leaders have threatened that if attacked, they would launch those missiles at U.S. targets.”

There’s a weird set of internalized assumptions that media members bring to stories like this Iran business. In fact there’s an elaborate belief system we press people adhere to, about how a foreign country may behave toward the U.S., and how it may not behave....

We have a....gentleman’s code, a “Westernized industrial power” code if you will, that operates the same way. In other words, our newspapers and TV stations may blather on a thousand times a day about attacking Iran and bombing its people, but if even one Iranian talks about fighting back, he is being “aggressive” and “threatening”; we can impose sanctions on anyone, but if the sanctioned country embargoes oil shipments to Europe in response, it’s being “belligerent,” and so on....

now the public openly embraces circular thinking like, “Any country that squawks when we threaten to bomb it is a threat that needs to be wiped out.” Maybe I’m mistaken, but I have to believe that there was a time when ideas like that sounded weird to the American ear. Now they seem to make sense to almost everyone here at home, and that to me is just as a scary as Ahmadinejad.

A specific New York Times story from over the weekend seems to feed into a "We gotta do something about Iran" narrative, pointing out that while many mumble that, well, Israel can take care of Iran if it's really a mortal threat to them (which not all Israeli decisionmakers believe is true, and one former Mossad chief thinks such an attack on Iran would be a terrible idea) by arguing that Israel just doesn't have what it takes to take them out:

 Should Israel decide to launch a strike on Iran, its pilots would have to fly more than 1,000 miles across unfriendly airspace, refuel in the air en route, fight off Iran’s air defenses, attack multiple underground sites simultaneously — and use at least 100 planes.

That is the assessment of American defense officials and military analysts close to the Pentagon, who say that an Israeli attack meant to set back Iran’s nuclear program would be a huge and highly complex operation. They describe it as far different from Israel’s “surgical” strikes on a nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007 and Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981.

“All the pundits who talk about ‘Oh, yeah, bomb Iran,’ it ain’t going to be that easy,” said Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, who retired last year as the Air Force’s top intelligence official and who planned the American air campaigns in 2001 in Afghanistan and in the 1991 Gulf War.

Speculation that Israel might attack Iran has intensified in recent months as tensions between the countries have escalated....

The possible outlines of an Israeli attack have become a source of debate in Washington, where some analysts question whether Israel even has the military capacity to carry it off. One fear is that the United States would be sucked into finishing the job — a task that even with America’s far larger arsenal of aircraft and munitions could still take many weeks, defense analysts said. Another fear is of Iranian retaliation.

“I don’t think you’ll find anyone who’ll say, ‘Here’s how it’s going to be done — handful of planes, over an evening, in and out,’ ” said Andrew R. Hoehn, a former Pentagon official who is now director of the Rand Corporation’s Project Air Force, which does extensive research for the United States Air Force.

Michael V. Hayden, who was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2006 to 2009, said flatly last month that airstrikes capable of seriously setting back Iran’s nuclear program were “beyond the capacity” of Israel, in part because of the distance that attack aircraft would have to travel and the scale of the task.

Still, a top defense official cautioned in an interview last week that “we don’t have perfect visibility” into Israel’s arsenal, let alone its military calculations....

The rest of the story has more on the technical and logisitical difficulties, but to me the political point of this story is more important than those details: that various U.S. military-industrial complex pundits wanted the New York Times to let us know an Iranian war likely can't be just an Israeli thing.

Earlier this month, a Bipartisan Policy Center report by Charles S. Robb, the former Democratic senator from Virginia, and Charles F. Wald, a retired Air Force general, recommended that the Obama administration sell Israel 200 enhanced GBU-31 “bunker busters” as well as three advanced refueling planes.

The two said that they were not advocating an Israeli attack, but that the munitions and aircraft were needed to improve Israel’s credibility as it threatens a strike.

Should the United States get involved — or decide to strike on its own — military analysts said that the Pentagon had the ability to launch big strikes with bombers, stealth aircraft and cruise missiles, followed up by drones that could carry out damage assessments to help direct further strikes. Unlike Israel, the United States has plenty of refueling capability. Bombers could fly from Al Udeid air base in Qatar, Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean or bases in Britain and the United States.

Nonetheless, defense officials say it would still be tough to penetrate Iran’s deepest facilities with existing American bombs and so are enhancing an existing 30,000-pound “Massive Ordnance Penetrator” that was specifically designed for Iran and North Korea.

“There’s only one superpower in the world that can carry this off,” General Deptula said. “Israel’s great on a selective strike here and there.”

Steve Chapman questioned the threat of Iran here at Reason earlier this month.

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  • Media||

    BARACK HUSSEIN OBOMBA

    MMMM MMMM MMMMMMM

  • ||

    Within just the past few days, Iranian leaders have threatened that if attacked, they would launch those missiles at U.S. targets.”

    That means they would hit us in the middle east. I don't think they have a missile that could reach the US. But if they do, they might want to think about it. If they ever hit an American city and caused significant civilian damage, they might find that two can bomb cities. I really would not want to see what this country would do if it were sufficiently angered.

  • Joe M||

    I really would not want to see what this country would do if it were sufficiently angered.

    And I think that's how most countries feel too! That's why we shouldn't be mucking about internationally and stirring shit up.

  • Sparky||

    And then we could claim self-defense after they attacked us in self-defense.

  • tarran||

    My fear is that the Iranian government has a large faction that wants revenge for all the people who were murdered or injured at the direction of the U.S. by the Shah, with the support of the U.S. by Saddam Hussein and by the low level terrorist bombing campaign that is thought to be a CIA opp in the past few years.

    I suspect that these guys are thinking that the U.S. wants a war no matter what they do (the way Bush spurned their offers to ally with the U.S. against Al Queda destroyed the accomodationists politically). And, they know they will lose, but they thing that if they go down fighting and let the Americans know they've been in a fight, it's better than nothing.

    One of the major problems with the hostility U.S. citizens get from varous parts of the world is that peole believe the U.S. foreign policy is a reflection of the will of the American people and don't understands that the U.S. government lies and propagandizes the American people far more than any other group it attempts to influence.

    The policy is created by civil servants pushing and shoving within the state dept, the pentago, the CIA, and a lesser number of alphabet soup agencies. They issue propaganda that creates a narrative for the American street to believe, and then the U.S. electorate then accepts the political candidates that stick to the various narratives being peddled by the factions.

    I had a Morrocan friend in grad school that just couldn't get this... It was scary how often I had to remind her that the only thing Americans knew about Afghanistan or North Africa was what the government told the media in press conferences.

  • Sparky||

    within the state dept, the pentago, the CIA, and a lesser number of alphabet soup agencies

    I like it, it sounds way more sinister than The Pentagon.

  • ||

    It reminds me of the Pentavirate.

  • Sparky||

    Maybe it's under new management now that Colonel Sanders is gone.

  • ||

    Gone? You poor, naïve fool!

  • Sparky||

    Not gone??? But that means...

  • ||

    Have some fried chicken, Sparky.

  • ||

    What's the matter, Colonel Sanders? Chicken?

  • ||

    I'd be careful quoting that scene. The Pentavirate punished Brooks by not allowing him to have another hit film. Out of sentiment held by the Queen, the Colonel relented to the extent of allowing a hit, rehash play.

  • ||

    I suspect they really don't give a shit about what happened under the Shah. Their problem is they have managed to completely fuck up the country and are now hated by their own people. Their biggest fear is a revolution that will result in their deaths.

    Their second biggest problem is that if they really crush their own people and do what it takes to stay in power, the world will respond with real sanctions and their own army will turn against them and they will be doomed.

    So what do they do? Build nuclear weapons and then the world won't confront them for anything they do internally. This will allow them to fully come down on the resistance and stay in power and alive.

    The danger is that they will be backed into a corner where they don't yet have nukes, and the world finally puts enough pressure on them that they are losing control. At that point, they might gamble on starting a war hoping they can hold off the US long enough to get patriotic and nationalistic fervor to keep them alive.

    Sorry Terran but them wanting revenge for the Shah is just stupid. That is not what these people are thinking.

  • wareagle||

    they want to hold onto power and with internal dissent on the rise, the mullahs need to either manufacture an outside enemy or pretend an existing one is threatening attack. They see the masses rising in other places in the ME; they sought in their own back yard some time back in, curiously, the one internal dispute Obama could not bring himself to support.

    They are willing to use crude as a weapon with stopping sales to some Euro countries. They are willing to fund proxies to stir up trouble in Israel and other places.

  • Applederry||

    I suspect they really don't give a shit about what happened under the Shah.

    Curious, do you have any actual reason to suspect this, or is this just what you hope to be the case?

  • ||

    Because that is not how people operate. They are worried about staying in power and staying alive. Do they hate the United States? Sure. But they hate the Saudis and the Israelis and everyone who doesn't by into their whacked out version Islam just as much or more in some cases.

    You guys think the whole world revolves around the US. And it doesn't. We are just not that omnipotent.

  • Sparky||

    We are just not that omnipotent.

    John, on the other hand, is.

  • Applederry||

    My mistake, I thought you were referring to the average Iranian. I agree the people in power right now probably don't give a shit about it, except how they can exploit our history with them to rally the masses.

  • ||

    The Iranian I meet seem to like us. But they are all refugees who supported the Shah. I think after what has happened in the last 30 years, the average Iranian just wants the Mullahs to go away.

  • Mo||

    People still hold grudges about the Civil War, which was much longer ago than the Shah.

  • cavalier973||

    I laugh and dance whenever I remember that Sherman is writhing in hell right now.

  • Cytotoxic||

    My fear is that the Iranian government has a large faction that wants revenge for all the people who were murdered or injured at the direction of the U.S. by the Shah,

    But the facts are that these people are motivated by religious fanaticism as they demonstrate over and over again. In any event, historical guilt-tripping is no basis for foreign policy.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Not repeating mistakes is a good basis, however.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The mistake has been to allow the Islamic Republic to exist.

  • Wargazm||

    I have such a huge warboner.

  • Fluffy||

    I think it's entirely possible that the Iranians started out wanting a fairly modest nuclear power program for energy diversification and as a domestic make-work program for university graduates...and then Iran's enemies freaked out and said, "We're not going to let you have such a program."

    Petty third-world nationalism being what it is, as soon as they happened they overwhelmingly invested in the idea of not backing down. So much so that now they can't back down. And they've poored so many resources into their efforts that now they probably are suffering from sunk cost emotionalism (the same way we did in Iraq).

    We do plenty of not-strictly-rational things as soon as national pride is brought into question even a little bit.

    If space aliens appeared and demanded we dismantle our nuclear power plants some of us would say, "Wow, getting smoked by aliens would suck. Let's do what they say!" but a great many of us would say, "ROARRRRRRRR these colors don't run fuck you aliens ROAARRRRRR!" I don't doubt that some Persians are the same.

  • ||

    I think it's entirely possible that the Iranians started out wanting a fairly modest nuclear power program for energy diversification and as a domestic make-work program for university graduates...

    What about their government makes you think that is possible? Really? It is not like they were not causing trouble before this.

    Isn't it also possible that they looked at obtaining nuclear weapons as a way to become a regional Super Power and a way to deter the rest of the world for intervening in their internal affairs?

    I don't know that they are building nukes to nuke Israel. They might be. But I don't know. That would be irrational and nuts if they are. And I don't know they are nuts.

    But building them to ensure that they can deal with internal dissent without any fear of international consequences is totally rational. No one cares when China destroys Tibet or North Korea starves millions because confronting either of those countries involves risking nuclear war. In contrast non nuclear countries like Libya and Serbia don't get the same respect.

    That seems a lot more likely a motivation for this than as some jobs program that the evil Americans made then turn into a nuclear program out of spite.

  • Fluffy||

    There's no evidence they have a nuclear arms program.

    All the public evidence says that they started a relatively small nuclear power program - one where they weren't even going to enrich their own fuel - and we said, "No, despite the treaties we signed we don't trust you so we aren't going to let you do that!" and they said, "Fuck you." Every event since then has been another logical escalation by both sides.

    Iran wouldn't even have their own centrifuges if we hadn't said, "We aren't going to let you buy fuel." That seems like a funny way to start a nuclear arms program.

    And you know what? I get why we didn't want Iran to have a nuclear power program. Given the choice between an Iran with such a program and an Iran with one, the former is safer for us and our allies. So it's logical that we wanted things to stay that way.

    But it's eminently predictable that when the US tells a 3rd world power that's outside its orbit that we won't "permit" them to do something, they're going to dig their heels in and try to do it. And that every escalation after that will make it more and more politically impossible for either us OR them to back down.

    If any country made such a demand on the US you would go berserk. Hell, make it something trivial: if some country said, "If the US doesn't sign our new cluster bomb prohibition treaty, we will bomb them," you would demand war by the close of business that day.

  • ||

    But were enriching their own fuel to levels way beyond necessary from the very beginning. Sure, they started small because they didn't yet have the knowhow to go big.

    The whole problem with your theory goes back to the amount of enrichment. There is no reason to enrich to 20% and then build centrifuges to enrich it more unless you want to build a bomb.

  • ||

    Ignorance is not innocence.

    While I don't hold Americans personally responsible for the full blame of our horrid foreign policy in that part of the world, that's a lame fucking excuse. To claim that Americans are victims of "government propaganda" is ludicrous. 95% of Americans have some sort of internet access and have access to gads of different news outlets through other sources. The problem is -- most of us don't give a shit about Afghanis or North Africans as long as we can watch HDTV and have a hamburger when ever we feel like it.

    I'm sorry -- if you're advocating or even sanctioning killing people, you have an obligation to attempt to find out information on the situation. I don't care if it means missing the first 15 minutes of Dancing With the Stars.

  • Tim||

    "I really would not want to see what this country would do if it were sufficiently angered."

    Send in an armored column on the cheap, blow some shit up, topple the government and declare MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Then sit on the capital and deny that the population hates us and wants to kill us. Three years later we have a surge and then...we shoot some dude in Pakistan.

  • ||

    We were not really angry there. Talk to the Japanese and Germans about what it is like when the country actually gets angry.

  • Sparky||

    You honestly think the US would break out the nukes?

  • ||

    We wouldn't have to. I doubt we'd use them even if nuked.

  • Sparky||

    So just a handful of Stark Industries Jericho missiles then?

  • ||

    Depends on who is in office. If it's a Democrat, then we'll bomb anything and everything, pretending like bombing isn't war. If it's a Republican, we'll do some bombing then invade.

    If it's a libertarian, we'll sell them shit and only bomb or invade in the event of a declaration of war, which is some archaic method of indicating displeasure on an international level.

  • ||

    We wouldn't have to. We could just carpet bomb. We could make things very ugly.

  • ||

    Jinx!

  • Sparky||

    AND, we wouldn't have to worry about people getting all angry about the massive civilian casualties.

  • ||

    Are you typing this with one hand, John? Cause there's a certain orgasmic quality to your posts about "America getting angry".

  • ||

    Wars do sell papers. I'm sure the press is tired of talking about economics, which it, by and large, doesn't understand.

  • ||

    Plus, they get to stroke their war boners.

  • Tim||

    Another fuckin President wants to look like FDR. Grab your ankles.

  • BakedPenguin||

    He'll probably try to end the depression by getting us into a world war.

  • wareagle||

    the press does not want to talk about economics because there is no way to spin that makes Obama look good. Anything positive that is occurring has nothing do with him, a case of correlation not equaling causation. War time, however, is different; the nation is loath to change leaders during such time.

  • ||

    Plus the "you don't change horses midstream" argument worked for Bush. Why not for Obama?

  • Joe M||

    “Within just the past few days, Iranian leaders have threatened that if attacked, they would launch those missiles at U.S. targets.”

    I guess the only acceptable thing Iran could say would be, "If attacked, they would bend over and take it with a smile."

  • ||

    An attack on Iran
    1) Won't destroy all of their nuclear capacity or make it impossible to continue. (See Speer's memoir on how effective the massive Allied Strategic Bombing attacks in WWII were.)
    2) Will result in the Iranian dissident movement being crushed.
    3) Will perpetuate Iranian hostility to the West for another 30 years. (Iranians have not forgotten that the West actually helped Saddam Hussein use poison gas against them in the 1980s).
    4) May provoke the general war against Israel that everyone has tried to prevent for the last 30 years.

  • ||

    I'm on record as opposing our continued meddling in the Middle East, as I don't see the point of it, but if we must, we might as well just conquer the whole region and forcibly liberalize it. Beats what we've been doing.

  • Sparky||

    Politics is running so smoothly here at home, just imagine if we had the whole world to work with.

  • ||

    Which is exactly why our foreign adventures will happen on an increasingly frequent basis.

    More domestic troubles + world's most powerful military = Bellirrhea.

  • Sparky||

    You know what this planet really needs to get it together? An good old-fashioned alien invasion. It always works in the movies.

  • ||

    Fighting a power that can project military force on an interstellar basis. . .well, I'm thinking our unity would be rather short-lived.

    Martians, on the other hand. . . .

  • Sparky||

    But we have the common cold, and computer viruses that can interface with any system, and Will Smith.

  • ||

    You know, that was a fucking stupid movie.

  • Sparky||

    Wouldn't that be a great sales pitch for Apple?

    "The new MacBook Pro, so powerful it can interface with an alien mothership."

  • ||

    Only fucking Apple would buy that kind of product placement, knowing that most of its customers are too dumb to realize how improbable such an interface would be.

  • Domtar the Space Alien||

    Earthlings, you are on your own.

  • JEP||

    I am Lrrrr! Ruler of the planet Omicron Persei 8!

  • ||

    we might as well just conquer the whole region and forcibly liberalize it.

    I'll believe the US has the capability of "fixing" the Middle East when we succeed in fixing Detroit.

  • ||

    1. Current bombing is nothing like World War II. So I don't see how Speer's memoir is relevant today. The Israelis certainly prevented Iraq from getting the bomb. So I wouldn't say it was impossible. No way to know really.

    2. If the Iranian dissident movement could be crushed, it would be so now. Why do you think they are not doing it? Out of kindness? Are they holding the dissident movement hostage?

    3. Iran will remain hostile to the West for as long as the Mullahs rule. Nothing we do or do not do will change that. If it is your belief that doing nothing will eventually facilitate a revolution, then make that case. But don't pretend there is anything we could ever do to make the Mullahs anything but the crazy violent fucks that they are.

    4. Why would it provoke a war against Israel? Israel's neighbors are more afraid of Iran than Israel. The Saudis would be doing a happy dance if Israel wiped out Iran's nukes. It wouldn't shock me if Israel and Saudi are working together right now to stop this. The Iranian want to wipe out the Saudis more than they want to wipe out the Israelis.

  • ||

    1) Even the Israelis are not confident they know where all the targets are. Speer's memoir is relevant because he speaks of how he was able to get factories that had actually been hit by bombs back in production in just a few days.

    2) What bombing will do is legitimize the regime in the eyes of the general population. Just as Americans rallied round GWB after 9/11, Iranians would rally round the rejime if their nation were attacked. The dissidents will be crushed not by the regime but by public opinion.

    3) Bombing Iran will legitimize the Mullahs. It will certainly not "facilitate revolution" and will reinforce the unpopularity of the West in the view of the general population. No regime lasts forever, but nothing we can do will push the Mullahs out and bombing Iran will guarantee that whoever succeeds the Mullahs also hates the West.

    4) An attack on Iran would be seen by many in the Middle East as Israeli aggression (which is what it would be). Many of the surrounding regimes could see joining a war against Israel as a means of legitimizing their power.

  • ||

    What I want to understand is why John uses the "1." format and why Aresen uses "1)". I feel this is deeper than American vs. Canadian.

  • ||

    1: Fuck you.
    ii. You're a fag.
    d) BOB SAGET!!

  • Joe M||

    I really have no idea how I only found out about this guy yesterday. I thought my Internet-foo was better than that.

  • ||

    1. Rebuilding Messerschmidt plants is a bit different than rebuilding nuclear plants. If it were that easy, Saddam wouldn't have been so set back.

    2. You don't know that it legitimizes the regime. You just think it does. Perhaps the dissidents would love nothing better than for the world to come in and rid them of the Mullahs. And further, if we sit around and do nothing, the next regime is likely to hate us for allowing the Mullahs to build nukes and be in power so long. Aren't you guys always claiming they hate us because we propped up the Shah? If that is true maybe they will also hate us for coddling and doing business with the Mullahs?

    3. See number 2 above.

    4. The entire middle east is terrified of the Iranians with nukes. You need to understand the Iranians hate the rest of the Arab world. They are Shia. The Shia Suni divide goes back to before 1000AD. And most of the middle east have violent oppressed Shia minorities the governments are terrified of. The Iranian revolution is the Shia revolution. And its target is Saudi not the United States. No way are the rest of the Arab countries going to get in a war to defend the Iranians. That is just fantasy on your part.

  • Bam!||

    "2. You don't know that it legitimizes the regime. You just think it does. Perhaps the dissidents would love nothing better than for the world to come in and rid them of the Mullahs. And further, if we sit around and do nothing, the next regime is likely to hate us for allowing the Mullahs to build nukes and be in power so long. Aren't you guys always claiming they hate us because we propped up the Shah? If that is true maybe they will also hate us for coddling and doing business with the Mullahs?"

    After we invaded Iraq, we were greeted as liberators. Surely the samething will happen in Iran.

  • ||

    Actually we were in large portions of the country. And Iran is not Iraq.

  • tarran||

    2. If the Iranian dissident movement could be crushed, it would be so now. Why do you think they are not doing it? Out of kindness? Are they holding the dissident movement hostage?

    There are numerous people in the Iranian government that want peace with the west and want the more cosmopolitan place Iran used to be prior to the U.S. terrorist campaign in 1954.

    These guys are saying the Iranians should give peace a chance. If the U.S. should attack Iran, a vast majority of Iranians will say that the hyper-aggressive and belligerent U.S. wants war and that the people promoting reconciliations are surrender monkeys.

    3. Iran will remain hostile to the West for as long as the Mullahs rule. Nothing we do or do not do will change that. If it is your belief that doing nothing will eventually facilitate a revolution, then make that case. But don't pretend there is anything we could ever do to make the Mullahs anything but the crazy violent fucks that they are.

    This is incorrect. The Mullahs of Iran are not selected in the way the leaders of the Taliban are selected.

    The process is more akin to taoism where mastery of Shia history, theology, and legal theory gains mullahs recognition as leaders. The legal theory is fairly sophisticated and - for example - is one of the reasons why one can get a sex change operatin in Iran or sell ones kidneys.

    Since there is no central doctrinal authority, the mullahs gain power and followers generally based on their perceived wisdom.

    AS one would expect, the mullahs themselves have a variety of positions on various issues - some guys are pretty medieval - others sometimes sound Jeffersonian.

    The medieval guys get most of their support from the countryside where people are poor, uneducated, and live like their great^3 grandparents.

    The government itself is divided into factions loyal to a handful of leaders that are vying with each other for power. The system is designed to give the mullahs veto authority over everything the govt does, and includes a paramilitary arm to keep the cops and regular military in check.

    The conservatives are generally seen as complete fuckups who are wrecking the economy. They are, however, able to convincingly point to themselves as the defense against a return to American oppression, and the memory of the SAVAK still looms large.

    Like Tulpa advocating a vote for Romney to keep Obama out of office, many Iranians accept the hardliners as a less evil alternative to foreign occupation and oppression.

    The pathetic thing is that there have been so many opportunities for the U.S. govt to ally with Iran.

    They were allies in WW II.

    They were providing material support to the Northern Alliance when it was fighting against the Taliban back when Osama bin Laden was bankrolling them and providing them with a battalion of irregular fighters. They tried to ally with the U.S. when the U.S. began to also back the Northern Alliance.

    Hell, they would have loved to be given a role in the rebuilding of Iraq wich will inevitably be in the Iranian ambit should it have free election.

    Every overture they've made has resulted in a hostile reaction by the U.S. government. Yet factions within the government keep making them.

  • Cytotoxic||

    There are numerous people in the Iranian government that want peace with the west

    MY SIDES!

  • Sparky||

    Holy smokes dude, your comment is longer than that long-ass article.

    Everything you said may be correct, but man tl;dr.

  • ||

    There are numerous people in the Iranian government that want peace with the west and want the more cosmopolitan place Iran used to be prior to the U.S. terrorist campaign in 1954.

    Maybe so. But they are not the ones in power. If they wre, they wouldn't be torturing and killing dissidents. And they wouldn't be cultivating conflict with the West they way they are.

    And there is nothing elected about the Mullahs. Maybe that is the way it is supposed to work. But that is not how these guys roll. We had a green movement several years ago and they shot people in the streets. They didn't seem to concerned about losing the next mullah election.

    It just astounds me that a bunch of Libertarians can think that a totalitarian theocracy are just these groovy people.

  • Fluffy||

    I'll gladly sign on to sanctions to punish the Iranians for being undemocratic and repressive when we apply the same sanctions to the Saudis.

    No oil out, no money in, seize all Saudi property overseas.

    Then come talk to me.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Will result in the Iranian dissident movement being crushed.

    No reason to believe that. Milosevic and Argentina's junta were both overthrown after defeats at western hands. Defeat is not a good rallier.

  • Third Reich||

    I beg to differ.

  • ||

    Milosevic is a good example. People said exactly the same thing then that they are saying now. And it turned out not to be true. It is entirely possible that the people would blame the war on their rulers and it would be the final mistake that ends their regime.

    We obviously don't know. But it is not clear either way.

  • ||

    5) Will produce a warboner.

  • Ron Jeremy||

    "Massive Ordnance Penetrator". Thanks for the new nickname!

  • C Alice||

    "MOP up!"

  • Tim||

    War, what ISN'T it good for?

  • ||

    War, huh, yeah
    What is it good for
    Winning elections
    Uh-huh

    War, huh, yeah
    What is it good for
    Winning elections
    Say it again, y'all

  • ||

    Yup. After watching President Integrity at work for a few years, I wouldn't put starting a war to win reelection past this guy. I don't know if there's anything I would put past this guy.

  • ||

    More of that transparent behavior this administration is known for.

  • wareagle||

    what would he NOT do to win re-election? Let's see...talks about jobs, but scotches the Keystone project.
    Chases a few Catholic votes with the birth control contretemps...you didn't think it was coincidence that this issue surfaces only now, did you?
    Pats Boeing on the back not long after his own NLRB worked like hell to prevent a plant in SC.
    Puts forth yet another deficit-adding budget while talking about the need for bipartisanship and fiscal sanity.

    If he told me the sun rose in the east, I would have to set my alarm for pre-dawn just to verify it.

  • ||

  • ||

    Compared to other major regional conflicts that we handled differently, I'd say Iraq is far from a disaster. A real disaster is what neocons warn about. Sooner or later the libertarians will win the argument, and we will see if they are right. Maybe Iran will be that, I think it's drawing out that way after the last decade of war fatigue. But, if the neocons turn out to be the smart ones, I will expect an appropriate response on this site.

  • wareagle||

    I think Syria, thus far anyway, is emerging as an example of "let them sort out their own business", particularly after seeing Egypt's elections result in the Muslim Brotherhood winning a majority. Gee, guess no one in the administration saw that one coming and it is quite likely why the military is hanging on to power. They know that something far worse than Mubarak exists.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Psst Doherty and Taibbi: when the media start saying things you don't like, it's not necessarily a conspiracy against your team. It may just be-and follow me here-that not all the facts line up according to your narrative. It can happen.

  • Fluffy||

    The problem is that the more you know about the technical details of the dispute the more it becomes apparent that our side is full of shit.

    The IAEA is back in Iran again, and I'm just about 100% sure that what will happen is that they will issue another report saying, "Well, we have no evidence that Iran is doing anything but developing a civilian nuclear power program, and they answered our questions, but now we thought of some more questions so we'll go back later and ask those," and the US will go before the Security Council and say, "This IAEA report says Iran still has a nuclear program and there are unanswered questions! SANCTIONS AND WAR NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW!"

    I know this because that's what we've done for the last X years.

  • NotSure||

    The US government takes the rest of world as fools, when in fact they are increasingly being seen for the fools they are by everyone else.

  • NotSure||

    It really is time for Israel to admit defeat, they cannot stop the Iranian nuclear project, nor should they. Jaw-jaw is better than war-war.

    I would like to believe that the previous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be enough to prevent more foolishness from America.

  • ||

    I would like to believe in the Tooth Fairy

  • jasno||

    This all assumes Israel would be stupid enough to attack the actual nuclear facilities rather than the brain that controls them.

    Israel could, given it's effective and entrenched security apparatus, conduct a coordinated strike on the Ayatollah, the President, and CnC centers of the special forces which would destabilize the nation and perhaps trigger civil war. The nuclear sites could be targeted much later, if there is even a need to do so.

    I'll be interested to see how the Saudis react to any action on Iran. I think they certainly don't want to see a nuclear Iran on their doorstep. However, based on my current wack-o theory that the west is seeking to unify Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and eventually Pakistan under a strong federal government capable of stifling dissent, they could balk at moves toward an eventual Shiite super-state.

  • Every Warlord in SWA||

    the west is seeking to unify Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and eventually Pakistan under a strong federal government capable of stifling dissent

    Right.

  • jasno||

    When every warlord in SWA is fighting the Shiite central government instead of us our job will be done and we can go the fuck home.

  • NotSure||

    How will Israel manage to move the troop numbers required into Iran to make this possible ? They are not Chuck Norris, not even their best soldiers would be able to pull off an attack if they are outnumbered 100 to 1.

    Unlike those cheap B-grade action films where all the middle easteners walk around with only AK-47s and politely await their turn to get shot by the hero, I imagine the Iranian army is doing planning of its own, especially when the talk of attack is a secret to nobody.

  • ||

    They wouldn't have to. They would do a bombing raid that would kill those people rather than going after the nuke sites. Now that would take some major league intelligence. But it wouldn't be impossible. And it makes more sense than going after the nuke sites in a lot of ways.

  • jasno||

    Exactly. A few strikes on relatively soft targets(vs. a underground nuke site)... a few motorcycle-placed bombs to take out a few generals...

    The Israeli's also have cruise missiles and the subs to launch them...

  • ||

    US to Iran: Stop Resisting! Stop Resisting!

  • Applederry||

    Yeah, I can't help but feel like we're reenacting the Ruby Ridge fiasco on an international level.

  • ChrisO||

    It's an obvious Wag The Dog dog scenario for Obama. Expect the attack to happen somewhere around August for maximum political impact.

  • ||

    Israel could use nuclear weapons against Iran?

  • Buddy Bizarre||

    UN atomic agency team 'denied access' to suspected Iran nuclear site

    http://www.theaustralian.com.a.....6278085012

  • Apartments for Rent||

    There’s a weird set of internalized assumptions that media members bring to stories like this Iran business. In fact there’s an elaborate belief system we press people adhere to, about how a foreign country may behave toward the U.S., and how it may not behave....

    This is true.

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